Book Plunge: Seven Stupid Things People Do To Mess Up Their Lives

What do I think of Beau Adams’s book published by Crossover Communications?

I don’t know a single human being who has lived a substantial amount of time on this Earth who doesn’t have something they’ve looked back on and said, “How could I have done something so stupid?” That includes me. That includes Pastor Beau Adams, who wrote this book. I also think it’s really refreshing to see a pastor openly use words like stupid.

Pastor Adams takes his material from the book of Proverbs and looking at Solomon, who sadly also did stupid things to mess up his life even after acquiring so much wisdom. Of course, none of us will be perfect at this and we will still make stupid mistakes. Still, at least we will have some advanced warning and hopefully, we can make less stupid mistakes. Adams gives us seven basic categories.

The first is to not get caught up with the wrong crowd. We all know that bad company corrupts good character. Today we hear a lot about race relations and one aspect of this we hear about often is fatherlessness in the black community. This really is a problem because when young men don’t have fathers or at least father-figures, what do they do when they want to know they’re men? It can often be gangs.

The antidote to this? Choose friends who are going to build you up and not bring you down. This doesn’t mean just choose friends because of what they will do for you, but make sure your friends are friends of noble character.

The next is thinking we know it all. Just yesterday, I was in dialogue on Facebook with an atheist who was being tripped up by Thomistic philosophy. I was blunt telling him he wasn’t familiar with what he was critiquing and recommended he read Feser’s Aquinas, especially since Feser used to be an atheist himself. He told me he was tempted to respond to my last point, but thought he might say something foolish again and so would go and read the book and then come back.

Props to you. Really. Props to you.

Too many of us don’t go that route, and it shows. A Christian can argue against evolution and they don’t know how to do a Punnett Square. Note fellow Christians that I am not telling you to not argue against evolution if you think it’s false, but I am telling you to come with an informed position. If you aren’t informed, you come across like a Christ-myther who only reads Richard Carrier.

The secret is to avoid thinking you know it all. This doesn’t mean you have to study everything as no one can do that, but it means you really try to only talk about what you have studied. Study also refers to not just watching YouTube videos. Read books.

The next is an obvious one. Sexual immorality. Yesterday, I got a message from someone asking if you were to preach on something apologetically oriented for two months and wanted to avoid race and politics, what would I preach on? My answer came immediately. Sex and marriage. The person responded saying that it did need to be for two months. I told him that should last for two years. Our youth especially get six days a week of the world’s view and we only have one day a week and we don’t even say anything.

Sexual immorality can easily ruin your life. How many pastors have fallen because they got too close to the opposite sex, including Ravi Zacharias. It can all start more innocent enough, but every relationship with the opposite sex needs to be guarded closely.

Now as I go through this, I realize I could say more about each point, but then I realize that would get lengthy and you need to have something to get you interested in the book, which you should read. Other topics include laziness, dealing with debt, controlling your tongue, and handling anger.

Pastor Adams’s book could be seen as having a harsh tone to it, but the whole of the book speaks with a pastor’s heart. He’s begging you to not make these mistakes. Some of these might be easier to recover from, as most of us have lost our temper at one point. Others are much harder, such as when we fall into sexual sin. I still get a sting anytime I go through my library now and see a Ravi Zacharias book.

Final word then is simply to get the book. You’ll likely learn something from it and hopefully you can put it into practice. You want to avoid doing something stupid after all.

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

A New Resource

How do you best defend the virgin birth, which I do affirm? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If there’s any blog post that I have to put up and share the most on Facebook, it’s the one I wrote about how the whole thing got started with affirming the virgin birth, which I do affirm. From there, the virgin birth, which I do affirm, is something I have become known for with some interviews and requests to write on the topic. Eventually, it was suggested to me that I get a web site on the topic.

So I did.

I then decided beyond humor, take this site and turn it into a real resource. You can go there and find many resources on the virgin birth, which I do affirm. We have books you can buy, ebooks that are free that you can download, articles, videos, debates, podcasts, interviews, etc. I am still gathering more and more for those who are interested.

Also, I created a Facebook group. This does emphasize the virgin birth, which I do affirm, but it will also be a place I hope for discussing anything related to apologetics. If you want to have another great group to belong to, come and help us get started.

Where do we go from here? Right now, I am doing a lot of reading on the topic of the virgin birth, which I do affirm, because I will be writing an ebook called I Affirm The Virgin Birth. Not only that, but when I am done, I plan to keep on going and write other books in a kind of series. Here is what I have so far.

