What Do Real Christians Do?

Are you doing what is sufficient? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in one side of Christianity and think that’s where the real Christians are. I recently had to read a book on missions for a class and I remember at one point, one contributor (Each chapter written by another person) was talking about the people who go on missions and saying “These are the people who are really living out the gospel!”

So, everyone who has not been on a mission at all, you are not living out the gospel apparently.

Now I am going through one on evangelism and when talking about evangelism, well this is what real Christians have been doing for centuries.

So if you struggle with doing evangelism, are you not a real Christian?

I could easily list other examples. Why, if you’re a real Christian, you will be speaking in tongues! If you are a real Christian, you’re fasting! If you’re a real Christian, you pay that tithe! If you’re a real Christian, this is how much you study the Bible every day! If you’re a real Christian, you can pray for this long every day!

Also, yes, this includes my own field. It can be tempting for someone like me to say “Real Christians devote themselves to studying apologetics.” I’m sure at some points in my life I have thought that, but the thing is, I know plenty of real Christians who don’t. Am I about to say my own mother isn’t a real Christian, for example? What about my Dad or my sister or her husband?

Speaking for me, for missions, I wouldn’t mind doing one someday, but when I was staying with a friend in Florida for a wedding once, I had to make arrangements based on my diet beforehand. Being on the spectrum, I’m awfully finicky. Before I go somewhere, I want to make sure I can handle it on the spectrum.


Look. I’m an exception in that I will happily stand before a crowd to do public speaking. I thrive on that. One of the great joys of the internet is that I can better communicate with people this way and share Christian truth with them. I have met more and more people I have been able to help on the internet. Get me out talking to total strangers though and I am completely quiet for the most part.

The problem with when we say that this is what real Christians do or serious Christians do, we marginalize those who don’t and can lead them to question if they are a real Christian. I am not saying that these things are necessarily bad things. I don’t agree with everything I have listed on the claims, but the mindset is pretty much always the same.

So what do real Christians do?

Well, John said we must walk as Jesus walked. That seems sufficient enough. I think I could say it this way also. We should at least be striving to do that. None of us will be perfect, but we will try.

So if you want to know if you’re a real Christian, what I would encourage you to ask yourself is this question. Am I living more like Jesus every day? Am I showing love to God and to my neighbor more? This doesn’t mean an emotional response, but how you live. Is your life lining up?

If so, then yes, you are being a real Christian. Now could you want to go on a mission? Fine. Go ahead. Do you want to go out and do evangelism with people? Fine. Go ahead. Can you pray for an hour? Can you study the Bible this much? Can you give away this much to the church? Fine. Do what you can.

But make all of those secondary to walking like Jesus.

As Augustine said, “Love God, and live as you please.”

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

False Common Knowledge: All Sin Is The Same In God’s Eyes

Does God really see all sin as the same? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There are some ideas that are so commonly heard in the church that most of us never question them. The problem is that if we never question them, they are assumed at the start when really, there’s no basis for them. One common one is one I heard recently and it occurred to me I have never written about as far as I can remember. This is the idea that all sin is the same in God’s eyes.

Let’s suppose you never had a police record at all. Then one day you’re going down the interstate and you wind up going 20 MPH over the speed limit. An officer pulls you over and lo and behold, you no longer have a perfect record. It just takes one ticket to do that.

Let’s suppose again you never had a police record at all. Then one day your neighbor is playing loud music way too much and you go over to his house and when he opens the door you pull out a gun and shoot him several times in the chest resulting in his death. You go back over to your place thinking no one else saw you and no need to arouse suspicion, but you were heard and the police come over and arrest you. You no longer have a perfect record. One crime did that.

With sin, all it takes is one to remove a perfect record, but that does not mean that all the sins are the same any more than speeding and murder are the same.

In John 19:11, Jesus says to Pilate that the one who handed Him over is guilty of a greater sin. In the Gospels, Jesus also says the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this age or the age to come. He says that if someone leads a child to stumble, it would be better for him to have a millstone attached to him and be thrown into the sea.

