12/18/20

Atheism and Liberal, Missouri by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1447


Atheism and Liberal, Missouri

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the summer of 1880, George H. Walser founded the town of Liberal in southwest Missouri. Named after the Liberal League in Lamar, Missouri (to which the town’s organizer belonged), Walser’s objective was “to found a town without a church, [w]here unbelievers could bring up their children without religious training,” and where Christians were not allowed (Thompson, 1895; Becker, 1895). “His idea was to build up a town that should exclusively be the home of Infidels...a town that should have neither God, Hell, Church, nor Saloon” (Brand, 1895). Some of the early inhabitants of Liberal even encouraged other infidels to move to their town by publishing an advertisement which boasted that Liberal “is the only town of its size in the United States without a priest, preacher, church, saloon, God, Jesus, hell or devil” (Keller, 1885, p. 5). Walser and his “freethinking” associates were openly optimistic about their new town. Excitement was in the air, and atheism was at its core. They believed that their godless town of “sober, trustworthy and industrious” individuals would thrive for years on end. But, as one young resident of that town, Bessie Thompson, wrote about Liberal in 1895, “...like all other unworthy causes, it had its day and passed away.” Bessie did not mean that the actual town of Liberal ceased to exist, but that the idea of having a “good, godless” city is a contradiction in terms. A town built upon “trustworthy” atheistic ideals eventually will reek of the rotten, immoral fruits of infidelity. Such fruits were witnessed and reported firsthand by Clark Braden in 1885.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, May 2, 1885
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, May 2, 1885

Braden was an experienced preacher, debater, and author. In his lifetime, he presented more than 3,000 lectures, and held more than 130 regular debates—eighteen of which were with the Mormons (Carpenter, 1909, pp. 324-325). In 1872, Braden even challenged the renowned agnostic Robert Ingersoll to debate, to which Ingersoll reportedly responded, “I am not such a fool as to debate. He would wear me out” (Haynes, 1915, pp. 481-482). Although Braden was despised by some, his skills in writing and public speaking were widely known and acknowledged. In February 1885, Clark Braden introduced himself to the townspeople of Liberal (Keller, 1885, p. 5; Moore, 1963, p. 38), and soon thereafter he wrote about what he had seen.

In an article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, titled “An Infidel Experiment,” Braden reported the following.

The boast about the sobriety of the town is false. But few of the infidels are total abstainers. Liquor can be obtained at three different places in this town of 300 inhabitants. More drunken infidels can be seen in a year in Liberal than drunken Christians among one hundred times as many church members during the same time. Swearing is the common form of speech in Liberal, and nearly every inhabitant, old and young, swears habitually. Girls and boys swear on the streets, playground, and at home. Fully half of the females will swear, and a large number swear habitually.... Lack of reverence for parents and of obedience to them is the rule. There are more grass widows, grass widowers and people living together, who have former companions living, than in any other town of ten times the population.... A good portion of the few books that are read are of the class that decency keeps under lock and key....
These infidels...can spend for dances and shows ten times as much as they spend on their liberalism. These dances are corrupting the youth of the surrounding country with infidelity and immorality. There is no lack of loose women at these dances.
Since Liberal was started there has not been an average of one birth per year of infidel parents. Feticide is universal. The physicians of the place say that a large portion of their practice has been trying to save females from consequences of feticide. In no town is slander more prevalent, or the charges more vile. If one were to accept what the inhabitants say of each other, he would conclude that there is a hell, including all Liberal, and that its inhabitants are the devils (as quoted in Keller, 1885, p. 5).

According to Braden, “[s]uch are the facts concerning this infidel paradise.... Every one who has visited Liberal, and knows the facts, knows that such is the case” (p. 5).

As one can imagine, Braden’s comments did not sit well with some of the townspeople of Liberal. In fact, a few days after Braden’s observations appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was arrested for criminal libel and tried on May 18, 1885. According to Braden, “After the prosecution had presented their evidence, the case was submitted to the jury without any rebutting evidence by the defence (sic), and the jury speedily brought in a verdict of ‘No cause for action’ ” (as quoted in Mouton, n.d., pp. 36-37). Unfortunately for Braden, however, the controversy was not over. On the following day (May 19, 1885), a civil suit was filed by one of the townsmen—S.C. Thayer, a hotel operator in Liberal. The petition for damages of $25,000 alleged that Clark Braden and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article in which they had made false, malicious, and libelous statements against the National Hotel in Liberal, managed by Mr. Thayer. He claimed that Braden’s remarks, published in the St. Louise Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, “greatly and irreparably injured and ruined” his business (Thayer v. Braden). However, when the prosecution learned that the defense was thoroughly prepared to prove that Liberal was a den of infamy, and that its hotels were little more than houses of prostitution, the suit was dismissed on September 17, 1886 by the plaintiff at his own cost (Thayer v. Braden). Braden was exonerated in everything he had written. Indeed, the details Braden originally reported about Liberal, Missouri, on May 2, 1885 were found to be completely factual.

It took only a few short years for Liberal’s unattractiveness and inconsistency to be exposed. People cannot exclude God from the equation, and expect to remain a “sober, trustworthy” town. Godlessness equals unruliness, which in turn makes a repugnant, immoral people. The town of Liberal was a failure. Only five years after its establishment, Braden indicated that “[n]ine-tenths of those now in town would leave if they could sell their property. More property has been lost by locating in the town than has been made in it.... Hundreds have been deceived and injured and ruined financially” (Keller, p. 5). Apparently, “doing business with the devil” did not pay the kind of dividends George Walser (the town’s founder) and the early inhabitants of Liberal desired. It appears that even committed atheists found living in Liberal in the early days intolerable. Truly, as has been observed in the past, “An infidel surrounded by Christians may spout his infidelity and be able to endure it, but a whole town of atheists is too horrible to contemplate.” It is one thing to espouse a desire to live in a place where there is no God, but it is an entirely different thing for such a place actually to exist. For it to become a reality is more than the atheist can handle. Adolf Hitler took atheism to its logical conclusion in Nazi Germany, and created a world that even most atheists detested. Although atheists want no part of living according to the standards set out by Jesus and His apostles in the New Testament, the real fruits of evolutionary atheism also are too horrible for them to contemplate.

Although the town of Liberal still exists today (with a population of about 800 people), and although vestiges of its atheistic heritage are readily apparent, it is not the same town it was in 1895. At present, at least seven religious groups associated with Christianity exist within this city that once banned Christianity and all that it represents. Numerous other churches meet in the surrounding areas. According to one of the religious leaders in the town, “a survey of Liberal recently indicated that 50% of the people are actively involved with some church” (Abbott, 2003)—a far cry from where Liberal began.

There is no doubt that the moral, legal, and educational systems of Liberal, Missouri, in the twenty-first century are the fruits of biblical teaching, not atheism. When Christianity and all of the ideals that the New Testament teaches are effectively put into action, people will value human life, honor their parents, respect their neighbors, and live within the moral guidelines given by God in the Bible. A city comprised of faithful Christians would be mostly void of such horrors as sexually transmitted diseases, murder, drunken fathers who beat their wives and children, drunk drivers who turn automobiles into lethal weapons, and heartache caused by such things as divorce, adultery, and covetousness. (Only those who broke God’s commandments intended for man’s benefit would cause undesirable fruit to be reaped.)

On the other hand, when atheism and all of its tenets are taken to their logical conclusion, people will reap some of the same miserable fruit once harvested by the early citizens of Liberal, Missouri (and sadly, some of the same fruit being reaped by many cities in the world today). Men and women will attempt to cover up sexual sins by aborting babies, children will disrespect their parents, students will “run wild” at home and in school because of the lack of discipline, and “sexual freedom” (which leads to sexually transmitted diseases) will be valued, whereas human life will be devalued. Such are the fruits of atheism: a society in which everyone does that which is right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6)—a society in which no sensible person wants to live.

REFERENCES

Abbott, Phil (2003), Christian Church, Liberal, Missouri, telephone conversation, April 7.

Barnes, Pamela (2003), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, telephone conversation, March 12.

Becker, Hathe (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.

Brand, Ida (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.

Carpenter, L.L. (1909), “The President’s Address,” in Centennial Convention Report, ed. W.R. Warren, (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing Company), pp. 317-332. [On-line], URL: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/wwarren/ccr/CCR15B.HTM.

Haynes, Nathaniel S. (1915), History of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois 1819-1914 (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing Company), [On-line], URL: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/nhaynes/hdcib/braden01.htm, 1996.

Keller, Samuel (1885), “An Infidel Experiment,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Special Correspondence with Clark Braden, May 2, p. 5.

Moore, J.P. (1963), This Strange Town—Liberal, Missouri (Liberal, MO: The Liberal News).

