JREnsey blog for July 2018

Welcome to the JREnsey blog for July, 2018. Thanks for visiting.

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The Word for Today

Colossians 1:9-11 ESV: And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.”

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How to better understand the Trinity (a little TIC)

I received an email recently from a publishing company hyping an online course called The Triune God. In the blurb, the course objective is describes as helping one “more deeply understand the character and nature of God.”

A nice colorful chart (below) adorned the blurb, ostensibly to show how the course would reveal the Trinity—the true nature of God. The chart is self-explanatory.

Now that you have seen the magnificent and factual chart, you really won’t have to take the long, boring course. You now see how clearly the Trinity is revealed in the Scriptures. Right?

The 11-Point course states in Point 2: “The revelation of the Trinity accompanies salvation.” I guess that means if you didn’t get that revelation, all of you Bible-thumping Apostolics are not saved! The late Billy Graham was definitely lost by that standard. He couldn’t explain the Trinity, saying you just have to “accept it by faith.” Too bad, Billy.

Point 5: “The Revelation of the Trinity came when the Son and the Spirit came in person.” Let’s see now, the first Person sent the second Person and the third Person? And they are co-equal deities? Something’s missing here. Perhaps the next point will explain it.

Point 7: “This revelation of the Trinity happened mainly in history but were (sic; Where is Grammarly when you need it?) accompanied by words that have an inner unity with history.” Got that? If not, point 8 will doubtless make it plain.

Point 8: “The revelation of the Trinity is the extending of a conversation already happening.” Ah, yes, that clears everything up.

Point 10: “The revelation of the Trinity in Scripture is perfect.” Hmmm. With many, perhaps most, Trinitarians claiming that the Trinity is “incomprehensible” by the human mind, where in the Bible is that “perfect revelation” and who had/has it?

I suppose we will have to sign up for the course (only $199) in order to discover the deep mysteries of the Trinity.

You first.

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Want to know more about your Bible?

If you are a student of the Word, you know there are challenges in the English texts of God’s Word. But those challenges do not have to affect your faith in the Bible when you tackle them head on.

Why are there slight differences in wording in various Bibles?

Which Greek text is the closest to the autographs—the original writings?

If all the Greek manuscripts have variants (and they all do), how can we be sure of what the Bible originally said?

Do the variants make a difference in Bible doctrines?

Has there been a conspiracy to “water down” the Bible?

These are legitimate questions every student of God’s Word should ask. Good news: answers are available!

A FREE course on textual analysis is now available from Dallas Theological Seminary, taught by one of the foremost Evangelical Greek scholars and teachers alive today, Dr. Daniel Wallace. He believes in the inerrant and inspired Word of God. He is an engaging teacher you will come to sincerely appreciate. This is a series of video lectures on key elements of the New Testament text. I took it and highly recommend it. Your faith will be rewarded. Every preacher will benefit from Dr. Wallace’s lessons on the biblical text. And you can’t beat FREE. Sign up today!

Go to https://www.biblicaltraining.org/textual-criticism/daniel-wallace

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Oops!

A while back, Saint John’s Abbey and University, Collegeville, MN presented the Library of Congress with a gift of the Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, a work of art on vellum with more than 1,130 pages in seven volumes, including 160 illuminations that reflect life in the modern era. It measures 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide when open. It is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the invention of the printing press, more than 500 years ago. The Bible joined the Library of Congress’ collection of rare spiritual texts.

The gift was made in the presence of Pope Francis, following his address to a joint meeting of Congress, in “acknowledgement of the Pope’s devotion to Scripture; his concern for the poor, sick and marginalized and for the dignity of all people; his care for creation; and his commitment to justice for all.” [No mention was made about young altar boys.]

The Saint John’s Bible is an unprecedented combination of ancient methods and materials, with themes, images and technology of the 21st century. Saint John’s Abbey and University partnered with world-renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty the Queen’s Crown Office at the House of Lords in London, England, to create this masterpiece. Under the direction of expert calligrapher Jackson, who served as senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office at the House of Lords, teams of illuminators created The Saint John’s Bible entirely by hand using quills, illuminating it with precious metals and paints manually ground from precious minerals. Taking fifteen years to produce, the cost was estimated by some to be in the $millions. The text was that of the NRSV.

With all this investment, professionalism, and modern technology, one would expect virtual perfection. But as with all handwritten MSS of the Bible, there was an “oops” moment. When all was done, it was discovered that a verse had inadvertently been left out. According to Dr. Daniel Wallace, it was decided to just add it in the margin. With all the modern lighting and professional skill of the calligrapher, it still was not perfect. Do I hear some giggles coming from medieval monastery graveyards?

Moral: God doesn’t make mistakes; all men do.

