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Politics versus Spiritual Growth IV

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Question #1:

Dear Teacher

Thank you so much for this email. For the encouragement and for the good news and for the new batch of answers. I'm so happy that our friend's desire came through. It's amazing news. That is even more to praise God for. Oh, tonight is looking very beautiful. I'm so happy.

I'm attaching a conversation I had tonight. As always, I want to know where I didn't do well and what I may have got wrong.

Yours in our priceless Lord Jesus Christ

NOTE: You recommend moderation, but then in the next couple of sentences you state actions Christian's shouldn't carry out of which not engaging in "crusades" to quell or go against what is considered immoral because it is pointless or wouldn't make a change as God's will shall be done.

Good to read your response, bro. I think that in this response and in the one that followed it, you made your point very directly so let me try to focus my response on them. Paul said

1 Corinthians 6:12
[12]All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Corinthians 10:23
[23]All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.

That is all I have said. There is no teaching I know from the Scriptures that says that a Christian must not get involved in politics or social justice. That is why I emphasized that I am not making a law. However, I know that the Bible teaches very emphatically that we should be careful to limit our exposure to this world. See 1 Corinthians 7:29-32. So I have not made a law. I have given a warning and advice. It is up to each of us to decide what we will do. Any number of circumstances in each unique case could encourage a decision in one direction but not the other. What matters is that we stay within the general principles of the Bible. I believe that the wise course is to stay as far away from politics and social justice as one can so that our spiritual progress is not impeded or derailed because the things of this life are distractions from what really matters, namely God's Truth.

Now, it is not possible to avoid politics completely as long as we are still in this body. We must live with other people. So, we will run into politics in one way or another. When we do, the Bible teaches us to minimize our exposure to anything which distracts from our real purpose here on Earth. That is the principle. As for whether what we do politically affects our realities, I think that I gave very clear and detailed arguments for what I believe to be true, namely that some things are exclusively in God's power and entirely out of our hands. If you don't agree, I really don't see any biblical reason in what you have said why you don't. I think you should take some time to find out if you are protesting against the Bible's teaching or against any opinion you think you can attribute to me.

The point is that we are here to choose whether or not to love God's Truth above everything else. We are here to choose whether to seek it, to learn it, to believe it, to apply it and to help others do the same or not. That is what life here on earth is about. Everything else is either harnessed by us to help us do these things or used as an excuse to avoid doing them either in some degree or absolutely. We have to choose. And nearly all the time, the choice is between pursuing God's Truth and helping others do likewise and getting very much involved in this world for its pleasures or its pride.

To recap, it is God Who directs the flows of all the universe. Not us. Christians in a political position may affect things or they may not? That is really neither here nor there. Was it Moses who freed the Hebrews from Egypt? I think you will agree that it was God. That Moses was His agent was His Own Choice. And when you consider that Moses left a very powerful political position to become pretty much a nobody who eventually did deliver the people of Israel should say something about how effective politics is in God's eyes. Then again, there was Esther. What about Daniel? Joseph of Arimathea? We have enough examples in the Bible to tell us whether it is being in political positions that makes the difference or not.

Daniel was practically worshipped by Nebuchadnezzar. Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego were some of the highest-ranking officials in all Babylon (which was why they were so easy to single out in their disobedience of the king's edict). If they wanted to, they could have been major problems for the king even if they were slaves.

Esther was in much the same position as Vashti - although perhaps weaker in political power because of measures the king would have taken to prevent another queen acting like she did - so she could very well have mounted a different kind of pressure on the king than what she actually did. She did not. She appealed to him as to a king. And not before first appealing to the King of kings in Whose Hands the salvation of the Jews really was. Had she thrown any vaunted authority in her king's face or flaunted any kind of authority, it is very unlikely that that would have helped the Jews although she was the Queen and Vashti had proved how powerful and arrogant a queen in that kingdom could be.

Well, interpretations are not always very easy to evaluate but the principle for finding correctness or incorrectness of interpretation is rather simple, I think. If any part of the Bible can be presented which is contrary to or insufficiently explained by the interpretation in question, then, at the very least the interpretation is not entirely correct.

If you cannot present any part of the Bible that contradicts or questions the interpretation offered, you should at least ask what it is about the interpretation that doesn't fit in your mind.

In my experience, when we contact the Truth, it can be a very difficult experience. It takes quite a bit to get to being comfortable with it and in fact, all our lives here on earth, if we are advancing in the Truth, we will continue to have practice in forcing ourselves to submit to the Truth. It is never particularly easy especially when we are dealing with things that we don't want to give up. So, it is important to be careful to discover and be sure about why we have problems with any given interpretation of the Bible. The Bible interprets itself so when something isn't straight, you can always tell by looking up what else the Bible has to say about that thing.

But it is actually not possible to learn to handle the Bible without a gifted and prepared teacher, so even having said what I have about finding out whether an interpretation is correct or not, the Bible was given to us deliberately as a puzzle so that we must submit to teachers who are gifted and prepared to teach us how the Bible works. If we don't, we will have a hard time even telling what is what. The only way to help anybody grow in God's Truth is by teaching them or helping them gain access to good, orthodox teaching of the Bible.

Response #1:

Again, I think you have done well. In the end, you brought this back to the two important points, first, that we are here to do what God wants us to do and getting "involved" is not on the list so at the very least will stop us to some degree from doing what we should be doing (and in my view it is precisely because they'd rather have some fun that Christians get "involved" rather than do the hard work of growing, progressing and helping); and second, that the truth is the key and that if a person is seeking the truth all else will fall into place.

When it comes to hard cases like your friend, it is also important to avoid antagonizing them to the point where they are no longer listening, only arguing. You are very good at that! This is why I will never be an apologist.

Here are some pertinent links:

Politics versus Spiritual Growth I

Politics versus Spiritual Growth II

Politics versus Spiritual Growth III

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Dear Teacher

Thank you, sir. If I am any good at apologetics, I'm pretty sure it's not me. I had zero patience with people I debated with in the past and I was always abrasive. I think I am still adjusting to the idea of being called to apologetics. If it was my choice, I think I would prefer to be like you. I keep wondering how you find the things you find in the Bible. I want to find things like that too. Apologetics is something I used to find very frustrating. It doesn't feel the same now but I still haven't quite embraced it completely. I just want to do all that I can to help other believers grow up too.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ

NOTE: So humor me this, considering all you have said, if you can present parts of the bible that show social action for a good is a waste of time, please point this out and I guess we can put this to rest.

Kings in those days were almost never elected. In fact, in all my amateurish dabbling in ancient history, I know of no instance before the Greeks and the Romans when kings were elected. Kings became kings by intrigue, force of arms and by inheritance for the most part.

This is important because that was why popular officials could be such a problem. They could easily steal the army or the people from the king and overthrow him. For this reason, kings stayed kings by keeping their officials under very tight leashing.

Daniel was treated like a god by Nebuchadnezzar. If he was of a mind, he was in an excellent position to commit a palace coup. Among his offices was the position of master of the wise men, the institution that advised the king on the most difficult matters. These people with their very likely reputation to be emissaries or oracles of the gods could inspire fear or admiration or both. If they also had the right attitude and the right plan, they could overthrow kings. Daniel as far as I can see from the Scriptures was the highest ranking man in Babylon besides the king. And he had a reputation which the king himself had promoted.

Now, the fact that God gave them favor with these kings is another very important bit of information that may not help your case very much. Today, such favor would have made many of us think that perhaps God wants us to take a more direct role in opposing developments we think are contrary to God's Will or championing actions that we think are within God's Will. But they did not. None of the four Hebrew men did anything like what is popular today.

As for being slaves in a kingdom like Babylon, I think you may be quite wrong about the implications of such a status. Babylonian times were a little different and rather than slaves, Daniel and his countrymen were exiles from conquered lands and Babylon was teeming with people just like them from everywhere. They were considered part of the country and were about as free as it gets. Of course, there must have been tribal resentments and whatnot but I think you overestimate the impediment their status in Babylon may have been.

Still, this is neither here nor there. It's an interesting exercise in history but what matters is that spiritually, Daniel etc were in the same exact position as we are today and it is impossible in my view to use them as any sort of argument that we should defy authorities or attempt to use politics to solve spiritual problems.