In the epistles, Paul writes to the church in Corinth that is heavily messed up and calls them out for many sins, but when he gets to the man who is sleeping with his father’s wife, he says to hand this one over to Satan. He says that some have died because of how they handled the Lord’s Supper. He regularly has listings of sins that if one is practicing these shows that he is not of the kingdom.

If we look at the Old Testament, we see there were some sins that led to death and some that led to much lesser penalties. We see from Jesus that the Old Testament had some commandments that were greater than others. (Which wouldn’t make much sense if all sins were the same.) We also see the dilemmas caused with the question of Rahab and the Hebrew midwives lying. If all sins are the same, then does it really matter?

I really can think of no Scripture that gives any indication that all sins are the same. Somehow, we got this idea and it has been spoken so much that we have come to believe it. It just isn’t so. We should strive to avoid all sins to be sure, but that does not mean all sins are the same.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: In God We Doubt Part 11

What are we to expect from religious rituals? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So in these chapters, and if you’re curious the book has 20 chapters and we’re on 15 and 16, Humphrys talks about the church experience and there is so much to say here. Humphrys says he’s fine with something like shaking hands a nod to someone he’s not nearby, but having to give hugs to show you’re brothers and sisters in Christ is too far. I really agree. My problem with a lot of so-called “manners” in today’s society from someone on the spectrum is that it seems fake.

You have a number of people that engage in small talk with you and ask how you’re doing that day, but then the rest of the week, they don’t reach out to you at all. They’re a no-show. It’s hard to think someone is truly your brother and sister in Christ when the only display you get from them is one that seems fake.

A big problem we have in many churches is we’re really all about joy, and joy is great, but many of us in the Christian life can also be miserable at times. I’m thankful that when I came to Tennessee again before living in New Orleans where I am now, I found a church that was connected with DivorceCare and I was allowed to be someone hurting there. One of the greatest gifts a Christian can give a fellow Christian who is struggling is to let them know it’s okay to hurt and be there when they are.

Another story in these chapters is one Humphrys received from a lady who had been brought up in the Church of England and thought when she got confirmed that something incredible would happen to her.

It didn’t.

Now for me, I would say that this is okay. Unfortunately, this has not been the experience in many churches. Go to your average church. Find out how much the emphasis is on how you feel about what is going on.

Do you feel God here today?

Do you feel the Spirit?

Can you feel the love tonight?

Oh. Sorry. Song lyric got in here. How did that happen?

Is our relationship with God supposed to give butterflies in the stomach like falling in love? (Which also isn’t a sign of real love anyway. That’s another problem we have. When the feeling fades, we think the love has faded. Of course, there can be no harm taking that to our walk with God.) No feeling lasts forever. Your walk with God will ebb and flow and if it’s dependent on your feelings, you’re going to be in for a hard time.

I can also add in people expect to hear the voice of God. Do you want to hear God speak? Go to Scripture. His word there is still just as valid as it was the day it was written.

Also, keep in mind that there are plenty of people in your church who are much more on the emotional side and they will understand the idea of feeling God. There are many who are not who will not. They are not deficient. It’s a shame that we live in a day and age in the church where being seen as an intellectual is seen as detracting from your walk with God.

This is one benefit also of reading non-Christian literature. You understand why they don’t accept us from their own words and you can be open to things in our approach that are wrong. The emphasis on experience is one. Sometimes grand things will happen. That’s fine. Sometimes they won’t. That’s fine too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: The Trinity

What do I think of Gilles Emery’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Emery’s book is stated to be a book on Catholic doctrine on the triune God. That being said, the Trinity is a doctrine for all branches of Christianity. If you are Protestant or Orthodox, there is still a lot you can get from this book.

