One More Time on the “Onlys” of the Reformation

Quotes from the Early Fathers of the Church on the “onlys” of the Gospel:

Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man:

If they, then, bear the delay who by faith only and by hope saw the good things “afar off” and “embraced them(2),” as the apostle bears witness, placing their certainty of the enjoyment of the things for which they hoped in the fact that they “judged Him faithful Who has promised(3),” what ought most of us to do, who have not, it may be, a hold upon the better hope from the character of our lives?

 

Chrysostom: Homilies on 2 Cor:

“Sound judgment.” And what can it be to have “a sound judgment?” To enjoy the health that pertaineth to the soul: for he that is held down by wicked lusts and dazzled(10) with present things, never can be sound, that is, healthy. But as one who is diseased lusteth even after things which are unfit for him, so also doth he. “And a virtuous mode of life,” for the doctrines need a mode of life [answerable]. Attend to this, ye who come to baptism at the close of life, for we indeed pray that after baptism ye may have also this deportment, but thou art seeking and doing thy utmost to depart without it. For, what though thou be justified(11): yet is it of faith only. But we pray that thou shouldest have as well the confidence that cometh of good works.

 

Homily, Acts 15:1

Everywhere he puts the Gentiles upon a thorough equality. “And put no difference between us and them, having purified their hearts by faith.” (v. 9.) From faith alone, he says, they obtained the same gifts. This is also meant as a lesson to those (objectors); this is able to teach even them that faith only is needed, not works nor circumcision. For indeed they do not say all this only by way of apology for the Gentiles, but to teach (the Jewish believers) also to abandon the Law. However, at present this is not said. “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples?”

 

Homily, Romans 3:

For if even before this, the circumcision was made uncircumcision, much rather was it now, since it is cast out from both periods. But after saying that “it was excluded,” he shows also, how. How then does he say it was excluded? “By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith.” See he calls the faith also a law delighting to keep to the names, and so allay the seeming novelty. But what is the “law of faith?” It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God’s power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting,(1) and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only. And in saying this he attempts to bring the Jew who has believed to act with moderation, and to calm him that hath not believed, in such way as to draw him on to his own view. For he that has been saved, if he be high-minded in that he abides by the Law, will be told that he himself has stopped his own mouth, himself has accused himself, himself has renounced claims to his own salvation, and has excluded boasting. But he that hath not believed again, being humbled by these same means, will be capable of being brought over to the faith. Do you see how great faith’s preeminence is? How it hath removed us from the former things, not even allowing us to boast of them?

 

Homily, Romans 4:

Ver. 2. “By Whom also we have access,” he says, “by faith unto this grace. (7 Mss. add, unto, etc.)

If then He hath brought us near to Himself, when we were far off, much more will He keep us now that we are near. And let me beg you to consider how he everywhere sets down these two points; His part, and our part. On His part, however, there be things varied and numerous and diverse. For He died for us, and farther reconciled us, and brought us to Himself, and gave us grace unspeakable. But we brought faith only as our contribution. And so he says,” “by faith, unto this grace” What grace is this? tell me. It is the being counted worthy of the knowledge of God, the being forced from error, the coming to a knowledge of the Truth, the obtaining of all the blessings that come through Baptism.

 

Augustine, On Faith, Hope, and Love, ch 67:

It is believed, moreover, by some, that men who do not abandon the name of Christ, and who have been baptized in the Church by His baptism, and who have never been cut off from the Church by any schism or heresy, though they should live in the grossest sin and never either wash it away in penitence nor redeem it by almsgiving, but persevere in it persistently to the last day of their lives, shall be saved by fire; that is, that although they shall suffer a punishment by fire, lasting for a time proportionate to the magnitude of their crimes and misdeeds, they shall not be punished with everlasting fire. But those who believe this, and yet are Catholics, seem to me to be led astray by a kind of benevolent feeling natural to humanity. For Holy Scripture, when consulted, gives a very different answer. I have written a book on this subject, entitled Of Faith and Works, in which, to the best of my ability, God assisting me, I have shown from Scripture, that the faith which saves us is that which the Apostle Paul clearly enough describes when he says: “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.”(2) But if it worketh evil, and not good, then without doubt, as the Apostle James says, “it is dead, being alone.”(3) The same apostle says again, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?”(4) And further, if a wicked man shall be saved by fire on account of his faith alone, and if this is what the blessed Apostle Paul means when he says, “But he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire;”(5) then faith without works can save a man, and what his fellow-apostle James says must be false. And that must be false which Paul himself says in another place: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners; shall inherit the kingdom of God.”(6) For if those who persevere in these wicked courses shall nevertheless be saved on account of their faith in Christ, how can it be true that they shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