What the three Hebrew men did is exactly what many of us will be called upon to do during the Tribulation. It was defiant, of course, in so far as we must refuse to give to Caesar what is rightfully God's. But it certainly was not social action or any arrogant challenge of divinely established authorities. It was a simple refusal to obey men rather than God...which very thing I have counseled several times. The government is free to make laws to prevent us from serving God as He commands us to but we are equally free by God's Own Sovereign Rule over Creation to disobey those laws. That is defiance, yes, but it is not arrogance. We are choosing to ignore arrogant men to obey the Lord God Himself. That is true humility. And there is nothing in that that suggests that social actions are blessed by God.

If God runs this world as passages in Daniel that I have shared say that He does and we are told to use this world without making full use of it and to obey and respect all secular authorities and pray for them so that we can live our godly lives in peace as various passages in the epistles which I have shared have said and we are free to use the law in our societies to defend ourselves from criminal persecution as a passage in the Gospels which I think I shared too (Luke 22:36), then there is little sense in social action of any kind unless of course specific circumstances necessitate it for reasons I simply cannot see right now.

As for the fact that God used agents, Esther's example is of greater importance than you seem to appreciate. There was little point in spending so much effort on prayer before going to the king and then spending considerable time buttering him up and "softening" him before making her request if the Scriptures teach us to carry out social action to prevent society from sinning against God if it wants. (Which does raise a question similar to yours: where do the Scriptures teach us that we should carry out social action?)

Believers throughout the ages including Esther know that the governments of this world exist on God's say-so and can only be attacked or challenged on His say-so as well. That was why David refused to harm Saul despite the latter's relentless persecution of him. It is only our very spiritually lazy generation which does not care much for the Word of God that does not know this as well as the others did.

God uses agents as He pleases. And nobody ever appoints himself God's Agent which is what you are advocating. The Bible teaches what it teaches. We can obey it or we can disobey it.

The purpose of growing in God's Truth and helping others to do the same is NOT to "effect a change" of any sort. We do it because it is what God wants us to do. Whether people want to change or not is wholly and entirely their choice to make not ours. We do change as we grow in God's Truth and help those who let us help them to do so but that is God's Own gracious gift to us in response to our diligent obedience to His Will.

As to how we help others, that is God's job as well. Ours is to diligently seek, learn, believe and apply the Truth, then as God guides us and provides the opportunity, we help those who let us. Our ministries are given to us by God and so are the results of those ministries. Our business is to be diligent in using every resource and opportunity we are given.

We do have lives to live in this world. So, of course we live it. We work, earn, pay taxes, get married (if we would rather not be single), raise kids etc. In doing these things, we are given more than enough opportunities to grow in God's Truth and to help others who are willing to do the same. It is God's business to work out these opportunities. It is ours to look for them and exploit them as much as we want.

I cannot tell you what a given opportunity will look like. But if you are looking for it, you will generally find it. What I can tell you is that I have not at all said that all we do is read the Bible and then try to throw it in the face of everyone we happen by. No. We still have to understand what we read and actually apply it to our everyday lives and learn by doing what exactly it means. When we have become mature and have been sufficiently tested by God, we are given our unique ministries which will fully accommodate the free will of those we serve so that we never have to give God's Truth or access to it to people who don't want it.

Response #2:

For what it is worth, I think you have GREAT patience. Your latest correspondence is excellent in this regard. Patience is (literally) "suffering through", which doesn't mean we hold our tongue forever when it comes to the truth; rather it means – in apologetic terms – that we suppress our frustration with the stubbornness and hardheartedness of the other party well enough and long enough to be able to drive home the most important point, whatever that is – and it will always be about the Lord and His truth. This is all about Him and not at all about us. That's the hard part, namely, not letting our egos get overly involved. If we are telling the truth and it is rejected, the truth belongs to Him, not us. If we let ourselves get angry beyond measure, that is allowing zeal for His truth to morph into frustration with someone not responding to us – and it is a short jump for most of us if we are not careful. You handled this marvelously well, and you brought home the truth in fine style.

As far as finding things in the Word, I always learn something in my conversations with you, my friend (your point on biblical exemplars NOT being "social justice warriors" but exactly the opposite were deftly made – I hadn't ever considered David's refusal to harm Saul in that light, but it's the perfect example). So you most definitely have that gift and ability yourself. It's a mistake to compare oneself with anyone in anything when they have been longer prepared and doing it much longer than you have. I made that mistake myself, I might have told you, after attending a conference where my mentor Col. Thieme was presenting his latest research. It seemed wonderful at the time, and I despaired at the thought of ever doing anything remotely like what he was doing. I considered taking up plumbing. As it happened, the world lost a truly mediocre plumber. And as it happened, in fact I am not doing anything remotely like what he was doing. But I am VERY happy to be doing what I am doing – which is what I am pretty sure the Lord wants me to be doing. You are definitely gifted in the extreme, and now that you are well on your way to mastering "the system" or the "essence" of teaching at Ichthys, you will in very short order have a base from which to build your own ministry. I can't tell you what it will look like, but I greatly suspect it will look like "your ministry", and will be exactly what the Lord wants you to be doing. So please don't allow yourself to get discouraged. Every life for Christ is a long fight, a years long campaign, and every foot of progress had to be fought out in a sequential order to get to the next foot. There is no more sense in getting upset about fighting for this foot than there would have been being overly satisfied about how we fought for the last foot or wasting time worrying about the fight for the next foot. Just fight. I can tell you that if I lived in your country and was forty years younger and heard you teaching, I would wish to hear more and to do what I could to help. There are no doubt those who will feel the same way (even if that does not include lukewarm friends and family you've encountered so far). God didn't give you these gifts and opportunities for no reason. He has a plan.

Keeping you in my prayers daily for all these things, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Dear Teacher

Thank you very much. I will keep all of that close to my heart.

Please, I hope that I am not being burdensome with some of these things, Sir. I am always asking questions and running all sorts of things by you and I know that you have a lot to do. I'm very sorry if I am being a burden. Let me know whenever you want me to dial back a bit, Sir.

I have a conversation that ended up being a continuation of the one I thought had ended. Would you take a look at it? I know that you said that I am very patient but I was really only copying your example and I am not certain that I did so well this time. Besides that, I think I went a bit further theologically, just a little maybe, than I have actually noticed myself doing in the recent past. Please let me know if there are things I should correct.

Yours in our precious Lord Jesus Christ

Regarding your story about persecution in our country, when I saw road pileups in Hollywood movies, I assumed that was the only place they happened. They were too horrifying to imagine actually happening...until I saw an eyewitness video of such a pileup in America too.

When it comes to health and living, American medicine is also constantly fighting to stay ahead of all sorts of diseases...and losing.

I think that the desperation of life is only less apparent in some places than in others, not less present. There is prettier packaging for the pain of living in some places but it is the same situation really everywhere.

I didn't use to think like this. I used to that the problem was at least as political/economic as it was spiritual. But it is quite wholly spiritual. What we are doing is treading water. And we all get tired, our legs grow leaden and then we drop like a stone.

When that happens, the only thing that makes the pain of this life worth it is that we will live again with God absent all pain and suffering.

Money may be a defence, but it is a poor one even as Ecclesiastes says in 7:12. Money does not actually preserve the lives of those who possess it but wisdom (the beginning of which is the fear of the Lord) does.

Stories like this are common enough but we are often blinded by the idea that we are different. We really are not. We are all in this same boat. So, it is best to fear the Lord and keep His command to seek, learn, believe and obey His Truth and help those who will let us help them to do the same than to be found out like this.

If you are a contractor in Nigeria, make sure that you do your work right and don't put people's lives at risk for financial gain. If you're in political office, deal justly with the people you govern. If you're a citizen, use the Law as far as you can to protect yourself from the effect of bad infrastructure. If the law is unfair or nonexistent, leave if you can.

These are common sense answers that do not contradict biblical principles. How we go about them, however, depends on our spiritual ambitions.

Eternal things are critical. Far more critical than most of us appreciate. So, if people are getting bad teaching in a forum where you have equal say, it is only right that you should produce Biblical defense for others which they can take advantage of if they want. This sort of duty is of the highest importance to our Lord. It is analogous to neutralizing poison in a shared meal just like Elisha did once.

We have only one task from God in this world, the whole reason for our being alive in this world: grow in His Truth and help all other willing people He brings your way to do the same with whatever the gifts may be that He has given to you. These two are part of a whole: make the Truth the center of your existence, the whole point in everything you concern yourself with.

