Hello from Canada Mr. Luginbill
My name is ___ and by the grace of The Living God I have walked hand in hand with The Lord Jesus Christ for more than thirty years. There have be some "bunny trail escapades" and some "dragging of the feet", none-the-less significant progress in His transforming has indeed been accomplished. My boast is in Him.
I have been guided into a lengthy consideration of Apokalupsis Iwannou realizing early that an understanding of "the beginnings" (Steven Dill) is of fundamental importance. The writing of the late Arthur Custance provided for my "initiation". I have since come upon your site and a couple of other authors.
I have not made my way through all of the material which you have posted but I do intend to continue slowly but surely in an attempted to understand your perspective. We already do not agree on some things but I do sense a kinship of spirits. It seems that we are "headed in the same direction". I have attempted over the years to engage others in some "iron sharpening iron" fellowship but have realized meager success. Only rarely have I found those sufficiently humble to be at least considerate of the possibility of having erred and by extension having misled the readership.
I am having some difficulty with the concept of triunity and here is the reason why. Humankind has no reason whatsoever to assume that the creative effort which occurred in "their minute corner of endlessness" represents the solitary creative act attributable to the The Pure Spirit Supreme (behind whom there is no other being nor any other thing). It is my understanding that "The Father" created the earth and its heavens "adornment" through the preincarnate "Word" whom comes to be referred to among us as The Mediatorial Son. I have gleened this information through a study of scripture which constitutes "the scoop" on the tiny creation. They are "earth creation" specific and so they should be given that we are so slow to learn but in our slowness we are not licensed to make grandiose assumption; i.e., that we represent the only effort. That Mighty Spirit must be some bored by now. It really is ludicrous.
Now then, if in fact there has been an infinite number of other creative efforts and each with its own appropriate "mediatorial" representative of equal status to ours, where do we get off eliminating such from "The Godhead"?
It should be said that as an "indoctrinated" fundamental evangelical I have politely agreed to disagree with the likes of the Jehovah's Witnesses and have never seriously considered what they have to say. I am simply in the midst of serious bible study wherein which I am wrestling with the text as it presents itself.
P.S. I remain bewildered by the determination of so many commentators upon Apokalupsis Iwannou in their attempt to "get behind" The Pure Spirit Supreme for the purpose of "placing their supersized elbow chair that 'He' might sit". Are you kidding me? "He" is personal and "He" is even personable but "He" is no human being. It was The Lord Jesus Christ in all His glory upon the throne encountered by John as he navigated through "the opened door". As you can gather, I have no difficulty accepting that The Son is fully human and at one and the same time fully Devine. My difficulty is in the expression of His relationship with "The Father". Have any ideas?
Thank you for your time
Good to make your acquaintance. I certainly see the value of those who are devoting their lives to ministering the Word of God reassessing almost everything from the ground up . . . so that they may be confident that what they believe and teach is genuinely and definitely in the Word of God and not merely traditional. I certainly do not recommend this approach for most believers. The Church is a Body with many members. One member has one gift, one another. Bible teaching (and the theology, languages, and other disciplines which ought to underpin it) is a gift that takes many years to develop properly even after many previous years of preparation in Greek, Hebrew et al. Ideally, a believer without this gift (or without having yet developed it) will be able to find a place where the Bible is being taught in a demonstrably solid and detailed manner; and, ideally, the solidness and true orthodoxy of the teaching will be obvious not from any consonance with tradition but from the Word itself, from scriptural support, from detailed and understandable explanations which line up with the Bible, and from the witness of the Spirit to the conscience of those seeking spiritual edification. Needless to say, in our day and age this is fairly rare for many reasons (all of which if explicated would go a long way towards explaining why this ministry is on the internet and not in a "dedicated building").
So, yes, I am certainly in favor of those so gifted disassembling their theology in order to put it back together again piece by piece after becoming thoroughly acquainted with each and every individual part. With the proper tools and training this can build one's faith (whereas for those without the gift or tools and training the exercise is likely only to destroy and cause doubt about everything like a person without medical training experimenting with surgery). Indeed, without the step of detailed introspection of basic doctrines it is likely that any teaching ministry would be somewhat limited. But let me stress at the same time that what we have here is no Smorgasbord. The purpose behind the exercise is to do what all believers in all eras of the Church should be and should have been doing, namely, getting closer to the actual truth as taught in the actual Bible. To the extent that traditional formulations have hit the nail on the head, they should be kept. To the extent that traditional formulations require some correction, they should be corrected. And to the extent that they are incorrect, they should be summarily tossed out when, that is, it has been conclusively proven with all diligence and humility that they are in fact wrong and the real truth has been discovered. For it is "the truth itself" which proves the incorrectness of anything which is not entirely true.
Two important corollaries to the above: 1) it is generally a mistake to toss something completely out of one's doctrinal belief system when it has not yet become entirely clear what the truth actually is (i.e., if you haven't found the right piece for the puzzle, don't be so sure that the one you're holding isn't in fact correct maybe it just needs to be turned a little this way or that to fit); 2) when one has in fact gone through a laborious and diligent process of re-examining a particular doctrine, and when and if it becomes clear that the old formulation (or the old one with some small modifications or even a new formulation) is in fact correct and precisely what scripture teaches, then it is absolutely crucial to believe what one has found to be true: without belief in the actual truth, there can be no spiritual growth. The Holy Spirit only makes use of the truth we have taken into our hearts by faith. If something is merely speculation in our eyes, even if we like it but have not actually committed to believing it, then it is not usable, spiritually speaking.
In general, I do believe what one may term the "traditional understanding of the Trinity". If interested, you can find my own explication of the doctrine at the following link: BB 1: Theology: The Study of God. That said, I am not entirely sure what to make of your last three paragraphs. If it is being suggested that there may possibly be other worlds or other venues of creation or other universes or other "mediators", then I would be compelled to point out that while a person is certainly free to believe anything he/she wants, these would be ideas which are completely at odds with what the Bible actually teaches (apologies in advance if I have gotten the wrong idea here). My own theology is entirely biblical. That is to say, everything I believe and everything I teach is based upon the Bible and responsive to the Bible in every way. No one is perfect, of course, but if I am in error about anything, it would be because of a misinterpretation of scripture, not because of a placing of personal speculation above the scripture. Secondly, as the identification of the One on the throne in Revelation chapters four and five as Jesus, we can say without question based upon the appearance of the Lamb in chapter five who comes and takes the scroll out of the hand of the One on the throne that this One is the Father and that the Lamb is Jesus (compare Daniel 7:9-14). I have met the alternative interpretation before, and it has always caused me puzzlement, so clear is the scripture on this particular point. Finally, as to the relationship between Father and Son, I am again in essential agreement with what may called a traditional view: there is only one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Trinity are coequal and coeternal. Within the world they have created, however, each has by consent adopted a particular role, and the Son's subordination to the Father was necessary for the One who chose to come into the world as a human being in order to save us (there is much more on this also at the link given above).
As mentioned, I certainly do apologize for anything misconstrued here, and would be happy to entertain further questions.
In our dear Lord Jesus who died that we might have eternal life through faith in Him,
Hi Bro. Luginbill,
Greetings from Arizona. I really enjoy perusing your web site and reading the emails and your responses. I have to heavy questions to ask your advice about:
Some time ago, a brother in Jesus and I got into it over American history and the mistreatment of the Native Americans at the hands of the Anglo settlers. I believe it was Gods' will for the White Man to come to this continent and share the Gospel with the Native people, not conquer, steal and destroy them while marching with a Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other. My friend (who is Calvinist) said essentially that the Native Americans are a defeated people, and that God preordained even the mistreatment of them in His sovereign will. To me, that idea is an outrage against the very character of Jesus Christ and I could never believe such a thing about Him. When I read my Bible I see where God desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
To this day, most Native people want nothing to do with the Gospel, largely in part because they associate it with what happened in history to their people, often times in the name of the Gospel (which to me, was not the real Gospel, but gold, greed and glory). What would you say to such a question? I have mixed Native and Anglo ancestry, so it hits home to me. (I made a couple short movies on YouTube about this, trying to present a balanced perspective on the subject).
My second question is this. I have a reaaaally sensitive conscience. I mean, it goes off over things that others would not even give much of a thought about. I used to have a set of the old "Outer Limits" TV shows, but started feeling uneasy about watching them, and began to feel like if I did not get rid of them, I would end up missing the rapture or going to hell. Am I supposed to be a slave to every little thing my conscience goes off about? I love to listen to beautiful melodic music without lyrics (like Yanni or Enya), but because these are not specifically "Christian" artists, there is this little thing that speaks fear into my heart, "you better not listen to that or you will end up in hell... etc.." I know in Romans it says if you go against your conscience, you could perish (it is Romans chapter 14:15-23). Does this mean I am a slave to the whims of an overactive conscience? Sometimes I feel guilty for simply playing a harmless video game because I am "wasting time". What is your take on this? This has been really bothering me for years, and even seems to tend towards legalistic living, which I want no part of. Help!
Good to hear from you again! And good to hear you are benefiting from the site it always does my heart good to hear that.
It is often said, "history will judge!" or "historians will one day bring out the truth!". However, as a Classicist/ancient historian by profession in my "day job", I know just how wrong these sorts of statements are. I recently published a book on Thucydides and Pericles (Author of Illusions; see the link) on a topic I have been laboring on directly or indirectly for the better part of three decades and put forward the (not terribly original) thesis in what was an original and I think definitive way that Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War was written to exculpate Pericles and also himself (Thucydides was an Athenian general exiled for failures in northern Greece which he blamed on the democratic leadership). For the most part, people, historians, and even specialists in this era have been won over by Thucydides' clever methods. And to judge by the latest review (which panned my book on the grounds that I "hate Thucydides" !!!), most people will continue to get it wrong because of the effective rhetoric of a man long dead and their own prejudices (scholars and historians tend to "love Pericles" even though he started an unnecessary and horrific war that doomed Athens' empire). This long lead in is only meant to demonstrate that politics and prejudice cannot be separated from history for if they cannot be separated from 5th century Greek history nearly two and half millennia after the fact even when being debated by people who are in no way related to that long dead culture, how in the world can they be separated from issues where we may have a personal stake?
