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Question #1:

Hello Brother Bob,

Its been a while since we have talked. Hope all has been going well with all you do to serve the Kingdom of God. ___ and I are doing well and she has recovered well from the open heart surgery.

I have a confession to make, I am interested in information on God's Presence and Outpouring at Asbury. Have you written any articles, or attended anything? The testimonies are very encouraging and seem to be unifying the Body of Christ.

Blessings to you and yours

Response #1:

Asbury is not technically part of the charismatic community but it does have its roots in the "Holiness" movement, so they have at least one foot in that camp.

All genuine believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit (e.g., Rom.8:9; see the link). The period of time when a person could be a believer and not have the Spirit extended just a few short years during the commencement of the Church Age, for the purpose of establishing the authority of the apostles who, in some famous cases, mediated the gift of the Spirit; see the link).

The charismatics like to pretend that what happened in the book of Acts can/is/does happen now – all of the "childish things" that the mature Church Age has left behind with the coming of the completed canon of the holy scriptures (1Cor.13:8-11). But the apostolic period was a unique time of transition from the Law to grace and required unique events/gifts/actions . . . none of which are legitimately occurring today (see the link). There are no more apostles. There are no more "gifts of tongues". And there are no magical "outpourings" . . . not of the HOLY Spirit, at any rate. What there is / can be / generally is, is an outpouring of ginned up emotion.

That is very dangerous for many reasons. First, because it is claiming something coming from God when God has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Second, because emotions in control never lead to anything good; rather they lead to all manner of behavioral excesses in the end. Third, because it is "exciting" and "fun" . . . for a while; and thus leads away from what we are supposed to be doing down here: growing spiritually, getting closer to the Lord in our walk day by day, and helping others do likewise through the proper exercise of our spiritual gifts in whatever ministry the Lord calls us to. This can only happen the right way, the hard way, the long way: reading scripture, praying, listening to good Bible teaching, making the effort to believe and apply all that truth in our daily walk.

Trees grow slowly. We do not sprinkle "magic pixie dust" on an acorn and have it sprout into a giant oak instantly. But that is what "revival" in essence is asking God to do. It never works out. The best one can say for this sort of thing is that occasionally some unbeliever is attracted to the hoopla and may hear the gospel and be saved. But it is also worth asking just how deep such seeds may root. After all, if it is just a shallow rooted seed, it will dry out at the first heat wave (Matt.13:5-6; 13:20-21). Anyone and everyone who is grounding their spiritual house on the sand of emotion will not see it withstand the flood which is coming upon the entire earth (Matt.7:24-29; Lk.6:47-49). And anyone who is ginned up in this false way will find that coming down from such a false high results in terrible spiritual dyspepsia once the shouting is over. There is no substitute for the joy and peace that only genuine spiritual growth in the truth can provide.

This is the era of Laodicea and preferring silliness and emotional highs to the lengthy and challenging work of spiritual growth is what we see everywhere. This is just another manifestation of that. You can see this sort of thing in many a charismatic church on any given weekend. Of course with less numbers and less media attention – but that in itself is a huge "tell" that what we are "witnessing" has nothing to do with God. Honestly, WHAT, exactly, is going on at Asbury (or fill in the blank with other such places/events of the past) which should occasion our applause? Are these people truly committing themselves to learning the truth, believing the truth, and following the truth; to setting themselves to a good course of spiritual growth, progress and production for the benefit of the Church of Jesus Christ? If they were/are, they don't need to make a pilgrimage to Asbury to do so. But Laodiceans crave "experience" – and that is all it is.

For as to His "presence", the Holy Spirit indwells us all and so does the Lord Jesus Christ: if we are believers, we are "in Him" and He is "in us" (see the link). Appreciating that requires spiritual growth, and it can indeed be quite emotional once this and similar truths are understood and believed and regularly applied as we contemplate all the wonderful things we have as believers in Christ (see the link). But the emotions are meant to follow the truth. Emotion is never supposed to be out front in the legitimate economy of God. That is someone else's tactic.

As to "unifying the Body of Christ", of that I have no doubt. But unifying it to what, exactly? "Feeling God's presence" . . . through emotional excess? I don't see this turning any Christians toward getting serious about going through the Basics series at Ichthys, e.g. (or something equivalent), that is, learning truth that will actually help them grow. Rather, this is a major distraction. And we all know who the master of that is.

I'm glad to hear about ___, my friend!

I'm keeping you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:


We know that the deceiver imitates the things of God as a trap for us at times. Perhaps that was the thought in 1Thes 5:19-22 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

As always I appreciate your prompt reply so much. It's hard for me to understand how you are able to keep up with all you do. You are certainly a Blessing to me and I so value your God given insight

It was good to hear from you again, and one day I hope to we can meet again.

Your Friend and Brother in Christ

Response #2:

Thanks for the good words, my friend.

There is indeed going to be a great deal of deception in the future:

"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."
Matthew 24:24 NKJV

He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
Revelation 13:13-14 NKJV

But as to Asbury, there are no such "great signs", except inasmuch as people may be ginning themselves up to such a fever pitch that they deceive themselves (quaking, shaking, speaking in tongues – it's happened over in that neck of the woods before).

The evil one has an entire system – an entire world system (see the link) – designed to deceive mankind. Anything he can do to put believers off of the strait and narrow through getting them to chase after "something exciting" that leads nowhere good is just icing on the cake. Especially for things like this, because those who head down there may be Christians who are dissatisfied with their current situation, not getting anywhere spiritually, and so they seize this "opportunity" . . . which is a false one that in the end will only leave them with a bad taste in their mouths (at best), and probably much worse off than they were before.

There is no substitute for the truth – and no short and easy way to learn it.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Dear Dr. Robert Luginbill,

I appreciate this opportunity where I can learn the truth of the Bible through your site. Thank you for giving us so generously such an opportunity! God bless you!

This is the Japanese person who is fond of translating your materials and am now soon to finish translation of SR#4. I've come to the end of SR#4 and have some question that I'd like to ask you. It's the section from V.Satan's Tactical Methodology 4.Demon Possession--

"At the present time, however, most such gifts and miracles are not functioning. Since "authority over the demons" is a power (or gift) only given to apostles and their associates, "exorcism" is not a valid activity for believers."

I have read that demons are cast out and healings done by some healing ministries today.

And also there is a verse in the Book of Mark 16:17, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; (Mar 16:17)

This verse sounds me that believers can cast demons through Jesus' name.

You mention the power of prayer as most powerful spiritual weapon. So did you mean by that, that prayer and exorcism are different things?

I'd thought that exorcism = part of prayer. Sorry for bothering you with these questions.

And I have another question. This is a totally different topic. I have some friends to whom I minister and send study materials from time to time. They've been supporting me as their teacher. I am wondering if I could print the Japanese translation of SR series to these people. I won't charge for it because they have been supporting me. Many of them would like these materials in print. I have my portable printing machine, so I would like to print about 70 copies or so.

But if you don't think it's a good idea, I will not do so. Please let me know what you think.

TXSM for reading this. I always appreciate the service that you do. I am glad that I have found you and your site.

God bless you!

Yours sincerely,

Response #3:

Wonderful to hear from you again as always, my friend!

