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Politics versus Spiritual Growth

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Question #1:

Millennials. The little emperors have grown up. The babies of the late 90s – mollycoddled by their parents, spoon-fed by their teachers, indulged by society – have now reached university. Some of the brighter ones are now at Oxford, demanding that the Cecil Rhodes statue at Oriel should be torn down, because of his imperialist, racist views. We shouldn’t be so surprised. If you’ve had a lifetime of people saying "yes" to you, of never being told off, you remain frozen in a permanent state of supersensitivity. I wasn’t offended by the Rhodes statue when I was at Oxford 20 years ago. But, even if I had been, I wouldn’t have thought my wounded feelings should be cured by tearing apart the delicate fabric of a beautiful university.

So what this author is telling me, is if Oxford had a statue of Adolf Hitler, thinking that such a statue may be of bad taste amounts to "supersensitivity" and is because I am a spoiled brat who doesn't appreciate all the good things he did like inventing the modern interstate system.

Millennials are nothing more than the first generation to believe the anti-racism espoused by the civil rights movement, and seek to act accordingly. The author wasn't offended by the Rhodes statue because he didn't see the actions of Cecil Rhodes to be worthy of offense. We do.

Response #1:

Interesting. I always try to force myself to look at individuals and to refrain from generalizing, however. Even if every single member of group X save for one individual is "thus and so", it is still unfair and very misleading in spiritual terms to assume that this one exception is "thus and so" as well. God deals with us one to one – and that is what He expects from us as well. It may not be the definition of Christian love, but true Christian love is impossible without this perspective.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi Bob, 

Could you interpret this verse Isaiah 45:14 for me?

This is what the LORD says: "The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and those tall Sabeans-- they will come over to you and will be yours; they will trudge behind you, coming over to you in chains. They will bow down before you and plead with you, saying, 'Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.'"

I am concerned that this verse is speaking that slavery will be reinstituted in the Millennium, and that people will be able to be coerced against their will to work "in chains."

Response #2:

I don't see any indication of that in scripture. This verse you ask about is describing the situation directly after the second advent when there will be a period of transition. No doubt there will be slavery (by that or another name) during the Tribulation (cf. Joel 3:6); the "chains" here would then be the vestiges of former slavery. Note that these individuals "come over to you" of their own free will and worship the Lord at the end of the verse.

This is what the LORD Almighty says: "In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.' "
Zechariah 8:23 NIV

In Jesus our Savior who redeemed us from slavery to sin.

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Bob,

Given the undisputed legitimacy of the 13th amendment, how can slavery make a comeback to the yet - future Babylon? I find that perhaps this point is the hardest prediction for me to believe, because it just seems so extraordinary.

Sincerely,

Response #3:

That's quite a statement, given what else the scriptures tell us will happen throughout the world during the Tribulation. One potentially helpful perspective is that slavery in the history of the world has come about as often through debt as through capture/conquest. Given the devolution of the bankruptcy laws in this country so that, e.g., student loans and medical bills, the most unavoidable and onerous categories of debt, can no longer be discharged – ever – it seems we are actually primed for it. No doubt it will look quite different from Southern plantation slavery, but once the Tribulation begins I can well imagine this and many other horrible things happening very quickly. After all, its not as if the constitution means very much to anyone anymore anyway.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

I'm been reading the book of Exodus and I've gotten to Chapter 22.

1) Are these people owned by masters slaves, servants, or bondage servants? Because these translations are using the three interchangeably

2) Why does the slave go free the 7th year? does it have to do with the Sabbath? (7 in general is the number of completion in the bible, like how David was punished for 14 years (times 7)). Since going through the court of law means representing someone, do slaves have rights, or is all this done for the masters sake? And how much freedom does a slave have?

3) Since God was the one who got the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt and is against selling people, kidnapping, and masters killing their servants, why does he still allow the Hebrews to own slaves and be property of other Hebrews? And why does he allow a beaten slave to continue under an abusive master just because that's his property? 1 Peter 2: 18-25 is probably the best explanation to the purpose of enduring abuse but that was a letter to believers with masters in the New Testament, not Israel of the Old Testament. Was he trying to use slavery to mirror believer's relationship with Christ?

When it comes to work, it has to do with finding a church and volunteering: Since my mother doesn't believe in the same thing I do and since I'm under my parent's authority how would this play out? My dad has no problem trying to find me a church (he's non-religious) but I wouldn't feel comfortable finding a church with her; as for volunteering, I want to get work experience, but the places I want to help out are organized by the federal government, which means that politics are normally involved. And I feel uneasy participating in food donations/charity work that are funded by governments because of the "save the world" message it's sending. But I need work experience.

And should I just tell my siblings I'm a Christian when they bring it up or shouldn't I? Because they still don't know and I don't want to force it out if I shouldn't, but I don't want to not ever say anything about it.

Response #4:

Good to hear from you. As to your questions:

1) I'm not sure what translation you are using but it will depend in any case on the particular passage. Exodus says a lot about actual slaves, but there was also apparently a category which we today often call "indentured servant", that is, a person who is not a "life-long" slave, but who has sold himself for a time in order to pay off some debt.

