Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Way Back: Ponderings

So I'm on a sort of binge thinking about what all the Church needs to get back to.  Some things are obvious and up front, but there are many ways different churches have deviated from orthodoxy over the years, and I don't think conservative Christians usually think of liberalism, for instance, as our responsibility, do we?   But Daniel prayed for all the sins of Israel, which he certainly hadn't committed himself.  So if a deviating church body considers itself to be Christ's then aren't their deviations our deviations too?   But of course we have enough of our own for starters:  Bible versions, head covering. 

And then there are the little things, the "secondary" issues that divide denominations.  My previous post was about psalm singing although it had never entered my mind before that such a practice could be something we need to get back to in order to recover orthodoxy.  I've certainly thought for years now that women's head covering is an important one most churches neglect.  Now I'm pondering the usual secondary issues like baptism.  I'm convinced that believer's baptism is orthodox but it would be hard to convince the denominations that believe in paedobaptism.  (Of course it would be hard to convince anyone of a differing opinion on any of these issues I mention.) 

I recently read somewhere --  I'm SO bad at keeping track -- that Zwingli favored believer's baptism but was influenced by the political trend of the times to paedobaptism -- not by scripture, but by common practice.  In scripture he found believer's baptism.  Something else confirmed my conviction about baptism:  I believe it was David Cloud who has a picture in one of his books (about the Bible versions I think), of a large baptismal font in which a person would be immersed, going back to ancient times.  Roman?  Sorry again I'm so bad at providing evidence.  I read things and put them aside and then remember them without any easy way to recover the evidence.  But this post is to be one of those skim-overs in the hope that I'll do a better job later.

Another issue that comes to mind is where ethnic Israel stands in relation to the Church.  This one is extremely polarized, some believing Israel has no place at all, others giving it such prominence the Church might as well not exist.  I believe strongly that scripture shows the Church to be the fulfillment of a great deal of what in the Old Testament is ascribed to Israel:  the "Israel of God" is believers, and ethnic Israel is certainly not made up of believers.  However, Paul's discussion in Romans 9 through 11 certainly implies a future for ethnic Israel, in repentance and conversion to Christ, and there are some passages in the writings of the Puritans and the Reformers showing their belief that God will ultimately restore the Jews.   There remains a huge area of varying interpretations to be sorted out. 

And by the way I've been reconsidering the Rapture again, thanks to the book "The Rapture:  Don't be Deceived" by Billy Crone.  He makes some good points in favor of the Rapture, but as usual I still find scripture that to my mind doesn't support it.  The problem with this as with so many other issues is that once a person gets convinced they put enormous emphasis on the proofs of their view and other views go begging.  I can say at this point at least that there is no other end times scenario convinces me anywhere near as much as Futurism, although Chris Pinto has made some good arguments in favor of Historicism at least for interpretations concerning the Antichrist as the Pope.   

  What am I suggesting?  How could all these different opinions find resolution?  Shall we have more conferences like the "Strange Fire" Conference where the big issues that divide churches are discussed?  I like the idea myself.

And we could always use some thorough review of why Roman Catholicism must be rejected. 

So there are some half-baked ponderings for today.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Way Back: Psalm Singing

Thinking about practices the Church has lost over the years on its rocky path to modernity, woman's head covering looms large in my mind, but in pursuing that topic in the last few days I discovered another possible loss.  That is, I discovered that there are denominations, or at least one anyway, the Reformed Presbyterian, where the singing of psalms is practiced as the authentic form of worship given by God.  I'd heard of this practice before but it didn't catch my attention as a possible lost truth until I ran across it in Rosaria Butterfield's book on her conversion, then also in the first sermon of a series by Brian Schwertley at Sermon Audio, on Headship and Headcoverings.  He mentions psalm singing very briefly as a practice that fell out of common practice in the churches because of the popularity of other forms of singing that took its place, which he understands to have been the way the head covering was lost as well -- it became popular not to wear hats and then it was theologically rationalized away until it was completely given up.   I don't know if his historical analysis is correct, but it had the effect on me of considering that perhaps psalm singing was once the common, and the authentic, practice which has since been dropped.