That means that anything that does not feed directly into your task to grow in the Truth or help others do the same is a distraction with a strong potential to lead you away from Faith. If it is not feeding Faith, it is necessarily able to and very likely to poison it.

These things that we are discussing are human answers to a deliberate divine problem. God cursed the earth and intends fully to have it stay cursed until the Revelation of Jesus Christ as God's Anointed King over Creation at His Second Advent. That is, nothing will by any means change until Jesus Christ returns. It may appear to do so on the surface, but fundamentally, it will remain the same such that whatever appears to have gotten better will have a blowback on a level that we cannot anticipate until it happens.

If nothing will ever change for the better, trying to change anything for the better is wasting precious time and resource that should rather be spent growing in God's Truth and helping others who want to to do the same. At the very least, this means a loss of some reward, if not all, in Heaven. At most, it can mean a complete loss of faith from the frustration of trying to make one's earthly circumstances better and the resulting bitterness and offence at God for letting things be what they are.

When you say, "One way this can happen is that one become reclusive and focus exclusively on growing in Him", this is a basic and possibly the most important error in your position.

It is impossible to grow in the Truth when we are not actively and deliberately applying it to normal everyday life. Let me repeat it: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to grow in the Truth when we are not applying it to everyday normal existence. The Truth is God's way for us to live our lives in the flesh until we are taken home to Him. So, a recluse, a hermit or a monk simply cannot grow in the Truth.

This is also why while it is not wrong to describe the goal of spiritual growth as primary, that is probably not the best way to qualify it. For the believer, the Truth is not just a primary goal, it is the only thing we are here for. Everything else is built within and around and upon it.

So, we conduct our earthly lives according to what we learn from the Bible if we are indeed growing in the Truth.

As for any kind of activism being wrong, I think that you have probably not been reading what I have been writing. I have said that activism is not a sin. I have said that it is spiritually dangerous. I have explained both positions. So, I really have nothing to say to any opinions you have about whether it is wrong or right. This is a private decision that each of us must make. Each one must decide what he will risk or not. It is not my decision to make for anybody. I have only interpreted the Bible as I believe it should be.

Response #3:

It's always good to hear from you, my friend. I agree that it is frustrating to explain things to people who claim to be open to being instructed but who never accept the explanation. At some point, one does have to stop and move on. I have experienced this a number of times, namely, the situation where my natural tendency to want to help and to teach has been drawn out and drawn in too long and too deep by those who at their core and really not interested in learning. I think you are right to call a halt here on this one. The truth has been made available. If others want to follow their own path in spite of that, well, this is the age of Laodicea.

I'm keeping you and your fiancée and situation in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

I have an odd question I was hoping to get your opinion regarding. Is anything feminism says true? It says things like that men and women are the same, can do the same job, have the same interests, men are bad and oppressors, and things like that. Over time I have found all of these to be lies. Many women are wrecking their lives trusting their female elders when they tell them these things. Women are not the same as men. They are not as strong nor do they have the same abilities or interests (at least not with the same intensity or suitability to them). In my job, I work in an office, and I can see women being just as good as men at least in that (but not in many other things that have to lower their standards). Until they start taking more time off for family and a balanced lifestyle. It just strikes me that it seems my elders' elders were right. I started looking at the ideas feminists hate about traditional gender and using it as a manual. I have learned quite a bit about it, and I think most women do want that and are most suited to that. (Not all, not all, not all). It is liberating not feeling like I have to be a man (in interests, competition, physical makeup, etc). Hence I don't get offended when the Bible says things like for women to be more in the home. But I wanted to know, do you think what feminists say is true? Am I somehow missing something? I do get offended when they say I was socialized to be feminine, when it was the opposite and I have fought hard to get the knowledge I have and the recent experiences of enjoying that older way. I think this is very important because I need to know if there are indeed roles I should stick to/or women generally if you think about it-for their own and society's good.

PS: I also just want to point out that unlike many of these feminist, I have never been married (read: relied on a man in their language). Nor did either of my earthly fathers raise me. Many of theirs did, or at least the mother did (if not both). And I grew up with a woman ruling the household, and husband still abusive (they always complain about men oppressing women in the home) under her. I just am responding to the 'you don't know what you're talking about.' I am more in their 'utopia' than they are, and have lived what they preach more than them (up until recently). So I think I do. Of course I would say that my heavenly Father has raised and provided for and protected me.

Response #4:

As I've said before, you are a trophy of grace, my friend.

So I don't think you need worry about the crazy things other people have to say. There's plenty of that in the world. My advice: stick to personal spiritual growth. That's the way to please our Lord and earn a good reward.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

How much spiritual growth should I be doing? Do you think it is bad if I am only reading like 15 min. of Bible and 15 min. of Ichthys a day? And 10 min prayer in morning? Or is that insulting to God?


Response #5:

I think you are probably out in front of 99% of Christians today if you are being consistent with this plan. Of course, even if we are doing well, we can always do better.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2nd Corinthians 9:7 NIV

What is true of money is also true of time and effort. As we grow, we will WANT to do more, and as we get better at disciplining ourselves as mature believers we will end up doing more. But NEVER should we feel that doing what the Lord wants is drudgery. If we ever are feeling that, we need to stop and reassess.

There are plenty of things that are essential for living in this world, and plenty more that seem that way even if they aren't. The Christian life is all about choices. Good choices lead to more good choices down the road, if a Christian is consistent in trying to love the Lord with all his/her heart and soul and mind and might.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In our dear Savior Jesus Christ who gave it all up for us.

Bob L.

Question #6:

Thanks for the advice sir!

The thing is that if I sit and think it out, I do want to do more. I hope rewards are not based on the superficial impulse emotions that we get that come and go. For example my grandmother and I went shopping at a unique place with other family members who lived farther away. At the time it felt like drudgery most of the time, and the feeling came and went. But when we came back we felt happy we did it. When I study the Bible or Greek, there are times it feels like drudgery, but it usually goes away. My true feelings are that of love for the Bible. I just don't always take the time to sit and think it out to control the superficial feelings (it takes time and effort and they usually go away anyway).

I am keeping your in my prayers every day as well!

Response #6:

I think you are approaching things in a good way, and I appreciate your very enlightening perspective here. This shows that you are growing to a point most Christians never get to, that is, of being able to separate emotion and circumstances from the true "big picture". That is the essence of godliness: seeing things as God sees them and acting accordingly.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend! Thanks you so much for yours.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

I don't mean to extend this, just that I really don't deserve that kind of praise. But anything I have-knowledge or materials, I only have it because God gave it to me, just like when I will hear normally in heaven, it will be because God will give to me out of His very generous hand.

Response #7:

We can ALL do better and we ALL have a way to go. There is no finish line in this life until the end of it. Until then, every day is a day to pick up our cross and follow the Lord. Our cross, a small sacrifice which responds to His boundless sacrifice, a pledge to be dead to the world even as we are alive to the One we love more than life. We ALL have some ways to go in being perfect in so doing, but there is only one way forward: one step at a time one day at a time.

Keep fighting the good fight, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

What is your take on the Crusades / Deus Vult?

Response #8:

The crusades: really, this is a prime example of organized religion married to politics resulting in evil. It's a good example to keep in mind too, because antichrist's main draw will be rallying the western world in a crusade against a united Islam in defense of Israel – in other words, the crusades on a mammoth scale.

Question #9:

Hi Dr. L,

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

But on the Crusades, what exactly was wrong? I know the anti-Semitism was bad, but the idea of defending your land by itself seems normal for a country.

Actually there are two more questions. There was a kingdom that Israel came across while heading to the Promised Land who would not let them through. I believe they did not attack them, but would not let them in. Was this a sin/or wrong?

The second, I don't intend to be political, but it seems that God does want strangers to be able to go to foreign lands and for the host country to take care of them (and especially the poor among them)-I mean for Him to give the command to take care of foreigners seems to imply He expects foreigners to be there maybe. Is this sort of open borders thing they have in Europe (and here too) in line with that? If so, there could never be any such thing as a country for long. (I would imagine). What do you think is the Biblical perspective?


Response #9:

The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Proverbs 12:26 NIV

The Lord knows what we all need, even better than we do. If we wait on the Lord, He brings us all things in due time, provided we are patient.