Actually, as I read it, I found myself thinking the book read very much like a Protestant book on the Trinity could read. This is not at all to knock Catholics or imply that they are thinking like Protestants, but I did see the constant emphasis on pointing to Scripture primarily. About the only major difference it looks to me is that Catholics tend to cite more Catholic sources and Protestants tend to cite more Protestant sources. A Protestant like myself would not likely go and cite the Catechism in order to demonstrate the Trinity.

Something else refreshing is that while Emery is writing about deep topics, and sometimes it could be hard to follow, generally, it isn’t. Emery doesn’t come off as if he’s writing to academics. He’s writing to the layman, but at the same time, he is encouraging the layman to go deeper. You will find talk about divine simplicity, for instance, and how that works with the Trinity.

Yet as you are going into these “deeper waters” (couldn’t resist) of the Trinity, Emery takes your hand step by step. This is not a sudden plunge. This is a gradual wading as the Trinity is explained at a steady rate until one gets into the deeper topics. You start with just examining the confessions of the Trinitarian faith and then end with discussing the saving action of the Trinity.

For instance, consider the word God. What does this mean? It is a mistake of groups like the JWs and others to assume that God means Father. The first mistake these groups make is the assumption that God is unipersonal. If you make a one-to-one equivalent of God and Father, you have a problem, but if you realize God is not referring to a person alone but rather speaks of a nature that is fully embraced by a tripersonal being, it fits.

Thus, when we say Jesus is God, it is easy to take that to mean that Jesus is the Trinity or some modalistic sense, but what is really meant is that Jesus is a person who fully possesses the nature of God. The same applies to the Spirit and the Father. This doesn’t mean that there is no difference in relation as the Father is usually seen as the origin and the Son and Spirit exist both because the Father exists as well.

The Trinity is not an easy doctrine to understand, if one can really understand it all as it is more likely to be apprehended. However, with resources like Emery’s, Christians can have a better grasp on it. I recommend this reading not just to Catholics, but to Protestants and to Orthodox as well. The chapters are long, but not too long. A dedicated reader can go through one per day and thus finish the book in a week, a worthwhile investment.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Why The Gospel?

What do I think of Matthew Bates’s newest book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Matthew Bates is a friend of mine and when he got in touch with me about his newest book, I was happy to help out. Something I really like about Bates is that I see him as a scholar for the people. He is writing books that many people see as directly relevant to their own lives. He takes the work that is done in the academy and breaks it down for the average person in the pew.

In this one, he’s talking about why people should come to the gospel. It’s a question many of us don’t think about and if we do, we give the usual answer. The forgiveness of sins. That is the good news. Right?

When I hear people doing evangelism, I hear this kind of thing often. What’s the goal of Christianity? To get to Heaven. I remember a pastor who used to say the same prayer at the conclusion of every sermon so much that I had it memorized.

“Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and without you, I cannot get to Heaven, so come into my heart and be Lord of my life from this day forward. Thank you for my salvation. Amen.”

Nothing about repentance. Nothing about the resurrection. If anything, this is just saying Jesus is my ticket to Heaven so God, do this for me.

Definitely, nothing about Jesus being a king.

As I read that again I thought, imagine asking someone out and using something similar. Approach them and tell them you want them to be with you for all the things they can do for you. Imagine going to a job interview and telling them they should hire you for all the things you want them to do for you. Wouldn’t really work would it?

Bates’s contention is that we have to have Jesus as a king. On location 164 (All future references with a number will assume location from now on) of the Kindle form, he says we should never think of Christ as a name. It is not. This is something Islam and Mormonism miss as well seeing as they regularly say Jesus is the Messiah, but they don’t grasp His being a king. When we say Jesus is the Christ, we mean Jesus is the king.

He says on 385 that faith is not just mental acceptance, but it has an outward focus as well. It is to be lived out in allegiance to the one. Thus, when we say Paul says we are saved by faith and James says faith without works is dead, who is right? Answer: Both of them. Faith is that which saves us and works are those which show where our allegiance lies.

This also means that the idea that internet atheists have of blind faith would make sense whatsoever to the biblical writers. Faith wasn’t just something in the head. It was lived. Commitments like that were serious. Christians knew they were signing up to something serious when they became Christians.