I continue to think of such losses as being steps down a path of deterioration of the Church over the years or even centuries, that has finally brought about God's judgment to the point that we are losing all Christian influence in the cultures of the West, and the West is on the brink of total annihilation.  I keep coming back to the principle that "judgment begins at the house of God" when I see how difficult it is to recover the heritage of western civilization by political or educational means.  We've had high hopes for Trump's Presidency, and I haven't completely given up on his having some important influence in rescuing the culture from its battered condition, but the wolves of God's judgment continue to howl so loudly I doubt they can be held at bay for long.  And that takes me back to the Church, which after all we understand to be where the health of the culture is built up or undermined.

There are so many failures littered along the road of the Church's fall, from liberalism to evolutionism, to feminism to abortion "rights" and gay "rights" and so on, it's hard to arrange them all in their historical order, and it's hard to know where to start if we want to recover God's blessings and especially His strengthening hand on His people.  I suggested starting with women's covering our heads in church, because it seems like a simple thing to do.  But of course that means persuading people that it's worth the try, and like all the monuments to modernity that have supplanted truth in the churches it's just as vexed with opposition as any would be, and in some cases angry indignant opposition, even in some churches the disciplining of women who DO cover their heads.  Or so I've heard. 

So we pray then of course.  Pray for starters that God would show us the paths to truth, without telling Him what we think about it, if we can be that humble.

Anyway, all that was to lead up to this new idea that psalm singing might be one of the lost practices of the Church that God originally ordained for us.  I don't know enough about it yet to have a clear opinion.  The scripture that tells us to sing "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" doesn't seem to insist on limiting us to any one form such as psalms, but it does suggest that psalms are an important element in worship that no church I've ever personally attended practices.   Well I should note that psalms or parts of psalms have been incorporated into popular worship singing in the last couple of decades, but I don't think that's quite the same thing, though maybe a step in the right direction.  At the very least it's a very appealing idea that we should all learn to sing psalms as PART of our services.  It's something I've become interested in learning anyway. 

Here's a page of Psalters that are used for the purpose.  I ended up choosing the Trinity version based on the descriptions given of each, but that's subject to change.  Some of the music appears to be familiar hymn tunes, but even the folk song "Scarborough Fair" is included in the first psalter.  I was expecting something more ancient I guess.   But anything is a start at this point, just to feel around in unfamiliar territory.

I don't know if psalm singing is something to be recovered or not, but I was intrigued by Schwertley's comment and it seems worth thinking about.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Way Back: A DARING THOUGHT: If women went back to wearing hats in church would God restrain His judgment?

Sin begets sin.  In fact increasing sin is one form of God's judgment against a nation or a person.

From time to time I come back to the fact that most churches are disobeying the Creation Ordinance that requires women to cover our heads in the worship service.  Two things brought this to mind again right now:  first, the difficulty I've been having getting across why Christians feel obliged to refuse to do anything that puts us in the position of treating gay marriage as legitimate. 

Then second:  while looking for a particular book at Amazon I ran across a book admonishing the Church about our failure to be an influence against the moral deterioration of American culture:  The Cost of Our Silence, by David Fiorazo.  It's a fine book.  I got it free for my PC Kindle library.  He gives a thorough list of the many sins of the culture the Church has either been complicit in or actually embraced.  Everything from abortion to gay marriage of course.

But as I was dealing with the  problem of gay marriage, realizing that God's ordinance of marriage in Genesis 2:24 is the basis for the Christian's conscience against gay marriage, the head covering came to mind as another Creation Ordinance.  And one that is pretty universally disobeyed by the churches.