On the crusades, if I were king, I would not lead a crusade, pretending that God was "in" the attempt to wrest back the "holy land". I am not king. Neither are you. So we don't have to worry about policy. Worrying about national policy is merely a slippery slope into political involvement – which is always a bad idea for any Christian who wants to use his/her life to please the Lord.

The Edomites, Ammonites and Moabites did not help the children of Israel. This was clearly wrong, but the Lord did not have Moses destroy them – which with His power they most certainly could have done.

On foreigners, the Bible is very strong on this principle:

Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 23:9 NKJV

"Not oppressing" does not necessarily mean all manner of things of a positive nature. Being kind to people is a Christian virtue. Application for Christians: do not, for example, use the fact that you know someone does not have legal status as leverage to get him/her to do something you want (that would violate the above verse). Being kind to someone is acting in Christian love, and we ought to have that attitude to all we meet, not just aliens. But if we are talking about national policy and the application of the Bible to politics, I'm not interested in weighing in on that and I think it's a grave mistake to get into the habit of so doing. What are "we", you and I, going to "do about it" even if we come to some conclusion we think is correct (keeping in mind that application of principles is no simple matter often times)? Are we going to become involved in a political crusade for or against? That would be a terrible mistake.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

I like how, for church leaders, the safety of their own is of such low import, it doesn't even come up for thought or consideration. God bless America where we aren't forced to pay their coffers.
I just mean commands to be kind to strangers, are they mainly for men? Would God have expected a woman coming upon the Samaritan to help him (assuming she could carry him)?

I feel this will make me look really bad.

You have to understand that for the lower class like me with no family/money/protections, when all over the press it says that immigrants have been raping the native girls, and that the establishment has come out admitting they have been covering it up (all over British main cities for example), I pay attention. And saying to be kind to them, I think for women first they need to be safe, right? If it is to be safe, that means staying away from people who think you being alone in public means you can be raped.

Response #10:

Please don't read too much into these responses. I don't know if we've talked about the "good Samaritan" before, but I have made the point more than once that our Lord was VERY careful with His choice of example. The man helped was absolutely helpless and obviously so to the point where there was absolutely no chance this was a scam and absolutely no danger to the fully equipped male who attended to him. To take from this story the idea that, e.g., one's wife should stop the car when driving alone at night on a lonely road when flagged down by some male who seems to need help would be the worst possible application. Personal safety, especially for those who cannot defend themselves, is paramount. When I say kindness, I would hope it goes without saying that I am not talking about stupidity. Also, you should know that I'm not talking about government policy (whether it is stupid or not, we Christians ought to stay away from being involved in any such thing). When I say kindness, I mean person-to-person where it is a case of 1) not exploiting someone when that might be possible because of their status; 2) helping INDIVIDUALS who are worthy of being helped if and when the Spirit and one's spiritual common sense agree that this is a good idea – as in the case of the good Samaritan who had the means and the opportunity and the need was clearly pressing and presented no personal danger to him.

Sorry if I gave you the wrong idea here, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Christian Friends,,

I have been blessed to know some great Christian men and women - authors - speakers - pastors, teachers etc. Ruth and Vishal Mangalwadi are just two. I thought some of you might be interested in this email from Ruth.


The Nature of Truth. The very name university testifies to its Christian origins. University comes from Uni Veritas – One truth. Yet, most professors today do not even believe that there is an objective truth that can be known. Secular humanists can open up a polyversity, a diversity, or an aversity, but universities should, by their very name and origin, be Christian. Ancient Greeks and Romans did Not Have Universities. The Ancient Greeks had their philosophers – Thales, Xenophanes, Parmenides, Xeno, Pythagoras, Democritus, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. They also had their poets – Euripides, Aristophanes and Sophocles. The Romans had some gifted thinkers, such as, Seneca, Cicero, Pliny, Lucretius and Tacitus. These were gifted men, but they developed no permanent institutions. They had no libraries. There was no guild of scholars for students and they certified no one. They tested no theories and engaged in no research. They ignored and spurned the inductive method. It is incorrect to assume, as many have done, that universities of the 21st century are direct descendants of Ancient Greek philosophers. Universities were a Christian Innovation: In fact, all evidence confirms that universities grew out of Christian Mission endeavours and monasteries. The Benedictine order’s first monastery at Monte Cassino, in Italy, in 528 AD, placed great value on the literary treasures of antiquity. Monte Cassino is considered “the godfather of libraries”. The Benedictines collected books, copied manuscripts, loaned books to other monasteries and required the Monks to read books daily. The libraries of the monasteries were described as their armoury – similar to the armoury of a castle. From these Scriptoria and libraries developed the universities of Europe. The Earliest Universities: Some would point to the School of Law founded by Emperor Theodosius II in 425 AD at Constantinople. Theodosius’ School of Law had 31 professors who taught Latin, Greek, Law and Philosophy. The Medical School in Salerno, in Italy, was founded in the 10th century. The University of Bologna was founded in 1158, due to the efforts of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The University of Oxford dates back to 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the second oldest university in continuous operation in the world. The Motto of Oxford is: The Lord is my Light (Dominus Illuminatio Mea). The University of Paris was launched in 1200. The University of Cambridge was established in 1209. Many universities had Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” engraved in stone over the entrance to their institutions. Missionary Enterprises: All the universities from the 10th century through till the 19th century were founded as Christian institutions with Theology as the queen of Sciences and Law and Medicine as other foundational faculties. Most universities grew out of Christian monasteries and mission stations, with Christian monks and missionaries being the first professors. Universal Education Started with Christianity: Professor Alvin Schmidt in How Christianity Changed the World, documents: “Universal education, schools for both male and female and for all classes, is a uniquely Christian innovation. Catechetical school, cathedral schools, episcopal schools and monasteries, medical universities, schools for the blind and deaf, Sunday schools, grade schools, secondary schools, modern colleges, universities and universal education all have one thing in common: they are products of Christianity…”. All Schools and Colleges are Indebted to Christ: Dr. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcomb in their book: What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? state: “Every school you see – public or private, religious or secular – is a visible reminder of the religion of Jesus Christ. So is every college and university.” When Universities were Centres of Reformation and Revival: Universities have not always been the temples of secular humanism and cesspools of moral decadence that they have all too often become today. There was a time when universities were centres of Biblical Reformation and Revival. Many of the greatest university professors were Christian Reformers. This included: Professor John Wycliffe of Oxford University, the Morning Star of the Reformation; Professor Jan Hus, Rector of Prague University; Professor Martin Luther of the University of Wittenberg; Reformer John Calvin, who founded The Academy of Geneva; English Reformer William Tyndale, graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge University, who was the first to translate the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew into English. Some of the greatest missionaries of the 19th centuries came out of the university missionary movement, including C.T. Studd and The Cambridge Seven. Reclaim the Campuses for Christ: Our universities should not be doomed to decedance. By God's grace, they can once again become centres of Biblical Reformation. We need to thoroughly prepare, equip and empower our young people to be salt and light, to make an impact for Christ, reclaiming our universities for Christ. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world and not according to Christ.”Colossians 2:8. Those who understand the ideas that rule the world will have the opportunity to influence the world of ideas. Are You Equipped to Win the World War of Worldviews? The Biblical Worldview Summit (4-9 January 2019) in Hermanus, Western Cape, is a vibrant and exciting camp programme that practically prepares young people to deal with the issues, temptations and pressures of life, Biblically. The BWS has been designed to equip students with the facts and skills they need to deal with humanism and evolutionism. The Summit is a crash course to enable students to understand and articulate the Christian worldview, to enable them to answer the toughest questions and to practically prepare them so that they can respond to every challenge to their Christian Faith with confidence. Education is a Battlefield: You need to know what you believe and why you believe it. You need to know how to defend it in argument. You need to be able to win fellow students to Christ. In the battlefields of ideologies, with all the intellectual intimidation and psychological intimidation rampant on college campuses today, it is vital that we know our enemy and recognise his tactics. We need to understand the times and know how to articulate and defend the Christian Faith in an increasingly aggressive and anti-Christian society. In this world war of worldviews, the Biblical Worldview Summit is an essential resource to inspire, inform and involve Christian students in reclaiming the campuses for Christ. “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16

Response #11:

As someone who works at a university, it's certainly true that there are a lot of depressing trends. However, I think that a "call to action" is a mistake. Christians make their impact on this world by growing up spiritually, progressing in their walk with Christ, and then serving His Church through whatever ministry He assigns them – not by getting involved in politics of any kind. And I can tell you that political action usually does more harm than good in this case too as I can see from my own experience. For example, whenever there is a successful attack on a university, no doubt intended to diminish programs and professors which Christians dislike, it's usually the "good stuff" which gets cut when the funding is punitively reduced. I lost a wonderful Christian colleague through just such a trend – a woman who was not only an exemplar of the truth but actually teaching things that were useful from the standpoint discussed in this email (meanwhile the behavioral "sciences" flourish). In the Navy, they call this "the admiral's barge conundrum". If Congress gets mad at the Navy wasting money – like on barges for each admiral – then cuts the budget, the Navy keeps the barges and gets rid of a battleship. Meanwhile, in our situation, the Christians who have gotten up in arms about universities have not only produced unintended negative effects, but have wasted their own precious time and energy which they should have been using to grow, progress and produce for Jesus Christ. This makes the devil very happy.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Thanks Bob

I want to see if I can get a response to your response. I believe that you would agree that this is how we grow.