You can print off as much and as many of these materials as you like. I'm thrilled to hear that there is a need/desire for them.

As to your other questions, to take them in reverse order:

1) Prayer is indeed one of the believer's most powerful weapons. Our Lord tells us . . .

. . . “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Matthew 21:21-22 NKJV

Anything that is in God's will will be done for us if we pray for it, believing.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1st John 5:14 NIV

That includes asking for any and all demon possession, harassment or influence over someone to come to an end (cf. Mk.9:29). We do not have to be present or perform any sort of non-biblical ceremony for this to happen, however (e.g., Matt.8:8-9).

Here's a link on prayer which will lead to many more: Prayer Questions VI.

2) The Gospel of Mark ends at Mark 16:8. There are a number of concocted longer endings which are not part of the Word of God (including this pseudo verse you mention). The KJV has the longer ending because it was translated before the older manuscripts of the New Testament were discovered, but it's not part of the Bible (here's a link on this).

3) Anyone can claim anything. And in this era of Laodicea where lukewarmness is the rule, any "ministry" which wants to attract followers more than it desires to please the Lord is likely to revert to tactics of which the Lord would not be pleased: ritualism, reverting to the Law, focusing on "prosperity" or emotional excess and "gifts" which are not in fact being given, as in this case.

Exorcism is never listed as a spiritual gift, and, other than our Lord's frequent casting out of demons, only happens very occasionally in the book of Acts – and only apostles do it. There are no more apostles; there is no more exorcism . . . not legitimate exorcism, in any case. But there are plenty of deceivers out there. In some cases, the best we can say about seemingly well-meaning people doing this is that they are deceiving themselves. The devil is certainly involved in any present-day "exorcisms" . . . but not in the good way these individuals claim or suppose (see the link).

Healing was a spiritual gift, but as with all of the so-called "sign gifts", it did not endure to the end of the apostolic period and is not being given today. All such gifts "ceased" as Paul assured us they would (1Cor.13:8-12). These temporary gifts filled in the gap in the early days of the Church Age where there were few prepared teachers and no completed New Testament; once that gap was closed, such gifts would only have been a distraction from seeking the truth in a godly way. And we KNOW for certain that is true: just look what a distraction the pretend usage of them is today even without the actual results. See the link: in BB 5: "Temporary Gifts".

Anyone who has ever taken the time and trouble to look into such "ministries" has always discovered that there is no evidence for actual exorcism or healing. There are plenty of such CLAIMS. But the devil is very good at deceiving people through attractive temptations (just ask Eve: "you will be like God/gods").

Here are some links which are very important for anyone who is feeling inclined to go wandering after such Pied Pipers would be wise to consult:

Third Party Testimony III: Near Death Experiences, Revelations and Tongues

Third Party Testimony II: Charismatic Claims of Visions, Dreams and Prophecy

Third Party Testimony I: We Believe God and His Word - Not People

Best wishes for your ministering, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Dear Dr. Robert Luginbill,

Thank you so much for your quick response! Thank you for taking the time to listen to me and answer, regardless of your busy schedule!

Firstly, I would like to thank you for letting us print some copies. I am sure that this would help many of my friends deepen their understanding of the truth of the Bible. I feel very honored that I can participated in some way in this.

When I read what you shared about Exorcism in SR#4, I felt validated in my unsettling feelings I’d always had about those who are involved in so called healing ministries. Why do you have to have a "healing ministry" when everyone has the right and power to use prayer?

I haven't finished reading everything from your link yet, as there is quite a lot! I was very surprised about what you shared about Mark 16.

I just wanted to tell you that I am very thankful. God bless you!!


Response #4:

You're most welcome!

And your good words are very much appreciated.

Take your time, and do feel free to write back about any of this.

Regarding "I felt validated in my unsettling feelings I’d always had about those who are involved in so called healing ministries. Why do you have to have a "healing ministry" when everyone has the right and power to use prayer?" This was no doubt the Holy Spirit indicating the truth to you and keeping you from harm. Those who quench the Spirit, who grieve Him and ignore His restraint and warnings, always fall into trouble. We all need to take pains to listen carefully to His "still, small voice" (1Ki.19:12). Much more about all that at the link: BB 5: Pneumatology.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

It's been a while since we've communicated, and you've been on my heart to check in and see how you were doing. I pray you're well. Yes?

We've been well, and busy. These are busy shaking days indeed. God is doing great things and people are turning towards Him, as our friend Haggai promised us (2:6-7).

This evening I was poking around your great website hoping to find your thoughts on the Ezekiel dry bones prophecy, and wandered someplace where one paragraph displayed a few typos so I thought I'd copy and paste it for you.

"As we can see no where (nowhere) in the Bible does the spirit or soul of a person mean something that has immortality or that can exist on its own. the Bible also inform(s) us that the Dead know nothing - neither there (their) soul or spirit is concoius (conscious) of anything as erroneously taught to people. Man is nothing more but clay or dust powered by the spirit of God
Life is what makes us a Soul."

I did have to chuckle (and get personally encouraged) - sometimes I'll reread something I've written only to find similar brain freezes clumped together in one apparent sitdown-and-type even m either from weariness or overload or so much focus on what I'm saying I'm typing clunky!

In any event - Lord bless you for your continued faith and pressing in to know our Lord even better, and for your sharing your wisdom and knowledge.

Bless you,

Response #5:

Good to hear from you, my friend!

On the typos, while I'm very good at making them myself (and always appreciate it when readers point them out; incorrect verse citations as well), this particular file you accessed is part of Odii Ariwodo's "Foundational Principles" hosted at Ichthys; also, the words are not Odii's but found in a correspondent's question he is answering.

While I do quote Ezekiel 37 on occasion, mostly on the principle of the human spirit being needful for physical life, I do characterize the chapter in CT 1 as follows: "Ezek.37: the resurrection and the reign of the Messiah as paradigms for near term deliverance": i.e., the recipients of his message here are to be encouraged as to God's deliverance of the godly at that time of the Babylonian captivity and as to the coming restoration of the nation in the near future by consideration of this vision of the resurrection and restoration that will accompany the Messiah's reign.

On Haggai, likewise, I take this as a future prophecy: all Israel will be regathered and be the glorious center of the world when Christ returns (see the link).

On "moving" today, I'm happy to hear your report on that! Personally, I've seen very little of it. In fact, things seem to be getting a good deal worse, spiritually speaking. Not unexpected, from the point of view of us being in the late days of the era of lukewarm Laodicea and with the Tribulation looming so close at present. But we do indeed always see God moving in individual cases, even in the darkest times. He always preserves a remnant according to grace.

God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Romans 11:2-5 NKJV

Grateful for you continuing to "move" . . . forward in spiritual growth.

Bumping along here – hope you are doing OK too, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Dear Mr. Luginbill

Firstly, my great thanks and admiration for your website and all of the work that stands behind it. It provides comprehensive, down-to-earth, in-depth teaching of the Bible and has greatly helped me (and my Bible study group) to understand the basic and important content and meaning of God’s Word.