So once again, alone as can be on this subject I nevertheless keep suspecting it may be a crucially important element in the moral deterioration of the Church which is the cause of the moral deterioration of the culture.  Once again the specter of the covered heads of the Muslim women comes to mind, who are of course part of a major element of God's judgment on the West, and once again I found myself thinking how this fact alone could be God's message to us about the importance of the head covering creation ordinance.  As often happens in the cultures of the fallen world, the Muslims overdo it;  Paul only requires covering the head in the worship service, not at all times.  Christendom made the same mistake for centuries too, as you never see uncovered female heads in western art either up until recently.  It's possible someone could make a case for this I suppose, but the passage in 1 Corinthians only refers to the context of the church assembly.  Muslim women also represent an extreme version of female modesty, on which I started another blog that never went very far.  I believe that too is an important element in the moral deterioration of the churches and the culture.  But I am probably being cowardly about saying so, knowing how unwelcome these subjects are, and feeling so hopeless about changing anyone's mind about them.

I've written a great deal on the subject at my blog Hidden Glory, and a few thoughts on modesty as well on the other blog, Women's Place.  lThere's a lot that could be said, but for now I just want to register this recurrent thought: 

It's possible that the deterioration of the churches and the consequent deterioration of the culture both started before the banning of the Bible from the schools, and before Roe v Wade, with the giving up of the wearing of hats by women in the churches, and that too was probably preceded by other violations,  liberalism being the main one.  The election of Trump bodes good things but we need to go deeper, much deeper.  It's been a horrifying mystery why in spite of our being attacked on 9/11 the very enemies who attacked us have been growing in influence and even popularity, spreading through Europe and moving into America more and more.  Why can't we stop this incursion, this threat to our security? 

This is clearly God's judgment.  It has to be that the churches haven't repented for the causes. 

What if we started with a small thing:  women covering our heads in the church services?  (I think hats don't quite meet the requirement but we need to start somewhere and if hats are easier for women to adopt that's the place to start).  If this is the linchpin I keep thinking it probably is, then we could be sure God would open our spirits to new understanding of how we have offended Him and how we can recover His blessings.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

NOTICE

Ever since Blogger did something to my Dashboard pages a few months ago there is no way for me to access any new Comments.  The function  seems to be completely destroyed.  Anyone who would like to communicate with me should use the email address.  Thanks.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Trump Continues Down Wrong Path on Israel

I'd hoped since my last post that Trump might get better advice and pull back from defending the "Palestinian" cause against Israel, but according to this article on David Horowitz's Frontpage Mag site, he's unfortunately continuing in the same wrong direction.   The problems aren't hidden.  The "peace" projects have never worked and it's not hard to find out why, so how does it keep happening over and over again that American presidents continue to pursue the same old failed policies?

Trump Embraces PLO Fantasy
Originally from the Jerusalem Post.  By Caroline Glick:
If things develop as reported, then Trump is serious about embracing the PLO and intends to have his top advisers devote themselves to Abbas and his henchmen. If that is the case, then Trump is setting himself, his advisers, his daughter and the US up to fail and be humiliated.

The PLO is the Siren that drowns US administrations. It is to the PLO that America’s top envoys have eagerly flown, gotten hooked on the attention of the demented, anti-Israel press corps, and forgotten their purpose: to advance US national interests.

If Trump is serious about repeating this practice, then rather than repair the massive damage done to the US and the Middle East by his two predecessors, the 45th president will repeat their mistakes. Like them, he will leave office in a blaze of failure.

To understand why this is the case, three things must be clear.

First, the PLO will never make peace with Israel. There will never be a Palestinian state.

There will never be a peace or a Palestinian state because the PLO wants neither. This is the lesson of the past 25 years. Both Abbas and his predecessor Arafat rejected peace and statehood multiple times and opted instead to expand their terrorist and political war against Israel.

