Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mark 7:17-23 commentary: the evil from inside

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. 18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Our imaginations are vile and wicked things and we present all manner of violence and pornography from the depths of our unrighteous fantasies.

2Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

God will destroy all the images that we use to stir up our evil minds.

Isaiah 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: 13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, 14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, 15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, 16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

He has already commanded that certain pictures be destroyed back at the time the Hebrews were to enter the promised land.

Numbers 33:52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:

And pictures led Israel into idolatry.

Ezekiel 23:14 And that she increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men pourtrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans pourtrayed with vermilion,

One note about foolishness in verse 22 is that the Bible definition differs from our current understanding because we have departed from the Bible.

Foolish people are unwise.

Deuteronomy 32:6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?

A foolish man is a silly man.

Job 5:2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

A foolish person works iniquity.

Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Foolish people are wicked and they often prosper from our human estimation and not by God’s standard.

Psalm 73:3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Covetousness is listed in some bad company isn’t it? So, the TV commercials and the billboards are encouraging you to sin, are they not? Covetousness is wanting things you don’t have.

Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

The American way of life is idolatry, no less than the sin of the ancient Israelites in their worship of idols that cost them their homeland.

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

When you sit there hungering after the image on the TV and thinking of how you can borrow the money on your credit card to pay for it so it can replace the one you have now you are engaging in idolatry. Common sense tells you this isn’t about the necessities of life but rather more so the I-wants.

What is an evil eye, you wonder? Proverbs defines it.

Proverbs 28:22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

You like those get-rich-quick schemes? Those plans to make that fortune quickly and live like a king? Read Matthew 6:19-24. There is something wicked in the way that the person with the evil eye sees things. Read the parable of the householder in Matthew 20:1-16. Then read Luke 11:29-36 as Jesus upbraids people for their unbelief.

In the Proverb and in the verses in the Gospels a single eye is healthy and whole while an evil eye is sick and imperfect, worldly and focusing on the wrong things. Our Creator, God, has made us for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11). He wants us to see things His way voluntarily (Isaiah 1:18.) The warning here is that the person who views wealth in the wrong way, who wants to get rich quick, will eventually be destined to poverty. Now, this verse was certainly written under the Law given to Moses but the principle definitely applies to us living under Grace.

The way you look at things, your viewpoint, determines usually how you live and what you hold valuable. There are tons of get rich quick schemes out there that people try to get you hooked into. Rarely does either a business or a career yield quick riches. If it does it usually ends up in ruin. Many people who have won great lottery fortunes have wound up filing for bankruptcy. We have a hard time with wealth suddenly acquired. Look at the stories of athletes from poor backgrounds who can’t handle the money they make and wind up in prison or ruined.

An evil eye wants to get rich quick without working hard and appreciating his effort and God’s blessing on that effort. An evil eye and covetousness are in some pretty bad company.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mark 7:14-16 commentary: the evil from within

14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. 16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

The food you eat does not defile you spiritually. It is the actions that flow from a wicked heart. Your real problem isn’t your disgust at what other people do, how they live, or what they believe or don’t believe. Your problem is your own wicked heart and your lust for sin.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Your heart desires to sin much like a crowd is desperate to get out of a burning building. They are often so desperate that they will pull any would-be rescuer in with them and cause his death, as well as their own. The human heart is desperate to do wickedness. Your wickedness may only be revealed in smug self-righteous pride rather than malicious and malevolent works but it is wickedness nonetheless. It may be revealed in a reckless disregard for God’s authority over your life but it is evil, in any event.

The human heart by its very nature repeats a similar challenge to the Almighty that Lucifer did when he rebelled against Him.

Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Unlike what ritualistic religions teach, there is nothing that you can eat that will spiritually defile you. The curse on animals, clean and unclean, from a spiritual perspective was removed by Christ’s work on the cross at Calvary. (Acts 10:9-28)

It is what comes out of your mouth, preceded by your vile thoughts, that makes you filthy, not what you took in. We like to blame our environment, upbringing, social class, education, looks, intelligence, or some other circumstance for our misdeeds. We like to focus on what others do that makes the world a rotten place or our lives miserable. But, the problem is ourselves.