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Book Review

IT IS TIME TO DARE

CALVINISM: None Dare Call It Heresy

By Bob Kirkland

Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2018; 123 pages

Turning the spotlight on a major Protestant Reformation doctrine 500 years after its introduction is an admission of too little, too late. That is true, but it was past time that someone had the intestinal fortitude to call Calvinism what it really is—heresy.

Kirkland takes dead aim on one of the biggest names and doctrines in Christian history and hits
the target. Starting with John Calvin himself, we are informed of the source of his theology—Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430). Augustine, the most prolific writer of his time, responded to the fall of Rome with a book—The City of God—destined to help rebuild Rome into a religious system on the ashes of the political empire. Augustine believed that religion should be forced upon the populace and those refusing to conform ought to be punished. This position earned the uber-Catholic the title of Father of the Inquisition.

As Calvin joined Luther, Zwingli and Melanchthon in the Protestant Reformation, he became the power and authority of Geneva, Switzerland. Calvin initially expressed the need to reform the Catholic church’s positions on communion and church government. When he found himself pressed to create a “government,” he adopted the Augustinian/RCC model of forced compliance. Applying the principles he had learned from Augustine, non-conformists were forced into Calvin’s belief system on pain of imprisonment and torture. Those who would not recant faced burning at the stake. In retrospect we can see how small were the steps those reformers made in their retreat from the Roman Catholic Church, which had perfected torture and death as the alternative to submission.

Kirkland briefly chronicles Calvin’s enforcement of his brand of Christianity. He was involved in at least 36 executions (some say the number is as high as 58) of non-conformists. The Catholic inquisition hardly exceeded the fierceness of Calvin’s sentences of torture and death. We are all acutely aware of Calvin’s burning of Michael Servetus because of his denial of the doctrine of the Trinity.

This “Protestant Pope” and Genevese dictator, murderer of heretics, on the rebound developed and published one of the most heretical doctrines in history after leaving Catholicism. Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion was authored only two years after his departure from the RCC. In this multi-volume tome, he outlined his fundamental doctrine of predestination and election. His five-point formulation of the heresy became popularized by the letters T-U-L-I-P, representing:

  • Total depravity – the concept that man is unable to believe and exercise faith until he is “regenerated” unilaterally by God.
  • Unconditional election – God determined from the beginning which individuals He would save and who He would send to Hell.
  • Limited atonement – Christ’s redemptive work at Calvary was not for everyone, but was only for those whom He had foreordained to be part of the “elect.”
  • Irresistible grace – Saving grace is irresistibly bestowed on the elect, who can neither believe without it nor resist its influence and benefits.
  • Preservation of the saints – This gives adherents the assurance of eternal security, but the focus is on the believer’s faithfulness rather than God’s keeping power.

This forms the real core of Reformed Theology (RT), although some will confess that they are “three-pointers” or “four-pointers,” meaning they only embrace some or most of Calvin’s theological formula for salvation. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). Calvinism holds that spiritually dead people (unbelieving sinners) are incapable of exercising faith that leads to salvation. The author shows that this flies in the face of evangelistic successes of the Apostolic church recorded in the Book of Acts and beyond. God forces no one to believe and obey, but His arms are open to “whosoever will” (Revelation 22:17).

Calvinism reinterprets the creation account in Genesis to fit its errors, and twists Paul’s epistles to find conformity to the reformer’s theories. Foreknowledge is confused with predestination. Primary scriptures are called on to reveal the errors of this doctrine. Kirkland spares no ink in condemning this heresy that has conflicted the minds of many theologians and in turn their listeners and readers. A personal acquaintance of mine collapsed his Apostolic ministry and joined the ranks of those embracing reformed theology, assuming heartless positions that feed confusion and doubt.

The author correctly states, “The only way Calvinists can support their theory from the Bible is to alter the meaning of Bible words or take them out of context. When a Calvinist teaches “whosoever will,” he means whosoever “God wills.” By contrast, Calvinist author A. W. Pink (1886-1952), who sparked a renewed interest in Calvinism, wrote, “The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only… the ‘world,’ in John 3:16, in the final analysis, refers to the world of God’s people.”

Kirkland twists the knife into RT: “According to Calvinism, it might be your mother, your little boy, your daughter, your wife, and all the children in the church nursery whom God will delight in sending to Hell. It might even be you! After all, praying ‘Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner’ is not going to get you to Heaven if God has determined you are going to Hell.” Rather than Calvin’s heresy, I prefer God’s Word: “Then Peter replied, ‘I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right’…This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth…The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who hears this say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life” (Acts 10:34,35; I Timothy 2:4,5; Revelation 22:17 NLT).

You may have friends or family who have been swept up in the recent revival of interest in Calvinism. Or you may have wondered just what this renaissance reformer believed and taught that formed the doctrinal basis of whole denominations and Christian movements that are still active today. If so, you will find this easy-to-read book very helpful. It is well worth its modest cost.