Why did they do that? Because they are interested in two things: personal enrichment – which they achieve by stealing donor funds and emptying the pockets of their own people; and weakening, with the goal of destroying Israel – which they achieve through their hybrid war of terrorism and political warfare.

The second thing that needs to be clear is that the Palestinians are irrelevant to the rest of the problems – the real problems that impact US interests – in the region. If anything, the Palestinians are pawns on the larger chessboard. America’s enemies use them to distract the Americans from the larger realities so that the US will not pay attention to the real game....

Trump’s election opened up the possibility, for the first time in decades, that the US would end its destructive obsession with the PLO. For three months, Israelis have been free for the first time to discuss seriously the possibilities of applying Israeli law to all or parts of Judea and Samaria. And a massive majority of Israelis support doing just that.

On the Palestinian side as well, Trump’s election empowered the people who have been living under the jackboot of Abbas and his cronies to think about the possibility of living at peace with Israel in a post-PLO era. Polling results indicate that they too are eager to move beyond the Palestinian statehood chimera

But now, it appears that Trump has been convinced to embrace the PLO obsession. The same entrenched bureaucrats at the State Department and the same foreign policy establishment in Washington that brought the US nothing but failure in the Middle East for a generation appear to have captivated Trump’s foreign policy. They have convinced him it is better to devote his top advisers to repeating the mistakes of his predecessors than to devote his energies and theirs to fixing the mess that Obama and George W. Bush left him with. They have gotten him to believe that it is better to empower the PLO than develop coherent strategies and plans for dealing with the problems of the region that actually endanger US interests and imperil the security and safety of the American people.
How disappointing

Saturday, February 11, 2017

We can't recover America's Greatness by oppressing Israel.

Uh oh.  Trump is telling Israel to cool it about building settlements on "Palestinian" land.  Sounds like the Islam lobby got to him.  Big mistake, capitulating to a lie.  There is no Palestinian land in that area, for starters, and there is no Palestinian people.  It's all a political invention.  The very idea of a "peace" in the Middle East is a big fat delusion.  The Muslim world has said in so many words they want Israel dead, they do not want peace.  They have refused every peace plan offered.  They draw their maps without a hint that Israel ever existed.  You can't negotiate a genuine peace and it's futile to keep trying.  To ask Israel to pull back on their settlements for the sake of an impossible peace is to betray Israel. 

Rather adds to my forebodings in the previous post.

The Globalist Utopian Nightmare and the Rapture

I wrote the following at EvC Forums in response to a post about a utopian vision of the whole world made in the image of America's Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

http://www.evcforum.net/dm.php?control=msg&m=799570#m799570


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The idealism of the Left which is expressed in that post can only give a biblically taught Christian deep despair for America and the world, because the reality of evil is completely denied in it. And that gives evil great power to proliferate, and especially to express itself through that very misguided idealism. Communism for instance sounds good on paper, but in reality it can't exist without murdering people, because all utopian systems try to squash reality into a small box that leaves more of reality outside. But since the utopia is held with fervor that reality has to be exterminated to bring it about. THEN will come the Perfect Society. Etc etc etc.

I keep having this ...feeling? ...  concern? ... premonition? ...paranoia?  ... that because of the extreme opposition to Trump the hope his election gave so many of us may still go down in flames.  A hope, ironically enough, for the very values the Left thinks it represents but doesn't.*  The Left and the powers behind the Left may yet succeed in defeating this surge of goodness and hope for a renewal of prosperity, national strength and unity, and Constitutional liberty, and bring about their globalist tyranny over once-sovereign America, and in fact the world.  Partly because there are truly malevolent forces on the Left that the Left refuses to recognize, but also because of this sort of idealism that misreads what it takes to establish freedom in a fallen world.

