Popular Un-Biblical Sayings and Adages

Last week, I submitted a post about some of my wife’s physical challenges and I made reference to that oft-repeated adage, “If you have your health, you have everything.” Well, as Christians we know that while it’s pleasant to have good health, it’s not the be all to end all. Our physical bodies have a limited shelf-life and as we age, the aches and pains increase and more serious illnesses begin to intrude. That’s obviously a generality. Many children have significant medical challenges. If you have Jesus, you have everything. Health, wealth, and all other temporal circumstances are fleeting.

There are many other sayings and adages that are used within popular American culture that are contrary to the Bible and sometimes, even we believers repeat them. Let’s take a look at a few more:

  • “We’re all God’s children” and “We all worship the same God.”

Everyone is God’s creation, but only those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone are adopted into God’s family. John 1:12

  • “He’s/she’s in a better place now.”

This one is quite popular at funerals, but in most cases the speaker presumes upon a nebulous “better place” that has no Biblical substance. Jesus said most souls are on the road to destruction. Matthew 7:13-14

  • “Nice guys finish last.”

The world teaches dog-eat-dog competition, but Jesus taught do unto others. Luke 6:31

  • “To thine ownself be true.”

We need to be true to God and His Word, not to our own imperfect ideas and opinions. Proverbs 21:2

  • “God helps those who help themselves.”

God certainly doesn’t want us to be lazy, but we should always have a a prayerful awareness that He is Lord and Master and sovereign over all of our circumstances, holding our very next breath in His hand. Psalm 62:5-12

  • “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Only God is good. This is a fallen world and we are all sinners deserving eternal punishment. Repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Mark 10:18

  • “She’s a real saint.”

All of those who repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior are saints. The Roman Catholic notion of individuals who are so holy that they were unquestionably able to merit Heaven and were canonized as “saints” is anti-Biblical. 1 Corinthians 1:2

  • “What goes around comes around.”

If all of us got what we deserved, we would all go straight to hell, but God is not the god of Hindu karma. The Good News! is “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

  • “A man was crossing the street when he was run over by a truck and died. He then walked up to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates…”

The above is a variation of the opening line of many a joke, that presupposes the Roman Catholic teaching that Peter and, by proxy, the pope and the Catholic church, control who enters into Heaven. Jesus Christ is the only Savior! Acts 4:12

  • “You only live once.”

An appeal to hedonism. All those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone are re-born spiritually and will live with Christ forever. Until the Lord takes us home, we are to devote our lives to serving Him. John 5:24

  • “It would be just my luck if…” or “With my luck…”

Luck is not part of a Christian’s reality. Romans 8:28

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There you have it, my short-list of un-Biblical adages and sayings. Can you think of any others? I’m certainly not volunteering as Deputy Barney Fife in charge of scrutinizing Christians’ use of popular anti-Biblical adages, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we (I’m including myself) should all be more careful with the words we use.

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The San Diego Padres’ First Half-Century

San Diego Padres: The First Half Century
Edited by Tom Larwin and Bill Nowlin
Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), 2019, 358 pp.

5 Stars

This year, the San Diego Padres are celebrating their 50th anniversary. I actually began following the Padres in 1970, their sophomore season. It’s been a bumpy ride, folks. San Diego is a smaller market compared to some of the higher-profile MLB cities, and the Padres just don’t have the money to regularly buy their way into the playoffs like the Dodger$ or Yankee$. But there’s several bright spots in the franchise’s history, like the trips to the World Series in 1984 and 1998.

Because residents of San Diego enjoy one of the finest climates in the U.S.A., they’re hard-pressed to sit in a stadium for three hours when there’s so many other things to do. The football Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2017 because the city wouldn’t help the team build a new stadium, but the fundamental issue was lack of fan support. Likewise, the Padres consistently draw below the MLB attendance average. Because of that lack of fan support, there just haven’t been many books written about the Padres over the years, so I’m grateful for this one, which commemorates the club’s fifty seasons.

There’s 66 chapters in this book collected under the following categories:

  • The Players – profiles of 25 former Padres
  • Managers, Executives, Media
  • Spring Training, Stadia, and The Chicken
  • Notable Padres Games
  • Facts, Figures, Trivia

I was happy to see the publication of this book, which celebrates the team’s first fifty years, and I thoroughly enjoyed some of the old memories. However, believe me when I tell you that ONLY an old Padres fan like myself would enjoy reading this fact-filled tome. One small criticism: Many of the player profiles include copious amounts of information about the players’ stints with other ball clubs, but most Padres’ fans would not be interested.