At 1264, he warns us that the gospel is not just all about the cross. This might sound scandalous to some, but it shouldn’t. Jesus tells us early on in Mark to repent and believe the good news. (gospel.) There was no cross yet. People were still expected to believe.

If we just say the cross is all that matters, then the resurrection can be an add-on. If all of it was to show the deity of Jesus, then why not have Him stay on Earth to show that? No. Jesus is taken to Heaven instead. Why?

If it’s to show He’s the king, you see why. He has to rule. He has to go to His throne. He has to sit at the right hand of God.

Of course, the cross and resurrection are important. The cross was the intention of man to shut down Jesus. it was the place of utter shame for Him, but it was also where He went to pay the price for sins as well, fighting the enemy of His people head-on. The resurrection is God’s vindication. It is God saying “Yes. This is the King.”

Bates urges us to put kingship before forgiveness. If we don’t, Jesus becomes mainly a means to an end for us, a means of forgiveness. That’s backward. If anything, we are the means to the end of the glory of God. God has inherent glory that cannot be changed, but He also has ascribed glory that can be seen as His reputation in the world and we can affect that. That doesn’t change the nature of God for those concerned, but it does change how the world perceives Him.

If we start with Jesus as king, we come to realize that we need forgiveness because we are all guilty of divine treason against this king. We have sought to be the king instead and we need to change our allegiance and say we are on the side of Jesus.

I also like his idea that we should go with goodness, truth, and beauty to show the work of the king, even to those who don’t think God exists. (A great look at this kind of approach I started recently is Rembrandt in the Wind) In my own works of video games and theology, I regularly point to this along with the impact of a story on people.

Aside from content also, this book was meant to be read by groups. The chapters are short enough that people can read them in a week’s time and meet together and discuss the questions together. Would that more people would do this. I would encourage anyone wanting to do evangelism to read this book. Frankly, I would encourage you to read anything by Bates. You won’t be disappointed.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: All That is in God

What do I think about James Dolezal’s book published by Reformation Heritage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

James Dolezal could be the leading voice in Protestantism on the simplicity of  God and how important it is. What is striking about all of this is that you have someone here saying how important this is and the majority of Protestants I fear have no idea what simplicity is. If you go to most of them and say God is simple, they will be thinking you are talking about God being an easy concept to understand, such as saying 2 + 2 = 4 or something of that sort.

That is not at all what is meant. Dolezal says it is the underlying and inviolable conviction that God does not derive any aspect of His being from outside Himself and is not in any way caused to be. Ultimately, all that is in God, is God. He has no parts. He is not composed. No one puts God together.

Sometimes, some people think that this means that God has no physical body. That is important, to be sure, but that is not the main emphasis of simplicity. It goes beyond that. It means you cannot alter God in anyway and that God does not change and that He is not a composite being at all even in His attributes. God does not have love, for example. God IS love.

Dolezal’s main interaction in the book is with a side of theistic mutualism whereby it is said that God needs to have what is called a real relationship with us or else it isn’t real. God has to be able to experience our love in a sort of real-time scenario and be able to experience rejection from us. Our love has to affect God in some way.

The problem is that classical theism, as especially emphasized in Aquinas, held that God was loving already and the source of joy and that we should pray to Him and seek His blessings. Mutualism has not given us anything new. It has instead taken something away.

Too often, the idea starts out with “Well, I’m a person and this is how I function and God is like that.” God is not like us. He is not like us in anyway. This is putting the cart before the horse. It’s like saying the Mona Lisa is like the copy of the Mona Lisa. No. The copy is like the original. The original is the standard. It is not that God is like us. It is that we are to be like Him.

Consider that Scripture says He’s the Father from whom all fatherhood comes. If someone is a father, it is not that they are a father and God is like that. It’s that God is a Father and they are something like that.