My issue: I question (and actually dislike) the claiming or putting of people “under the protection of Jesus’ blood” for whatever reasons by many Christians. This habit makes me very uncomfortable, because to me this is a pretty paganistic thing, reminiscent of magical charms or, for example, the vials of saints’ blood that one major denomination reveres as sacred objects to be worshiped and to which healing properties are ascribed.

What is your understanding and viewpoint on this specific habit?

(I have already read through your other sections about Christ’s blood).

Thanks very much

Response #6:

Good to make your acquaintance – and thanks so much for your good words.

As to your question, you are exactly correct, and your analysis is right on the money. The phrase "under the protection of Jesus’ blood" does not occur in scripture. So "what it means" is entirely dependent upon the people who employ it. It seems to me to be just another one of those charismatic or related emotional "mystical" phrases/concepts employed by individuals who would rather sound dramatic than teach what is in the Bible, just as you intimate.

The "blood of Christ", of course, is a very important teaching as you know: it is the terminology the Bible uses to describe our Lord's spiritual death on the cross wherein He paid the entire penalty for all of the sins of the entire world (see the link in BB 4A: "The Blood of Christ").

Believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit and receive all manner of protection as those who belong to the Lord – as we have all no doubt experienced. But it's not magic and it has nothing to do with invoking magical phrases of no biblical provenance such as this one.

Feel free to write any time.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Thank you so much for this Bob! This is a great blessing to me and couldn't have come at a better time! I have been laid low both mentally and emotionally as this flu has dragged on. The enemy has seized this opportunity and I have seen hearts harden around me at the same time. Though I know that if this is not divine punishment then instead it is suffering for blessing and is actually a great compliment. The reason this is happening is that the Lord knows that I am 'up to it' spiritually. So I will trust the Lord through it in the knowledge that this will build me up for tests to come and the greatest test of all, the Great Tribulation (if it is the Lord's will that I will go through it.) So this is wonderful to read and great inspiration, this morning when I felt like I was cracking. Thank you so much my friend!

Just thought I would mention that I was watching two documentaries about the church visible in the US. I guess I have long been fascinated by America because of how visible Christianity is but now I am wiser through you and your ministry that this is the Laodicean age. (The UK's church visible is practically non-existent now - latest poll results say that UK is officially a secular country at 40% Christian -though that will be a vast overestimation. Fastest growing religion is 'Shamanism') Boy these documentaries are a mess...It seems that the enemy either wants you to be part of Christian Nationalism (which is Dominionism) on the right or the Social Gospel on the left. Each documentary deals with each side and I can see that both are wrong and both have 'another Gospel'. I am sure that we will see these movements in other countries too.

I have never been more glad to be outside of the church visible and a non-voter. You are absolutely right in saying politics is the devil's game and very spiritually dangerous. We can all be baited and goaded by politics and that is why it is so dangerous. Historically the two parties kept the sensitive polarising 'hot button' social issues like abortion and homosexuality on the sidelines and wouldn't touch it. Now it seems as though these are the only issues they ever talk about and they keep hitting that red button over and over again precisely because they ARE polarising and get people enraged. The devil knows his time is running out so he has to speed up his end game.

The exact same tactic is being used in the UK right now. The leader of Scotland is using the 'Gender Recognition Act' as a political football to argue for Scotland's independence from England. Again, the 'Transgender' issue is a highly inflammatory and painful issue all round.
I feel it is just about the devil baiting us and goading us so that we feel waiting on the Lord is not enough and that we all must 'DO SOMETHING'!!

I am finding the best strategy to avoid being goaded and baited is having radio silence in my home and getting on with the real job that the Lord wants me to do! Spiritual growth, maturity, passing tests and production, Amen! All the rest, is 'vexation of the spirit!'

p.s one of the main speakers in the 'social gospel' documentary is a 'Professor of the new testament' (part of Westar institute) at a seminary and has written a book denying Jesus' resurrection! Seems like you go to seminary these days to destroy faith not to build it up! I did a bit of digging around the 'Westar Institute' and the 'Praxis Forum' who seem to have ties with the makers of the documentary which is against Christian Nationalism but is pushing the Social Gospel instead (the documentary is called 'American Heretics'.) It's interesting that they have on their websites both nods towards ecumenism (quotes from the Dalai Lama) and social justice. It seems that these two are tied together. The worst thing about it though is that through this institute they published something called the 'Jesus Seminars' which attacked the historicity and literalism of the Gospels.


What is even more mind boggling is that they attack the Gospels as being unreliable but in the same breath publish the 'Gospel of Mary of Magdala' and also the 'Gospel of Thomas'?! So just to warn your readers that deception isn't always that obvious. If people are repulsed by the crash, bang, wallop of the 'Christian Nationalist' and 'Dominionism Movement', they may be deceived by the soft pedalled and easy listening of the 'Social Gospel' which is not only a false Gospel but also a Gospel without Christ! Sometimes the worst deceivers are the ones who are the most softly spoken, seemingly helpful and have the most nourishing looking fruit!

Galatians 1:8
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Response #7:

Thanks for this. I'm very happy to hear that you are hanging in there health-wise and, even more importantly, in spiritual resiliency. Sickness has a tendency to put us all back on our heels in that regard, so kudos to you for fighting back.

When I was at Talbot, the undergrads at Biola, the college to which Talbot seminary is attached, used to call it "the cemetery" (cf. recent Babylon Bee headline: "Miracle: Christian Who Graduated From Seminary Still A Christian "). I'm very grateful for my time at Talbot, but it is true that Protestant seminaries in general have been getting progressively worse to the point where I would be reluctant to recommend any one of them of which I am aware to any young man preparing for ministry.

In terms of the other emails, I've never heard of these Gnostic groups and only ever heard of the supposed right wing movement(s) on left wing media. These are basically media constructs only, especially when it comes to evangelical or actual Christian groups and churches. There are plenty of RC political activists and also loony right wing groups who use the name "Christian" but are really anything but. To the extent that your videos have any element of truth, it is in characterizing the 10% extremes on either side. Most groups in this country fall into the vast lukewarm middle. Sort of like a very thick hamburger seared on the outside but cold or even nearly frozen beyond the surface. Whether that lukewarmness manifests in legalism, or charismatic excess, or mega-church music extravaganzas, or high ritual, or philosophical doubting verging on unbelief, in any case, there's not much going on in the US's church-visible at present, spiritually speaking (supposed "revivals" like the one at Asbury notwithstanding).

Just because England is worse, doesn't make what's going on over here good. In fact, a frustrated Britain who came over here and landed in, say, a mega church with great music and a slick, professional presentation, might very well think at first that they had found their way back to the Garden. But it's all just superficial. Whether it is clearly apostate on the one hand or deceptively superficial churches on the other which provide a worse environment probably depends on the tendencies of each individual believer in the general milieu; but in either case, anyone serious about spiritual growth is going to have to look elsewhere.

You are certainly correct about politics and political causes stirring up people's blood and tempting them to "get involved". What is clear to me is that the devil is behind both extremes – and has heavy investments in the lukewarm middle as well.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Thanks for this Bob,

I had no idea that those two groups are Gnostic. Is the presence of fake Gospels an indicator of gnosticism?