Response #12:

I don't have any problem with that. I should tell you, however, that 99% (or perhaps 100%) of high-profile Christians and Christian ministries think getting noticed and getting involved politically is "good", when it is in fact just the opposite. I'm not sure there is ever much agreement between "straw and grain" (Jer.23:28).

Question #13:


Thank you. Not sure where this is going but I am trying to seek truth by staying engaged. Throughout my life I have found it difficult to push ahead especially within the church.

Response #13:

Amen to that!

Everyone I correspond with who ends up getting serious about the truth always has trouble "inside". That's why this ministry is – in traditional terms – "outside". But there is good precedent for that:

(12) Therefore Jesus too, in order that He might sanctify the people through His own blood (i.e., His death on the cross), suffered outside the gate (i.e., separated from fellowship). (13) So then let us go out to Him outside of the camp (i.e., likewise choosing God over the world), bearing His reproach. (14) For we do not have here [on earth] a city which [is meant to be] lasting; rather we are eagerly looking forward to the city that is destined [to come] (i.e., the New Jerusalem).
Hebrews 13:12-14

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:

This video is a must watch if you are a Christian.

"Trump To End The Luciferian Reign on Earth"

Response #14:

Are you kidding me?

Question #15:

I have a question that I don't know who to ask. Why do conservative Christians want the wall? Why are all the articles I've read, describing illegal immigrants as drug addicts, socialist leftists that want to destroy our country? I consider myself to be a conservative Christian, I am very against abortion, (I even protested at an abortion clinic but didn't feel right about it so instead I opened up my home and 2 extra bedrooms to Birth Right and took in pregnant women to help them work towards getting their lives together so they could keep their babies, completely free of charge..and I'll tell you, it was a wonderful time of having to trust God for our provisions). I see these people who are trying to get into this country as people who need help, our prayers and our Christian charity. We were all immigrants at some point and I cannot honestly say that I wouldn't have tried to get into America if I were in any of their shoes. Am I missing something important here?? I am honestly heartbroken over the way people who are calling themselves Christians are treating people who are suffering poverty and in some cases warfare, civil strife that we ourselves have not had to go through. I don't understand it. Is there something that is happening that they are not telling us? Why are Christians turning these people away and accusing them of the things that they are? Is there some reason that I should be concerned about something that's coming? Some of the articles, (Christian articles) I've read talk about these people like their dirt...however, there is alot of racism in these articles too, that kind of accuses these people of being foes with the Democrats..(but I'm a Democrat and a very conservative Christian). And concerning Trump, I know that God places whom He wants in office, I know God has used him to do Gods will especially as far as Israel's concerned but I do NOT believe that Trump is a Godly man. He's been compared to Nehu, but Nehu after completing Gods judgment, continued to lead his people in idol worship. I'm not attempting to bring any charge against Gods elect, but I do think that Christian's have to be careful in realizing that this man has NOT made a proclamation concerning a saving relationship with Christ. And because of that I don't believe everything he does is righteous. Again, maybe I am really missing something and if that's so I ask for Gods forgiveness, but my heart is really broken, not just with these people but how all the poor have been neglected by Christians and even in many cases, exploited by Christians.

Please let me know if I've erred..thank you.

Response #15:

Good to hear from you. I know many people who share your view (cf. Ex.22:21; 23:29; Deut.10:19). On the other hand, as you report, there are many on the other side (cf. Eccl.8:11). What is a Christian to do/think?

As anyone reading deeply into this ministry will be aware, I always counsel Christians who are interested in growing spiritually and in pleasing the Lord to stay far, far away from politics and political action of every sort. There is no fixing the devil's world. Those who try only become complicit with his plans as he is active on both sides of any political imbroglio. I'm not saying it's wrong to have opinions, but serious Christians need to understand that getting involved in such things is not why we have been left here on earth after salvation. We are here to grow spiritually, witness to the Lord through passing whatever tests He sends our way, and help others to do the same through whatever ministry He calls us to do. So if we offer someone who belongs to Him so much as a cup of cold water in the Name of the Lord we will not lose our reward for so doing. But if we give billions for political action we will only be reproached by Him at His judgment seat. So I would counsel you not to worry about it but instead continue to go about carrying out the mandates Christ has given to you to grow, progress and produce. If you or I were made absolute ruler tomorrow, we would have to be concerned about such matters and how to handle them. Blessedly, that is not likely to happen:

My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.
Psalm 131:1b-2 NIV

Here are some links I hope will prove helpful to you on this subject:

Upset by politics

Politics and Society in Satan's World System (in SR 4)

Politics and Political Action on the Eve of the Tribulation (the "salt" principle)

Politics versus Spiritual Growth I

Politics versus Spiritual Growth II

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our present and future King.

Bob L.

Question #16:

Thank you, and yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly on mixing politics with Christianity. I haven't voted in the last 2 elections basically because I haven't seen anyone worth my vote and because now, after the fact, those who I voted for and even believed long ago were people worthy of the office, I've now found out that I was very deceived. I also agree with you...that no matter what we do, things are going to progress exactly as God intended them to and exactly as the way they are described in prophecy.

I am confused however by the verse you used to support those who think we shouldn't help the majority of people who are trying to escape many things, though I believe that object poverty is enough. Ecclesiastes 8:11 can be used to describe every single one of us, and in many ways we Americans are probably more guilty of this than anyone else, so though your argument is strong in expressing caution and even abandoning politics, I don't understand why this verse would support not helping people who are trying to escape what many of them are trying to. If that's the best scriptural support for not helping these people then I think many of us are in trouble. But, again, I think that comes right back to the condition that the church is in today. We only care about ourselves and our own needs, and I know I am even speaking of myself. Of course I don't have a home today that I can open up again without risking losing it altogether, but I'm also just not prone to subject myself to the mess..not with other people, but the sins in my own life that would be exposed...so yes, I have alot to work on, and when were in the tribulation and a stranger knocks on my door looking for food or shelter, I pray I will be ready to invite them in..and trust God with their evil nature, He's the only one big enough to deal with it anyway.

I hope I am not coming across as disrespectful, I would never want to do that, please forgive me if it sounds that way, I need work articulating myself, but this verse does confuse me when applied to those on the other side of the "wall". For those who would use this, it seems like a terrible excuse to use for not extending help, politics aside.

Yours truly,

Response #16:

Thanks for your thoughtful email.

The verse quoted is not meant to be a brief for "not helping" (cf. Jas.2:15-16). This ministry, Ichthys, for example, is meant to help, and, if responses can be believed, is helping people all over the world, most of whom would have a hard time getting into this country (if they could get in at all). Likewise, if a person's ministry is feeding the hungry (for example), any hungry believer would seem to me to be a good candidate, regardless of something worldly like citizenship (Lk.14:12-14).

The verse quoted is merely meant to demonstrate that some of the concerns on the other side of this issue are legitimate. When it comes to obeying the law, Christians are required to do so (Rom.13:1-7; 1Pet.2:13-21; Tit.3:1). The only exceptions are those rare instances when we are being forced to do something blasphemous and forbidden (the example of Daniel's three friends in Dan.3:1ff.), or told not do not to do something godly and required (the example of Daniel in Dan.6:1ff.). So being aggrieved at lawlessness and any who turn a blind eye to it with all the consequences that entails is certainly an understandable reaction.