When Aquinas wrote his Summa Theologica on the doctrine of God, he first established that God exists. After that, he went on to describe God and the first doctrine he started with was simplicity. Why? Because if you don’t do that, then all the attributes that are described are seen as parts of God and God is a composite being.

But isn’t God a composite being? What about the Trinity?! It’s odd that today, we say, how can the doctrine of simplicity work with the Trinity? For the early church, it was the opposite. How does the doctrine of the Trinity work with simplicity? When Nicea took place, no one disagreed with simplicity or questioned it. What was questioned was the person of Jesus.

Without simplicity, one statement you can see is that each person is part of God, which is denying the great creeds that indicate that each person is fully God. There is no division of the substance. If there is no simplicity, how is it that God is one also? Why not tritheism?

There is plenty in this book to chew on and I will be pondering it more. If anyone wants to learn about simplicity, I really urge them to read this book. If there was anything I would like more on, it would have been the way this works with the incarnation. It’s not that the Son took on a body, but it does look like an entering into time at one specific point.

However, while God is simple, theology rarely is. We cannot comprehend fully any aspect of the doctrine of God. We can only apprehend. I can say reading this book did leave me in more awe of who God is, something I am sure Dolezal would be pleased with.

Another note along those lines though is that this book is very much Calvinistic. I would have liked to have seen it stated that this is not a Calvinist doctrine, but a Christian one. I do not consider myself Calvinist at all and I hold definitely to simplicity.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Good News For Anxious Christians

What do I think of Phillip Cary’s book published by Brazos Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is the kind of book that should be required reading, especially for young Christians. I would be absolutely thrilled if at churches they gave a copy of this book to new Christians after they confessed and were baptized. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. Not because ordering a lot of books could be expensive, but because most of the ideas Cary is arguing against are treated as traditional beliefs of Christianity from the beginning in the church.

For Cary, this results in Christians being anxious. “Why is my life not being like everyone else’s that I see? Why do I not hear the voice of God? Why do I not have joy? Why am I bored at the sermon? Why can’t I just let go and let God?” It is unspoken by Cary, though I suspect he would agree, that this I think is also a cause of apostasy in the church at times when the Christian life seems to fail to deliver on promises it never really made and certainly a critique atheists like to give.

So I won’t go in-depth on many of these, but they are important. First off is hearing the voice of God. We too often have our own feelings and emotions in us and the idea is we have to discern which one is the voice of God. This is not to rule out that God can speak, but it is to say it is not to be normative in the Christian life. This also ties in with the idea he has that you don’t have to know which of your intuitions are the Holy Spirit.

I remember getting ready to speak at a church one and hearing the person introducing me say “Let’s listen to what God has put on his heart.” I was inwardly thinking “Please don’t put me in that position.” You see, I don’t doubt I had a good message, but I would not say this comes directly from God through me to you. I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet. If every pastor I have heard is the voice of God speaking, God must be really confused.

This goes along with the idea of doing as you feel led. I know of churches that say to give as you feel led. Never mind that we have 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 that tell us how we are to give. Let’s throw those out for personal experiences.

The next one I want to emphasize is that you don’t have to find God’s will for your life. Somehow people got this idea that God wants you to have a specific career and marry a specific person and you have to find out what and who. (It’s usually assumed it’s God’s will for you to marry.) However, Greg Koukl as well pointed out that if you married the wrong person, then the people you were meant for have to marry someone else and the people they were went for and on and on and so by your one mistake you have screwed up God’s plan for humanity. Well done!

No. You don’t have to do this. Just find a job that is moral that you are good at and can provide and for marriage, find someone who is good for you and you are good for.

What about motivations? Now back when I was married, I remember one day a friend picked up my ex-wife for a women’s conference and I thought I would surprise her and do a deep clean of the house while she was gone. After awhile, I thought of how happy she would be to see things so clean which was great and then thought “I bet she’ll really want to show me how happy she is.” Then anxiety set in immediately. What if that’s really why I’m doing this? What if I just want the reward.