Your iniquity doesn’t have to be vulgar words, indecent dress, or immoral actions; it can just be the expression of a heart consumed with self.

The words of verse 16 are repeated often to underscore something very, very important. The seven types of churches in the first part of Revelation are told this each one.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mark 7:7-13 commentary: the offspring of the tradition of men

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

I think of the fools who refuse medical care to their children and say that prayer is all they’ll rely on, often resulting in the worsening condition of their children. They deny God’s power in giving the doctor knowledge or wisdom. They reject that there couldn’t even be a medical profession if God did not permit the truths of the human body to be revealed. They restrict God by saying that the person who heals is not of God but of something else. They have no real faith and, in fact, their faith reflects their worship of themselves. I’ve heard of the “power of prayer” more than I’ve heard of the power of the One we pray to, and I have even heard, God forbid, of the “magic of prayer”. How hideous.

We don’t refuse to eat and say that prayer will sustain us. No, we eat and thank God for His providence in providing food for us. People are insane when they reject this Book and try to operate as Christians apart from it, at least in America. They start making up their religion as they go along. I would say that most Christians are too busy worshipping themselves to be of any use to God. Do you have more faith in your faith than faith in Christ?

We have traditions; door knocking, passing out tracts, Sunday school, preaching, taking up an offering, the altar call, hymn singing, etc. and these traditions CAN wind up being the object rather than a method to achieve an end for Christ, although they aren’t wrong in themselves. Remember, there was no Sunday School until the end of the 1700’s and there was no church building until the late 200’s. These things are good but are not the end we seek but a means to the end, which is the salvation of men, women, and children and their discipleship and ultimately the glorification of Christ, who is God.

Something of note here in that, once again, using five out of thousands of minor manuscripts plus the Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, the modern scholars have removed vital words from the Bible. The last part of verse eight beginning with “as the washing of pots and cups…” is missing in modern versions based on the corrupt manuscripts of the beginnings of the state-church at Rome. Jesus is showing that the washing of pots and cups for a religious reason was a man-made tradition. This part of the verse is found in the Byzantine text, but not in the Alexandrian text. Once again, the Alexandrian cult corrupts the Scripture by deleting words.

Let's take these traditions that really undercut God's authority and elevate man a step further. As Christianity became more accepted in the Roman Empire its spiritual nature was harmed by the influx of people with pagan ideals. If educated the ideals they brought in were based on Greek philosophy and so-called scientific speculations. If uneducated they brought in superstition. In Ancient Rome there were gods of the hearth, and gods of the nursery, and even gods of the doorway threshold. Between the time of the New Testament Christians and those of the time of the Emperor Constantine, when Christianity had been made the state religion, you went from Christians who would not acknowledge the pagan practices of burning incense to the emperor and supporting the many gods of the state to people becoming “Christian” so they could get a government job. It was not considered too unusual a circumstance for a rooster to be sacrificed on the church building’s steps before the congregant went inside to pay obeisance to another god.

These Pagan-Christians would make the sign of the cross, unheard of in the early days of the church, when they entered a doorway, the bath, partook of a meal, went on a trip, or made a business deal. They brought in their own baptism as a sacrament from their mystery religions. Baptism went from a type of your salvation (1 Peter 3:20-21), evidence of a prior condition of belief in the resurrection and trust in Christ, and obedience to Christ (Mark 16:16) in which verse it is most certainly evident that not being baptized doesn’t damn anyone, to salvation itself. Once baptism saved you, then it was a small step to go from dedicating a child to Christ to that infant being saved by sprinkling, which began only as a clinic baptism for people who were sick and unable to be immersed.

