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Ministry and Preparation for Ministry XVII

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Question #1: 

Hi Bob,

Thanks for rooting for me through my tough test last week. It's so good to know the Lord is always there by my side helping me through.

I was searching for something on the net the other day and I just happened to end up on a Christian women's website. I don't normally look at things like this because to be honest I've got all I need with Ichthys and Bible Academy and I've got so used to proper in-depth teaching. Anyway, the lady whose website it is seems to have a very sincere heart and good intentions. She says she doesn't take a denominational label just calls herself "Christian". She says she's neither Catholic or Protestant and that she is "Catholic friendly". It might be because she has married into a Catholic family.

She has written a lot about her research into the Catholic beliefs vs. what we believe. She included a part about whether we're saved by faith alone or faith plus works. She wrote down verses which clearly state we are saved by faith, not works but then she said as she kept searching the scriptures she started to find more and more verses where some type of work or good deed was an integral part of the equation. She said the number was almost overwhelming and she quoted a few of them.

I read them and I suppose I shouldn't be but I surprised myself. As I was reading them I could see how she had completely misunderstood what the verses meant and/or had taken them completely out of context. To read them as she had written them down could so easily convince other Christians who don't study their Bibles that we need works as well for salvation. As I was reading I could bring other verses to mind as well to support being saved by faith.

As I say, I don't normally go on these websites and I've never left a comment on anything but I was encouraged because I could see the mistakes straightaway and I know that it's all through the teaching and in-depth study of the scriptures that I have had over the past couple of years. That's the reason for me telling you all of this - I was really encouraged! This lady said she has been to "Bible college" as well.

After I had read what she had written I scrolled down to read the comments that others had made. The majority not surprisingly were Catholics but there was a retired pastor who went through all the verses she had quoted and explained the right context and meaning of them. I think he got it spot on. She thanked him very much for his input but she still wasn't convinced. There was one other lady who commented and got it right as well but the others were mostly Catholics who thought it was great!

It's encouraging and just makes me want to continue to keep studying and believing and knowing the Word like the "back of my hand". The more I grow then the more I can really help others (or at least try to help them!). I'll be writing a few of my own "comments" soon! This week's postings are good and I could relate very well to certain things some of your correspondents were saying.

Still praying for you!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Saviour

Response #1: 

Yes, some people just love to "do things for God" – whether He wants them done or not . . . and it's pretty arrogant to think He needs help (and all the while NOT doing what the Lord has clearly told us to be doing). One thing is sure, however: the Lord is not handing out free passes to heaven, not even with a "Mother Theresa" level works . . . not absent genuine faith in Jesus Christ apart from personal works-righteousness, that is. But some people want to boast of what THEY have done instead of appreciating what Christ has done; genuine good works, the kind that the Lord approves of, the kind that earn rewards, are responses in faith to the grace we have been shown and NOT a means to salvation – it's entirely the other way around.

(8) For you have been saved by [God's] grace through faith [in Christ]; and this did not come from you – it is God's gift. (9) Nor did it come from what you have done, lest anyone should boast. (10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for [the purpose of accomplishing] good works, which [very works] God has prepared ahead of time for us, that we might walk in them (i.e., live our Christian lives in the accomplishment of them).
Ephesians 2:8-10

Very enlightening, my friend – thanks for this! No doubt this all has to do with the Lord preparing you further for your ministry.

Persuasion is a funny thing. Really, only the Spirit has that ability when it comes to the truth, but He does use what we may proffer to those to whom we witness.

Had a pretty good start to the break here, having lunch with my former colleague. She's a Christian and had a great story about a family member whose daughter had cut her mother off because of a boyfriend she was determined to follow no matter what. Mom kept sending a "mom card" every week to daughter even so. It took over a year, but daughter finally called unexpectedly and asked, "Mom, can I come home?". So keeping those doors open and continuing to pray and trust the Lord can yield great results . . . in the end.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers – thanks so much for yours!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

It has been well over 15 years since I last emailed you but I have always and continue to reference your vast body of work when faced with a difficult issue of biblical exegesis (especially all things eschatological, if you know what I mean). The season is changing and the fig tree is starting to bud. My question concerns a little row __ and I have seem to have going now concerning the Mesoamerican civilizations and their religious practices. __ wants to see God in all things especially the Sun pyramid in Teotihuacan. I said not so fast. So the question begs, what of these civilizations and their opportunity to know the true Creator or is all lost for these peoples?

Keep up the good work and may the Lord keep you and Bless you.

Response #2: 

Great to hear from you! Hope you are doing well.

There has always been all manner of idolatry in the world and that continues to the present day – including in our day many groups which call themselves "Christian" whereas in fact they are really idolatrous cults. Instead of being inclusive, the actual Church of Jesus Christ is completely exclusive. There is only "one way" to salvation (Jn.14:6). No one who does not believe in our Savior, His perfect divine person, His true humanity, and His work in dying for the sins of all on the cross – is truly a member of the Body of Christ.

So it is actually not the case that we can look for "things that might be true" in cults and say, well, maybe those within are saved. No. If someone wants to spend eternity with the Lord, they WILL receive the gospel. Nothing is impossible for God. The people you ask about are no exception. If they didn't receive the gospel, it was because they didn't want it. So has it ever been.

People are always finding fault with God by saying things like, "what about all those indigenous people who never had a chance to be saved!" People who say that have no idea just how BIG our God truly is. He made the entire universe in the blink of an eye without any effort whatsoever. And He has planned the end from the beginning. Not a single subatomic particle can vibrate at the end of the universe without it having been ordained in the plan of God. As Christ says, the Father marks the fall of every sparrow, and we are more important than sparrows. Being children of God, therefore, how would it be that He did not make perfect provision for all to be saved? But He did! Christ died for all sin! So can we really imagine that anyone who wanted to be saved never got the chance, after Christ died for that person? Heaven forbid!