I Affirm The Life of Jesus which will be a response to mythicism.

I Affirm The Crucifixion of Jesus which will be a response to ideas like those of Muslims that Jesus was never crucified.

I Affirm The Burial of Jesus which will be a response to claims like those of Ehrman that Jesus was never buried.

I Affirm The Resurrection of Jesus which will be my case that Jesus rose again.

I Affirm The Rule of Jesus which will be my defense of Orthodox Preterism.

The good news also is that these are easy titles to keep going on with many other topics I could write about. Consider this just a start, but a start that can keep me busy. It has really been a lot of fun diving into these topics. Nowadays, aside from my just for fun going through the Peanuts collection and reading books for my personal well-being, including audio books while driving, I am really only reading about the virgin birth, which I do affirm.

I hope you want to help with this. If you do, there’s a Patreon link on this blog post and on the new web site. The more someone can give, the more it gives me time to do that reading and frees me up as I can then have enough to live on and continue this path. Going with that, I hope to someday then get back to doing the podcast as well. If that really interests you, please consider it. I do have some donors, but it would mean so much more to get enough to keep dong this. Every donor shows me how much you do believe in this work and want to see it come around. Please do make a regular donation again.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll return to more regular material including Kindle books that I listened to on my Tap (Not on the virgin birth, which I do affirm, since I couldn’t highlight passages while listening). and giving you my thoughts on them.

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

On Gambling

Should you roll the dice? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I am browsing Facebook and I see someone ask if gambling is a sin. I see most people jumping in and saying yes, immediately, but I am contrary I suppose and have more questions about the matter. It starts with asking what is really gambling.

We could just say it’s playing a game of chance, but is that simple enough to explain it? After all, while luck is involved, there is some skill and strategy involved in games like Poker and Blackjack. If that is the case, could we say the stock market could be a form of gambling as well? After all, one has no guarantee that a stock will shoot up, like GameStop for example, and one could really lose everything and some people have.

How about this scenario? You’re at home one day and there is a knock at your door and there are some small school children there. They are selling raffle tickets to do a fundraiser for their school. The prize is a big screen TV. Now you have a good TV, but the ticket only costs a dollar and it goes toward a good cause. Do you buy a ticket?

How about also you get together with a few friends for a Poker night? You get together and you have a maximum bet everyone can make and you just play cards. Most of the time, this isn’t done so some person can get rich. It’s something guys mostly do just so they can hang out together and the chance adds an element of fun to it.

We could get even more technical here. Let’s suppose you go to an arcade, which used to be a really popular hangout in the past and I even worked at one for awhile. Now you could put some quarters in a game that will offer you some moments of pleasure but nothing beyond that. On the other hand, you could also put it in the crane game, a game of chance, and see if you could win something that you could keep.

There were times in the past I know I won Allie something in a crane game. Long before that, one time I was at a bowling alley with a friend who was telling me that he wanted to win a stuffed elephant in a crane game there to give to a girl and he had spent $5 and not had any luck. I put in a couple of quarters and managed to win it for him immediately.

In the past as a teenager, I remember my Dad and I would sometimes drive up to Kentucky from Tennessee. The drive took a couple of hours both ways. We would have about $20 with us and we would just play scratch-off games together. It was never about winning. It was just about an excuse to get to travel together and have some bonding time. I still remember one time we actually won $50 doing this and just stopped at a place called Oasis Pizza on the way back.

So as you can see from this, I am not 100% opposed to gambling. So what would I recommend here? Good stewardship. If you have money for entertainment purposes and want to use it here responsibly, I don’t really have a problem with that.

What about Scripture? Well, it says nothing yea or nay. Casting of lots was more about divining the will of God. We also know the soldiers gambled for the clothing of Jesus, but that doesn’t make it evil any more than the soldiers standing guard around condemned criminals would mean police officers shouldn’t stand outside of jail cells.

So the principle is more about how you use what you have. If you are going and betting your life savings or your wedding ring to gamble, then you have a problem and need to stop. On the other hand, we could compare it to drinking. If you can drink responsibly and not get drunk, then I don’t have a problem with social drinking and I see gambling the same way.