My well-known position on politics is that Christians should steer clear. We all have opinions, but they are meaningless when seen from God's point of view, the only point of view Christians should embrace. From the human viewpoint, we tend to see people in terms of their group, their race, their culture, their appearance, their status, their class but God never generalizes or plays favorites. He looks at every single person as an individual, one on one. And Jesus died for the individual sins of every single person who has ever lived so that He most surely knows every one of us as individuals, better than we know ourselves, having paid the specific price for every single thing we have ever done wrong! Yes, God wants everyone to be saved, and Jesus died so that all might be saved. And Jesus does not care about the unimportant peripheral matters that in life, in history, in politics are so all important. From a true Christian point of view that shares God's point of view, "what is your race, nation, culture, history, family, address" means nothing; the only question that really matters is "what think ye of Christ".
From the true divine point of view, a person from a culture I do not understand speaking a language I do not know dressing and eating and acting in ways that may seem totally bizarre to me personally but who is a Christian is my brother, and I am one with him just as sure as I am one with Jesus Christ. We will all enjoy sweet fellowship together in the New Jerusalem forevermore, regardless of the temporal, cultural and political detritus that separate us in this life. On the other hand, someone I know, like, and appreciate, and who shares my language, culture, political points of view etc. yet is not a Christian is, sadly, not my brother, and, absent coming to Jesus, cannot not for all of our worldly affinities share anything lasting with me.
Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Colossians 3:11 NIV
Everyone has a right to be proud of their culture, their history, their heritage, their family, their antecedents however defined. But as a wise woman once said, "every tub has to stand on its own feet". And if that is true in the secular realm, how much more so is it not in the spiritual realm? God put us all here on earth to choose individually.
Without question, from the biblical point of view no heritage is better than that of the Jewish nation, to whom belongs "the adoption as sons . . . the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship the promises . . . the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!" (Rom.9:4-5 NIV). And perhaps no single individual every exemplified and made better use of that heritage than did the apostle Paul . . .
"Circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ."
Philippians 3:5-8 NIV
The word emphasized here, "rubbish", is the Greek skybala (σκυβαλα), and really means, as the KJV correctly renders it, "dung". If Paul can consider his exceptional and truly enviable Jewish heritage "dung" to the extent that it might have in any way interfered with his mission to serve Jesus Christ shouldn't we take the same view? So while there is nothing at all wrong in principle with celebrating one's heritage, if such celebration ever leads us into strife or envy or vainglory or politics of any sort, in my view it is better to focus on the fact of our universal oneness in Jesus Christ whom we all serve and by whom we are all treated by the same identical standard.
There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
Romans 2:9-11 NIV
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
As to your other question, this is one that concerns many Christians and I have written about various aspects of it before (please see the links: "Who Controls our Thoughts and Emotions?" and in BB 4B: "Our New Orientation as Reborn Believers"). First, I want to assure you that salvation is not something easily lost far from it! All believers are saved. Only unbelievers are not saved. As long as we maintain our faith in and faithfulness to Jesus Christ, as long as He is still our Lord and Master in our hearts, as long as we accept Him as our Substitute in becoming a human being and coming into this world to die for our sins as long as we believe we are saved and nothing in heaven above or on the earth below can "snatch us out of His hand".
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angelic nor human authorities, neither things present nor things to come, neither heavenly powers, be they the highest [of the elect] or the lowest [of the fallen], nor any other created thing [on this earth] will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans also says that we are not to "pass judgment about disputable matters" (Rom.14:1). I would say that any brother who has fine-tuned his Christian walk to such a degree that the battle lines are now drawn around whether or not to listen to some innocuous music or watch some equally innocent television show has made considerable progress in personal sanctification. Many things are permissible but not profitable, and that no doubt goes for almost all cultural activities (for they are all of the world and not of God). But denying ourselves all converse with the culture in which we live is 1) not really practical and 2) not necessarily entirely salutary. We are in the world, even if we are not of it. Having some idea of what is going on is possibly not a bad thing (as long as we do not use that principle as license to become too deeply involved or as an excuse to access things which are patently wrong neither of which obtains in the examples you give).
The issue of conscience seems to be the operative part of your question and it is to this aspect of your concern upon which I would wish to focus. There is a difference between conscience and emotion, and believe me when I say that the devil is adept at exploiting the gap between the two. In all matters of the application of truth to areas of life which are not absolute, spiritual maturity and continued growth tend to make the answers to such questions ever more clear, and the middle road usually turns out to be the safe one. That is to say, some have the tendency to say "there is no problem at all with contemporary cultural manifestations" (i.e., the strong conscience as in "it is OK to eat meat" Rom.14:2a) with the result that they may end up touring with some rock band and getting involved in all manner of sins; others have the opposite tendency (i.e., the weak conscience as in "it is not OK to eat meat" Rom.14:2a), and may end up going off to a monastery or a religious community or getting involved in some sort of asceticism where the sins revolve around self-righteousness rather than indulging the flesh (but are at least equally as harmful). We who are mature need to avoid both extremes of behavior, and not offend our brothers whose consciences are weak nor bully those whose consciences are strong, but set a good example in all things instead.
For those who have some spiritual common sense, the issue is becoming mature enough to know when a troubled conscience is a case of emotional reaction or truly the Holy Spirit who is doing the talking. The more we grow spiritually by taking in the Word of God making it a part of our hearts through believing that truth, the better equipped we will be to make these sorts of judgment calls automatically. In the meantime, or in cases where the decision seems difficult, the litmus test is this: what does the Word of God say about this issue? For there are clearly many occasions when our conscience may prod us and it is indeed the Spirit using the truth we have stored therein to guide us, coaxing us to "think twice" and "pray about it" or "think about it" or "consult scripture about it" before rashly engaging in something that may feel right but is really wrong. There are however many other occasions when for whatever reason the guilt or unease we feel may just be mean that we are reacting to old and incorrect things we were taught before being saved or erroneously came to believe afterwards or even fear, vanity, jealousy, self-righteousness or any such faulty mental attitude which can easily make us "feel" uneasy, but which is not really coming from the Spirit.
As Christians, we absolutely must make it our practice to "go with what we know to be the truth" from scripture rather than "reacting to what we feel", one way or the other. I am certainly not going to weigh in on whether or not watching a television show is a sin because the answer is "it all depends". For a pastor who is going to be teaching the Bible the next morning and is not yet prepared to then stay up late watching some pointless movie would seem to be wrong under any circumstance; for a concerned citizen to watch the news for half an hour while eating supper would seem to be defensible under any circumstances. These are judgment calls we are all required to make about many things day by day. Rather than looking at such things as "sins" (which they may or may not be), I prefer to focus on what they represent: the marvelous "opportunity stream" with which we as believers in Jesus Christ have all been blessed. For the two most valuable things we have been given as servants of our Savior are free will and the opportunity to use it on His behalf.
Everything we do is a choice, and just as our lives before salvation were all about bringing us to the point of making that most important decision to commit ourselves to Jesus Christ, so our lives after salvation are all about what we are going to do with the opportunities and gifts we have been given. It's all about choice, and it's all about the rewards we will earn by matching our free will to the moment by moment opportunity that time represents (or failing to do so; see the link: the Judgment and Reward of the Church). There is nothing more valuable than learning, believing, applying, and ministering the Word of God, and every member of Christ's Church has been given a gift, a ministry, and a set of results depending upon how he or she bends his or her will to Christ's service. We are not perfect, none of us, but we can all do better. My advice is always to persevere in spiritual growth without which nothing much of a positive nature can be accomplished and, rather than continually castigating ourselves for our flaws and failures, make every effort to do some better every day, day by day, fighting the fight and, crucially, refusing to become demoralized when we fail to fight that fight as effectively as we might. We have to learn to be both tough on ourselves and forgiving of ourselves in just the right proportion: too soft and we will never get anywhere; too hard and we will always be looking backward at the last failure instead of straining forward to the next success. All these sorts of questions have individual answers because we are all unique individuals with unique individual circumstances but they are always answered by the Lord for those who continue to make Him, His truth, His Church, and their ministering to it their first, last and only priority in this life.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect (i.e., spiritually mature), have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained [our spiritual maturity].
Philippians 3:12-16 NIV [expanded]
In Jesus Christ who is Lord of us all.
Your brother in the faith,
Hi Bro. Luginbill,
Greetings again. I am always amazed at your highly detailed - yet lightning quick responses! Do you ever sleep? I certainly know I am not the only one asking questions. But thank you much for your response. It was very encouraging.
I am astounded at the enemy's talent for taking a rinky dink thing (like watching a science fiction show) and practically making it into seeming to be the unpardonable sin. Sounds absurd, but at times that is the terror that has gripped my heart over the last 9 months or so. Just typing it out here on my computer makes it sound all the more absurd.
At any rate, thanks again, brother. Just another helpful boost in my walk with Jesus Christ. I don't care WHAT horrible emotions the evil one (or maybe a depression disorder) throw at me, Jesus Christ is the answer to anything and everything. I am learning that right heavy.
Amen my friend!
Thanks for all your good and encouraging words.
In Jesus Christ the Savior of all mankind and especially of believers.
Another set of questions. Let me say again that your constant support and detailed answers is something I very much appreciate. Discerning the truth from the Bible has become the quest of my life and although at the moment I am a toddler when it comes to it, and hence in need of 'milk', I'm doing my best to be able to digest 'solid food'. Your ministry has inspired me to do everything within my power to one day become a competent teacher (the incompetence of teaching that we're surrounded by is to the harm of many, and maybe even their loss of salvation), even if I'm at the moment a few decades away from being ready for ministry (Bible study, Hebrew, Greek, etc.).
