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Question #1:

G'Day Brother,

Hope your well. Just want to get your thoughts on Luke 5:1-11. Have you done any work on this passage, what can we deduct from it? Was this Jesus' first miracle?

God Bless

Response #1:

Good to hear from you, my friend. I don't think I've got anything in particular written up on this passage; also, I don't think it was Jesus' first miracle (e.g., Jn.2:11), but it was certainly a miracle, and with a definite point: doing God's work has to be done God's way. It strikes me that most Christian ministry in our Laodicean era is throwing the net over the wrong side of the boat – when it's even in the boat, when the boat has even been launched into the water. Standing around the nets on land will not bring in the fish, even with much self-celebration, noise and hoopla, and even if one attracts a sizable crowd in so doing.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Thanks for your response Brother.

Do you think the disciples knew who Jesus was at this point? Peter, acknowledges that he is Lord, but I don't think Peter knew who Jesus was at this point. I might be wrong. The Lord tells them to cast the net to the right, after they had been fishing all night with nothing to show for it; do you think this has any relevance to fishing for men? The net breaking has that any meaning compared to the net not breaking in John 21? Other than it being a great miracle, what do you think the disciples got from it, since they were already following Him at that point? Also, have you ever noticed this: Jesus told Peter to let down the NETS, and Peter agreed to let down one to get The Lord off his back. That's the difference between the net breaking and the ship sinking. What would be the parallel if there is one, of fishing for men? If we are not obedient to the Holy Spirit whilst we are fishing for men, what are the results? So is this a fair call to say that John 1 is an invitation from Jesus to the disciples, Matthew 4 is an initial calling, and Luke 5 committed call to discipleship?

God Bless

Response #2:

I'll try to answer all your questions here (apologies in advance if I miss one):

1) In the previous chapter, Jesus had healed Peter's mother in law, having entered the house in a way that indicates Peter certainly was acquainted with our Lord already. Jesus was also proclaiming the good news in chapter four, and we may assume Peter was present for this and for all of our Lord's miraculous healing. If you are asking whether or not Peter and co. yet had saving faith, that is difficult to say. After all, the disciples are constantly giving evidence of very weak faith, if faith at all, throughout the gospels right up until the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two. But of course it only takes a grain of faith the size of a mustard seed to be saved. My impression is that they (11 of 12, that is) followed Him from pure motives which indicate genuine faith even from the point of first coming to know Him during John's ministry:

Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
John 1:49 NKJV

2) Relevance – I do think it indicates that all the effort in the world will not suffice if God is not in a matter; we may perhaps also notice that it is in the light of day that the catch is caught, not in the darkness.

3) The Greek has the imperfect tense here which may describe incipient action, which I think is the case here: e.g., NIV: "their nets began to break". After all, they do catch the fish to the point of almost swamping the boat. In John, I think we have a deliberate parallel of what had happened earlier – almost the same in every detail (except that we have only one boat here). A nice way of our Lord reminding them of the previous incident, right at the time when the apostles were about to be empowered to begin their "fishing of men" – and that is what Jesus emphasizes in His later words to Peter: "feed my sheep", that is, care spiritually through teaching the Word for the ones you will catch – if anything is lacking in our present day evangelical-heavy church culture, it is just this, namely, taking the next crucial step on behalf of the saved after they have been saved (teaching today, feeding the sheep, is almost non-existent in the church-visible).

4) What did they "get"? If they were paying attention, this was symbolic and prophetic of the apostles' future overseeing of the great wave of gentile believers who were to flood into Christ's Church after the first Pentecost.

5) The Greek mss. almost all have ta diktya (plural); the KJV was translated from a composite text (no problem with that) which was based on only a few late mss. (problem) and made some questionable editorial judgments about the text as we apparently have here (rather a big problem). So it should be "nets" in every place, or "net" in every place (if we are to understand, as I believe we should, that this is a plural-concept noun, as in "pants" = one pair).

6) Your last set of questions: I do think that the Lord allowed the twelve in particular a phasing in of the full-time ministry they would shoulder with Him for the better part of the three and a half years. They were not required to leave behind their homes, families and professions until it was necessary.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Bob,

Whenever someone believes that the church should become more inclusive, I always have this one question I must ask them: what was God's response to Korah when he wanted to create his own, very special and inclusive priesthood?

Sincerely,

Response #3:

It's a great observation. "Inclusiveness" is one of those buzz words that for many people means throwing any sort truth overboard as "divisive".

Only Christ decides who is in and who is out of His Church.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Bob,

Was looking over some recent emails we have had, and realized how blessed I am to have you as a friend and spiritual resource. As always, God's Blessings to you and the way your ministry helps so many.

Your Friend in Jesus

Response #4:

Thank you! Your good words and your prayers are so helpful too, my friend.

If you haven't already done so, please check out pastor-teacher Curtis Omo's YouTube channel: Bible Academy (see the link). I think you will find it is a wonderful (and rapidly growing) resource as well.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello again Dear Brother,

I hope this note finds you in the care of the Holy Spirit and with the strength to do our Lord's work. I am happy to report that my medical test came back clean & wanted to thank everyone of my brothers & sisters for all their prayers on my behalf. I never had a worry - I truly believe that I have been left here to do good works. It's amazing how when you focus on Christ & all you have in Heaven, this materialistic world loses it shine.

I'd like to discuss the prosperity "pastors & their flock". Honestly, I'm tired of them telling my family & I if "we just tithed more" (as if God had an ATM tube - OR EVEN NEEDED $$). We have a good friend who quotes Scripture about how if we tithed more & gave offering, how blessed we'd be! Jesus telling the Pharisees man cannot serve both God & Mammon. That Scripture, he had no answer for. He'd have to get back to us on that one. I looked up the word and & saw it means greed, wealth, & material things....not too mention they were swindlers stealing from the poor & widowed. Did you know that Joyce Meyers has a G4 plane. I shudder to think what all Joel Osteen has. Do none of these people know the Brinks trucks follows you to your final destination? My relative died debt free & enough $ to pay for the funeral. I'd say that was a race well run!

I've taken enough of your valuable time today. But your knowledge of the Bible and its application helps so many in more ways than you know! I feel as I know already you but I'm excited to meet you when are united with Our Savior in Perfect Joy Everlasting!

In Our Loving Lord Jesus Who Has Always Worked All Things Out In His Perfect Timeline,

Response #5:

Great news! I was praying for this and I am over-joyed to hear the good news! Again, I appreciate so much your "coolness under fire"; that is just the sort of attitude of faith and confidence in the Lord and willingness to let Him decide things which we are all going to be in need of when the balloon goes up. The fact that you had more concern for your loved ones than for yourself in this trial also speaks volumes about your spiritual maturity and solidity of faith.

As to your observations, they are "spot on". If a person's Christianity were to be measured by one's bank account, I would be a really lousy Christian – one of the worst; and that goes for some of the best and most faithful followers of Jesus Christ I have personally ever known. What you say is so true. If a person lets the profit motive creep in, even a little bit, it tends to taint everything. And once that virus produces a full blown fever, money becomes the alpha and omega of the "ministry". One would think that would be obvious, but there are a lot of our brothers and sisters out there who while they are as innocent as doves have not heeded our Lord's words about being as wise as serpents . . . when it comes to guarding against the deceptions of other human beings empowered by the chief deceiver himself.

And thank you again for your overly kind words about this ministry. As always, they are greatly appreciated.

Your brother forever in Jesus Christ the Lord,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Dear Bob,

My friend just told me about having seen or heard about a military funeral in which there were protestors, from the Westboro Baptist Church (am I spelling that right?), which were holding up signs praising the terrorists for using IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices) to kill United States soldiers. I couldn't help but to feel anger towards them, but at the same time feel like it is wrong to do so, that I should instead ask God to bless them and give them guidance. In either case I feel compelled to ask: are they in the wrong? Are the right? I really feel like God and our Lord Jesus would be out there with them, since they cherish all life and wouldn't want anyone killed (unless it was part of His plan or it was 'their time').

I know it's easy to look down on the WBC, but I am aware that I should not and am endeavoring to instead ask the Lord to give them guidance. I was wondering who they are in terms of being believers. Are they Christian or Catholic? Are they right or wrong? From what you may have seen or heard about them (outside of this email), what do you think of them? Do they let their zeal get the best of their mercy and humbleness? I don't know whether to agree or disagree with them or not, but I really feel like I should not, that they're wrong in what they do – is this the Spirit talking to me, or my own humanity not seeing the entire picture?

Response #6:

My personal application is to leave such people well enough alone. Even if a person is standing up for what they may feel is a "good cause", if they are doing it in a wrong way that activity will not be blessed. It is one thing to call a sin a sin (even if you are right). It is another thing to get involved in a political crusade to attempt to use the government to repress said sin. And it is quite another thing to engage in "shock tactics" in an aggressive public relations campaign which offends and wrongs others and is designed only to call attention to yourself or your group in the process. By the time this last stage is reached, well, just "color me skeptical" about there being anything at all left of God and His truth in the activity by this point.

Whether or not to pray in such extreme situations is a judgment call. As John says about believers who have passed beyond the pale and are about to fall under the extreme judgment of God, "There is sin [leading] to death. I do not say that he should pray about that" (1Jn.5: NIV).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Dear Dr. Luginbill

I know I have asked a lot for prayers and I wouldn't like to be a burden with all other things too, but there is another person for whom I would like to ask you to pray. He is a friend in Christ and as you know these relationships are much more important than others, which are not based on the truth, but rather on worldly interests and affairs. I told him about your website and he has been making great progress in studies and has been growing at a fast pace, thanks to the openness of his heart and work ethics. He has in the last few months read Peter's series, numerous email responses and is now going through Christology in BB (he's the one who sent me a message about the website's new feature). His life has been changing for the better and we often spoke about seeing things through the eyes of faith, as both of us, understanding more and more, were starting to clearer and clearer see the emptiness of this world and more and more fixating on the eternal reward as the only thing that matters. I drew a lot of encouragement from his progression.