Nowadays, I think that was a ridiculous worry to have. Was it something good to do? Yes. Then do it. Now if I knew I was doing something just for the reward, I think that would be hypocrisy, but if I at least want to do good, that is all that matters, and I just pray for God to purify my motives. Odds are none of us will ever have 100% pure motives for anything. We do the best with what we have.

I’m going to skip a couple now to talk about how you don’t always have to have joy, at least the feeling of joy. One of the best gifts you can give someone at times is letting them suffer. I know in the early days of my divorce, if you had tried to downplay what I was feeling such as telling it wasn’t that bad or told me I shouldn’t be sad over it as a Christian, I would have wanted nothing to do with you. The best advice I had came from fellow sufferers who had been divorced and came alongside me. I remember especially someone saying “Today sucks, but tomorrow will suck a little bit less.”

Job is used as an example. The best gift Job’s friends gave him was silent presence. Everything was going right until they decided to speak. Then they ruined everything. The Bible says to mourn with those who mourn. Yes. It is Biblical sometimes to mourn.

One chapter that really left an impression on me is why application is the most boring part of many a sermon and too many sermons are ALL application. Consider this scenario. In the future, I meet a great girl and we go out and I want to get married and knowing my past divorce history, I tell you I’m scared I could be making the wrong decision. You want to talk to me about why you think this is a great relationship.

And your idea is to tell me about all the things that I do and all the traits I have to do that.

That just shows about me regardless of the woman. What makes sense? You tell me all about her and who she is and what she does.

In our sermons, we tell people to do things for Jesus, but we don’t usually tell them who Jesus is. Sermons are largely telling people what to do and not much about who they do it for. Instead, present Jesus as best you can as He is and count on people to have the proper response.

Finally, there’s a chapter on experiences. We live in a consumer age and too many people base what they have on their experiences. In the end, we end up needing more and more and the focus of our lives becomes not what God has revealed in Scripture, but what is going on with us and assuming all of it is the direct work of God.

This book is such a relief and it can be to so many more people.

I hope someday the church starts reading this. Sadly, they need to first to get rid of the bad ideas they’ve taken in.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Can We Stop Asking What Happens When People Die?

Is this the best approach to use? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Let’s get something clear at the start with a title like this. No. I am not saying let’s stop asking in the general sense such as if a doctrine like soul sleep is true or not or where we go when we die such as is asked at a funeral. I’m talking about when we’re doing evangelism. It seems to be the most common questions preachers and evangelists ask, and I hate hearing it every time.

Suppose you approach someone who is a teenager or in their early 20’s and you want to convince them to follow Jesus and your question is “What happens to you when you die?” Most of us when we are young, and I know I certainly was like this, thought that somehow our generation would be the one to bypass death. If you do think about it, you think it is a long way off in the future.

Statistically, you’re right.

Now I understand tragedies can happen. I graduated from high school in 1999 and we have already talked about people from our class that we have lost. Just earlier this month, we lost someone to cancer. We have had one at least die in a car accident. These things can happen.

But we all know that they are the exception, and not the rule.

So when we approach someone young, we are telling them ultimately that Christianity ultimately matters for when they die. That’s not the most important need in their life right now, at least from their perspective. Now we can say all we want that people should think about that more, but does that really work? We all know many things that we should think about more, but we don’t.

If you’re doing evangelism, you don’t start with what you think is good for the person. You start with where the person is. What are their goals and dreams? You need to somehow show them Christianity is good for them and you don’t do that by appealing to what they aren’t concerned about.

Besides that, when we do this, we are also saying the only time Christianity matters is when we die. Why are you a Christian? Is it just because you want that nice bonus of Heaven when you die? It’s too often when we do talk about Heaven, we treat God as if He’s irrelevant to it. “Oh yes. You get to live forever and the streets are gold and you see your loved ones again and have a mansion, and by the way, God is there too if you’re into that kind of thing.”

I am not saying Heaven doesn’t matter. I am saying we have treated Heaven as if it is all that matters. I get concerned when I hear people saying about the lost that if they don’t repent then they won’t go to Heaven.