Since we've gone from any semblance of "peaceful transference of power" to violent methods of opposing the elected political position with no signs of remorse or intention of de-escalating, Trump would have to have supernatural ability to continue as he has been doing.  He talks of God but I don't know how much of a believer he really is -- fairly superficial at this point I would think but maybe he's learning that what he's up against is bigger than politics and bigger than even prodigious human strength can deal with.  I hope he prays, as many of us are praying for him.  He may be able to continue for some time yet, and I hope so, but already he looks terribly tired in his pictures.  He has bags under his eyes he didn't have a short time ago.
 
The point of all this is that although God is certainly giving us a reprieve in Trump, judgment on America and on all the nations of the world is still proceeding and may finally lead sooner than we'd anticipated to the globalist nightmare we Trump supporters have been hoping to stop.  Biblical prophecy tells us it has to come sometime, and the signs have been growing for decades that it is getting closer every day, and reached some kind of peak with Obama, but the Trump win and Brexit and other signs of nations reclaiming some of their lost sovereignty seemed to promise a stay of execution at least for a while.  But the forces of evil -- that are mistaken for good these days -- are not only not going away, they seem to be gathering power. Evil power. In some cases in the name of good.

I hope I'm wrong.  I hope the true hope lasts.  I just keep having this...foreboding.

Of course it's not a foreboding for most at EvC.  Anything that would turn back Trump's win would be welcome, as it would be for the Left in general, because he's considered to be the evil that needs to be stopped.  And besides, anyone who talks as I am talking here is obviously not to be taken seriously.

Upshot:  Maybe, just maybe, the world is about to take a turn into the "Great Tribulation" or "The Day of the Lord" when God's wrath descends on the planet with unprecedented horrors and destruction for some period before the Lord Jesus returns.

I've never been completely convinced of the theology of the "Pre-Tribulation Rapture," but I've been even less convinced of other end times theologies.  And I recently read a book about the Rapture (author Billy Crone) that resolved many of my doubts -- not all but many.  Enough in any case to go with it provisionally for now.

America is no doubt the highest profile nation in the world, and the name Trump has an awfully biblical sound to it.


1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Hint? Omen? I don't know, I just keep having this foreboding because of the way the world has been going.

That passage is considered to be THE prophecy of the pre-Tribulation Rapture. The Rapture is expected to come unexpectedly, suddenly, without warning, taking "the Bride of Christ" off the planet to be with Him forever. That is a wonderful thing for me and other believers; not so much those who have rejected Christ.

The Rapure is to usher in a seven-year period when the world that is left behind goes through the Great Tribulation or God's Wrath or the Day of the Lord. A horrible time not to be wished on anyone. And since I have unsaved family I don't want to see them go through it.

But for the sake of those who will go through it, listen up: If this prophecy is true there will be a huge number of people saved during it, at great cost, through enormous suffering, but saved for eternal life by believing the gospel you refused to believe before. Beheadings will be one of the horrors. (Most of this is in the Book of Revelation), and beheadings are of course a hallmark of Islam. Islam is pretty much already set up to play such a role if all this comes down soon. And of course as I keep saying, I believe the Pope is what the Protestant reformers said he is: the Antichrist. Islam and the RCC are linked in some biblical symbols as the two halves of the revived Roman Empire that is to rule the world at the end. And it's not going to be your happy "American" utopia, that's for sure.

(Huge numbers of Catholics and Muslims will of course be saved}

But maybe Soros is the Antichrist instead. Or somebody else. In any case the Pope is going to be right up there with him/

One good thing in all that is that the Great Tribulation is to exist for a particular period of time, after which Jesus will return. It is possible to calculate that time from biblical prophecy in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation. The Rapture is to come unexpectedly, as "a thief in the night," but the Second Coming will come according to a biblically given time frame.

"Repent and believe the gospel" is always the way to salvation and it would be better to do it now rather than wait to go through the Great Tribulation.

But maybe the Rapture won't come for a long time yet. Maybe my forebodings are premature.

Laugh away, poor EvC.
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*Here's an interesting comment on the fact that the Left no longer represents those values:

Dave Rubin: Why I Left the Left