Recently things are hard for him. He is an ex-catholic, like myself, and before we met he would start attending worship at more contemporary Christian groups, but neither here nor there, in the US or the UK, is the word of God taught, and this is disastrous. About the RC church I knew having been there for a long enough time, but with regard to contemporary 'Christianity' things aren't much better. In fact, the snare of lukewarm spirituality has been entrapping hordes of people who think that they are doing great just because they aren't Catholics (the devil's craftiness is truly amazing; if he cannot get someone for one reason, he will get someone for exactly the opposite reason). They criticise the RC church for its hierarchical structure and legalism, and rightly so, but they themselves have everyone teaching everyone else with no one having any preparation to do so. They criticise the official rite of the RC church, but they themselves make some of the meetings look almost like rock concerts with a multitude of people prophesying and speaking in tongues, engaging in a religiosity as expressive and ecstatic as it is empty (and it is empty, as at a point of temptation and trouble many of these fall away, and my friend has already reported that happening with the group whose meetings he was attending). Professor, I myself have got a very long way to go, but these things grieve me. You would want to come up to them and shake them properly and tell them to look and to see. My friend saw the emptiness of that and having encountered on pretty much every step of his way anti-biblical teachings (to give you one flagrant example - the group whose meeting he has attended even runs a 'workshop' that you can attend to acquire the gift of prophecy), he has focused his efforts on your resources as the only source of actual and in-depth Bible teaching, not available at other places (as far as we are aware, anyway).

Response #7:

I will certainly be keeping your friend in prayer. This is a very likely avenue of attack, and the evil one is always quick to try and nip in the bud any incipient progress a believer may be making in devoting his/her life to the Lord. I certainly wouldn't want your friend (or you) to give up on what may be God's will for you in terms single vs. married status. As Paul says, "one man has one gift, one has another". It is "not good" for any of us to be alone, but some have the blessing/gift of being able to manage it, though most do not. It is also true that the human heart – especially in those of good character – has a tendency to fixate on one person and resist moving on even when all the signs are obvious. With the Lord's help we shall overcome all of these distractions and trust in Him that the right thing with the right person will happen in the right way at the right time – or that whatever happens He will be working everything out for the absolute good.

Also, your comments on the contemporary church-visible are penetrating and precise. I especially appreciate their value since this is not the tradition in which you grew up – and I think that the familiarity many Protestants have with these forms of "worship" directly or indirectly blunts their understanding of just how misguided they truly are.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

With regards to ‘blessing a ministry with effectiveness,’ doesn't this ignore that some of the great ministries, from an outside perspective, were completely ineffective? Jeremiah's pleas to Jerusalem, Paul's instructions to the Corinthians, or John's ministry to Diotrephes' church (3 John 1:9-10) would've been considered to be ‘ineffective’ from an outside point of view, but we are well aware that these ministries had great function and purpose, and we should not say that they were mistakes in any ways.

With that said, being allowed to participate in the plan of God is a privilege, not a right. Nonetheless, my heart is concerned about my eternal reward. I would not want to be a low-tier believer for all of eternity.

Sincerely,

Response #8:

Happily, we believers don't have to give even a thought to outside evaluations. Paul tells us that he didn't even evaluate himself and recommends the same course of action for us all (1Cor.4:3-5). And since we cannot even do an absolutely objective accounting of where we are at personally in the spiritual life, trying to tally up what we have done for others is a real fool's errand. I know of plenty of mega-churches where they have thousands or even tens of thousands of "satisfied customers", but from what I have seen of the "product", I would imagine that this will only occasion a very big bonfire before the bema of Christ on the day of the judgment of the Church (1Cor.3:13-15). On the other hand, a cup of cold water given in Christ's Name will not lose its reward (Matt.10:42). What we actually do and why we actually do it are the important things, not the way in which our efforts are received by others. Moses and Elijah are the two witnesses of the Tribulation (opposed and killed by the beast), and the most likely candidates to sit at the Lord's right and left hands; but both were met in their earlier lives and will be met again in the future by extreme hardness of heart by the majority of their countrymen. We are responsible to do what Jesus wants us to do when and where He wants us to do it. If we respond to Him and minister how and where we have been called, we will receive a rich reward, even if we do not meet with any particularly noticeable response. This is an important principle for all Christians to understand and "get straight". Many pastors and others in ministry get hung up on "numbers" (whether of followers or converts or money given or whatever else may be counted), but this preoccupation almost always leads to doing the wrong things in the wrong way rather than the right things in the right way. If we are looking primarily to tangible and worldly measures of progress to guide and evaluate our efforts, we are most likely going to end up doing nothing at all that will stand the test of the evaluating fire before Christ's judgment seat. On the other hand, if we focus on the question, "what does Jesus want me to do?" (n.b., much different in every way from "WWJD", "what would Jesus do" – because we are not Jesus, obviously), the result will be the right ministering in the right way to the right people. If that turns out to be a very small number with very limited visible results – but was precisely the fruit the Lord wanted from us – then our reward will be proportionally adjudged and we will have only ourselves to blame if we do not end up being "top tier" for all eternity. But if on the other hand we are unwilling to accept what Jesus has for us and go off to do something different, something we think is "good" but is not what He has called us to do, then, even if we have thousands flocking around us, we shouldn't take that to mean that God is pleased. The notion that vox populi equals vox Dei is antithetical to and the polar opposite of what the Bible actually teaches. I can assure you that Jeremiah, for example, will be in the "tip-top of the topmost tier" even though almost no one listened to him – and in some respects maybe precisely because almost no one listened to him: doing it God's way when everyone is opposing you is demonstrably more difficult than when everyone is cheering you on.

In Jesus Christ whom we serve in season and out of season,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your help. However, I think that the emphasis on formal instruction is highly overrated in Christian communities, and those who advocate it would be wise to read the following:

"As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in him."
1 John 2:27

Sincerely,

Response #9:

Of course I have heard such things before. But please consider that the Holy Spirit, the anointing who is mentioned in this verse you quote, is the same Holy Spirit who has given us the teaching gifts such as the gift of pastor/teacher (1Cor.12:28-29). If there were no need of teachers, there would be no need to give that gift (Eph.4:11); there would have been no need for our Lord to command Peter three times not to forget to "feed the sheep" (Jn.21:15-17); there would be no need for the detailed instructions about qualifications for those who teach and pastor the flock (1Tim.3:1-13; 5:1; Tit.1:5-9; 1Pet.5:1-4); there would be no need to take care about who was commended for this office (1Tim.5:22); no need to have special rules about pastoral discipline (1Tim.5:19-20); (Gal.6:6; 1Tim.5:18); no need, in short, for all the large number of passages which concern themselves with how a pastor/teacher should do his job, e.g.:

Until I (i.e., Paul) come, devote yourself to [public] reading [of the scriptures], to encouragement [through preaching], to teaching [the Word].
1st Timothy 4:13

Let those elders who lead well be held worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the Word and in teaching.
1st Timothy 5:17

Be zealous to present yourself to God [as one] approved [in what you do], a workman who does not need to be ashamed, [like a skillful carpenter] "cutting straight" the Word of truth.
2nd Timothy 2:15

Proclaim the Word! Keep at it, whether circumstances are favorable or not! Reprove, rebuke, [and] encourage with all patience [in your] teaching!
2nd Timothy 4:2

This is a reliable saying: "If anyone desires the office of overseer (i.e., pastor-teacher), he is seeking [to do] an honorable work".
1st Timothy 3:1

Let no one despise [you on account of] your youth, but make yourself a good example to those who are faithful through your speaking, your behavior, your love, your faith, your holiness.
1st Timothy 4:11

But all these things are needful. Why? Because the gift and function of teacher is essential for the growth of the Church:

Christ Himself appointed some of us apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers in order to prepare all of His holy people for their own ministry work, that the entire body of Christ might thus be built up, until we all reach that unifying goal of believing what is right and of giving our complete allegiance to the Son of God, that each of us might be a perfect person, that is, that we might attain to that standard of maturity whose "attainment" is defined by Christ; that we may no longer be immature, swept off-course and carried headlong by every breeze of so-called teaching that emanates from the trickery of men in their readiness to do anything to cunningly work their deceit, but rather that we may, by embracing the truth in love, grow up in all respects, with Christ who is the head of the Church as our model. In this way, the entire body of the Church, fitted and joined together by Him through the sinews He powerfully supplies to each and every part, works out its own growth for the building up of itself in love.
Ephesians 4:11-16

I think that you have done what many people do in this regard (for which I certainly do not blame you), namely, "thrown out the baby with the bath water". There are so many groups out there who have a made such a mess of things, and indeed to the point where even finding a church where the Word of God is taught in a substantive way and where the pastor/teacher is anywhere worthy of that name is so rare that it is very easy to despair and to conclude (wrongly) that a person can "do it themselves". However, even someone with the gift of pastor/teacher is not able to feed himself until reaching a rather advanced point of spiritual maturity, academic preparation and actual experience in ministering the Word. Going it alone prevents spiritual growth past a certain rudimentary point. For one thing, since a person without the gift cannot actually be sure what is right and what is not in any manner of difficult judgment calls in scriptural interpretation, the result will be making those "referee" calls anyway and getting many if not most of them wrong (so as to believe many things that are in fact wrong), or, alternatively, not having the confidence to believe what is decided for just this reason (so that even the things that are decided correctly produce no spiritual benefit since only what is both true and believed is of use to the Spirit in directing our path). It is also the case that if a person goes down this road too far and too long, that person runs the risk of becoming unteachable and will end up being unresponsive even if he/she eventually bumps into the perfect ministry (perfect for him/her, that is – there is no "perfect" Bible teaching ministry because no one is perfect).