Mouton, Boyce (no date), George H. Walser and Liberal, Missouri: An Historical Overview.

Thayer, S.C. v. Clark Braden, et. al. Filed on May 19, 1885 in Barton County Missouri. Dismissed September 10, 1886.

Thompson, Bessie (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.

Atheism & Free Will by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5339

Atheism & Free Will

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Renowned atheist Carl Sagan began his immensely popular book Cosmos with these words: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”1 What do today’s atheists mean when they use the term Cosmos? The modern “scientific” idea is that the Cosmos is completely, entirely, and altogether materialistic, composed of matter and energy, and contains nothing immaterial or “not-matter.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “materialism” as, “The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.”2 As it now stands, the ideas of the Cosmos or of “nature” have been redefined to include only physical matter and energy. Evolutionists Hewlett and Peters demand that “to be scientific in our era is to search for solely natural explanations.”3 Physicist Paul Davies correctly stated, “The materialist believes that mental states and operation are nothing but physical states and operations.”4 Evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin admitted that evolutionists “have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism…. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door.”5

What are the logical implications of the idea that everything in the Universe consists solely of matter and energy? At first glance, the materialistic idea may not seem very profound or Earth shattering, but a deeper probe into the concept reveals that some of the most fundamental aspects of humanity are at stake. In this article, we focus on one feature of humanity that must be denied if materialism is accepted: human free will. You see, if matter and energy are all that “really” exists, then the notion must be rejected that there is a human will that directs the decision-making process. In short, if you, as a person, have ever made a single real decision; if you have ever freely chosen to do or not do anything, then atheism cannot be true. This is the case because your decision would be the result of something “more than” matter. It could not be explained by a naturalistic “cause and effect” chain of chemical events. If there is a “you” inside your body that freely chooses this or rejects that, then the materialist understanding of the Universe is false.

Modern leaders in the atheistic community admit as much. Sam Harris, recognized in skeptical circles as one of the four leading voices of modern atheism, penned a book titled Free Will. In that short volume, he wrote: “Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making…. We do not have the freedom we think we have.”6 He further stated, “I cannot determine my wants…. My mental life is given to me by the cosmos.”7 Again, “People feel (or presume) an authorship of their thoughts and actions that is illusory.”8 And, “What I will do next, and why, remains, at bottom, a mystery—one that is fully determined by the prior state of the universe and the laws of nature (including the contributions of chance).”9 As he begins to summarize his views toward the end of the book, he says, “You will do whatever it is you do, and it is meaningless to assert that you could have done otherwise.”10

Why does Harris demand that free will is non-existent? His commitment to materialism paints him into this corner, which is obvious from his statement: “In improving ourselves and society, we are working directly with the forces of nature, for there is nothing but nature itself to work with.”11 On the second-to-last page he writes, “Am I free to change my mind? Of course not. It can only change me.”12

There are striking ironies in the position that Harris and others take as they deny their own free will and their readers’ as well. First, why in the world would these men write books and articles in an attempt to persuade anyone to believe their “no free will” position if the reader cannot decide for himself to change his mind? What is the point of trying to convince a person who believes in free will, if that “belief” is nothing more than the consequence of the cause-and-effect, natural processes that are banging around in his brain? If the reader does not have the ability to choose his or her belief, what is the point of trying to “show” the superiority of the “no-free-will” position? According to Harris and crew, you believe what you believe because of the physics of the Cosmos working in your brain, and how in the world words on a page could change those physics would indeed be a mystery worth uncovering. The fact that modern atheists are writing books to convince people that there is no free will belies the undeniable fact that humans have free will.

Second, Harris’ concluding statement brings to light another glaring difficulty in the no-free-will position. He says, “Am I free to change my mind? Of course not. It can only change me.”13 Wait just a minute. Who is the “I” or the “me” in the sentence? If there is no free will, and humans are simply the combined total of the physical processes at work in their brains, then there should be nothing more than the “mind” in Harris’ sentence. The fact that he can differentiate between “himself” and his “mind” shows that there is something more at work than determinism. A purely physical entity such as a rock or atom does not have the ability to think in terms of “I” or “me.” In truth, that Harris is conscious of an “I” or of a “self” contradicts his claim that free will does not exist.14

In addition, it seems humorous and superfluous for people such as Harris to write an “Acknowledgements” section in their books. Why thank people and acknowledge their contributions to your work if they could not have done otherwise? He writes, “I would like to thank my wife and editor, Annaka Harris, for her contributions to Free Will. As is always the case, her insights and recommendations greatly improved the book. I don’t know how she manages to raise our daughter, work on her own projects, and still have time to edit my books—but she does. I am extremely lucky and grateful to have her in my corner.”15 That’s all well and good, but since she has no free will, she didn’t choose to help Sam. It was thrust upon her by the nature of the Cosmos. Why thank a person who stays with you and helps you due to no choice or decision of her own, but due to an unalterable course of cause-and-effect actions in her brain? Why not thank the computer that “typed the words so faithfully as I hit the key strokes,” or the oxygen that “so generously entered my lungs and allowed my cells to function,” or the light that “so gracefully bounced from the screen (or page) to my eye, allowing me to see”? That Harris thanks his wife and not his computer gets to the point that there is something very different about the two entities. You thank a person because that person helped you (but could have chosen to do otherwise).

On February 12, 1998, William Provine, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the distinguished Cornell University, took to the podium on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He was invited to deliver the keynote address at the second annual Darwin Day, a day dedicated to commemorating the life and teachings of Charles Darwin. In an abstract of that speech on the Darwin Day Web site, Dr. Provine’s introductory comments are recorded in the following words: “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.”16 Provine’s ensuing message centered on his fifth statement regarding the lack of human free will.

Several years later, Provine continued to hold to this position. He appeared in the Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed in 2008. In his discussion about Darwinian evolution, he said, “It starts by giving up an active deity, then it gives up the hope that there is any life after death. When you give those two up, the rest of it follows fairly easily. You give up the hope that there is an imminent morality. And finally, there’s no human free will. If you believe in evolution, you can’t hope for there being any free will. There’s no hope whatsoever in there being any deep meaning in life. We live, we die, and we’re gone.”17 The late Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick concurred with Provine. He wrote in his book The Astonishing Hypothesis: “‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”18

In his million-copy international best-selling book The Selfish Gene, renowned atheistic writer and speaker Richard Dawkins explained the evolutionary ideas that force atheism to deny human free will. He asserted that humans are “survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve selfish molecules known as genes.”19 Since Dawkins views humans as a compilation of physical genes fighting for survival, he must insist that these genes instinctively strive to live and pass on their information. That being the case, every human action must then be a product of the physical “gene” forces at work in the human body and brain. Human actions cannot be the result of some type of personality or free will according to this notion. In his attempt to flesh out his view more thoroughly and give answers to behaviors that have traditionally been attributed to human free will, he expounds on the selfish gene idea: “This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behaviour.”20 When explaining the relationships that survival machines (humans) have with each other, he stoically quips:

To a survival machine, another survival machine (which is not its own child or another close relative) is part of its environment, like a rock or a river or a lump of food. It is something that gets in the way, or something that can be exploited. It differs from a rock or a river in one important respect; it is inclined to hit back. This is because it too is a machine that holds its immortal genes in trust for the future, and it too will stop at nothing to preserve them.21

Dawkins’ ultimate explanation for human behavior is that we do not choose the way we relate to each other, but are driven by our genes to use or exploit other humans to produce the greatest chance to pass on genetic information.

It is often the case that many atheists attempt to distance themselves from the views of Dawkins, Harris, and other free-will-deniers. They contend that, even though they are atheists, they still believe that humans have free will and choose their own behavior. They do this because they know, deep down in their heart of hearts, that they have chosen their behaviors in the past. The problem with their mode of operation, however, is that atheism necessarily implies that free will cannot exist. If humans actually make their own, personal decisions, then something must be at work that is more than nature—which is over and above the natural, physical movement of atoms. There must be a human mind, or soul, or spirit that is supernatural—that controls the movement of the physical body. A person can choose atheism, or he can accept human free will, but not both and still be logically consistent.

