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.

 

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an age of Skepticism (2008)

© Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

August 2017, book review

My wife and I were on a short vacation this past summer when I came across the above book at Books A Million: Timothy Keller, The Reason for God. It was discounted considerably, and I had heard of him but did not know much about him. I bought it and read it.

In the front of the book, it said that he had started several thousand churches (not all directly but Keller began many church through those he trained). He was told not to go to Manhattan because it was a very hard culture and just being there would put his small children and wife in danger. His church there now has 6,000 members, and many, if not the majority, had been prostitutes, drug users and drug sellers, and so forth. It is an unusual ministry. Often after the church service, he would take questions from skeptics, atheists, and just those interested or not interested. His niche is to plant churches in large cities throughout the world, a huge need, for sure.

He is reformed Presbyterian, well read in both Christian and secular works, and studied at such seminal evangelical seminaries as Gordon-Conwell and Westminster. Like Keller, I’ve made it a habit not to limit my reading to Christians authors, reading such men as atheist Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion, a silly hoot of a book without any logic), atheist Susan Neiman, Evil in Modern Thought (good survey of positions), Anders Nygren, Meaning and Method (his chapter Logical Analysis of Presuppositions is a gem), yada, yada. I read Arminians, Calvinists, dispensationalists, amils, postmills, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholics, John MacArthur, Sproul, Gerald Bray (my favorite modern Anglican), Baptists, Presbyterians, N. T. Wright, who frustrates me because he is often ambiguous, arrogant (whole church is wrong), and wants to redefine Christianity from the beginning; yet he is often insightful and always thorough. He seems to have the motto, “Why say something in 500 words when you say it in 5,000 words.” I still read some Puritans, though rare these days since I became Anglican in 1991. I’ve read heretics like John Spong, the Anglican bishop who delights in denying virtually everything in the three creeds. May he never rest in peace. I say all that to make a point: I’m not afraid to read anything, and it helps my ministry to know what others think, even those who hate the Lord Jesus.

Thus, when I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner, and someone asked me what I was reading these days, I mentioned Tim Keller’s The Reason for God. You would have thought that I had blasphemed the Holy Trinity. There was yelling, saying the man was a blasphemer, a heretic, and most likely an unbeliever. When I asked for documentation, there was none, only more arrogant opinions and increasing of decibels. As I finished the book later, I was sensitized to look for heresies. I found none, though I did find areas of disagreement, which is normal. I disagree with myself.

Then recently one of the men at the dinner sent me an Internet link to a “liturgical” dance at Keller’s church, saying or implying that it was heretical. I grant you it was weird, three men in tight dance suits with bulging between the legs dancing some kind of ballet is not conducive to worship. I don’t understand such artsy stuff, and I would not allow that at my Anglican church. Or, was it actually a worship service? I could not tell, but there were many statements that such was heretical. But the first question I had was whether it was actually a worship service or some other entertainment service. At a Puritan type church in the town where I live, once a large Presbyterian type church had a ballet where a Christian lady danced beautifully. It was not a worship service. Unlike David who danced before the Lord with only a linen ephod (2 Sam. 6:14), she was very tastefully dressed, elegant, and expressive. No one accused her or the church of heresy. But if the dance were part of the main service of worship, and if I were Presbyterian again, and if Keller were in my presbytery doing that, I would oppose him.

But Heretical? First, an individual should not assume the authority to say something or someone is heretical, which, it seems to me, is a statement that someone is going to hell. Second, heresy has been defined by the three creeds, Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian, especially the Nicene. If the church has spoken, such as in the creeds, then one can say what is heretical. Once a young man and his family were attending Anglican church where I was rector, and after a few Sundays I invited them to lunch. He asked me if he and his family could join the church if he was preterist. I said, “Define pretereist. Do you mean that many of the things in the Gospels were fulfilled in AD 70 but there is still a Second Coming, or that all things were fulfilled in AD 70 so there is no Second Coming.” He said no Second Coming. I said you cannot join, and he objected that he could prove his position from the New Testament. I responded, “No you can’t. The Church over the centuries in her creeds has rejected your position and has said there is a Second Coming with the Last Day.” He said, “What happened to sola scriptura?” I explained that the Reformation did not mean just the Bible and me, and that Holy Scripture was the final and only infallible authority, but the Church was an authority also. Church councils have erred, but the Creeds have stood the test of time, and that virtually all bodies hold to them formally (Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholic, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and even Pentecostals base their doctrinal statements on the Apostles’ Creed, either formally or informally). He re-studied the issue, and about a month to six weeks later returned, apologized, joined my parish, and was a faithful member.

Yet, I’m not endorsing Tim Keller across the board or this book I’m reviewing without some reservations.

