"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Value Of A Soul (8:36-37) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                     The Value Of A Soul (8:36-37)


1. After telling His disciples and others nearby the cost of being His
   disciple, Jesus asked...

   "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and
   loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his
   soul?" - Mk 8:36-37

2. With these words of Jesus we are reminded of the value of the soul...
   a. It is the most valuable possession one has
   b. All earthly possessions, position, pleasure, and power are not
      worth the value of one's soul!

[But perhaps some might wonder...]


      1. Man was created in the image of God - Gen 1:26-27
         a. Yet God does not have a physical body like ours 
            - cf. Jn 4:24; Lk 24:39
         b. Therefore it must be our soul, or spirit, that is in God's
      2. This is what enable us to comprehend abstract concepts as:
         a. Life, death, eternity
         b. Things of beauty
         c. A moral sense of ought, right and wrong, good and evil
      3. Making us more than just animal creatures - cf. Ps 8:3-8

      1. The body is mostly the result of genetics
         a. We might be able to change a little through exercise,
            plastic surgery, etc.
         b. But we cannot stop the eventual aging and dying process
      2. The soul, however, is different...
         a. Despite one's genetics, there is much that can be changed
         b. With God's help, we can change attitudes, character 
            - Ro 12:1-2; Col 3:12-15

      1. The body dies, and soon returns back to the dust
         a. The soul, or spirit, returns back to God - Ec 12:7
         b. Awaiting the resurrection of the body - cf. 1Co 15:35-58
      2. After which comes the Judgment - He 9:27; 2Co 5:10
         a. The soul, in its resurrected body, will bear the brunt of
            that Judgment
         b. Either eternal life, honor, glory, and immortality - Ro 2:7
         c. Or indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish - Ro 2:8-9
      3. Which is why we need to evaluate all things (possessions,
         decisions, actions) from an eternal perspective, from the
         soul's viewpoint - Mt 10:28; 16:26

      1. What price is required to redeem our souls from the wrath of
         God's judgment?
      2. Nothing less than the blood of the Son of God! - 1Pe 1:18-19
      3. Even if we cannot fully comprehend why Jesus had to die, we
         should able to see that the souls of men must be extremely
         valuable if His death was necessary

[So the Bible teaches that the soul is more valuable than the whole
world!  And yet, many "sell their souls" for what surely are petty
bargains.  For example, consider...]


      1. In their quest for riches, they neglect their service to God
         - 1Ti 6:10
      2. Yet they've traded their souls for what is corruptible and can
         be stolen - Mt 6:19-21

      1. Like the young man tempted by the harlot - Pr 5:1-14
         a. In a moment's passion, lives are destroyed (AIDS, unwanted
         b. Marriages and families are ruined
      2. Young people in the Bible should inspire us to make the right
         a. Like Joseph - Gen 39:7-9
         b. Like Moses - He 11:24-25
         c. Like Daniel - Dan 1:8

      1. Of which we need to beware - Col 2:8,18
      2. For the devil is a master at this - 2Co 11:13-15
      3. Through lack of Bible study, we can lose the most valuable
         thing we have! - Hos 4:6

      1. They will not use the opportunities the Lord has given them
         - cf. Mt 25:24-30
      2. They fail to apply the diligence necessary to grow spiritually
         - cf. 2Pe 1:5-11


1. How valuable is your soul...?
   a. Think of what the rich man in Hades would tell you - cf. Lk 16:22-24
   b. Think of what the souls of the redeemed would say to you-cf. Re 7:13-17
   c. Think of what Jesus and God have done to save your soul! - cf. Jn 3:16

2. Dear friends and brethren, you don't have to lose your soul...!
   a. Humbly submit yourself to the will of God
   b. Let His Word guide you, let no man beguile you of your reward
   c. Overcome temptations, and suffer for His cause with rejoicing

Implied in all these words is that there will be the Day of Judgment (Ac
17:30-31), with possible consequences terrible beyond comprehension (Re
20:11-15; 21:8).

Are you willing to risk losing your soul...?

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Cost Of Discipleship (8:34-35) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                   The Cost Of Discipleship (8:34-35)


1. At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus called people to become His
   a. Such as Simon and Andrew - Mk 1:16-18
   b. Also James and John - Mk 1:19-20

2. At the conclusion of His ministry, Jesus sent His apostles to make
   more disciples...
   a. To make disciples of all the nations - Mt 28:19
   b. Teaching them to observe all that He commanded - Mt 28:20

3. In the text for this lesson, we find Jesus discussing the issue of
   a. Having just predicted His own suffering, death, and resurrection
      - Mk 8:31
   b. Telling His disciples and others what is the cost of discipleship
      - Mk 8:34-35

[A disciple is a learner, a follower; to be a disciple of Jesus means
that we follow Jesus.  But as Jesus mentions in our text, such
discipleship requires a cost.  To be a true disciple of Jesus...]