2) As to the "why?" of seven, it is true as you note that this is a standard "rhythmic" year in scripture. God made us and He set the rhythms by which we live (cf. Gen.1:14), with a week being perfect, and a year being perfect, and a seven year cycle of years being perfect – because of how He made us. It is a blessing to know one will be "free" after a "doable" period of time such as this; would that we had in this country the same seven year release from indebtedness! As to slave's rights, you will see in your reading of the Law that there were certain rights (unlike almost every other system wherein slavery has been allowed – at least all the ones I have ever known about). This means that an owner may not just kill a slave outright for no reason (for example). Which brings us to . . .

3) Slavery, most people would agree, is horribly bad. However, slavery, in the ancient world, was a universal institution. While it may teach us something about our relationship with Christ, I suppose, I think it teaches more about the grace of God in emancipating us from sin through the blood of His own dear Son our Lord Jesus – that is the picture behind the doctrine of redemption, bought free out of slavery to sin by the blood of Christ (see the link). From the practical point of view, since there was slavery at the time of the giving of the Law, it was better to have rules for regulating it than no rules at all; analogously, polygamy is also "bad" – but in a world where it exists, better to have rules that regulate it than no rules at all. In each case, the Law sets limits on the excesses and abuses that might otherwise occur. Debt too is "bad"; but there is "getting into debt" in this world and so the Law regulated that too. To go back to that example again, if we had the limitations of the Law on what creditors can do today, we would, in my view, be better off.

4) I don't know the details of your situation, so I won't give any specific advice (a bad practice in any case, in my experience). All work is "good" (as long as it is legal and not immoral). Finding any sort of job nowadays is not easy. I would not limit myself to any certain type of work except in regard to matching my talents and interests. Paul didn't look for NGO's – he made tents (about as secular as you can get), and I know he found ways to minister to the Lord even when he was "making tents".

5) Churches are problematic these days (see the links: "Finding a Church or Something Better? I" and Finding a Church – or Something Better? II). The main thing is to get the truth you need to grow, wherever that can be gotten.

6) This is also a personal decision. It depends on you and it depends on them and it depends on your relationship with them. I don't see a reason not to tell them, but then they are not my siblings and I am not in your situation. I pray God will give you wisdom on this one, and just the right words when the time is ripe.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

You are running a wonderful race! Keep it up!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi,

I have thrown out my Christian bible as it is hopeless. I can spend $15 and go and see Noah the movie and know more than any Christian, it is absolutely ridiculous. How we have not given Noah's wife a name is unbelievable as she is the mother of humanity. What did Noah call his wife "hey you"? Well the shemites i.e. Arabs and Jews know the name of Noahs wife. Noahs wife was Naamah; thanks to Hollywood I now know her name it is ludicrous. Naamah was of Cain's line and she was black. This finally explains why Ham was black and he was black, just ask his sons descendants the Cushites as they are black it is not misguided racism it is the colour of their skin. Now Nimrod, Cush's son, Hams grandson and Noah's great grandson who barely gets a mention in our bible so once again I have to research what the shemites know and they know a lot about him. Nimrod was a black giant not misguided racism as he had to be as his people the Cushites are black, they just are. Nimrod fought both the Shemites and the Japhites or the children who came from Noahs other two sons. Abraham was the leader of the shemites and both Arabs and Jews come from Abraham, to tell todays Shemites and Cushites that Shem and Cush never existed is a holy insult to say the least. Abraham fought Nimrod on atleast two occasions, and both times Abraham used divine intervention to win how its not in my bible is beyond me. Nimrod also fought the children of Noahs other son the japhites. The japhites were blondes and reds. Nimrod defeated the japhites and they fled north to probably become us, the white Christians. Adam in Hebrew means red and Ham means burnt. Noah was of Seths line Eves third son. Seth was a red head like his dad and probably mum. Noah would have also been fair and his wife was black and his three boys were born fair, olive and black. Not racism it just makes plain sense. Looking at the way Africans live and treat each other today only gives weight to the idea that Cain was born of the serpent as Africa behaves like a big lizard. I wish the Africans would take some personal responsibility and stop blaming whites for everything.

May God Bless

Response #5:

Dear Friend,

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6 NKJV

There is no way to be saved from death and judgment apart for believing in the perfect Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, God who took on true humanity to die for the sins of the world, yours and mine included.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved!
Acts 16:31

In hopes of your eternal salvation through Jesus Christ who died for you.

Bob Luginbill

Question #6:

Hi Bob

Yeah I know all that and believe it too. No order on Earth has come close to the order of Christ's words. All our inventions and law are thanks to Jesus and I have utmost respect and gratitude for Jesus and I know he was crucified by bad as he was too good. Any right minded human should love Jesus out of gratitude alone. But lets talk about black giants for a time, as there is a lot too the old testament it is not a myth. The top 5 black giants are:

1) Cain

2) Ham

3) Cush

4) Canaan

5) Nimrod

The New testament in my bible is top shelf but the old testament is hopeless the Romans cut it to pieces and it makes no sense. But the Shemites however know the low down, and they spent a lot of their history fighting the black giants. Nimrod defeated our ancestors a long time ago. The shemites know of the great battle between the cushites and japhites over Babylon, us Christians or japhites havnt got a clue as the Romans didn't see it necessary to put it in our old testament. The cushites led by Nimrod defeated the japhites and sent them packing north into the icy wastelands. These japhites May have been my ancestors so I'm bot big on black giants as a rule.