Here are some interesting points in Keller’s book:

  1. He understands we are a divided culture, and encourages us to learn from our culture (pp. xv, xix). Part of the division is between agnostics, atheists, and Christians of all brands.
  2. As much as we in the West hate to admit it, there has been explosive Christian growth in other parts of the world. One hundred years ago, 70 of 100 Christians were in the West. Now the number has reversed: 70 of 100 Christians are outside the West. Not only does Keller cite similar stats, but also works by Mark Noll and Philip Jenkins, both modern day conservative church historians, say the same. I love reading current church history, for it is not only very challenging, it broadens one’s perspective on what the Lord is doing with His Church throughout the world.
  3. There has been explosive growth in Africa, spearheaded by Anglicans and Pentecostals. Likewise, in the USA Pentecostalism (read charismatic movement), got its beginning on Azusa Street among black ministers around 1907 in California. It has moved south of the border with huge growth. It has moved into Brazil very strongly. In the past I’ve discounted the Christianity of charismatics, but when they are embracing the Holy Trinity, and basically the theology of the Apostles’ Creed, I must take notice. This is what Keller is telling us to do. Jenkins and Noll say that Pentecostals (read charismatics) now compose about one fourth of the Church world-wide, which is substantively changing Christianity throughout the world; and if Christianity keeps growing at the present rate in China, it may be the next Christian nation. Already Presbyterians dominate and have changed the culture of South Korea.
  4. There is one flaw that bothered me greatly as I read this book. Though he presented many interesting arguments for the existence of God, he left it open, actually he denied, that we can present compelling arguments for His existence. Here are some quotes with page numbers:

. . . all arguments [for the existence of God] are rationally avoidable in the end. That is, you can always find reason to except it that is not sheer bias or stubbornness. [In other words, contra Romans 1:18, we have moral neutrality. He continues] Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that we can’t evaluate beliefs, only that we should not expect conclusive proof, and to demand it is unfair. Not even scientists proceed that way. (p. 125) [And that is why scientists are often wrong and cannot evaluate evidence and arguments well; their assumptions are built on sand. They show that we cannot infer an infinite being from a finite creation. They are right, but the Bible does not reason that way; rather, it reasons from the stated existence of God to the fallen creation. That, it seems to me, is a deductive argument with a certain conclusion, rather than an inductive argument from a finite creation to the infinite God.]

No view of God can be proven, but that does not mean that we cannot sift and weigh the grounds for various religious beliefs and find that some or even one is the most reasonable. (p. 126) [Now I shall remove the contradiction: “No view of God can be proved, but we can find a view that approximates Him.” That is just plain silly. Give with one hand and take back with the other. Recall Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6 NKJ)]

Though there cannot be irrefutable proof for the existence of God, many people have found strong clues for his reality. . . . (p. 131) [Our Clue who may be in heaven, hallowed be some name, somewhere. . . .”]

I find these quotes remarkably destructive of much of what he is saying. They destroy one of the main points of the book. Take this last quote. Can you imagine going to the Triune God in prayer and saying, “O Lord, somewhere you may exist, and I hope you get this message, if you are really there.” Scripture begins with the assumption of God’s existence (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth . . .” Gen. 1:1). I had a seminary professor who said, “If you can get past the first verse of the Bible, the rest is all downhill.” Indeed, sir. We cannot cover presuppositional apologetics in a book review, but if he had used that along with his evidence, it would have been, in my humble opinion, a much better and tighter argument. But it is always easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize. Let me qualify myself. The Bible presents the absolute sovereignty of God, and He saves whom He has chosen. Thus, he may use any approach He chooses. The book by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, is a book arguing for the existence of the Triune God. The overall argument is fallacious, reasoning from the finite to the infinite, but there are many facts he presents that might weaken an unbeliever’s armor, Keller reasons. But God the Holy Spirit can blast through an unbeliever’s defenses any way and any time He so chooses. To be fair, I think that is what Keller means, using weak arguments to bring one to confrontation with God. Sounds weird.

An example of such is the true story of a young lady taking a course in college in which biological evolution was presented as fact. She went to the professor after class to ask questions.  (See this link: Atheist professor becomes Christian.)

Back in 1979 -81 in Memphis I managed a Christian bookstore. About every two weeks this young man would come in and purchase theologies and other heavy reading, like Francis Schaeffer and Cornelius Van Til. So I asked him what he did, and he said that he was a traveling salesman. I asked if he attended seminary because he always chose heavy topics. He said that he had been a philosophy major in a secular university where the professors were atheists to a man (or woman), and that he had earned a B.A. and M.A. in philosophy. He was going to enter the PhD program but had changed his mind. When I asked what changed his mind, he said, “You better hold on to your seat. About two years ago I was on a drug trip, and I heard the gospel on the radio for the first time ever. I heard and I believed, and I’ve never looked back.” Talk about a conversion!

Another high point of the book was that we must not be quick to condemn other Christians who are different from us. That is why I fall back on the objective Three Creeds. For example, I keep reading modern church historians who say that there are many conversions of Muslims who are seeing visions of Jesus who tells them Islam is wrong, and often directs them to someone who can tell them about Jesus. I hope that it is true, but I hear from those who are knowledgeable of such things that Syria is having revival. I surely hope so: “Thy kingdom come.” In the past, I would immediately discount that, and I still wonder about visions. I don’t want to do anything to distract from the centrality of the written Word. BUT, when these converts are coming into the Trinitarian faith, what can you say? How difficult would it be to teach them that the means for their conversion was wrong but their conversion was real?

BOTTOM LINE: This is a very helpful book. It is sound theologically, challenging in ministry, but this is the only Keller book that I’ve read. He does not say much about his style of ministry. My reading schedule does not include any more of his works for the foreseeable future. At least look it up on Amazon and read the Table of Contents. Recommended. Amen. Ω.