So if you want to get together with the guys and play Poker, I don’t have a problem. If you go to Vegas and have a couple of spare bucks and want to even try a slot machine, go ahead. If you think you could get addicted however, you might want to step back from doing that and consider some other hobby. I would say if you want to play a game of chance, it’s better to play one where you have a reasonable chance of winning, aside from buying a ticket to a raffle just to support a good cause more than actually winning anything.

Have fun with what you do and do remember this is side money. Make sure you have done your charitable giving first and provided for your family. Then if the goal is to just have fun mainly, then do that and enjoy the company of your friends.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Why I Don’t Bother With The Losing Salvation Debate

Is this debate worth having? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I saw someone else on Facebook recently make a post about losing salvation saying the idea was heretical. A later post toned it down, but the die had been cast. This is one of those debates I used to take part in, but now I don’t really even bother.

In all openness, my thinking is much more on classical Arminianism. I reject open theism and I don’t hold to Calvinism. However, if you asked me if I believe in works salvation, of course not. Now some people will say that saying you are to believe in Christ counts as a work, but I just consider this pedantic.

This does not mean I deny the sovereignty of God. My thinking on the whole issue is I just hold to two statements. God is sovereign. Man has free-will. How do those work out? Beats me. Better philosophers than I have wrestled with that and it’s not a necessary question for me.

So what about losing salvation? This question I think misses the mark because we really lose sight of the goal. I think we all agree that we want to preach the gospel so that people get saved and come to know Jesus, we want to instill a life of discipleship in people, and we want them to live holy lives.

The Calvinist will evangelize because he doesn’t know who the elect are and he knows that this is the means God has chosen to bring people to salvation. The Arminian will evangelize wanting to give everyone a chance to come to know the gospel. Both are doing the same thing. Both will encourage repentance, holy living, and discipleship.

So why not focus on those things that we are encouraging? Why not instead of thinking about salvation and if it can be lost, have people live in such a way that it won’t be a concern. The overwhelming majority of Arminians don’t think you can just casually lose your salvation. Instead, it’s more that they think you have to outright apostasize or participate in some blatant sin, such as those in 1 Cor. 6.

I will interject this. I do think it needs to be addressed when someone is concerned they have lost it, such as the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. If someone is doing a sin that they are concerned about, we really need to be doing is calling them to repentance. A little bit of leaven goes through the whole dough and sin can easily destroy everything in someone’s life.

Yet looking at this, let’s suppose we have someone that both Calvinists and Arminians agree is living in blatant sin. What are both sides saying? Calvinists are saying “Was never saved to begin with.” Arminians are saying “Lost it.” Again, both camps agree on the conclusion. The person is not a Christian.

Therefore, instead of debating on this point when we agree on so much really, why not ask this question. How can we encourage Christians to lead more holy lives? What can we be doing to foster discipleship? How can we help those who are struggling with sin and those who are unrepentant?

Oddest thing. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing anyway? If we do that, then the question really won’t matter.

Now some might say, “But you’re not trusting in God for your salvation.” I don’t know any Arminians who rely on their works for salvation. We say God is the one who is saving us and it’s not because of what we do. How that works with sovereignty and free-will I do not know, but I do just choose to trust God and live as I ought.

Thus, I don’t engage in the debate between Calvinists and Arminians. It would be far more profitable for both sides, and may both of us see one another as fellow Christians, to just come together and work on what we can do to increase discipleship and holy living, which we do agree on.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Book Plunge: Decoding Nicea

What do I think of Paul Pavao’s self-published book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The Council of Nicea and Constantine. These are two subjects where we have a lot of heat and very little light. Look at a work such as The Da Vinci Code and you’ll find nonsense on there such as that the deity of Christ was decided at Nicea by a very close vote. One lady online told me that she abandoned Christianity when she found out the canon was decided at the Council and proceeded to send me a link that said that that was actually a great myth about the Council.

Paul Pavao has a book to help deal with this. A good benefit of his book is at the start, he’s not just trying to tell the facts about Nicea. He wants you to know how the facts are known. As he says:

You don’t have to wonder about what is being said in this book. You can look up every reference I give. There are not any other primary sources. Everything else said about the Council of Nicea that is not from these sources is speculation or wishful thinking.

He does just this. The book is heavily filled with endnotes. He does look at the debate at Nicea and points out it could be more accurately said that it was about what the Son of God was made of, what is His substance. Much was agreed on at the Council, but what was disagreed on was sure substantial.

This book also includes looking at several references in the church fathers to see what they had to say about the deity of Christ before Nicea. It’s easy to see that there were no innovations at the meeting. The appendices are filled with several historical documents as well.