Also, although I keep asking questions many of which are basic, and that may be disheartening for you, I thought I would let you know that your patience and effort in guiding and teaching me is translating into my greater understanding. What I know and understand now, and I still understand very little, is at a level completely different compared to that when I first wrote to you. And, importantly, this understanding is making a difference in my life - I feel and act differently compared to even a couple of months ago, not to even mention the level of my spiritual growth from a year ago.
It's always a pleasure. Let me start by saying that at the rate you are going you will not need "several decades" before becoming useful to the Lord. No doubt He is helping you race ahead at an unusually rapid pace precisely because "the time is short". And of course, as always, I greatly appreciate your overly kind words, and continue to draw great encouragement from your extraordinary enthusiasm for God's holy Word. One thing I think is becoming increasingly obvious (and one day will be to any and all who eventually read this correspondence assuming I live long enough to get to posting it) is that rather than this ministry it really is the Word of God we are talking about here. You ask wonderful questions and have no need to apologize for any of them. You are determined to get to the truth wherever it lies. And I have no doubt that this wonderful and wonderfully correct attitude will take you exactly there: the Lord answers everyone who in persistence keeps knocking in the proper way. I certainly hope that this will mean that we will continue to maintain what has become a solid friendship, even when and if we come to disagree on any points large or small. But my hope is that you and I will both always embrace the truth before anything else. So this hope of mine is founded on the corresponding hope and humble belief that this ministry has indeed honed in on the truth in great if not perfect measure, and that such will ever be the guiding star for both of us, even when or if either of us seem to fall short.
I am currently using Bible Gateway to search for the passages. Do you use any software that doesn't require Internet connection and allows you to look at different translations?
There is such software out there but I don't make use of it. Bible Gateway is good, but in my opinion the Blue Letter Bible is better and much easier to use. The Biblica site (ABS) is also of some use in this regard. When it comes to non-English matters, good concordances are essential.
I was wondering whether it would be possible for you to enrich your website with one feature, that would make going through your studies faster. Where you put the references to Bible passages, it would be possible to install a feature whereby one could simply aim the mouse at certain passage number and a little window would appear with the passage. Such a window could be equipped with an option to choose between translations too. I don't know how difficult or easy that would be, as my technical knowledge on these things is poor and this certainly is not a necessary addition, but when reading your materials one needs to either copy and paste passage numbers and keep flicking between ichthys.com and biblegateway for example or your website and the bible. Being able to see the passage without leaving the website could make the study faster. As I said, I'm sadly of little use when it comes to IT, but at some point I would like to add such a feature to the translated resources. Let me know your thoughts.
This is a very interesting suggestion. If I did not have to work for a living it might be something I could consider. The time constraints of retro-fitting the site in this way make it "not an option" at present. The other problem is the version/source. One has to link to somewhere, and I would be very reluctant to link to any site not my own. At one time I was a big user of the American Bible Society's site, but a couple of year ago they completely revamped everything and made it unworkable for what I personally needed. I would hate to think of spending hundreds or even thousands of hours doing all this linking then have the site to which my links pointed fall off the net or change their system so that all my work would be for naught. With enough resources (and time), there might be a way to get copyright access to an appropriate version, but none of this is possible at the moment. I do appreciate that, unlike many readers, you actually do check the references like a good "Berean". That is why I have included them, and I appreciate the many times you have helped me to "tighten up" what I have included.
Regarding my study of the Word of God, my plan (and I pray that God leads me the way I should go according to Him) goes as follows:
a) study of your resources,
b) study of biblical languages, which I'm now preparing to undertake, and
c) this is the part I'm not sure about. I would like to do some reading in Polish, as potentially (and this may be looking too far ahead, but I'm just taking it into account) my focus could one day be on delivering some teaching in my mother tongue (this is only due to the fact that Polish theology is predominantly catholic and access to other teachings is limited, unless one is for example fluid in English). It may be hard to do everything at the same time, particularly as I have to work and do all the other basic things, so I wanted to ask you what would complement a) and b) best in your opinion - studying the history of the church, studying ancient history, or something else altogether?
I like your plan. Traditional Theology, Church History, and Ancient History are indeed the other elements which round out most plans. I got much more out the two Church History classes I took in seminary than I did out of the theology classes. Still, studying all these things in some sort of a formal and/or systematic way always pays dividends. Time and energy are limited, of course, and I think it is fair to say that many young men have gotten off track by investing too deeply in ancillary areas which never paid off the way the primary areas always do. On that score, the other thing you should do daily is systematic Bible reading, adding Greek and Hebrew scriptures to your regimen just as soon as possible, but never throwing out the Polish (and in your case also the English) as the bedrock of all you do. The better one knows the Bible, the more all of this makes sense.
I keep bothering you for explanations of numerous passages of the Bible. I must honestly say that with my knowledge so wanting, I feel not easy bothering you with the long lists of questions that I regularly send. Your answers have made a difference in my life, about that there is no question, and it's almost miraculous how my life and perception of the world change - I need to keep moving in that direction.
Although, your ministry and understanding of God's Truth is not just for me - it's a fountain of water for many and I don't want to be 'jumping the queue' or 'elbowing my way to the fountain' or 'drinking from it for hours', while others way in thirst. Hence, I wanted to ask, whether you're aware of a resource that explains the Bible passage by passage, a resource that I could first consult and that could potentially clear my doubts or help me understand what at first I'm not able to, rather than writing to you straight away. I'm aware that good teaching is a rare treasure (which is why I keep thanking God for you and your ministry and pray for both daily) and it could be difficult to locate such a resource, but sometimes when performing web searches myself I never know the credibility and truthfulness of particular texts.
It is the purpose of my life to understand as much as possible and at some point be ready to help others, just as you're helping me.
I am very pleased that you have found this ministry a source of refreshing "water" of the truth! To be honest, given the very precise and penetrating nature of the questions you ask, I think a good seminary (of which there are none there are a handful of fair one) would be more useful as an alternative rather than some good books (of which there are virtually none). The above takes a bit of explaining. First, through your diligence in learning the Word and not just learning it but believing it you are already at a very advanced level of understanding of all things spiritual. Naturally, this will be tested down the road, for spiritual growth involves not only believing the truth but also applying it to life in the testing that God allows to come our way so that our faith may be refined and strengthened (e.g., 1Pet.1:1-9), and afterwards also in ministering the truth to others. These three "phases" are both sequential and synchronic, so that even in our early stages of growth we will be experiencing all three (though the percentage/proportion level out over time; translation: things get tougher, but also better).
Generally speaking the genre of book which specifically treats scriptural passages in an explanatory way is the commentary. I have used very many commentaries over the years, individual ones and also sets, and I have to say that I have never gotten much out of any of them. Commentaries tend to lean either to homiletics (in which case they are virtually useless because they are mostly sermon-snippets written by people who are usually wrong in both their theology and their understanding of any difficult passage) or linguistic. And even in the latter type, it is a very rare commentary that has anything helpful to offer which would not be obvious to someone with a sound grounding in theology reading the passage for themselves in the original language (as you aspire to do).
The best Old Testament commentary set is Keil and Deilitzsch's Commentary on the Old Testament (these are available on the internet in various forms it's a multi-volume set and I have linked to one place you can find it). Even KD is not perfect and it depends which author wrote which volume and how interested he was in what you or I may be interested in, but at least they are sometimes helpful. There is nothing comparable in the New Testament. The best I have found is Meyer's Critical Exegetical Handbook New Testament in 11 volumes. One rule of thumb here is that the older these sorts of books are, the more likely they are to be of at least some use. I have only very infrequently gotten any help from any commentary published after World War II. Another rule of thumb when building one's personal library (considering that money, time and also space are valuable) is that good research books (lexicons, dictionaries, critical introductions, historical treatments, special topics studies) are all about ten times more likely to be of some use to you down the road than any of the increasingly large mass of commentaries out there in the print world. But of course you'll want to be careful there too since there are more bad examples of even this good set than there are true treasures. I have what I would consider a fairly extensive library and to be honest nine out of ten books are almost worthless to me now whereas there are about a hundred or so I use all the time.
Seminary was a very good experience for me and one I almost missed. When I mustered out of the Marine Corps, I went back to college to get a second B.A. so as to pick up the Greek, Latin and Hebrew I had missed the first time around. At the close of this experience, I was offered a position in the university's graduate program in Classics along with a teaching assistant position and free tuition. At the last minute, I decided instead to go to seminary (where the tuition was high for the time and there was no financial support). This turned out to be a wonderfully good decision and not only because it was good to ask the kind of questions you are asking in an academic setting but also because of the cadre of friends I met there, a small group of (then) young men who were from the same background (following the teachings of Col. Thieme) and who were deeply desirous of finding out "all the answers" and developing "all the tools" in order to do so. As I look back, the daily conversations we had about all things theological turned out to be more important to me than all the classes I had in seminary put together (although the two I had in Church history from dear old Dr. Christian were invaluable as well). I understand that this may not be a realistic option for you and I would be reluctant to recommend any seminary in this country, let alone in Europe. I just realize that I am a "poor substitute" for you for that sort of experience, but I will try to do my best. At present, there is no way for those interested in this ministry to meet and exchange ideas (unless they happen to meet accidentally).
To the extent that the mitigating circumstances which lead to sin are themselves a result of sinful folly, we may be assured that they will weigh more heavily in the balance of God's justice than those which are truly out of our control.
Just to double check I understand this sentence - if the mitigating circumstances are our fault (more or less directly, like the example you mentioned - going to a race track), they will result in a harsher judgment than a situation, when what contributed to our sin was out of our control, resulting in God potentially taking this into consideration and counting it as a smaller sin.