Thanks for letting me know what America is really like and that the news only shows some extreme groups that do not typify the true landscape (I should have guessed that the media was lying on this point!) I wonder why they are aggressively pushing these two false contrasts of Nationalism and Social Gospel then? Maybe they are hoping The Church Visible can be pushed from their lukewarmness into these categories to effectively snuff out their weakened faith? I guess only time will tell. There are many loose strands on the landscape right now and I can't see how the enemy will tie it all together during the Tribulation as we all couldn't be more atomised and polarised than what we are right now. Maybe this is to get us to the civil war stage of the beginning of tribulation?

Anyway, things move so fast now. Whatever is being discussed today could be dropped by the middle of next week the rate it is all going. It just seems to be about 'chaos manufacture' to me so that out of this chaos, the antichrist will bring 'order' (trying to mimic God in His bringing order to the chaos of the first stage of creation.)

I will try not to ask you too many left field questions in the future as I am aware that time is running short and it is the Bible that I need to become more and more trained on. I know that my ministry is exposing Satan's lies but he has so many that I really need to limit my exposure only to the ones that directly relate to my ministry so I will have to be strict about only studying that and letting go of everything else. I also need to have a working balance in my day of studying the truth for 90-95% of my study plan and 5-10% exposing the lies in the light of scripture.

I was shocked before when I discovered that people preparing for pastor teaching can successfully get through that 'Higher Criticism' stage without shipwrecking their own faith. Their faith must already be pretty solid to not get tripped up by it. Is their faith already at that point where they trust God so much that He is already so real to them that they can take it? Or is it because their spiritual gift of pastor teacher is such a gift that they can easily overcome this (though also have greater responsibility?)

How then can I make the best of this spiritual gift God has given me? I know now that God has given me discernment and insight into how the enemy works with regards to cults, abusive relationships, mind control etc. How do I make sure that this gift and ministry is successful and that I don't waste time chasing false leads or be swamped myself?

I guess this again is a question of faith. I remember at one point researching a book on the Moonies and this was when I was starting to see it all fitting together in a recognisable pattern, the way the enemy works. I went through a difficult moment though when I felt an attack on my faith. I wasn't sure if this was coming from me or from the enemy. I think it was coming from the enemy (from without) as it was so sudden and from nowhere and really frightening and it left me really quickly with prayer. I have suddenly realised the responsibility of ministry and that the enemy will attack me all the more furiously once I fully embark upon it. I know that fear is a lack of faith and I need not fear these attacks as the Lord will always pull me through.

Thanks again my friend for all the help and support you give me!

In Jesus,

Response #8:

What I sent you was a broad generalization of the picture in the US, and, as we know, all generalizations are flawed – including this one too . . . but we all use them because they are valuable in imparting information even if imperfect.

In terms of "higher criticism" and also "form criticism" and the whole range of such "scholarly" schools of biblical interpretation, it is true that they have infested most seminaries. The one I attended has also become a bit squishy here of late from what I understand. If we are talking about Episcopalians (equiv. to "C of E" over there), or even the main Presbyterian denomination and other "main stream / old line" groups, it would be hard no doubt to find a pastor / bishop / whatever who has a high view of inspiration (by which I mean a biblically correct one) – because it would be hard to find anyone therein with genuine (or at least more than superficial) faith. I was seeing things in terms of what is broadly known as the evangelicals (I call it "evangelicaldom") which would include most Baptists, Evi-Free, independent mega-churches, etc. That is to say, not RCs, Unitarians, etc. and other groups which call themselves Christians but are not or only marginal so (in the case of the old-liners), but groups which seem to me, the best I can tell, to be composed mostly of believers – just very lukewarm ones. That is the middle I was talking about. The people on the extremes from your documentary are in most cases not believers even if they boldly wear the name "Christian" on their sleeve. Hope that clears that up.

I think your determination to put Bible study in place of first priority is the right one – to grow and to get to the point of effectively ministering, that is. I keep this and you in my daily prayers as well, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob again,

Just reading through this again to separate them all out

1) RCs, Unitarians and fringe groups that are 'Christian flavoured' are not saved at all as they do not have saving faith
2) Episcopalians and Presbyterian are not saved either as they are not born again
3) Evangelical denominations (Baptists, Evi-free, megachurch) have a lot of saved believers but they are lukewarm and their faith is not fed and so is on life support

I know of number 1 and 3 but not familiar with number 2. I know that you have had experience with these two churches (is that right?) So are they not born again? Do they not believe in the spiritual reality of being born again?

The last time I went into a C of E church I was surprised how similar the 'service' was to the Catholic mass. My mum said it must have been something called 'high church' or Anglican.
They had vestments and ritual and I couldn't see much difference. Scant reference to the Bible apart from short readings from the Gospel (just like the RC church), some call and answer things, hymns and then communion and that was about it. No study of scripture whatsoever.

I have been to a Baptist church once and they talked the whole time with no ritual but the 'teaching' was a very loose personal interpretation of one of the parables as well as plenty of secular anecdotes.

I attended a few online services at the Nazarene church which is part of the 'Wesleyan Holiness' movement but that has now gone full Emergent Church and the Pastor spent the whole time talking about TV and how much we could learn from Steve Jobs! The Church of Christ is a legalist disaster and they have cobbled together a list of laws taken from the Book of Acts! So the Church of Christ was the last brick and mortar church I have had anything to do with! I only lasted about an hour or two with them. I had a scary meeting with their elders via Zoom and that was when they told me they were fond of 'rebuking' one another. I never saw a more sorrier bunch of people. Especially the women all sitting there in silence next to their sorry husbands with the life drained out of their faces.

I remember when I first came to your ministry, very green, you kindly warned me that I wouldn't find a brick and mortar church teaching the Word of God. I didn't believe you then but I know better now my friend!

In Jesus,

Response #9:

Re: "The Church of Christ is a legalist disaster", that is, apparently, an example of British understatement, to judge by the testimonies of refugees from that organization I've encountered in the course of this ministry.

As mentioned in the last email, this is a generalization. Only God knows who is saved and who is not (2Tim.2:19), although there are plenty of people only too happy to give us a pretty good idea of the latter state through what they say and do.

On category #2 vs. #3, in general terms, I would say that the percentage of born again / born from above believers in #2 is less than in #3, but that's hardly a recommendation for #3 (where legalism or excess is likely to rule the day, depending on which "flavor" we're talking about).

The actual "Church of Jesus Christ", we must keep in mind, is composed of those who are part of His Body, saved by grace through faith, regardless of what group they belong to (see the link: in BB 6B: "The Universal Church") – and in the current state of affairs in the church-visible of Laodicea, not belonging is often a better indication of being serious about the truth than being involved in one of these many places is.

Keep running your good race, my friend! I'm keeping you, your family, and your friends in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

This may not be interesting to you at all but I just got an email about that 'American Heretics' film that promotes the social gospel. Well I played it dumb with them and asked whether the Westar Institute has anything to do with it (the same people who deny Jesus' deity, doubt the historical accuracy of the Gospels and also promote gnosticism). They just confirmed that it is one of their films. So they pretended it was a film made by believing evangelical insiders complaining about the church but really it wasn't. Just anti-Christian propaganda by the Westar Institute. I guess they don't just come out and say who funded the film and the purpose behind it. They just pretended that random filmmakers made an inside documentary on the evangelical church without mentioning the real agenda behind it. It is interesting that I asked the director if she was tied to the institute and she didn't even reply.