One gift Christianity does give is forgiveness of sins, but that is also something that is not always a selling point today. Even in the Roman Empire, they had ways of dealing with sins. Jews also had ways of dealing with sins. Not only that, but in today’s culture, many people don’t think they have any sins to deal with.

So where do I go?

I start with the importance of Jesus and the uniqueness of His life. When I give the gospel, I always point to that Jesus is king right now. If He is, then you need to be on His side regardless. Of course, I have to convince them that Jesus is king first.

By the way, if someone is in a place of pain or wanting forgiveness already, then by all means, start there. If they are not, then go with the uniqueness of Jesus and get them to realize the need of following Him. Too often, we go with what we thin is important and what we think the other person needs and go from there. If they agreed with us, they would already be Christians.

Either way, let’s please stop talking about something that the world isn’t thinking about. I am not saying change the gospel at all, but we do have to present it in a way that gets them to see why they should believe it and become Christians. We need an approach that says Christianity isn’t just relevant for when you die, but is relevant for all of life.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Spiritual Deception in the Highest 4.1

How bad can it get? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So yesterday, I started looking ahead at what was coming today in our look at this work. I had heard Johnson use the term blasphemy, but apparently, he was blind to the idea that he would commit it himself. I have tried to be as charitable as I can, but there is no other way I can describe it as that. At any rate, the source material can be found here and we’ll be looking at the first part of chapter 4.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Okay. Hard to argue with Scripture. This is a great introduction to creation anyway. Let’s see where he goes.

When the Word was written down, the Word was then called ‘Scripture’.


Oh my…..

I keep wanting to think he did not say this. I mean, I have seen other people say this, but for someone to say this and publish it on a website? Someone who is accusing others of blasphemy and heresy at every point? At this point, no one should take seriously anything Johnson says about interpreting Scripture.

Johnson has taken a passage of Scripture about Jesus Christ and made it about the King James Bible instead. I want to be charitable in my reading, but I can’t see any way around this. If someone can, I am open to it, but this just shows the idolatry of the movement.

Put in the Bible for the word “Word” in the prologue of John and it doesn’t make sense. This is more akin to a Muslim view of Scripture than a Christian view. This is treating Scripture as if it was involved in the creation account and is a person.

And Robert Breaker shares this as an excellent work? Says a lot about him too.

The original recordings of Scripture are called ‘autographs’. Animal skins and papyrus (paper) were used for these first autographs. Unfortunately, because of decay, these original autographs no longer exist. What does remain are copies, made by scribes, of these original autographs. These scribal copies are called ‘manuscripts’.

Okay. Nothing objectionable here at least.

The manuscripts of the Old Testament were written in Hebrew and the manuscripts of the New Testament were written in Greek. We do not have many Old Testament manuscripts. But, we have more than 5,000 New Testament manuscripts.

The number could be a bit outdated depending on when this was written. Unfortunately, I cannot find such a date.

From these manuscripts variant readings are analyzed and an agreed upon master ‘text’ is derived. From the agreed upon ‘master text’ a Bible can then be translated into the desired language.

The text is constantly updated based on new manuscripts being found, but we’ll accept this for now.

Thus our Bible was first the Word of God, then an original ‘autograph’, then a scribal copy ‘manuscript’, then an agreed upon ‘master text’, then an English Bible.

It seems a bit more complicated than that and geez, why favor the English language? The Bible is only the Bible if written in English? Something else I found myself pondering is there are dead languages now that we read, but no one really speaks. What happens if in the future English becomes one of those? Do we suddenly lose the Bible?

If any KJV-onlyists want to answer, I welcome it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Spiritual Deception in the Highest 2.3.1

What are the “problems” with the Amplified Bible? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So it’s back once again to this train wreck of a work. Still, I’ve got into it and I plan to see it through to the end and it has been educational to some extent to look up some of these verses and see further evidence of how wrong KJV-onlyists get it. At any rate, the original link can be found here. For now, it’s the KJV vs the Amplified Bible.