These traditions of men, having no place in the Scriptures, were placed on people who were ignorant and unknowing by people who wanted them to remain that way, people who claimed the spiritual benefits of Christianity without anything to commend them other than a philosophy and the approval of the functionaries of a state sanctioned church. It is no giant step for this dominant strain of philosophical Christianity, having no spiritual power, purpose, or place in Christ, to produce massacres of other Christians and non-Christians, to lead armies, murder Jews, and kill millions of people, saved and unsaved, in the name of their god, the god of this world.

Christ has never called Christians to kill anyone in His name. It has never happened and until He returns bodily to take over the kingdoms of this world (Revelation 11:15 with John 18:36) the desire to spread Christ’s message with blood and death shows that your god is not the God of the Bible, but Satan, the prince of the power of the air. These murders and sorceries and practice of political crafts throughout history in Christendom-dumb all began with non-Biblical traditions that become orthodoxy to the powerful pseudo-Christian world, that, not satisfied with slaughtering believers and hapless others in Europe and Asia spread their poison around the globe gathering slaves and gold, and justifying the conquest of nations and genocide by saying that they were spreading the gospel of Christ. [You cannot use the courses of the ancient Hebrews in Palestine as the example for the church because that was a singular event in history performed under conditions and under a Law that has nothing to do with the practice of the Biblical Christian church which information was given to us for our learning and edification (Galatians 3:24-25; Romans 15:4) not as the pattern for practice of our faith (1 Thessalonians 5:14, 15).]

Why am I connecting things that seem so different; a foolish man-made tradition and the conquest of the world? Because, the belief that there is a Christian nation that has a moral right to spread Christianity with fire and sword has its foundation in the belief that the church can add to God’s words and create non-Biblical traditions with which to burden men then imposing on the state to enforce those burdens with bloodshed and slaughter. It’s a small step.

All religions that combine some sense of spirituality with state power are wicked. Whether that power takes its inspiration in the Vatican, Mecca, Benares, or London it is wicked. Whether that religion beats Baptists and hangs Quakers in colonial Boston, murders millions of natives on Hispaniola under the direction of Spain (read Bartholome’ de las Casas “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies”), or beheads women for dressing immodestly in Algeria it is evil. And it all begins with thinking you have the right to add to God’s words or take them out of context.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mark 7:4-6 commentary: evidence of a Christian

4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

This goes for all of us. One of my biggest problems is being genuine. I’m always thinking of myself and not Jesus Christ. When I am doing something for Him, supposedly, such as teaching Sunday School or witnessing to someone it is often vain as the success of the work becomes more important than Jesus Christ. This, I suspect, is a problem for many pastors and missionaries. They get caught up in a numbers game like some kind of salesman. “How many decisions have I gotten for Christ”, rather than how disciples are being made, how they’re being taught. We usually revert to the form of something rather than the heart. The important thing is not how your church is growing in numbers but how your church is growing in the Spirit.

The Pharisee wants to see that on the outside you are doing right. You are married, having never been divorced. You come to church whenever the doors are open. You dress ultra-modestly and not “worldly”. You twist the scriptures as they do to justify your convictions. It’s all on the surface. The Pharisee thinks that if you practice a habit your inside will change. This isn’t necessarily true.

These verses point out that Christians can retain the appearance of piety and spirituality and yet be as far from God as they can get without losing their salvation. We can get wrapped up in what looks like a Christian and have nothing in it for Christ. When you see someone who comes to church but you don’t think is dressed right or maybe they go to their car and light up a cigarette or perhaps when they pull in popular music is playing on their radio and maybe you don’t think their haircut is quite befitting a Christian don’t you find yourself judging their walk with Christ based on what you see?