Response #6:

If you do believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you should know that He as the perfect living Word of God has given us the perfect written Word of God, and that there is no truth of the sort you seek anywhere else.

The Old Testament and the New Testament are absolutely consistent one with the other – rightly interpreted. In any event, all of these questions your are considering have answers, but only from scripture. Answers sought and supposedly found outside of scripture are never going to be truthful.

I encourage you to seek scriptural answers (there is much about all such related topics at Ichthys), and I am happy to answer any Bible questions you may have. Extra-biblical speculation I leave to others.

Yours in Jesus Christ the one and only way of salvation,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Start there bob and open your mind. Jesus whipped the Jewish userers out if the temple and broke all his rules. Open your mind bob as people like you who are representing Jesus are losing his flock.

Response #7:

Since by "open-mindedness" you obviously mean placing theosophical speculation ahead of scripture, I will stick with the God-given approach.

For I did not follow concocted tales in making known to you the power and the coming return of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but was an eyewitness to His majesty. For when He had received honor and glory from God the Father, these words sounded forth to Him from God's majestic glory: "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased." And these words I myself heard as they were delivered from heaven, for I was with Him on the holy mountain (cf. Matt.17:1-8). Yet I consider the prophetically inspired Word (i.e. the Bible) even more reliable (i.e. than what I saw with my own eyes). You too would do well to pay the closest attention to this [prophetically inspired Word], just as to a lamp shining in a dark place (cf. Ps.119:105), until the day dawns, and the Morning Star rises (i.e. the Living Word, Jesus Christ, returns), pondering in your hearts this principle of prime importance: no single verse of prophetically inspired scripture has ever come into being as a result of personal reflection. For true prophecy has never occurred by human will, but only when holy men of God have spoken under the direction and agency of the Holy Spirit.
2nd Peter 1:16-21

The siren song of "truth from someplace other than the Bible" always ends in shipwreck.

In Jesus, the One and only Way.

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

Sometime ago you mentioned that you were once stationed in Okinawa, so this is automatically relevant to your life.

Let me tell you something about demographics and Japanese culture, and what it's like to be born half-Japanese and half-white in Japan. While I myself am thankful to have been spared such a fate, the greatest friend I ever had was not so fortunate.

I am only telling you this because you deserve to know my deeply personal motivation for advocating this thesis. If I ever decide to publicly publish my thesis, I will never include this anecdote, because I don't want to turn his life into a political talking point. His life is sacred, and he is more than a talking point.

The long story short is that he wasn't really accepted in Japan as Japanese and he definitely wasn't accepted in America as an American. To paraphrase Wittgenstein, if you granted a lion the ability to speak perfect English, nobody would understand it, and if you granted a Japanese person the ability to speak perfect English, nobody would understand him. And that's more or less what happened here, namely, the fact that he was fluent in English did not guarantee that anybody would understand him, because the frame of reference and world-view that shaped him was incomprehensible.... So it is understandable that he would try to commit suicide shortly before his 18th birthday. By the grace of God, he failed, but I still sporadically cry when I think of his alienation and his attempt at suicide.

What is seldom mentioned is the frequency of attempted suicides among biracial children who are culturally Japanese. A Washington Post article documents this in Okinawa, as there is where the American experiment of trying to transform Japanese into Japanese-Americans is taking place:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/30/AR2010063005470.html

If you read that article, you can understand why it is horrible that people, for reasons entirely outside of their control, are doomed to be stateless and permanent foreigners in any land they dwell.

But the truth is, it's not the fault of Japanese society that they are rejected. Because the American experiment is essentially a form of manipulation to pry open the country and make it just another client state in the one-world government. The Japanese people have a God-given right to keep a strict definition of who is Japanese and who isn't, and it does not make them as evil as Hitler if that strict definition includes a racial component, because the motivation for that is to maintain historical continuity with families and the people who historically lived in that nation.

I feel that I am justified in stating that the collective right of the Japanese to define who is and who isn't Japanese was given by God Himself, at the tower of Babel. He created the races and the nations of the world, and set their bounds of habitation.

Response #8:

I stayed pretty much on base in Okinawa. It was an odd place. They didn't much like Americans, and had recently voted to reject being an American territory and return to Japanese sovereignty. I think anyone of dual ancestry must have issues in any culture. Blessedly the Lord died for all and all who come to Him are accepted regardless of worldly pedigrees. Timothy was half-Greek and half-Jewish – talk about a complicated mixed ancestry – but was mightily used of the Lord and will have a great reward in the New Jerusalem. How much better to be close to Jesus Christ, even if it takes upheavals, personal disadvantages and conflicts in this life to bring a person close to Him, than to be well-adjusted and content in this world and never seek Him out as a result. This world is passing away; all who love it and want to enjoy life here are only in for big disappointments in the very near future.