Atheist Dan Barker, prolific debater and author, feels the tension between atheism’s denial of free-will and the fact that humans know that they make personal choices. His solution is simply to redefine the term free will. In his debate with Peter Payne, Barker stated: “I happen to think that we have the illusion of freewill…. I’m a strict determinist. We are natural creatures. The material world is all there is. We actually don’t have what we would call libertarian freewill.”22 In his book, godless, Barker stated: “I am a determinist, which means that I don’t think complete libertarian free will exists. Since we don’t know the future…we have the illusion of free will, which to me is what ‘free will’ actually means.” Barker recognizes that humans certainly feel like they make decisions, but his atheism demands that they cannot do so. In order to hang on to his atheism, and allow for “free will,” he changes the definition of free will to “thinking that you are actually making a free will choice when you are not.”23

Barker is not the only atheist that is forced to turn to this “illusion of free will” idea. Anthony Cashmore, biologist at the University of Pennsylvania, penned an article alleging that human free will does not exist. He wrote: “It is my belief that, as more attention is given to the mechanisms that govern human behavior, it will increasingly be seen that the concept of free will is an illusion.”24 According to Cashmore, you are reading this article because your genes and your environment have forced you to. You are not responsible for your decision to read this article, and based on your alleged evolutionary history and your environment, you could not choose to be doing anything different than what you are doing now. You are literally a slave to your genes and your environment. As Cashmore wrote: “[A]n individual cannot be held responsible for either his genes or his environment. From this simple analysis, surely it follows that individuals cannot logically be held responsible for their behavior.”25

One of the most damaging lines of reasoning against the illusion idea put forth by Barker and Cashmore is the way in which these men attempt to convince their readers of its truth. Cashmore used five-and-a-half pages to argue that our society should disregard the outdated concept that humans are responsible for their behavior. Barker has been in more than 80 moderated debates attempting to bring people over to his view. But if Cashmore and Barker are right, then there is no way we can disregard the concept of free will, due to the simple fact that we did not choose it in the first place. If humans are not responsible for their beliefs or behaviors, then the generally held concept of free will is nothing more than an evolutionary, environmental by-product. According to their line of thinking, if we believe in free will at the present, and act on that belief, we are not responsible for it. If they are right, why in the world would they attempt to urge the scientific community to change its mind about free will, if the community does not have the power to change its mind? Why spend time and effort arguing against free will, if your audience does not have the freedom to choose to accept or reject your reasoning anyway? The fatal flaw of the “no free will” argument is that it demands that the person making the argument has the free will to do so, and it tacitly assumes the parties evaluating the argument have the power to accept or reject it.

If humans are survival machines that cannot make any real choices, then all “persuasive” arguments would be worthless. Those who believe in God are programmed and forced by their genes to do so. Those who believe there is no God are equally products of their bodily physics. If humans don’t change their minds, but, as Harris claims, their minds change them, then why attempt to change believers’ minds, since they don’t really have “minds” and their brains are going to “believe” whatever their genes tell them anyway? Atheists actually have to assume free will in order even to discuss the topic. It’s as if they are saying, “I want you to turn your eyes to look at me so that I can show you that you really can’t see anything.”

Television personality Bill Nye the “Science Guy” found himself in a terrible quandary when asked about human free will. In a video on the subject titled, “Hey Bill Nye, Do Humans Have Free Will?” he stated: “But clearly, I know I have made decisions based on things that happened around me that I wouldn’t have made without being informed by history or what I noticed. I know I have. Now if that turns out not to be true, I’d be very surprised.”26 Near the end of the video, however, he then backtracks and claims that our decisions really are the result of the quantum physics at work in our brains. Then he claims: “At some level there is randomness in what we think, because we are made of chemicals that have randomness.” Then he said, “I mean, I don’t mean to skirt your question.”27 Actually, skirting the question was exactly what he was doing. He has to admit that he makes choices, but his atheistic naturalism forces him to back peddle and attribute those “choices” to chemistry and physics. His video is the epitome of atheism’s failure to deal with the fact of human free will.

In June of 2015, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne delivered a lecture at the Imagine No Religion convention in Vancouver, Canada. His speech was titled, “You Don’t Have Free Will.” It is one of the clearest examples of the new age atheistic position. Based on his atheistic beliefs, he argues for a purely deterministic world in which human free will is nothing more than physical processing at work, molecules moving to the beat of the laws of physics. Addressing his primarily atheistic audience, he says, “Now many of you don’t accept that. You don’t believe that you are robots made out of meat, which is what I’m going to try to convince you of today.” He takes this position, because if atheism is true, and there is nothing supernatural, then (as he says), “Our behavior is absolutely determined by the laws of physics.”28

Coyne takes serious issue with his fellow atheists who claim to be naturalists and determinists, but who attempt to say that humans do have some kind of free will. He correctly shows that atheistic naturalism cannot permit any type of free will. Those atheists who are trying to accommodate both ideas, according to Coyne, are simply playing “semantic tricks” trying to convince people “that we are still okay even though we are meat robots.”29 Coyne went on to say, “As Anthony Cashmore said, ‘We have no more free will than a bowl of sugar.’” Coyne then added his own words, “We are bowls of sugar, just very complicated ones.” Coyne does an excellent job of proving that atheism demands that human free will cannot exist. What he fails to do, however, is prove that free will does not exist. He claims it. He asserts it. But he cannot prove his false assertion. The reason for that is simply because humans really do have free will.

At one point in his speech, he attempted to deal with the biggest problem that the “no-free-will” idea encounters. He tried to tackle the question of why he would try to persuade anyone to believe his view, since, according to his view, no one can choose any beliefs. His argument was that, just like kicking a dog teaches the dog to avoid harm, presenting the material he was presenting may “teach” a human to adopt his viewpoint, even though humans would just be reacting to his material, not choosing to believe it. So, Coyne says, “Why did I get out of bed this morning? I thought, I hope to persuade people, and that was determined by the laws of physics.” He goes on to say, “Even our very desire to try to change people’s minds. The fact that I’m up here trying to do this is determined by my own, you know, physical constitution and environment. That is the infinite regress and the sort of annoying thing about determinism. It’s turtles all the way down.”

Let’s analyze Coyne’s statement. Who is “annoyed” by this “infinite regress” of physics? Is it Coyne? Why, if he is just doing what his chemistry is forcing him to do, does he get “annoyed” at this? And who, exactly, is it that is getting annoyed at the situation? Is it Coyne’s physical, meat robot self? Obviously, the fact that he is “annoyed” speaks to there being something more to Coyne than molecules in motion.

No Moral Responsibility

Consider the chain of implications. First, if there is no God, then this material world must be all there is. There can be nothing supernatural. Second, if the physical world is all that exists, then all entities that are made of matter must be driven solely by physical laws. Third, since there is nothing supernatural (according to this view), then there can be nothing more-than-matter inside of humans that can choose anything. Free will cannot exist in an atheistic world. But do not stop there. If humans cannot make decisions, then what is the necessary implication of that belief? What would that mean in regard to morality, crime, punishment, etc.? The necessary implication is that humans are not morally responsible for any of their behavior, any more than a rock, squirrel, or turtle is.

In Coyne’s speech, after making one of his points about most of his audience being determinists, he said, “Almost all of you here don’t believe in moral responsibility. Think about that.” He went on to say that because of his belief in determinism, “I don’t consider myself morally responsible, because I don’t have a choice.” Cashmore said the same when he stated, “From this simple analysis, surely it follows that individuals cannot logically be held responsible for their behavior.”30 While the atheists who deny free will attempt to conjure up a world where no moral responsibility brings about a modern utopia, nothing could be further from the truth. The rapist blames his genes. The murderer blames his chemistry. The adulterer points the finger at his environment. The thief “cannot help himself.” The perjurer acted only in response to molecular motion in his brain. The school shooter followed his urge to kill as many students as possible. The suicide bomber could not have chosen otherwise. An environment saturated with such thinking would hardly be described as a utopia.

Along these lines, Coyne said, “Whether or not you are the kind of person who accepts other people’s notions of morality is something that you have no control over. And if you don’t, that’s something you don’t have any control over either.” Let that sink in. If you think it is “morally” acceptable to fly a plane into a building in an attempt to kill as many people as possible, you could not think otherwise and you are not “morally” responsible for doing anything wrong. Truly, the denial of moral responsibility is one of the most fallacious and harmful implications of the false idea of atheism.

If we are to be “scientific” about these matters, we must take what we know to be the case and find the explanation that best fits the facts. If we are honest, each of us knows that we have freely chosen attitudes and behaviors. We know that we could have chosen differently. And we often feel the guilt of having chosen wrong, or the triumphant feeling of having chosen right. In all honesty, you know that you could choose to quit reading this article right now, or you could continue. Your freedom is not an illusion, but is an actuality: a statement of the way things really are, not the way they only seem to be. Since that is the case, we must take the fact—our free will—and find an explanation that best fits the fact. Atheism cannot account for human free will. Atheists who are consistent with their belief are forced to admit this is a logical implication of it. Therefore, if humans have free will, and atheism implies that they do not, then atheism is false. On the other hand, the idea of a supernatural God endowing humans with a mind, consciousness, and soul fits perfectly with the fact of human free will. Thus, the person who is trying to “follow the evidence where it leads” must conclude that human free will proves a supernatural Creator exists.

Why Choose to Believe that We Have No Choice?