Finally, on this passage you cite, it is commonly misunderstood. Here is something I have written about it previously:

Moreover, 1st John 2:27 does not mean nor does it actually say that we can dispense with teachers. The direct object is in ellipsis - i.e., we have to fill in the blank from context to what it is that the Spirit teaches us, and the correct fill-in is not "everything in the Bible exclusive of teachers". It means "You have no need for anyone to teach you [this thing I've just mentioned in vv.20-26, namely, that Jesus is the Christ]." After all, isn't John doing some teaching in this epistle? Why would he need to do this if his hearers didn't need instruction, except that of the Spirit?

I am certainly not saying that to move forward you have give your attention to this ministry (and I think I have made that clear several times by now – although you are most certainly welcome here), but every Christian who is not a functioning and properly prepared Bible teacher needs to be fed, spiritually speaking, and therefore needs to find the right Bible teaching ministry for him or her. That is not an easy task in our current era of Laodicea where lukewarmness is the order of the day. But for all who wish to advance in spiritual growth and do as Jesus would have us to do, it is an absolutely essential one.

Yours in Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd of all the sheep.

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

There is a dearth of honesty with regard to the Bible, at least in my area, especially with sections that detail God's involvement in history in a big way (i.e: creation and the Apocalypse). The church that I attend has a pastor who believes in theistic evolution and is an amillenialist, and I suspect that his views are influenced by his brother's apostasy. However, if the idea of God being in control of the beginning and the end is too upsetting for some people, then I doubt that those people will understand what it meant when Jesus died on the cross, because such a transaction is just as earth-shattering as the beginning or the end. I am afraid that this pastor is 'helping God.'

Who cares if other people are offended by these teachings? Wouldn't it be far worse to offend God? Besides, appeasement never ends. I know of a scholar who rejected Christianity in exchange for liberal Christianity, who out of pressure rejected liberal Christianity in favor of agnosticism, and who is currently under pressure by atheists to reject the historical existence of Jesus Christ! What good is compromise unless you are completely prepared to go to the end? I suspect that the people so enthusiastic for compromise would never accept philosophical compromise for themselves, but because they have the ethics of a used-car salesmen, merely hope to use the suckers to advance their philosophy. Actually, this is an insult to used-car salesmen: at least they work for a living selling a product people need.

I like your ministry because it understands the text and believes it. If there is a better one, I haven't found it. I nonetheless go to this church because it is good to encourage one another. However, I think you are correct about the meaning of I John 2:27.

Response #10:

Thanks for your good words.

I always appreciated your clear-headed, no-nonsense approach. You are truly a brother "in whom there is no guile".

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hello Bob,

Hope you are well? I do not have a real question just wanted to bounce some thoughts off you, if you don't mind. For the longest time I have not attended a church regularly here in Canada.

Where I grew up in South Africa, we had daily worship and hymn singing in assembly at school. RI (religious instruction) was a compulsory subject through to grade 12 and we all attended Sunday School and church fairly regularly although my parents were , what I would describe, lukewarm Christians. My point is, we grew up in a conservative Christian environment that became more evangelical in the 70's yet still retaining the respectful attitude towards worship.

We were members of a great inter-denominational church in Johannesburg before we came to Canada. Great teaching, preaching, outreach and community. Coming to Canada was a shock because although there was a church on virtually every corner (and I tried them all) I just didn't "fit in". People were welcoming enough but the dog and pony show that preceded the actual message portion of the sermon really bothered me. Without being critical, meaningless, repetitive sentimental music sung endlessly and accompanied by swaying in time to the music did not put me in a worshipful mood no matter how hard I tried, in fact it made me sleepy! Sometimes a bible was not even opened or referred to. I also attended a very "Reformed Baptist Church" that in 3 years shrank to a handful of members. The preaching was excellent but there was no "joy" and lots of judgment (I know, I'm being very critical but we stuck it out for 3 years and tithed faithfully there) Needles to say , I gave up but it bothers me enormously because I believe that in His word, God instructs us to be party of a body of believers and I am not. Perhaps churches today , in the main, have strayed from the original idea of what they should be and have become more involved with social issues, or perhaps I am too judgmental but, try as I might I do not feel that attending church benefits either me or the other members and does it bring God any glory if I feel so untouched by it? Or should one just grit one's teeth and be dutiful in attendance? I don't expect you to tell me what to do, just would appreciate your thoughts here.

Kind regards,

Response #11:

It's always good to hear from you – I am keeping you and your family in my prayers (and thanks so much for yours too – this is a very critical time for me).

As to your question, it is one I get quite a lot:

(24) And let us give careful attention to one another['s ministries] as motivation for [our own] love and good works, (25) not abandoning your mutual assembling (as some have made it their practice to do [and which makes this impossible]), but rather encouraging each other [to persevere in this work of the Lord], and doing so to an ever greater degree to the extent that you see the day [of the Lord] drawing [ever] closer.
Hebrews 10:24-25

This is the only passage which commands/commends anything like "church" as we know it today – and understandably so since in the Bible it is the teaching of the Word which is emphasized, not "showing up" somewhere for "showing up's sake". As the translation above should make clear, moreover, most people who use this passage for the purpose of laying a guilt trip on "non attenders" usually omit verse 24 – but verse 24 is the actual command in the Greek (verse 25 just gives the attendant circumstances). That is to say, the actual directive from Paul here is "let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works" (NKJV). That is what we are commanded to be doing; "assembling" is merely a means to that end. Furthermore, there is absolutely no grounds for assuming that the "gathering together" is even meant to refer to an assembly of the entire local church. It may certainly include that, but it also envisions any time believers get together with other believers, especially with spiritual purpose ("to stir one another up unto love and good works"). Secondly, the only way to legitimately accomplish the purpose mentioned here behind meeting together with other believers in groups large or small, namely, of the building up of love, equipping each other for ministry ("good works"), and mutual encouragement in the Lord, is through the teaching of the Word of God – in other words, exactly the opposite of "church" as we know it late in the era of Laodicea. Thirdly, it is doubtful if these believers in Jerusalem even had a "church" in the sense of a dedicated building – yet it is impossible today to disassociate the notion of "church" in most people's thinking and in almost all practice from something "building-centric". Fourthly, this call is given to Jewish believers in Jerusalem in the final years before the destruction of the temple. They were being pulled back into Judaism (as the entire epistle shows), and the plea here from Paul is for believers to be associating with believers rather than forgetting that they even are believers – that is broader than some "Sunday morning service". Indeed, the point is that these believers were becoming reluctant to be seen with other believers because of the stigma involved in being a Christian, and that is what is being reprimanded (not a failure to attend a "worship service"). And, fifthly, there is little evidence of "mainly Sunday" gathering of believers in the apostolic times generally. This is a later development. In sum, what we think of as "church" would be completely alien to the apostles – in fact I think they would be likely to stay away and try something else. Here is another verse to consider:

In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.
1st Corinthians 11:17 NIV (cf. Is.1:12-14; Amos 5:21)

While the verse from Paul in Hebrews is (I hope the above proves) not at all what many want to take it to be, the verse from Paul in 1st Corinthians above is quite clear. It is possible to "do more harm than good" in getting together, and in my view that is where most churches are today. That is not a brief for believers to neglect Bible reading, Bible study, Bible teaching, and genuine Christian fellowship – far from it (going to "church" often neglects all of the above in any case!). But it is an honest recognition of the truth that merely "assembling" at something called a "church" is not only not enough, and not only not even necessarily of any spiritual benefit whatsoever, but it can also be spiritually harmful. That is why the Spirit is working on your conscience in this respect as He has done with so many others who have written to me about this issue – and I have personally had many similar experiences in my Christian walk over the years. Just "going to church" is not going to be helpful in the vast majority of instances as things stand today. That is essentially what Roman Catholicism is, after all: a mere ritual for which the "faithful" assume they are getting some sort of divine "brownie points" just for showing up. I can't think of a more legalistic and foolhardy point of view. But that is perhaps the most serious spiritual harm that the pathetic state of "churches" worldwide has wrought, namely, the false assurance to an entire generation of Christians that merely showing up and giving money and doing some work for their "church" is somehow enough in God's eyes – when in fact, depending upon what the church teaches (or doesn't bother to teach), it may actually be all "wood, hay and stubble" (at best).

Going outside the gate and risking alienation from the status quo is always a bit intimidating, but that, after all, is precisely what our Lord did and precisely what He has called us to do:

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
Hebrews 13:11-14 NIV

In my view, therefore, leaving "old church" and instead associating with believers who are actually following Christ is the only genuine way to fulfill Hebrews 10:25, whereas falling in line with dead tradition is really violating the spirit of the passage.

As it also says in Hebrews 10:25, that "day" is swiftly coming closer when during the Tribulation the entire traditional establishment of the church-visible will be coopted by antichrist, and those who have yet to sever false emotional attachments to these dead or nearly dead organizations will be vulnerable to being swept away into the beast's worldwide deception. Viewed from that perspective, the problem and the solution which the Spirit prompts all who are truly seeking Jesus to adopt is a decidedly good thing – even if it is a hard thing, at least at first. Misplaced guilt is always the devil's best ally. It takes a certain amount of spiritual maturity to distinguish between the Spirit's true guidance and nostalgia complicated by the emotion of false guilt.

Here are some appropriate links on this subject:

The Meaning and Purpose of True Christian Assembly

The Assembly of the Local Church

Mega-Churches and Emergent Christianity

Church Attendance.

Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality.


Red Hot or Lukewarm? Bible Teaching versus Sermonizing.


Pastoral Support, Pastoral Preparation, and the Purpose of Assembly.

