Wednesday, September 18, 2013

PV of the BVM

For those with access to theological libraries, or who can get the document through the Theological Research Exchange Network, the thesis that I found was by William Essey and is dated March 1973. The title is “Mariology in the Fathers: Apostolic Era through Byzantine Synthesis”. In the paper the author notes the influence of the Protoevangelium of James on the theology of St Clement of Alexandria (ca. 215) who then influenced Origen (c. 253). Here’s the relevant quote from the thesis:
Although not playing so great a role in the Mariology of the first three centuries, the “Protoevangelium of James” was known by some Fathers and planted the seeds which would bear fruit in a few generations. (p 10)
 He then proceeds to list the things that are found in “the apocryphal text” including “references to her [Mary's] ever-virginity”. Thus, my central thesis, that the source of the dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary rests upon the Protoevangelium of James finds support in the scholarly writings of St. Vlad’s Seminary. In fact, I did a search of the thesis on file at the library and could find none that support a contrary position. However, there may be some that are not on file at the theological library.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Church in the Wilderness

If the writers of the New Testament were to use a Greek word to describe a gathering together of the people of God in the Old Testament they would naturally use the Greek word ekklesia which means assembly. 
Act 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
 The word has a “holy” meaning to us today, but if we just use the word “assembly” we can see how absurd the claim is that the church was born that day. The people of God have always assembled together and the Greek word could even be used to describe the assembly of Jews in a synagogue.

The same Greek word is used in this passage translated as “assembly” and it’s not about the church at all:
Act 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Someone else put it better

Someone else put it better than I did/could:
A forgiving person is ready to forgive and desires that the scenario for forgiveness to take place will develop in time.

One who has been wronged can learn to still be considerate and compassionate ( that is the fruit of love) when true repentance has not taken place .

However, we need to affirm to the one wronged that they were wronged and seek to help them communicate to the wrongdoer that repentance is the only acceptable response when it comes to the specifics of what took place.

Repentance and forgiveness takes place before God and openly between the human parties.

Without such a process we demean the righteousness of Christ and undermine the redemption He has effected and open the gates wide open for narcissism to prevail within the company of saints.
 Well put.

Parable on Forgiveness

Mat 18:23-35
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses
People read the last sentence but don't often take the time to read the context of the parable.

Each of those examples of forgiveness involved an exchange between two persons. The one who was owed the debt gave up the debt because the other person repented. When it turned out that the repentant really wasn’t the first one withdrew the forgiveness of the debt.

Nothing about secret forgiveness in the heart without any external interaction. That’s pure imagination and foreign to the Scriptural idea of forgiveness.

Someone asked me to put forth my position. See Matt 18 above.
  • Master was owed a debt
  • Master demanded payment of the debt.
  • Man could not pay and begged patience.
  • Master had compassion and forgave the debt.
 That’s the basic paradigm. The Master is God. The man is us. If we don’t forgive as we have been forgiven we are in trouble. But what about the actions of the Master? He demanded payment and forced the man to beg for forgiveness.

Forgiveness = Good News/Bad News

I think it will be a relief to many people to understand that God doesn’t ask them to forgive those who have abused them. It’s good news.

Of course it’s bad news to the dispensers of religious tradition who think they can control people by keeping them under a guilt trip telling them that about ”forgiveness as an act of Christlike obedience.

Biblical teaching on forgiveness

Someone asked me to summarize my theology of forgiveness.
  • We need to forgive people who are truly ignorant of their sins.
  • If someone repents we are obligated to forgive them.
  • Repentance includes sorrow, restoration, recompense.
  • If someone does not repent, we are obliged to confront and rebuke them.
  • If someone refuses to repent after confrontation, there is a process that needs to be followed through until the end.
  • If someone does not repent at the end of the process, they are handed over to God. for vengeance, we are forbidden to take vengeance ourselves on the unrepentant.
  • God stands with the victim, not the perpetrator of the offense.
  • God’s goal is reconciliation of persons but this reconciliation can not happen without repentance.

The Church chooses to not forgive?

If you are to always to forgive then why does the Scripture say:
John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 
That doesn’t fit at all with the unilateral forgiveness paradigm. Why doesn’t the church just always forgive if that’s really the right thing?