As I say, it is pointless for Christians to try and get involved in fixing the issue because that is a political fight wherein the movers and shakers on either side are mostly not really concerned either for the immigrants or for law and public safety but merely for their own political status and power. As with all other contemporary social, economic and other problems, we are not "king" so we cannot even attempt to "fix it". Our job as believers is to do what the Lord has set us here to do, namely, grow spiritually, walk ever closer to Him day by day, passing the tests that come our way, and helping other believers do the same by engaging in the ministries we are called to. If we get involved in trying to fix the world instead, we will not be winning the three crowns the Lord has encouraged us all to win (see the link).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dr Luginbill:

Obviously the seed of Jacob, but in practical application today I feel there is a lot of confusion about who exactly is Israel?

Much of the modern Church takes the view that the “nation state of Israel” is the Israel referred to in the Bible. I don’t believe this is the case, while some citizens of the modern nation of Israel are no doubt of that Israel, certainly the modern nation called Israel has Arab citizens and I am curious if all who call themselves Jews are in fact the seed of Jacob (I have heard many white, East European Jews are really ancestors of converts from the Middle Ages and may have no more of Jacob’s blood in them than I do?). I am also aware that Jews specifically refer to the tribe of Judah but I am using it here in a broader sense.

My relative in particular loves John Hagee and while I am not going to question Hagee on his relationship with the Lord (I am far from perfect), I feel Hagee is too involved with political Zionism. Now, I am by no means anti-Israel. But I do not believe that being caught up in political Zionism is what the Scriptures mean by “blessing” Israel. And per my question above I am not even sure that when one zealously supports political Zionism they are doing what is called for by God. And I must say I was put off by Hagee not closing his prayer of dedication at the US Embassy in the name of Jesus. While Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas may not be perfect at least he did close his prayer in the name of Jesus.

We would bless Israel more by supporting the actual spreading of the Gospel among all people including the children of Jacob.

I have always and still do actually support Israel, the nation state, but I feel like many Christians believe and are taught - by Hagee and others - that essentially whatever Israel does is right. In recent years it is on my heart and mind that we should not be so blind in our support of the nation state.

Frankly, they have dealt very heavy handed with the Palestinians. Now, within the Church this is such a touchy subject that with many if you even suggest that Israel is not justified in all they do you will get accused of being anti-Semitic or believing in Replacement Theology.

My view of the nation state of Israel is not dissimilar from my view of the USA. The USA exists. Overall I believe, to this point and until it become Babylon!, that the world is better off for the USA having been here.....and this is true even though some things were done by unsaved men in our history that were in fact shameful (i.e. slavery and much of the treatment of native populations).

So, as Christians I believe we should support Israel’s right to exist while acknowledging that the way they have played extreme hardball with Palestinian Arab and Christians is just wrong (as an aside, I believe they also intentionally attacked our US navy ship during the 6 day war but that is a side issue). Just as the USA is not yet the Babylon; the modern nation state of Israel is not yet synonymous with the people of Israel per the Word of God. What is your view on this matter?

Response #17:

Good to hear from you again, my friend.

I couldn't recommend paying attention to either of these individuals you reference.

I'll give you some links below that touch on this topic from several different points of view. In general, there are two things to avoid when we are talking about the Jewish people who are not saved (as opposed to Jewish believers, of which there has always been a remnant (Rom.11:5). As Paul says, "not all Israel is Israel" (Rom.9:6), yet even those who do not believe are "beloved for the sake of the fathers" (Rom.11:28). So on the one hand, it certainly behooves all gentiles, even and perhaps especially believers, to steer clear of anything that might even verge in the direction of hostility to the Jewish people. On the other hand, it is absolutely true that the secular nation state of Israel today, while a necessary forerunner for the events of the Tribulation soon to take place, is not "of God" in the sense of being His direct creation. It is a human creation made by entirely secular means. Those most responsible for its founding were in general not religious at all – even though of course today there is a very large number of highly religious Jews in Israel, and they are often at odds with the country's secular majority. There are very, very few believers in Israel. If a person wants to find Jews who believe in Jesus Christ, he/she will find far very many more in the US than in Israel.

That is really all that we need to know, in my opinion. Believers are not required to engage in politics, weigh in no politics, have political opinions, or advocate for political outcomes. In fact, it is almost always playing right into the devil's hands to do so. God is arranging and directing history in the perfect way, and whether or not we vote this way or that, or advocate for this policy or that, isn't going to make a shred of a difference to the plan of God. But since this is NOT what we have been put here by our Lord to do (we are here to grow spiritually, progress in our walk with Him in passing tests that come, and help others to do the same through the ministries He gives us), we can be sure that at best we are wasting our time engaging in such matters, even if we only are worrying about them and sharing opinions about them, while at worst we may be completely undermining our spirituality, compromising our spiritual growth, wasting the precious time our Lord has given us, and forfeiting our opportunity to win a good eternal reward. That is true of all political action and involvement. On the Israel issue, being hostile to Israel is particularly dangerous because while God blesses them that bless Israel, He curses them that curse her (Gen.12:3). And while it is true what we have said above about the distinction between believing and unbelieving Jews, the promise cited given to Abraham is given to all of his seed. It applies to some degree (and any fair reading of history will demonstrate this principle), even when the Jewish group or nation in question was predominantly composed of unbelievers.

So since there is nothing we can actually do which will change things one way or another, and since there are a great many dangers involved in trying to do so, whatever tack we take, my advice is always to content oneself with observing what is happening, but to always try to look at things from God's point of view. All that we see is going to be turned on its head in a few short years; all these developments and disruptions now are merely indications of the growing closeness of the end. And for my money, the proper response is for every Christian who comes to see this to double down on spiritual growth, progress and production. That is not only something that pays dividends in the course of life as God has ordained things, but also the best way to prepare for the troubles to come (not to mention the only way to earn a significant eternal reward).

So in conclusion, I think your essential take on this is correct: we can do right by our country without embracing a "right or wrong" attitude, and the same goes for the state of Israel. The one caveat is that, as I say, getting judgmental or partisan about politics, foreign or domestic, brings with it the temptation of getting involved or making an issue of such things when it's best to stay out of it completely, observing and noting (not to say we can't have opinions), and remembering that God is the One who is controlling it all.

Here are those links:

Some Jewish Issues

Israelology and Anti-Semitism



Israel, 'Lost Tribes' and the Star of David

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior, the One and only true Messiah.

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Bob,

I've often heard preachers admonishing their congregation to put on the full armor of God. I have a strange question regarding this. I asked one of my Christian brother in Christ (who teaches about that passage in Ephesians if the full armor of God can be kept on all the time, and he didn't have an answer. I know that we are vulnerable when we are sleeping. Is it possible to have the full armor of God on all the time (2 hours)?. Because if so, then I would want to do that.

God Bless,

Response #18:

There are many parts to the armor of God (Eph.6:11-17; cf. 1Thes.5:8) – which is an analogy intended to help us keep alert and keep deploying the benefits we have been given and applying the truths we have learned. Certainly, we should do this at all times. Don't worry about sleeping. The only way we are ever vulnerable is when we make bad decisions and we don't make decisions in our sleep. Fighting the Christian fight is a 24/7 thing otherwise, so indeed we should, e.g., keep our "shield of faith" up at all times. No one is perfect here, but we get better at all this as we grow and as we make a habit of applying the truth aggressively to our lives. BB 6A is all about this issues; and see in particular for the armor: "full armor metaphor" (at the link).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Christians who die immediately after salvation (Death bed conversions or martyred or they just die afterwards)? Do they get any crowns?

Response #19:

Some good questions here! And they show you've been studying. Good for you!

We know that crowns and all rewards are given for actual things done for the Lord. Even the smallest things are rewarded, but someone who puts their faith in Christ only at the very last moment has squandered the time prior to this which might have been used for Him. Indeed, most Christians, even those who live most of their lives as "saved" people do very little for the Lord – especially in Laodicea. So I suspect that the northern quadrant of New Jerusalem – the "no crowns" quadrant – will be the most heavily populated.

Question #20:

Children who die without knowing right from wrong, how do rewards work for them?