"Wants to be saved" is the critical thing. God made the world to sing of His existence, and so it does (e.g., Ps.19:1-6; Rom.1:18-20). All come to know of His existence and perfect character – but few express in their hearts a desire to be with Him forever. Why not? They would rather be their own gods than submit to Him – just like their father the devil. We can't see that so clearly in the hearts of others but He surely can, and He has put every spirit He created just in the right place and at just the right time. So, no, there is nothing good in any religion. Only believers in Jesus Christ are saved (Jn.3:18), "by grace through faith" in the One who died for us (Eph.2:8-9).

The above is just a very brief sketch of what I've written elsewhere. One extensive link for more is "Natural Revelation and Accountability" in BB 4B Soteriology.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

I have a question for you--Mormons don't believe in paying pastors, despite what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9. And they claim we misinterpret the verse where Paul wrote that "the Lord has directed that those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living from it. He wrote:

" Literally, it is "their living of the good message". And you can eat all the good message you want. It's not very filling, but there is nothing in the text that suggests that ministers should get a salary from teaching the gospel. That is a private interpretation and it's false."

I say most of the chapter is about supporting pastors. In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells them that he "robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to serve you". But I was wondering about how to prove that Paul really is saying that Jesus directed that those who preach the Gospel should get their living from it. I know this guy is wrong. No knowledge of Greek, of course.

Thanks and God bless you and stay safe!

Response #3: 

It's not just this passage. There are a host of passages which mandate pastoral support. Here's a link to where I list and discuss them in BB 6B: Ecclesiology: "Pastoral Support". One can argue about how much and for what services, etc., but from Melchizedek to the Levites to the apostles to pastor-teachers today, support of those who minister the Word of God has always been mandated. Of course there's no mandate to support those who minister the word of Joseph Smith.

As to 1st Corinthians 9:14, it does not say what this person declares; it says literally, for those who preach the gospel "to live from the gospel". How is that possible unless it means what every honest person who's ever read this passage has taken it to mean, namely, to be supported thereby? As to the gist of what that means, our Lord's example of what He told the 12 and the 72 evangelists will suffice:

"Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you."
Luke 10:5-8 NASB

Paul didn't take money from the Corinthians to make a point to them specifically, but he was definitely supported by other churches – the one's he says he "robbed" (like the Philippians), so while he did make tents when necessary, he also did receive support (e.g., Phil.4:14-19).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Hello--I told this Mormon what you said the Greek word in vs. 14 means literally--and he responded:

"Wow. That's quite a scholarly venue. Did he obtain his creditials because every honest person who ever read anything he wrote claimed he was a scholar? I think not. We don't learn the gospel based on votes. "If everyone likes it, it must be true". That's not the way truth works. So, your scholar offered the "literal" interpretation which doesn't say anything about money, but "literally" says, eat from the gospel. But the gospel is not eatable. You can eat as much of the gospel as you want, you're not going to live for very long. Jesus, himself prescribed how one might live of the gospel and it did not include a salary."

I told him your credentials and asked him how long he had studied Koine Greek and where. I told him, no, the truth doesn't work that way, and nobody said it did. But neither does it work by hammering at a word until it is bludgeoned all out of shape in an attempt to make a word mean something it does NOT.

I looked up the Greek word used for "living" and it is "zoa" if I am reading Strong's correctly and it means life, living, live," etc. Nothing about "eating." But in vs. 9, Paul says he has a right to eat and drink and the word for "eat" here is "phago", though I don't know the declension. So, can "Zoa" mean "eat"?

Response #4: 

"Living from the gospel" is an obvious metaphor meaning to "get one's living from" the gospel.

Don't know where correspondent got "eat"; there's no "eat" or "eating" here in the Greek. The infinitive is zen which means "to live" from zao – the same root as in the words zoo and zoology. There are a number of Greek words for eating but none occur in this verse.

In Jesus,

Bob L..

Question #5: 

Doc, I can only thank you for all the help so far...I feel it's time I help you. Is there a way I can donate to Ichthys?

Response #5: 

Thank you!

I greatly appreciate it (Phil.4:17).

However, for many reasons it has always been my policy not accept donations for Ichthys (see the link). As I say at FAQ #9, in lieu of that "I very much encourage donations to Pastor-teacher Curtis Omo's Bible Academy (a very worthy ministry)".

I do appreciate your prayers, however!

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy Christmas holiday.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Dear Teacher

Thank you for your prayers, Sir. The thing that is still causing a spot of trouble for me is my career decision. I am trying to keep the Lord front and center. In fact, I took for granted that what I do for a career is really about Him. However, I'm not sure if I'm looking at everything as I should. To explain, I certainly am trying to choose something that is legal and moral to do, which also pays reasonably well to support a family, and which I am reasonably certain that I can commit to doing everyday for the rest of my life. I haven't thought too hard about the time and energy constraints, but that is because I really don't know how I can be sure just how much time and energy any given profession would demand of me. It is said that management consulting is a high-pressure, energy- and time-intensive career. I have only just started with one client, and I have a fairly easy time of it, because he doesn't place a lot of pressure on me. It is said that a PhD is hard and that a career in academia is not easy (in fact, our friend says that unless one simply can't work in Industry, they shouldn't go into academia). So, I seem to have the same thing to deal with either way. I just took for granted that I would certainly find the time and energy to do ministry no matter what I do, simply because I must and I do want to anyway.