The proof of having Christ in you is not based on outward forms of behavior although if someone is a foulmouthed bully it’s not likely they are a believer. But, the fruit or proof of the Spirit is listed in Galatians and, as often as I’ve repeated it, it bears repeating again. If you want to see proof that someone has the Spirit of God inside them you should see these things clearly in their life regardless of whether they perform any ritual act you accept as genuine;

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

These things give evidence of a Christian rather than how often they do some work that appeals to your flesh. And let’s not forget what Jesus said about the defining trait of His followers.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

And note what Paul said regarding this. We know from comparing scripture with scripture that the word charity refers to the Christians’ love for each other that Jesus talked about. (If you read 1 Corinthians 13:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, and 2 Peter 1:6,7 would you define charity as help, goods, or money given to the poor or would you define it as brotherly love which may include all of that but entails much more in attitude?)

Paul says this;

Colossians 3;14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

In fact, Paul goes on for an entire chapter about how Christian love is supposed to be in 1st Corinthians 13.

Peter says about this love;

1Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

John, in one of his letters, says;

1 John 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

These things, far more than any self-gratifying ritual, denote what it means to be a Christian. No amount of outward observance or forms of worship will help you draw closer to Christ if you don’t have evidence or fruit of the Spirit that dwells inside you and love for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Beyond that you would have love and compassion for the lost as someone for whom Christ died.

So beware of tradition and ritual as the signature of a Christian. It isn’t.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to read the Bible; part one

This is a study of how to read the King James Bible, also known as the Authorized Version, in order to help with understanding.

1. Law of First Mention – this much abused rule simply states that the way a word is first used in the Bible will be the way it’s used predominantly throughout. It does not mean that there are no exceptions. It just means that the first mention will be the most important mention the majority of times.

Example – The first time any form of love is used, as in “lovest”, will be in Genesis 22:2 and refers to a father loving his son whom he is called to sacrifice as a type of God the Father offering up God the Son for our sins.

2. Defining a word by context – Look at the verse itself and the surrounding verses to see the context. Just as location, location, and location are important in Real Estate so is context, context, context important in understanding the Bible. It has been said that a text without a context is a pretext. Beware of people who use verses out of context to make a point.

Example – The first time evil is used it is in contrast to good in Genesis 2:9 and in contextual verses. It is used again in Genesis 6:5 and linked to wickedness and to the genetic pollution caused by the cohabitation between supernatural beings and human women. Genesis 19:19 gives it a flavor of trouble and calamity that can befall a person as well. It is malicious in Genesis 37:20. It goes to Isaiah 45:7 as calamity and disaster for those who oppose God. It is malicious intent with violence in Matthew 5:39. It is trouble in Matthew 6:34. In context it is doing wrong in 1 Thessalonians 5:15 and verse 22. In 1 Timothy 6:10 it is associated with the consequences of greed and lusting for what you don’t have.

3. The use of AND. And can be used to unite like things for definition purposes;

Example – Cumbrance in Deuteronomy 1:12 is joined to burden and strife by “and”. The dictionary defines cumbrance as a burden, an obstacle, a hindrance, and trouble so cumbrance can be defined as a burden and a strife.

4. A colon can be used to give more definition to the clause preceding the colon.

Example – Proverbs 15:12; 1 Corinthians 15:33.

5. Words surrounding a word, when found in the verse in question or the verses in context can help define the word.

Example – Note the definition of “eschew” in 1 Peter 3:11 by looking at the words surrounding it and then what those same words surround in the previous verse 10.

6. Cross referencing verses – Sometimes a word can be defined by finding another verse in which it is used. This is a combination method with context. It can also mean a contrasting verse with a different word inserted in place of the word being defined

Example – See what “attain unto” means in Psalm 139:6 and Proverbs 1:5. Now, what does it mean in Phillippians 3:11?

Example – Reading Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18 how would you define the word “gospel”?

7. Parallel phrasing – Within the context of the same verse or nearby verses a word is defined by contrast with a parallel phrase in the same verse or context.

Example – What does create mean by virtue of parallel phrasing in Genesis 2:4?