As I have studied atheistic books and writings and watched several videos, I’ve tried to put my finger on why atheists do not want to believe they choose. They all admit that humans think we are free to choose, but they insist that we are not really choosing anything. They maintain that there is really no “Sam Harris” upstairs, or Jerry Coyne “in there somewhere.” They insist that “Richard Dawkins” is just another name for the physical molecules that make up a certain body, and that there is no real soul or personality of a non-material nature “in there.” If there really is such a thing as free will (and there is), why would a group of people choose to deny it in spite of the evidence that proves it exists? Why don’t they want to be viewed as free moral agents who deserve praise for their morally correct actions and who deserve blame for their moral failures? An exhaustive list of possible reasons why this is the cause is impossible, but Coyne did give us one very telling idea.

Near the end of Coyne’s speech, he attempted to explain the benefits he sees in adopting the idea that free will does not exist (not to be tedious, but keep in mind that he does not really think you can adopt it; instead, you are forced to accept whatever your chemistry determines). He said that a benefit of denying free will is that you would have a “lack of regret for bad things that happen. It takes away a certain amount of guilt feelings from you. You don’t have to beat yourself up over, ‘I should have done this instead of that.’” There you have it. Humans, from the beginning of Creation, have looked for ways to plead “not guilty” in the face of their own sins. We have attempted to blame everyone else except ourselves for our moral failures. Humans have tried to blame God, their parents, their genes, their society, their spouses, their circumstances, and everything under the Sun for the selfish, sinful choices they have made. The next step with this approach is to say that, since we cannot choose our behavior, then “punishment is not justified for retribution (people get—or should get—what they deserve).”31

Notice the reasoning. If I can say that I cannot help myself (I cannot choose differently), then I do not have to feel guilty for the things I do wrong. Furthermore, if I did not choose the immoral actions that I committed, then neither society (nor God) can punish me for doing immoral things. Truly, the Proverbs writer accurately stated many years ago, “Evil men do not understand justice” (Proverbs 28:5). The atheistic position not only rejects the concept of free will, but then jettisons the concept of justice as well. Yet how acutely aware we humans are when injustice has been done to us.

In regard to the current situation, Romans 1 reads almost like a prophecy,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is evident in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (1:18-22, emp. added).

“I was just a meat robot.” “My selfish genes drove me to….” “The physical properties in my brain forced me to act that way.” “I could not have chosen differently so I’m not morally responsible.” These and other empty excuses will not be accepted by the Maker on the Day of Judgment. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Endnotes

1 Carl Sagan (1980), Cosmos (New York: Random House), p. 4.

2 American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.

3 Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters (2006), “Theology, Religion, and Intelligent Design,” in Not in Our Classrooms, ed. Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch (Boston, MA: Beacon Press), p. 75, emp. added.

4 Paul Davies (1983), God and the New Physics (New York: Simon & Schuster), p. 82.

5 Richard Lewontin (1997), “Billions and Billions of Demons,” in The New York Review of Books, 44[1]:31, January 9.

6 Sam Harris (2012), Free Will (New York: Free Press), p. 5, italics in orig.

7 Ibid., p. 19.

8 Ibid., p. 24.

9 Ibid., p. 40.

10 Ibid., p. 44.

11 Ibid., p. 63.

12 Ibid., p. 65, italics in orig.

13 Ibid., italics in orig.

14 For an extended discussion of consciousness and Creation, see Bert Thompson and Brad Harrub  (2004), “The Origin of Consciousness: Part 2,” Reason & Revelation, 24[2]:9-15, https://goo.gl/M9Drix.

15 Harris, p. 67.

16 William Provine (1998), “Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life,” http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/DarwinDayProvineAddress.htm, emp. added.

17 Ben Stein and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media), emp. added.

18 Francis Crick (1994), The Astonishing Hypothesis (London: Simon and Schuster), p. 3.

19 Richard Dawkins (2006), The Selfish Gene (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press), 30th Anniversary edition, p. xxi.

20 Ibid., p. 2.

21 Ibid., p. 66.

22 Dan Barker and Peter Payne (2005), “Does Ethics Require God?” http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/ethics_debate.php.

23 Dan Barker (2008),godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press), p. 128.

24 Anthony Cashmore (2010), “The Lucretian Swerve: The Biological Basis of Human Behavior and the Criminal Justice System,” PNAS, 107:10, http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/04/0915161107.full.pdf+html.

25 Ibid.

26 Bill Nye (2016), Big Think, “Hey Bill Nye, Do Humans Have Free Will?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITdMa2bCaVc.

27 Ibid.

28 Jerry Coyne (2015), “You Don’t Have Free Will,” Imagine No Religion Convention, Vancouver, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca7i-D4ddaw.

29 Ibid. All other quotes from Coyne’s speech have the same bibliographic information unless otherwise noted.

30 Cashmore.

31 Coyne.

Suggested Resources


Aristotle’s “Unmoved Mover” and Those Who Are “Without Excuse” by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


 https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3795


Aristotle’s “Unmoved Mover” and Those Who Are “Without Excuse”

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

In Paul’s discussion of the sins of the Gentiles, the apostle explained that those Gentiles who refused to acknowledge the existence of a higher power (one that is responsible for the origin of the natural order) had no excuse for their failure in this regard:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:18-21).

If it is the case that those who refuse to believe in God (despite evidence He has presented in the material world) are without excuse, then we would expect to learn of people who, while perhaps lacking special revelation from God, nonetheless applied their God-given rationality to develop belief in a being that is responsible for the physical world. We find just such an example in one of the most famous and important philosophers, Aristotle.

In Aristotle’s Physics, the philosopher addresses the question of motion. After a lengthy discussion on the nature of motion and the immediate causes for motion, Aristotle addresses the remote cause for motion:

If everything that is in motion is moved by something that is in motion, either this is an accidental attribute of the things (so that each of them moves something while being itself in motion, but not because it is itself in motion) or it belongs to them in their own right. If, then, it is an accidental attribute, it is not necessary that that which causes motion should be in motion; and if this is so it is clear that there may be a time when nothing that exists is in motion, since the accidental is not necessary but contingent.... But the non-existence of motion is an impossibility (1984, 1:428, parenthetical item in orig.).

Aristotle, exemplary in his philosophical quest at this juncture, simply asks himself why there is motion. His conclusion, after a lengthy discussion, is essentially this: Because it is undeniable that motion exists, then there must be a first cause for the motion—an unmoved mover, whose movement (or causing of movement) is not an accidental property of His, but rather a necessary component of His being. Whereas each item in the created order is in motion because it has been moved by a distinct mover, the unmoved mover must possess the quality of motion (or the causing of motion). Aristotle lived prior to the Christian age, and was not a Hebrew; yet in his quest to understand the natural order, he was not prejudiced against belief in the supernatural.

Thomas Aquinas would adapt Aristotle’s argument to formulate what we know as part of the cosmological argument for the existence of the God of the Bible (see Maurer, 2010; cf. Jeffcoat, n.d.):

Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another.... For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality.... It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e., that it should move itself. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover.... Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God (1952, 19:12,13, emp. added).

Peter Kreeft summarizes Aquinas’ argument: “Since no thing (or series of things) can move (change) itself, there must be a first, Unmoved Mover, source of all motion” (1990, p. 63, parenthetical items in orig.).

The necessity of the unmoved Mover is obvious. Yet, Paul recognized that some had become so calloused by worldly concerns as to prejudice their hearts against the Creator. So, God “gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness” (Romans 1:28-30). Despite the forceful clarity with which God has revealed Himself to His creation, some will misuse their intellectual freedom and reject Him. May we, on the other hand, willingly receive a simple, yet critical, lesson from Aristotle and Aquinas concerning the necessary existence of our Creator.

REFERENCES

Aquinas, Thomas (1952), Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago).

Aristotle (1984), Physics, trans. R.P. Hardie and R.K. Gaye, in The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. Jonathan Barnes (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

Jeffcoat, W.D. (no date), “The Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God,” http://apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/Cosmological-Argument-for-Exist.pdf.

Kreeft, Peter (1990), Summa of the Summa (San Francisco: Ignatius Press).

Maurer, Armand (2010), “Medieval Philosophy,” Encyclopaedia Brittanica, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1350843/Western-philosophy/8653/Thomas-Aquinas?anchor=ref365766.

 

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The True Family Of Jesus (3:31-35) by Mark Copeland

                "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

          The True Family Of Jesus (3:31-35)

INTRODUCTION

1. A wonderful blessing in life is to have a loving, supportive family...
   a. Where husband and wife truly love one another
   b. Where parents and children truly support one another

2. Such families are becoming increasingly rare...
   a. Complicated by cohabitation before marriage, divorce after marriage, eventually death
   b. Children suffering from parents who don't love each other, who don't care for them

3. But there is a Family...
   a. Where love and support is available to everyone
   b. Where the relationships need never end

[We are reminded of this wonderful Family in our text (Mk 3:31-35), in
which Jesus uses the occasion of His earthly family seeking to talk with
Him to make the point about His "true family"...]