This is how I understand things in general, but I don't wish to reduce it to a rule. The pastor I mentioned above under spent much time regaling us with stories about people who had taken something he said and had then vigorously misapplied it, using it like a club to beat the real truth brutally over the head. Since this ministry is on the internet, I don't see many actual misapplications of what I teach (I hope and pray there are none!), but I try to remember those lessons and "head off at the pass" anything which might even be tending in that direction. So while this is exactly how I see it on the one hand, on the other hand I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine a situation where a believer would need to say to him/herself (or be at all well served by saying to him/herself) something like "this potential sin is not something I have set up by my previous behavior so if I go ahead and commit it I won't be spanked by the Lord as hard as I would have otherwise". This may sound ridiculous, but when things get down to rules that is the sort of thing that actually does happen (or similar). And for another thing, no one can really say for certain is that "none of the mitigating circumstances here are my fault", at least honestly, because there is so very much that goes on in the world of which we are unaware (and we have very selective memories too).
Regarding the Ichthys sign in the catacombs - search in the web returned a few results, including Domitilla (fish and anchor) and Saint Callixtus (bread and fish) catacombs (both in Rome), there is also San Sebastian (fish and anchor). As you are well aware, websites are often not a reliable source of information and I haven't got references from respectable academic sources. Also, I'm not sure if fish and anchor or fish or bread really relate to the acronym (the latter likely doesn't). Oldest apparently dating first decades of second century. A couple of scholarly references I did manage to locate also give rather limited insight and don't give locations of these symbols (one of them called 'Physiologus and the Christian fish symbol' by R. Gerde mentions Tertullian as the first piece of evidence regarding its existence, dating the end of second century), as a specialist in the domain you would have the skill to assess their usefulness, although I'm sure that this is not an activity that will bear as much fruit as other things involved in your ministry, so I will probably leave it at that.
Thanks! I'll hold onto this info.
Your encouraging words truly mean a lot. They also reflect the message of Luke 18-29-30. Unfortunately, not all family members, friends or other people with whom the relationships could be described as relatively close, have their hearts open to the Truth, hence they show very little, and often no support for the task I undertook. Sometimes quite contrary. This is not to say I'm in any way disheartened - this most definitely isn't the case, although it does frustrate me at times, how hard hearted people can become (sadly, one of the 'fruits' of catholicism). Some individuals just won't listen, even if presented with very clear arguments to which they have no reply.
Our correspondence has become one of the main driving forces behind the growth in recent months (the other being readings) and an inspiration to one day become able to address the questions of other believers. I find it hard to believe how little I knew, understood and applied a year ago. I find it hard to believe the same even with regard to the beginning of this year. I hope and pray that God changes me and makes me a tool of His, so that I can think the same about my current spiritual state in a couple of months time. With God's constant help, to which I want to be as open as I possibly can, many things changed and my life truly is different - but there is a lot to be done, and with growth comes awareness that the time is short.
Family is always a tough one. The people we love the most sometimes have a tendency to respect what we are trying to do for the Lord the least. But we are not the first to bump into this:
Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
John 7:3-5 NIV
In the end, however, Jesus' siblings did come to believe (e.g., Acts 1:14 and cf. James and Jude), so there is always hope that, if at present our family and old friends prefer to see us as we were and overlook the message of truth which has taken hold of us, eventually the truth will become evident to them to in spite of or even because of us.
Your rapid growth in the truth of Jesus Christ is an inspiration to me, my friend! It is my constant prayer that you may continue apace and not be tripped up by my failings or by the pressures the evil one is no doubt already bringing to bear.
"For now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord."
1st Thessalonians 3:8 NIV
There are many stops along the road that leads downward to complete rebellion from God and a total loss of faith in Jesus Christ so that we need to be careful to distinguish apostasy, which is an absolute state of unbelief on the part of a former believer, from, for example, a lack of productivity for the Lord on the part of one who is "lukewarm" (but nonetheless still maintains a degree of faith in Christ; cf. Matt.13:22; Mk.4:18-19; Lk.8:14), or a worldly and largely unsanctified approach to life on the part of a believer whose fear of God has diminished to a dangerously low level (cf. Jas.4:4; 1Jn.2:15-17).
Similarly as above, I assume that both Jas.4:4 and 1Jn.2:15-17 can be used to describe believers, as opposed to only referring to unbelievers?
I think that is certainly true. The Bible tends to put descriptions of personal spiritual status in absolute terms (as later in 1st John when he says "Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him": 1Jn.3:6 NKJV). This is true, even though we know that no believer is sinless. Our "job description" (as one of my old Hebrew professors once aptly put it) is "sinlessness". That is the standard to which we have been called, even though we will all of necessity fall short to some degree. However, if we do not make it our purpose to pursue sanctification (without which "no one will see the Lord": Heb.12:14), then we are apt to turn entirely away toward sin and fatally compromise our faith eventually (apostasy), or so provoke the Lord that we are removed from this life (the sin unto death). When our Lord talks about the love of the world, He therefore quite predictable puts things in these same absolute terms:
"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has [enough] to finish [it] "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see [it] begin to mock him, "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. "Salt [is] good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? "It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, [but] men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Luke 14:26-35 NKJV
In the history of the Church, the percentage of believers who have even come close to this standard for even the majority of their Christian lives has got to be pretty small (in my estimation), but this is the standard and it is presented as an absolute. So while it is true that very few Christians, even the "cream" of the current crop, can be said not to the love the world at all, hatred of the world is the correct "believer perspective" to which we should aspire at all times (1Jn.2:15-17). And if we do not hate the world and are instead friends with the world, then we have adopted instead the posture of "enemy of God" (Jas.4:4). Clearly, most believers are compromised in terms of "love for the world" at least to some small degree, and just as clearly they are not for that reason summarily cast out of the family of God or subjected to immediate and terminal divine discipline. So we need to understand this principle of the absolute divine standard with which we cannot completely comply and embrace God's mercy in being tolerant of our insufficiencies, while at the same time setting ourselves against compromise and striving toward the goal of perfection in spite of our inability to attain it completely. For if on the one hand we refuse to accept the reality of our sinful nature and inherent imperfections, we will either drive ourselves mad in attempting the impossible or, much more commonly, redefine sin and perfection to our own advantage in order to achieve our own attainable standard (keeping the Law in a human redefinition of it is one example of this). On the other hand, if we do not set ourselves to doing everything God has called us to do in precisely the way He has called upon us to do it, if we mentally or emotionally vitiate or down-play these verses which call us to a perfect standard, then before long we will have no respect for the standard and no fear of God. Soon, we will find ourselves either drifting off into apostasy or the sin unto death or at the very least living lukewarm Christian lives, wasted lives that stand to gain God no glory and us no reward.
The harder we are on ourselves (while being at the same time honest about what we are doing and realistic about what we can do), the less hard God will need to be on us (and He knows precisely who and what we are and what we can and cannot do). It's all about choices. There is a 100% "safe zone" where we are perfect and do the will of God completely, and there is a 100% "disaster zone" where we do precisely as we will without any regard for the will of God whatsoever. The fact that if we are somewhere in-between we might not be in danger of being immediately destroyed, and that it might even be possible to cozen up pretty closely to the "total disaster" area and still survive should not recommend that approach to us. If we hate the world perfectly, we are in the 100% "safe zone" and have nothing whatsoever to fear: those who fear God perfectly have absolutely nothing to fear either from Him or from the world. However, if we are not in the 100% "safe zone", then by definition we are not 100% safe, and the farther we stray from 100% safe, the more likely we are to get into some sort of serious spiritual trouble. For these reasons, God is not only just and truthful with us in giving us these absolute standard passages, but He is also merciful and loving, because only by taking all of this seriously and by getting as close to the 100% safe zone as humanly possible are we going to actually be safe and thus be able also to maximize our potential in growth, progress, and service to our dear Lord Jesus.
I was curious if you are familiar or have read Systematic Theology by Wayne Gruder? If so, any thoughts? Secondly, I am hearing of a lot of churches that are "non-denominational" yet Christian and preach Jesus. What do you make of the "non-denominational" church? Is it the beginning of the end of the last church age?
I've never read his book. I know that he is well regarded in the world of evangelicalism so that we disagree on many key points. For example, he is "once saved, always saved", pre-Trib, in favor of water baptism, and something most evangelicals would even disavow believes that all the apostolic gifts (read tongues) are still being given. From a brief perusal of his work it seems he has a number of other quirky views as well. So I couldn't endorse the work. Whether or not those portions of the book which are not flat out wrong are different enough from other such works to be valuable, I cannot say, not having read the book.
In the beginning, all churches were "non-denominational". It was only the development of politically centralized bishoprics and then finally the dominance of the bishopric of Rome that effectively destroyed the independent local church at least for the most part as far as church history is aware. There have been true believers present in every Church Age, and it make sense to assume that even in areas dominated by Rome or Byzantium some groups existed which did constitute real "churches" of a sort (even if some or all members were also members of the visible monolith-church). We know of a few such groups historically, but I suspect that there were others about which we know nothing. In my reading of scripture, denominations are not biblically authorized. In my study of church history and evaluation of the present day church-visible, denominations have done so much more harm than good that one can see why they are not endorsed in the Bible. I suppose there is a case to be made that they were necessary during the Reformation period as a counter-weight to hostile Roman power, but it is hard to see how they may be defended today.
As to the specific intent of your question, you may be on to something. We are, after all, in the final Church era, that of Laodicea (see the link). I would like to think that the non-denominational trend has been all to the good, that is, the result of a dissatisfaction with dead tradition and lack of substantive Bible teaching. In fact, however, especially when it comes to mega-churches and charismatic groups, this trend has largely meant tossing out the old traditional doctrine, right or wrong, and replacing it either with nothing in particular or with something equally incorrect (and sometimes even more spiritually dangerous). Generally, the trend has meant the consumerization of Christianity more than anything else. Not that this is a recommendation for denominations which have entirely lost any connection with their original zeal and "salt". All this explains why Ichthys is an internet ministry.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord who is the Word of Truth.