The first will be two together.

Gen 1:21

KJV: “And God created great WHALES …”

AMP: “God created the great sea monsters …”

Matt. 12:40

KJV: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the WHALES’s belly …”

AMP: “For even as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster …”

COMMENT: God creates monsters?

I don’t think monsters is the best term to use, but at the same time, just saying monsters doesn’t show it’s wrong. After all, God created more than just whales and the term does refer to more still. Actually, when you look it up, the first definitions are dragons, serpents, and sea monsters.

Gen. 2:7

KJV: “… and man became a living SOUL.”

AMP: “… and man became a living being.”

Comment: A MAJOR difference between man and beast is that man is the ONLY creature with a SOUL.

Except this is a matter of interpretation and not translation. There are some people who think some of the higher animals do have souls. There are some who do not. The term is used to describe living creatures besides men even just within Genesis.

Gen. 3:4-5

KJV: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil.”

AMP: “But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be as God, knowing the difference between good and evil.”

COMMENT: This is major blasphemy! God (with a big G) is not evil! Think about the difference between “as gods” and “as God”.

Yes. It’s obviously major blasphemy to have the serpent speaking falsely about God in the Bible. The devil should only speak in ways that honor God! Rank blasphemy right there to have anything else!

Besides, does Johnson think unfallen man would have concepts of other gods?

Lev. 3:13b

KJV: “… and the sons of Aaron shall SPRINKLE the blood thereof upon the altar round about.”

AMP: “… and the sons of Aaron shall throw its blood against the altar round about.”

The Hebrew word can mean both sprinkle and throw. I leave it to the scholars of Hebrew to determine which they think best fits the context.

Judges 7:20b

KJV: “… and they cried, the sword OF the LORD, and OF Gideon.”

AMP: “… and they cried, The sword for the LORD and Gideon.”

Comment: Notice: “OF” was changed to “FOR”



2 Sam. 21:19

KJV: “… Elhanan … slew THE BROTHER OFGoliath …”

AMP: “… Elhanan … slew Goliath …”

Comment: The scholars missed this one! Most Sunday school children know that DAVID slew Goliath.

This one has already been dealt with here.

Daniel 3:25

KJV: “… and the form of the fourth is like THE SON OF GOD.”

AMP: “… And the form of the fourth is like a son of the gods!”

COMMENT: It was Jesus Christ, THE SON OF GOD, who was with Shadrach, Messach and Abednego. It was Jesus Christ who saved them from the fiery furnace. And, it is Jesus Christ who saves you and me from the fiery furnace (i.e. Hell). There is a big difference between “THE SON OF GOD” and ‘a son’ of ‘plural’ gods! Think about it.

Already dealt with here.

Zech. 11:17

KJV: “Woe to the IDOL shepherd that leaveth the flock!”

AMP: “Woe to the worthless and foolish shepherd who deserts the flock!”

Comment: Idol and worthless/foolish are very different.


Zech. 13:6

KJV: “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds IN THINE HANDS? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”

AMP: “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds on your breast – between your hands? Then he will answer, Those with which I was wounded [when disciplined] in the house of my (loving) friends.”

COMMENT: Folks: This is a verse prophesying Jesus Christ. Jesus was wounded IN HIS HANDS (and also on His back), BUT NOT ON HIS BREAST! Also, Jesus WAS NOT BEING DISCIPLINED when He went to the cross! Jesus did nothing wrong! And, lastly, Jesus WAS in the house of “His” friends, but they WERE NOT BEING “loving” back to him!

Again, I dealt with this here. Johnson thinks, rightly or wrongly, that the passage is describing Jesus as a prophecy, but the problem is he doesn’t argue for it. He takes it for granted and then if anyone else agrees and translates it a way that disagrees with his interpretation, then they are obviously wrong.

And that’s it for the Amplified and the Old Testament!

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)



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