I. THE IDENTITY OF HIS FAMILY

   A. NOT HIS PHYSICAL FAMILY...
      1. Including His mother Mary, and step-father Joseph
      2. Including His brothers James, Joses, Judas, Simon, and His sisters - Mk 6:3
      3. Even at age 12 Jesus knew His true Father - cf. Lk 2:48-49
      -- Not that Jesus did not value His physical family (cf. Jn 19:26-27)

   B. THOSE WHO DO HIS FATHER'S WILL...
      1. His disciples, as identified on the occasion of our text - Mk 3:34-35
      2. Whoever does the will of His Father are those recognized by Him- cf. Mt 7:21-23
      3. They are the ones who are truly blessed - cf. Lk 11:27-28
      -- The true family of Jesus is His spiritual family!

[Having identified the "true family" of Jesus, let's review some of the
many blessings of this family...]

II. THE BLESSINGS OF HIS FAMILY

   A. DIVINE...
      1. God as our Father
         a. Who hears our prayers - Mt 6:6
         b. Who provides our basic needs - Mt 6:11,30-33; 7:11
         c. Who forgives our sins - Mt 6:12
         d. Who delivers us from the evil one - Mt 6:13
      2. Jesus as our Brother
         a. Who is proud to call us "brethren" - He 2:11-12
         b. Who made like His brethren, is our perfect High Priest - He 2:17-18; 4:14-16
         c. Who ever lives to make intercession for us - He 7:25; Ro 8:34
      3. The Holy Spirit as our Helper and Strength
         a. Who also makes intercession for us - Ro 8:26-27
         b. Who enables us to put to live the Christian life - Ro 8:12-13
         c. Who engenders a child-like love in our hearts for God - Ro 8:15; Ga 4:6
      -- Just a few blessings made possible by the Divine members of Jesus' family!

   B. IMMENSE...
      1. A hundredfold family members in this time - Mk 10:28-30
      2. The members of every congregation - 1Ti 5:1-2
      3. Indeed, the whole family in heaven and earth - Ep 3:14-15
      -- Every Christian, living and dead, is a member of Jesus' family!

   C. ETERNAL...
      1. Physical family ties are severed at death - cf. Ro 7:2; 1Co 7:39; Mk 12:24-25
      2. Jesus' spiritual family looks forward to an eternal inheritance - Ro 8:16-17; Re 21:1-7
      -- Jesus' family is the only one that will endure through eternity!

CONCLUSION

1. "The True Family Of Jesus" is great indeed...
   a. A spiritual Family involving Deity and countless souls!
   b. An everlasting Family untainted by divorce and death!

2. Becoming an accepted member of this Family...
   a. Is made possible by the wonderful love of God - 1Jn 3:1
   b. Is the result of God's wonderful plan of redemption in Jesus Christ - Ep 1:3-14

3. "The True Family Of Jesus" is available to all...
   a. Who are willing to receive Him through faith and baptism - Jn 1:12; Ga 3:26-27
   b. Who are thus born again of water and the Spirit - Jn 3:3-5
   c. Who become the family of Jesus through obedience to the will of God - Mk 3:35

Don't you want to be a member of "The True Family Of Jesus"...?

    Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' - Jn 3:7 
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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5 Lessons I Learned From Noah and The Ark by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

https://thepreachersword.com/2016/12/22/five-lessons-i-learned-from-noah-and-the-ark/

5 Lessons I Learned From Noah and The Ark

Fifteen years ago, Robert Fulghum wrote a little book entitled, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. This credo became a phenomenal #1 best seller.  There have been lots of imitations of that “All I really need to Know” idea.

One of my favorites is “Everything I need to know about life I learned from Noah’s ark.”  This “unknown author” says….

One – Don’t miss the boat.

Two – Remember that we are all in the same boat.

Three – Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

Four – Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

Five – Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

Six – – For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

Seven – Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

Eight – When you’re stressed, float a while.

Nine – Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

Ten- No matter the storm, when you’re with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

This week at Hickman Mills we’re having Vacation Bible School.  Yesterday, we studied about Noah.  There’s something about Noah and the Ark that captures peoples imagination.  Maybe it’s the animals.  Or the adventure. Of the narrative.  For believers, it’s the faith of one man who was willing to go against the tide of his time.

The Bible calls him a “hero” and affirms, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.  ESV

From Noah I learn that…. 

     1. God hates sin.  Noah lived in a society that was sinful to the core. People’s thoughts were wicked.  Their hearts were corrupt.  Their imaginations were evil continually.  And it grieved God’s heart.  So He decided to destroy the world with a great flood.

I’m not sure we appreciate this aspect of God’s character.  Yes, God is love.  But He hates sin.  If I am to be more like God, I need to love righteousness and hate wickedness.

2. God’s Patience is Limited.  He is longsuffering.  Forbearing.  Patient. For 120 years Noah preached for people to repent.  But there came a time when God’s patience ended.  The door of the ark was shut.

Today, God patently waits for us to come to Him.  But time will end. The Lord will return.  And the “door will be shut.”

     3. God Demands Obedience.  God told Noah to build an ark out of gopher wood. He gave the exact specifications.   Faith motivated Noah to reverently obey God.  And build it exactly as God said.  Without addition.  Or substation.

The life lesson is simple.  Faith works.  Acts.  Obeys.  Faith does exactly what God says.  Period.

     4. God Punished the Disobedient.  Other people could have boarded the ark.  There was room.  Noah preached for people to repent.  But they chose to ignore it. So, what happened to those outside the ark?  They were lost!

Today, God calls us to get in “the ark of safety.”  To be a part of his called out people. To trust him.  Obey him. Serve Him.

5. God blesses the righteous person.  Noah found favor with God.  He was a righteous man. And he influenced his family to be godly.  And they were rewarded.  I wonder if Noah was ridiculed for his righteousness?  If he was, there is no doubt that the reward was worth the ridicule!

I told the children yesterday, that whenever you see the rainbow in the sky to remember Noah.  Remember God’s promise.  And remember it pays to obey God.

Pretty good lessons for adults, too.  Don’t you think?

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

Paul's Inspiration GEORGE L. FAULL

 

https://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/02/pauls-inspiration-george-l.html

Paul's Inspiration

GEORGE L. FAULL

DOES PAUL REPUDIATE HIS INSPIRATION IN:
I Corinthians 7:6 - Paul says he speaks by Permission, not commandment. "But I speak this by permission, [and] not of commandment." II Corinthians 8:8, "I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love."
I Corinthians 7:10 - Paul stressed, "I command, yet not I, but the Lord."
I Corinthians 7:12 - Paul declares, "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord."
I Corinthians 7:25 - He only gives his judgment: "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful."
I Corinthians 7:26 - He only supposes: "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful."
I Corinthians 7:40 - He only thinks he has the Spirit of God: "But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God."
These passages should not be used to teach that Paul is not giving a divine revelation. He is not contrasting the words of an apostle of Christ and he as an individual. How do I know?
First, one should remember that it was Paul who has taught us that: "All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." II Timothy 3:16. It is not men who are said to be inspired! It is "all Scripture" that is said to be "God breathed!" Paul was the writer of Scripture, for Peter says in II Peter 3:15-16, "15 And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."
Peter also informs us that the men of God who wrote, did not do so of their own will, not did it originate from them, but God. He says they were borne along by the Holy Spirit as they spoke. II Peter 1:20-21, "20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost."
Therefore, we affirm that these passages of Scripture are inspired and originated from God. This is not the wisdom which man's wisdom teaches, but that which the Holy Spirit teaches. I Corinthians 2:13, "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
Second, Paul absolutely affirms that the things he writes are the commandments of the Lord. I Corinthians 14:37, "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." The Corinthians were claiming that they had the gifts of the Spirit and were spiritual. He tells them to prove it by affirming His Word. This is why I Corinthians 7:40 states: "But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God." Perhaps some of those at Corinth had claimed to have offered advice through the Spirit and he corrects their teaching by reminding them that "he too speaks by the Spirit."
Third, when he states that "it is not by commandment -but by permission," or that "the rest, speak I, not the Lord," he is not saying that his view may differ from the Lord's. He is reminding his reader that the Lord Jesus did not reveal, while he was on earth, what He was now going to reveal through Paul. While on earth, Jesus revealed His will about divorce, but He did not reveal that which a Christian with an unbelieving partner should do. Paul was left to reveal that information by God's Spirit. Rather than say, "Paul gives his uninspired opinion in these passages," we are to see that these inspired Scriptures reveal God's will on this subject.
Fourth, he affirms that God has shown him the mercy of being a trustworthy person. Paul often speaks about the fact that Christ had saved him and made him an apostle. He speaks as one who knows he was a sinner, but has obtained mercy and so faithfully reveals as an apostle what God gave to him about the subject.
Fifth, Paul has said that he "spoke by permission, not commandment." When he did so, he uses the word "sun-gnome," which means "joint opinion" or "fellow-feeling." He shares God's view though God had not yet revealed His commandment to men. He was in "joint opinion" with God who now revealed by him that it was good to remain single, but that it was better to marry than burn with passion.
Conclusion: In these verses Paul is merely stating that God is revealing further truths about marriage and divorce. it is ironic that a Church that gloated over a man living in incest would be concerned about who should marry, who could divorce, and what to do with an unbelieving spouse! Since some at Corinth were puffed-up with gifts, all kinds of advice may have been advocated. Paul affirms that there were somethings the Lord had not revealed while He was on earth. He would give the "joint opinion: of what was allowable. Christ, as Head of the Church, and Paul, His apostle, says it is allowable to marry rather than burn. He would also give his counsel as an apostle, namely that "in present distress, it is good not to marry, but if you do, you do not sin."