How about the 3-Volume set by Charles Hodge?
Yes, I have Hodge's Systematic Theology. It is pretty good from what I have read of it though it tends to be highly apologetic and academic as opposed to being an entry level introduction to the doctrines of the Bible. Also, the apologetics are slanted to the issues afoot during the late 19th century when it was written. I have found it somewhat useful in the past, but mostly for the theology proper. For instance, since this is a Reformed theology, there is nothing much of value in it from the standpoint of eschatology.
Yours in Jesus,
Thank you, Robert.
Lastly, Outlines of Theology by A.A. Hodges. This one looks more promising than the others.
Your patience is much appreciated.
I don't have it and have not read it, but from what I do know the apple didn't fall far from the tree. A.A. was Charles Hodge's son, and the approach and content from a short perusal of the work online seems very similar to dad's book.
Is there a Systematic Theology book you would recommend?
I'm a bit reluctant to recommend anything specific since 1) I am sure there would be disagreements between myself and any such text and 2) they all cost money I'd be happier recommending something free. For both reasons, I'm working my way through the Basics series which, when complete, will be just that: a comprehensive and a correct (as I can make it) systematic theology available at no charge. Until then, there are files at Ichthys which do cover in some way or other all of the issues the remaining parts of Bible Basics (see the link) will address and I am always happy to answer specific questions. Here is a link which addresses this subject: "Bible Study Tools"
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,
Thank you Rob for your sincere dedication to sharing your wealth of knowledge.
While on the subject, I was looking at several Apologetics for studying. Do you have any particular recommendations?
Do you have a prefered Study Bible?
Also, a friend had shown me a very large black book (it was like a "Bible Encyclopedia") that went into great details about all subjects of the Bible: from detailed history of kings in the Bible, information on various named civilizations and tribes, and many other insightful information similar to your published works.
I was wondering if you know the name of this black book I am referring to. My friend doesn't recalled the book, unfortunately.
In regards to having the ability to articulate and defend creation from evolutionists' theories, are there any recommended books as well?
Again, thank you fro the many years of faithful dedication on sharing your insightful knowledge of the Word of God.
In Chris Jesus my God and my Lord,
Thanks for all your good words!
As to your questions, Christian Apologetics by Norman Geisler is a standard conservative work on the subject (not my specialty, so I can't really vouch for it). My favorite study Bible is the NIV Study Bible edited by Kenneth Barker et al. (Zondervan Press). The notes are quite good, often better than what one would find in a stack of commentaries, and it generally presents a conservative view that takes the Bible as inspired by God (a rarer thing than one would think). On the "black book", if it has all sorts of information but is one volume it probably belongs to the genre of "Bible Dictionary". There are a large number of these going back into the last century, with the same dictionary often coming out with multiple presses, in multiple formats, and in multiple bindings. One of the more ubiquitous and one of the better ones too was Smith's Bible Dictionary (which I think did often have a black binding); Davis' Bible Dictionary and Unger's Bible Dictionary are two I have and occasionally get some help from, but, as I say, there are a lot of iterations of this form. Finally, when I was in seminary many years ago I read some excerpts from a book which attempted to show from a statistical and mathematical approach how evolution was practically impossible (e.g., calculating the odds of the right amino acids forming by chance and what that would take, etc.). I don't remember the author or the work, but I seem to recall that others have done similar things more recently. You might look into something along those lines since people find statistics persuasive. Do let me know if you come across anything good on that front. As I say, it's not my area, but we all have our own gifts and our own mission fields.
My best wishes for your success in championing and defending the truth of God's Word!
In Jesus our dear Lord,
Thank you so very much for responding! Thank you, thank you! I truly appreciate your valuable time you've spent on providing me the recommended readings.
I promised to let you know of my progress and search and my final decision based on your recommendations. I would like to let you know that after buying an Asus Eee Pad Transformer (similar to the iPad, but significantly better, in my opinion :-)), that having a digital version of the Bible is so convenient for me (when I'm traveling for work, traveling on vacation, or simply going to church).
I'm planning to download your entire studies unto it and will cherish your studies immensely. Once again, thank you for your hard work and tremendous dedication.
In His Grace and Mercy,
And thank you for your godly enthusiasm for the truth of God's Word.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon,
Dear Dr. Luginbill,
Just a short note to let you know that Im still alive, and that I have been thinking of, and praying for you. I have decided to move south and leave DC and its strange going ons behind me. I trust that I can have a peaceful life down South. It occurred to me the other day how nice it would be if you could have your teachings in audio. Would it be a very expensive proposition, and how much would you need for this? Anyhow, think about it.
A lot of people need to HEAR the Word of God intelligently exposed. Not the simple praise the Lord nonsense. Profound knowledge, not milk for infants. I certainly would! Call me lazy or whatever for preferring audio, and you are right!
Well dear Dr. Luginbill, I will keep you posted of my whereabouts. May God continue blessing you, and through you, your readers, I among these!
Good to hear from you. I know what you are saying. I would dearly love to put these studies into an audio format. The problems with doing so are prohibitive, however, and would be even if the process were completely free. The main impediment is time. If I could read through one of the weekly postings in two hours, it would only be by going fast and with no preparation, and what are the chances that I would not need many pauses and retakes? Also, copy has to be prepared for reading; it's not the same as writing. Then there are the other production issues (sound editing, formatting, launching); all this assumes that I had a studio and the software and a director and sound technician, etc.). Even if all this were in place for new offerings, I have many thousands of pages of material which I would have to get to as well; and every new major study would take weeks. Simply put, I would need to be retired and pretty well off to even think about taking this step. As things stand now, I am afraid you are going to have to make-do with text-based studies. However, computer reading technology is getting better day by day. How about having a look into that? I have a feeling that this will become a realistic alternative before I could ever get to converting all this material to audio (see the link: Regarding Ichthys: Question/Response #3).
Anyhow, believe it or not I really do appreciate the sentiment. One never knows what might develop in the future, and sound files are in fact one of the directions I hope to be able to go in at some point time. It's good to know that there is interest!
Best wishes for your move.
In Jesus our Lord,
WOW! Thanks Bob..For Matthew 28,19 to mean Spirit Baptism... is so great to hear for it is the most important, isn't it? I know of people who are not water baptised, but do have the Spirit.T here is much controversy raging in the little church I belonged to in south africa. The (only) leader vows that unless you are water Baptised, you cannot be Baptised in the Spirit, and you MUST NOT use pagan words(to him ) like glory, holy ..as they have pagan origin! He is having a hard time, as 3 of my Spirit Baptised friends are arguing with him !!! And as for using "ghost" ..!!! Yes it is indeed a hard sprint for the finishing line...so few there are who walk the strait path to glory !
I am (only) thinking of writing a book, similar to watchman nee, on " Cor 5 "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the Life also may be made manifest..." I see very few Christians live the concentrated life and are moving toward complacency in their huge big churches. I used to write for magazines and newspapers and did radio broadcasts for children when I was in Zimbabwe...all I do now is search your website and write in my diary !
Do you think I should pursue this? Would value your opinion - I'm not after glory or money ...only for the Lord Jesus. If I made any money I would send it over to you for your ministry...it would be a huge undertaking and I know be under heavy attack from satan..but I am not afraid ..Jesus has ALL power over him..
Value your opinion
All love and prayers in our precious Lord Jesus
Thanks for your email as always. Every single one of us is an integral part of the Body of Jesus Christ, and we have all been given a gift or gifts by the Holy Spirit. Moreover, when we are ready for it, Jesus has a particular ministry for each one of us (1Cor.12). Finding out what our gifts are and how specifically we are meant to employ them for the Lord is sometimes a long process and there is no definite procedure to follow beyond praying and what we should all be doing anyway, "growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2Pet.3:18). It seems to me that since you have experience as a writer and a speaker (and much experience as a Christian in a variety of circumstances), those might well be the venues for you to serve our Lord.
On books, having published a couple in the secular realm, I can tell you that the process today is ugly, difficult, and cloyingly commercial and from what I can tell that is the case in "Christian publishing" as well. However, the internet is wide open. It is a very simple matter to set up one's own Blog for free (see the link: Google Blogger). I'm certainly not telling you what to do but it strikes me that something like this would allow you to get cracking immediately, write short pieces, develop your approach over time, and gain an audience as the Lord considers your efforts worthy. And it is also apparently a very do-able thing to have pod-cast voice broadcasts connected with an internet site and even videos which can be easily made and posted to a number of services like YouTube (I know much less about this: I have looked into it but have my hands full with what I am doing now). Personally, I find just the fact that you are interested in serving Him very encouraging and encourage you to persevere in your good intentions.
In Jesus who is our all in all,
Yes, thanks very much, Bob ... have considered this for a long time, but am afraid of taking any glory for myself - that is why I have not done anything. So grateful for your advice, will have a look at the Google Blogger and always seek your advice on these matters. I would not do anything doctrinal, but only things for Spiritual growth. Will get back to you once I have thoroughly searched the matter
Once again, many thanks
In our precious Lord Jesus
You certainly have my best wishes and my prayers for this. The Body has never been in more need of doctrinally correct encouragement, reproof and guidance. We are merely "unworthy servants who have only done our duty" (Lk.17:10). But it is still important that we do it for His glory, and the building up of His Church.
In Jesus before whom we shall all stand on that great day of days.
Hullo Bob .
Am so sorry to keep worrying you with this Blog thing! I can't find my web address - but think it might be- http://nivenenidagainstthetide.blogspot.com/ couldn't find a www one ! And have to find out what links and all that are! I've got a lot to learn and find out about it , but if you do manage to get on to it- please advise me about what I have written , title etc - if you think I should change anything before it gets seen by anyone , etc. I don't want you to be spending your time helping me, as I can see I will be a long time getting the hang of it. Please don't worry... meantime will be really getting to grips on those last studies you gave me...thank you so much
Love in our precious Lord Jesus
I just found your blog good going! It looks very nice! You have made a good start. I have linked to your blog on my links page. There are a few other personal ministries on that page which are also done through blogger (though most of the links are to large organizations).