Doctrine Saves?

Someone wrote:
Some people really think that Jesus said, By their doctrine you shall know them. That always baffles me.
Look these passages up:
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
Turns out doctrine really does matter...

So, why stay away from Chuck Smith and his disciples?
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.


Forgive as Christ has forgiven you

Someone quotes (as they always do when discussing the subject of forgiveness)  this passage:
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Yes, I agree 100% with what Eph. ch 4:32 says. But, do you see what it says?

If we refused to repent would we be saved? Nope. God forgave us because we repented, ie, we changed our mind about who Jesus is. We are to forgive others who repent as well.

Unilateral forgiveness is imaginary forgiveness

"I was forgiven BEFORE I repented.”

Not exactly. If you were, then you would not need to receive it.

“The penalty/debt was paid and justice was met at the Cross.”


“I simply need to receive that forgiveness.”

If I offer you a dollar and you refuse to take the dollar, who has the dollar? Same with forgiveness. We can offer the gift of forgiveness but it the other person hasn’t taken it there’s been no forgiveness – at least not as used/defined in the Bible. Forgiveness has to be received as exemplified here:
Act 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Unilateral forgiveness is imaginary forgiveness.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Monday, November 29, 2010

Welfare and the Bible Part 3

1Ti 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
1Ti 5:4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
1Ti 5:5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
1Ti 5:6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
1Ti 5:7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
1Ti 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
1Ti 5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,
1Ti 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
1Ti 5:11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
1Ti 5:12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
1Ti 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
1Ti 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
1Ti 5:15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.
1Ti 5:16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

Welfare and the Bible Part 2

1Ti 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Gal 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Welfare and the Bible

2Th 3:10-14 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Difficulties of being a pastor’s wife

  1. Life in a fishbowl. People notice your parenting, your actions, everything you do. You can’t have a bad day.
  2. Husband devoted to his first love – Christ’s church. He’s on 24-hour call.
  3. Few real friends in the church in whom you can confide due to rampant gossip in the church.
  4. Financial concerns – pastors don’t typically make all that much money. Many pastor’s wives have to work to support the family.
  5. If you make close friends in the church others feel slighted.
  6. If you make close friends outside the church, women in the church think you think you are too good for them.
  7. Expected to be the right hand person to the pastor but may not have any call to ministry yourself.
  8. Your pastor is also your husband – you can’t count on him to give you the sort of compassion that he gives to his average parishioner.
  9. You may be spiritually starving – having to listen to a preacher every week that doesn’t feed you.
  10. Husband has grown apart, you married him when he wasn't a pastor and you don't feel like you signed up for this.
  11. Pastor’s spend years in seminary (in real churches, not CC) and their wives attend seminary social events. Very few “real-life” training for pastors wives. And I blame seminaries for their ineffective help of training wives on how to be a pastor’s wife.
  12. Spouse may feel isolated since the church they are serving may be far from their family.
  13. [Added by suggestion] It is particularly hard on the spouse when the pastor is criticized. He or she may feel they cannot say anything to defend their spouse. On the other hand female spouses are increasingly professionals themselves and quite busy. Sometimes far too busy.
  14. [Added by suggestion] Another issue for the schools is that some women do not want to be a part of a spouses group. Our Partners in Ministry Program has been more effective in some years than others depending on the leadership.
  15. [Added by suggestion] One final thought: the smaller the church the bigger the problem!

This is all much more common that you might believe.


  1. Denominations need to think harder about these things. Find the decision makers. Many seminary Presidents are former pastors themselves but they don't want to "interfere" with this subject. Encourage them to encourage the organizations they already have in place that ministry to pastor's spouses needs to address the issues listed above.
  2. Invite pastor's wives to speak to these organizations, especially ones that are frank about the problems they had in ministry.
  3. Let your pastor's wife know you love her. Her husband probably already gets enough praise from people.
  4. Denominations need pastor's spouse retreats where the spouse can meet others with the same issues who can help them work through the issues. They will learn they are not alone and find someone safe to share their issues with. This has to happen at local denominational level. There needs to be child care because the excuse the wife gives is that she can't go to a retreat because she's a mom and dad is not able to do the job she can.