I will say a prayer for your friend's salvation.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

What do you understand about defending one self from the biblical point of view. How it was done in the old and what way to get an understanding from the new. Reason I'm asking I saw a video about four women near the border of Laredo Tx beheaded; an elderly women along with the group their hands tied behind their backs and their feet tied. It made me very angry. Thirteen hooded men standing behind them with guns pointing at the women. They began cutting away with a bowie knife on one then the elderly with an ax and then a machete. After beheading them then they hack their arms off then legs and piled them up an the hooded cowards said we will do this to Americans. I felt so sorry for the women I wish I would have been there to stop it. I knew in my heart I would have gone to the extreme to try to save them at no concern for myself.

Response #9:

We absolutely do have a right to defend ourselves – not to mention taking action to defend the helpless. This has to do, of course, with circumstances that befall us all of a sudden (as opposed to trying to track down perpetrators ourselves as vigilantes after the fact – after the fact, justice is the province of law enforcement and the courts). So I would certainly agree that "turn the other cheek" most definitely does not mean "stand by and watch someone else murdered if you have the means and opportunity to do anything about it". Here are some links on this:

The Biblical View of Self-Defense

Christian Love: The Golden Rule, Christian Military Service and Self-Defense

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

I know you said that it would be best to stay out of discussion of politics, but given a case I've been hearing about a black youth being shot by a white officer (again), and people taking sides (support the officers wrongly convicted because it's nothing but the "race card"/ support the family of the victim because this is nothing but "white supremacy" at work) I can't help but to wonder how Christ would want his people to respond to this.

Given that the world is sinful, that we have to be careful on what we place in our heads, I do see things "whitewashed" and have experienced people I know being profiled on a ridiculous basis. The only thing that makes me cringe is the obsession like that Travon Martin case. I've heard so many different sides to the story and I still don’t know what truly happened other than he wasn't armed. Some say Zimmerman’s white/ half white half Hispanic/ the boy was high and harassing him and was stalking the man/ the man was paranoid because he had on a hood and shot him because he stereotyped him. All I know is blacks marched to the streets demanding justice and political reform. Seeing this happen with another case makes me wonder if the media doesn’t just put up these white cop/black youth for ratings despite fact checks, but to intentionally start things. And then the whole "standing up to these injustices will end racism/etc." thing, coming from the Christian leaders of all people who act as if we're our own saviors of this world makes me more suspicious into not taking the side because they keep preaching the social gospel.

Given that a child died and they just want funeral money, it would seem right to support them, but every time you see the same thing happen: The family makes a statement saying the boy did nothing wrong and it’s upsetting because you know they’re upset that they lost their child and they want justice, but it seems as if they’re just being used by the politicians who allow them to speak on their behalf. To support their agenda, not justice. I saw the same thing with a father making a statement about losing his daughter in that recent massive school shooting, that automatic guns should not be purchased because of these things. You know an "Anti gun" stance that supported anti gun politicians.

I found myself switching sides based on satisfying my ego rather than doing the Christ like thing. And I can't help but to wonder that if the black man was shot in self defense and I take the officers side, that I'm doing nothing but promoting "white privilege." I don’t want to be color blind.

I'm just confused as to how to respond as an individual rather than worldly, impulsively. You don’t want to play that card but turning a blind eye doesn't seem Christ like. Especially when a child is constantly shot. I know that families of that person are grieving and I know the government has the godly purpose to keep the peace the only thing is that I don’t know how He would want me to respond to this.

Response #10:

Good to hear from you. If you haven't already done so (I'm assuming you probably have, but just in case), please see the recent links which have some questions and answers about this:

Politics and Political Action on the Eve of the Tribulation

Culture and Christianity XI: Lying, Suicide, Tattoos, Investing, Drugs, Music, Family, Dating, Politics

Culture and Christianity X:  Military Service, College, Politics, and Race Relations

Culture and Christianity IX: Politics, Tithing, Music, Crucifixes, Alcohol, and Gambling

War, History, and Politics

I say this mostly because I always give the same advice on these sorts of subject, namely, that Christians do well to stay out of all such politically charged controversies. After all, we weren't there when this happened, so we only know what is reported on television/radio/print – and as it always happens in such cases, television-truth is a "moving target" day by day.

I feel bad for all involved; I pray for all involved. But as far as opinions are concerned, they are largely meaningless since such judgments would be made on incomplete information. And as far as expressing opinions goes, well, it's hard to do so in such a politically charged instance without becoming involved in the political give and take – always a negative for individual spirituality.

The best way to counter abuse of any sort is to personally act towards all others in Christian love. Only personal solutions are valid and workable in any case, because love is individual and must come from the heart to be genuine. Political action and reaction is collective, takes no thought of actual motivations of individuals, and merely seeks to coerce and direct behavior on a large scale, regardless of spiritual consequences or genuine feelings – and it usually also has unanticipated adverse results on a grand scale.

"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
John 15:12 NKJV

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ who died for the sins of all that all might be saved,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

In a few of your previous emails you made mention of having dealt with sexism. If you're not still too busy, could you tell me what happened? I just want to know. Not for any particular reason, just general nosiness.

I also have a question about seeking marriage [details omitted].