      1. To deny sinful self, ungodliness, and worldly lusts; and part
         with them, and his former sinful companions, which were as a
         part of himself - Gill
      2. To deny righteous self, and renounce all his own works of
         righteousness, in the business of justification and salvation
         - ibid.
      -- To deny self with its self-righteous pride and sinful lust from
         dominating you

      1. Denying sinful self, expounded by Peter
         a. Abstaining from fleshly lusts - 1Pe 2:11-12
         b. No longer living like the rest of the world - 1Pe 4:1-4
      2. Denying righteous self, exemplified by Paul
         a. Who had much about which he could have boasted - Php 3:4-6
         b. But chose to put all his trust in Christ - Php 3:7-14
      -- In precept and practice, the apostles tell us what it means to
         deny self

[Together with denying self, to be a disciple of Christ...]


      1. To voluntarily and decisively accept the pain, shame, and
         persecution that is going to be one's particular-note: his, not
         someone else's-lot because of his loyalty to Christ and his
         cause - Hendriksen
      2. To cheerfully receive, and patiently bear, every affliction and
         evil, however shameful and painful it may be, which is
         appointed for him, and he is called unto; which is his peculiar
         cross, as every Christian has his own; to which he should
         quietly submit, and carry, with an entire resignation to the
         will of God, in imitation of his Lord - Gill
      3. The cross is to be born "daily", indicating Jesus was speaking
         metaphorically - cf. Lk 9:23
      -- To gladly endure whatever hardship one may receive in service
         to Christ!

      1. In the case of the apostles
         a. What they all endured - 1Co 4:9-13
         b. What Paul in particular endured - 2Co 11:23-29
      2. In our case, it may involve being:
         a. Ridiculed - 1Pe 4:4
         b. Reviled (spoken evil of, excluded) 
            - 1Pe 4:4; Mt 5:11; Lk 6:22
         c. Reproached - 1Pe 4:14
      -- All the while, rejoicing that one is honored to suffer for
         Christ - 1Pe 4:16; Ac 5:40-42

[With a willingness to deny self and bear one's own cross on a daily


      1. To become His disciple, seeking to become like Him - Lk 6:40;
         cf. Ro 8:29; 13:14
      2. To accept Him as Lord, doing what He says 
         - Lk 6:46; cf. Col 3:17
      3. To walk in His footsteps, even at great cost - 1Pe 2:21-25
      -- To become a Christian, to let Jesus be your Lord and mentor

      1. Obeying the gospel of Christ - Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38;
      2. Observing all He and His apostles commanded 
         - Mt 28:20; Ac 2:42; 1Co 14:37
      3. Ever growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ - 2Pe 3:18
      -- Putting Jesus on in baptism, and then living with Him 
          - Ga 3:27; 2:20


1. The cost of discipleship may seem rather high...
   a. One must deny self
   b. One must take up one's cross
   c. One must follow Jesus

2. But as Jesus explains, there are only two choices... - Mk 8:35
   a. One can try to save his life himself, but will end up losing it
      - cf. Jn 8:24
   b. One can lose his life for Jesus' sake and the gospel's, and wind
      up saving it! - cf. Re 2:10

   For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses
   his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. - Mk 8:35

In view of eternity, there is only one viable choice:  endure the high
cost of discipleship, and receive the blessings of eternal life...!
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

Resurrected “Savior-Gods” and the Prophets of Old by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Resurrected “Savior-Gods” and the Prophets of Old