 

Chrysostom, 1 Timothy:

As the Jews were chiefly attracted by this, he persuades them not (2) to give heed to the law, since they could not attain salvation by it without faith. Against this he contends; for it seemed to them incredible, that a man who had misspent all his former life in vain and wicked actions, should afterwards be saved by his faith alone. On this account he says, “It is a saying to be believed.” But some not only disbelieved but even objected, as the Greeks do now.

 

Chrysostom, Homily on 1 Tim 5:8:

Then there is thanksgiving, and great glory, and joy, every one praying that such may be his own end, that so his own combat may terminate, and he may rest from his labor and struggles, and may see Christ. And if any is sick, instead of tears and lamentations they have recourse to prayers. Often not the care of physicians, but faith alone relieves the sick.

 

Chrysostom, Homily on Eph 2:11-12:

For he makes a wide distinction between “commandments” and “ordinances.” He either then means “faith,” calling that an “ordinance,” (for by faith alone He saved us,) or he means “precept,” such as Christ gave, when He said, “But I say unto you, that ye are not to be angry at all.” (Matt. v: 22.) That is to say, “If thou shalt believe that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. x: 6-9.) And again, “The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thine heart. Say not, Who shall ascend into heaven, or who shall descend into the abyss?” or, who hath “brought. Him again from the dead?” Instead of a certain manner of life, He brought in faith. For that He might not save us to no purpose, He both Himself underwent the penalty, and also required of men the faith that is by doctrines.

 

Theodoret of Cyrus, Letters:

All this I say not for the sake of boasting, but because I am forced to defend myself. It is not the fame of my sermons to which I am calling attention; it is their orthodoxy alone. Even the great teacher of the world who is wont to style himself last of saints and first of sinners, that he might stop the mouths of liars was compelled to set forth a list of his own labours; and in shewing that this account of his sufferings was of necessity, not of free will, he added “I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me.”(2) I own myself wretched—aye thrice wretched. I am guilty of many errors. Through faith alone I look for finding some mercy in the day of the Lord’s appearing. I wish and I pray that I may follow the footprints of the holy Fathers, and I earnestly desire to keep undefiled the evangelic teaching which was in sum delivered to us by the holy Fathers assembled in council at the Bithynian Nicaea. I believe that there is one God the Father and one Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father:(1) so also that there is one Lord Jesus Christ, only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, brightness of His glory and express image of the Father’s person,(2) on account of man’s salvation, incarnate and made man and born of Mary the Virgin in the flesh. For so are we taught by the wise Paul “Whose are the Fathers and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen,”(3) and again “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness.”(4) On this account we also call the holy Virgin “Theotokos,”(5) and deem those who object to this appellation to be alienated from true religion.

 

Click the next line (“Reformation Solas in the Fathers of the Church” for more quotes)

Reformation Solas in the Fathers of the Church (May have to click this line more than once.)

(THE END)

Five Solas: the Significance of the word “ALONE”

I posted this on my FaceBook account:

THE FIVE SOLAS (we are justified)
by Holy Scripture alone
by faith alone
by grace alone
by Christ alone
Only to God’s glory alone

Each point emphasizes not only the necessity of the point but also its sufficiency:

Holy Scripture is not only necessary it is enough.

Faith is not only necessary it is enough.

Grace is not only necessary it is enough.

Christ is not only necessary He is enough .

God’s glory alone is necessary but His glory is enough.

This is a bare summary of evangelicalism, but there is much more in the Creeds, and especially the great doctrinal statements of the Reformation, such as the 39 Articles.

As Charles Spurgeon once said (paraphrase): “It is not the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ that does my soul good, it is Jesus who justifies my soul,” who is my anchor behind the veil. As important as doctrine is, it is not doctrine in the frontal lobe that saves me, abstractly considered, but the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. I REST IN HIM!

