Paul's Passing Thoughts

Support Your Local Pizza Guy

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on May 21, 2018

Originally posted May 3, 2016

This is a great story. I am truly happy for this young man and the love he was shown. This is the sort of thing that we as believers are supposed to do.

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” ~ James 1:27

The first century assemblies were characterized by spontaneous benevolence towards those in their assemblies who were in great need. Chief among those were widows and orphans (Acts 6). But consider what was the cost of being a follower of “the way”. For many, it most likely cost them their jobs, their livelihood, their families. Recognizing this great need, other believers, both rich and poor, gladly sold what they had so that the needs of others were met.

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” ~ Acts 2:44-45

“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common…Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” ~ Acts 4:32-35

This is exactly how a Body functions; when one member hurts, the rest of the Body suffers with it and immediately reacts to enable healing to take place.

Even the Gentile believers across Asia Minor and Greece recognized their oneness with Jewish believers back in Jerusalem. The assemblies in Macedonia took up a special offering in order to send relief to those believers when they learned of the tremendous persecution they were enduring.

How is “giving” characterized in the church these days? All revenue collected in the offering place goes to support huge church budgets; churches who have several paid “elders” (associate pastors) on staff, pastors’ benefits, expense accounts, building programs, building maintenance, utility expenses and other operating costs, Christian schools and teachers’ salaries, missionaries, church planting, youth programs, and outreach “ministries”. With all of this infrastructure to maintain, there is very little left, if anything, to help those in need. And the sad part is that even those who are truly in need are expected to hand over their share to support this monstrosity. Yet this is what people willingly pay for their salvation.  After all, it’s one of the “means of grace”, right?

With regard to this pizza guy, I can’t help but think that this particular “church” that helped him out has a half-million dollar budget or more, and $700 is a drop in the bucket, all things considered.  Even then they probably took a special offering that day just for the purpose of helping this guy.  This hardly qualifies as “spontaneous” benevolence.  It would have had to be planned ahead of time.  In which case, this whole incident ends up being nothing more than a publicity stunt.

Just think how many “pizza guys”, both inside the church and outside, believers could help out if their giving wasn’t tied up in supporting “infrastructural worship”!

~ Andy

Antinomianism Vs “Antinomianism”

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on May 18, 2018
Tagged with:

The Assumption of Church Authority

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on May 17, 2018

Originally published August 15, 2016

The word “assumption” can have at least two meanings. It can mean to take on or take over for oneself as a responsibility. It can also refer to a starting point of an argument; a premise from which a logical conclusion is drawn. In the case of “church authority”, both definitions are applicable.

Protestants must be aware of the assumption, the beginning premise, held by the “church leadership”, the logical conclusions of which produce the resulting behavior observed by so many who come to this ministry seeking answers. Those in so-called “church leadership” have an assumption (self-appointed) of authority based on a faulty assumption (premise).

As a result there are some questions that must be asked:

  1. Is it reasonable to assume that elders and pastors, being fallible men (because after all doesn’t “total depravity” apply to them as well?), could ever possibly be in error regarding doctrine and Biblical interpretation?
  2. If the answer is yes, then what mechanism is there in place, either from Scripture itself or a “church’s” own documented governing principles, to be able to determine if the leadership is in error, thereby making their claim to authority void?
  3. Maybe the same question only stated another way, if a discerning church member were honestly persuaded by his own personal study and illumination of the Holy Spirit that a pastor or elder was in error and promoting false doctrine, and the elder/pastor refuses to hear him, what recourse does that church member have (aside from leaving the church)? (The assumption here being that the member loves his church so much that he is concerned for the spiritual well-being of the church in general and the pastor, elders, and the rest of the laity in particular).
  4. If, on the off chance that an elder or pastor ever conceded the fact that the possibility exists that he himself could be in error concerning doctrine or Biblical interpretation, how would he know that? How would an elder or pastor know if he was wrong? (Of course that begs the question, would he ever admit to it?)

degreeThe answers to these questions should be obvious because this is the assumption: the leadership is assumed to never be wrong because they are the authority! The basis for their self-appointed authority is rooted in the simple notion that they know something that you and I don’t know – the knowledge that man cannot know real truth.  If you ever make the “mistake” of presuming that you know something, that only reinforces the reality of your own depravity and disqualifies you from taking action for good.  It is what testifies to your need for their authority to compel you to good action (“good” as defined by them of course).  Their basis for authority IS authority.