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Periodically, critics of Jesus question why there are so many stories of “savior-gods” (outside of Judaism and Christianity) that sound somewhat similar to the story of Jesus. Why would various civilizations (e.g., Egyptians, Greeks, etc.) that existed centuries before the time of Christ have “legends” about god-like characters who worked miracles, conquered death, and were revered by their followers? What logical answer can be given as to why stories similar in some ways to the Gospel story existed hundreds or thousands of years before Jesus?
Although several reasonable answers have already been given to the above questions in past articles (e.g., Butt and Thompson, 2001a and 2001b), another logical explanation for the presence of these stories revolves around the prophets of old. When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and lawyers for their hypocrisy, He mentioned their unrighteous ancestors and made the following statement:
Therefore the wisdom of God also said, “I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,” that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation (Luke 11:49-51, emp. added).
According to Jesus, God used prophets as far back as “the foundation of the world,” specifically from the time of Abel, Adam’s second son recorded in Scripture. The apostle Peter made a similar statement while preaching to thousands of Jews in Solomon’s Portico.
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19-21, emp. added).
“Since the world began,” God has revealed messages to mankind via His prophets. Sometimes these messages were regarding the coming physical destruction upon a particular nation (e.g., Jonah 3:1-10; Nahum 1-3). At other times, they were about one particular person or tribe of people (e.g., Genesis 40; 49). But no prophecies were more important (nor more prevalent in Scripture) than those concerning Christ. And, God’s spokesmen have been foretelling His Coming specifically since the earliest of times. Luke recorded how, after the birth of John the Baptizer, his father, Zacharias, “was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,”
Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began (Luke 1:67-70, emp. added).
God’s prophets have not foretold the coming of a great Redeemer only since the Mosaic period, nor were prophecies concerning the Savior of the world limited to the Jewish people. Zacharias rejoiced that God was sending the Redeemer and Savior of Whom the prophets had spoken “since the world began.” Admittedly, most all of the Messianic prophecies recorded in Scripture appear after God revealed to Abraham that through his seed “all the nations of the world shall be blessed” (Genesis 22:18; 12:1-3; 49:10; etc.). Yet, one recorded messianic prophecy goes back centuries before Abraham—all the way to Adam and Eve’s tenure in the Garden of Eden. There God informed the serpent following his deception of Eve: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). In this very first messianic prophecy, a suffering, but victorious, Redeemer is pictured.
Thousands of years later, hundreds of similar prophecies about the Christ were given to the Israelites. It is logical to conclude, however, that similar messianic prophecies would have been delivered by other prophets outside of Judaism. The patriarch Enoch, just seven generations from Adam, “walked with God three hundred years” and “prophesied” (Genesis 5:22; Jude 14). His great-great-grandson Noah, whom the apostle Peter described as “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), very likely knew of the Messianic prophecies during patriarchal times, and may very well have received direct revelation from God on the matter (similar to how God spoke to him regarding the Flood—Genesis 6:13-21). Centuries later, non-Jewish, God-fearing men such as Melchizedek, king of Salem, “the priest of the Most High God” (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1), Job, and others worshipped and served the one true God.
We have no way of knowing how many of God’s spokesmen through the centuries have prophesied about the coming of a Savior. We do know, however, that some prophecies about Christ are virtually as old as the world itself, and the Bible nowhere pretends to contain every Messianic prophecy ever spoken.
One may reasonably conclude that a chief reason nations outside of Israel possessed stories of savior-gods who share many commonalities with Jesus is because they had heard either inspired prophets foretell the Redeemer’s coming, or the prophecies made “from the foundation of the world” had been passed down to them by word of mouth. Interestingly, some of the first people on Earth to recognize the arrival of the Messiah were men the Bible calls—not Jews—but “wise men (magi, NASB) from the East” (Matthew 2:1). From where did these men receive such knowledge? How did they know that a particular “star in the East” (Matthew 2:2) would indicate the Messiah’s entrance into the world? The fact is, they received Divine direction (cf. Matthew 2:1-12).
Truly, God’s scheme of redemption through a “hero” that would save the world from sin and death has been revealed since the fall of man. Simply because civilizations from the past (outside of Judaism and Christianity) possessed similar “redemption” stories and/or knowledge of a Redeemer should not be troubling or surprising. They likely were based (at least partly) on messages preached by the prophets of old.


Butt, Kyle and Bert Thompson (2001a), “Jesus Christ—Unique Savior or Average Fraud? [Part 1],” Reason and Revelation, 21[2]:9-15, February, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/156.
Butt, Kyle and Bert Thompson (2001b), “Jesus Christ—Unique Savior or Average Fraud? [Part 2],” Reason and Revelation, 21[3]:17-24, March, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/475.

Microcomputers in the Brain Tabulate Design by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Microcomputers in the Brain Tabulate Design