Dysfunctional Churches

The Local Church and Personal Ministry I

The Local Church and Personal Ministry II

The Local Church and Personal Ministry III

The Local Church and Personal Ministry IV

The False Prophet's Administration of Antichrist's False Religion

The Rise of False Teaching in the Tribulation

The Persuasiveness of antichrist's religion

Characteristics of the false religion

The Anti-Christian Religion and its Worldwide Expansion

Dangers of cooperating with antichrist's religion

You are certainly welcome at Ichthys (my church) any time!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Bob thank you.

I will keep praying for you. Anything I can do other than that to help?

Response #12:

Thanks so much for your concern!

I'm very happy with your prayers.

Your brother in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Thanks

We have recently done a Bible Study/discussion group using Randy Alcorns book ‘Heaven’ as a focus. I was fascinated and also dismayed at how many believers have no clear idea of our eternal state nor do they even consider it. They seem to believe that we, as believers, are somehow responsible for transforming and reclaiming this world into something the Lord would be proud of. They also seem to feel that being a Christian means having a ‘life of blessing’ both material and spiritual in the here and now. Every outreach, every programme, every church or Christian activity seems to have this goal in mind. I feel that we are primarily asked to make disciples of folks and teach them to be followers of Jesus within a Kingdom not of this world. Not that one should advocate against improving the circumstances of people specifically or in general but peoples eternal condition is at stake. Our current circumstances are minor in comparison. When the topic of our future with the Lord (after resurrection) is considered, the main topics seem to be what we might have to forfeit. My firm conviction is that nothing true will be forfeit but all will be restored and made whole. It will be REAL joy, REAL food, REAL (whatever) whatever God intended for us. Never less. I look forward to this with eager anticipation and try my best to tell others that this is the hope we have- Real life.

Thanks so much for your amazing work. I pray that the Lord God bless you greatly for your testimony and effort.

Response #13:

You are very welcome, and I entirely agree that the devil's world cannot be improved. It is clear why we Christians are here: to grow in the truth, to walk with Jesus as a witness to Him and His love, and to exploit the opportunities for service He gives us to help others learn the truth as well. Fixing things is out of the question – only Jesus can do that when He returns.

I appreciate your sound thinking and this thoughtful email. Apologies for the short response and also for any delay in answering for the near future as I am off this AM to visit family and will not be back at the desk for over a week or so.

Thank you so much for your prayers!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

*****

I'm back (thanks for your patience). I entirely agree with your assessment in all matters mentioned here. This is currently the devil's world (e.g., Jn.12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Eph.2:2). As such, it cannot be "fixed" as long as sinful people inhabit a cosmos that has been set in motion by the evil one to enslave and mislead us. All that attempts to improve this present world ever accomplish is dancing to the devil's tune, and all one has to do is look at any utopian political movement to see how true that is – and all religious utopianism always devolves into politics in the end. The five part Satanic Rebellion series is largely concerned with these issues, particularly part IV: "Satan's World System" (see the links).

It is an occupational hazard of most Protestant denominations, old line or new, that they tend to fall down into this sort of "social gospel" eventually. That is because, being denominations, they are by definition little concerned with seeking the truth through studying and teaching and living the principles of scripture. And when the main reason for assembly is neglected, an alternative is always sought – and this poor substitute is inevitable one of the ways that large groups seek to keep members interested and give them a "purpose" (once the true purpose of the Christian life is largely rejected). We are here to grow strong in the Word, to run the race for Jesus once we have grown, and to help others do the same. The truth along with our acceptance and application of it in the power of the Spirit is the key. But learning the truth, believing the truth, applying the truth, and ministering the truth, is not easy. It takes effort, it takes humility, it takes a willingness to change one's thinking and behavior, it takes faith and courage to believe, it takes great self-discipline to keep at it, and it takes great self-sacrifice all along the way, especially once the ministry phase is reached, to do so (and we are all called to minister to Christ's Body). Small wonder that few ever embark on this narrow and conflicted road, and that fewer still persevere to the point of earning the three crowns of reward. But we are called to win the rewards Christ offers us, the spoils He has Himself won at the cross. For those who persevere in the right way, not only will there be a blessed resurrection body which, as you rightly understand, will be "more" in every way and not less in any way, a full share of Jesus Christ and a place with Him forever in the New Jerusalem. Those who win the victory will have tangible rewards that far outstrip the "basics" of eternity – as wonderful as those "basics" will no doubt be. Every day down here is an opportunity. So it is incredibly sad to see how many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are wasting theirs by buying into such cheap substitutes which will only be burned up at the judgment seat of Christ like the chaff, hay and stubble they are.

Apropos of the above, the false and dangerous idea that heaven is somehow a lesser existence and it's all about enjoying ourselves here and now couldn't be more satanic. God does bless us – for certain He does, and especially in all manner of spiritual ways. But the idea that our purpose here is to enjoy material blessing not only has no biblical basis but is a false philosophy designed to war against the very eternal life we ought to prize most of all (see the links below). That is the real danger of these false doctrines you are bumping into, insidious and erroneous teachings that are nowadays ubiquitous in the church visible: when the Tribulation begins, we know that one third of genuine believers will fall away and be lost. Those who are running a good race now may have it very rough, but are unlikely to trade a mess of pottage in this world for their eternal life. Those, however, who are thinking about these matters in a completely wrong-headed way – because they have not bothered to consult the truth of scripture or find a place where the truth is taught – will be very vulnerable to the ultimate deception when antichrist proclaims that he is Christ . . . and is here to bless those who follow him and help him "fix" the world through evil proclaimed to be "good".

Here are those links:

Revisiting the prosperity gospel

The "Prosperity Gospel".

Are health and wealth a part of the gospel?

The Dangers of the Prosperity Gospel.

Habakkuk's Prosperity Prayer: Habakkuk 3:17-19.

Yours in the truth of the one true gospel of the One true Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #14:

Dear Bob,

I thank you very much for the depth of devotion and scholarship in your supportive correspondence and would appreciate you take on Marcus J. Borg’s "Speaking Christian," and Diana Butler Bass’s "Religion After the Church," as summarized in the attachment, both of which are being offered by clergy here as guidance for the local congregation.

Bob, I’ve only read summaries of these works and do expect you’ll need to for a tentative reaction to attachments:

Borg is also correct that much of the language in Scripture about God or Jesus is metaphorical. We should not assume because Acts 2:33 says Jesus has been "exalted to the right hand of God" that God has a right hand, or that Jesus is a loaf of bread or a photon. At the same time, Borg makes some terminology metaphorical that the Christian tradition has understood literally. For example, while Borg does argue that Jesus reveals God, Borg does not believe that the "pre-Easter Jesus" was divine, thus he denies the incarnation as traditionally understood. He also argues that the early Christian confession "Christ is risen" does not refer to Christ bodily overcoming death and to Christ’s abiding presence, but to Christ’s continued presence alone. The early apostles or others who see Jesus in the modern world experience him as a vision of divine reality, similar to how surviving spouses will sometimes have experiences of their deceased spouse. This perspective makes me think of Paul’s words, "If Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain" (1 Cor 15:14). - "Speaking Christian," Reviewed by Shaun C. Brown

"Christianity did not begin with a confession. It began with an invitation into friendship, into creating a new community, into forming relationships based on love and service." – From "Christianity After Religion," By Diana Butler Bass.

Seize the day, with love and blessings, in Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior,

Response #14:

Good to hear from you, my friend. I hope you and yours are keeping well.

It has long been a convention (at least since WWII), for pastors and putatively Christian groups to recommend popular texts for group reading and consideration by their congregations at large. This trend seems suspiciously to coincide with the growing dearth of substance coming from the pulpit. In that respect I suppose this could be a good trend, but only if the substituted material were biblically sound or tending in that direction. Inevitably, it is not and does not, and these two works seem to fit that pattern perfectly. One is always somewhat reluctant to dispatch other people's work without a complete and thorough examination, especially in the case of those of us who have suffered from such treatment (some of the book reviews of my own secular works have in my view been written by people who didn't take the time to read the whole thing or even enough so as to understand the main point). In these two cases, however, I think the time I have taken is sufficient to render an accurate if not completely fair opinion (and since this opinion will not have any effect on their sales I feel I can do so with a clear conscience).

To begin with Borg, I would characterize this approach as "Christianity as metaphor". The practice of allegorizing the Word of God has been around for millennia, and it reinvents itself nearly every generation. Even the early neoplatonic versions of this sort of "method" to "understanding" scripture were sufficiently sophisticated, doctrinally complicated, and intellectually satisfying. The problem is that they have nothing to do with God, or, the truth be told, the Bible. Once the Bible is a "code", any sort of code, then its meaning lies firmly in the hands of the decoder. One would think that any method trumpeting the true revelation of scripture and liberation from old strictures which actually makes "the right interpretation" more rather than less difficult for the layman or "non-decoder" to figure out for him or herself would be suspect on the face of it. But ever since the serpent tempted Eve with the revelation of "secret knowledge" which had been invidiously "kept from her" (see the link), this has always been a very appealing approach for those who wish to substitute their own vision for what the Bible actually says. In stark contrast, the best genuine exegesis of scripture comes from hard work and labor in the Word (rather than making things up out of whole cloth), and produces, ideally, results that any layman can appreciate as true through a simple comparison with his or her own Bible.

The idea that Bible writers were speaking in metaphors, and that such is the true "historical" approach to interpretation, leads me to believe that Borg either 1) knows nothing at all about ancient history, ancient culture, or the background to the scriptures, or 2) is just making it up as he goes. The implications of this premise are enough to set any true Christian's hair on edge. If the Bible is a metaphor without a crystal clear referent, it is hard to see how it could be the Word of God. If it cannot be taken literally, if all of its stories and doctrinal pronouncements are not to be taken at face value but are to be considered metaphors for some wispy metaphysical insights which only the learned Dr. Borg and co. can discern, then what use is the Bible? It may be of some marginal and general inspirational value to those of us who have built our lives on its teachings, but, really, we are then investing it with a power and a purpose it was never meant to have and, more to the point, does not have. It would not then be able to be the solitary rule of faith and practice that Bible-believing Christians such as myself and you and others have held it to be. We might then just as well look for our guidance and inspiration to the Qur'an, Herman Hesse, or "The Walking Dead". It's all just metaphorical anyway.