This may be nothing at all but thought it noteworthy that the people who promote the 'social gospel' actually deny Jesus' deity. I guess those two do actually correspond as they not only do not know who Jesus is or why He came in the flesh or why He died for us. That is how they take the power away from the Gospel and make it ordinary rather than the good news. It's just about giving food to the hungry and that is it.

Just par for the course for the times we are in I suppose. Like I said before, the social gospel may seem less dangerous than the 'God and guns' dominionists and that is why it is all the more dangerous!

In Jesus,

Response #10:

That is really enlightening. Covering up one's antecedents and hiding one's true purposes is a classic mark of all false teaching. "Wolves in sheep's clothing" as the Bible says.

In terms of "It's just about giving food to the hungry", in my observation and experience, it's not even about that. When money is given, most of it goes to those collecting it (one way or another); some small and puny portion may go to buying food or other charitable things – and that usually goes to people who aren't really the ones who need it. As I often remark, I have known many people in real trouble in my life, but I can't remember a single instance when I saw any of them helped by any charity. I'm sure it happens, but it's a mistake to think that there is even a 5% payoff / payout to the people you'd really wanted to be helped. Better to find a way to give it directly to them yourself.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Good morning Bob.

I hope this message finds you well. We are fine here, and have found a church assembly to attend that I find I don't have to be as concerned in holding the pastors feet to the fire, fact checking in real time with my opened bible.

As my wife and I encounter questions about homosexuality, gender, marriage (all continually in discussion) in our lives, do you have emails or links where you have previously discussed this that I could study to equip my wife and I for some of the questions that have come or may come our way?

Thank you.

Response #11:

To be honest, I have never done any sort of comprehensive treatment of these subjects. Why not? Because this is not an apologetics ministry; it is a Bible teaching ministry. There are plenty of subjects that do take a detailed analysis to understand properly, and there are plenty of verses that require detailed exegesis to fully and properly understand, but, IMHO, not these:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27 NIV

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Romans 1:24-27 NIV

Whatever version of the Bible a believer is reading, only extreme hardness of heart could ever think to rationalize their way around these (and other) very clear biblical passages. So there's no room for discussion. Are we talking about Christians who don't want to self-righteously condemn unbelievers they know who are involved in these activities? That is fine – I don't believe we should. Unbelievers have free will and a right to live their lives as they want; God judges, not us. We don't live in ancient Israel and it is a terrible mistake to become involved in politics and try to legislate "better behavior" . . . for others. In any case, what any unbeliever needs is the gospel, not a change of morality; that will come if the person genuinely turns to Christ. But what good it is to the Lord who died for them if some one "goes straight" but persists in unbelief? They are going to hell either way. Are we talking about Christians who want to justify the behavior of others who are doing such things? They just need to read the Bible. If they read the above (and similar) passages and persist in thinking "it's OK", then they have not much hope of spiritual growth since all truth comes from the scriptures, directly or indirectly or through good Bible teaching, and they are determined to reject it. Are we talking about Christians who are trying to justify their OWN behavior? I would advise having nothing to do with such people:

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
1st Corinthians 5:9-11 NIV

It is also fair to mention, I think, that any church where the pastor's feet need to be "held to the fire" on such issues is probably not going to be teaching the truth in any great depth – and teaching, learning, applying and being encouraged by the truth is the entire point of Christian assembly (Heb.10:24-25). I do wish you guys well in this new place, but please take care not to let association with lukewarmness quench the Spirit. Laodicean "churches" tend to suck up all legitimate desire for the truth and replace it with various inferior substitutes . . . in the name of fellowship.

Here are some links on that:

Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality IV

Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality III

Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality II

Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality.

Mega-Churches, Emergent Christianity, Spirituality and Materialism.

Red Hot or Lukewarm? Bible Teaching versus Sermonizing.

Dysfunctional Churches.

Finding a church . . . or something better?

Finding a church . . . or something better II?

In BB 6B: Ecclesiology:  "The Assembly of the Local Church"

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob,

On a personal note which I think I have mentioned previously. We do not have a church where we worship regularly, in fact we have tried them all. I know we are told to assemble with other worshippers but I just cannot be a part of the dog and pony shows and the sermons which are mostly shallow. How should one address this situation? To simply go to church when one is not being taught in an exegetical manner seems like an inordinate waste of time and simply lip service.

Any thoughts ?

Response #12:

Here is how I translate the passage you're alluding to:

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

This was written to a group of believers who were turning back to the Law and who were "going to temple". So they WERE "going to church" as we would say. But they were going to the wrong place for the wrong reason – and were flirting with apostasy as a result (as Paul tells them in the very next verse, Heb.10:26ff.; cf. Heb.6:4-9).

The Lord has very little patience for those who are "vainly worshiping" by carrying out man-made rituals (Matt.15:9; Mk.7:7). That was true of the Pharisees (against whom He pronounced so many "woes"), and in my opinion it is true of the church-visible today where instead of genuinely teaching the Word whereby we may be fed and encouraged – the purpose of assembly in Heb.10:25 – most churches are engaged in, as you say, one "dog and pony show" or another. Merely the texture is different, whether high ritual, or charismatic excess, or high-tech displays and loud music. Pablum comes in many flavors, but it is still not "solid food" regardless (Heb.5:14).

This is the final Church era, the era of Laodicea, the era of lukewarmness, and that lukewarmness is manifesting itself throughout the church-visible. The tepidness of the no-teach / no-grow approach is leaving most believers today ill-prepared for the Tribulation soon to come. On the other hand, churches today are more "consumer driven" than ever before. Churches today do what they do (and fail to do what they should do) precisely because they are giving the people what they want (which is the essential etymology of the name "Laodicea", after all; see the link).

Where does that leave the few of us who want the truth more than anything else? Well, it has left me "on the internet" (and others as well; see the links: Bible Academy; Bibledocs; Everything is Fine). Of course, we would all like to be able to assemble in one place together face to face to grow in grace and in the truth of the Word in the presence of other like-minded believers. But if that is not possible because in our vicinity there is no such place, are we supposed to compromise away the principles we hold most dear? Like you, I am not interested in wasting my time. In fact, whenever I go to one of these places I get nearly sick to my stomach. If the Spirit is telling us not to go, why should we subject ourselves to a "guilt trip" for not doing something that is clearly questionable at best and possibly spiritually detrimental at worst? The longer the frog stays in the warm water, the easier it is in the end to cook him.

If we knock, the Lord opens. Most long-time and faithful readers of Ichthys report similar experiences. Often they looked long and hard before they found this ministry. If one is growing through it – and I know that it is possible to grow from it – then isn't that carrying out the spirit of the command with which legalistic individuals want to bash any and all who aren't regularly attending a brick-and-mortar lukewarm church? In my view it most definitely is. And more than that. We can have fellowship with others, even if not face to face, through the means God provides even so. If we are doing what is well-pleasing to the Lord, there is nothing more to be concerned about – except to double-down on our good commitment.