1. Using the “Law of First Mention” and the use of the word “and” what is the definition of the word “judgment” going to be the majority of times throughout the Bible as per Genesis 18:19? Is that so? Look for any other uses of it.

2. Using the word “and” what is the difference between the word fear in Genesis 9:2 and Hebrews 12:28? Keeping that in mind why do you think Paul said what he did in 2 Timothy 1:7? What are Christians to dread based on 2 Timothy 1:7?

3. Using parallel phrasing within the same verse from where to where do breeches cover in Exodus 28:42? In modern parlance would you consider them underwear or trousers based on context?

4. Based on the context what is the difference between “salvation” in Exodus 14:13 and Ephesians 1:13?

5. If the house of God is the church in 1 Timothy 3:15 and the church is the people of God in 1 Corinthians 14:23 and the Christian’s body is the temple of God as per Ephesians 2:19-22 and 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 then how does the word “house” compare in 1 Timothy 3:15 with the two distinct definitions of “house” in Genesis 7:1 and Genesis 28:17? What is the main difference between “house of God” in the Old Testament and “house of God” in the New, after Christ’s resurrection?

6. What does perfect mean in Matthew 5:48 in relation to 1 Corinthians 13:10, 2 Timothy 3:17, and 2 Chronicles 8:16? Does it imply sinless perfection as we understand it?

7. If you read 1 Corinthians 13:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3, and 2 Peter 1:6,7 would you define charity as help, goods, or money given to the poor or would you define it as brotherly love?

8. Search for exceptions to the above mentioned rules.

Next: Doctrine made simple.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mark 7:3 commentary: traditions of men

3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

Traditions; Sunday School, bus ministries, Grandmother’s day, Church softball leagues, aerobics in the basement, patriotic displays, and the like plus many others may be very helpful and seem very pious and godly but are often easily confused with true worship. I’m sure you can think of traditions that may be based in Biblical principles or things that are really helpful in today’s world that churches do but aren’t what was a part of New Testament church practice. Sometimes even to question these things is considered not to be spiritual. When a Pastor prefers traditions over Bible reading, letting God speak to you daily and cleanse your heart, then he is condemning his congregation to powerlessness and there will be no Holy Spirit revival there.

It has often been a sort of joke in Baptist churches that something is done not for a Biblical reason but simply because that’s the way it’s always been done. No question can be made as to why it has to be that way. For centuries upon centuries Christians were even murdered by other so-called Christians over traditions.

Although in the first two centuries no church leader (called ‘father’ by scholars and Roman Catholics in spite of Christ’s admonition against the name in Matthew 23:9 referring to a religious leader as per Judges 17:10) even referred to infant baptism it did start to become a tradition to baptize babies in the paganized Christian churches. This practice is never mentioned in the Bible. But, as Christianity became more accepted and popular, even eventually receiving the approval of Roman emperors or, if not the approval, at least the leniency toward, pagan ideals and religious practices entered the Christian practice.

Men who had been trained in Greek philosophy like Justin Martyr began to speak of the regenerating effects of baptism and the paganized Christian churches began to think of baptism as a saving sacrament, as if that was the point at which you were saved. Infant baptism, sprinkling the child of Christian parents, then became a saving grace. This unbiblical error became popular and the true Christians soon became outnumbered by the many Christians who had one foot in the pagan world of Satan and one in the Christian kingdom of the Spirit. Whether they were really saved or not, it is not for me to say.

Baptismal regeneration and infant baptism go hand in hand as does now the idea that you can lose your salvation. You see, if an unknowing baby can be saved by being baptized then that same baby, then child, and then adult must be able to lose his or her salvation if they stray far from the fold or infant baptism makes no sense. So, heresy after heresy moving away from the authority of Scripture becomes orthodoxy, conventional wisdom, and if you question this tradition you can lose your freedom, your family, your property, and your life in the Dark Ages.