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

I’m typing this article on a personal computer. You are most likely reading it on some form of one, whether a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet (which are really just small computers). These amazing devices are all around us. Brilliant researchers have spent billions of dollars designing the most functional computers to help people all over the world achieve their goals. You may well know, however, that one computer is more powerful than any that humans have been able to design—the human brain. As LiveScience writer Charles Choi stated, “The most powerful computer known is the brain” (2013).
But a fresh look into the brain has revealed something amazing. This supercomputer is even more “super” than we thought. Inside the brain are short branches of cells called dendrites. These dendrites have long been thought to be simple transporters of nerve signals to brain neurons. Recent discoveries by neuroscientist Spencer Smith and his team of researchers suggest, however, that dendrites do more than passively transfer information (Choi, 2013). It appears that dendrites are actually minicomputers that process information instead of simply transferring it. Because of this discovery, Smith stated: “Suddenly, it's as if the processing power of the brain is much greater than we had originally thought” (as quoted in Choi, 2013).
To what did Smith compare this remarkable discovery? He illustrated the results in this way: “Imagine you’re reverse engineering a piece of alien technology, and what you thought was simple wiring turns out to be transistors that compute information” (as quoted in Choi, 2013).
The implication of Smith’s statement about alien technology could not be clearer—the brain is comparable to (but surpasses) any technology humans have designed. Therefore, if we were to realistically compare it to something, it would have to be technology produced by brilliant aliens whose mental capabilities must be far superior to that of humans. But wait, the technology that we at first recognized to be superior, we discover to be even more advanced than we originally thought. What does that say about the brain? It must have been designed by a Being with incomprehensible intelligence. The idea of mindless evolution simply cannot account for the computer, no, the supercomputer filled with minicomputers, we call the brain. It really is a no-brainer, there must be a God.


Choi, Charles (2013), “‘Minicomputers’ Live Inside the Brain,” LiveScience, http://news.yahoo.com/minicomputers-live-inside-human-brain-113240564.html.

How Many Clean Animals Did Noah Take into the Ark—Seven or Fourteen? by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


How Many Clean Animals Did Noah Take into the Ark—Seven or Fourteen?

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.
Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Genesis 7:2 says that God told Noah to take clean animals into the Ark “seven by seven.” Does this mean Noah took fourteen of each clean animal into the boat?
In Genesis 7, God instructed Noah to take onboard the ark certain animals in order to save them from the Flood. Concerning clean animals, He said:
Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee seven and seven, the male and his female; and of the beasts that are not clean two, the male and his female (7:2).
Through the years, serious Bible students have wondered: How many clean animals did Noah take into the ark—seven, or fourteen? Generally, there are two opposing views on the precise number of each kind of animal involved. One view is expressed by the following statement from John T. Willis:
It is impossible to determine certainly whether the Hebrew phrase, shibb’ah shibbah means “by sevens” (KJV), that is, seven animals of all clean species, or “seven and seven” (ASV) or seven pairs (RSV, NEB), that is fourteen animals of all clean species.... There can be no certainty on this point (1979, p. 171).
However, others have been more decisive on the matter, suggesting real purpose and reason to the interpretation that there were only seven of every clean kind on the ark. Animal sacrifice to God was practiced during the Patriarchal Age, and it is apparent that the faithful could distinguish between the clean and unclean. Thus, it is suggested that when Noah left the ark and offered a sacrifice to God “of every clean animal” (Genesis 8:20), three pairs were left for domestication by man so that he would have food and clothing. The pattern, as Matthew Henry noted, then follows that of the working week and Sabbath day, in that “God gives us six for one in earthly things, as in the days of the week,” while the seventh is for devotion to God (n.d., p. 61).
On the actual exegesis of the passage, H.C. Leupold, in his Exposition of Genesis, argued:
The Hebrew expression “take seven seven” means “seven each” [here he refers to Koenig’s syntax and Gesenius’ Grammatik—BT/TM]. Hebrew parallels support this explanation. In any case, it would be a most clumsy method of trying to say “fourteen” (1990, 1:290).
While it is difficult to speak dogmatically on this issue, it is clear that the opinion of many conservative scholars weighs heavily in favor of the interpretation that there were seven clean, and two unclean, of every animal kind on Noah’s ark.


Henry, Matthew (no date), Genesis to Deuteronomy (MacLean, VA: MacDonald).
Leupold, H.C. (1990 reprint), Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), reprint of 1942 Wartsburg Press edition.
Willis, John T. (1979), “Genesis,” The Living Word Commentary (Austin, TX: Sweet).

Dinosaur Fossils and a Flood by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Dinosaur Fossils and a Flood