Here are some links where this subject is discussed at Ichthys:

Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality IV

Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality III

Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality II

Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality.

Mega-Churches, Emergent Christianity, Spirituality and Materialism.

Red Hot or Lukewarm? Bible Teaching versus Sermonizing.

Dysfunctional Churches.

Finding a church . . . or something better?

Finding a church . . . or something better II?

In BB 6B: Ecclesiology:  "The Assembly of the Local Church"

Also, I don't recall if I mentioned the Ichthys forum which Steven T. has set up for just this purpose of Ichthys readers getting acquainted. If you'd like me to ask him to send you an invite, I'd be happy to do it.

Keeping you and your family in my daily prayers,

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Dear Bob,

Thank you for the very insightful and helpful information on your website. It most certainly is helping with my spiritual growth.

As I’m a Christian (Greek) Orthodox, please let me know if you have any available material on the biblical support for the veneration of the Saints and the Virgin Mary and the practice of a visual gospel through icons? I have been raised as an Orthodox Christian from a little child and I’m now in a relationship with a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) and she is saying that what I’ve been practicing is satanic and our relationship cannot continue as a result, unless I convert to SDA. Any material or biblical support that you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

If you’re also able to provide material on your website related to the Sabbath vs Sunday worship, this would also be appreciated.

Yours in Christ.

Response #13:

Good to make your acquaintance.

Ichthys is a Bible teaching ministry, not an apologetic one, so I don't generally approach issues in this way (i.e., of going to lengths to explain why such things are not biblical; rather, I concentrate on what the Bible teaches).

I do have some links that apply to your second question, however (the first one has many other links):

Should Christians honor Sunday as the new Sabbath?

The new Sabbath rest I

The new Sabbath rest II

In Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hello again Bob,


Someone wrote that there is two gifts of tongues, one which is a known language which needs an interpreter and is for a group and one which is an unknowable language that people pray privately to God in. They say 1 Corinthians details this.

This Reverend spoke to me in a language I didn't understand but it sounded like Arabic but I have no way of knowing and there was no interpreter. I am afraid to question this as would this blaspheme the spirit if it were true?

I now see the danger in talking to people in other denominations especially if that person has seniority and I guess for a moment I submitted to another man's authority and ministry without having any experience of it or testing the spirit or the fruit. It just goes to show how cowed by human authority we can be if we don't have our wits about us.


I'm feeling a lot calmer about this now. Please forgive me for being so alarmist yet again. I have to say that having a crash course in Christianity near the end times is not easy! I regret not coming to the faith sooner as I am having to digest heavy things at a very fast rate! Sometimes I read something on your site and at the time I find that I can't understand it, as though it is "advanced Christianity" or a more deeper theological debate so I may gloss over it as it, at the time, doesn't seem to concern me. Then all of a sudden it is an issue that is suddenly very pertinent to me and I need to study this issue very carefully but at the same time I feel the urgency to study it because it has caused me alarm.

Is it true that "Cessationism" is the traditional view of Protestantism and is also parallel to "Sola Scriptura" "Sola Fides"? So would "Continuationism" be considered as a departure from Protestant tradition and so a departure from the main tenets of the reformation? Or is that too big a leap to make?'

It seems then that the Charismatic Movement and the Pentecostal movement is very similar to the Emergent Church and the NAR movement in that they believe in the whole "God is doing a new thing" or we "can't put God in a box".

I am very tempted at this point to say that all this is part of a counter reformation movement within Protestantism itself and also tempted to even go further to say that this has the full backing of the Catholic Church to get us back under the mother church of Rome again (or is this too cynical and conspiratorial of me?)

I have noticed that some of the main Charismatic leaders do promote Catholic practices such as mysticism and subjective emotional experiences over scriptural truth. Would you say that this modern day interpretation of both the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" and the "gift of tongues" is this?

Again forgive me if I seem dense and hard to teach. It is no easy task studying whilst being mocked by unbelievers, under fire from the enemy and also being surrounded by wolves and false doctrine. Not that I am moaning about it but I guess every now and again I realise the pressure involved in contending for the faith. All this does though is make me more determined as it is further proof of how valuable this pearl of great price truly is!

Has it always been like this? Was it like this for you too? I realise that it will be near impossible to do this at speed under the pressure of the tribulation so I really want to get my head down now and learn.

I've said this before that reading something is one thing but knowing, trusting, believing and applying is a whole other ballgame.

A lot of the things you have told me have borne out to be true. You told me that no churches around me would be interested in the truth. You were right. You told me that flip flopping from different ministries and teachers would inhibit growth and lead me to false teaching. You were right. You told me that reading the bible for ourselves was the only protection from false doctrine. You were right. You said that we needed to stay in the Word every day and have a disciplined study within a biblically rooted ministry like Ichthys. You were right. You told me that fellowship with people who didn't actually believe in the truth was no fellowship at all. You were right. You said that trying to evangelise to someone with strong views in another direction when immature could be dangerous to one's own faith. You were right.

It's hard to know at times whether one is running well or not. It reminds me of those HGV's that have a plate on the back that says "how is my driving?" with a telephone number beside it!

In Jesus, the way and the truth and the life,

Response #14:

From my point of view, you are doing wonderfully well! I wish all Ichthys readers were as enthusiastic about the truth as you are.

It's certainly NOT uncommon for us to learn by falling down. Isn't that the way we learned to walk physically as well? And when we get to running – as you are doing – we can still catch our foot and take a tumble from time to time. But "though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again" (Prov.24:16 NIV).

In any case, there is a big difference between an actual stumble and making an error of judgment in application out of a desire to share the truth or defend it. The latter is part of growing in Christ and we have ALL been there many times – we get better, but these are very easy mistakes to make. But they can upset us emotionally even so, and part of that is pride. We have to learn that this is about the Lord, not us. Lack of response on the part of others is something they will have to answer to the Lord for, not to us. We work for Him, so the only real question we need to ask ourselves in such instances is "is this what You want me to do, Lord?" Sometimes we demur when we should be bold; sometimes we are over-bold when we should have exercised prudence. As we grow, we do (or should) get better about sorting things out on this score so that we are making minor course corrections on the path and not careening wildly from one ditch to the other. For my money, you are doing it right – even if this latest experience was unsettling.

The charismatics ARE unsettling. As with many cult members (and while many charismatics are saved and therefore their churches are not all cults, yet they share many of the characteristics), charismatics are utterly convinced of the rightness and reality of what they are doing. That sort of self-confidence is naturally intoxicating wherever it is coming from (the same is true of political movements too, after all). But it is not inappropriate to point out that with all such groups, cults, movements, there is an actual basic question that needs to be answered first before we get caught up too: "Is it really right and true?"

In terms of the charismatics, God CAN do anything. That is not the question. The question is, "Is He in fact empowering people as they say – to speak in tongues, to heal by touch, to cast out demons, to prophecy in His Name, to perform miracles and signs and wonders, etc. Wouldn't it be wonderful . . . if He were! But oh how awful, how blasphemous, how spiritually dangerous and eventually debilitating to be PRETENDING such things are true when and if they are not.