As it goes into church history, there are looks at other questions as well. One such question I liked is the one on the Sabbath, though I wish there had been more on this. The SDA church lists several claims about the RCC supposedly admitting that they changed the date of the Sabbath. Perhaps that was out of the scope of the book though.

There is rather substantial pushback to RCC claims about the Pope. It would be interesting to see some members of the RCC respond to this. I as a Protestant agree with the claims and am skeptical of many of the claims my Catholic and Orthodox friends make about church history.

I also like the response to the idea that Constantine tried to destroy all the Gnostic writings. As Pavao says:

If Constantine was unable to succeed in extinguishing the memory and writings of Arius, just one man, do we really believe that he destroyed all the gnostic writings and there’s no record of his even trying?

What about the canon? Yep. Nothing to do with Nicea. There is an appendix with the canon lists from church history in the back. I do have some pushback here as I don’t think the Muratorian Canon really dates to the time it’s said to date to and is really a forgery.

Pavao also stresses that it’s a shame that Christians got so violent over the question of Nicea. We spent years working on our doctrine, which we should, but we didn’t spend so much time looking at our practice. Sadly, today we are still in the same boat. While we weren’t killing each other, remember the problems from the Inerrancy wars in the past decade? I am not opposed to Christian debate as we should have that, but too often we are ready to shoot our own instead of going after our own common enemies.

That is another great benefit of the book. The work is not only meant to help clear up myths about Nicea, which it does a great job of, but it also is meant to tell us how we should better live as Christians. Not enough study has been done on this topic and definitely not enough practice. What does it matter if we reached the orthodox position at Nicea if we go out instead and live like heathens?

The book is long, but it is worth it. It is also readily readable for the layman. Anyone can pick up this book and understand it. I encourage Christians and skeptics to do so. There are too many myths believed about Nicea.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth.)
Support my Patreon here.

Does Acts 2 Teach Communism?

Was the early church a Communist movement? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In Acts 2, we read about the early church.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

There are a number of people that look at this and think that this sounds like something Communistic. Don’t they have everything in common? Don’t they sell all their possessions?

However, there are differences.

For one, if a group of people decide to come together and do this on their own without any force, that is not Communism. Communism is done with the government leading the way. Here, there is no central government that is leading the way for the people.

Second, they sold property and gave to those who had need. Not everyone was equal financially because some people had need and some didn’t. The text also says that they met in their homes. That means that some people had homes to meet in. We can also be sure that some things were not in common and understood not to be, such as they weren’t into wife sharing or something similar.

Third, as a Preterist, I contend there’s a reason these people were selling property in Jerusalem. They were sure Jesus was coming some time as He promised to judge the place and bring about destruction. Land values won’t really matter at that point.

Fourth, later on in the text, we see other people selling their land and giving it to the cause. As we see in Acts 4:

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Here, we see the same thing going on. People still have land and people are still selling it and goods are being distributed to people who have need. This is also something the people are entering into willingly.

In Acts 5, we have the chilling case of Ananias and Sapphira.

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

Now this seems like a harsh punishment? Lying about money? What’s the big deal. This was a fledgling church movement and nothing was really done privately. People would find out what happened and if these two got away with it, everyone else could as well. Greed quickly comes into a church and tears it down. Not only that, these people were grabbing honor as if they had given everything when they had not.

Yet note that this is said to be their property. They could do with it what they wanted. They weren’t forced. When they sold it, the money was theirs. If they wanted to, they could have kept some of the money for themselves and just been honest with the apostles about it. Sure, it would have likely been seen as shameful behavior, but it would have been honest.

Next, in Acts 6, Greek widows say they are being overlooked when it comes to the distribution of food as Hebrew widows are getting more. Again, you have people in need and who are they really? They are the people in that society most likely to be unable to provide for themselves. Again, this is not exactly a commune.

Finally, this is the only place we see this happening in the New Testament. It doesn’t show up in any of the churches outside of here. As I contend, there’s a reason that it only happens in Jerusalem.

Now I don’t think Communism is an effective way to care for the poor and capitalism is far better, but that is another post. I could be hypothetically wrong on that and still right on the point about the early church. For now, those wanting to say Communism works better are not going to be benefitted by looking at the early church.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

You Have Not Blasphemed The Holy Spirit

Are you doomed? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There are some passages of Scripture that scare Christians. One such passage is in Matthew 12. Personally, I think some passages should scare such as passages on judgment that will make us take sin seriously, but sometimes, there is an unnecessary fear. Consider again, Matthew 12.