Postscript: At the All-Star break, the Padres had a promising 45-45 record. Since then, they’ve gone 5-11, losing five series in a row.

Oh, quit crying over a silly bee sting, you BIG BABY! 🐝😥

Last week, I submitted a post about some of my wife’s physical challenges and our need to cancel our vacation trip to Germany to visit our grandson. Now, I’d like to tell you about a HUGE medical problem that I had. Er, well, it actually wasn’t such a serious problem, but it was very bothersome nonetheless.

The Friday before last, it was a toasty ninety-degrees outside here in Rochester along with some very oppressive humidity. The forecast for Saturday was the same, so I was determined to mow the lawn and get it over with prior to the weekend. I was mowing the backyard and doing pretty well in the heat, when I suddenly felt a very sharp pain in my right leg. I looked down and noticed about ten angry bees buzzing around me. I had run over the home of some ground-nesting bees with the lawnmower and they obviously weren’t very happy with me. Overcome with anger at being stung, I marched into the garage and grabbed the insect spray and soaked that bees nest like nobody’s business. Not one of my better moments.

I finished mowing the back yard as well as the front and took a shower, especially concentrating on washing the area of the bee sting. I’ve had many bee stings over the course of 63 years and after the initial pain, they always faded away after a day or two. However, last summer I was walking along the Erie Canal path with my wife and a bee stung me in the foot. Over the course of a few days, the sting area swelled up and itched like crazy and I ended up seeing my doctor for some antibiotics. And just like that occurrence, the skin area of this new sting began to redden and swell up. I woke up at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning because the sting site was itching like crazy (photo above). I couldn’t go through another night like that so I went to a nearby Urgent Care facility and asked for some antibiotics. The doctor prescribed some Prednisone instead, and by Tuesday the pain, swelling, and itching had pretty much disappeared.

So why am I now so sensitive to bee stings? Ach, I’m falling apart.  It’s quite amazing how one little sting can have such a huge impact on your days and nights. Bees are a part of the Lord’s intricate creation and they do so much good by pollinating plants and flowers. I’m also a big fan of honey on my morning cereal. The bee population has dipped quite a bit due to insecticides and I surely didn’t help their cause. The bee sting and all of the drama over a little skin puncture reminded me that we live in a fallen world in frail tents of human flesh. Even a “little” accident or illness can thoroughly upset our entire apple cart and rock our world. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of my flimsy mortality and my dependence on You. And thanks, too, for doctors and medicine!

“The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:9-10

Postscript: What? There’s more to this whine fest? Just like something out of a bad “Twilight Zone” episode, as I was mowing the lawn this past Friday, I mowed over the same bees’ nest and was stung ONCE AGAIN, this time on the lower left leg (photo below left). I applied some over-the-counter anti-itch lotion, which was ineffective and ended up going to Urgent Care yesterday for another prescription of Prednisone. Must I now wear jeans and a long sleeve shirt when I mow? Needless to say, the underground bees’ nest took a major “hit” involving an incendiary liquid following this second incident (photo of charred remnants, below right).

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Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 7/27/19

The conflation of nationalism and religion has a long history in this country beginning with the arrival of the Plymouth separatists in 1620. Imagine, if you can, the apostle Paul proudly hanging a sign on one of the churches he planted with the words; “Corinth: Love It or Leave It!” So wrong.

Fifty-percent of Catholics believe communion is symbolic rather than the actual body and blood of Jesus as their church teaches. The majority of Catholics could not explain their church’s doctrines in any kind of detail and are even less knowledgeable regarding the Bible.

This liberal Catholic media source at least has the honesty to admit what conservative Catholics never would; that the RCC’s mandatory clerical celibacy rule both attracted and fostered sexual deviancy.

Conservative Catholics blame their church’s decline on Vatican II and would like to return to preconciliar militancy. But whether it’s conservative Catholicism or liberal Catholicism, the Gospel of grace is nowhere in sight.

Praise God for Leonardo De Chirico and the Rome Scholars and Leaders Network (RSLN) for instructing evangelical leaders about the errors of Roman Catholicism and the dangers of ecumenism.

This article is the last in a four-part series from the liberal National Catholic Reporter on the conservative Catholic media conglomerate, EWTN, that’s quite informative.

The “John 17 Movement” is just one of many efforts that ignore the irreconcilable doctrinal differences between Biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism in the cause of ecumenical false unity.