And they are NOT – as any sane person can very easily discover, if they have a notion to do so. But even for those who KNOW it's not true, charismatics can still be persuasive . . . by working on our guilt, working on any residual doubts we may have, working on the chinks in our faith, working on hidden desires and personal wounds and trauma – in exactly the same way cults operate.

Just because we want something to be true, doesn't make it true. Whether or not it actually IS true is THE important question.

I would LOVE for the "rapture" false doctrine to be true. But it is not. And it really is better to know the truth. I would LOVE to be able to heal people by touching them – although if one thinks seriously about the consequences of being endowed with a gift like that, it will become immediately clear that few of us have the humility and dedication to handle such a thing. That is true of most of the "sign gifts", and no doubt yet another reason why they are in fact NOT being given now – and haven't been since the formation of the canon of scripture which made them unnecessary (1Cor.13:8-12). The main reason, the really important reason, however, is that the Word of God and its power needs to be our focus. Not the excitement and distraction of "seeing and hearing", but the truly great power of believing even without seeing and hearing.

I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
Psalm 138:2 NKJV (cf. Ps.33:4; Mk.9:7)

Jesus said to [His disciple, Thomas], "Because you have seen Me you have believed? Blessed are those who have not seen and have [yet] believed!"
John 20:29

I have a great many things posted to Ichthys in various places about charismatic claims (here's one link that will lead to more) – let me know if you need any help finding them.

By the way, excellent observation about the common cause charismatics and Roman Catholics are making nowadays and more and more so as the days go by. That should tell us something right there.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

Reading "Strange Fire" and "Kingdom of the Cults"... A cult is defined as a group of people gathered around a specific person of person's misinterpretation of the Bible. From that reading I would say Catholicism is a cult but also Pentecostalism and the Charismatics are also. They all have something in common in that they build a doctrine around one or two verses in the Bible that they have misinterpreted and misapplied.

With the Catholics they have done this with Mary and Communion and with Pentecostals and Charismatics (what is the difference between these two?) they have built a doctrine around the gifts of the Holy Spirit which were given at Pentecost.

From what I have read, Pentecostals/ Charismatics believe that if you can't speak in tongues then you aren't Baptised in the Spirit and therefore not saved. This is the same as saying that only Pentecostals/ Charismatics are saved then! So basically they are a cult!

Why aren't more people calling them out on this then! It's truly shocking this whole bullying people into "speaking in tongues" going on unchecked! It really is ship wrecking people's faiths. A lot of people think this is what Christianity is all about just like I thought Catholicism was the only way to God!

Why do Pentecostals and Charismatics have any legitimacy whatsoever then?

I find it ironic that the bible group I was in were trying to get someone out of JW and yet they themselves believe in present day "speaking in tongues". They also told me they were mature Christians!

They want to get people out of the Muslim faith but then into what exactly? Tongue speaking Charismatics and telling people fresh out of Islam, leaving their friends and families behind (putting up with death threats etc) only to have no fellowship with others, no bible teaching to grow up through, no eschatology, no planted church but instead being told they have to talk gobbledygook to prove they are a Christian? That's mature faith apparently!

I've intimated a lot of my misgivings about this modern "signs" movements and now walked away from them too. I'm sure they'll disregard everything I said like the Nazarene pastor did. Hopefully one day they will start to see things differently in the light of scripture.

I'll keep them in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Response #15:

Sometimes prayer is the only weapon we have. But it's an excellent one! Having access to Jesus Christ and Father's throne of grace is a pretty wonderful thing. If anyone can do anything about a problem like this, it's the Lord – and in fact He's the only One that can (as with so many things).

. . . “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Matthew 21:21-22 NKJV

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14:13 NIV

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1st John 5:14 NIV

FYI, there are different levels / "flavors" of charismatics and pentecostals, but they are all problematic, even if some of them don't teach you're not saved with tongues.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hello--I hope you are staying well. Sorry to bother you again, but I have a question about a Greek word. A Catholic on CARM calls Mary the "Ark of the New Covenant". I understand the reasoning behind it--even though the Bible nowhere alludes to that title for Mary--but this guy also uses this argument as to why Mary was a Perpetual Virgin, since only the Aaronic priests in the OT could touch the Ark of the Covenant and live. Anyway, this Catholic wrote this:

"When the Old Testament ark arrived, it was greeted with shouts.
When Mary arrives at Elizabeth's house, "she exclaimed with a loud cry", and the word "exclaimed" (ἀνεφώνησεν) is only used two other times in the Bible - both in passages that center around the Ark."

I don't know what Bible version this guy used, but "exclaim/exclaimed" isn't in Strong's though I found those words numerous times in the NIV Concordance we have. Anyway, could you tell me what that Greek word is and what it means? And is this guy correct, that it only occurs three times in the Bible--but then, it would be a different word in the Hebrew in the Old Testament, wouldn't it? Most of the versions for Luke 1:42 that I looked at have "cried out" or "spoke in a loud voice" or something similar. A few do use "exclaimed."

As always, thanks for your help.

Response #16:

The Greek verb at Luke 1:42 is anaphōneō (ἀναφωνεω). It means "proclaim" in secular Greek and has nothing whatsoever to do with "arks". But it does occur only here in the NT. Therefore we must conclude something dramatic . . . such as Jupiter and Saturn are sure to collide tomorrow afternoon . . . or maybe the word just means "shouted" as the context suggests and as Greek usage elsewhere demonstrates.

Sometimes you really have to wonder if there is any length to which proponents of false doctrines will not go to "prove" that their falsehoods are biblical.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dear Robert,

The subject matter has to do with phrase, “The Father must but show”, which is used by a lady under all situations / circumstances. Some examples: a) if prayer is needed for a specific need, this phrase is verbalized, b) if someone needs to be addressed regarding a situation, this phrase is verbalized, c) if there is a difference of understanding between persons then this phrase is uttered and d) if an individual needs to be corrected regarding wrong practices then this phrase comes in to effect.

My deduction is that there is no perception of some kind of responsibility, some kind of accountability and the lack of Christian maturity to embrace scenarios in a positive way. By embrace I mean that we have a part to play! Is there a theological explanation for this kind of response? It seems as if the notion is to ‘activate’ the Lord to action by the phrase ‘The Father must but show’. In a sense, this will leave the person motionless or even being immobilized by dictating to the Lord.

I really want to be sensitive in helping the lady. How should I address this matter?

Your response will be appreciated.

In Christ our Savior,

Response #17:

There is nothing like this in the Bible.

I find it a very odd phrase, even to invent. Who are we to say what the Father "must" or "must not do"? !

Whenever people "go beyond what is written", that is always a mistake (1Cor.4:6).

As to "what to do?", I don't know what the circumstances are and, in any case, I'm loathe to give such advice. If this is a church situation and this sort of thing is tolerated and indicative of what's going on, I'd be looking for a new church.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:


By the way, Catholics like to argue that they do not worship Mary (even though it looks and sounds like worship) because they do not engage it (call it) Latria, which only means worship. My response is that worship is not defined by one word but can be by other words and descriptions as well. Not being any kind of language scholar then I used Strong's to put together a page dealing with this, http://peacebyjesus.net/words_used_for_worship.html, but I would appreciate it if you could take a quick look at it and also direct me to your best page on this issue so I can reference it.