However, some things were absolutely commanded by the Lord and His apostle, namely, "that the wife was not to depart from her husband or the husband from the wife, and if they did so, they must not marry another. The Christian with an unbelieving spouse must not leave their partner, but should the partner leave, they were not under bondage to save the marriage by leaving Christ. So, we have what is allowed, advisable and authoritative, or to put it another way, what is conceded, counseled and commanded by the Spirit-filled apostle. Jesus led His apostles into all Truth. The apostle Paul was no exception.

TITUS by Paul Southern

 

https://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Southern/Paul/1901/titus.html

TITUS

  1. THE TITLE
  2. This letter bears the name of the person to whom it is addressed.

  3. THE WRITER
  4. Verse 1 of the first chapter names Paul as the writer.

  5. THE ADDRESSEE
  6. The epistle is addressed to "Titus, my true child after a common faith" (1:4). Since Titus is not mentioned in Acts of Apostles, all that we know of him is found in the epistles of Paul. He was a Greek by birth (Galatians 2:3), but was converted to Christianity by Paul (Titus 1:4). He went up with Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem for the conference on the circumcision of the Gentiles (Galatians 2:1; Acts 15). Later he went with Paul on his preaching tours, and is often mentioned by the Apostle in terms of approbation and affection (II Cor 2:13; 7:5-7, 13-15; 8:6, 16-24; 12:17,18; II Tim 4:10). Being the son of Gentiles, Titus was not circumcised (Gal 2:3-5). From the important services he was called upon to perform we conclude that he was highly responsible and respected.

  7. TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING
  8. This letter was probably written from Macedonia or Corinth about A.D. 67, some time between I and II Timothy (Titus 3:12; II Timothy 4:20). One thing seems evident, namely -- it belongs to a period when Paul was not a prisoner.

  9. THE GOSPEL IN CRETE
  10. Crete is a large, mountainous island south of Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. Nothing is known of the first introduction of the gospel there. Jews from Crete were present on Pentecost (Acts 2:11), and perhaps returned with the good tidings. On his voyage to Rome as a prisoner, Paul stopped at Fair Havens, a harbor in the island (Acts 27:7-15). Some writers think that he visited there again after his first imprisonment in Rome, and at this time he left Titus to look after the work. We do know that Titus had been left there (Titus 1:5). Creditable evidence indicates that Paul had done some preaching in Crete, but had left hurriedly before the churches were regularly organized (Titus 1:5). The island abounded with wealthy and influential Jews. A combination of moral weaknesses made Cretans proverbial for their vices. Classical writers tell of their greed, ferocity and fraud, falsehood, and gluttony. This state of general depravity was confirmed by the testimony of their own writers (Titus 1:12; Cf. Epimenides). Titus had the tremendous task of working among and helping to organize the churches of Crete.

  11. PURPOSE AND CONTENTS OF THE LETTER
    1. Purpose
    2. The purpose of the book was to console Titus regarding the work Paul had left him to do. The Cretans have been described as unsteady, untruthful, quarrelsome, licentious and intemperate (Titus 1:10-16). The work of Titus among such people must have been difficult.

    3. Contents
      1. Qualifications of elders (1:5-9).
      2. How to deal with false doctrines (1:10-16).
      3. Instructions concerning aged men and women (2:1-8), and servants (2:9,10).
      4. The grace of God (2:11-14; 3:4-8).
      5. Exhortations to Titus (2:15; 3:1-3, 8-15).

  12. EXERCISES FOR STUDENT ACTIVITY
    1. List the number of times the word Savior is used in the book.
    2. Give the qualifications of elders as set forth in Titus (1:5-9).
    3. Compare these qualifications (1:5-9) with those given in I Timothy 3.
    4. What instructions are given concerning aged men? aged women? younger men? younger women? servants? (2:1-10).
    5. What is said in Titus about the grace of God (2:11-14; 3:4-8).
    6. Note how many times the key-words "good works," "good tidings" occur.
    7. How many times does the expression "sound doctrine" occur?
    8. The thought of sober-mindedness occurs at least six times in Titus. What impressions does this fact give? List the references.
    9. Why did Paul have Timothy circumcised, but not Titus? (Galatians 2:3-5; Acts 16:1-3).
    10. Make a list of the different persons named in Titus.
    11. How do you account for the fact that the name of such a valued and trusted man as Titus is not mentioned in Acts of Apostles?
    12. What does the Epistle to Titus teach concerning congregational independence?
    13. Was Titus left in Crete for a temporary purpose or a more permanent one?
    14. What evidence is there that the Cretan churches were not in existence when Paul passed by Crete on his voyage to Rome? (Acts 27).

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading for December 18 - 20 by Gary Rose

 

 

Bible Reading for December 18 - 20

World  English  Bible

  

Dec. 18

Amos 5-9

Amo 5:1 Listen to this word which I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Israel.

Amo 5:2 "The virgin of Israel has fallen; She shall rise no more. She is cast down on her land; there is no one to raise her up."

Amo 5:3 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: "The city that went forth a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went forth one hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel."

Amo 5:4 For thus says Yahweh to the house of Israel: "Seek me, and you will live;

Amo 5:5 but don't seek Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and don't pass to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nothing.

Amo 5:6 Seek Yahweh, and you will live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, and there be no one to quench it in Bethel.

Amo 5:7 You who turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth:

Amo 5:8 seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns the shadow of death into the morning, and makes the day dark with night; who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, Yahweh is his name,

Amo 5:9 who brings sudden destruction on the strong, so that destruction comes on the fortress.

Amo 5:10 They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks blamelessly.

Amo 5:11 Forasmuch therefore as you trample on the poor, and take taxes from him of wheat: You have built houses of cut stone, but you will not dwell in them. You have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.

Amo 5:12 For I know how many your offenses, and how great are your sins-- you who afflict the just, who take a bribe, and who turn aside the needy in the courts.

Amo 5:13 Therefore a prudent person keeps silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.

Amo 5:14 Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so Yahweh, the God of Armies, will be with you, as you say.

Amo 5:15 Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the courts. It may be that Yahweh, the God of Armies, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph."

Amo 5:16 Therefore thus says Yahweh, the God of Armies, the Lord: "Wailing will be in all the broad ways; and they will say in all the streets, 'Alas! Alas!' and they will call the farmer to mourning, and those who are skillful in lamentation to wailing.

Amo 5:17 In all vineyards there will be wailing; for I will pass through the midst of you," says Yahweh.

Amo 5:18 "Woe to you who desire the day of Yahweh! Why do you long for the day of Yahweh? It is darkness, and not light.

Amo 5:19 As if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; Or he went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a snake bit him.

Amo 5:20 Won't the day of Yahweh be darkness, and not light? Even very dark, and no brightness in it?

Amo 5:21 I hate, I despise your feasts, and I can't stand your solemn assemblies.

Amo 5:22 Yes, though you offer me your burnt offerings and meal offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat animals.

Amo 5:23 Take away from me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.

Amo 5:24 But let justice roll on like rivers, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Amo 5:25 "Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, house of Israel?

Amo 5:26 You also carried the tent of your king and the shrine of your images, the star of your god, which you made for yourselves.

Amo 5:27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus," says Yahweh, whose name is the God of Armies.


Amo 6:1 Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who are secure on the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel come!

Amo 6:2 Go to Calneh, and see; and from there go to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines. are they better than these kingdoms? or is their border greater than your border?