Response #20:

These are saved. They will have, just like death bed converts, the same basic, wonderful "package" of eternal life that all will have (cf. the parable of the laborers in Matt.20:1ff. where those coming last still get a full day's pay). God is certainly capable of "prorating out" what they would have done and rewarding them for hypothetical action. But I find no scripture suggesting that He will do so. After all, He knows all things, including all hypotheticals. I rather suspect that such children might not even have been saved otherwise or would have not gotten anywhere spiritually if they were allowed a full life. We will find out for certain on "that day".

Question #21:

How bad does ones backsliding need to b to lose crowns? We all don't do enough so how does that work? Lets say a very productive Christian got a bit lazy in the end and dies. Will this cause him to get basic rewards and no crowns?

Response #21:

We do have these scriptures:

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1st Corinthians 9:27 NIV

Watch out for yourselves, lest you lose what you have worked so hard for, but may instead receive a full reward. No one who goes wandering off, that is, anyone who does not keep to the teachings about Jesus Christ, has [even] a share in God.
2nd John 1:8-9

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
Revelation 3:11 NKJV

In my view, the only way a believer will not be rewarded for what he/she has done in truth for the Lord would be to lose salvation entirely through apostasy. This can explain all three passages. Also, we may think of the "loss" as not getting what one potentially could have gotten if that believer had responded to such warnings and continued to work hard for the Lord all the way to the end.

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward."
Matthew 10:42 NIV

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
Hebrews 6:10 NIV

Question #22:

When does the Lord start really testing believers? Testing don't happen to believers who are lukewarm and The parable of the sower talks about those who cant endure testing but fall away. But every level of the crowns has a type of testing, so how do you know the difference? Does severe testing mean these believers who apostatized had already matured enough to b tested? If they had able to pass that test would they have been candidates for the crown of righteousness or life?

Response #22:

Believers are tested (and tempted) all the time. Mature believers come in for special testing from the Lord to temper their faith and to demonstrate to themselves and others its quality. Luke 8:13 which speaks of the "rocky ground" believers who fall away does mention that this happens in a "time of testing", but this can equally be translated "time of temptation". The word is the same in Greek throughout the NT, so we don't have to imagine that God is placing some impossible stumbling block in front of them. What He does allow is reasonable pressure on us all to test and try our faith to see if it is genuine and lasting in the first place, and then to temper it into ever stronger faith down the line if we really do want to be with Him forever in our heart of hearts.

Question #23:

Does the Lord allow unbelievers to suffer to lead them to Christ (1Cor. 28-29)?

Response #23:

The Lord knows everything and He died for everyone. He wants all to be saved and has done everything necessary for all to be saved. A God of such great love and mercy will do absolutely anything to keep His creatures from the lake of fire – except to violate their fundamental choice. So whatever might actually lead to salvation, if it is necessary for the person to be saved and if indeed they will respond, I think we can say that He is working it all out for good in this regard.

Question #24:

The third temple being built in the future is by who? And before the antichrist comes into power? Trump acknowledged Israel as the capital, and Truman had did the same decades ago. How does that tie in to prophecy?

Response #24:

To take these questions in reverse order, there is no unfulfilled prophecy that will be fulfilled before the Tribulation begins. What that means in practical terms is that there is no way to link up what is happening in the world today to any specific prophecy that will happen then. That doesn't mean that we cannot appreciate that trends are moving in the direction of making the biblical picture of the Tribulation more and more plausible – they certainly are. But it is dangerous to do what so many so-called teachers do today and find contemporary events specifically in the Bible – because they are not actually there. The third temple will be built (in a basic form) by Moses and Elijah, the two witnesses (the Lord will beautify it during the Millennium after it is cleansed from antichrist's defilement of it).

Keep up the good work for Jesus Christ, my friend – and I pray for your peace.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:5 NIV

Most translations say "the earth" but wouldn't "the land" be a better translation?

Response #25:

It's not impossible (Greek γη / ge based on Hebrew אֶרֶץ / 'erets means both), but "land" does limit things; the entire "new earth" will be the inheritance of resurrected believers.

Question #26:

Hello Dr.,

I have the BB-4A Christology MP3’s ready for you. It felt like it took a very long time to get this one finished, but looking back it’s only been about a month (not bad considering the file size). Things have been a bit stressful around here (challenges with work, home, family, friends, acquaintances [the usual]) seem to have a way of making time appear as if its passing slower. But, no worries, I’m not complaining, I get it, this is the way things are supposed to be. If everything was easy I’d be worried that maybe I’d veered off course, and that is not the case. As long as I stay close to the Lord, He will stay close to me, and I can rest under His guiding influence into His perfect will. However long stressful times may seem, we know that time is short, just over seven years until the beginning of the final seven and I bet that is going to “feel like” forever with all the trials to be endured when it arrives. This is serious stuff, and no one I know is even remotely prepared for what is coming. Wow! It’s absolutely amazing to me, in less than fifteen years we will be with the Lord for all eternity and I for one am looking forward to that.

How are you Sir? I do hope you are gaining some relief from the pain in your back/hip. My wife has been having a terrible time with hers and after seeing a Doctor and going through physical therapy it is only getting worse. It’s my prayer that the Lord will heal you both. As always I have you and the friends of Ichthys in prayer daily. God willing I will have the next batch of audio files ready for you in about a month. Thank you for all you do. All the best!

Rev. 22:20

Response #26:

Great to hear from you as always, my friend. Files received in good order, uploaded and tested. All is AOK. Thank you!!!

I'm sorry to hear that the flak has been particularly heavy as late, but as you rightly surmise, that means that you are close to the target. There are times of pressure, but there are also times of relief and refreshment, and I will be praying for you for one of those times. I'm always thrilled to hear when a fellow believer is not only growing but also passing the test as you certainly are. No doubt the good work you are doing for this ministry is part of the . . . not PROBLEM but blessed REASON for the flak. And the Lord certainly knows what you are having to deal with.

And you are right. What we are dealing with here and now is like the challenge of boy scout camp when intense combat is on the horizon. So making our peace with dealing with whatever comes our way at present is the right policy and attitude. After all, the Lord is not sending these things our way for no reason, and we know it all has to be for the good.

I had my first day of classes today, so year 28 at U of L is officially underway [at time of posting, year 29 starts in about a week]. They went really well, so thanks for your prayers! I'm quite tired tonight, but that has always been the case the first day of the new year in the fall. I did an abbreviated walk as much for the time constraints as for saving energy, and all worked out well [update: now able to jog again – thanks for the prayers!]. In any case, a good start to the year, and that is always a wonderful thing.

I understand about PT. I deliberately did not go to physical therapy for the whatever-I-have as much because I wasn't sure they were the ones to figure it out if an orthopedist intern wasn't sure. I did get help from PT when my right shoulder froze, but it was giving me a lot of trouble this last couple of weeks – no doubt from the trauma of the PT even though that was several years ago. Blessedly it didn't act up today.

I'm keeping your wife's health in my prayers too.

Your grateful friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

On the Good Samaritan, do you have any insight on walking the line between helping a stranger and being stupid? I know here in the US at least you can get shot if you try to help the wrong stranger. And as a woman living alone, I feel it is even more risky than if I lived with men (I mean male family members).

I was watching some speeches from Germany's far right party, the AFD, in their parliament over the weekend (or it looked like their parliament). And they aren't saying anything unreasonable in and of itself (actually, a bit understated). The only thing was that it was them saying it, and I didn't understand why there was no moderate party that could say the reasonable things. As a lover and master of history, could you please tell me if politics is different over there? I get the impression it is more intense, and when it swings, it swings far wider than over here.


Response #27:

I don't have any special insight into contemporary European politics. It is true that antichrist will forge an alliance with Europe early on (almost immediately) in the Tribulation. But even though we are getting close there is no way to tell if the "players" on the stage today will even be around then.

I think you put the good Samaritan issue well. Helping other believers in need (who are most clearly our "neighbors"; cf. Rom.15:2; Gal.5:13-15; Eph.4:25), is a blessed thing. But this principle is easily misapplied by those lacking all spiritual common sense (unlike yourself), especially those who are easily manipulated by false guilt into a pattern of "do-gooding" which has nothing to do with Jesus Christ in fact.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hi Bob,

Got a new question for you.