AFTER RECEIVING SOME CHALLENGING COMMENTS  on FaceBook from a former friend who left my denomination and went into Orthodoxy, Sam Seamans, I posted on FaceBook a long article in response to him. I guess it finally was posted, but it was long I got tired waiting for FaceBook to put it up, but here are my comments:

Sam, spoken like a true convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. The Greek word for “pillar” is a column that supports a superstructure, not a foundation. It is resting on a foundation (Louw-Nida lexicon; other lexicons). Jesus Christ is the foundation, the chief cornerstone, not us humans (Eph. 2:20). The church is built on Him, thus it is called the pillar, a column on a foundation. Irenaeus, (Against Heresies, 3.11.7-8) says from your passage (1 Tim. 3:15) that the “pillar and ground is the gospel”, which is what we hold. Moreover, the Greek word “ground” does not mean lying down on the floor with a superstructure, but church is here a solid defense against the confusion of myth” (TDNT).

To say “the CHURCH, NOT the Bible,” is the pillar and ground of truth,” are dangerous words. The holy scriptures AND the church complete one another; they are not in opposition as you suggest, though if they are in opposition, as in  the late Middle Ages, God sent a revival with the reformers to straighten up the mess with the Bible. Apparently you have not understood the five solas; they are not isolated but all hang together. Thus your comments assume that one can have faith or grace in isolation. Not so. If you knew the history of those points and what the reformers were saying, you would understand what we are saying. For example, the gospel was “according to the scriptures.” St. Paul explicitly states in 1 Cor. 15:3-4 that Christ died for our sins “according to the scriptures”, which at the time of his writing was the Old Testament. The New Testament built on that and so in both the OT and NT we could say the scriptures alone are sufficient. Other passages in Paul are 1 Cor. 10:1ff, 2 Tim. 3:16-17. It should be clear that at all times the Holy Scriptures were sufficient for salvation.

AS FOR THE FIVE SOLAS HANGING TOGETHER, it is from the Holy Scriptures that we are presented with the Christ, in whom we put our trust, relying on His grace, and seeking only His glory. These five points are like five links in a chain, not five isolated links scattered on the floor. As for NT coming before the church, there are several responses.

FIRST, the OT scriptures laid the foundation for the NT church, thus they already existed. Repeatedly, the Lord and the Apostles quoted the Old Testament, and through their preaching and writings, they brought the New Testament canon into existence, but always basing the New Testament on the OT. The Church did not invent the canonical books of the New Testament by some council, but as the books were written, the sheep recognized the voice of the Shepherd in those writings. Of course, the Church did formally recognize the canon, but only after they had been used for some time as scripture. So did the Church come before the New Testament books? Not really, as if it mattered, but they came together.

SECOND, unless you’re dispensational and make a bifurcation with two peoples of God, Israel then the Church, which I know you don’t, the NT people of God ARE the new Israel (Gal. 6:16; Eph. 2:11-22; etc), for the church, or the new Israel already existed.

I could add a THIRD reason: so what about the church allegedly coming first. Christ delivered the gospel to the apostles and expounded the OT scriptures to them to show that He was building on that foundation of the OT. (See Luke 24:44-48: “44 Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:43 NKJ).)

The apostles wrote down what He had revealed, which was in solidarity with the OT. The apostles recognized their own writings as Scripture as Paul said his writings were the Lord’s commands (1 Cor. 14:37), and Peter referred to Paul letters as “scripture” (2 Peter 3:15-16). So what time lag are you referring to from the time of the writings of the NT to the apostles? There was very little gap. What holy tradition are you speaking of that the NT allegedly came from? As for the proclamation that the Eastern Church did not need reforming, I would say our conversation says otherwise. As for the “innovations of the medieval scholastic period,” that is why we had a reformation. The medieval church had gone awry. The Eastern Church murdered its only bishop who tried to bring reformation to it. I would say Orthodoxy has stagnated over the centuries, the Roman Catholic Church has innovated, and Protestantism has validated its truth with the early fathers and the Holy Scriptures, as did Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, and most commentaries today go back to the fathers with vigor. But then Orthodoxy does not write commentaries, as you admitted to me, so I guess they would not know.