One sees the attractiveness of this approach. There are plenty of things in scripture which make us uncomfortable. But with this method, no problem! We can allegorize and metaphorize away anything and everything we do not like, and proclaim the spiritual insights of Kahil Gibran or Ghandi or Buddha or Mao or whomever in place of those difficult verses. This and similar approaches are always the brainchildren of those who do not wish to accept some or many aspects of the truth of scripture. And for them it is not enough just to discard the Bible and move on to whatever they please (as in this country at least they are certainly free to do). Rather, on the safety in numbers principle, these sorts are intent upon drawing as many others as possible into their own way of thinking in order to justify that way of thinking – as if the truth were determined by a popularity contrast. Preferring metaphor over clear meaning is a truck-bomb placed at the foundation piers of the edifice of faith. No wise person will ever let this in – no matter how intellectually flattered they may feel. Practical application: if you are getting serious about a life-time commitment and say to the object of your affection, "I love you; do you love me too?", a response which seeks to examine the meaning of the word love and whether or not such a thing is real or merely a metaphor for various human needs might be intellectually provocative – but a prudent person will hit the eject button on that relationship immediately. I.e., we wouldn't accept this approach as anything but nonsense when it comes to other things which are important to us in this life; why we would do so with what ought to be the most important thing to us in this life, namely, our relationship with our dear Lord Jesus?

Bass’s Religion After the Church I would characterize as "Christianity as subjectivity". At least Borg is dealing with the Bible, merely redefining it in inappropriate and clearly incorrect ways. Bass' Christianity doesn't need a Bible. In addition to the reviews, I did read some of it for myself (available from the publisher online). She has an engaging style, some piquant observations, and tells an interesting story about her personal spiritual journey. However, true Christianity is not merely a human community or a series of relationships with other people, and does not admit of a multiplicity of approaches to faith and practice. That may be an excellent description of the church-visible, but the Church of Jesus Christ consists of those who have actually put their faith in Him for salvation so as to be born again, and have, ever since, been pursuing a deeper and closer walk with Him through attention to the truth of the Word of God. All the truly good things that Christianity may potentially produce come from this effort, not the other way around, and the difference is profound. Further, all genuine progress comes from refining and distilling this approach, not in diluting it to the point of all-inclusiveness (which Bass seems to bless). True Christian inclusiveness makes no issue of superficialities such as race, nationality, gender, social status, economic condition, health, attractiveness, appearance, etc. Jesus accepts everyone who is willing to accept the truth. But "inclusiveness" when it comes to the truth is just another way of discounting the truth entirely. Bass is at her best in probing the faults of the traditional religious Christianity of the church-visible, but the break-down of that previous framework (which I for one certainly do not bemoan) does not guarantee its replacement by something better. If the result for most is the replacement of a staid and stolid, narrow-minded and limited understanding of orthodoxy with a smorgasbord of alternative theologies which share little in common apart from their heretical nature, well, I see no reason to rejoice and applaud with Ms. Bass.

Books of this sort are usually well-received and popular because they allow the lukewarm some cover to do what they are already doing or planning to do, plastering over their lazy, questionable and sometimes outright sinful practices and tendencies with a veneer of apparently intellectual sophistication and justification. But as bad as it is to give a blessing to those already headed the wrong way, I would not personally want to be held accountable for encouraging those who have not yet taken the plunge to do so. Good Christians, after all, are called upon to do just the opposite.

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?
Proverbs 24:11-12 NIV

I hope you find this of some use. Do feel free to write me back about any the above.

Yours in Him who is the truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Dear Bob,

I thank you very much for your presence send prayers for ongoing vibrant health in this work.

Attached is a local church's discussion of "Christianity After the Church" reflecting a real-time attempt to use Bass' point of view as guidance.

Response #15:

Thanks for the update. Some scary comments here. This is the sort of thing that reminds me of Paul's words to the Corinthians: "I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good" 1Cor.11:17 NIV (cf. Amos 5:21).

Your friend for all eternity in Jesus Christ the Lord,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Can pastors be single or divorced or women or have children or not ?

Response #16:

Women are not allowed to be pastors in positions of teaching (and other) authority over adult males (see the link); that should not be surprising since only men are given the gift of pastor/teacher. However, one should note that only a small minority of men have that gift – and those who do not have no business teaching; and finally, only those who are truly prepared should be teaching other Christians (and adequate preparation is a comprehensive process that takes many years and is not easily achieved). As to the other stipulations in the pastoral epistles, these are meant only to prohibit polygamy on the part of pastor/teachers – not divorce, nor single status, nor childlessness (see the link), none of which things disqualifies an otherwise qualified individual.

Question #17:

Hope you are all well and being richly blessed by our precious Lord Jesus in the tremendous work you do for Him. Am finding my way around the blogger and have already started writing! Not sure how it works - so as I usually do will have to learn by trial and error!

Am still coming across things I need to put straight. Is it right for women to be heads of churches ,like a pastor, as in Ephesians 4 v 11? I see many women in charge as Pastors or Reverends in these big churches here in the UK.

Response #17:

Good for you! In my experience, this is the only way to do it: just do it. Eventually we all get a bit better at what we do for the Lord if we persevere at it. But if we're not doing anything we're not only not going to get better at it – we're not doing anything.

Everyone of us has at least one spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit and everyone of us in the Body of Christ has a ministry given to us personally by our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. We are all responsible to Him to identify those gifts and discern that ministry, then do it with all our hearts (and we will do it better and better as we continue to grow spiritually and progress in passing the tests that come our way).

The grace of God is dispensed in many different ways in respect to spiritual gifts (1Pet.4:10). There are many Body parts, and we all need each other absolutely (1Cor.12). A foot cannot say it has no need of hands or a hand of feet. Nor will a foot make a good hand or a hand a good foot. In my reading of scripture, while all Christian women have gifts and are assigned ministries by the Lord Himself, in no case are women given the gift of pastor teacher or the ministry "head of local church / main teaching elder" (which is the same thing, in terms of the spiritual gift). Here is what I read Paul telling Timothy:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man.
1st Timothy 2:12 NIV

There is nothing that says that women cannot teach other women (indeed, that is a special ministry: Titus 2:4), or that they cannot teach children – what man has not benefitted from the instruction of women in his youth?; or that the women cannot engage in all manner of ministries that involve the truth of the Word of God – for the truth of the Word of God is at the heart of all legitimate ministries. This verse above (and its underlying principle) is referring to, as you put it, being the "head" of a local church in the capacity of a pastor/teacher who is feeding the entire congregation. Of course, how many male "pastor-teachers" are really feeding anyone these days, let alone the whole congregation? Some groups make a big, legalistic point of not allowing women to teach, but in my view if they were really following the Lord in putting His Word first that would never come up as an issue in the first place. Groups which have women in the main teaching position are a "sign of the times", in my opinion. However, the phenomenon says more about the abnegation of responsibility by men than anything else. If Christian men who were gifted in this way were doing their jobs for Christ, there wouldn't be the need to turn to women "pastors". Of course, there is also the problem of the congregations, most of whom are not really interested in teaching at all (with the result that the last person they would hire to lead them would be a man who was prepared and eager to actually teach the Word of God as his main responsibility). So my "bottom line" on this is that if it is a choice between a man who is not teaching the Bible and a woman who is not teaching the Bible, well then there is really little or nothing to choose between the two.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

The question you were asked was straight-forward and simple...you really should've answered the question in like manner. You started by trying to justify your answer by uttering so many words as though you yourself do not believe or wished women were permitted to teach men! Why do you seek to please men when you believe in the truth, if indeed you believe it? Was it by mistake that God said a man shall rule over a woman ( marriage or not )? Do you not know that a " man " was made in the image of God? But a woman in the image of man? Was it by chance that the majority of God's prophets were men, and we read their books till today? Even our Lord Jesus, why do you think He only chose men to be his apostles for the work of making others disciples? Paul clearly wrote the command in the book of Corinthians about women being forbidden to even speak in the congregation as it signifies authority over men since all must be quiet when the other speaks ... all who speak in God's spirit speak with authority since is the spirit who speaks in him and the authority is given to a man.

Knowing in spirit that some will dispute this command even in the future, Paul asked a question, "Did the word of God come from you?"

Do not therefore seek to please people, no true servant or disciple of Christ considers any praise nor good report from mere men! Repent from this therefore, and never seek glory from people, that's how you will fall! As pertaining to sub-groups, Sunday school, bible study, etc...all these are creations of men and not according to the teaching of Christ nor the apostles of Christ. That's why they always make room for Evil, as you yourself agree that women can preach or teach in such! Be careful of the devises of the devil, whether we are in modern times or not, how the apostles and disciples conducted themselves in Christ is sufficient and relevant for us to not even add anything to it. " imitate me as I also imitate Christ "

May God bless

Response #18:

Brother,

You have been very harsh with me here. Why?

Is it because you disagree with the truth of my reply? It seems that this is not the case, because even from your email it is patently clear that the gist of my reply is that women are not permitted to be the teacher in the local church.

You think I am seeking to please men and not God? But everything about this ministry says the opposite. It does not self-promote. It does not seek money in any form. It does magnify itself or demand allegiance of any kind. It merely offers help through the teaching of the Word of God to any and all who thirst for the truth.

Is it my tone you object to? Is it sinful to be polite? Is it wrong to explain patiently? That is not what I read in scripture (e.g., 2Cor.2:4-6; 1Tim.5:1-2; 2Tim.4:2):

And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
2nd Timothy 2:24-26 NIV

If it is my reference to other venues where women who have been gifted by the Spirit may legitimately use those God-given talents that bothers you, should either I or you stand in the Spirit's way where no command of God prohibits? If a woman is gifted to teach, should she not seek to find some legitimate way to do so to fulfill the entire purpose for which the Lord has put her here?