Amo 6:3 Those who put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near;

Amo 6:4 Who lie on beds of ivory, and stretch themselves on their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall;

Amo 6:5 who strum on the strings of a harp; who invent for themselves instruments of music, like David;

Amo 6:6 who drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the best oils; but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

Amo 6:7 Therefore they will now go captive with the first who go captive; and the feasting and lounging will end.

Amo 6:8 "The Lord Yahweh has sworn by himself," says Yahweh, the God of Armies: "I abhor the pride of Jacob, and detest his fortresses. Therefore I will deliver up the city with all that is in it.

Amo 6:9 It will happen, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die.

Amo 6:10 "When a man's relative carries him, even he who burns him, to bring bodies out of the house, and asks him who is in the innermost parts of the house, 'Is there yet any with you?' And he says, 'No;' then he will say, 'Hush! Indeed we must not mention the name of Yahweh.'

Amo 6:11 "For, behold, Yahweh commands, and the great house will be smashed to pieces, and the little house into bits.

Amo 6:12 Do horses run on the rocky crags? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison, and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness;

Amo 6:13 you who rejoice in a thing of nothing, who say, 'Haven't we taken for ourselves horns by our own strength?'

Amo 6:14 For, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, house of Israel," says Yahweh, the God of Armies; "and they will afflict you from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of the Arabah."


Amo 7:1 Thus the Lord Yahweh showed me: and behold, he formed locusts in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and behold, it was the latter growth after the king's harvest.

Amo 7:2 It happened that, when they made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, "Lord Yahweh, forgive, I beg you! How could Jacob stand? For he is small."

Amo 7:3 Yahweh relented concerning this. "It shall not be," says Yahweh.

Amo 7:4 Thus the Lord Yahweh showed me and behold, the Lord Yahweh called for judgment by fire; and it dried up the great deep, and would have devoured the land.

Amo 7:5 Then I said, "Lord Yahweh, stop, I beg you! How could Jacob stand? For he is small."

Amo 7:6 Yahweh relented concerning this. "This also shall not be," says the Lord Yahweh.

Amo 7:7 Thus he showed me and behold, the Lord stood beside a wall made by a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand.

Amo 7:8 Yahweh said to me, "Amos, what do you see?" I said, "A plumb line." Then the Lord said, "Behold, I will set a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel. I will not again pass by them any more.

Amo 7:9 The high places of Isaac will be desolate, the sanctuaries of Israel will be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword."

Amo 7:10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, "Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words.

Amo 7:11 For Amos says, 'Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land.' "

Amo 7:12 Amaziah also said to Amos, "You seer, go, flee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:

Amo 7:13 but don't prophesy again any more at Bethel; for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a royal house!"

Amo 7:14 Then Amos answered Amaziah, "I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was a herdsman, and a farmer of sycamore figs;

Amo 7:15 and Yahweh took me from following the flock, and Yahweh said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'

Amo 7:16 Now therefore listen to the word of Yahweh: 'You say, Don't prophesy against Israel, and don't preach against the house of Isaac.'

Amo 7:17 Therefore thus says Yahweh: 'Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided by line; and you yourself shall die in a land that is unclean, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land.' "


Amo 8:1 Thus the Lord Yahweh showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit.

Amo 8:2 He said, "Amos, what do you see?" I said, "A basket of summer fruit." Then Yahweh said to me, "The end has come on my people Israel. I will not again pass by them any more.

Amo 8:3 The songs of the temple will be wailings in that day," says the Lord Yahweh. "The dead bodies will be many. In every place they will throw them out with silence.

Amo 8:4 Hear this, you who desire to swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail,

Amo 8:5 Saying, 'When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may market wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel large, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit;

Amo 8:6 that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the sweepings with the wheat?' "

Amo 8:7 Yahweh has sworn by the pride of Jacob, "Surely I will never forget any of their works.

Amo 8:8 Won't the land tremble for this, and everyone mourn who dwells in it? Yes, it will rise up wholly like the River; and it will be stirred up and sink again, like the River of Egypt.

Amo 8:9 It will happen in that day," says the Lord Yahweh, "that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.

Amo 8:10 I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will make you wear sackcloth on all your bodies, and baldness on every head. I will make it like the mourning for an only son, and its end like a bitter day.

Amo 8:11 Behold, the days come," says the Lord Yahweh, "that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Yahweh.

Amo 8:12 They will wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they will run back and forth to seek the word of Yahweh, and will not find it.

Amo 8:13 In that day the beautiful virgins and the young men will faint for thirst.

Amo 8:14 Those who swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, 'As your god, Dan, lives;' and, 'As the way of Beersheba lives;' they will fall, and never rise up again."


Amo 9:1 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said, "Strike the tops of the pillars, that the thresholds may shake; and break them in pieces on the head of all of them; and I will kill the last of them with the sword: there shall not one of them flee away, and there shall not one of them escape.

Amo 9:2 Though they dig into Sheol, there my hand will take them; and though they climb up to heaven, there I will bring them down.

Amo 9:3 Though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out there; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it will bite them.

Amo 9:4 Though they go into captivity before their enemies, there I will command the sword, and it will kill them. I will set my eyes on them for evil, and not for good.

Amo 9:5 For the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, is he who touches the land and it melts, and all who dwell in it will mourn; and it will rise up wholly like the River, and will sink again, like the River of Egypt.

Amo 9:6 It is he who builds his chambers in the heavens, and has founded his vault on the earth; he who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth; Yahweh is his name.

Amo 9:7 Are you not like the children of the Ethiopians to me, children of Israel?" says Yahweh. "Haven't I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?

Amo 9:8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord Yahweh are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the surface of the earth; except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," says Yahweh.

Amo 9:9 "For, behold, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all the nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet not the least kernel will fall on the earth.

Amo 9:10 All the sinners of my people will die by the sword, who say, 'Evil won't overtake nor meet us.'

Amo 9:11 In that day I will raise up the tent of David who is fallen, and close up its breaches, and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old;

Amo 9:12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations who are called by my name," says Yahweh who does this.

Amo 9:13 "Behold, the days come," says Yahweh, "that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the one treading grapes him who sows seed; and sweet wine will drip from the mountains, and flow from the hills.

Amo 9:14 I will bring my people Israel back from captivity, and they will rebuild the ruined cities, and inhabit them; and they will plant vineyards, and drink wine from them. They shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

Amo 9:15 I will plant them on their land, and they will no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them," says Yahweh your God.

 

Dec. 19

Obadiah

Oba 1:1 The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Lord Yahweh says about Edom. We have heard news from Yahweh, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, "Arise, and let's rise up against her in battle.

Oba 1:2 Behold, I have made you small among the nations. You are greatly despised.

Oba 1:3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high, who says in his heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?'

Oba 1:4 Though you mount on high as the eagle, and though your nest is set among the stars, I will bring you down from there," says Yahweh.

Oba 1:5 "If thieves came to you, if robbers by night--oh, what disaster awaits you--wouldn't they only steal until they had enough? If grape pickers came to you, wouldn't they leave some gleaning grapes?

Oba 1:6 How Esau will be ransacked! How his hidden treasures are sought out!

Oba 1:7 All the men of your alliance have brought you on your way, even to the border. The men who were at peace with you have deceived you, and prevailed against you. Friends who eat your bread lay a snare under you. There is no understanding in him."

Oba 1:8 "Won't I in that day," says Yahweh, "destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mountain of Esau?

Oba 1:9 Your mighty men, Teman, will be dismayed, to the end that everyone may be cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter.

Oba 1:10 For the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame will cover you, and you will be cut off forever.

Oba 1:11 In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that strangers carried away his substance, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots for Jerusalem, even you were like one of them.

Oba 1:12 But don't look down on your brother in the day of his disaster, and don't rejoice over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction. Don't speak proudly in the day of distress.

Oba 1:13 Don't enter into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity. Don't look down on their affliction in the day of their calamity, neither seize their wealth on the day of their calamity.

Oba 1:14 Don't stand in the crossroads to cut off those of his who escape. Don't deliver up those of his who remain in the day of distress.

Oba 1:15 For the day of Yahweh is near all the nations! As you have done, it will be done to you. Your deeds will return upon your own head.

Oba 1:16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so will all the nations drink continually. Yes, they will drink, swallow down, and will be as though they had not been.

Oba 1:17 But in Mount Zion, there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. The house of Jacob will possess their possessions.

Oba 1:18 The house of Jacob will be a fire, the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble. They will burn among them, and devour them. There will not be any remaining to the house of Esau." Indeed, Yahweh has spoken.

Oba 1:19 Those of the South will possess the mountain of Esau, and those of the lowland, the Philistines. They will possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria. Benjamin will possess Gilead.

Oba 1:20 The captives of this army of the children of Israel, who are among the Canaanites, will possess even to Zarephath; and the captives of Jerusalem, who are in Sepharad, will possess the cities of the Negev.