Although Roman Catholics who are faithful to their church’s teachings will unabashedly affirm that they believe in salvation by sacramental grace and merit, evangelical pastors and para-church organizations are increasingly pressured to recognize them as “brothers and sisters in Christ.” No one benefits by this compromising of the Gospel.

This satire reminds me of the first Gospel-preaching church we attended, which definitely had its list of “pet” sins while ignoring others.

What Does It Mean To Be Filled With The Holy Spirit?

The older I’m getting, the more I enjoy and count on a slower-paced routine. The last couple of weeks have been a bit frazzled, so I thought it might be a good time to get caught up on a few of these short, Spotlight on Scripture booklets from John MacArthur that I’ve accumulated over the last several months rather than dive into another thick book in the queue.

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What Does It Mean To Be Filled With The Holy Spirit?
Spotlight on Scripture
By John MacArthur
Grace to You, 2016, 11 pp.

I enjoyed this short booklet, which expounds on the meaning of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Of course, our Pentecostal and charismatic brethren have built an entire belief system based on the experiential “gifts of the spirit” (glossolalia, healing, prophecy). MacArthur is an outspoken cessationist when it comes to questions about the apostolic gifts, but he only briefly alludes to that controversy in this booklet.

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” – Ephesians 5:18-21

MacArthur states that being filled with the Holy Spirit is a conscious choice on the believer’s part to yield moment by moment to the leading of the indwelling Spirit (p. 3) and that this involves three facets:

Pressure – Illustrated by wind billowing the sails of a ship, a yielding believer allows the Holy Spirit to move/carry him/her in the proper directions.

Permeation – A yielding Christian allows the Spirit to work in all aspects of their being like an Alka Seltzer tablet completely permeates a glass of water. The more we study and prayerfully reflect on God’s Word, the more the Holy Spirit can make the Word a part of us.

Domination – A Spirit-filled Christian allows the Spirit to control and direct every emotion, thought, and act of the will.

Practical consequences of being Spirit-filled as stated in our passage and discussed in the booklet include:

  • Singing to the Lord
  • Giving thanks to the Lord
  • Submitting to other believers

This excellent, little booklet challenges us to abandon our claim to control over our life and begin to submit to the filling of the Holy Spirit. You can read the entire booklet for free at Grace to You, here.

Postscript: One thing I’ve learned over the years is the more we know the Lord, the more we are humbled by His holiness and grateful for His grace. The proud, judgmental Christian who believes they’re filled with the Spirit may need the genuine filling of the Spirit most of all.

Throwback Thursday: Patron gods and patron “saints”

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment! Today, we’re revisiting a slightly re-edited post that was first published back on September 25th, 2015.

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Pagan Rome had a very long list of gods who each presided over a certain activity or occupation. Pagan worshipers prayed to their patron god and to other gods as various circumstances and needs arose. As Christianity strengthened its position within the Empire and became increasingly institutionalized, the church’s message devolved from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior into ritualism and legalism. Heathen beliefs and practices were adapted by the church to attract and assuage pagan “converts.” In place of worshiping and petitioning pagan gods, the church substituted “venerating” and praying to “saints” who had jurisdiction over specific occupations and activities. By semi-deifying these “saints” and directing veneration and devotion (aka worship) to them, the Catholic church violates the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:3.  Nowhere in all of Scripture is there even one example of a follower of God praying to anyone other than to Him.

Praise the Lord for leading me out of the ritualism, legalism, and the man-made traditions of Roman Catholicism and for His salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone! Evangelicals should be repulsed by such an anti-Biblical belief system instead of accommodating it.

Below is a partial list of the Roman Catholic “saints” and the occupations and activities they allegedly oversee. At the very bottom is a link to a similar list of Roman pagan gods.

Agabus – prophecy
Adrian of Nicomedia – arms dealers, butchers, guards, soldiers
Agatha – bakers, bellmaking, nurses
Albertus Magnus – natural scientists
Alexander of Comana – charcoal-burners
Alexius – belt makers and nurses
Aloysius Gonzaga – Catholic students, Jesuit scholastics
Amand – bartenders, brewers, innkeepers, merchants, vine growers, vintners, boy scouts
Ambrose of Milan – bee keepers, wax-melters and refiners
Anastasius the Fuller – fullers, weavers
Andrew the Apostle – fishmongers, fishermen
Andrew Kim – clergy of Korea
Ann – miners, equestrians, stablemen, French-Canadian voyageurs, cabinet makers, homemakers and sailors
Ansovinus – gardeners
Anthony Mary Claret – weavers
Anthony the Abbot – basket-makers, swineherds, motorists, gravediggers
Anthony of Padua – those seeking lost items or people, nomadic travelers, brush makers, women seeking a husband,
Antipas – dentists
Apollonia – dentists
Arnold of Soissons – brewers
Arnulph – millers
Augustine of Hippo – brewers, printers, and theologians