If we were to throw out of the churches everything that is not found in the book of Acts there would be no churches whatsoever. Much that is done nowadays is abusive of the truth. A woman teaching children the Bible in Sunday school is not, and is not at all what Paul says or means.

In Jesus Christ the righteous.

Bob Luginbill

Question #19:

Rebuke cannot be pleasant at that time but brings benefits to those who learn from it. After all, those who are loved by God are rebuked by Him. You are not a weakling that we cannot rebuke you since you yourself are a teacher. If you do not use the gospel of Christ for gain but follow the example of the apostle Paul and the apostles of Christ, you do well. The matter here is Not the local church ( buildings ) as you suppose but rather the general idea of a woman teaching a man. Yes in the book of Corinthians the apostle mentions the church, not that a church is the building by human hands as many believe. The true church is us who believe in Christ, making us the temple of God. We are the living stones as it is written. Also read Romans 16:5 ( church in their house ). And let there be no confusion in your heart concerning Priscilla and Aquila being fellow workers with Paul. For if Priscilla was also confused about the law of God by going about teaching men like this generation suggests, she would’ve been quickly rebuked by Paul as he proved to be the one working with them. We all know Paul’s conduct and zeal for Christ as not being the one to compromise in any way, thus having the boldness to say many times "Imitate me as I imitate Christ". Now he wrote to timothy so that all in the holy church of God may have the same understanding, " Let a woman learn in silence ‘ with all submission’, And I do not permit a woman to "teach " or have authority over a man ". And the verses following that explains the reason why. Those reasons have got nothing to do with the " local church " as you say but "a man, woman and teaching". Therefore erase all thoughts of justifying women preaching or becoming pastors, all these things are from the evil one. Can you not see how it has caused so much confusion over the years yet the scriptures are very clear about this matter among others as well?

May the grace and peace of our Father and the Lord Jesus be with you.

Response #19:

Dear brother,

I agree about rebuking – but you have not read my response with proper care. Nor, it seems, have you really bothered to read my posting. For as I read your latest email I agree with everything you say – except for the part about what you think I am teaching or think I am believing: you are dead wrong about all of that, I suppose because you have not bothered to read the teachings on this website carefully enough.

I do not teach that women can teach men the Bible. I do teach that women cannot teach men the Bible. You seem now to think the opposite is true (although before you seemed to object to my tone but not my content). For a rebuke to be effective it has to be valid and it has to be done in truth. But if you are wrong about what I teach – and you are here – then of what value is that? If I have mis-taught, show me where. If I have not, accept the fact that you over-reacted because you do not like my method. That is certainly your prerogative. But I will give you the scripture again which defends my method, and ask you again, with what, precisely do you find fault?

And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
2nd Timothy 2:24-26 NIV

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Dear brother Robert

I do not find fault in your gentleness when teaching, it is good to be so as you well know! Where I find fault is the many words you uttered in trying to justify what your answer will be, perhaps because you wanted that law to sound less provoking. Many people are disappointed and discouraged to hear other Christians agreeing to such laws of Christ since they love lawlessness. Thus many preachers, pastors or leaders of the churches avoid such scriptures at all cost. On your part however, after all that explaining before an answer you were compelled to say that women can be blessed with the gift of teaching as well, though not in a local church. The scriptures clearly indicates the spiritual gift in women to be prophecy, we know not of the other. Why do we therefore need to be adding teaching or preaching when the bible says nothing of it? Why do we not rather humble ourselves to God like our Lord Jesus did by obeying God? Look at the rewards he received for such humbleness. Those who are chosen for the kingdom are the ones who have the same mental attitude as those who also once said: " what Jehovah God commands we shall do, whether 'good' or 'bad'. As also Abraham the man of God had, we see this by him obeying God when being tested to sacrifice his only son even when God had said through Isaac his seed would be called. Beloved brother, as you have mentioned twice already that I was harsh with you. I do repent humbly before you, I do not repent for the truth I said but rather for my harshness thus making you sorrowful. for I also seek to be comforted by you in Christ as we were commanded to love and be gentle to one another. In conclusion to this I say, yet not I but as God commanded, give not any woman hope of obtaining a gift to teach in any way except what is being given to them which is teaching the younger wives to love their husbands and to humble themselves to them as if to the Lord, making them aware that how we conduct ourselves as a holy temple of God is not a command from a man but from God. If anyone disputes this they dispute with neither you, me, the apostles nor the congregation of God but God himself.

May our Father Bless and glory be to Him and His son Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Response #20:

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply. I begin to understand "where you are coming from". This ministry is not everyone's "cup of tea", and the answers given have been, to the best of my ability, crafted to lead as many as possible to the truth. It's not everyone's approach. There is a place for more direct language. When I feel it is appropriate to be more direct, I am more direct. In my view this is a question of tactics rather than strategy (to use a military metaphor).

I certainly take no offense at a brother in Christ standing up for the truth as he sees it. To that end, it seems that we have gotten past misunderstanding on both sides, and for that I am very grateful.

So to the issue of gifts, here is what I read in scripture:

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
1st Peter 4:10 NIV

The Greek word modifying "grace" above and translated "various forms" is poikile, and is somewhat hard to render into English. It means variegated, multifarious, intricate, diverse, and profoundly so. KJV has "manifold grace". This phrase, moreover, explains the "whatever gifts" we have individually received. Given everything else scripture says about gifts, therefore, I think it would be a mistake to conclude that only those gifts specifically mentioned in scripture are given by the Spirit, or that there are not all manner of variation in those gifts – because that is precisely what Peter's words above teach. To that end, I think it is proper to conclude that some women are more gifted to teach other women and children than others are. We all have received at least one gift from the Holy Spirit for the purpose of edifying Christ's Church (1Cor.12:7). We should thus be leery of restricting our understanding of the range of gifts to those specifically mentioned in scripture, especially as these are sometimes narrowly construed by interpreters of the Bible. What we do not know about the functioning of many of the sign gifts, for example, is quite a bit, because we have no experience of them personally (since they were discontinued even before the apostolic era came to an end). Since sign gifts were the ones people were most interested in (and were also the most abused), these are the ones which come in for the most spiritual attention. To use an analogy, just because Paul lists a number of sins in one of his catalogs does not mean that if a practice is not listed it cannot be sinful. Grace is manifold; sin, sadly, is as well. And just as Paul adds "and the like" at Galatians 5:21 to make that very point, so his phrasing in 1st Corinthians 12:4 and Peter's at 1st Peter 4:10 are meant to indicate that the Spirit is not limited by the examples listed in scripture. Gifts, like many things, possess multiformity, rather more like a rainbow than a collection of distinct gems.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1st Corinthians 12:4

As you pointed out earlier, the important thing is obedience. Women are not permitted to be Bible teachers (except to women and children). But all Christians do have spiritual gifts (1Cor.12:7); what those gifts are in every case will only be made clear as the individual Christian in question grows spiritually and becomes more responsive to the Spirit's "still, small voice". And it is not necessary for our gifts or our ministries to fall into the neat categories some would propound or for our effectiveness to be manifest in traditional ways. What counts is 1) that the Spirit gifted us; 2) that we prepared through spiritual growth and progress for the ministry to which Christ would call us; 3) that we responded when called and vigorously prosecuted it for the glory of the Father who lends the effectiveness He sees fit to every legitimate Christian ministry whereby the "manifold grace of God" is dispensed to Christ's Church:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
1st Corinthians 12:4-6 KJV

In Jesus Christ the Great Shepherd of the Sheep whom we are here to please,

Bob L.

p.s., "Preaching" is something that is not biblical in any case (at least not in terms of what people mean by it today; the word itself is not a valid translation of any New Testament word).

Question #21:

Hi Bro / Sis,

I saw your website below, may I know you are from which church? Which congregation / denomination? Origin from where? Regarding your posting on woman preachers, I'm searching for this topic about whether is it God's will for woman to preach / to teach on stage (preaching to everyone in the Church on Sunday worship)? I'm seeking for God's word to know the answer. If you have any scriptures, I'm looking forward to get your reply soon.

Thanks & Regards from Malaysia

Response #21:

Good to make your acquaintance. Ichthys is an independent Bible teaching ministry. It is not connected to any church or denomination. For more on the origin and antecedents of this ministry, please see the link, About Ichthys, and the further links found at the bottom of that page.

As to your other question, the link you reference (http://ichthys.com/mail-women preachers.htm) is one of the main ones which speaks about this subject, but see also the following:

More about Women Preachers

Should women preach or lead in local churches?

Women keep silent in church?

Please feel free to write me back about any of the above.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #22:

Dear Sir,

There is ample evidence that there were women bishops and deaconesses in the days of the early church. For example, the Lamsa translation has the Apostle Paul saying that Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchrea will be coming to you shortly. Help her in all that she needs. In the King James, it reads Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchrea.

There was evidence of Yavashua Jesus selecting Rebecca, Susanna, Martha, and eight other women to be apostles after his original selection of the twelve men. There are records of the Virgin Mary joining them after His ascension and going to England with men apostles to convert people there. When later Paul joined the apostles, making for 13 women and 13 men. Much of this was destroyed by men who feared for their authority at the Council Of Nicea in 300 AD. There were women apostles who traveled with the Apostle Paul and preached alongside of him. When he told the wives to keep silent, he meant the loudly gossiping wives who did not know how to read and write, so church was their only social outlet. They would drown out the speakers, whether men or women.

The spirit of domination and domineering is only a minor evil spirit, but its power comes from the spirit of fear which according to Rev. 21: 8 is enough to send a person to the lake of fire, which is the second death. Man had no dominance over woman until after the sin in the garden and man's dominations over woman is a punishment and curse to both men and women, erased by Yavashua Jesus with His death on the cross.