The person who re-baptizes someone as an adult who had been baptized as a baby was called an ana-baptist or rebaptizer and in many places and many times to do so was illegal. The Un-Biblical tradition became an oppression. Other traditions that developed over time as the tares of paganism became united with the Scripture believing Christian wheat included making the sign of the cross, wearing crucifixes and crosses, celebrating Christ’s birth, special Holy Days or holidays as we know them now, and certain modes of worship. I’m sure you can think of more.

Is it wrong to dedicate a baby to Christ and have the parent’s promise before the church that the child will be raised with the knowledge of Christ? Of course not, but the tradition became a heresy and then an oppression as people were murdered for their resistance to sprinkling their babies. Dare we permit any of our traditions to stand in the way of someone’s faith?

I was in a church service recently where we sang hymns and gospel songs, Christ and the Scripture were uplifted, and we prayed for each other, plus testimonies were given by all present, both sexes, regardless of age. This resembled the early church worship revealed in 1st Corinthians just before Paul warns about speaking in tongues (other human languages than the one spoken naturally by the speaker) which died out with the age of the Apostles;

1Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

This service reminded me of how far Christianity had moved away from the simplicity of Christ in the beginning with no sacred spaces except in the Christian’s heart and with a joyous and Christ directed worship that was noted for not only its spontaneity but in its active participation by all. Services have become monuments to dead formalism, and I would say, dead, pagan formalism of ritually repeated behaviors and speech.

Traditions aren’t necessarily bad ideas. But, none of us were saved by a tradition.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mark 7: 1-2 commentary: ritual hand washing and ritual church attendance

1 ¶ Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.

Leviticus 15:11 And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

Psalm 26:6 ¶ I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD:

Obviously, in this context, ‘defiled’ means unclean or unwashen. The Pharisees have a rule that in order to be spiritual and godly you must wash your hands before you eat. Now, we know that washing your hands is necessary for the prevention of many diseases. However, one of the marks of a Pharisee is regarding how you look on the outside, such as your manner of dress. Pharisees also judge others by the ritual they do. A Pharisee determines your spirituality by how faithful you are to church, to soul winning WITH the church, and how many church functions you attend. These things can be done by anyone who feels that they’ll get something positive for their lives out of being involved in these things but it does not determine how close they are to Christ. Usually, it involves adding to the Bible. For instance, Sunday School is not scriptural but it is a good thing, but to say that the health of your church depends upon the size of your Sunday School class is to belittle the scripture as being inconclusive or as having holes in it.

It has been proven time and time again that unsaved people and nominal Christians can attend church faithfully, and do all of the things that a Pastor would smile upon, such as come down to the front step on which the podium the preacher speaks from stands which fundamentalists like to call “the altar”, and it means absolutely nothing. These “aisle athletes” will come down to the “altar” every single service just about. This only shows that either they are not doing their duty throughout the week by getting on their face before God and dealing with their sins every day or that they are trying to get approval from the Pastor. These sheep are most likely not feeding themselves with God’s word the rest of the time in which they aren’t in church. Fundamentalist Pastors are not big on Bible reading because they have no control over it and they are usually too short sighted to realize that a Bible reading church will be a faithful church. There is also the possibility that a fundamentalist Pastor will be concerned that his errors of doctrine will be all to obvious to a congregation that knows true doctrine from reading the Bible daily and in great depth.

While Sadducees say “it’s all good” and have no standards of any import, the Pharisees mistake standards and separation for a relationship with Jesus Christ. Neither are correct. Sadducees have all sorts of Bible versions that say different things. The Pharisee has the correct Bible but twists the plain words of Scripture to justify their own convictions, as in teachings on whether or not a Pastor can have been divorced before he was saved or after if it was his wife who sinned against him, or whether or not animals have souls and spirits, or regarding eternal security, etc.

Sadducees and Pharisees both today mingle humanism and pop psychology in their sermons and make the Bible gibberish by using verses completely out of context to force the Bible to not only contradict itself but to mean things it doesn’t say.