Oba 1:21 Saviors will go up on Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom will be Yahweh's. 

 

Dec. 20

Jonah 1-4

Jon 1:1 Now the word of Yahweh came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

Jon 1:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach against it, for their wickedness has come up before me."

Jon 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid its fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh.

Jon 1:4 But Yahweh sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty storm on the sea, so that the ship was likely to break up.

Jon 1:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man to his god. They threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten it. But Jonah had gone down into the innermost parts of the ship, and he was laying down, and was fast asleep.

Jon 1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said to him, "What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God! Maybe your God will notice us, so that we won't perish."

Jon 1:7 They all said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is on us." So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.

Jon 1:8 Then they asked him, "Tell us, please, for whose cause this evil is on us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? Of what people are you?"

Jon 1:9 He said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear Yahweh, the God of heaven, who has made the sea and the dry land."

Jon 1:10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said to him, "What is this that you have done?" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of Yahweh, because he had told them.

Jon 1:11 Then said they to him, "What shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm to us?" For the sea grew more and more stormy.

Jon 1:12 He said to them, "Take me up, and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will be calm for you; for I know that because of me this great storm is on you."

Jon 1:13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to get them back to the land; but they could not, for the sea grew more and more stormy against them.

Jon 1:14 Therefore they cried to Yahweh, and said, "We beg you, Yahweh, we beg you, let us not perish for this man's life, and don't lay on us innocent blood; for you, Yahweh, have done as it pleased you."

Jon 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased its raging.

Jon 1:16 Then the men feared Yahweh exceedingly; and they offered a sacrifice to Yahweh, and made vows.

Jon 1:17 Yahweh prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.


Jon 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to Yahweh, his God, out of the fish's belly.

Jon 2:2 He said, "I called because of my affliction to Yahweh. He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried. You heard my voice.

Jon 2:3 For you threw me into the depths, in the heart of the seas. The flood was all around me. All your waves and your billows passed over me.

Jon 2:4 I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'

Jon 2:5 The waters surrounded me, even to the soul. The deep was around me. The weeds were wrapped around my head.

Jon 2:6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains. The earth barred me in forever: yet have you brought up my life from the pit, Yahweh my God.

Jon 2:7 "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Yahweh. My prayer came in to you, into your holy temple.

Jon 2:8 Those who regard lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 

Jon 2:9 But I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation belongs to Yahweh."

Jon 2:10 Yahweh spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land.


Jon 3:1 The word of Yahweh came to Jonah the second time, saying,

Jon 3:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I give you."

Jon 3:3 So Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh, according to the word of Yahweh. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey across.

Jon 3:4 Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried out, and said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"

Jon 3:5 The people of Nineveh believed God; and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

Jon 3:6 The news reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and took off his royal robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

Jon 3:7 He made a proclamation and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, "Let neither man nor animal, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, nor drink water;

Jon 3:8 but let them be covered with sackcloth, both man and animal, and let them cry mightily to God. Yes, let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in his hands.

Jon 3:9 Who knows whether God will not turn and relent, and turn away from his fierce anger, so that we might not perish?"

Jon 3:10 God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. God relented of the disaster which he said he would do to them, and he didn't do it.


Jon 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.

Jon 4:2 He prayed to Yahweh, and said, "Please, Yahweh, wasn't this what I said when I was still in my own country? Therefore I hurried to flee to Tarshish, for I knew that you are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and you relent of doing harm.

Jon 4:3 Therefore now, Yahweh, take, I beg you, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live."

Jon 4:4 Yahweh said, "Is it right for you to be angry?"

Jon 4:5 Then Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made himself a booth, and sat under it in the shade, until he might see what would become of the city.

Jon 4:6 Yahweh God prepared a vine, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the vine.

Jon 4:7 But God prepared a worm at dawn the next day, and it chewed on the vine, so that it withered.

Jon 4:8 It happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a sultry east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah's head, so that he fainted, and requested for himself that he might die, and said, "It is better for me to die than to live."

Jon 4:9 God said to Jonah, "Is it right for you to be angry about the vine?" He said, "I am right to be angry, even to death."

Jon 4:10 Yahweh said, "You have been concerned for the vine, for which you have not labored, neither made it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night.

Jon 4:11 Shouldn't I be concerned for Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred twenty thousand persons who can't discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much livestock?" 

 

 Dec. 18

Jude

Jud 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:

Jud 1:2 Mercy to you and peace and love be multiplied.

Jud 1:3 Beloved, while I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I was constrained to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Jud 1:4 For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jud 1:5 Now I desire to remind you, though you already know this, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who didn't believe.

Jud 1:6 Angels who didn't keep their first domain, but deserted their own dwelling place, he has kept in everlasting bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

Jud 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, having, in the same way as these, given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.

Jud 1:8 Yet in like manner these also in their dreaming defile the flesh, despise authority, and slander celestial beings.

Jud 1:9 But Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil and arguing about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him an abusive condemnation, but said, "May the Lord rebuke you!"

Jud 1:10 But these speak evil of whatever things they don't know. What they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason, they are destroyed in these things.

Jud 1:11 Woe to them! For they went in the way of Cain, and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in Korah's rebellion.

Jud 1:12 These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

Jud 1:13 wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.

Jud 1:14 About these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones,

Jud 1:15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

Jud 1:16 These are murmurers and complainers, walking after their lusts (and their mouth speaks proud things), showing respect of persons to gain advantage.

Jud 1:17 But you, beloved, remember the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jud 1:18 They said to you that "In the last time there will be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts."

Jud 1:19 These are they who cause divisions, and are sensual, not having the Spirit.

Jud 1:20 But you, beloved, keep building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.

Jud 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

Jud 1:22 On some have compassion, making a distinction,

Jud 1:23 and some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.

Jud 1:24 Now to him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy,

Jud 1:25 to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.

 

Dec. 19

Revelation 1

Rev 1:1 This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things which must happen soon, which he sent and made known by his angel to his servant, John,

Rev 1:2 who testified to God's word, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, about everything that he saw.

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is at hand.

Rev 1:4 John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne;

Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood;

Rev 1:6 and he made us to be a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Rev 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.

Rev 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Rev 1:9 I John, your brother and partner with you in oppression, Kingdom, and perseverance in Christ Jesus, was on the isle that is called Patmos because of God's Word and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet

Rev 1:11 saying, "What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and to Laodicea."

Rev 1:12 I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands.

Rev 1:13 And among the lampstands was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest.

Rev 1:14 His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire.

Rev 1:15 His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters.

Rev 1:16 He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest.

Rev 1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me, saying, "Don't be afraid. I am the first and the last,

Rev 1:18 and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

Rev 1:19 Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will happen hereafter;

Rev 1:20 the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies. The seven lampstands are seven assemblies. 

 

Dec. 20

Revelation 2

Rev 2:1 "To the angel of the assembly in Ephesus write: "He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks among the seven golden lampstands says these things:

Rev 2:2 "I know your works, and your toil and perseverance, and that you can't tolerate evil men, and have tested those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and found them false.

Rev 2:3 You have perseverance and have endured for my name's sake, and have not grown weary.

Rev 2:4 But I have this against you, that you left your first love.

Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you swiftly, and will move your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent.

Rev 2:6 But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Rev 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God.

Rev 2:8 "To the angel of the assembly in Smyrna write: "The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life says these things:

Rev 2:9 "I know your works, oppression, and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Rev 2:10 Don't be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested; and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Rev 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes won't be harmed by the second death.

Rev 2:12 "To the angel of the assembly in Pergamum write: "He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things:

Rev 2:13 "I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. You hold firmly to my name, and didn't deny my faith in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

Rev 2:15 So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans likewise.

Rev 2:16 Repent therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth.

Rev 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it.

Rev 2:18 "To the angel of the assembly in Thyatira write: "The Son of God, who has his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like burnished brass, says these things:

Rev 2:19 "I know your works, your love, faith, service, patient endurance, and that your last works are more than the first.

Rev 2:20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate your woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and seduces my servants to commit sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.

Rev 2:21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.

Rev 2:22 Behold, I will throw her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great oppression, unless they repent of her works.

Rev 2:23 I will kill her children with Death, and all the assemblies will know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.

Rev 2:24 But to you I say, to the rest who are in Thyatira, as many as don't have this teaching, who don't know what some call 'the deep things of Satan,' to you I say, I am not putting any other burden on you.

Rev 2:25 Nevertheless, hold that which you have firmly until I come.

Rev 2:26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations.

Rev 2:27 He will rule them with a rod of iron, shattering them like clay pots; as I also have received of my Father:

Rev 2:28 and I will give him the morning star.

Rev 2:29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.