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

This is one of the most common questions I get from Christians where they are convinced they have committed this sin. I can speak as one who has been there before as well. If you think you’ve committed this sin, then it’s like a death sentence where you can live your life, but you’re hellbound forever after that.

As I said, I get this question several times and every single time, I am convinced that the person has not done this. The moment they tell me they are sure they have committed this, I am usually sure of the exact opposite. Why would I say that?

Because if you care about a sin you have committed, that is the work of the Holy Spirit in you. It is the people who are doing wrong and thinking that they are fine that concern me. It is the person who is convinced that they do not have a problem that I usually think does really have a problem, especially if so many around them are telling them they are doing something seriously wrong.

So let’s look at some scenarios here.

If someone is in a sin and they are actively resisting the Holy Spirit, does that mean they have committed this? No. If it did, most all of us would be guilty because we have all done actions that we know that we shouldn’t.

So what if you one day say something in anger against the Holy Spirit? No. That wouldn’t do it either. Keep in mind that when the words are said by Jesus, Jesus has the Pharisees telling the people that Jesus who is healing by the Holy Spirit is doing so by the devil.

And yet even then He does not say that they have committed this sin.

So what is going on with this sin? The reason it is unforgivable is that it is not a one-time action. It is a lifetime action. If you are going to be forgiven, you have to believe. You have to be willing to repent to God and confess that He is Lord and you are not.

If you cannot do this, then you cannot be forgiven, because you will not agree that you are doing wrong and you do not turn to the one person who can forgive you. It is something eternal. How else can we be sure of this?

Because otherwise, you are also saying you have a sin that you could confess to God and He says “I would rather punish than forgive you.” That’s not the way God is at all. If you confess, you are forgiven.

Christians should definitely be concerned about sins in their lives, but they shouldn’t be concerned about sins they haven’t been committed. If you contact me about this sin, expect a similar reply. I generally have no reason to think you have done this. It’s those who are sure they are fine despite evidence to the contrary that concern me.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Lack of Education

Are we on the path to elimination? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My last blog post was about the culture wars. Someone in the comments on my Facebook pointed out that we should be concerned also about statistics about people not believing Christian doctrine even in the church. If anything, we should be more concerned. I heartily agree. If all we keep doing is responding to the world, then we are always going to be on the defensive.

It should be the opposite. Jesus said the gates of hell wouldn’t stand up against the church. Gates are defensive measures. If we were going to church accurately, we wouldn’t wear our Sunday best. We would wear battle gear and realize we are undergoing training for the mission of the Kingdom.

Many of us have seen the statistics such as people in the church who believe there are more ways to God than Jesus Christ, who question the deity of Christ, who believe in reincarnation, have no problem with sex outside of marriage, accept homosexual behavior, etc.

Is it any wonder that if this is what people within the church believe that we are losing the culture war? How can soldiers who don’t know basic training manage to handle conflict on the outside? How is it that we are losing this battle?

Part of it is that we unfortunately, took a stance of retreat. In the 19th century, you had higher criticism, the teaching of evolution, and situations like this that led to questioning of Scripture. Instead of engaging the culture, the church went into retreat. Soon, the church became a private sphere. The church dealt with the internal and the personal and the outside world, namely science, dealt with the external and the factual. Is it any wonder so many people, even Christians, believe there is a war between science and religion?

The church is always better off when it engages with the culture and faces challenges head on, but when the church withdraws from the academy, expect the academy to fall. Keep in mind, the Ivy League schools had been established for the good of Christianity. Now they are for the good of the hook-up culture. How far we have fallen!

Today, normally strong believers that we have in the church are not strong believers because of a deep study of theology or apologetics. It is because of a deep emotional commitment. How many of our churches are full of preachers who don’t have any higher education whatsoever?

Now some will counter and say “Well, the disciples of Jesus didn’t go to seminary did they?” Consider what the person is asking. The disciples of Jesus. What did that mean? They were His students. The apostles were constant students of Jesus Himself and I think all of us would happily change our seminary education to sit at the feet of the greatest rabbi ever like they did. Jesus personally taught and invested in these men.

As for Paul, who didn’t have that experience, who would question that he was greatly educated? He got invited to speak on Mars Hill, which is not a place where idiots went to. His epistles show someone who is extremely educated.