As to "www", well, that is the way the net used to be configured, but many have dropped the prefix (I have, and it looks like Blogger has too so don't worry about it). The address you have here is the correct address (i.e., http://nivenenidagainstthetide.blogspot.com/).
Keep up the good work, and do feel free to write me any time.
In Jesus the dear Lord we serve,
Have just posted another Blog!
Could you have a look at it when you have time - no hurry ! It is titled "Born to die "..please do pick it to pieces !! Am looking into one on families, and another on exposing the cults. But will have to do some serious study first! I must tell you that your study on Kenosis really help-ed me with this one ...
Thanks for all your wonderful work
Love in our precious Lord Jesus
I really enjoyed this post! It is not only doctrinal but really gets to the heart of the matter of the truth in a way that many sermons I have heard in life do not (and that surely says something).
You are already building up a body of encouraging and inspiring work. I pray that many others will be led to this work and be edified by it.
Keep up the good work in Jesus Christ our Lord!
Thanks Bob. I thought it might be a little harsh! How do people know to look on my Boggle - do the ones in those circles just look or must I give them my Boggle address? Will definitely put a referral to your website into my posts...
Thanks for your encouragement - I could never have written this without your input on Kenosis and all your wonderful studies. Am hard at work now to study your one on cults and Christophany.
So many thanks for your help
Love in our wonderful lord Jesus
Not at all it was great!
As to site traffic, that is "the issue" with all such endeavors, and there are no easy answers. Getting Google and other search engines and/or blog sites to pick up your blog is a dicey business. Longevity on the web counts for something, as do links from other pages (I have already linked to your blog). Ichthys is not technically a blog, so my expertise in how to get traffic coming to a blog is very limited. Since your site is on Blogger, I would recommend that you start by reading what they say about "SEO" (search engine optimization). I have been at this on the internet since 1997, and Ichthys is still not that well-known, but God has given me just enough to handle at every turn, so it has worked out perfectly in fact. My advice is to keep writing, keep posting, look at other blogs for ideas on what you can do to enrich your pages, and keep reading up on what there is out there in internet-land about blogs. Just as "the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains" (Jas.5:7 NIV), so if we are patient and diligent in our work, all good things will come.
In Jesus Christ our Lord in whom and for whom all our efforts are rewarded,
I am just wondering if you have any books that I can buy on the subjects of earths early history, Lucifers rebellion & fall, etc.
Thanks so much!
Good to make you acquaintance. I very much appreciate your interest. This is a question I get quite a lot (see the link: FAQ #1). For a variety of reasons (mainly, I don't want to have to charge money for these materials and I also don't want to surrender any of the rights), these studies are available only over the internet. However, from your question, I wonder if you have seen the whole Satanic Rebellion series (please see the link). This is a five part series, each of which is book length (with the possible exception of part 2 which is somewhat shorter than the others). All the major studies are available at Ichthys for download in Adobe PDF format, so if you have an e-reader or are willing to print them out, that would be the closest thing I could offer.
Thanks you for you interest in this ministry!
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Hello Bob, how are you?
Do you have a particularly favorite single volume commentary?
I don't get very much out of commentaries. The best commentary I've seen that is concise is the one that accompanies the NIV Study Bible ed. Kenneth Barker. However that is a set of notes in an actual Bible and not a stand-alone volume. For the Old Testament, I do like M.F. Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament, although this is a two volume set. Many people like the classic Jamieson, Faucet and Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. It is at least "not wrong" in many places and tends to be pithy (which is good, especially when wrong), and I can't say this about most of the others I have used. There are plenty more I don't like at all, especially the multiple volume ones. If you wish, I'd be happy to weigh in before you drop a lot of money on something that won't do you any good.
Yours in Jesus,
So Unger's for the Old Testament. Is there 1 in particular that's better than most for the New Testament?
I don't really have a preference. I suppose the real question here is what is the purpose? I am interested in what the Bible actually says and means, and to that end it is the rare commentary that offers any help whatsoever. Many commentaries for English-only readers are really sermon collections built around passages. I'm not much into sermons, especially when the text upon which they are supposedly based is completely misconstrued (with the result that there is very little of God's Word actually present). Technical commentaries may offer help for some who have some Greek (or Hebrew in the OT) when it comes to digging into the actual meaning of the text. For edification purposes, however, I always recommend a good study Bible, one that will give mostly true, mostly positive explications without distracted from reading the Word itself.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,
Good Morning and God bless you my friend! I just wanted to say that I'm praying for you and I hope all is well. I know the last time we spoke, you had mention that you were looking for God to part the Sea on your behalf. Well I been praying for you every since and I hope that the Sea has been parted :). Thanks again for all of your encouraging words and direction. Your encouragement has help me weather the storm, and has keep me in remembrance. You are greatly appreciated!
Thank you, friend, for your encouraging words! I am continuing to keep you in prayer day by day, and I very much appreciate your prayers on my behalf as well. Things have not yet worked out here as I had hoped, but I am ever confident and expectant of God's timely deliverance. We often do not know why "things happen", but we can certainly trust the Lord that whatever happens is Him "working everything out for the good" as long we keep loving Him and trusting Him with all our hearts. That is what I am endeavoring to do, and I know that with your helpful intercession before the throne of grace it will all work out in God's perfect way and at His perfect time.
Thank you for remembering me, friend!
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
The emailer from question 4 today seems very spiritually mature and borderline prophetic. Though i know that gift has ceased for now. Your response, equally in Spirit. Just words of encouragement, no need to respond as your time is valuable. Please pray i quit sinning a certain sin. I don't understand all the mechanics of corporate prayer, though you see my affinity for "getting to the bottom" of things.
Again, just more encouragement and no need to reply. I read the rest of your mail, and wow. You explained the Arab-Israeli conflict without politics. Wow. Consider that a spiritual victory in the extreme. Humbled. Now explain abortion without politics! I jest, but I feel the Lord has a sense of humor as well. Paul did say that those who espouse circumcision should just take the plunge and mutilate themselves. I can only imagine what He has in store for us. Keep the faith brother. I'm always amazed at Paul's concern for his own spiritual safety and Solomon's potential apostasy. I pray for courage in the good fight of faith, and for your enthusiasm secularly and spiritually.
I always appreciate your encouraging words. As to abortion, well, that is one place where I seem to upset everyone on both sides of the issue (see the link: "Life Begins at Birth"). The examples of Paul and Solomon are indeed good ones to keep in mind. If someone as great as Paul was 'careful to be careful', and some as great as Solomon got into serious trouble when he wasn't doing so, what hope do we lesser lights have if we drop our guard and ease up on our "fear of the Lord"?
I will be keeping you in my prayers.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Savior,
Hi Dr. Lugenbill,
I'm midway through an online course in ancient western civilization. My professor seems to know Greek (not sure, but something he said makes me think he does). Anyway, we had a web discussion on the word "polite" and the correct ancient understanding for that word... and I cited that the same root is in the words police, policy, politics, metropolitan, etc.. and when others mentioned the word "civil" which has a Latin root being the same as polite, he blasted us with saying "how can you say that? they have nothing in common!" but civic and polis both mean the word city, don't they? There seems to be a similarity between civic and civilized (Latin) and polis and polite (Greek) but the work polite (politay) means Greek citizen in a city directly where the Latin is a little different I suppose (?)... but isn't it correct that we have both Greek and Latin in our English word roots? Why would he get upset with saying that? Hoping you can help me understand this from the "Greek mind" point of view. :)
The exact etymology of English words which came into the language before the Renaissance (or contemporary with it) is often a matter of some debate. "Polite" seems to be derived from the Latin verb "to polish" rather than from the Greek word polis. So "political" is the Greek equivalent of the Latin derived "civil", but as you can see from this example the usage in English very often becomes specialized beyond what the words may have meant in their original contexts in any case (being political and being civil in our day and age are often mutually exclusive!). Etymology is often a help and a guide to the original meaning of a word, but in all languages, "usage is king" (as Horace noted in the 1st cent. B.C.).
You are certainly correct that English is awash with Latin and Greek derived words; together they constitute the great majority of our vocabulary (thank the Normans, the Church, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and modern science). Why anyone would be upset by this is beyond me unless they have a cross to bear for king Harold and the lost Saxon kingdom.
In Jesus our Lord,
I have been through my church's 2 year discipleship program and several other Bible studies. I have been giving away Bibles for years. Do you have any Bible studies going on now? Also, did you make it to Vietnam?
All the Bible studies I do are online, nothing face to face. That has never worked out for me here in Louisville and perhaps it's just as well (time is my scarcest commodity). You are certainly welcome at Ichthys any time, though.
I went on active duty about two weeks after the last choppers left the embassy roof in Saigon, so I didn't even earn a mustard and ketchup ribbon. Never got shot at (but an M-60 tank did permanently rearrange my left-ankle long 'sea story' there).
Best wishes for all your efforts in ministering for our Lord.
Many many thanks to you for this seemingly unending web site. The tools which are available are just fabulous. The books and commentaries are more than I (little old me) could ask for. Please dont end this web site. It is almost heavenly. I am a grandmother and I teach several small bible studies to young mothers. I love them and I love the Word and I love this site.
Again, thanks and may God continue to give you the heart and strength to keep this site up and running,
Thanks much for your highly encouraging email! It always gives me the greatest pleasure to hear that these studies have helped my brothers and sisters in Christ in some way. God helping me, this site will be up and available until the Lord returns or takes me home.
If you would like to be placed on my email notification list, I would be happy to add your address (only one or two at the most emails generated per year). It is my policy to delete addresses when email comes back as undeliverable, so please keep Ichthys in mind when/if you change your email address.
Thank you for your love of the Word of God and for your service to the Church of Jesus Christ!