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In a recent LiveScience article, Robin Lloyd detailed a new fossil discovery in the well-known Hell Creek Formation in Montana. The discovery of three juvenile Triceratops dinosaurs, fossilized together in the same bone bed, was a surprise to the scientific community. Until the find, scientists believed that Triceratops was a loner that did not group together with its own kind. In fact, Triceratops fossils have been found in large fossil beds with other dinosaurs, but not with other Triceratops fossils (Lloyd, 2009). The recent find of three juvenile Triceratops together has led to speculation that the young dinosaurs may have traveled in packs or gangs, but may have become more solitary as they matured.
While speculation about the dinosaurs’ past behavior is interesting, there is something more significant in the recent article. In the first sentence, Lloyd wrote: “Three juvenile Triceratops, a species thought to be solitary, died together in a flood...” (2009, emp. added). As with most other fossil finds, we are informed that the cause of death and fossilization for these specimens was a flood. Lloyd further noted: “It looks like at least three juveniles died there at same [sic] time as a result of flooding, common in this location laced at the time with flood plains and river channels” (2009).
The fact that most dinosaur fossils are explained by a flood fits perfectly with the biblical account of Noah’s Flood and its destructive force. And while the scientific community is quick to label the floods that caused dinosaur fossilization as “local,” “regional,” “common in this location,” or “area flash flooding,” the reality cannot be denied that the global Flood described in the book of Genesis remains the best explanation for the massive fossil graveyards that pepper the globe (see Butt and Lyons, 2008).


Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2008), “What Happened to the Dinosaurs?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3647.
Lloyd, Robin (2009), “Gang of Juvenile Dinosaurs Discovered,” LiveScience, [On-line], URL: http://www.livescience.com/animals/090324-social-triceratops.html.

Islam and Early America by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Islam and Early America

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

America has drifted farther away from its original spiritual, religious, and moral moorings than at any point in the past. Those moorings were identified by French historian and politician Alexis de Tocqueville in his monumental 1835 literary masterpiece, Democracy in America, published after a visit to America in 1831-1832:
[T]here is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America; and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.... Christianity, therefore, reigns without obstacle, by universal consent; the consequence is, as I have before observed, that every principle of the moral world is fixed and determinate.... [T]he revolutionists of America are obliged to profess an ostensible respect for Christian morality and equity, which does not permit them to violate wantonly the laws that oppose their designs.... [W]hile the law permits the Americans to do what they please, religion prevents them from conceiving, and forbids them to commit, what is rash or unjust.... I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion—for who can search the human heart?—but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.... The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.... How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity? (1945, 1:303-307, emp. added).
Indeed, “how is it possible...?,” and “what can be done...?”
Contrary to the claim in recent years that the Founding Fathers of America advocated “pluralism” and equal acceptance of all religions, ideologies, and philosophies, the truth is that they feared for the future of the nation should its Christian foundation ever be compromised. Supreme Court Justice James Iredell, who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President George Washington, reflected this concern in 1788, though he felt confident that Islam would never be allowed to infiltrate America:
But it is objected that the people of America may perhaps choose representatives who have no religion at all, and that pagans and Mahometans may be admitted into offices.... But it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially different from their own (1836, 4:194, emp. added).
Similarly, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, appointed to the Court by President James Madison in 1811 and considered the founder of Harvard Law School and one of two men who have been considered the Fathers of American Jurisprudence, in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, clarified the meaning of the First Amendment as it relates to religious toleration and Islam:
The real object of the [First—DM] [A]mendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy [of one denomination—DM] the exclusive patronage of the national government (1833, 3:728.1871, emp. added).
The other man who shares the title “Father of American Jurisprudence” in America was New York State Supreme Court Chief Justice James Kent, who, in penning the opinion of the court in The People v. Ruggles in 1811, reiterated the national attitude toward Islam that existed from the inception of the country. In a case that resulted in the punishment of an individual who publicly maligned and denounced the Christian religion, Kent acknowledged the right of “free and decent discussions on any religious subject,” but nevertheless insisted:
Nor are we bound, by any expressions in the constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the Grand Lama; and for this plain reason, that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those imposters (8 Johns 290).
While America generally has welcomed all nationalities of people to her shores regardless of their personal beliefs, alternative ideologies and religions never were intended to be given credence and allowed to transform her into either a religionless or non-Christian society. Nor was it intended that American civilization be adjusted to accommodate religious principles that contradict the original foundations of the nation. America welcomes people to live in freedom within her borders—as long as they do so peaceably. But to adjust social parameters in public life to accommodate divergent religions will weaken, not strengthen, the ability of America to sustain herself. Noah Webster articulated this indisputable fact in a letter to James Madison on October 29, 1829:
[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government.... and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence (as quoted in Snyder, 1990, p. 253, emp. added).
One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Carroll, echoed these same sentiments in a letter to James McHenry on November 4, 1800:
[W]ithout morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure...are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments (as quoted in Steiner, 1907, p. 475, emp. added).
The Founders understood that the Christian religion was the foundation upon which the superstructure of American civil institutions was built. To undermine that foundation is to encourage the collapse of American civilization as it was originally intended. The ultimate key and solution to America’s future is self-evident and simple—but increasingly unacceptable to more and more Americans:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance. The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth.... No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy (Psalm 33:12-18, emp. added).