Barbara – miners, artillerymen, military engineers and firemen, Italian marines, architects, builders, foundry workers, fireworks makers, Mathematicians, geoscientists, stonemasons, servicemen of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces
Bartholomew the Apostle – tanners, leatherworkers, curriers, plasterers
Basil the Great – hospital administrators
Basilides – Italian prison officers
Basilissa – nursing mothers
Benedict of Nursia – farmers, farmhands, engineers, architects, Italian speleologists, husbandry, heraldry and officers of arms
Bénézet – bridge-builders
Benno – fishermen
Bernadette of Lourdes – shepherds, shepherdesses
Bernardine of Feltre – pawnbrokers, bankers
Bernardine of Siena – advertisers
Bernard of Clairvaux – bee keepers, wax melters and refiners
Bernard of Menthon – mountaineers, skiers
Bernard of Vienne – farmers, farmhands, husbandry
Bernward of Hildesheim – architects
Blaise – veterinarians, wool combers, town criers and weavers
Boethius – philosophy
Bona of Pisa – flight attendants, travelers, specifically couriers, guides, pilgrims
Botulph – farmers, farmhands, husbandry
Brendan the Navigator – mariners, seafarers, sailors, those traveling by sea
Brigid of Ireland – dairy workers, medicine/healers

Cajetan – unemployed, gamblers, odd lot dealers, and of job seekers
Camillus of Lellis – nurses, hospital workers
Cassian of Imola – shorthand writers, stenographers, school teachers, parish clerks
Catherine of Alexandria – tanners, librarians, nurses, philosophers, preachers
Catherine of Siena – nurses
Cecilia – musicians
Charles Borromeo and Robert Bellarmine – Catechists
Christina the Astonishing – millers, psychiatrists
Christopher – travelers, surfers, athletes, drivers, pilots (his actual existence is now in serious doubt so the infallible Catholic church has downgraded Christopher to only half a saint – excatholic4christ).
Clare of Assisi – goldsmiths, gilders, laundry workers, needleworkers
Claude – sculptors
Clement – stonecutters
Columbanus – motorcyclists
Cosmas – doctors, pharmacists, surgeons, barbers
Germaine Cousin – shepherdesses
Crispin – tanners, shoemakers, cobblers, leatherworkers, curriers, saddle-makers
Cuthbert – shepherds
Cuthman – shepherds

Damian – doctors, pharmacists, surgeons
Dismas – undertakers
Dominic – astronomers, astronomy, scientists
Dominic de la Calzada – civil engineers
Dominic of Silos – shepherds
Dorothea of Caesarea – horticulture, florists, brewers
Drogo – shepherds, coffee house keepers, coffee house owners
Dunstan – blacksmiths, goldsmiths
Dunstan and Venerius the Hermit – lighthouse keepers
Dymphna – mental health professionals, therapists

Edward the Confessor – kings
Eligius – veterinarians, farriers, farmers, farmhands, husbandry, harness makers, goldsmiths, jewelers, Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers soldiers, numismatists
Elisabeth of Hungary – nursing services, bakers
Elizabeth Seton – sailors
Erasmus of Formiae or Elmo – pyrotechnicians, steeplejacks, chimney sweeps, sailors and anyone who works at great heights
Ephrem the Syrian – spiritual directors and spiritual leaders
Eustachius – hunters, firefighters, trappers

Ferdinand III – engineers
Fiacre – taxi-drivers, horticulturists, gardeners
Florian – firefighters, chimney sweeps
Foillan – dentists, surgeons, truss-makers, children’s nurses
Frances of Rome – automobile drivers
Francis de Sales – writers/authors, journalists
Francis of Assisi – ecologists, animal welfare, and rights workers
Francis Caracciolo – chefs