Many blessings in Yavashua, Pastor Sister

P.S. I have been searching for truth since I was ten years old. To preach, teach and live a lie is also to go to the lake of fire. Think about it some, won't you? I would so much rather see you in heaven.

Response #22:

The teaching of this ministry, Ichthys, is quite clear in setting out that neither a man nor a woman who has not been given a teaching gift by the Holy Spirit is authorized to teach the Bible to a joint congregation. Relatively few men in the Church are given such gifts and no women are given this gift (we all have gifts, but they are not all the same ones). As I also often point out, while there are many congregations in the church-visible who have women pastors nowadays, in practical terms it makes absolutely no difference since most congregations are not teaching the Bible anyway. As to your specific points:

1) Just as there is a difference between an apostle with a lower case "a" and the twelve apostles of Christ (note: 12, not 13, and all men whose names we know, no women), so it is with deacons. I.e., there is an official "office" of deacon, but the word means "servant", and anyone acting in service can be called a "servant" = a deacon, without at the same time having any sort of official appointment in the local church. Finally on this point, there is no indication that the deacons taught the Bible. They waited on tables in Jerusalem so that the apostles could pray and teach the Word. Stephen ministered outside of the church; so we all have different gifts that should be exploited in whatever way we are called to do so.

2) Nothing said in your paragraph two has the slightest basis in fact, nor can any of these assertions be backed up by the Bible. They cannot even be supported through any extra-biblical means so that there is no need even to make further comment. They are pure fantasy. What most disturbs me about this false material is the reference to England (?!). Does this mean you embrace British-Israelism? If so, you may want to consider that the anti-Semitism that chronically affects all groups who proceed in that direction puts them at great risk for severe judgment from the Lord (see the link).

3) As to your third paragraph, this makes me wonder whether or not you have a clear idea of what salvation is – being saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I should also point out that there has been no role-reversal because of the cross (as anyone reading the New Testament can see plainly enough; e.g., 1Tim.2:8-15; 1Pet.3:1-6). Finally on this one, the Holy Spirit is the One who gives gifts. If He has not given a person a specific gift, yet that person claims to have it anyway, hiding behind accusations of this sort is not going to change the fact that said person is misrepresenting what the Spirit has done (or, in this case, not done).

4) As to your "P.S.", I know many women who are not only gifted in wondrous ways but who are using those gifts to benefit Christ's Church in a good and godly way. This often does involve learning the truth and spreading the Word. The women to whom I refer, however, have not taken it upon themselves to claim gifts they do not have or assume roles they have been forbidden. Their reward will no doubt be great. But for someone who threatens hell-fire for standing up for biblical principles, what sort of reward awaits? Our Lord has a ministry waiting for everyone who is truly His. It is our job as those who have pledged ourselves to Him to grow up spiritually, pass the tests that come to the mature, and let ourselves be led to find how we are gifted and how we are meant to serve each other in the Body. I appreciate that you are looking for the truth. All who truly seek, truly do find, and I wish you success in that endeavor.

In Jesus Christ who is the Lord of the Church, the very Word of God itself, our only standard of truth.

Bob Luginbill

Question #23:

Dear Pastor Luginbill,

Thank you for your long response. No, not at any time have my husband or I thought much of British Israelism. We think that it is wrong. We have been doing research for some time. For instance, thanks to the writings of a Roman official who went to hear Yavasua Christ speak, we know what Christ actually looked like. It, however, is in the Roman empire's written records in Latin, not in the Bible where it should have been. Or, where it would have been nice for it to have been.

To truly understand the Bible, one needs to avail oneself of the different translations. King James was well known in his time as a gay man who had many male lovers, despised women and enjoyed having them tortured and burned alive as entertainment for himself. He had Bible translators beaten and tortured, even murdered if they would not translate the Bible the way he wanted it done. When all the translators finished their portions, he had a Rosicrucian take about 18 months to go over the entire translations so the Bible would read politically as he desired. Rosicrucians are very similar to Freemasons who use human and dog urine in their religious rituals worshipping all the false gods of the Egyptian pantheon, their trinity god Jabulon, and their highest god Lucifer whom Jesus called a fallen archangel, a liar and the father of all lies.

I have been told by good men who are bishops that they have never heard the Bible preached or explained in the way that I am able to do it. I have been a pastor for many years and I have preached all over central Texas.

My husband and I believe you are wrong, but sincere.

Blessings in Yavashua,

Pastor Sister

Response #23:

I have also often remarked that part of the problem is the era of Laodicea in which we are in (please see the link). If more Christians were truly interested in the truth of the Bible, and if more gifted men were willing to accept the responsibility of the gifts given, we would not have such a situation of dearth of teaching and teachers (as opposed to sermonizers and false teachers), so that perhaps the situation as you report it would never have arisen. It is true that the Lord has used women as prophets in similar situations/times in the past (e.g., Deborah, Huldah). It is not for me to say what God has told you or how God the Holy Spirit has gifted you or what our Lord Jesus has assigned to you as a result. I can only go by what I know from scripture and here I find clear prohibition – which would at the very least indicate taking a sober and a cautious course for anyone claiming a supernatural exception.

I do know about Bible versions (and am no particular defender of the KJV; see the link). As to historical sources and the versions of the scriptures, I can only say that I am a Classicist by secular profession (i.e., someone with a Ph.D. in Greek and Latin who researches in and teaches about those two classical civilizations at university; see the link: Luginbill CV), and that I have been translating the scriptures from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek for over three decades. I have never heard of anything of the sort of "the writings of a Roman official who went to hear Yavasua Christ speak, we know what Christ actually looked like" – and I think I would be aware of this if there were any truth to the story. I will say that there is a tremendous amount of false material out there which goes back to ancient times (i.e., the Apocrypha and also a very large genre of material known as Pseudepigrapha, the many false gospels being part of this). In truth, there is very little outside of the Bible itself which is even genuine, and of course we can only know that scripture is true – because only scripture has been inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Yours in Jesus Christ who is the very Word of God Himself,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you so much for that response. It really hit the nail on the head. Especially the part about how would we act if Jesus Christ was at our right hand. Of course, he really is. It’s just that we don’t think of it that way. I think from now on, I’m going to picture Jesus as if he were standing right next to me. I think that’ll keep me in line. Not that I necessarily do anything bad, it’s just that we tend to skirt things when we can. I know I’m guilty of it. If I pictured Christ constantly, I’m sure I’d act differently in every situation. Even by myself.

So, I had a really good time at church today. The pastor wasn’t here. I felt kind of, I don’t know, when I heard how the service would run today. I can’t put my finger on it. The replacement preached really well. I don’t have a problem with any of them. I just didn’t like that the guys got to do everything. It’s different when it’s the pastor preaching. He’s older and he has more authority it seems. It’s not just his position or gender but his age also. Having guys that I sit with on Sundays, get up there and preach over me just felt, blue. I did not like that. I do think that whoever stands in the pulpit has some amount of authority. I was a little unsure about it before. Now, I think I’m a lot clearer on the subject. Sitting there while they preached just really drove home the point that they have authority over the congregation. I thought that wouldn’t be a problem for me. That’s why I was surprised. You know just about every single guy, with a few exceptions has stood in that pulpit? It’s just annoying. I couldn’t help thinking that any girl could get up there and do the same thing. The only reason they get to get up there is because they’re guys. What do you think Dr. Luginbill? I would like to get more involved. Not just like playing the piano or anything. That’s about the only thing women do in the church though.

Thanks,

Response #24:

You're very welcome – glad that was helpful. As to women involved in the teaching the congregation, in my view of what the Bible says, only those men who have been given the gift of teaching should teach the congregation (and only if they are prepared to do so). In most churches and denominations, however, 1) there is usually little or no concern for whether or not the man in question is gifted to teach (the main concern seems to be with his ability to be entertaining); and 2) mostly what goes on in the pulpit or in "Bible class" has very little to do with teaching the Bible in a substantive and orthodox way. So in my view it really makes not much practical difference in most cases since the church/denomination in question is usually not anywhere close to the biblical mandate in any case (which is the real problem rather than gender per se).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hello--I have a question about 1 Cor. 14:34. Are you aware of any manuscript disputes over this verse? That would make it in any way ambiguous? This question came up on CARM and I was curious to know what you know about it.

Here is the post in question; the poster is an ex-Mormon and a Christian now, but I would just like your opinion:

There is a rule in hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the art or science of interpretation. Usually when we use the word hermeneutics we are referring to Bible interpretation, but in fact, we can use hermeneutics when we interpret other documents. One of the rules of hermeneutics is that no ambiguous verse can be a proof-text.

"Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says. And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church." (NASB, 1 Cor. 14:34-35)

ARE VERSES 34-35 A DECLARATIVE STATEMENT?

Those scholars who believe that the apostle Paul is making a declarative statement exhibit a wide range of thought about the applicability and why Paul may have written these verses. Following are examples reflective of such diversity of opinion of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. The vast majority of scholars who claim that Paul is making a declarative statement limit this prohibition regarding speaking to only those instances where such speech causes a disturbance in the church.

The author of this article then gives his reasons for believing that there is evidence that I Cor 14:34 is either Paul quoting a Jewish slogan or an interpolation. However, after a bit more research, I will doubt his reasoning and I have edited this post.

Thanks.

Response #25:

Good to hear from you as always. There is no evidence of this verse being an interpolation. All of the manuscripts have this verse. I know of no "controversy" about the necessity of including this verse in any edition of scripture – it's clearly what Paul wrote.

What it means, of course, is another question, but there is no basis for saying something like, "well, since there are questions about the text, we'd better just ignore the verse entirely"; there are no serious questions about the text, and no question at all about the verse itself being original.