Also, ask many of the people in the church to explain the Trinity and likely, they will become Arians or Modalists. I have heard evangelists say the Trinity is like a man who is a husband, a father, and a son. Such a person should not be doing evangelism if they cannot give a proper illustration of the Trinity without falling into heresy.

We wonder with all of this why our young people are struggling in the area of sexuality. More of us get our sexual ethics from pop culture than we do from Scripture. As has been said before, if a young man and woman are on a couch together, it will take more than a few verses from Paul to stop them. They need a whole worldview of sex to know how it fits in. (Something most secular people don’t have either.)

Our people need to know not just what they believe, but why they should believe it. They should be having discussions of great books and know what the people around them believe. If you’re going to become a Christian in the Middle East, you need to know not only why you believe in Jesus, but why you don’t believe in Islam.

The problem with the culture starts with us. We watch the news and ask what has happened to the world. It is better to ask what has not happened to it. We have not happened to it. We have not been salt and light to the world.

What’s the solution? We have to learn what we believe and why we believe it and know how to interact with the world. That also means knowing more than just the Bible. We need the best education we can get in history, the sciences, economics, psychology, etc. Christians should be the most educated people of all, but in reality, we are usually the dumbest.

Many experts on marriage will tell you you change your marriage best by changing yourself first. If we want to change the world, we change ourselves first. If the culture is going insane, and it is, the best we can do is work on our own sanity.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Book Plunge: Is The Bible At Fault?

What do I think of Jerry Pattengale’s book published by Worthy Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The Bible has been used to teach good moral lessons to people for thousands of years. We can look in American history at the McGuffey Readers which helped teach children how to read and taught them how to live well based on the Bible. There is even the old story about an atheist debating a theist (I don’t remember if he was a Jew or a Christian) and the theist asked the skeptic, “If you found yourself in the streets of the city late at night and your car broken down and you saw a door open to a building and out came ten big, burly men heading toward you, would it or would it not make a difference if you knew that they were coming from a Bible study?”

Humorous, but we get the point. This makes the Bible sound really good, and I think it is naturally, but unfortunately, we also know that all good things can be misused. The Bible has been a tool for wonderful character development, but too many have misused it.

This book looks at the misuses and asks if the Bible is at fault. Were these people doing a proper interpretation of Scripture or were they misusing it to justify actions that were definitely evil. We move throughout time even looking at present situations in this book.

A lot of these I had never heard of. Some I had and these were obvious ones, but the reading was still interesting. The KKK is one we have all heard of, but to hear the way they interpreted the text was quite interesting. Even the biggest critic of Scripture should realize the point of Jonah and the whale is not that a Jew is so repulsive that a whale has to vomit him up.

Another one I had heard of was Andrew Hamblin. This is a guy I dealt with years ago when I moved back to Tennessee the first time. He holds church services involving the handling of poisonous snakes where they take literalistically the passage about taking up serpents. Strangely enough, they don’t drink poison from what I normally see. Not a shock but a number of people have died in this practice.

A number of these cases I have never heard of. Some older readers might have. These included a cult group in Michigan called the House of David and a figure known as Prophet Jones who chose to use the Bible to make himself rich. I am certain some readers remember the latter from their own lifetime.

There are also cases of misreading the text in apocalyptic fervor. Thankfully, nothing like that happens today. No one today is doing anything like using the Bible to try to determine when the “rapture” will take place. Oh. Hold on. Someone is handing me a note here….

In history there were cases that were just bizarre. You had the Phibionites who were apparently drinking actual blood in the Communion service. Not only was it blood, but it was menstrual blood at that. The group also had orgies holding wives in common. Big shock that this group tarnished the name of Christianity.

Some Protestants including myself think that Catholics and Orthodox have gone way too far in their treatment of Mary, and we can debate that, but we would all agree that Tanchelm of Antwerp in the 12th century definitely went too far. This is a guy who in a church service actually married a statue of the Virgin Mary. Again, we should be thankful we are past the day and age where this happened and people no longer want to marry strange objects like statues and….wait….I’m being handed another note….

Many bad readings have very disastrous results. Two major examples are the killing fields in the Crusades and the treatment of the Aborigines in Australia. Both of these led to the destruction of various people on a mass scale.

At the end of each chapter, Pattengale explains the interpretation that was thought to be biblical in the first part. After that, he points out how the misuse actually departed from Biblical Orthodoxy. Then he gives the type of problem that took place and what the antidote would be.