I liked his closing statement: “To those Calvinist supporters who may be upset concerning any of my statements in this book, you should not be upset, because if Calvinism is right, I was foreordained by God to write it.”

Order from: www.lighthousetrails.com or call 866-876-3910. Price: 11.95

For further study: http://www.buzzardhut.net/ReformedTheology.pdf

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The world according to Maxine

Health issues

The main point of a cruise is to eat until you weigh the same as the boat.

I’d like to work some cardio into my daily routine, but all the eatio and sleepio doesn’t leave much time.

I was planning on going to the gym, but I got a better offer from my fridge.

I get a good workout just carrying grudges.

On aging

At my age, a “balanced lifestyle” means 50% aches and 50% pains.

I still have a biological clock. It’s on display in the Smithsonian.

At my age, half the stuff in my shopping cart has a longer expiration date than I do.

At my age, I’ve learned to look for love in all the right places…the refrigerator, the microwave, the oven…

When I was young, I used to wake up beautiful. Now I just hope I wake up.

I just thought of a good way to spice up my funeral—I’m going to hire a ventriloquist.

On friends

Some friendships are so strong they can last right up until one of you needs help moving.

People who say, “I’m my own worst critic,” don’t have teenagers.

I don’t understand why people pay shrinks. I’ll tell them what’s wrong with them for free.

Money matters

Throwing money at your problems won’t work…unless I’m one of them.

The price of gas is like a pair of cheap underwear. Every time you turn around, it seems to creep up just a little.

Is it just me, or does the ATM giggle a little every time I make a withdrawal?

There’s nothing wrong with my paycheck that a couple more zeros wouldn’t cure.

If I stretched a dollar any farther, Washington would look like he’s had a facelift.

On social media

I’m a social media pioneer. I’ve been unfriending people since back in the ’50s.

We used to have village idiots, but with the Internet, they’ve gone global.

Is there a phone app that stops people from showing you their phone apps?

I fed the pigeons in the park once. Does that count as a ’Twitter feed?

My status update? Is “alive” good enough for ya?

I miss the days when you could slam down your phone without it costing you $300.

On life in general

My doctor asked me if I’ve ever had a stress test. Sure, it’s called LIFE!

My doctor said to eat better. I told him with what he charges, I’m lucky to eat at all.

I had a part-time job as a store greeter, but apparently “You again?” wasn’t the greeting they had in mind.

The day I mowed my first lawn was the day I understood why my mother wanted kids.

As I look at life around me, I can’t help but think the world’s getting crazier than a roomful of uncles.

– Selections from Today’s World According to Maxine

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BooksBooksBooksBooksBooksBooks

Books by Apostolic authors

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Getting Your Voice to Shake

by Kelly Nix, a book on intercultural communication

Have you ever wondered why some people just can’t seem to be on time? Or maybe you’re  the one who is always being teased for being late, and you’ve wondered what is the big deal about time, anyway?

It may not be that your clock is messed up…in fact, there’s a good chance the source of conflict can be traced to culture, not a timepiece. Our culture affects much of who we are, influencing our relationships with other people, our perception of time, and even the way we perceive authority.

If you’ve ever tried to communicate with someone from another culture and have been frustrated by the lack of connection (even if you are both fluent in the same language!), Getting Your Voice to Shake will be an eye-opening resource that will introduce you to ways to bridge – and, more importantly, to understand – the culture gap and become a much more effective communicator for today’s global society.

Here’s what some readers had to say:  “I literally couldn’t put this book down. Dr. Nix’s research, insight, life experience, and upbeat presentation make the book an indispensable read for those of us who work interculturally.” – Shane M.

“I read this in one sitting and was left wanting more. This was an eye-opener for me. I bought several to give to others. Hoping he writes more on this subject!” – Peter Connell

Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Your-Voice-Shake-Intercultural/dp/1541002660

On the Sanctity of Human Life

by Peter Connell

Here’s a new book for pastors, Christian healthcare workers, and just about everybodyconnell_front_300dpi else in our churches. On the Sanctity of Human Life is a straightforward book detailing a biblical perspective of the sanctity of human life; but more than that, it delves into how we as Christians need to view life when we are faced with decisions such as having a family, dealing with sickness and death, and maintaining a proper perspective of the uniqueness and value of every human life from the moment of conception. Each of us will face the issues of life and death at some point on our earthly journey.

Pastors should read these pages with interest and use this book as a stepping stone to become vitally informed about the issues that face every family. In doing so, it will better equip them to wisely counsel families and individuals in their congregations—and teach them these principles before their times of need.

Letters To Pastors and Other Saints

Peter Connell

This book by Pastor Connell is a mixture of a detailed commentary on the letters to the seven churches of Asia contained in Revelation, chapters two and three, and a devotional application of those letters to our own lives.