My confidence has been that the Lord is good and able to direct my paths, if I want to walk in a way that is pleasing to Him, so although my decisions may not be perfect, He will make up for my errors of judgment.

If the only thing I have to take care to do is to keep the Lord first in my thoughts as I make my choice, I'm not sure there is a difference what I choose here. I don't really care to be rich, powerful, or acclaimed. I'm fine with being anonymous in this life. I really just want a job that I can look forward to doing everyday when I wake up, in order to fulfill what the Lord commands and provide for myself and my family.

I am deeply grateful for all your counsel and prayers, Sir. We are always keeping you in ours here.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #6: 

The one thing I'm absolutely sure of is that I can't tell you what to do about the specific career choice you are contemplating, nor can our friend or anyone else.

I've probably shared how when I turned 30 I was a year into my M. Div. at Talbot seminary but became convinced that the Presbyterian ministry was not for me. So I had to chart some other course forward. I remember vividly doing an "advantages / disadvantages" chart of all the options which seemed workable and taking many long walks around Buena Park CA that summer musing over things. I came to the decision I did, but it never would have worked but for the Lord's gracious help and support. That is always true, of course, but looking back what happened for me was nothing short of miraculous – and overtly miraculous at that. So I will ever be most grateful to our dear Lord for seeing me through it all. Many Christians who truly do put Him first and set themselves to do what He wants them to do, putting everything else in second place, have similar or analogous testimonies. I'm sure that down the road you will have as well.

In terms of your own decision, nothing is perfect. Everything that's worth anything takes pain and suffering – and generally involves doing some things you really do not want to do. I wanted to do a Ph.D. in Greek but that involved doing six more years of Latin as well which was not on my list – but I have been teaching it ever since (and more so than Greek).

I'll be praying for the Lord to lead you into the path that will be best for supporting what He wants you to do with the time you have.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Hi Bob,

I got your email no problem. Sounds like a right pain for you having to change things around with your emails. Hope you've made a bit more progress with it today. And very encouraging news that uni have said you should be back teaching live by fall. It's funny that because somehow I never really did think that the sky was falling! Still keeping it all in prayer for you.

My friend has been working from home in the lockdown. We've been texting each other a little bit and so far she hasn't said anything to me about her reading Ichthys. She did ask me to pray for her because in her words she hasn't been "connecting with God in the same way". I think she means not feeling close to Him. So I reassured her that I had been and that I will continue to pray for her. Her church hasn't been holding services as normal at the moment but online instead. I might be wrong but it makes me wonder if she's feeling like this because she hasn't had the things like worship music and everything else that comes with "church" to carry her along. All the things that just have an emotional affect on us and no real worship or connection with the Lord through prayer and study of His Word and good teaching. I don't really know but it was just a thought.

I feel that this is where we are stronger because we don't have all these other distractions that "church" is so full of. We have the Lord, the Word, good sound teaching of the truth and each other to help and encourage. I don't attend a church and yet I've never been as close to the Lord as I am now. I'd much rather we could all meet up together face to face - that would be so lovely. But we're better off as we are at the moment and I know that very soon we'll all be together for eternity anyway. So it's not that long to wait at all and I'm SO looking forward to that day!

It might be a good thing that she's feeling this way. It's obviously bothering her and maybe with time and our continued prayers for her she will begin to realise that there is no other "magic" way to draw closer to the Lord and to grow spiritually. I've given her everything she needs as far as pointing her in the right direction to you and Bible Academy who teach the truth and now I will continue to be there for her and to pray for her.

Thanks so much for your prayers!

Your friend in our dear Lord Jesus

Response #7: 

Good point about the artificial emotional support that these new-style mega churches provide (also called "entertainment"). It's more fun to sing in the pub with your mates than to drink a pint at home listening to the stereo. Same idea. Both categories may be more or less fun but there's no spiritual edification either way in either case.

Yes, there is no substitute for drawing closer to the Lord through the truth. Like a mustard seed, it starts out slow and small but grows into a mighty tree with time and careful tending, until we can't imagine what it was like before when we weren't so close to Him – though we can observe the effects of the spiritual deficit clearly enough in the lives of most of those around us (sadly even most believers as well).

Keeping you, your friend, and your family in my prayers.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Thanks for the reply Mr. Luginbill.

Lol, something else just came to my mind. About 5 or so years ago, while I was still a carnal believer not living for the Lord the way I should have, I was involved in a Facebook discussion (I'm no longer on Facebook) with an acquaintance of mine that I had known for many years but haven't spoken to ever since. Our topic concerned water baptism. You and I both know that baptism isn't needed for salvation or at all for that matter. This we know to be the obvious truth. Anyway, in our discussion I made a statement that it is heresy to say that baptism is necessary for salvation, mainly because salvation was by faith through grace alone. The person I was corresponding with replied "you calling it heresy doesn't make it heresy. You could be wrong." We know its false, but perhaps "heresy" was too strong a description? I was concerned with this individual because they believed that one could be saved by faith through grace alone, or by grace/faith and baptism as well. But you can't have it both ways. He had me confused; either its needed or its not needed, but his position was that even if someone believed they needed baptism in addition to faith, that such an individual could still be saved and was still believing the true Gospel.

Do you think the word "heresy" for the belief that water baptism is needed for salvation is too strong , or is it completely accurate? The person I was discussing with was, surprisingly, a Calvinist from a Presbyterian church. You would know more about this than I would.

Response #8: 

The word "heresy" is probably best avoided.

Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”
Act 28:21-22 NKJV

What Paul's Jewish interlocutors in Rome called a "sect" was belief in Christ – and the word is hairesis, the origin of our word "heresy". As it often turns out, one man's heresy is another man's fundamental doctrine and vice versa. The word itself means "division" and obtained its negative connotations during the early church-visible's wars over doctrine and various controversies. Those who did not tow the party line were "heretics". And while in the very early days heretics were indeed those who, e.g., did not accept some true aspect of the Trinity or the person of Christ, those responsible for doing the "dividing" nowadays are usually the ones "in the right".

Heresy is a loaded word that assumes the person who is the heretic or preaching heresy is dividing himself and others from the norm of truth. But in a day where the church visible is composed of few believers and lukewarm ones at that, it can be a very misleading term. Better just to say that the person is wrong in terms of what the Bible teaches (in my view). And in this case the person IS wrong (of course).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Hello Robert. How are you?

In Norway it is peaceful and the strawberry farmers have started to sell their products, yum.

I have a desire to link your explanation of the ichthys symbol and acronym on to the wikipedia site. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthys

And copy text from your site onto wikipedia. Because it is true what you write:

"They were not ashamed of being Christians and they did not feel any compunction to hide the fact."

Is it ok for you if I do this?

God bless you in Jesu name. Amen

Jesus er Herre hallelujah!

Response #9: 

Good to hear from you, my friend. I hope things are OK with you and that you have not been too terribly put out by this recent Covid unpleasantness.

As to your request, while I very much appreciate your efforts, I think that Wikipedia is not the best place to post this. People go to that site for secular information. If someone is truly looking for a biblical answer, typing "Ichthys" into Google results in this page coming up as one of the top hits. Anyone who goes to Wikipedia instead is doing so for a reason which is probably other than seeking for spiritual solutions.

I'm quite confident that the Spirit is capable of encouraging someone looking for the truth to click my link instead Wikipedia or other substitutes. Over the years, He has led a great number of people to the site – for a great many reasons. And I am completely convinced that no one who really wants the truth is ever kept from it: all they have to do is "knock" for a little while and the door will open. Let them keep knocking. If Ichthys is indeed "their cup of tea" they'll be led to it by and by.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill, I pray all is well.

Any clue as to why the Children of GOD wavered back and forth between Baal other pagan gods and the real GOD?

What did/could these false gods offer in comparison to the original GOD?

Hard to understand, given all the miracles and prophecies the children of GOD were given

Response #10: 

Hello Friend,

Good questions! If I had the answer to that one, I could explain why 99.99 percent of the human race prefers going to hell to submitting themselves to God – when He has paid the entire price for eternal life. In terms of believers, it's even more of a head-scratcher for those of us for whom Jesus Christ is our lives.

"Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ "
Psalm 95:8-10 NIV

It seems most people are unwilling to subordinate their will to the Will of God at any price. And this does go back to the fall, as one of my readers recently pointed out:

“For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God (or "gods"), knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:5 NKJV

People mostly prefer to be gods unto themselves rather than worship the one true God. Satan was the same way of course. So rather than being unusual, this only seems unusual to us believers who have fled to the Lord to escape sin and death and condemnation, preferring life eternal by embracing the Gift of Jesus Christ.

Keep holding to the good course of daily spiritual growth, my friend! Therein lies great eternal reward – and is the only way of spiritual safety.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Hi Bob,

I've noticed that on Facebook there are some outspoken believers who actively engage on Biblical issues on pages such as Gotquestions.com's page, Carm.org's page, and Ariel ministries page. I was wondering if you are okay with me sending the commentators who obviously are interested in the truth and what the truth says links to your website through private messages?

In our Lord,

Response #11: 

Everyone's personal ministry is different. For what it's worth, however, I've never seen much good come out of cold contacting people. If you have a relationship with someone or meet someone in the natural course of life, and then witness to them when a suitable opportunity presents, that's a different story. You'll probably meet lots of people once your business is up and going. Could be opportunities there – but I always counsel avoiding the "hard sell" approach. I've seen too much of that in evangelicalism and I don't think it's particularly effective or appropriate.

In Jesus our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Hi Bob,

Ok duly noted. So, I'm at a weird point. I've read all your studies, many twice, reviewed them again etc... Read almost all of your posted email conversations and many twice over. I've listened to every Bible Academy video and many more than once. I continue to read my Bible daily.

For other pastor-teachers you may recommend learning the languages. But, I really don't want to do that. I have to be realistic and honest about my strengths and weaknesses, and I can tell you that detailed study of difficult languages is just not fun or enjoyable for me. My least favorite class in school was learning Spanish. I even lived in Spain for a month with a host family, and I came out of it with almost no improvement. Overall, it doesn't appeal to me and I know it will end up being a project started but not completed.

I am reading Unger now. He is very good. And I like him. But, after him, what next?

Can you think of a systematic plan for me to increase my Bible knowledge and grow to become a qualified pastor-teacher. Like a plan of what I need to do sort of like what a coach would tell a quarterback. Like learn your playbook, increase your deadlift to X, squat to X, bench to X, work on relationships with receivers, snap with the offensive lineman, opponents defenses etc...

I've bounced a lot of ideas with you in the past and for the job we ended up with a great option. I'd like some detailed guidance on how to improve to be a valuable member on Christ's team and goals to hit.

In our Lord,

Response #12: 

Wow! Very impressive. Plenty of serious Christians – even preparing pastor-teachers – haven't managed to accomplish in many years what you have in just one!

If you've done everything reasonable to prepare – and feel you are prepared – then perhaps it's time to begin thinking about what ministry the Lord has for you. Last we chatted about this I believe you were convinced that you were being led to teach the Word. If you're still set on that, then it seems to me that that is what you should consider exploring next.

In Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Hi Bob

Thanks, it's all glory to God as you know. Our Lord's Word and His Spirit spur me on. When I'm wasting time, I get the most un-satisfying feeling and I know that is the Spirit pushing me "saying hey get to it".

The tribulation is also an extremely big motivator for me. I want to play a role in God's plan especially considering it's the most exciting and difficult time in the history of mankind. Without exceptional difficulty there cannot be exceptional reward and I know our Lord uses those who have prepared diligently as He has with you and Curt [link].

I am envisioning my ministry as supplementary to yours. I've mentioned this in the past to you as a ministry idea and am feeling more convinced about it. I see a missing link in the auditory/video format of your content. Basically, I'd like to create a podcast ministry to put on youtube where I go through verse-by-verse of Matthew, Luke, Acts, Revelation and the more simple epistles like James and Peter, and possibly Daniel, Genesis and the first 14 chapters of Exodus since you have a ton of content on those parts. Basically, I would be repackaging your content from all the Q/A's, studies, original translations, in a shorter way, a different organizational way, and in an auditory format. In addition, I might add an insight from the NIV SB and others here and there. Then I would apply these teachings to discuss doctrines and how we can live the Christian walk better. As you said, this shouldn't be academic, rather a ministry to help those get closer to Christ.

I am thinking the first two books will be Matthew and Revelation. For Revelation, I will strictly be using your translation. Do you see any problems/or things to address in this plan?

We have discussed in-person ministry but I don't see that as feasible since I don't know who I would teach and also I am young so I would only feel comfortable teaching my contemporaries. When I tried to teach a Bible study ministry at UVA, the campus evangelical ministry oversight person was so astounded by the interpretations I believed that he basically said he was "kicking me out" before I could even get in. He even accused me of working for Satan if you can believe that despite the fact that I was cordial and relaxed and simply using scripture to back up his inquiries on my viewpoints. I reckon any other local church in the area would be the same way.

In our Lord and Savior,

Response #13: 

Whatever the Lord is leading you to do sounds good to me.

On the specific idea vis-ΰ-vis Ichthys, I think it's a workable concept. With these sorts of things, however, the proof is always in the pudding. Once you begin "doing", things never turn out exactly as you expected when you started (that's the history of my life in a nutshell). So rather than spending a lot of time theorizing about what it might look like, why not try actually doing it? Then you will be able to see what seems best in terms of adjusting the format of whatever you are led to do. And, after all, in the end it's all about the content – or at least it should be.

I'm praying for your ministry.

In Jesus our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Dear Professor

Thank you for sharing your experience. You know that I seem to be in a “similar” circumstance to yourself on the financial side. Had I stayed the course with my govt. job I would have long retired on a super scheme comparable with the politicians - and been able to afford time at a luxury resort from my own purse. Like yourself, I consider that what I have found at Ichthys greatly out weighs a life of comfort (though it would be nice to coexist). Spiritually challenging finding the truth so late in life, though I do remember first believing in Primary school.
The long quarter century slog with the Mormon cult now seems like such a waste of a lifetime though I do hope it can be turned around to be useful to our Lord in some way. A lot of cash also went down the gurgler which is painful to think, to reinforce cult lies.

Just sent my friend your email of the Gog/Magog question (maybe I should run this all by you). What I like about your explanations are that the scriptures you cite back up what you say. Yesterday, I just sent him some scriptures from Revelation to show the order of things and that Babylon is a geographic location and not just a system. I told him I am not trusting historians (they are used to “explain scripture” on some preaching websites, such as he has been looking at) to tell, or know the truth - even recent happenings like the weapons of mass deception that our government “resold” to Australians comes to my mind.

This flu is hanging on for much longer than I want. Symptoms subsided quite a bit but still being woken by the cough at night. I had a telephone appointment this morning with a doctor who said the symptoms indicated a viral infection and not pneumonia - give it another week then call back if not improving. So no cafe morning today.

Many thanks to your correspondents for their questions in your latest email posting. The Q & A certainly challenge and help us to renew our thinking.

I pray for your health and that things work out for you at the University.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student

Response #14: 

I'm sure you did an excellent job, my friend! No need to run such things by me.

I am sorry to hear that the flu is proving persistent – all the more reason to take another couple of days off. Sometimes it's necessary. In my experience, this is often your body telling you, "OK, you've been doing too much so now I'm going to force the issue" – best to listen at that point.

Also, I wouldn't worry about time lost. It's never good to look back. We ALL have regrets, but it's completely counter-productive to pay even the least attention to them. Paul certainly had more grounds for regret about the past than anyone else I know of, not just wasted time and effort but doing actual and serious damage to the Church of Jesus Christ. Yet while he owns up to it, he doesn't wring his hands over it – ever. And he never let it stop him from pushing forward. In fact, it seems to have spurred him on all the more.

That's the biblical approach. We have the time we have. We never know how much that is, but it's never ever long (Ps.39:4-7). Our job is to do what we can with the time we've been given, and do so one day at a time. Every day has defeats but also hopefully victories. Once they're done, it's best to leave the score keeping of the past to the Lord, and concentrate on what we are doing for Him right now, today, as long as it is called "today" (Heb.3:13).