I consider this a fascinating way to look at Scripture and a book like this begs to be a continuing series as there are even more instances we can use, but this one is a good start. Not only do you get good interpretation, you also get a look at history showing movements most of us haven’t heard of. For example, there were many cult groups in Christian history and I hadn’t heard of the Phibionites that I remembered.

I would like to see this book dealing with other issues that are hot button issues. What about slavery in the time of the Civil War? What about modern day sex scandals? How do modern politicians on both sides of the aisle misuse the Bible?

I hope Pattengale will continue this pathway. It’s one that needs to be dealt with and we need to keep in mind Augustine’s rule. You never judge a philosophy by its misuse. May we never judge the Bible by its misuse.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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The Trinity and Acts 2:36

Does Acts 2:36 disprove the deity of Christ? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve had two times where I have interacted with someone online from the group called the Iglesia Ni Cristo, a cult group that seems to have the strategy online of “Say the same thing over and over preferably very loudly and ignore anything to the contrary.” Last night, I encountered someone who seemed to think the only verse in the Bible worth talking about was Acts 2:36. This is one a lot of skeptics of the deity of Christ and/or the Trinity use.

So what does the verse say?

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

The idea is rooted in the word “made.” If Jesus was made Lord and Christ at His resurrection, then He was not these things before. Right?

The Greek word is ποιεο and if you want to base your argument on this word, well good look. Unfortunately, it’s one of those words that has a lot of meanings behind it. Here’s what you can find at BlueLetterBible.com.

  1. to make
    1. with the names of things made, to produce, construct, form, fashion, etc.
    2. to be the authors of, the cause
    3. to make ready, to prepare
    4. to produce, bear, shoot forth
    5. to acquire, to provide a thing for one’s self
    6. to make a thing out of something
    7. to (make i.e.) render one anything
      1. to (make i.e.) constitute or appoint one anything, to appoint or ordain one that
      2. to (make i.e.) declare one anything
    8. to put one forth, to lead him out
    9. to make one do something
      1. cause one to
    10. to be the authors of a thing (to cause, bring about)
  2. to do
    1. to act rightly, do well
      1. to carry out, to execute
    2. to do a thing unto one
      1. to do to one
    3. with designation of time: to pass, spend
    4. to celebrate, keep
      1. to make ready, and so at the same time to institute, the celebration of the passover
    5. to perform: to a promise

So let’s go a different route. Let’s start with Lord and limit our usage to Lukan usage before the resurrection. Luke 1:43 has Elizabeth referring to Mary as the mother of her Lord. In Luke 2:11, the angels say that born in Bethlehem is Jesus, who is Christ the Lord. In 3:4, John the Baptist prepares the way for the Lord and then here comes Jesus.

In 5:8, Simon calls Jesus, Lord. A leper does the same in 5:12. In 6:46, Jesus asks why call Him, “Lord, Lord” and not do what He says? The friends of the centurion call Jesus Lord in 7:6 and Luke calls Jesus Lord himself in verse 13 and again in 31.

In 9:54, two of Jesus’s disciples refer to Him as Lord and two would-be disciples do so in verses 57 and 61. Luke again calls Jesus the Lord in 10:1 and the returning disciples in verse 17 call Jesus Lord as well.

Honestly, I suspect at this point this is getting repetitive. You can search on your own and find the numerous places where many people in the Gospels call Jesus the Lord in Luke and this before His resurrection. So what about Christ?

Yep. Luke 2:11 mentioned above and Simeon is told in the came chapter he won’t die until he sees the Lord’s Christ. Demons declare Jesus to be Christ in chapter 4 and in chapter 9, Peter makes his great declaration of faith that Jesus is the Christ.

So now, either all of these verses are wrong or need to be reinterpreted or Acts 2:36 needs to be.

So how do we read Acts 2:36 then?

It’s easy. The resurrection was the action whereby God declared that Jesus was indeed Lord and Christ. It is God’s vindication of the claims of Jesus. It in now way means that Jesus became Lord and Christ at that point or else Jesus Himself is wrong many times throughout the Gospels and surely should have corrected all those people giving Him those titles.

Thus, the INC and the JWs and anyone else using this verse just really doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Unfortunately, such groups will continue to do so because they don’t know better. They will also avoid contrary scholarship that disagrees because sadly, they don’t want to know better.

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