Thanks. Grace and peace thru Jesus the Lord.

Response #18:

My pleasure!

People are always trying to argue that a spade isn't a spade – if having a spade is uncomfortable for them. The truth is the truth, and cannot be reasonably denied. It also cannot be hidden, not forever.

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
1st Corinthians 4:5 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

In our Bible study this morning, we came across this verse that kind of intrigued me, because I never saw this happen in any assembly of which we fellowshipped with.

1 Timothy 5:19-22.
19Do not entertain an accusation against an elder, except on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 20But those who persist in sin should be rebuked in front of everyone, so that the others will stand in fear of sin. 21I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to maintain these principles without bias, and to do nothing out of partiality. 22Do not be too quick in the laying on of hands and thereby share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

During the 40+ years of my experience with "churches", I have never seen this accomplished. There were times that this was needed, but rather than embarrassment of the individual, nothing was ever done openly, and I don't believe anything was ever done at all when this occurred, even among so-called Pastors and other Ministers, at least not in the denomination I was a part of.

I would appreciate your interpretation and thoughts about these verses, no hurry.

I had a case many years ago, about 40 years or so, where another deacon made known to me, that a couple who attended the "church" with their family, were not married, but were living together.

I know for a fact that the Pastor did not want to confront them because they had several benches that also attended with them.

When I was made aware of this situation, I went to the Pastor along with this other Deacon and told him about it. Well, I can tell you that a rather intense argument broke out between him and myself, he argued in the flesh, I spoke to him by the leading of the Holy Spirit. This event ended well. The couple got married, and all was fine.

I don't believe that anything like correction even takes place anymore these days of religious liberalism.

Thanks always for your help and assistance.

Blessings to you,

Your friend,

Response #19:

I've dealt with this passage multiple times, most recently in BB 6B (at the link).

Two things people get wrong about this passage: 1) this is entirely about disciplining the leadership of the congregation, not the congregation itself; that is the thrust of the epistle and also of the context; so this procedure is for elders and deacons only; 2) the application of the phrase "before all" is nearly universally misunderstood. It means "openly" or, essentially, "with impudence". If any leader boldly disregards scripture to be sinning with a high-hand – and doing so in a way that is causing others to stumble – then this procedure is the one to follow.

Christians are responsible to and accountable to the Lord, not other Christians. Churches which adopt "church discipline" procedures are usually sunk deep into legalism. For one thing, it really is impossible to know what is going on in another's heart, so that no such policy of rebuking sinners could ever be fair or uniform. For another thing, all of the people doing the rebuking are also sinners. We all need to be confessing to the Lord, privately.

There is a procedure for believers who are flaunting gross sinfulness to the detriment of others in the group: throw them out (1Cor.5:9-13). That is the biblical process since they have flaunted their sin for all to see (as in the scriptural case cited). If after being cast out they repent, they can be allowed back in.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Two weeks ago, my church's Bible study group leaders have, by advice of our pastor, asked me to step down from teaching (I was one of the leaders) because I challenged their eternal security teaching. We were studying Matthew chapter 6 at the time. When we got to verse 15, about if you don't forgive others, neither will your Father in heaven forgive you, I asked them (my co-leaders and the others) how a believer who won't forgive a person, and thus God WILL NOT forgive them, can still make it to heaven? I said that those who believe you can't lose salvation have to say either Jesus was just kidding when he said that, or the statement doesn't apply to us but only to unbelievers. This led to a debate (in which they never answered my question) and then a day or two later one of the leaders texted me that, after talking to our pastor, I needed to step down. I guess they got tired of me asking from time to time how a believer who never repents can still make it to heaven- what scripture says that? It always lead to a debate in which they never answered my question. So now I have dropped out of the bible study group. Were you ever in a situation like this? How did you handle it? Is it ok if I have dropped out? I feel that I can't keep quiet when I hear wrong doctrine being taught. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.


Response #20:

I have to say I'm not surprised that a group believing OSAS would be intolerant of any opposing point of view. Yes, I have seen many such things before. It's very difficult to change any group with incorrect beliefs "from the inside", because, if people there wanted the truth, they wouldn't be there in the first place.

I do have to take issue with some of your assumptions here, however. I wrote you before that both extreme positions are incorrect – and both are dangerous. It is very dangerous to teach people that they can sin with impunity and not endanger their salvation. That is because sin erodes faith and, since we are saved "by grace through faith", if our faith evaporates, then we are no longer believers. Believers are saved by definition because they have faith; unbelievers are not saved by definition because they do not have faith (Jn.3:18). On the one hand, if a person no longer has faith, he/she is then by definition an unbeliever again and is NOT saved just because he/she used to have faith once upon a time. On the other hand, if a person does have faith, he/she is then by definition a believer and is NOT lost just because he/she is acting like an unbeliever. In the latter case, this is dangerous because it dishonors Christ. The result of gross behavior is divine discipline meant to lead to repentance, but if instead of changing course the believer in question perseveres in their egregious behavior, one of two things will happen: 1) he/she will wear out the Lord's long-suffering patience and bring on the sin unto death (cf. 1Cor.5:1ff.); 2) he/she will turn away from the Lord by reacting against the discipline so as to abandon Him, so as to give up their faith. The former is called the sin unto death; the latter, apostasy (see the link in BB 3B for the details).

So when you say "how [can] a believer who won't forgive a person, and thus God WILL NOT forgive them, can still make it to heaven?", I have to say that while it is true that when we fail to forgive we put ourselves out of fellowship with the Lord, it is not true that when we commit this sin (or any other sin) that we thereby lose our salvation. This dangerous "state of grace" thinking leads to RC like practices and "pins and needles" salvation, as I call it. Did David lose his salvation when he murdered Uriah and stole his wife? No – but he did bring down on himself fourteen years of intense divine discipline. He did repent when confronted by Nathan, and if he had refused to do so, he would have set himself on the road to one of the two terrible results described above. But loss of salvation is not an instantaneous event with no antecedents. It is a process, often having to do with sin but just as often having to do with negatively reacting to loss or persecution. As long as a person believes in Christ, that person is a believer and all believers belong to Him.

We also certainly don't have to worry about anyone "getting away" with anything. As any believer who is honest can attest, divine discipline stings – and for those of us who love the Lord, being on the "outs" with Him, even briefly, is the most unpleasant thing of all.

As to the "what to do" question, that is a very personal one which you will have to decide for yourself. I can only tell you that the most important thing for any Christian is to grow up spiritually, progress through testing to the next level, and come into the ministry which Christ has for us. That is what we are here for. That is what glorifies Him. That is what wins the three crowns of reward. Everything else is merely playing around – which is what most "churches" and most believers here in the very late innings of Laodicea are doing. It's no way to honor the Lord. It's a waste of a life. And it is certainly a very poor way to prepare for the Tribulation. Those terrible seven years are just around the corner, and believing OSAS (among other false "comfort" teachings like the pre-Trib rapture or like security through membership in some group) will be a very dangerous thing at that time. After all, taking the mark of the beast does result in damnation (Rev.14:9-13) – because you cannot be a believer any longer and do such a thing.

You're certainly welcome at Ichthys.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

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