AS FOR THE CHURCH being the “pillar and ground” of the Bible, the passage you alluded to does NOT say that (1 Tim. 3:15), but it says the “pillar and ground of TRUTH”. My question to you is which church? Was it the western church, the eastern church, Marcion who tried to destroy the Bible but those who had the scriptures knew he was wrong? Which church is the infallible one? Also, if the early fathers are our interpretive guide, which ones? Is it Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Origen, the Cappadocian fathers, Augustine, which you guy reject, and which ones in the middle ages do you rely on, and why those? You should know that I agree with you about a strong church. I would even say that the fathers are our guide, but the only infallible guide is the Holy Scriptures. What will you put in its place, your holy tradition? You said to me recently that the fathers had a much better grasp on the Bible than we do today, which was an excuse for Orthodoxy not writing commentaries, but how in the world would you know that? But which tradition, from what time period, and who will interpret that to you? If only the early (and some Medieval) fathers can interpret the New Testament to us, who interprets the fathers to us? You are thereby saying that the fathers are self-interpreting to us, but that the Bible is not self-interpreting. In other words, the words of man are clearer than the words of God. That is a tough pill to swallow. We Protestants have many interpretations of the Bible, but most are united on the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Even those Protestants who will not say these in worship nevertheless believe them as seen in their doctrinal statements. We are united on these creeds with the Roman Catholic Church, but you are not, why? You reject all three of these creeds, at the least the Western versions, especially hating the filioque clause. Who is right, your small group of a few million members, perhaps even 100 million, or the rest of the Christianity world with about two billion members? I can document that Rome and especially Protestantism have grown by about a billion souls in the last 100 years, but what about Orthodoxy? Very little.  Now there is a holy (Protestant) tradition if there ever was one. And which Orthodox group is right? Don’t you have 14 jurisdictions, or is it 18? Likewise Rome has its various groups internally.

AS FOR THE FIVE SOLAS BEING BIBLICAL, look at these: Bible is sufficient for salvation and living (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and a shorthand way to say that is scripture alone. Faith apart from all human merit is sufficient for salvation (Rom. 4:1-8; Eph. 2:8-9), and a shorthand way to say that is faith alone. Or as one confession so beautifully put it, “We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is not alone, but ever accompanied by good works” (WCF). We are saved only by grace and only to God’s glory (Eph. 2:8-10), and a shorthand way to say that is we are saved by grace alone to God’s glory alone. We are saved only by Jesus, and a shorthand way to say that is we are saved by the Son of God alone.

In other words, as J. I. PACKER SO BEAUTIFULLY PUT IT (not an exact quote), “What we mean is that JESUS saves sinners. Jesus saves, we don’t. The only thing we can contribute to our salvation is our sins. Next, we that Jesus SAVES sinners, not that He is their cheer leader, not that He does His part and we finish (Contra. Phil. 1:6) what He began, not that we cooperate to earn grace  . He saves SINNERS, not the self-righteous, not those who think they are basically ok.” That is what we’re are getting at.

SAM, I did not want to tangle with you regarding your recent move into Orthodoxy. That is one of the reasons I asked for a private conversation with you when I found out about your move into Orthodoxy. We hung up from that meeting on good terms.I can see the newfound zeal you have for your new faith, but in my opinion you made a move without understanding the issues. You knew we talked, and I gave you the right hand of fellowship; therefore, I was surprised to see you go after my statements that I thought I was just blessing people with on FaceBook, but you called my hand, so I’ve responded. I hope this is not offensive, but I could not let people think there are no good answers to your questions. I think, however, that even though we disagree on some of the terms, how used, and the significance of the Church, etc., we can still give one another the right hand of fellowship. Your brother in Him. AMEN.

Crucified under Pontius Pilate

© Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D., 2013

What is different about Christianity from all other religions? It is based in history with real persons, real events, real cities, countries, and actual eyewitnesses. The Apostles’ Creed speaks of the Lord Jesus as One who “suffered under Pontius Pilate.” Why is that important? It shows that Christianity is rooted in things that actually happened, and is not made up from imagination, as all false religions are.

Buddhism is basically an atheistic philosophy with little to no roots in actual events. One even wonders if the Buddha existed, and it really does not matter, for the system is just an idea. So if he never existed, it would not affect Buddhism.

Likewise, in Hinduism, which began about 4,000 years ago in India, we have another philosophy of life that makes little difference if real historical events occurred.

There are three religions that claim some historical connection: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and all three are monotheistic (one God). The first two are connected as bud to flower, and Islam is a conglomeration of some Judaism, some Christianity, more paganism, and a lot of imagination.