Thanks,

Response #11:

Good to hear from you. I have a close friend who was badly used and lost her job because of sexism pure and simple, practiced by people whose politics are all about how "into" diversity and equal rights they supposedly are (a very typical thing in my observation). I think most people are blind to this sort of thing unless they have experienced it first hand; I'm sure that goes for racism too. My point in all this is only that as individual Christians we are not here to fix the world, and that if we react to unfair things that happen to us, we are only going to be shooting ourselves in the foot, spiritually speaking. I did that to myself when I was very young, and I wouldn't want anyone else to make such mistakes out of ignorance (of course, ultimately, we all make our choices).

On the last part of your email, let me draw an analogy. People often are looking to get married because they are unhappy – as if getting married will make them happy. What marriage does, however, is add a whole new set of problems, even in the best of marriages, and now also the need to accommodate someone else and to adapt to the other person's free will is necessary – never an easy thing. People think children will make them happy – but even if a person has lots of resources and everything figured out and is squared away in their lives, a child will bring complications and challenges. Also, if one is considering the child, as anyone should, having two parents who are in a stable relationship with sufficient resources in this day and age is also not only prudent but loving (I would say). Finally, the biblical way to go about this is clear. It is certainly alright to have aspirations; decisions based upon spiritual common sense and made with the desire to please the Lord rather than oneself always tend toward true happiness.

Yours in the love of Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate you reading my emails. I noticed that you avoid some topics though. You know like things dealing with sex/sexuality and other things of that nature. I guess I can understand why. Sorry if it makes you uncomfortable. I try to be chill about those sorts of things, but knowing you are uncomfortable makes me uncomfortable in turn. I used to be pretty tight-lipped about those sorts of things. I try to be more open now. The church has all of these problems dealing with sex, and we're supposed to be an example to the rest of the world. I'm sure everyone knows the statistics. I think in some cases, our statistics are even worse than outside the church. The church has a really big problem with porn, and sex outside of marriage. I think the secrecy around such topics might contribute to how big of an issue its become. People don't feel comfortable coming to the church with real-world issues, so that kind of stuff just stays in the dark. In my opinion, when things aren't talked about all sorts of sins spring up unchecked. That's why I try to be honest in my emails.

Response #12:

I certainly didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable. I had another look at the previous email and you didn't seem to be asking any particular question on that subject/topic, so I didn't think it was necessary (or necessarily wanted) to have me weigh in; in any case, the biblical perspective on all those matters is very clear. Some things take interpretation; other things take doctrinal development; when it comes to how Christians should behave in all matters having to do with sexual relations, scripture is quite clear that these are to exist only between husband and wife, everything else being out of bounds. The "real world" doesn't like this issue being so simple, but simple it is. I try not preach hell-fire and damnation over it because all sin is sinful, and all sin needs to be confessed and repented of, and any sin which is accepted and embraced instead is going to cause horrific spiritual problems and may even swamp a person's faith. However, sexual sin is particularly pernicious because it is much more tempting and emotionally entrapping than many other sins. As Paul says:

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
1st Corinthians 6:18 NKJV

There is nothing "modern" about this problem – in any of its aspects – and the "real world" is no more real today than it was 2,000 years ago. From our modern perspective, we tend to think we are so much smarter than people back then; in fact from my perspective as a student, teacher and researcher of ancient history, they were a good deal smarter and infinitely better educated. Nowadays in particular, people have less and less understanding of history – as if they were the first people ever to inhabit the earth and run into these sorts of issues and problems and have these sorts of experiences.

As you know, I'm not big on giving advice, even when it's asked for. We are all here to make our own decisions, and if we are walking in the Spirit and if we are advancing spiritually, then we will be getting the milk of the Word in its fulness of truth, capable of helping us grow and know what it is right to do and think and say at all times:

(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.
Philippians 1:9-11

So, once again, spiritual growth is the answer to all things; it is the only way for the Christian to gain a measure of true independence of thought and action which is godly and which tends to fruitful service to the Lord . . . so as to gain the three crowns.

In anticipation of your great reward at the judgment seat of Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

My grandson wants to know when did the changing of skin color take place in the Bible. and speaking in different languages?

Response #13:

Dear Friend,

The confusion of the common human language into a multiplicity of languages occurred at the tower of Babel after the flood. This is covered in the book of Genesis, chapter eleven.

As to skin color, scripture does not address that issue. We can say that Noah and his family comprised the entire genetic makeup of the entire later human race – since they were the only ones to survive the great flood. Therefore all distinctions within the human race do not date any further back than approximately the middle of the third millennium B.C. (that is, about 4,500 years ago).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L

Question #14:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

Can you give me your personal opinion on the situation in Ferguson? Please, don't send me back some wishy-washy email. It's not a trick question. Last time, with the Trayvon Martin incident I let you get away without really answering the question. Please don't do that to me again. I'm not going to try to convince you. I've been getting headaches that I'm pretty sure are stress related. I have better things to do with my time than argue with strangers over the internet.

Thanks,

Response #14:

It's getting pretty close to finals here, so I imagine you have a lot on your plate right now. First, let me wish you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving tomorrow, and a very successful conclusion to the term at hand. That's what's really important, after all: your present and your future (for which I continue to pray day by day).