I live in India. My friends from Australia have been supporting an Orphanage with 200 Children for last 15 years and we run a school too for them. Every morning and evening we have Devotions where we provide Bible Teaching in small chunks and on Saturdays and Sundays we invite several Child Ministers to teach Gods Word to them besides what we do on a regular basis.
Can we use your material to help them understand the Word in a better way? Please let us know of your policy in this. Also please let us know if you know of anyone who provide teaching material for children from 1-10 Grades. Thank you.
Yours in His task,
You are certainly most welcome to use the materials at Ichthys. Usage policy is spelled out at the following link: About Ichthys. In a nutshell, the policy is designed to prevent unauthorized "for profit" use and/or false attribution. Otherwise, these materials are offered freely for the purpose of aiding the spiritual growth of all my fellow Christians. These materials are only offered online, however. This is a small "tent-making" ministry and I don't have the means to produce or ship physical reproductions.
I don't know of any ministry geared to the elementary school level (which I would feel comfortable recommending, that is), but you might check with some of the organizations listed on the Ichthys Bible Study Links pages as a starting point.
Best wishes in all of your efforts for our Lord Jesus Christ,
I wonder, do you ever venture out here to the Asia-Pacific region? You would surely be a blessing to us out here in the front lines of the Great Commission. Have you considered such a venture?
In HIS Name;
In HIS Hands,
I haven't been out that way since I left Okinawa (and the USMC a few days later). In fact, I almost never travel at all. But thanks for the encouragement!
You are in my prayers daily.
Keep up the good work for Jesus Christ our Lord,
In Biblical time during Jesus did they have written obituaries? For my answer would be no. There was an e-mail printed to look like when Jesus died there was a written obituary. I guess I would be a literal person. ( do have a humor side at times Smile ) thank you
Always good to hear from you. You are absolutely correct. There were no newspapers before the advent of the printing press, hence no obits. In classical antiquity, people did get the word out through gravestone inscriptions. Many of these were quite detailed. The emperor Augustus' res gestae runs to many pages in print editions. Some people even took it upon themselves to entertain passers-by with wonderful artwork or by doing things such as putting riddles on their tombstones. More often the stone expresses grief about the loss of a loved one, what his/her name was, their age, how many children they had, other significant facts, and who survived them and how much they loved them. These monuments were seen in a different way than we see them today, at least in Greece and Rome. The burial places were generally right along the main roads coming into cities and towns so that the funerary monuments and inscriptions would be easily visible and readable to travelers. Traditional Jewish burial practice was different, of course, but there was quite a lot of classical influence in Palestine in our Lord's day and many such monuments. Of course our Lord wasn't in the tomb long enough for an inscription! And He is most certainly not there now. I find it very encouraging to contemplate that some of our present day believers will never have an obit since they will not see death but will survive to the resurrection when we all rise to meet Him face to face (even if that blessed event lies on the other side of the Tribulation).
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,
Good Morning Robert!
Put one up yesterday I thought you might enjoy.
Although God has conveyed it so many ways for us to try to understand, I have come to realize the difference between knowing and believing.
I have much to learn about holding one with my left hand, one with my right.
God Bless you.
Thanks for the link very nice!
One thing though: John 7:53 - 8:11, the pericope of the women caught in adultery, is not part of the Bible but a later interpolation (see the link: "Cast the first stone?").
Best wishes for your continuing service to our Lord Jesus,
Good morning Bob
Thank you for a very interesting and enlightening read. You are a welcome resource, and I appreciate your transparency. Much as the later texts confirm as you so wonderfully illustrated regarding the inclusion of the adulterous woman, for myself, it has stood as a reminder to me that the depth of sin is revealed in the light of Christ, not of man. This does not change the fact of inclusion, though I would hope it is by the light of Christ in man which so directed the significance of its addition to the Bible.
This would carry into my appreciation of the apostle Paul in Romans 7.
Bob, again many thanks for your love of Christ, made so much as light from a lamp on a stand.
You are most welcome,
Keep fighting this good fight of faith there is nothing more important on this earth.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Good Morning Bob.
Are there other postings within your site that will guide me through the non-scriptural entries into the bible, and possibly even a time line as to when these occurred?
I found 'response 8' to be very informative, and encouraging.
I do have the major ones listed at the following link (with sub-links in some cases to treatments like the one you have just read which set out the issue in greater detail):
Erroneous additions to the Bible (Q #6 in "The Greek Text of the NT")
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I am writing a book on Genesis and was wondering if I could include some of your work. Would you kindly grant me permission and what would be the terms of the copyright.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Good to make your acquaintance. My policy on this is stated at the link: http://ichthys.com/about.htm
Simply put, standard academic citation and quotation of pertinent excerpts fairly attributed of the sort which needs no special legal permission is certainly acceptable without any special dispensation.
Incidentally, the animation and other HTML included in your email landed your message in my exclusion bin (and I have it set to maximum tolerance to let almost everything through). If you are not getting responses to your emails, that is probably part of the problem.
Best wish with your book!
In Jesus Christ our Lord,
Dear brother in Christ,
I have read your work on the symbolism of the temple and would appreciate your permission to paraphrase some relevant material you presented for a project I am working on. I will promise to credit your work fully and will use it for edification of fellow Christians. Thank You.
Good to make your acquaintance. I have no problem with standard academic citation and excerption (which is what you seem to be proposing). The specifics of my policy on this are outlines at the link: About Ichthys.
Best wishes in your work for our Lord Jesus Christ and the building up of His Church!
Dear Bob, Thank you for your quick response. I will respect what you have outlined as acceptable academic notations. I am primarily interested in using a small part of the symbolism that relates to Christ and His redemptive role, more specifically, the number 6 the number of man, the wood symbolizing humanity, the bronze covering man in judgement, the gold covering man redeemed, standing upright in the silver sockets of redemption. I admire your work on the subject and will also direct people to your site for a much more detailed study.
Thank You and God Bless You.
I look forward to seeing your work.
In Jesus Christ our Lord who is the truth and to whom all truth belongs,
On your website you say of your Peter series:
"This series is a verse by verse exposition of the Petrine epistles"
But when I scanned thru the 27 lessons it seems you only cover 1 Peter 1:1-9 in this series. Is this all you've completed so far or is there more of the series available somewhere? (I'm doing a study of 1 Peter and looking for expository commentaries for help)
Good to make your acquaintance. I am sorry to say the Peter series has been in abeyance for some time (in order to complete the Bible Basics and Coming Tribulation series; links). It will be some time still before I get back to it. However, you may find many of the issues and a good number of the verses covered in one way or another on the site (here is the link for translations of other verses in Peter's epistles). Also, I am happy to answer question on any and all biblical topics.
Thanks for your interest! I do plan to get back to work on Peter's epistles some day (thanks for the "prod").
In Jesus our dear Lord,
I hope all is well with you? I don't know if it's the right time to ask, but has your deliverance come for which you asked me to pray?
Thank you for asking. I'm sad to have to report that we had some very bad news on this front yesterday, but remain confident of the Lord's ultimate deliverance. One crisis has passed, and the Lord is working all things out together for good as He always does for those who truly love Him. I will be sure to let you know when these present difficulties are washed away by His grace as I have complete faith that they will be at the time and in the manner of the Lord's choosing. No prayer we offer is a mistake or a waste. Things do not always work the way we expect or the way we would like, but God is always working them out according to His perfect plan for us all and using us for His glory if only we are willing to respond to His Son and the truth of the Word so as to be truly useful to Him. Faith must be refined in the fire of testing to become strong. That is how we grow closer to Jesus, and I must confess that as disappointing as this experience has been so far it has nevertheless brought me closer to my Lord and caused me to trust Him more completely and see Him more clearly. I can hardly count that as a loss it is a tremendous and consoling joy! In everything He does, just the right thing always happens, even if we are reluctant to see the truth of that principle when our hearts are heavy.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1st Thessalonians 5:18 KJV
Thank you for doing battle with me in prayer, my friend! I continue to remember you as well before the throne of grace day by day.
In Jesus Christ our Lord for whom absolutely nothing is impossible.
I can understand everything you are saying. Till we are coming closer to Him, nothing else matters. I myself am waiting for a particular deliverance for the past 2 years. Almost 2 years ago my mother said " let's see what your Lord can do? In the end you will come back to us and to our god for help" (these r not the exact words). It "will" come one day and my joys will know no bounds on that day.
I will keep you in my prayers Sir.
Thank you for your wonderful words, my friend!
We will keep each other in prayer for this then, you and I, and "lift our banners in the Name of the Lord" when victory comes as it surely will (Ps.20:5).
"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven."
Matthew 18:19 NIV
In Jesus who is our hope and our life eternal.
Your friend in Him,
I'm a Zimbabwean living in South Africa. God put in my heart to write a book entitled BEHIND EVERY CHALLENGE LIES AN OPPORTUNITY. In this book I'm talking about the challenges that people face on a daily basis and what they do to us as far as our character is concerned. That we should draw inspiration from them instead of running away from them.
I have read some of your articles on the fall of Satan and his rebellion and I feel the need to include it in my book. Could you please grant me the opportunity to do so?
Very good to make your acquaintance. Thank you for interest in Ichthys. As to your question, as long as quotations are attributed according to standard academic notation, I am always happy to have my brothers and sisters in Jesus make use of the materials. The usage guidelines are available at the following link: About Ichthys.
Best wishes for your efforts on behalf our Lord Jesus Christ,
Good morning Dr. Luginbill
I trust that you are well. May the Most Honored One bless you mightily for helping others discern the Light!
I found your Biblical Charts depicting the "Seven Days" of Human History and found them very helpful. I had been reading recent news stories about polar shifts of the Moon and went straight to Revelation to see what kind of connections I could make [then I Googled a few keywords and landed at your website]. I have been studying the Word and attendant disciplines mostly on my own...all my life [I am in my early 50's]. I would like to imbibe some of the learning on your site, as well as participate in the group notifications; please add me to your Email List.