Archangel Gabriel – diplomats, ambassadors, communications workers, postal workers, emergency dispatchers, police dispatchers, broadcasters, messengers, and radio/television workers.
Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows – students, seminarians, clerics, a society exists whose goal is to have Gabriel declared the patron saint of handgunners
Gangulphus – tanners, shoemakers
Gemma Galgani – students, pharmacists
Genesius – actors, comedians, clowns, dancers, theatrical performers of all kinds, also attorneys, barristers, lawyers
George – agricultural workers, archers, armourers, boy scouts, butchers, cavalry, Crusaders, equestrians, farmhands, farmers, field hands, field workers, horsemen, husbandry, knights, riders, Rover Scouts, saddle makers, saddlers, scouts, shepherds, soldiers, Teutonic Knights (policemen and firefighters in Brazil).
Giles – beggars, spur makers
Gregory the Great – teachers
Gottschalk – linguists, princes, translators
Gummarus – lumberjacks
René Goupil – anesthesiologists

Hervé – bards, musicians
Homobonus – businessmen, tailors, and clothworkers
Honorius of Amiens (Honoratus) – bakers, confectioners, bakers of holy wafers, candle-makers, florists, flour merchants, oil refiners, and pastry chefs
Hubertus – hunters, furriers
Hunna – laundresses, laundry workers, washerwomen

Isidore the Farmer – farmers, farmhands, husbandry, manual laborers
Isidore of Seville – computer scientists, software engineers, computer programmers, computer technicians, computer users, schoolchildren, students
Ignatius of Loyola – Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, Society of Jesus,soldiers, Educators and Education.

Jadwiga of Poland – queens
James, son of Zebedee – veterinarians, equestrians, furriers, tanners, pharmacists
James, son of Alphaeus – pharmacists
Jerome – librarians, translators, spectacle makers
Joan of Arc – Soldiers
John the Almoner – Knights Hospitaller
John the Apostle – tanners
John the Baptist – farriers, bird dealers, Knights Hospitaller.
John of Damascus – makers of images of the crucifix
John the Evangelist – editors, authors, art dealers, tanners, and theologians
John of God – hospital workers, nurses, booksellers
John Baptist de la Salle – teachers of youth
John Bosco – apprentices, editors, printers/publishers
John Gualbert – foresters
John Vianney – priests
Joseph – cabinetmakers, carpenters, craftsmen, laborers, workers, and working people
Joseph of Arimathea – funeral directors, tinsmiths
Joseph of Cupertino – air travelers, aviators, astronauts, test takers, poor students
Joshua – intelligence professionals
John of Capistrano – jurists
Jude (also known as Jude Thaddeus) – police officers, hospital workers, lost (or impossible) causes
Julian the Hospitaller – shepherds, boatmen
Justa and Rufina – potters

Kateri – ecologists, environmentalists, Thomasites

Lawrence – librarians, students, tanners, cooks (having been martyred by roasting alive on a gridiron), comedians.
Leodegar – millers
Lidwina – ice skaters
Luke the Evangelist – doctors, surgeons, artists, painters, notaries

Madeleine Sophie Barat – school girls
Marcellin Champagnat – education and teachers
Margaret of Antioch – nurses
Martha – dieticians, cooks
Mary Magdalene – tanners, hairdressers, pharmacists
Magnus of Avignon – fish dealers, fishmongers
Albertus Magnus – chemists, medical technicians
Macarius of Unzha, Venerable – craftsmen, merchants, travelers
Malo – pig-keepers
Martin of Tours – soldiers
Matthew – accountants, tax collectors, bankers, bookkeepers, joiners, custom agents, security guards, perfumers,
Maturinus – comic actors, jesters, clowns, sailors (in Brittany), tinmen (in Paris) and of plumbers.
Maurice and Lydia – dyers
Maurice – infantrymen
Michael the Archangel – soldiers, paramedics, paratroopers, police officers, security officers

Nicholas of Myra – sailors, fishermen, merchants, pharmacists, archers, pawnbrokers, lawyers in Paris bar
Nicholas of Tolentine – Mariners
Notburga – farmers, farmhands, husbandry

Our Lady of Salambao – fishermen
Our Lady of Loreto – aviators

Pantaleon – doctors, midwives, physicians
Patrick – engineers
Paul the Apostle – hospital public relations
Peter the Apostle – popes, fishermen, fishmongers, sailors, bakers, harvesters, butchers, glass makers, carpenters, shoemakers, clockmakers, blacksmiths, potters, bridge builders, cloth makers
Peter of Alcantara – guards
Peter Damian – traceurs/freerunners
Phocas the Gardener – farmers, farmhands, husbandry
Pope John XXIII – Papal delegates
Pope Celestine V – bookbinders
Piran – tinners, tin miners
Philip – Special Forces