As to meaning, one of the biggest questions about the verse is what Paul means by "as the Law says", namely, what verse is he citing (or is he referring to general principles from the Law, my personal point of view)? The second controversy is, of course, whether or not we are to take this verse to mean that women cannot open their mouths in church. I would observe first of all that I have never ever seen any church or heard of any church or group where women did not open their mouths from the moment they walked in the door to the moment they went back out. So not only does it seem on the face of it that such is not what Paul means but it is also so impractical a rule that no group large or small (as far as I know) has ever tried to put that particular interpretation into practice. This alone would lead us to, at the very least, regard such an interpretation with caution.

It is also important to observe that what Paul means by "church" is radically different from what we in the western post-Reformation tradition usually have in mind when we hear that word. Paul's churches had no dedicated buildings – they met in the homes of individual Christians. Paul's churches were not part of specific denominations – there was only one Church. Paul's churches did not have an order of service or established rituals or choirs or even seminary-trained and ordained pastors – they had elders who were appointed by apostles (or other elders) and because of the incipient nature of the Church relied upon spiritual gifts that today are no longer in operation. Indeed, one can read just through this chapter of 1st Corinthians and see pretty clearly that while Paul wants everything carried out "decently and in order", he is not telling even this congregation – one in whose founding he was personally directly and instrumentally involved – just how to carry out the meeting. That is a crucial point for all who want to "go to war" on issues of polity and worship service practice that were clearly not important at all to Paul (or the other apostles). Paul is concerned in this section of the epistle with making sure that the purpose of the meeting is not hindered, namely, mutual growth and encouragement through the Word of God (cf. e.g., Heb.10:25).

So it is safe to say that Paul would be just as uncomfortable in and nonplussed by one of our "worship services" as we would be in/by one of those of the Corinthian church, and it is with that perspective that this statement should be examined. In the context of chapter 14, Paul has just been holding forth on the abuse and proper use of the gift of tongues. "How will I profit you?" he asks, "unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?" These are all communications of the truth of the Word of God empowered by one or more spiritual gift. Paul's main point in this section is that tongues can only fall into this category – and so be legitimate in a meeting of the church – if there is someone present with the gift of interpretation so that what is said in the foreign language may be understood by the assembly. The restriction on women is a rider put in almost as an afterthought right after the final point of the discussion about prophecy also needing to be kept under proper control. All of these communication gifts were given to men, and Paul has just spent thirty-three verses remonstrating with the men of the congregation about the need to maintain decent order in the assembly; now, at the end of the discussion, he includes the ladies: their part is not to be asking questions while the prophet is prophesying or the teacher is teaching or the interpreter of tongues is interpreting. Needless to say (at least I would hope so), talking while someone is teaching the Word of God is also improper for the men. But on the one hand we may deduce that the "problem" of women interrupting or cross-talking in the meetings was worse than that of the men at Corinth, and on the other hand that Paul certainly feels comfortable that the men who were likewise guilty would be less likely to do this very thing now that the women had been reprimanded for doing so (a clever understanding of the male psyche on his part). 1st Timothy 2:12 tells us that women cannot be pastor/teachers (because they are not given that gift), but it is also improper for a man to take on the role of a pastor/teacher if he has not been so gifted by the Spirit (and properly prepared as well). So this stricture in our context is equally applicable to the women of the church and also to all of the men – with the exception of the individual teaching/prophesying/interpreting at the moment. Paul singles the ladies out, it is true, but only after a full chapter devoted to the abuses on the part of the men, and thus achieves a reasonable balance in his imparting of the truth (even if it is hard for some to accept).

Yours in the dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hello, I'd like to share with you about my family member. She has bible studies with a group of teens that are out of control. Like snickering and spending time on their cell phones and I stop by just to watch from a distance in not letting them know I was there. I see it just a gathering for the boys and girls to see each other and spend time together. One young teen got angry at a lady when she was to put her phone away she spit in the ladies face. My first impression when I looked in on them all I saw was swine’s and dogs. I pondered why I saw that. Could you give some input on the problem my family member is so discouraged. I don't step up to help because you have to be a member which I'm not. The church I tend to membership is not required. My family member and the other ladies have stressed their concern to the pastor; they say he is naive what ever that is. I explained to them they need a male figure there from their church to stay in there and help to lay down some ground rules for discipline and stay under control. Can you help? Any advise addressed to the teens if they were in your presence acting like this?

Thank you

Response #26:

I'm not sure I have much to add to what you have said. Clearly, there should be discipline in any teaching situation (especially if we are talking about the Bible), and when it is completely lacking as in this case, well, there won't be any learning going on.

A couple of quick observations: yes, I think you are correct that certainly at least by the time they are adolescents boys should be taught by men, not women (where the Bible is concerned). Secondly, I also have a problem with adolescents being forced to receive Bible teaching. There is a fine line between when a person is allowed to be independent in such matters, of course. Generally speaking, as long as a child is living under the parents' roof, he/she is subject to them. However, it is also true that we need to make sure we don't discourage our children where the Lord is concerned (Col.3:21), and forcing them at that late age to receive truth they may not be interested in (yet) is a questionable practice in my view. As my maternal grandfather was quoted as saying, "everyone has to go over fool-hill for themselves" – but most will come back, if we do not embitter them in the process. I think the attitudes you report of those present speak to the truth of this principle.

Best wishes for your continued growth in the Lord and ministry to His Body the Church,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Could you send me your opinion on Quantum Faith by Annette Capps? I sense something wrong about this. Thank you

Response #27:

I have not read the book, but that will not keep me from saying that 1) Quantum physics has nothing to do with faith or spirituality or the Bible, and 2) while women are gifted in many ways for service to the Body of Christ, I would not take my doctrinal instruction from one (1Tim.2:12; cf. 1Cor.14:34), especially from a woman who was a self-proclaimed "ordained minister". Part of the thesis of the book seems to be that quantum physics explains how God's Spirit makes the truth clear to us. However, God's system for learning the truth is entirely spiritual and not at all material. The entire material world is corrupt (including everything sub-molecular), and it is only through spiritual means – the Holy Spirit communicating directly to the human spirit – that anyone could ever understand the smallest bit of divine truth.

For more please see the link: "Epignosis, Christian Epistemology, and Spiritual Growth".

Hope this is helpful,

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #28:

Thank you very much for the input. I would greatly appreciate more info from you on the matter. When I was approached by a senior lady from our small church on the topic she wants me to introduce this teaching to the church. The first thing I received from the Lord was one word. Deceptive. I took the little book home and read some of it. I can see why people could be pulled into this I explained to her I get back with her. But this Sunday she spoke out that we need to have this in our church. I just step back into this church recently. Now we come back to this. No leader there after the passing of our Pastor there some yrs ago . The only man in the little church to step up and try to lead is doing it while living with a woman out of wedlock. He eventually left the church so I want to help. But this seems to be the topic every time we enter for church service. I really enjoy study your material; I still have lots to learn and I'm eager to do so. Thank you so much.

Response #28:

You're very welcome,

Sounds like you have your hands full. None of my business, but maybe the Lord is moving you to provide the leadership necessary there through teaching the Word. We all have our own gifts, of course – and our ministries to which we are called by Him.

Feel free to write any time!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Thank you for the response , I'm still young in the word and have a desire to study the word and grow. I'm thankful that I came across your site it has open more of an understanding in a lot of area's. Makes me realize in my years as a believer I think I have squandered much time. But I'm seeking knowledge from the word. I have my issues, but I'm learning. As for studying the Word I enjoy what I see and here from Our Lord. Like now I'm researching on Faith and how to build my faith in believing without doubt like in Matt.4:23-24, Mark 11:22-24, John 14:13-17 and Matt.5:1-48. These are the passages I been studying along with Luke 17:1-6 on the sycamore tree. Thank you once again. Lastly, if you happen to do a research on this quantum faith thing, on how it does not line according on the word of God I would be thankful... eager to learn.

Response #29:

And thank you. I will certainly do so (though you are the first one to ask about this: there are a tremendous amount of false doctrines and false teachings out there in the ether at present).

Take my advice and don't rue lost time. We've all lost time. Paul lost serious time – and what he managed to accomplish with what he had left! Never look back (Phil.3:13). Make the most of the spiritual opportunities ahead and enjoy the Lord's pleasure in your doing so. And feel free to write any time.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Hello it's me – just wondering have you had a chance to examine the little booklet on quantum faith. Could you help research the material and get back with me on what you found? It be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Response #30:

As far as general impressions go, as I said in our first communication, I did have a brief look at this – enough to form a solid opinion of its worthlessness, at any rate. I believe I mentioned that there is no biblical basis for tying physics into biblical doctrine. This is the sort of thing people do with "Bible codes" and numerology all the time, only with a different twist. I also think I mentioned that the fact the "Bible teacher" is a woman who is putting out "new things" about the Bible should be enough to set off any biblically based believer's spiritual alarm. I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have about the "teachings" or the points at issue though.

Best wishes for your continuing service to our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #31:

O.k, thank you; what I need to do is to find out exactly why the elderly lady wants to have this in the church. One thing she emphasized is that when we speak our words are power and so forth. I can't remember all that she said, only that she claimed that the little booklet she read lined up according to scriptures. At that time I never heard of it and in me a red flag just popped up. I'm not familiar at all with quantum or anything in that field. So I thought since you are highly educated in a spiritual growth kind of way you would educate me so I can learn to understand. Take care: 2 Thess. 3:5

Response #31:

You're very welcome.

I can tell you that all of our power as Christians comes from the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:8). There is no material power that is of any consequence as far as Christianity is concerned. The whole point is that God provides for us supernaturally. Whatever mysteries "quantum" or "physics" may hold, they are material. We are supernatural, given birth by the Spirit through faith in the power of God.

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
1st Corinthians 2:14-16 NKJV

Yours in the One who died for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.


 

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