So, we say that Christ was crucified by Pontius Pilate, and we could add, in Jerusalem around A. D. 30, but how historical is that? We know from Roman records that Pilate was in the Roman military, had served well. We know from archaeology that Pilate minted coins in Jerusalem with “Tiberius Caesar” on them from A.D. 29-31. Moreover, Pilate dedicated a monument to his Caesar with these words:

“To the Divine Augusti [this] Tiberieum

…Pontius Pilate

…prefect of Judea

…has dedicated” [ rest of words not there]

A secular writer named Thallos discussed in A.D. 59 how there could have been darkness during the time of the crucifixion when the moon and sun were not in the correct positions. Moreover, Jesus’ tomb had a heavy stone rolled in front of it. There was a Roman seal, like the police tape we see today, and Roman soldiers guarded the tomb. There was never a discussion whether the tomb was empty, but only how it got that way.

Moreover, the Jewish historian, Josephus (A.D. 56-120), discussed in his Antiquities, the stoning of James “the brother of Jesus who is called Christ,” which is another historical event that matches the New Testament.

Jesus prophesied that Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed in the life time of those to whom He was speaking at the time (about A.D. 30), and in A.D. 70, the Roman general Titus destroyed them, which is a well known fact of history, even by the secularists.

Unlike Mormonism and Islam where one must take the word of one man and allegedly one angel (Mormonism, Joseph Smith, and angel the Morini; Islam, Mohammed and Gabriel. In Christianity we have hundreds of eyewitnesses and hundreds of dates, artifacts, real persons, real history, and so on. In other words, we are not dependent on the word of one man or one alleged angel no one else saw, but we are thoroughly rooted in history. Take away the bodily resurrection of Christ, and Christianity crumbles. Take away the Buddha, and nothing would change.

So how do we know that the supernatural events, like Jesus’ bodily resurrection, are true? We know because of the natural events that are not only recorded in the New Testament by multiple eyewitnesses but also because of validation outside the New Testament in Roman documents, historical artifacts, Roman historians, and even one Jewish historian, Josephus, and so on.

Yes, Christianity is unique. One would have to rewrite history to destroy the Christian Church and Christianity. AMEN.

Holy Scripture Is Enough

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

Anglicans are people of two books, the Book of Common Prayer, which we use for private and public worship, and the Bible, which is the only infallible standard for salvation and life. The Book of Common Prayer quotes the Bible about 70% of the time, and the rest of the time, it summarizes or alludes to the Bible.

But what is the Bible? It is God’s revelation to us through His prophets and apostles, which means it is supernatural in origin. At one time in the USA, to win a dispute one need only quote the Bible, but today there is no authority but what the culture thinks at the moment.

The Bible is the only infallible standard for God and morality in the world. We know it is accurate because it has predicted the future, such as the birth, death, and especially the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The bodily resurrection of Christ is historically accurate and can be easily proved.

The Bible is everlasting in duration. People have tried to burn it, destroy it, deny it, make fun of it, but it is still the number one best seller each year.

The Bible is sufficient for salvation, which means it is all we need to know God and receive the free gift of forgiveness of sins. In other words, the Bible is not only necessary, it is enough. As The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion states, which is the doctrinal standard for Anglicans (or should be), “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”

The Bible is Christological in subject, meaning that the Lord Jesus Christ is the main theme of the whole Bible. We come to know Him through the pages of holy writ. Again, The Thirty-Nine Articles states, “They also are to be accursed that presume to say, ‘That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professes, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to the Law and Light of Nature.’ For the Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ whereby men must be saved” (Acts 3:12).

The Bible is personal in application, which means we can rely on it not only for our salvation but also for everyday living. God has given us the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions, and these are imminently practical.

The Bible is inspired in its totality, which means that every part is equally infallible. One passage of Holy Scripture cannot contradict another passage, so that we use Scripture to interpret Scripture.

The Church is the custodian of the Bible, protecting it from corruption, though today we have been very derelict in our duty. But The Thirty-Nine Articles states that “the Church be a witness and keeper of Holy Writ.” But that does not mean that the Church has authority over the Bible; rather, the Bible holds the Church accountable. Again, The Thirty-Nine Articles proclaims: “. . . it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither to so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.” The Bible stands in judgment not only over the Church but also over culture.