As to your question, apologies if you find my analyses of these things "wishy-washy". Honestly, I wasted a good deal of my own youth, and turned down some very bad roads as a result of becoming overly interested in politics – and when it comes to expressing opinions about events like this, that is what we are talking about. Were I young and black, I can well imagine being outraged with the event and the outcome – apart from a desire to see things the Lord's way I am still easily enough outraged by all manner of things even so (it's in my nature).

I don't know what happened, so I can't say whether or not the result is completely unjust or just or somewhere in the middle. Not being black, I also cannot really appreciate the emotional pressure such events bring to bear. Like I said, I do know what it is to be upset and outraged by events (injustices personally experienced and also vicariously, as in this case), and in my youth I was prone to crusading and not necessarily in a peaceful manner.

What I do know is that if this is giving you headaches then there is the danger that it is getting to you spiritually. That's also clear from the tone of your email. I know enough about you from your emails over the years to know that you too are prone to getting involved. But I also know that you realize that there is a spiritual price to pay for such involvement. That's where I come down every time: your spiritual welfare first and foremost. The smallest good decision for Christ, putting the Lord in front of the draws of the world, will be rewarded with an eternal reward; on the other hand, getting drawn into a course of action that will inevitably change your life and dominate it to its spiritual detriment is a bad bargain (from the eternal point of view), and a spiritually dangerous one as well. That's true even if the cause is 100% justified and carried out in a 100% righteous way (and in the history of the world such percentages have never come close to being achieved, objectively considered).

There is "coming back" from false roads (I came back), but it's not easy and its not without cost. And of course no one is actually going to be able to change anything for genuine good – whatever that "thing" is we are trying to change. This is the devil's world, after all, until Christ returns. So add pointlessness to crusading. It's not maybe what you want to hear, but it is what you need to hear (and it's my job to tell you the truth).

I pray for the comfort, salvation and spiritual growth of the family and all involved.

Most of all, I pray for you.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior who died for everyone of us that we might have eternal life through faith in Him.

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

I must say, I was pretty relieved when I read your email a few days ago. I thought you might be offended. I know that I was pretty short with you. I've been under a lot of stress lately. Most of my problems I can talk over with you and it's somewhat therapeutic. Since these problems are based in "-isms" though, you don't understand. I had to let go of a friend this week because of something she posted on her facebook. I didn't confront her over it or anything like that. I didn't even leave a comment. It wasn't worth it to me. I just deleted her from my friends list. I decided that I don't need people like her in my life. I'm telling you this so that you know how much I value our friendship. If you were any other White person, I would have cut you lose a long time ago. I don't give other people that leeway. Our relationship holds weight with me though. I like having an older Christian to talk to. I'm not willing to throw that away without giving you an opportunity to learn. I've been tying myself up in knots thinking of ways to make you see what I see. At the end of the day though, if you want to get it you will. If you don't, no amount of explaining can convince you. So this is me trying to make you aware. White privilege is a thing. It is real. Sexism is a thing. We live in a White Supremacist power structure. You occupy space. I occupy space. As a white male, you occupy more than your fair share. Your privilege comes at the detriment of others, like me. Being your friend is emotionally draining at times like this. Your ignorance about race forces me to pick up the slack. I have suffered many microaggressions from you. You don't even notice. So now I'm telling you.

I gave you some links to look over a while ago. I don't know how closely you paid attention to them. I look over the questions people ask you on your blog sometimes. When it starts dealing with language, it can get very complicated. I can hardly follow any of it. When I ask you a question about the Bible, I'm sure you dumb down your response for me. You're a professor. You're somewhat of an expert. Well, when it comes to racial issues I'm an expert. Those links I showed you were pretty basic. I thought if I gave you really in-depth stuff you might get overwhelmed. You are a professor though. You're one of the smartest people I know. I hope I was underestimating you. I know you can understand these things intellectually. I don't know if you will get like a lot of people though and feel attacked. That's not what this is about. I just want to make you aware. Only if you're willing though. Please read these links. I'm not trying to force your hand. I'm not trying to turn you into a liberal. I love you and I want to be able to feel safe talking to you.

Thanks,

Response #15:

First, let me apologize for any offense I have ever given you. I have always only wanted your good – your spiritual good in every way.

This world is passing away, and all the things of this world are temporary. Whether one leads a life of luxury and privilege or one of want and discrimination, such things only exist in this temporary world. This world is going to be destroyed by fire, and even Babylon is going to be devastated long before that happens.

Also, injustice will only be eradicated from this world when the Lord returns. Blessedly, that is not many years away at present.

Positing that everything you say and everything to which you link is not only true but is also the only way to look at these matters, what can we say? Here you still are. Here I still am. What are we to do? That is really the question.

I know that for any Christian, the only true happiness in this life comes from growing up spiritually in Jesus Christ. I know that the truth is the only real privilege in this life, and that everything else is a transitory illusion. The only value in any worldly privilege is if it is used to get the truth: to learn it, to believe it, to love it, to walk in it . . . and to help others do the same. That is following Christ, and that is the only way to please Him (not to mention the only way to win the eternal rewards that will please us forever even as they glorify Him).