Iredell, James (1836), The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, ed. Jonathan Elliot (Washington, D.C.: Jonathan Elliot).
The People v. Ruggles (1811), 8 Johns 290 (Sup. Ct. NY.), N.Y. Lexis 124.
Snyder, K. Alan (1990), Defining Noah Webster: Mind and Morals in the Early Republic (New York: University Press of America).
Steiner, Bernard (1907), The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland, OH: Burrows Brothers).
Story, Joseph (1833), Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston, MA: Hilliard, Gray, & Co.).
Tocqueville, Alexis de (1945 reprint), Democracy in America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf).

Philemon and Slavery by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Philemon and Slavery

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

American abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman, and reformer, Frederick Douglass, himself a former slave, was invited to deliver a speech in 1852 (eight years before the Civil War) to a women’s anti-slavery society in Rochester, New York. His assigned subject? “What, to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?” His remarks demonstrate forcefully that the Bible and the Christian religion were not to be blamed for the existence or perpetuation of slavery. In his brilliant oration, Douglass demonstrated that those “Christians” and churches in America at the time that used the Bible to sanction slavery were misinterpreting and misrepresenting it. He stated:
But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines [preachers—DM], who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.... Fellow-citizens! I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretence, and your Christianity as a lie.... Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery—the great sin and shame of America! (1852, emp. added).
Douglass was insistent and adamant: to propagate the form of slavery in America at that time was to disregard and trample upon the Bible (and the Constitution!), and to misrepresent and deny the very essence of Christianity and the will of Christ.
Douglass surely understood the New Testament correctly. In a succinct personal note to a fellow Christian (Philemon), the apostle Paul presented a fascinating glimpse into the Christian attitude toward slavery. In a masterpiece of pathos, Paul blended together tender affection, encouraging commendation, unanswerable logic, heartfelt sympathy, and respectful persuasion to convince Philemon to exude Christian compassion.
In examining the successive thoughts that Paul offers in verses 1-15 and 18-25, one is apt to miss the primary point that the apostle was making. Stripping away the side points that he musters along the way in building his appeal allows the central purpose of the letter to come into view as a result of Paul’s triple repetition of “receive him” in verses 12, 15, and 17. He folds the culminating objective in between the latter two verses. The climax is seen in his explicit allusion to the nature of the reception: to get Philemon to receive Onesimus back “no longer as a slave” (vs. 16).
Here is the real message of Philemon—and the Christian stance on slavery: God would have slaves not to be treated as slaves! This divine intention effectively eradicates the forms of slavery that are deemed objectionable. To treat a slave as an equal (“more than a slave”—vs. 16), and to treat him the way one wishes to be treated himself (Matthew 7:12), strips the institution of slavery of its objectionable traits. Who would not want to be the “slave” of a person who treats you as a dear, beloved brother? Paul’s directives to masters elsewhere in the New Testament focus on this same necessity of being just, fair, impartial, and non-threatening (Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1). Recognizing that slavery would continue in the Roman Empire until Christian principles were able to gradually permeate and infiltrate its institutions, Paul gave sensible advice to Corinthian Christians:
Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave (1 Corinthians 7:20-22, emp. added).
A Christian can be a Christian anytime, anywhere. His commitment to Christ is unaffected by his environment or what others may do to him. If he can (ethically and scripturally) improve his physical circumstances, then certainly he is authorized to do so. But if not, “let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called,” that is, one must fulfill one’s pre-baptism (legitimate) obligations (which, in the case of slavery, may entail financial or other matters). The Christian’s focus is to remain on being faithful to God—even in the midst of very unjust or inhumane circumstances. This is the consistent portrait given in the New Testament (e.g., Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-24). It certainly is no overstatement to insist that if Christianity, in its pure and accurate form, were implemented throughout the world, the evils of slavery would be eradicated.


Douglass, Frederick (1852), Oration Delivered in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, http://books.google.com/books?id=1glyAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=frederick+douglass&hl=en&sa=X&ei=cmlfT5zROISygwfG57yCCA&ved= 0CFcQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=frederick%20douglass&f=false.