Quentin – bombardiers, chaplains, locksmiths, porters, tailors, and surgeons

Raphael the Archangel – doctors, pharmacists, nurses, shepherds, matchmakers, travelers[19]
Raymond Nonnatus – midwives, obstetricians
Raymond of Penyafort – medical record librarians, Canon lawyers
Rebekah – physicists
Regina – shepherdesses
John Regis – medical social workers
Reinold – Stonemasons
Roch – surgeons, tile-makers, second-hand dealers, gravediggers
Rose of Lima – embroiderers, gardeners

Sebastian – soldiers, athletes
Severus of Avranches – silk and wool makers, drapers; milliners and hatters
Simon – tanners
Solange – shepherdesses
Stephen – bricklayers, casketmakers, deacons, altar servers

Tatiana of Rome – students
Theobald of Provins – Farmers, winegrowers, shoemakers, beltmakers, charcoal-burners
Thérèse of Lisieux – florists, aviators, missionaries
Thomas – architects, politicians
Thomas Aquinas – students, teachers, academics
Thomas Becket – diocesan priests
Thomas More – politicians, statesmen, lawyers, civil servants, court clerks

Urban of Langres – vine-growers, vine-dressers, gardeners, vintners, and coopers
Ursula – archers, orphans, students

Valentine – beekeeping
Veronica – laundry workers; photographers
Vincent of Saragossa – winemakers
Vincent de Paul – hospital workers
Vincent Ferrer – builders
Vitus – comedians, dancers

Walstan – farmers, farmhands, husbandry
Winnoc – millers
Wolbodo – students
Wolfgang of Regensburg – woodworkers, woodcarvers

Frances Xavier Cabrini – hospital administrators

Yves – lawyers

Zeno of Verona – fishermen
Zita – domestic servants, waiters

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patron_saints_of_occupations_and_activities

Below is a link to a similar list of Roman gods and their particular realms of jurisdiction:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_deities

“No thanks. The old is good.”

I’m currently reading through the Gospel of Luke in my personal daily devotion time, and I’d like to focus on one portion of the text, Luke 5:27-39 (see here for reference).

At the beginning of this passage, Jesus calls Levi/Matthew, a thoroughly despised tax collector, to follow Him (vv. 27-28). We’re then told Matthew put together a large feast at his house and invited many of his friends to attend so that they could listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees were scandalized that Jesus associated with those notorious sinners, to which He replied that He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance  (vv. 29-32). Not content with that, and observing what must have been quite a banquet, the Pharisees then pointed out that the disciples of John the Baptist and their own followers fasted often, but that Jesus’ disciples were having a grand time enjoying what was undoubtedly a very lavish dinner. Jesus replied that the time was coming, when He would be gone, and His followers would then fast (vv. 33-35). Then Jesus told the familiar parables about not using a patch from a new piece of cloth to repair an old garment because it would shrink after being washed and rip the garment, and not putting new wine into old wineskins because the wine would ferment, expand, and burst the inelastic old skins (vv. 36-38). Jesus then sums up with the statement that appears only in Luke,

“And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good’” (v. 39).

That’s an amazing statement that sometimes gets overlooked in the retelling of the patch and wineskins parables. Jesus is referring directly to the Pharisees and their beloved religion of legalism, ritual, and ceremony. The Pharisees knew from their vast knowledge of Scripture that a promised Messiah would someday come as a Savior, but they interpreted Messianic Scripture passages as referring to a temporal deliverer, not as a personal Redeemer from sin. The Pharisees were very religious men and were proud of their severe piety, which they assumed would merit their salvation. They cherished their complicated rabbinical Judaism and were outraged by this itinerant Nazarene preacher who seemed to them to be challenging all that they held so dear with His “new” teachings.

Verse 39 was directed toward the Pharisees, but also has application for today. The “new wine” Gospel message of early Christianity devolved over the centuries into an institution with catalog after catalog of impersonal rituals, ceremonies, and religious rules. The Roman Catholic church had, in effect, become the purveyors of a revamped Levitical priesthood and a complex sacrificial religious system. The new way had been transformed back into the old way. The priests and bishops had, in effect, taken up the role of the Pharisees and, for them, the old way was good. That development is not at all surprising. As the apostle Paul relates in his epistles, “old wine” Judaizers were constantly infiltrating the church even during the time of his ministry.