In our day, both the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible have been sorely compromised. There used to be basically just one Book of Common Prayer, but today there are many versions, some that do not have the confession of sins in the worship or that compromise the prayer of consecration for Holy Communion. Then the Bible has been watered down by so many translations that are not true to the original Hebrew or Greek that many people are confused. Is it any wonder that few people take a Bible to church when most churches have not settled on a translation, or if they do use one version, it is often paraphrased. We must be of the opinion that when the Bible declares something, let all the earth keep silence, for God has spoken. AMEN.

Son of God: Eternal, One Essence with the Father, Creator, Incarnate, Redeemer, Sustainer, Ruler

Merry Christmas: The ONE Chapters

[Notice that these four chapters go together, and each is the first chapter in a pertinent book of the Bible regarding the Incarnation. YOU’LL NEED TO MEDITATE ON THIS TABLE to benefit. But notice that the colors of each column go together, and that the whole table is about the Son of God: Green = the Son as creator; orange = deity of the Son; purple = the Son upholding all things by His providential omnipotence; red = redemption. How could four different human authors arrive at the same truth independent of one another 1,500 years apart  unless there was One Source (2 Peter 1:19-21).]

GENESIS ONE

JOHN ONE

COLOSSIANS ONE

HEBREWS ONE

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Gen 1:1-2)

_______________

(We have God―no doubt the Father-who created all things. “Heaven and earth” are opposites to indicate all things (merism). Then we have the Holy Spirit who is forming the mass of material that was created. Finally, when we read many times that God spoke things into existence, that was by His Word. Thus, we have Trinitarian creation.)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

And the Word became flesh and Tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

_______________

(The phrase “in the beginning” in Gen. 1 means when all was created, whereas the same expression in John means in eternity. Yet John makes a connection with Gen. 1:1, proclaiming the Word as creator. Creation comes in v. 3. The four times “was” is used indicates eternal existence. The contrast is with the verb “became,” which indicates something new; namely, He added a human nature to His divine person. In other words, He always “was” the Word, always “was” with God, and always “was” God. Being “with God” indicates a distinction between the Word and God the Father. Being God indicates that He was (is) one in essence with the Father. The word “tabernacle” indicates that Jesus was the Old Testament tabernacle incarnate. Indeed, when John says “we beheld His glory,” he is speaking of the Shekinah glory in the tabernacle. Finally, “in Him was life” indicates that the Word had (has) inherent life; all creation has derived life.)

Verse 18, the verb “declared” from Greek means He has “exegeted” Him. The one who has seen Jesus has seen the Father (John 14:9).

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Col 1:15-17)

. . . and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross (Col. 1:20)______________

(The word “firstborn” does not mean the one born first, but the one who is preeminent, who has the birthright, as with David who was called firstborn but was the eight of Jesse’s sons. “Heaven” and “earth” are repeated to make the connection with Genesis 1. We can see from the several merisms (opposite to mean totality) that the Son created all things without exception: in heaven, on earth; visible, invisible. Moreover, notice that the Son is the source of creation [“all things were created through Him”], the goal of creation [“for Him”], and He sustains creation [“in Him all things consist,” which means He providentially sustains all creation. See next column under Hebrews.]).

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us [in] Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His [essence], and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Heb 1:1-4)

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(The Son of God is the final revelation “in these last days,” which days are the last days of the old covenant, but now the new covenant has come (see Heb. 9:26). He is “the brightness of His glory” means a distinction between Father and Son. But when he writes “the express image of His essence” [not “person” as the NKJ says, definitely wrong], he means there is oneness of Father and Son in essence. In the midst of upholding all things, using His divine attributes, He “purged our sins,” then took His throne “at the right hand of the majesty on high.” The “sat down” means His work was done, in contrast to the Old Testament high priests who were never allowed to sit, for their sacrifices never ended. There were no places to sit in the tabernacle or temple.)