This of course is a logical fallacy. Nevertheless, an elder or pastor will ALWAYS defer to some other authority. His answers regarding doctrine and interpretation are never going to be based on sound reason from his own personal study. He will always make an appeal to the authority that instructed him (i.e. seminary, et al).

The only real difference between you or me and the elder/pastor is the amount of money spent on certification training. The man standing behind the pulpit paid good money for nothing more than a piece of paper that tells him that he knows that man cannot know.  But the Bible clearly states that all authority rests with Christ. The elder/pastor gets his authority from a framed document hanging on a wall in his office.

Whenever the basis for truth is an appeal to authority, there is no need for persuasion or reasoned debate. Only force and coercion.

~ Andy

“Please, Call Me Rabbi”

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on May 17, 2018

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” ~ Matthew 23:4-7

Genesis Genealogical Trivia Tidbits

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on May 8, 2018

Originally published February 8, 2017

The genealogies recorded in Genesis and in various other places in the Bible are easy to regard as mundane in comparison to other passages of scripture. Reading through verse after verse of “so and so begat such and such” becomes tedious, and it isn’t all that unreasonable that most people simply skip over those verses in their Bible reading. Or when they do read them it is just a formality, and no careful consideration is really given to the words on the page.

I don’t remember what prompted me to do it, but as I was reading through the genealogies in Genesis 5 one day several years ago, it occurred to me that all these numbers and ages might be easier to follow if I organized them into a chart. So I created an Excel spreadsheet, and with the help of a few formulas I was able to easily come up with the following table.

biblical-geneology-table

Let me point out that the Bible does not record the specific year in which these men were born and when they died. All it gives is the number of years they lived and how old they were when they “begat” their son for the next generation. But if we use Creation as our starting point, with the use of Excel formulas it is very easy to derive a number of years from Creation when a person was born and when he died.

As I was making this table, I began to see some interesting correlations and relationships that aren’t apparent when you’re just reading words. In order to help these relationships be more evident I created a graph to translate the lives of these men and their relationship to each other into a timeline of sorts.

biblical-geneology-graph

Here are some of the more interesting observations I have made looking at these two graphics.

  • There are 8 generations who were living during Adam’s lifetime.  If you consider the way that history was passed down from generation to generation in the oral tradition, this means that for 800 years, these 8 generations had direct access to an accurate oral account of Creation from the first human being to ever walk the earth! Think of the bedtime stories Adam could have told to his great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren!!!
  • Lamech, the son of Methusela, died 4 years before his father.
  • We will easily recall Methusela as being the oldest man in history as a part of our genus of Bible trivia, but how many of us realize that he died in the same year as The Great Flood? Here are some other questions to ponder. Did he die just before the flood? Or was he one of the countless hundreds of thousands (millions?) to perish in unbelief? How truly tragic that would have been considering he probably knew Adam personally!
  • Enoch was taken to heaven at the tender young age of 365.  He has the shortest lifespan of any man prior to the Flood that is recorded in scripture.
  • The Great Flood occurred 1,556 years after Creation.
  • 1,556 years of history are recorded in a mere seven chapters of the Bible. Think about how much more there was that is not recorded. Think about how much God has preserved!
  • Arphaxad, the son of Shem, would have been born in the same year as the flood. Since the Bible clearly states that 8 people were saved in the Ark, it is very likely that Arphaxad was born (and possibly even conceived) while Noah and his family were still on the Ark.
  • If we exclude Enoch, the average lifespan of the men recorded who lived prior to the Flood was 912 years. Following the flood, the average lifespan of the next four is 483 years, and it drops to 206 after that. What factors contributed to this rapid drop in longevity? Were there certain environmental changes as a direct result of the Flood?
  • Abram (Abraham) was born while Noah still lived, and he was about 60 when Noah died.
  • Including Abram there are 10 generations who lived during Noah’s lifetime following the flood.
  • Again, given the oral tradition and even considering the confounding of languages at Babel and the resulting dispersal of the world’s populace, these 10 generations would still have a very close and accurate account of the Flood.

What observation were you able to make?

~ Andy

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