For the Catholic clergy,

…the priesthood seemed right to them, even though the veil of the Jerusalem temple was rent in twain and the human priesthood was abolished.

…ongoing sacrifice for sin seemed right to them, even though Jesus ended sacrifice for sin by His once-for-all-time sacrifice on Calvary.

…meriting salvation seemed right to them, even though God’s Word says no one can possibly merit salvation.

For them, the old was good.

The Catholic priests and prelates certainly talk about Jesus. They even refer to Jesus as “Savior.” But the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone is repugnant to them. They claim that the old religion of perpetual sacrifice and merited salvation is better.

I praise God for raising up the 16th-century Reformers to reclaim the “new wine” Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone!

Thoughts on Bible study aids and Christian books and periodicals

Every so often, I’ll read something from a Christian blogger about how, when it comes to information about spiritual matters, we should only read God’s Word because everything else is just sinful man’s opinion.* For some reason, the person doesn’t consider that THEY are sending out posts weighing-in on spiritual matters and that they also regularly read the writings of fellow Christian bloggers. In addition, their pastor routinely uses Bible study aids in preparing his sermons. Bible study aids and other resources written by faithful, doctrinally orthodox Christians can be a big help in understanding and applying Scripture, but, of course, we must use discernment. Not everyone has been given the gift to teach and many in this world who claim to be followers of Christ are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing. If you’re getting your theology from just about anyone on TBN, you’re going to be in trouble. See my previous post on the benefits of a few key Bible study aids here.

Back thirty-six years ago, when I first accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, I subscribed to a couple of Christian publications for a year or two. “Moody Monthly” and the bi-weekly “Sword of the Lord” were helpful resources, although the Sword began to grate on me due to its support of Falwellism and a few other things. These days, there’s so much information – good and bad – on the internet that hardcopy periodicals are struggling to survive. However, I currently receive the “Banner of Truth” (printed monthly out of the U.K.) and the “Ulster Bulwark” (printed quarterly from Northern Ireland) and I enjoy both of these short (32 pp. and 20 pp. respectively) publications. For me, it’s actually helpful that the writers are non-Americans because we American Christians tend to forget that there are brothers and sisters in the Lord outside of the U.S. borders. I first heard about the “Banner of Truth” via Alistair Begg’s daily radio broadcast, but I don’t recall how I hooked up with the “Ulster Bulwark.”

The contents of the most recent issues are listed below. If you subscribe to a Christian publication that you enjoy and encourages you in your walk with the Lord, I’d appreciate hearing about it.


Banner of Truth – July, 2019

Contents

  • Brilliant and Blind (essay on atheist, Stephen Hawking)
  • The Life of Arthur W. Pink, Part 4.
  • Understanding Habbakuk, Part 3
  • News and Comments
  • The First Sermon Preached at Grove Chapel, Camberwell
  • Jonathan Edwards on the Love of God
  • Jeroboam the Worship Leader (the title is sardonic)
  • Change: A Virtue or a Slogan? In this article, the author favorably quotes G.K. Chesterton. Another case of chewing the meat and spitting out the bones. Why do Christian writers feel the need to quote Roman Catholics who propagate a false gospel of works salvation? They should know better.
  • Book Reviews

The Banner of Truth Magazine


Ulster Bulwark – July thru September, 2019

Contents

  • How should you treat rulers you disagree with?
  • Walsingham Betrayal (essay regarding Mariolatry vs. the Mary of the Bible)
  • Adolphe Monod’s Farewell (essay on 19th century French Protestant pastor)
  • He’s Gained His Angel’s Wings (critique of the popular funeral saying)
  • Archbishop Thomas Cranmer
  • Belfast’s Day of Shame (Belfast Marathon held on Sunday, conflicting with church services)
  • Book Review

The Ulster Bulwark

*Postscript: Some people are just not big readers. If, for them, it comes down to either reading God’s Word or books and articles written by Christians, they should definitely just concentrate on God’s Word.

“If you have your health, you have everything.” Huh?

Well, friends, I’m “supposed” to be in Germany right now. ☹️ Yup, my wife and I had bought our airline tickets back in April for a July 15-25 vacation visiting with our twelve-year-old grandson in Martinshöhe in southwest Germany. But “life intervened” as it often does.