We all face tests in this life; we all bear burdens. Yours are not mine and mine are not yours. I don't know what it is like to walk in your shoes and you do not know what it is like to walk in mine. Even if we did know, it wouldn't change the fact that the only real disadvantage in this life is to be deprived of the truth. And, God being God, He never allows that to happen for anyone who genuinely desires that truth.

We can't change the world. If we try, it will change us instead. What we can do is to make a difference for Jesus Christ one spiritual victory at a time. That is what we are called to do. Everything else is mere distraction.

Your brother forever in Jesus Christ who died for us.

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

Don't worry about it. I don't doubt that you want my spiritual good. I think I might be beating a dead horse. Sometimes I think you agree with everything I'm saying, but you just won't say it. From now on, unless you explicitly disagree I'm going to assume you agree with me.

Thanks,

Response #16:

These are difficult times, especially for believers, and especially for younger believers who are trying to find their bearings in navigating an ever more confusing, contradictory and compromised world . . . in a way honoring to Jesus Christ. I'm amazed at how easy it is to get "world-focused" and how easy it is to lose "Christ-focus", even for people who have been fighting this spiritual fight a long time. Probably if we turned off our TV's, phones, I-Pads and computers it would be easier to do – but then we wouldn't have any idea what was going on, and that's not really a solution. It is important to remember that all of the distinctions the world thinks are important (e.g., gender, race, nationality, wealth, appearance, personality, etc.) mean absolutely nothing to the Lord; whereas how we believers are carrying out the will of God means absolutely everything to Him (even though the world thinks we are terribly foolish). In the New Jerusalem, there will be distinctions in neighborhoods and how much "space" we get – all based upon our performance here in this life. And the Lord takes all of our advantages and disadvantages into consideration when weighing our performance in an absolutely just and righteous way. That's what we need to be striving for. A good report on that great day of days, for the eternal dividends that will pay are not to be imagined.

For what it's worth, you are ahead of where I was at your age. Good for you! And keep it up.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

I just really don't know what to say. I have a lot of thoughts but none of them seem right. I just feel so scattered. I don't even know what to ask for. I'm sure you've turned on your television in the past 24 hours. What can even be said at a time like this? Could you open your bible and find a message that will comfort me? My emotions have been on a roller-coaster this week. Sometimes, I feel like I'm about to burst into tears. I should be focusing on my classes. Instead, all I can think about is the fact that people that look like me are being murdered with no repercussions. That's demoralizing. You can say it doesn't matter. You can say we're all one in Christ. That still doesn't change the fact that Black lives are not valued as much as white ones in this country. That's why your words seem so dismissive. I want you to take a stand. I want you to say that BLACK LIVES MATTER. I hope you know that you are not being neutral by not saying anything. You've chosen to stand by and watch it happen. I don't have that luxury. Every 28 hours a Black person is killed by the police. Yesterday that person was Rumain Brisbon, but today it could be me. If you care as much as you claim to, how can you not say anything about it? It could just as easily be me. You say that everything will be corrected in a few years when Jesus returns. Well, the Black person that's going to be dead in the next 28 hours doesn't have years. We can't wait. When something like that happens to a Black person, it essentially happens to all of us. That's what people are so upset about.

Let me just say that everyone in my social circle is upset about this. I am friends with people of many different races, and they all know this is a tragedy. I'm friends with a good number of White people, but only one of them is a Christian. You happen to be the only person out of all the people I know that hasn't condemned this. It makes me angry. The White Church has historically hung its Black brothers and sisters out to dry. It seems that now will be no different. Not a single Christian blog I follow has made a post about this. They've all just went on posting about Christmas as if it's business as usual. I guess it is business as usual if you think those people deserved to die. If you have any integrity at all, say something with substance.

Thanks,

Response #17:

I'm praying for your comfort and encouragement, and for a strong finish for you this semester in spite of the pressures you are under.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 NIV

We all have areas where we can be "played" by the evil one. I certainly do. These areas are not necessarily even sinful (at least not at first). Satan knows how to distract us from the spiritual job at hand, but our responsibility is to keep on the road to Zion despite all distractions.

My care and concern and prayers are for you. This world is evil and cannot be fixed. If we try to fix it, we only derail ourselves.

In Jesus Christ who knows all the sorrows of innermost hearts.

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

I'm sorry for that last email. Thanks for not getting angry at me. I was just frustrated. These past few weeks have not been my best. All this stress has been effecting my health. I know I keep saying this, but it's true. I might not have any other choice but to scale back my involvement. I still don't think there's anything wrong with activism. It's just becoming too much lately. Thanks for your prayers though. I think that's all I have to say. How are your classes?

Thanks,

Response #18:

Thanks for your email and thanks for asking. I am crawling over the finish line here (my health is not the best and I'm concerned for my mother who is undergoing some very difficult times), but hope to be finished up by the end of next week.

You have no need to apologize. These are difficult times, and, even if I don't have a full idea, I do have some idea of how and why you are stressed.

Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be made subject to the authority of anything (i.e., let any behavior compromise spiritual growth).
1st Corinthians 6:12

Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but not everything edifies (i.e., contributes to spiritual growth).
1st Corinthians 10:23

This life is all about choices, and not all choices are absolutely good or bad. But we do get rewarded for the truly good ones – and these are the ones which truly honor our dear Lord who went to His death to provide for us eternal life.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

Thanks, and I think you're right. I know Christians do all struggle with different things. If I see injustice anywhere, my first instinct is to try and solve it. That isn't necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. I think it's a good quality to have actually. I think the bad thing is that it puts me in poor company. It usually isn't Christians standing up for the marginalized, it's liberals. So, I end up breaking bread with people I don't agree with. I know and understand that it isn't the Christian's job to fix the world. I know it's pretty much "un-fixable." I just have a hard time finding the line where doing my Christian duty stops, and trying to fix the world starts. I would like your perspective on this. I feel that as Christians we're supposed to go against the tide. We're supposed to speak the truth. Ok, here's a good example of this. During the civil rights movement, generally the only white people that marched with Blacks were liberals from other places. The White church told their Black brothers and sisters to wait. Would you say they are on the right side of history? This is not a rhetorical question. Sorry if this seems aggressive, but I probably will never stop feeling strongly about this. I think it's one of my few good qualities.

I've still been reading my Bible. 

Thanks,

Response #19:

You're very welcome.

I take great delight in your "spiritual rallying".

As to "where to draw the line", as I always say, I would do so at the individual level. For example, if I see a homeless person and given him/her some food/money/clothing, I am sure that this is something with which God is pleased. However, if I work to get someone elected to political office so that they can help take money away from some people and give that money to "more deserving" people in ways of which I have no idea and with results I will never see, that, I am sure, is something with which God is not pleased. There are plenty of examples that will fall in the middle between these two extremes, but this is one are in which leaning to the one extreme (of doing whatever "good" needs to be done to individuals you know) and veering away from the other (of getting involved in any sort of mass political action) is both godly and prudent.

So to interact with your example, I don't either condemn or approve either the black churches or the white churches. The whole reason for having a church, one which is of God, is to teach the Word of God and to encourage one another through that same Word of God. It isn't for politics, whether I agree or disagree with the intent. What people do on their own time, whichever extreme they lean towards, the good one or the bad one, is no business of the church: a pastor-teacher who is truly serving Jesus Christ will continue to teach the truth regardless of any and all pressures, whether from the society at large or his own congregation in particular.

After all, the whole reason for our being here is not to seek justice or become rich or bring in the Millennium by peace-making or save the planet through environmental action. Christians are here to serve Jesus Christ the way He says we should: growing up in Him through the truth, moving forward in our walk through applying that truth to the tests that come, and helping other Christians do likewise by ministering to the Body through our gifts.

Before very long, the whole world will be a place of horrible evil, total injustice, unprecedented persecution, environmental catastrophe, war and revolution on a scale never before seen – and all the so-called "gains" of all such political action will only have resulted in contributing to this paroxysm of evils.

Finally, we are "one person". Beyond all argument there is little we can do to fix the world – even though the propaganda says otherwise. More to the point our Lord is calling us to something completely different: making a true difference for Him, and earning a great eternal reward in the process – by doing things His way rather than our way.

In confidence in your continued growth and production for Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #20:

I bought a pin at a flea market today. It say's "He Is Risen". It's small, only about an inch across. I plan on wearing it. Do you think it would be obnoxious? I also bought The Book of Mormon at the flea market. I noticed it by happenstance and bought it out of curiosity. I was surprised to see that there. Do you think I should not read it? I don't believe in it. I just figured when else would I get the chance to buy it. I payed less than a quarter for it.

My classes are going fine. They're not that hard, but there is a fair amount of work. It's reasonable though. The Holocaust class is interesting. I'm making a lot of connections. You know people still think that way? There are actual Nazis on the internet and they harass POC (people of color), and Jews. They generally harass anyone who doesn't agree with their views. The intersections are so interesting. You should see some of the debates that go on.

Response #20:

The book of Mormon is a comic book – except that it is not very interesting or entertaining. My personal choice is to avoid reading anything that purports to give divine truth but does not (apocrypha and pseudepigrapha in particular). Pins, crucifixes, tattoos, bumper-stickers and the like with messages are personal decisions. In my opinion, this is a case of "less is more"; if you are looking to send a message but not hammer others over the head with it (which is a good thing to avoid), a small pin is better than, e.g., a brightly colored T-shirt with big block letters (since the former invites dialogue but the latter will turn most people off from anything but confrontation – in our culture, at any rate).

As to Nazis, there's certainly no rehabilitating them. What I find interesting about the state of the culture's thinking on such matters is that while Nazis are the object of universal opprobrium, and rightly so, the antisemitism which earned them this deserved disrepute is itself getting more and more popular and acceptable in certain circles. Further, the mass murders committed by the Russians and Chinese (including of Jews and Christians) in the name of Communism is not now even deemed much of a crime if any crime at all – even though they raped and tortured and murdered many more millions over many more years (and in Asia are still at it to this very day). That's politics for you, and why I abhor anything having to do with politics, a game invented by the devil wherein he controls all sides to one degree or the other and gets human beings thinking about worldly solutions whereas God is the only one with any solution.
 

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