Male and Female - God's Plan by Eugene Perry


Male and Female - God's Plan
In today's society hairstyles, clothing, jewelry and oftentimes behaviour are suggestive of efforts to eradicate gender distinctions. We keep hearing and seeing the term "unisex".
This trend is of concern to thinking people because, in the judgement of many, it is a dominant cause of the ills of our time. Among these are broken and single family homes and absentee and/or non-functioning fathers. Children in such homes, all-too-frequently, in the absence of a male role model, grow up to be selfIsh, spoiled, lacking in self-discipline and unlikely to function properly as citizens and parents. Hence, the cycle repeats itself. Gender role confusion is also believed to contribute to the increasing incidence of abortions and homosexuality. The church is currently being weakened by the failure of men to exercise strong male leadership and the resulting tendency of women to challenge the concept. Thus society, the family, and the church are all being adversely affected by this problem.
What did God intend? There are those who hold that we cannot look to the Bible to determine this because, they claim, the writers of the scriptures were prejudiced by the culture of the time and hence tended to favour the oppression of women. Such an approach to scripture is unacceptable. It leaves man to judge what is cultural and what has continuing force on this and any other subject. Thus, the will of the infallible creator is being decided by His fallible creature. It smacks of Romans 1:22,23.
God made "male and female" in His image (Genesis 1: 27). Woman was created as a "help meet" (suitable helper) for man (Genesis 2: 18) and was intended to complement him in the marriage union (Genesis 2:24). This has led one writer to observe that woman was created after, from and for the sake of man.
The sometimes heard accusation that the Christian religion has been responsible for oppressive circumstances of women in the past is unfounded. Jesus, Paul and Christianity in general have been very much responsible for improvement in the lot of woman.
In the New Testament, Galatians 3:27, 28 clearly teaches that all people have equal access to salvation regardless of race, sex or status. This does not, however, override roles or functions uniquely and specifically defined in other scriptures. Differing roles do not make people superior, inferior or unequal.
There are two areas where God has seen fit to assign definitive roles to men and women (i.e. in the family and in the church). Both involve divinely instituted unions founded on love (i.e. the union of husband and wife in marriage [Ephesians 5:25-30] and the union of believers in Christ [1 Corinthians 13]).
When we examine 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, a response to a question unknown to us, we find women forbidden to speak in the public assembly of the church.
Although some, in their zeal to support changes, have taken the position that this restriction was given because of cultural circumstances of the time and thus does not apply to our times and culture, the "as also saith the law" of verse 34 and "take knowledge of the things I write unto you that they are commandments of the Lord" of verse 37 clearly refute such a position.
When we look at 1 Timothy 2: 11-14 where woman is forbidden to teach or have authority over man, it is even more obvious that the cultural argument cannot be applied. The reason given for this restriction goes beyond culture, back to the beginning.
Eugene Perry

Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading February 1 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading February 1 (World English Bible)

Feb. 1
Genesis 32

Gen 32:1 Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
Gen 32:2 When he saw them, Jacob said, "This is God's army." He called the name of that place Mahanaim.
Gen 32:3 Jacob sent messengers in front of him to Esau, his brother, to the land of Seir, the field of Edom.
Gen 32:4 He commanded them, saying, "This is what you shall tell my lord, Esau: 'This is what your servant, Jacob, says. I have lived as a foreigner with Laban, and stayed until now.
Gen 32:5 I have cattle, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.' "
Gen 32:6 The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother Esau. Not only that, but he comes to meet you, and four hundred men with him."
Gen 32:7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and was distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks, and the herds, and the camels, into two companies;
Gen 32:8 and he said, "If Esau comes to the one company, and strikes it, then the company which is left will escape."
Gen 32:9 Jacob said, "God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, Yahweh, who said to me, 'Return to your country, and to your relatives, and I will do you good,'
Gen 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the loving kindnesses, and of all the truth, which you have shown to your servant; for with just my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I have become two companies.
Gen 32:11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he come and strike me, and the mothers with the children.
Gen 32:12 You said, 'I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which can't be numbered because there are so many.' "
Gen 32:13 He lodged there that night, and took from that which he had with him, a present for Esau, his brother:
Gen 32:14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams,
Gen 32:15 thirty milk camels and their colts, forty cows, ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten foals.
Gen 32:16 He delivered them into the hands of his servants, every herd by itself, and said to his servants, "Pass over before me, and put a space between herd and herd."
Gen 32:17 He commanded the foremost, saying, "When Esau, my brother, meets you, and asks you, saying, 'Whose are you? Where are you going? Whose are these before you?'
Gen 32:18 Then you shall say, 'They are your servant, Jacob's. It is a present sent to my lord, Esau. Behold, he also is behind us.' "
Gen 32:19 He commanded also the second, and the third, and all that followed the herds, saying, "This is how you shall speak to Esau, when you find him.
Gen 32:20 You shall say, 'Not only that, but behold, your servant, Jacob, is behind us.' " For, he said, "I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face. Perhaps he will accept me."
Gen 32:21 So the present passed over before him, and he himself lodged that night in the camp.
Gen 32:22 He rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford of the Jabbok.
Gen 32:23 He took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had.
Gen 32:24 Jacob was left alone, and wrestled with a man there until the breaking of the day.
Gen 32:25 When he saw that he didn't prevail against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled.
Gen 32:26 The man said, "Let me go, for the day breaks." Jacob said, "I won't let you go, unless you bless me."
Gen 32:27 He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "Jacob."
Gen 32:28 He said, "Your name will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed."
Gen 32:29 Jacob asked him, "Please tell me your name." He said, "Why is it that you ask what my name is?" He blessed him there.
Gen 32:30 Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, he said, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
Gen 32:31 The sun rose on him as he passed over Peniel, and he limped because of his thigh.
Gen 32:32 Therefore the children of Israel don't eat the sinew of the hip, which is on the hollow of the thigh, to this day, because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew of the hip.