 

Calm Word about the Election

© The Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D., 4 November 2016

Who will win the election? No one knows, especially me. Will the person be good for the country? You already know whom I think will be better, but does that mean he will turn our hearts back to righteousness? Not likely. The gospel in the Church is God’s hope for America, not some political pundit. Politicians should make it safe and easy to proclaim the gospel, not to be the Church. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34 NKJ). Righteousness is the mission of the Church. I don’t look to any politician at any time for the ultimate cure: that worship belongs only to One Man and the ONLY Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), Jesus Christ. Indeed, if the Apostle Paul were elected as President next Tuesday, we would still have an ungodly nation. It is going to take a major revival and at least one generation (most likely two to three generations) to right so many injustices, such as:

  • Idolatry
  • Vile language
  • Dedicating time to self and not to the Lord on His Day
  • Disobedience to godly authority (parents, government, military)
  • Murder
  • Porn
  • Abortion, infanticide, euthanasia
  • Worship of self (narcissism)
  • Materialists
  • Secularism
  • Sexual sins of all kinds that are unbelievable in invention and in intensity
  • LGBTQ
  • Everybody steals from everyone
  • Everyone lies to everyone
  • The media and politicians in general make a living from bearing false witness
  • Coveting
  • Violence throughout the nation
  • Extreme prejudice, especially against Christians
  • Wholesale violations of the Ten Commandments

I’m sure I’ve left out many sins. Consider my book (and eBook) NOT Ten Commandments on Amazon for practical insights into each of these areas (pdf on my site). In short, we need a Nineveh type revival with a disobedient Jonah to preach. But he was like many of us: “Don’t give our ‘Ninevites’ conversion and grace, O Lord, kill them all!”

I can almost predict what will happen to us with this vote: Something we never thought about. But I don’t know; neither do you.

One thing for sure in in the long run, and for the good of the Church corporate throughout the world, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28 NKJ). We tend to take this to mean individual Christians will be blessed, and that is true, but in context it is primarily corporate. Whatever happens throughout the world, I self-consciously ask myself, “What are you doing, Lord, but whatever it is, you do so for the benefit of Your people.” Every event in every part of the world has been designed by my gracious Lord with you and me in mind, “who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The reason He is doing this, as Max Lucado has said, is because HE CHOSE THE NAILS. It is through His suffering that His kingdom grows, and through our suffering that we grow. Suffering is not abnormal but normal, but we in the USA have had several centuries of reprieve. Adventure awaits us! So whatever happens in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia, China, USA, etc, He has designed to promote His kingdom, His Church, and to grow us in grace. All the world sees is the outward wars, the political intrigue and lies, but Jesus sees His Church.

WE see in the last 100 years or more, King Jesus has been pouring His Holy Spirit more to the East and less in the West. Modern church historians, such as Philip Jenkins and Mark A. Noll, tell us that 100 years ago 7 of every 10 Christians were in Europe, UK, USA, Canada—in other words—white Christians. Now it has reversed: 7 of every 10 Christians are in other countries (China, India, Africa, S. Korea, Russia, Middle East, Brazil, the Southern Cone (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay)), etc. It appears that the Lord is on the move in the East but turning from the West, but only He knows for sure.

We tend to forget or ignore the fact that the Church, over the centuries, has grown most in grace and in numbers through persecution. If I were the Lord Jesus, I would give us what we deserve—persecution—and thereby separate the sheep from the goats by such persecution. BUT you are safe because I’m not Him, and He is infinitely more gracious than I could ever be. Anyway, as we used to say in Vietnam, I’m a short timer (now 71). I’ll continue to do what I can to kick Satan’s butt, and then by His grace, I’ll be going home!

I have prayed for the USA, sometimes with tears. I have written to y’all, I have voted. Now it is time for me to relax in His gracious providence.

“Thou doest all things well, O my sovereign Lord. Yours is to dispose; mine is to repose.” AMEN. Ω.

Who Is Holy Enough to be President?

(© The Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D., November 1, 2016)

Adam would not have qualified because he did not stand up to Satan when he tempted his wife, Eve, to eat of the fruit. He effectively threw his wife under the bus; who would want a coward for president?

Noah would not qualify because he was guilty of getting drunk at the worst possible time and then engaging in incest with his daughters, who gave birth to his children. If  Weiner may be ousted for sexting a minor, how much worse was Noah who got his daughters pregnant!

Abraham lied about his wife being his sister, and then he did not believe God’s promise about having the promised seed through Sarah. Impatient, he impregnated his wife’s assistant, Hagar, who in turn had Ishmael. It was only later that Abraham had the true promised seed, Isaac, with Sarah. Who would want a liar, a double-minded man,  and fornicator for president?

Moses could not be president because he murdered an Egyptian, which was also profiling. Who is going to hold him accountable for these crimes? Could he really be trusted to lead a nation? Moreover, he ran off after killing the Egyptian and raised sheep for 40 years. How would having his own business qualify him for politics, and especially living in solitude for all those years? Would he be able to speak eloquently in public? He did not think so.