Your friend in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

I would like have a discussion about the appearance of God and Seeking Gods Face. Feel free to call me at _______. I feel after reading some of your stuff you may be able to critique my current thought process on God. I'm a devout Christain I have 0 doubts God is real and Jesus was his son who died on the cross for all sin. I'm struggling to find someone who 1 is willing to talk about it, or 2 is intelligent enough to discuss it. All I hear from all Christains is what context are you believing in? What if there is, has, and will ever only be one context and 1 way of accepting the bible? Your self included in many of your writings directly refers to the context of that particular time to understand what has been written and the feelings that's comes with them. Losing meaning over time and interpretation? You lost it when you began looking at how these men were feeling and thinking instead of being more curious about what God was thinking or feeling in these times. The bible was meant to transcend time and forever hold infinite wisdom for In the beginning there was the word, the word was with God, the word was God. You preach about how man felt in these times Gods house was to be used to teach about God not force a certain Conjured context from mans mind in the past. The word when printed collectively together is God. You have just said that something Infinite can only be interpreted 1 way correctly. This is true however, can be twisted if the viewed context is not taught to you by God but rather one you accept from mans mind which leads to a path of substitutions for Gods word or simply complete lack of faith. Seeking Gods Face I feel is far more important than its given credit. If you truly posses the level of devotion I see I doubt this will be a short conversation if you call the best day of the week is Sunday after 1.

Response #15: 

I don't do telephone counseling, but I do answer questions emailed to this account.

My R/x for all such problems/issues such as you are relating is to read the materials available at Ichthys (link). For how to proceed, you might have a look at FAQs #7. Recommended Use: How can I best benefit from these studies? and #8. Recommended Sequence: Which of these studies should I read first?.

However, when you write "You lost it when you began looking at how these men were feeling and thinking instead of being more curious about what God was thinking or feeling in these time", and "You preach about how man felt in these times", I have to say that this shows me that you haven't actually read anything on this site, or if you've perused something, you've completely misunderstood it – i.e., I don't actually "preach" at all, thank you very much, and I'm also very clear that the spiritual life we're told to lead is not about how we "feel" at all. So you have me scratching my head about all that.

But if you want to draw closer to the Lord, the only way to do that is through attention to His truth, and that is the entire purpose of this ministry, and you are welcome to take advantage of it.

In Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob Luginbill

Question #16: 

Hello Bob,

As I create lesson plans for my upcoming ministry, I have found myself selectively quoting you quite often. How would you like me to cite this. Would you like me to give a shout-out to Ichthys at the end of each lesson? Would you like me to say directly, this is a quote from Dr. Luginbill and then make the statement? Would you like me to say at the end of the lesson verse numbers in which I utilized your direct quotes?

I think saying this is a quote from Dr. Luginbill each time I quote a verse as I go might damage the "flow" of the video, but then yet again its 100% your rightful content and I don't want to be an authorized plagiarizer. I could restate what you say, but many times you just say things really well and succinctly better than I could put it.

Some guidance on this front would be much appreciated.

In our Lord,

Response #16: 

I'm not worried about you AT ALL!

If you want to read a direct quote, you could just say, "SR 4, p.27" or the like, or just make it clear that you're going to be quoting from it throughout the lesson, "quote" being then more than enough.

I can't imagine that anyone listening to you teach the Bible wouldn't realize that you had learned a lot from Ichthys, just in the natural course of things. That is fine. Citing me over and over would send the wrong message. "Less is more" when it comes to that. The "use policy" guidance I've posed at Ichthys about that at the link is really to preserve my right to redress were someone to start publishing my stuff for money; e.g., taking "The Satanic Rebellion" series, putting their name on instead of mine and representing it as their own work.

Besides, if you're teaching a class, you'd be doing that in your own words. Your own words are your own words. As to the teachings of this ministry, well, I certainly endeavor for them to be the truth – and the truth belongs to the Lord, not to me or anyone else except to everyone else who belongs to Him.

In Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #17: 

It's weighing on my heart, my family being in Catholicism so close to end times. I found another resource debunking Catholic doctrine through their Marian doctrines. I don't know if you knew this but Catholics now say that not only is Mary "co-mediator" with Jesus towards God on our behalf but also "co-redemptrix"! They are claiming that she is co-responsible for saving humanity from sin by saying yes to being the vessel of Jesus! I can't believe how blasphemous this is and there is only one creature that would take on Jesus' divine and singly redemptive nature like this!

All of these extra biblical revelations have come from "Marian apparitions". It makes me wonder whether this particular "Mary" will reappear soon to give "her son", who will be the antichrist, her seal of approval.


If you look through this material it seems that "Mary's" status gets elevated a little more each time with each apparition. At what point will she overtake Jesus' role and position entirely (we can argue that this has already happened in the Catholic Church).

I have to say after reading this it has made me very angry. I know that if I tell ___what I've found out about Catholicism she will be so angry and upset with me. ___ has said that my discussing religion upsets her as it makes her question her faith. It's heartbreaking for me that ___ is so deceived just as I once was..

The man in this video explains the "co-redemptrix" title. It seems like semantics to me and a very dangerous slippery slope. If they are not saying anything with this title, why give a title at all?
It reminds me when evidence is given in court but then someone says that evidence is inadmissible but the jury has already heard it!



Catholicism is a completely false cult then with a different gospel and as much scriptural truth as Joseph Smith and the Mormons.

I will continue to grow and mature in my faith and apply it to my daily walk. I hope this will become a strong witness to my family about the truth. I will pray every day for my family's deliverance from this false and dangerous cult which almost shipwrecked my faith in God entirely.

It frustrates me how much Catholics lie to themselves! They say they don't worship Mary and yet they carry her statue on their backs and fall down on their knees before it. They pray to Mary and only Mary. Catholicism is a Jesus-lite religion and it is fast becoming a Jesus- free religion. That is why I wouldn't be surprised if the Marian doctrines and the Catholic Church play a huge part in the coming deception. It is very scary stuff.. I am so relived that I am safe in Jesus now (as long as my faith is with me).