Feb. 1
Matthew 16

Mat 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him, asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
Mat 16:2 But he answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.'
Mat 16:3 In the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you can't discern the signs of the times!
Mat 16:4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there will be no sign given to it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah." He left them, and departed.
Mat 16:5 The disciples came to the other side and had forgotten to take bread.
Mat 16:6 Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Mat 16:7 They reasoned among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread."
Mat 16:8 Jesus, perceiving it, said, "Why do you reason among yourselves, you of little faith, 'because you have brought no bread?'
Mat 16:9 Don't you yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
Mat 16:10 Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
Mat 16:11 How is it that you don't perceive that I didn't speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Mat 16:12 Then they understood that he didn't tell them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Mat 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"
Mat 16:14 They said, "Some say John the Baptizer, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
Mat 16:15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Mat 16:16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Mat 16:17 Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 16:18 I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
Mat 16:19 I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven; and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven."
Mat 16:20 Then he commanded the disciples that they should tell no one that he is Jesus the Christ.
Mat 16:21 From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.
Mat 16:22 Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This will never be done to you."
Mat 16:23 But he turned, and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men."
Mat 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mat 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
Mat 16:26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?
Mat 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.
Mat 16:28 Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom."

The power to... by Gary Rose

Tomorrow is groundhog day; can you believe its almost here?  This wolf can and he decided to eat the prognosticator!!!  I know, TOMORROW IS GROUNDHOG DAY, NOT TODAY, but the important thing here is that the wolf had the power to decide what to do about the groundhog and DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Although most of us don't like to think about the final great judgment, it will happen, just as the Scripture says...

Revelation, Chapter 20 (World English Bible)
  11 I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them.  12 I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. (emp. added vs.12b GDR) 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works.  14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  15 If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.(emp. added vs.15 GDR)

Revelation, Chapter 3 (World English Bible)
 1  “And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write: 
“He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things: 
“I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.   2  Wake up, and keep the things that remain, which you were about to throw away, for I have found no works of yours perfected before my God.   3  Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it and repent. If therefore you won’t watch, I will come as a thief, and you won’t know what hour I will come upon you.   4  Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis that didn’t defile their garments. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.   5  He who overcomes will be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  (emp. added vs. 5 GDR) 6  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

John, Chapter 3 (World English Bible)
35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.  36 One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys  the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

What you do in this world will determine your ultimate fate. If you truly believe in Jesus and obey him, you will have eternal life; if not, then wrath awaits. Seems like a no brainer, doesn't it; yet many will read acts chapter two and explain away baptism.

The Apostle Peter says...

Acts, Chapter 2  (World English Bible)
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke out to them, “You men of Judea, and all you who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words.  15 For these aren’t drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is only the third hour of the day.  16 But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: 

  17 ‘It will be in the last days, says God, 
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. 
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. 
Your old men will dream dreams. 

  18 Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days, 
I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy. 

  19 I will show wonders in the sky above, 
and signs on the earth beneath: 
blood, and fire, and billows of smoke. 

  20 The sun will be turned into darkness, 
and the moon into blood, 
before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. 

  21 It will be that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

  22 “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him among you, even as you yourselves know,  23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed;  24 whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.  25 For David says concerning him, 

‘I saw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. 

  26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. 
Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope; 

  27 because you will not leave my soul in Hades,
neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay. 

  28 You made known to me the ways of life. 
You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

  29 “Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,  31 he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul wasn’t left in Hades, and his flesh didn’t see decay.  32 This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses.  33 Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear.  34 For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he says himself, 

‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand   35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’

  36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 

  37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 

  38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”  40 With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” 

  41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. There were added that day about three thousand souls.
(emp. added vss. 38-41)

The stark reality of human beings is that what we do in this life has consequences. The choice is yours; I pray that you make the correct one!!! Hopefully, your name will be found in the book of life and I will see you in heaven forever!!!