From the Introduction:  “Nowhere in the Scripture do we have a more concise, penetrating look at the aspects of what our Christian character should be as pastors and other saints as in the letters to the angels of the churches in Revelation 2 and 3. Here Jesus Himself penetrates the hearts and motives of those to whom the letters were directed, and examines what He sees with stunning, and sometimes painful clarity.”  “Certainly before Jesus calls us to be pastors, evangelists, teachers or anything else—He calls us to be saints…Letters to Pastors and Other Saints is an appeal to live up to our first calling. It is a high calling!” 

Yirat Shamayim: A Call for a Revival of the Doctrine of the Fear of the LORD

By Peter Connell

Yirat Shamayim is more than a call for a revival of the doctrine of the fear of the LORD; it is also a call for us to re-examine our understanding of what the fear of the LORD is. If you have the general concept that the “fear of the LORD” is merely a reverent respect for God and His Word, that it is simply that in your service to God, or “reverence must find a place” (as one author said), then this book is for you.

Order Brother Connell’s books from:  http://www.cornerstonepentecostal.org/online_store.php?

IHML makes it easy to win souls

Into His Marvelous Light
IHMLCoverAvailable in English, Spanish, German & Italian
No other evangelistic Bible study has enjoyed the consistent results of IHML over the years. Often copied but never fully duplicated. It is attractive, well written, and doctrinally sound. Those who are seeking for Availabletruth will see that the new birth is absolutely essential and that Acts 2:38 constitutes that experience. Over 2 million copies sold.

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Guide For Living 
IHML_GFL_RevisedA follow-up Study for the new convert. This little booklet can be given to the new convert to go through alone and then come back to you with any questions they may have. It covers what has happened to them through the new birth and ably presents what their responsibilities are now as a Christian.

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Promotional Tracts 
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Hand out these tracts to help you promote the Bible study in your community. Available in English and Spanish. It’s easy to get Bible study opportunities with these tracts.  $9.95 per 100

Order Bible studies from advanceministries.org or call 936-537-0250.

See more books at advanceministries.org/store

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Does God create evil?

The Hebrew language is not the simplest of tongues to master. The 1611 KJV’s marginal notes aided comprehension by explaining the translators’ choice of readings or admitting that they had no idea what the Hebrew word meant. It is regrettable that later versions of the KJV have excluded those notes. They could have been used to elucidate Isaiah 45:7 where the Lord is quoted as saying, “I create evil.” Many laymen (and some ministers) struggle to determine just what God was saying in this phrase. “Evil” was probably not the best rendering of the Hebrew term ra’, at least it is doubtful than any translator today would employ that rendering. Judgmental “calamity” or “distress” such as God was contemplating against Babylon by Cyrus might have provided better understanding.

Perhaps another place that closer scrutiny or a better grasp of Hebrew would have served the translators well is in I Samuel 27:10—“Whither have ye made a road today?” This is a verse some use to suggest that missionaries should be willing to build a road to isolated villages to reach them with the gospel. Others use the phrase to suggest that we should hew a spiritual path for those coming behind. Good ideas, but the verse has nothing to do with building a road or exampling a direction for our descendants. Contemporary Bibles make it clear that the question being asked is, “Where have you made a raid today” (italics mine]? The Hebrew Tanakh: “Where did you raid today?” This rendering is also verified by Jay P. Green in his Interlinear Bible, in the Key Word Study Bible, Strong’s 6584, etc. At the time, David was into raiding, not roadbuilding.

I recently heard a KJVO apologist chide the New King James Version for replacing the word “file” in I Samuel 13:21 with “pim”—a less common term in place of a well-known tool. Such a change would not be justified except that pim is an accurate translation of the Hebrew word, but was incorrectly rendered as “file” in the KJV. A pim was the amount of money charged for the sharpening of the Israelites’ tools, not a tool used to do the sharpening. The Tanakh also uses the word “pim,” but footnotes explain that it is “two-thirds of a shekel.” Should those words have been inserted into the NKJV (as did the NIV, NASB, NET, HCSB), and if so, would the average English reader know exactly how much was being charged in today’s money? Probably not. Regardless of the amount a pim represented, it was money and not a tool.

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Laugh a little…

 

…and cry a little.

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The Last Word

Fly your flag on July 4 and let everyone around you know that you love and appreciate America—wanting it to remain a nation of laws and borders, and populated by people who will still give the last full measure of devotion to see it survive the challenges of secularists, elitists, and socialists.

Have a blessed 4th of July holiday and beyond!

JREnsey

Published in: on July 1, 2018 at 1:19 AM  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Always look forward to these posts. Thank you for your consistent dedication to all things Godly! Many Blessings!

  2. Thank you for the promotion of my books. The first and last ones are also available on Amazon and on the Barnes & Noble website.

    Always enjoy your blog. Hope your 4th is blessed.


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