Again, thank you and have a blessed day.
Very good to make your acquaintance. Thank you so much for your encouragement and good words. I have put you on my e-mailing list. It will some time before you can expect any emails from the list (as I generally only use it to announce major new postings), but I do make a point of "praying through" the list on a regular basis. There is an RSS feed to announce the weekly email response postings, however (just click the orange "RSS" rectangle on the Email Page).
Please feel free to write any time (I will be back at the desk around New Year's after a Christmas break).
In Jesus our dear Lord,
I came across your website today and what a blessing that is!!! THANK YOU. I am a pastor in the Frederick MD area trying to establish a similar ministry in my college and it was refreshing to read the materials you have put together for students who are new in the faith or don't know Jesus yet. May God continue to bless you richly in your ministry and your life.
Good to make your acquaintance! I do hope these materials may be of some use in your efforts there.
Thanks so much for your encouraging words, and please accept my best wishes for the success of your ministry in the cause of our dear Lord Jesus Christ.
I am blessed by this work you have done to put together things I know right well. And now I have a place to study it all in one exceptional and detailed place.
May our God and Our Savior Jesus the Christ continue to bless and keep you strong for His Glory Alone
Thank you so much for your kind words! They are a real encouragement to me.
Do feel free to write any time!
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with whom we strive to walk closer day by day,
Over the years, many teach a false Genesis. I have studying the Original Hebrew by the power of the Holy Spirit, found a few with the GUAM
G - G-d
U - Universe
A - Angels
M - Men
Under study from the Watchman, he gave a link to your site. WOw o woW.... Please to advise his email or to pass on my praise, thanks, I have also found the Dake Bible to help in my studies, but print is very small & eyes not getting better..Praise the LORD Y H V H . I am
Good to make your acquaintance!
Thank you for the encouraging words they are much appreciated.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.
My dear brother in the LORD,
Just again thanks so much Iron sharpens Iron. Also had the joy of reading some of you email posts. But working on a study to teach on Book of Judges. Too many folks do not grasp the eternal word and that we have not the TIME frame that our Father in Heaven has. Just again so so good to enjoy your work confirming years of study. 1 John 2:27,
Your in Jesus Christ our Saviour & Lord
You're very welcome!
Write any time.
Keep up the good work for our Savior Jesus Christ and for His Church,
In Jesus our Lord,
I am enjoying your online materials and truly thank you for your time and Christian love in sharing your knowledge. I told my pastor about them and he likes them too.
I put a post about your Exodus study and a link to it on my blog, sistersite.org
Very good to make your acquaintance! I appreciate your encouragement and your kind words.
Apologies for the delay in response. For whatever reason (html in text body?), your email was sequestered by my server. Happily, I look through the raw list from time to time and noticed this was not a spam but a genuine message one which I greatly appreciate!
Thanks again for your interest write any time.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.
I appreciate your ministry. Your earnest presentation, in teaching and from your heart is very helpful. It's the "heart" part that makes the difference.
I'm interested to know if you grew up as a Christian or became one later on. Perhaps this information is on your website.
I'm not sure what you mean by sequestered. I think my "domain name" may be in the "doghouse." I have had that name a long time, and it has been used by spammers and was briefly blacklisted. However, I can't retire it very easily.
Thank you for your studies.
Thanks I really appreciate that. As to your question I have most of this "personal stuff" scattered around at various places on the site. See FAQ #14. Biography: What are your background and qualifications? That will give you a few key links (which will take you to more, if interested). I did grow up as a Christian. My dad was a Presbyterian minister, so I was exposed to the truth from a very early age (and was saved as a child before I even knew what hit me praise God!). Finally, I do understand about such problems. I seem to be catching all your messages in this back-up process of mine. If you keep putting a biblical topic in the subject line of your messages (as you did and are doing) I am very unlikely to miss them when I do run through the long list.
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
If you don't mind, I would soon forward to you another set of questions. In the meantime, let me just express my gratitude for your detailed responses and patience. It is something I deeply appreciate and it is a dream of mine to be able to help others at some point in my life just like you are helping me now, or in any way that Our Lord prepared for me.
I continue in my prayers for you, all the issues through which you're going and your ministry.
In Our Lord,
Thanks for your kind words and even more for your prayers. We are still waiting on events, but I am very confident of a most favorable outcome, especially with such good prayer support.
It is my very great pleasure to be of some help to you in your quest to draw closer to our Lord through His holy Word. I am certain that He has great plans for you. Continue to persevere. Jesus makes use of prepared people. Submit yourself to the "pruning" (Jn.15:2). In brightness of eternity we will rejoice together over your very great reward.
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:8 NIV
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
Please take your time with the response and answer my questions at your convenience. I just wanted to say that as I'm progressing through your studies it amazes me how coherent the Bible is. This is the most astonishing thing - how the prophecies were fulfilled, how no word is without purpose. Thanks to your knowledge it's all becoming clearer and, as it's becoming clearer, it starts to become a complete and cohesive entity. A result of that is growing faith and the ability to see the world as it is, something I have clearly lacked, entangled in worldly desires.
I continue in my prayers for you and your ministry. I'm perhaps not yet at a stage of spiritual growth to have a full awareness of where my work for God lies, but, if it only is God's will, I desire strongly to be like you one day - to have the ability to answer the questions and direct the efforts of those who want it.
In Christ, our Lord,
Apologies on the delay with the last list (for a variety of reasons, it's a bit of a hectic time here). I just wanted to tell you that I am working through this batch of questions (some of them required or at least I gave them some rather long answers), and hope to have this off to you sometime later this week.
What you say about the coherence of scripture is something I want to second and affirm emphatically. My experience has been that once a person begins actually to believe as well as to search, every little bit of truth reinforces and begins to buttress and explain every other brick in the edifice until more and more things start to become clear and powerfully so. So in spite of the complaints of so many about the nature of the Bible, true believers come to see that it is perfect, and that even the way in which it is set forth is flawless: "so that the blind may see while those who claim sight may be rendered blind". And as you so pithily put it, once we begin to gain that critical mass of truth in our hearts understood and believed, the world begins to become clear for what it is, and we begin to see everything through God's eyes. That is critical for any mature Christian walk, and only really achievable through the continued learning and believing of the truth.
(9) And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in full-knowledge (epignosis: truth believed) and in all discernment, (10) so that you may be able to evaluate the things that are good and appropriate [for you to do] to be sincere and without offense in regard to the day of Christ (i.e., to gain a maximum reward at Christ's judgment seat), (11) full of the righteous production Jesus Christ [commends] to the glory and praise of God.
Thank you so much for your prayers (we had a bit of good news today that encourages us that we will indeed be able to endure in peace until deliverance comes)! And thank you too for the wonderful example of your dedication, consistency, and enthusiasm for the truth of the Word of God.
For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.
1st Thessalonians 2:19-20 NASB
Your friend forever in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
You cannot know the joy and relief I am now experiencing over the information on this web page. I am extremely thankful to have found this comforting message, and so eloquently and biblically presented. As a grieving mother, but one of a Christian son already gone to be with our Lord, I have searched scriptures and commentaries to give me reassurance concerning this "interim or temporary heaven." May you continue to feed those who hunger to know. I do not have a question at this time, just boundless appreciation.
Good to make your acquaintance and thank you so much for your stirring and encouraging words. I too take great comfort that those I have lost, including one very important dear friend who died much too early and completely unexpectedly (and whose loss affected me profoundly), are not really lost at all but happy beyond our present imagination and only temporarily hidden from our sight.
What we see is temporary; it is what is on the other side that lasts forever.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
To Whom It May Concern,
Greetings in Christ!!
I am writing to kindly ask if I can obtain permission to use your material from your website in my studies of Demonology and the Occult?
I will reference your site and I like to thank you for sharing your work it has been a great help.
Have a lovely Holy Christmas and a joyful New Year ahead.
Good to make your acquaintance. All these materials are free and available for individual and personal Bible study to all interested Christians. That includes any Bible studies you might lead (as long as the material is properly attributed).
If you are planning to produce a commercial work, standard copyright rules apply (for scholarly works, normal academic citation rules suffice).
For questions, please see "Ichthys Usage Guidelines".
If you still have questions about any of the above, please do feel free to write me back.
Thanks for asking!
Yours in Jesus Christ our true glory,
Dear Brother in Christ,
I suppose you do not remember me. I am the AMERICAN GUY whom you very kindly sent a Biblical Greek CD to...a few years ago. It was an inspiring gift that you sent. Not just because such lessons are very difficult to locate - especially for free, but the fact that you ARE somebody, you are an important person, yet you took your time and spent your money for a guy in Muslim Mindanao. Thank You.
I certainly do remember you! But sorry to disappoint you about my being "somebody important" (I most certainly am not). Blessedly, however, we are all "somebody" in Jesus' eyes, because He died for us and because, having put our faith in Him, we will be with Him forever. And those like yourself who are sacrificing so much for Him will be asked to "come to the head of the table" on that wondrous day of days when many "important" people are told to give up their seats.
Stay safe over there my friend!
In our dear Lord Jesus,
Hi, Your Enlightened Heb 10:26 Explanation Is Magnificent I thank you so much for the clear, Anointed Light you have shown on this text,,, so mis-understood by many believers many being beat over the head that they can lose their salvation after truly being born again thank you for this, it is the best on this subject, clearest, and encouraging news on that text I have ever read,, thank you.. please keep up the good work,,, blessed me
Good to make your acquaintance. I have received a slew of emails over the past year or so on this verse and with many Christians worried that they have lost their salvation (it's possible, but those who are concerned about it haven't otherwise they wouldn't be concerned; see the link: Apostasy and the Sin unto Death). So it seems the evil one has been mounting a real push on this issue of late. None of these have been posted yet but may perhaps make it to the website later this year.
Thank you for your good and encouraging words.
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,