Samson would be out because he could not keep his hands off women, often going to bed with them. How could a womanizer do God’s will for a nation? Maybe Bill Clinton has followed his example.

Saul was chosen by the people to be king, but they liked him because he was nice looking and larger by a head than most men. They did not look on the heart, for if they had, they would have noticed that he was an ego-maniac. God killed him and installed David as king.

But how did David qualify for that high office as leader of Israel? After being confirmed as King, he committed two very heinous sins. First, he numbered Israel to see how many soldiers he had, putting his confidence in his military might rather than in his covenant LORD (1 Chron. 21). Second, he committed adultery with Bathsheba, got her pregnant, and then murdered her Husband, Uriah the Hittite. Then he took Bathsheba as his wife.

Israel split into two nations: the northern ten tribes, called Israel, and the southern two tribes called Judah. There was not one good king in the north and only a few in Judah, but most had some problem.

There was a king of Palestine appointed by the Caesar of Rome, and that was Herod the Great who murdered relatives, wives, sons, and anyone who got in his way. He told more lies than the Caesars, which is saying something, since they often told lies to cover their butts. Sound familiar? He tried to murder baby Jesus by having all the babies two years of age and under murdered, but even then he only killed about 18 babies. That is not nearly as many as Hitlery and others have murdered with abortion, which is 55 million and counting since abortion became legal in January 1973.

There were no significant kings of the northern ten tribes of Israel in New Testament times because Israel was under foreign rule—Rome. But the High Priest, who was supposed to be appointed for life, was also supposed to be male and of the house of Aaron. There were two High Priests in the Lord’s day: Annas and Caiaphas, neither one of the house of Aaron. The reason there were two High Priests was corruption. Annas and Caiaphas bought their way into the most political position of Palestine: High Priest. When Annas did not please the Roman authorities, they put him out, but Annas pulled some strings to get his son-in-law, Caiaphas, installed. It was political conspiracy. Sound familiar?

Peter was not qualified because he was so fickle: proclaiming Jesus one minute and denying Him three times the next minute. Also, he had permanent hoof in mouth disease, always saying something off the cuff that got him in trouble. Remind you of someone?

No way Paul could serve since he had arrested many Christians and murdered some. Moreover, he was very confrontational.

John Adams, second president of the USA, had been exposed to the Puritans as he grew up, but their Calvinism did not stay with him. He wrote Thomas Jefferson and said something like: I could wish you to live long enough to become a Calvinist,” to which Jefferson responded: “Dear sir, you wish for me immortality.” Both seemed to be more deist than Christian, and in those days who wanted practical atheists in the high office?

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the USA, was a deist who sired children by his slave women.

Benjamin Franklin was a womanizer, and was not a Christian; rather, he was polytheistic.

We could continue, but you get the point—there are no perfect people for the high office of president. Indeed, the Clintons and Obamas have been some of the worst presidents in our history, and should never have been elected.

How qualified was Jesus to be King? According to the standards of that time, He was not unqualified. He had never served in any office before. His education was limited to His step-father and mother. The only job He had learned to do was carpentry. He was intolerant to those who did not like them, often calling them names such as liars, hypocrites, disciples of hell, fools, blind guides, whited sepulchers, serpents, brood of vipers, murderers, those who killed the prophets, and so on. He needed to learn tolerance if He were to succeed in politics! He had never traveled out of His country, and He had never been published. Those who followed Him were ignorant fishermen, tax collectors, and those not well known in society. And He was not acceptable in high society.  He had no military experience so how could He lead in fighting wars? Finally, He had been unemployed the last three years of His life, depending on others for food, and sometimes slept in the open. Such an independent minded person who did not fit in with professional politicians would never do.

Moreover, He had never been married, and that would mean He was not well adjusted, or worse, He may be a womanizer. Suspicion is raised when we know that women often followed Him in His travels. Sometimes he ate with prostitutes.

CONCLUSION:

So, to those Christians who think we are voting for the lesser of two evils if we vote for Trump, who would be righteous enough for you? Is it not prudent to have the lesser evil person rather than greater evil? In every election since the USA began, from municipal, county, state, and to federal, we have always voted for the lesser of two evils because no one is perfect! If we don’t vote for the lesser evil, then we will elect one of the evilest families in USA history. AMEN.Ω.