The most frustrating aspect of Catholicism is that they lie to themselves all the time. They talk out of both sides of their mouth at the same time. They claim to not worship Mary but they venerate her. Is this not merely verbal gymnastics? They say she is not on equal pegging with Jesus but she is just as good (if not better) at mediating for us with God. She is not responsible for our salvation but she is responsible for the bringing Jesus into the world so she plays a big special part in the redemption of the world. They even claim the co-redemptrix title is bestowed on her because she "shared the sufferings of Christ" because of her heart being pierced at the sight of her son's death.

All this stuff is so shocking and so blind spiritually that they are all teetering on the edge of a cliff! Are they wilfully blind?

In Jesus,

Response #17: 

We can look at this from the standpoint of people being deceived. But we can also look at it from the standpoint of people wanting to or at least being willing to be deceived – because they are really not interested in the truth.

The Lord delivered you (and many others I know) from that and other cults because they wanted to know the truth.

In other words, it is as our Lord told His disciples:

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’ "

Matthew 13:10-15 NKJV

People who don't want the truth are not given the truth; people who do want it are never left bereft. It's all about the free will of each of us, expressed through faith – or lack of it.
There's a great deal about all this at the following two links:

In BB 4B: section II, "How to be saved"

Peter #39: False Teachers, False Teaching, and False Organizations

In Jesus our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #18: 

Dear Bob,

In the NIV Mark 7:19, there appears to be a gloss:

19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) It seems like something of a stretch from the text of the KJV. (Note: "out with the draft" seems more to the point.)

The parenthetical doesn't appear in the KJV. Was that also in any of the originals? Peter's vision convinced me that all foods were clean.

Also, aside from being perverse, is there any mechanical reason that you know of aside from Mosaic law that would prohibit "seething a kid in it's mother's milk?" Bolognese sauce is beef simmered a long time with heavy cream and wine - along, of course. with a a mirepoix of carrot, celery and onion and not it's mother's milk as far as I can tell..

Curiosity only. Don't interrupt more important considerations to spend time on this. I hope your research is at least going.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #18: 

This is definitely part of the Word of God. It's in all the mss. When you say, "The parenthetical doesn't appear in the KJV", do you mean that the KJV doesn't uses parentheses? That is true but the phrase is there; it's just a question of what it means. And it means that the Lord was "declaring all foods clean". That seems pretty obvious without the comment, but given that Peter missed it (as we know from Acts) – and given that people are STILL "missing it", even though they have Acts chapter ten and all of Paul's comments along with this passage and its companion passages in the gospels – that just goes to show that this comment was a necessary inclusion by the Holy Spirit. Mark was written probably in Rome under Peter's apostolic authority (by Mark) for a mixed Jewish and gentile audience, the latter of whom had little idea of Jewish customs prior to being saved and so need additional explanations such as this (to help in this case keep them from being snared by dietary legalism).

As to "meat and milk", this seems to me to be the Law teaching kindness and condemning cruelty as when also we are told to let the mother go when coming across a bird with her nestlings (Deut.22:7) – because it is cruel to destroy entirely "stock and stem".

We don't have to pay attention to the food prohibitions of the Law; they are "good to read" today because they teach us the principle of holiness vs. worldliness – and other principles such as in this case (or also Deut.25:4 compared with 1Cor.9:9).

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #19: 

Hello Bob,

If it's there in the Authorized KJV, I don't see it unless "purging all meats" is the Elizabethan rendering. It doesn't surprise me that English only readers would misunderstand. It's good to know the Lord actually taught it to his disciples. (I misunderstood it too.) From Peter's vision and Paul, I've understood all foods to be clean -- at least spiritually.

I did find a rendition in one KJV version. I grew up in a family of printers and typesetters and some years ago wanted to see if I could still set type. Sadly, there's no title page so I have no idea what version it is. Maybe you recognize the version. I took the text as I found it:

19 because it goeth not into his heart, but into his belly, and goeth out into the draught? [This he said], making all meats clean.

The Bible is a difficult book to typeset. Most newer versions don't seem to do it with proper care and I can't say mine was without flaws.


Yours in our Lord,

Response #19: 

Yes, in Mark 7:19 in the KJV "purging" = katharizon; "all" = panta; and "meats" = to bromata; whereas, e.g., NIV, "declared clean" = katharizon; "all" = panta; and "foods" = to bromata.

There's no "In saying this, Jesus . . ." as the NIV adds, but that is what it means. The first word is a participle in the masculine nominative singular and agrees with the Lord (i.e., the "He" of verse 18), so the text makes very clear that Jesus is/was the One doing this by making this statement.

You typeset the entire Bible?! I went to a technical high school and took an entire year of print shop, so I do know a tiny bit about type setting – not easy and not fast. I am also a qualified lino-type operator, however, and if I get canned from this job I can always fall back on that. I think they do still use them . . . in North Korea.

KJV is similar to the Webster's Bible here.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #20: 

Bob, you never cease to amaze me! A qualified linotype operator!!? You'll be pleased to know you're now officially a dinosaur and relic of the ancient past. I could never deal with the keyboard but I've seen guys who were skilled (and retired early) dance over the keys faster than stenographers. I did get lead burns on my jeans when I tried. I was a monotype guy and started off hand setting lead. The printing trade as you and I knew it is dead. When I got fed up with high tech, I went to work for a local printer as an estimator. It was no more than a very large copy shop.

My setting of the entire Bible was an effort of using software from Don Knuth at Stanford (TeX) and writing the scripts to do the job. so it wasn't any great accomplishment on my part. My efforts were entirely making the typesetting as correct as I could -- which proved to be just beyond my capabilities. TeX was used as the basis of one of the first computerized typesetting systems in the '70s -- Krohm International. It was a magnificent system and what ultimately got me into computers. I only saw the good it could do -- not the evil inherent.