Many of you know my wife fractured her femur bone last November when she fell in the bathroom tub. She’s been recovering very well from that injury. The bone has knitted together nicely and she only has a slight limp at this point. But my wife also has a scoliosis and cranial asymmetry condition that she’s been dealing with all of her life. Very similar to the circumstances when she broke the same femur bone thirty-five years ago, the leg injury exacerbated the chronic spinal/cranial discomfort and pain. We’re grateful her new doctor is very familiar with her specific spinal/cranial condition (most aren’t), but the physical therapy he prescribed is also a bit unsettling as expected. As the vacation date loomed closer and closer, my wife vascillated daily as to whether she felt well enough to travel, and on July 13 we contacted the airline and our relatives in Germany and regrettably told them we wouldn’t be coming.

There’s a very popular saying out there that goes something along the lines of, “If you have your health, you have everything.” Say what? How true is that? MANY people are dealing with serious health problems, and if you’re not, just wait. At some point, EVERY person is going to have a major health problem/s. Our bodies are finite, which most people try not to think about. Because of sin, it’s a fallen world and a few of the consequences are the inevitable deterioration of our bodies and finally, death. But Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin by His death on the cross and He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and extends the free gift of salvation and eternal life to all those who repent of sin and accept Him as their Savior by faith alone. That’s VERY good news, but the majority of people want nothing to do with Jesus Christ. If you enjoy excellent health right now, that’s a good thing, but it’s only temporary. Accept Christ. The old adage should read, “If you have Jesus Christ, you have everything.”

“Sickness teaches us that we must look elsewhere for the purpose of life, than in ourselves; and that we live not just to be happy upon earth, but to glorify God. And this we can do in sickness as well as in health, often better. Let us, then, learn from all of the sicknesses and sufferings of life, and from all that the Word of God teaches us, that our time belongs to God, and our only concern must be to use it for His glory.” – Adolphe Monad, French evangelical pastor, 1802-1856

Postscript: The last time we visited our German grandson was in April 2016, which included a rather humorous episode (see here). His father (our son) and mother divorced last year, but they weren’t together all that much following the wedding. After a couple of years of being stationed at Ramstein AFB in Germany where he met our grandson’s mother, our son was reassigned to several bases in the U.S. (as well as voluntary stints in Afghanistan and Iraq), but our daughter-in-law opted to remain behind in Germany and live with her parents in order to complete her college education, which took a very long time because she could only attend school part-time. Not the best circumstances for a marriage.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 7/20/19

This past week, the diocese of Orange, California officially dedicated positivity-gospeler, Robert Schuller’s former Crystal Cathedral as a Catholic cathedral (above photo). The grandiose complex continues as a Gospel-less, whited sepulchre. Joel Osteen cites Schuller as a major inspiration, while Schuller took his cue from president Trump’s positivity-gospel “pastor,” Norman Vincent Peale.

It’s encouraging to see the Gospel making inroads into such a spiritually dead place as France.

Roman Catholics are obligated to attend mass each and every Sunday under threat of soul-damning mortal sin, although only 20% of American Catholics comply. If there are dangerous circumstances, as there were recently with Hurricane Barry, which prevent Catholics from attending mass safely, the local bishop will grant a dispensation, exempting them from their obligation. This type of exacting religious legalism leads to innumerable questions regarding various contingencies, which even Rome’s bevy of canon lawyers would be unable to answer.

The American Catholic church has a serious problem with declining membership and we’re starting to see a number of programs sprouting up aimed at convincing lapsed members to return. What would be their motivation? The pope has said even atheists can merit Heaven if they are “good.” The Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone has no part in any of this.

Some Catholics are offended by the term, “Roman Catholic,” and prefer to be called  simply “Catholic.” “Roman Catholic” is actually an oxymoron because “Roman” refers to a specific location, while “Catholic” means “universal” (Greek καθολικός, katholikos). Roman Catholics concede that evangelical Protestants have “some” of the truth, but that the Catholic church alone transmits the fullness of divine revelation. In actuality, the RCC is so steeped in its man-made traditions, that it transmits very little Biblical truth.

EWTN, the conservative Catholic media conglomerate founded by Mother Angelica aka Rita Rizzo, is subtly leading the opposition against progressive pope Francis.

Pastor Leonardo De Cherico provides an insightful look at the rise of Mariolatry.

Funny stuff. I’ll keep quiet about Trump, but I attended a Baptist church thirty-five-years ago that majored on the “cardinal” sins: drinking, smoking, dancing, card playing, and listening to rock music. Going to the movie theater, also a major no-no at many Baptist fellowships at that time, was OK at our church because the pastor was a martial arts enthusiast who loved rock ’em, sock ’em action movies.