Samaritan parable, Luke 10. A lawyer asks Jesus what must one do to be saved. Jesus says love God with everything in you and love others as yourself. Then Jesus gives the parable to really hammer home his point. I could be interpreting this wrong, but Jesus was highlighting the absolute impossibility of fulfilling the command of love. Maybe we've loved God and/or our neighbor to the fullest extent once or twice, but always? This Samaritan displayed love for another equal to loving himself but does any human really think they do it all the time? Always?

The entire parable is brought on from the question of how to inherit eternal life. Jesus highlights how impossible it is for humans to be able to accomplish the law of love on their own and the necessity of needing a savior to reconcile us back to God. To show how bad off we are and unable to accomplish this task on our own merit.

I'm not quite sure how to ask my question, but how far into the parable can we use it for lessons or learning beyond the point Jesus was making? For example, a sermon I listened to was using this parable as support for being mindful to see other people in need. for taking action in life to help others, we're so focused on our own lives that we fail to see those in need around us etc. I might have a bias against the preacher that's clouding my judgment, but it feels to me that they're going beyond the context and reading too much into the story. my question is a bit hard to quantify and I'm not trying to ask for this one specific instance, and I know there's interpretation involved so we can't always say there's one particular answer or message Jesus was trying to get across, but how do we know when we've gone too far off the path of trying to read into a story? trying to create talking points from a parable etc. how do we know when we've gone too far with a story?

I appreciate your hard work and admire your dedication, your ministry is extremely valuable. keep up the good work!

Response #28:

I think that your comments are excellent (not so much the ones in the sermon you report). You are exhibiting the very type of spiritual common sense that comes from the spiritual growth you are committing yourself to. Good for you!

Christians nowadays in particular are very vulnerable to guilt – misplaced guilt. That is partly because of the fact that it is one of the devil's favorite weapons, partly because of the low level of teaching, and partly because it seems the majority of sermons are entirely based upon stirring up such false guilt in order to provoke what the pastor wants (more attendance, more donations, more volunteering, etc.). So I think the spiritually immature are more prone today to erroneously find error in themselves in anything read in scripture, even if it is not actually present.

As to this parable, it is true that when the scribe asks our Lord what is necessary to inherit eternal life, our Lord responds with the essence of the Law, loving the Lord with all of our hearts and loving others (believers) as we do ourselves. This is clearly an impossible standard which no one has every perfectly fulfilled, and this is a standard point our Lord made repeatedly – in order to demonstrate that we are incapable of being saved by anything we might do. We need Him. We need His sacrifice. That is the point.

As far as "needing to be more focused on the needs of others around us", first, our "neighbors" are primarily other believers, not unbelievers (cf. e.g., Rom.15:2; Eph.4:25; Heb.8:11; Jas.2:8). Israel was a society which was supposed to be composed only of believers, so all of the individuals in this parable are to be assumed to be believers. The fact that one who does "the right thing" is a Samaritan is telling, because in the eyes of the Jewish people listening to our Lord, Samaritans were essentially gentiles, even though they occupied a middle ground between the two groups and lived in the land.

Second, there was no need to do any soul-searching to see that the wounded man needed help. Our Lord couldn't have made the case more obvious: wounded, destitute (after being robed), helpless, and "half-dead" – meaning without help he would probably have died. If a person couldn't see the need there, they would have been worse than blind. That is the point. Those who passed by ignored the need, and did not have the excuse of ignorance, not even a fig leaf of it.

Third, the man was helpless. There was thus no danger in helping him, merely inconvenience. When I hear sermons like the one you report I worry about unarmed women alone stopping their cars at night when flagged down by an able-bodied male – because they think (sermon induced) that it's "the right thing to do". No it's not. It's stupid to the point of being arrogantly wrong – and would doubtless happen much less without moronic sermons that have nothing to do with the Bible.

Fourth, the Samaritan had the money. He had the donkey. There was an inn not far away. In other words, helping did not constitute a particular burden for him. He was not giving up his children's lunch money or the mortgage money, or missing work to drive to an adjacent state or anything of the sort. He was doing something well within his capabilities however viewed.

What the Samaritan did was good. He was a true "neighbor" to his brother. But our Lord, we should note, was VERY careful in his selection of the details of this parable precisely so as to head off the very dangerous false applications that people are apt to make – and some pastors are unfortunately all to eager to make.

Thanks for all your good words!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Good day Rob

Trust you are well. Thank you so much for keeping in touch. I have a burning question for you. What does the Bible say about helping the poor? Where do you draw the line between helping, enabling and undermining their capabilities. Also, what does it say about the poor when they are taking a church for a ride.

Thank you

Response #29:

You're most welcome, my friend!

It is true that genuine giving is a blessed thing (Ps.112:9; Prov.21:13; Acts 20:35; 2Cor.9:9). But charity in the Bible generally involves helping other believers (in the Old Testament, Israel was supposed to be a nation/family of believers) when they have a genuine need you know about personally.

By charity today we mean "giving money" to whomever, unbelievers and unknowns too, and to third-party organizations (that never happened in the Bible). Of course, what such people really need in this world is the truth, to be saved by it, encouraged by it, and led forward spiritually by it. That is supposed to be the focus of all Christian good works. On the other hand, many people give money (for all manner of complicated reasons) who are not even saved. And giving money does not produce salvation regardless of to whom it is given or why.

I will give you links to where you can find details and more scriptures below, but generally speaking it is blessed to give cheerfully (not under compulsion: 2Cor.9:7) to other believers whom you personally know who have a (mostly one-time) pressing need (not if too lazy to work themselves: 2Thes.3:6-12).

Giving money to beggars you don't know is a questionable thing to do. Giving money to an organization which is supposed to give money to beggars (but usually siphons off 90% for their own benefit) is really pretty pointless. God looks at the heart and does honor all genuine intentions, but at some point believers have to grow up and become wise as serpents about such things, even while remaining innocent as doves (Matt.10:16; cf. Rom.16:19; 1Cor.14:20; Prov.14:18).

Churches in particular ought to be careful about how they handle this issue. Paul gives specific instructions about not giving charity unless there is demonstrated need even among those in the local church (1Tim.5:3-16). But it seems to be the case that institutionalized churches, especially of the denominational ilk, having nothing better to do, become involved in these sorts of causes – when they really ought to be concentrating on teaching the Word of God.

Here are those links:

Beggars II


Charity work

Charitable organizations

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Hello Bob,

I got into a debate with one of my friends who is a Christian about smoking pot. He argued that marijuana is no different than tea leaves or tobacco since they are "natural" herbs. He also said that tobacco has been the cause of more deaths than that of marijuana. He used this as "proof" that Christians who are against smoking pot are being legalistic and are not being honest about it because his argument mentioned was valid and irrefutable. He further said that this is just their opinion because of the comparison between pot and other herbs proved he was right. He is a very nice guy and seems to walk in obedience to everything else except for this matter dealing with pot. He has smoked pot in my presence before and it made me angry, but at the same time I don't want to condemn him for doing one thing wrong. I'm not sure how to go about this.

God Bless,

Response #30:

I will give you some links below, but the key issue here seems to me to be bound up in these two passages:

But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
1st Corinthians 5:11 NKJV

. . . and . . .

Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
1st Corinthians 15:33 NKJV

If something is not prohibited by scripture, we can argue about whether behavior XYZ is healthy and/or what kind of a witness it provides, or whether or not it is profitable for a believer, even if it is allowable (cf. 1Cor.6:12; 10:23), but when it comes to things that are either definitively prohibited by the Bible or else so clearly wrong and offensive to any truly Christian conscience that there can be no reasonable doubt about the wrongness of them, there is no point in arguing. A person who is so ignorant of the Lord and the truth that, for example, he she does not see that doing drugs is spiritually as well as physically dangerous and wrong (not to mention illegal) is not a mature believer and should be kept at arms' length at least. A person who not only doesn't have such basic spiritual common sense but actually goes so far as to defend such offensive behavior as "OK" is to be avoided like the plague. The person may be saved, but is headed in the wrong direction spiritually and it would be dangerous to be around him/her when everything explodes (as it surely will). This sort of libertine attitude is precisely what we should expect by the lukewarm of Laodicea, and will play a large role in the apostasy of many believers once the Tribulation begins.

For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
2nd Peter 2:18-19 NKJV

Here are those links:

Marijuana I

Marijuana II

Marijuana III

Taking pills

Pills and pharmakeia

Legitimate vs. illegitimate drugs

Medication and sorcery

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

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