Thank you for your explanation of the passage. It would otherwise make me suspicious of translations except for the fact that I believe the Spirit will guide me through the confusion. (With help. of course, from teachers like you. I've never heard of the "Webster's Bible," BTW. Is it any good?) Thank you for the explanation. As an aside, I've noticed over and over that what I'm not ready to understand, I won't. When it's time, I will. If I don't quite understand one passage, another will explain.

Thanks for your support.

Yours in Jesus Christ and in my prayers as well,

Response #20: 

As to "you're now officially a dinosaur and relic of the ancient past" – that's not exactly a "news flash", my friend!

Now your computer expertise makes sense. Word-processing and text searching was where I made my (user only) entry back in grad school.  UCI is the home of the TLG which was the first concern to put data on a searchable CD-Rom – now I access it through the web of course.

I get "Web" Bible results on the site I use; it seems to be pretty good (all versions have their strengths and weaknesses).

We're getting some good T-storms here. Hope you're getting enough to keep your garden in good shape too.

Your friend in Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #21: 

Hi Bob,

I have a question about Luke 5:35 -- 35 But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.”

Is our Lord saying that it is good for the disciples to fast? That could be inferred, but it is not stated. From the text, He simply says that they "will" fast, without proclaiming it good or bad. Thus, we should not take this as a directive from our Lord too fast. He is simply saying there is a time and place if one wants too -- but certainly not when the God of the Universe as Man is with them for just a short time.

Am I correct in that interpretation?

In our Lord,

Response #21: 

The Lord doesn't say that they or we should fast but that they (we?) will fast. It did happen (Acts 10:30; 13:2-3; 14:33), and was contemplated as happening (1Cor.7:5). But nowhere in the New Testament is it 1) commanded or even 2) recommended.

Our Lord does tell us the "rules" for fasting if someone feels the need to do it (i.e., don't let anyone know you're doing it / have done it).

In a nutshell, legitimate fasting is generally associated with an intense seeking of God's will and/or help in some particularly difficult situation. Here's what I've written about it in the past:

Fasting 3

Fasting 2

Fasting 1

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #22: 

Ok I'm sorry, something else I wanted to ask just popped in my head. James 2:24. Verse 25 mentions Rahab as an example of someone justified by genuine faith which proved itself through actions. But how do we know whether Rahab was even saved before she accepted the spies? Or did her salvation occur right then and there the moment she took them in? There is no indication that she was saved before taking the spies in.

What does the word, "justified" mean in this verse in the Greek? Is there any way to prove that justification in this verse means a proclamation?

Finally, the below is just a possible interpretation I have written, I did see what you had to say about this in the link below, response #14. I've narrowed it down to either yours or the one below, but I'm not quite sure what to rest on. Perhaps you could help me out.

Could another alternative interpretation possibly be, " James is talking about genuine saving faith which proves itself to be true as opposed to the non-saving faith which merely believes in the existence of God like the demons. A saving faith is one that demonstrates itself, whereas a false faith will be proven false by having nothing to show to confirm its authenticity. The faith being referred to here in verse 24 refers to mere demon faith, an intellectual assent that does not save. Saving faith on the other hand will produce good works in a believer's life that prove their faith is genuine by their committed and faithful following of Christ. Faith must be present with works, and works with faith."

Forgive me for the separate email Mr. Luginbill. I just have one last quick question.

James 2:18b "Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do".

The person in this hypothetical situation who says they have faith-Do they represent a believer or an unbeliever in this case? Or can this person represent both? I know that Jame's point is that faith cannot be seen or proven without works, but my main question is, could this person who claims to have faith represent an unbeliever? Because I do know that even believers fail to exercise their faith when they should as a way to "let their light shine before men." Works are evidence of salvation that saving faith is present ,however, and you hear many unbelievers say they believe that God exists, and yet they are not committed to Him. They give off no lifestyle to indicate they have the right kind of faith. In other words, they are not saved because all they have is demon faith.

In His grace and power,

Response #22: 

I think your alternative is fine. I would only wish to point out that 1) it's not good to be showing up before the Lord with nothing (Ex.34:20; Matt.25:25-28); 2) James is writing to believers and this passage is cautionary: if we are resting on our laurels, so to speak, not doing what it is we know the Lord wants us to do, then we may begin to resemble unbelievers or even demons in this respect – the very opposite of what we ought to want.

The parable of the Sower is similar in the description of the seed growing up among the weeds. We know that the seed on the rock represents unbelievers because the seed of faith dies and because our Lord tells us that this type has "fallen away" (Matt.13:21; Lk.8:13). And we know that those who produce the 30x, 60x, 100x crop are believers. But what about the ones who don't die off but don't produce? Whatever one thinks of them, we certainly don't want to be in that category ourselves!

So there is no salvation through works; no works of supererogation; no impressing God with what WE have done "for Him". The WORK that saves is our Lord Jesus' death for all sin on the cross. Because of His victory, we have the opportunity of entering into the vineyard and producing fruit for Him, doing through the Spirit the works that have been prepared ahead of time for us to do (Eph.2:8-9). That is good and godly and we should all want to make maximum employment of the spiritual gifts that we have been given for just this reason: that is the way to win the three crowns which will bless us and glorify our Lord forever (link).

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 NIV

So keep fighting the fight. We'll reap the harvest soon enough.

(5) He who, in spite of weeping, goes forth in resolution, carrying seed to sow, (6) will doubtless return rejoicing, bringing in his sheaves.
Psalm 126:5-6

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.


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