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

Motivational Quote for Protestants Still in the Institutional Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 30, 2017

Smoking Gun: ACBC is a Nationwide Divorce Mill

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 13, 2017

OrigEDMinally published July 13, 2015

For a more detailed discussion on this book, check out Susan Dohse’s book review and commentary here

Christ made it clear that what God has brought together NO man is to separate. Does this mean God predetermines every marriage in regard to particular spouses? I doubt it. This probably refers to God’s covenant of marriage and the theology of vows. At any rate, death, unrepentant adultery, and an unbeliever who abandons their believing spouse are the only exceptions.

How does one live happily with a spouse who has become difficult? For Protestants, that is a hard question because the focus has been on justification for 500 years with little emphasis on the biblical art of godly living (sanctification). When you are supposedly sanctified by a perpetual “return to the gospel afresh”… knowledge on how to repair a marriage is going to be what it is today, practically nonexistent. And of course, living by the same gospel that saves us (not saved us) is a very complex matter needing the ongoing “research and development” of gospel-centered experts.

Add to that: Protestants don’t even have justification right. Little wonder then that the institutional church is a train wreck after 500 years of scholarship and trillions of hard-earned laity dollars. What is the answer? The answer is a laity movement that will reclaim the priesthood of believers seized by Gnostic hacks dressed in biblical garb.

The answers will come through one Lord, and one word interpreted by individuals indwelt by the Spirit who gives all knowledge needed for life and godliness liberally. In case we forget the obvious, “I was only obeying the elders” will not cut it when you stand before Christ and His blazing eyes of fire. The Nazis were very good at being “subordinate,” and many were hanged accordingly. I realize Reformed elders claim God gave them His authority to rule on earth, but you may want to rethink that claim.

As predicted, the biblical counseling movement overseen primarily by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) has become a divorce mill via its efforts to build marriages that “look like the gospel.” And the smoking gun is a book written by Leslie Vernick titled The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope that is widely used among ACBC counselors.

The obvious problems here are first seen in the title of the book. As Christians, is it really our goal to, “find our voice”? I thought it was our goal to please God in every circumstance. Secondly, the idea of emotional destruction is subjective at best and a ticket to do anything you want at worst. To make the point here, Google “American Civil Law.” In a culture judging anything that causes bad feelings to be abuse, such an approach to “biblical counseling” should give one pause.

Thirdly, why do Christians need a 240 page book written by a serial regurgitator of other people’s thoughts to FIND hope? You would think that by now Christians would be fairly certain about where hope is found.

Chilling is the examination of the 61-question survey found in the book that supposedly determines if one is in an abusive relationship or not. In the hands of a person that is unhappy in their marriage, the outcome will be a foregone conclusion. It’s like asking a chicken if Colonel Sanders is an emotional abuser.

The lynchpin becomes the ACBC’s loose interpretation of 1Corinthians 7:12-16. If the spouse is already an unbeliever, emotional abuse is tantamount to departing from the marriage even if they have not left physically or filed for divorce. Church discipline takes care of the pesky obstacle of the “abusive” spouse being a believer—they can be declared an unbeliever…actually MADE an unbeliever by elder authority supposedly vested to them by God. This paves the way for sanctified divorce.

It boils down to this: whoever is handed the book by the counselor is coronated as the abused spouse. Be sure of this: if both counselees in a bad marriage were handed the book, both would be guilty of the same thing. This is the smoking gun: it depends on who the ACBC “biblical counselor” wants to label abusive for whatever the motives might be.

I think a present situation that I am involved in says it all. I know enough about the situation to know that if the person I am talking with took the book’s survey, the other spouse would be judged as emotionally abusive hands down. The other spouse was handed the book because of who the ACBC counselor wanted to label “abusive.”

This is the niche service that Leslie Vernick now supplies to ACBC counselors.

paul

A Believer’s Personal Bible Study

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on October 18, 2016

Revised from an article originally published August 22, 2014

andy-profile-1 It is a sad reality that most believers over the past 500+ years have not and do not really know what the Bible says.  I have been a believer for over 38 years, and I must regretfully admit, that up until about 7 or so years ago, I was included in that same lot.  I was taught ABOUT the Bible.  I was taught ABOUT doctrine.  And I dutifully towed the line of orthodoxy.  This, I think is indicative of most believers; they simply do not read their Bibles. (see also this article)

I think as Christians we intuitively know we should be reading our Bibles, but aside from the fact that the modern day institutional church purposefully seeks to keep the masses dumbed-down, one of the reasons I believe most Christians don’t read their Bibles as much as they should is that they don’t know where to start.  And those Christians who do read their Bibles on a regular basis aren’t getting as much out of it as they should be.  Their Bible reading time is ineffective because they don’t have a plan.  In either case, the results are the same:

  • boredom
  • apathy
  • distraction
  • resentfulness

Bible reading becomes a chore rather than a delight.  Do we simply trudge on ahead dutifully and have faith that the Spirit will work on us?  That seems a rather bleak prospect.  Or do we just rely on the work that others have done for us and expect them to feed us spiritual nourishment?  What hope is there for any maturity whatsoever with that mindset?

There are two key truths found in the Bible itself that must be reconciled.

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

2 Timothy 2:15

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

  1. The Word of God is active.

Hebrews 4:12 uses the words “quick” and “powerful” to describe the Word.  The word “quick” is the Greek word ζαω (DZAH-oh), and it means, “to live”.  It is alive! It is also powerful.  Here the word is ενεργης (en-er-GACE).  The idea is that it is full of energy.  God’s Word is different from any other written work in the world!  As we read it, because it is alive and active, we can expect it to actively work on us.  Its cuts are deep and clean, dividing and discerning.  It reveals truth to us because it is truth.  By it, we are sanctified (John 17:17).

But we don’t simply sit idly by and wait for the Word to work on us.

  1. Believers are to study the Word

The word “study” is the word σπουδαζω (spoo-DAHD-zoh).  It literally means, “to use speed.”  The implication is to make an effort, to be prompt or earnest.  Study the Word with the result of being able to use discernment (“rightly dividing the word of truth”).  The Bereans (Acts 17:10-11) were called “more noble” because they studied the Word.  They earnestly and diligently searched the scriptures daily to be able to discern truth from error.

So if we are to be good students of God’s Word, we first need to actually read it so that its life and power can work in us.  But we must also study it as well.  This places an emphasis that goes beyond merely reading a chapter or passage or verse every day.  This must include a dedicated effort to a searching for knowledge.  But unfortunately, most believers don’t know how to begin.

Let’s start with the basics.  And this is really very simple.  Just READ your Bible!  BUT…you must read with purpose.  A daily devotional book just will not cut it.  You are simply consuming someone’s pre-digested, pre-packaged orthodoxy.  You are not studying.  You must read the actual BIBLE yourself!  And you must have a plan if you want your Bible-reading time to be most effective.

Most people will tell you that you need to read your Bible through each year.  To some, that may sound like a daunting task, which is why many people will not attempt to undertake it.  Also, the Bible is comprised of many different genres of literature: historical, poetic, biographical, instructional, prophetic.  For this reason alone, simply reading your Bible straight through from Genesis to Revelation is not going to be an effective way to study scripture.  Your understanding of a passage is only going to be relevant within that genre.

The key is to include passages from every genre in your study each day.  There are many Bible-reading plans available to choose from, but there is one in particular that I use personally, and I highly recommend it.  It is called Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System (Click here to view the .PDF file).  Now, I have no idea who Professor Grant Horner is.  I don’t get any kickback for referring his system.  No, I do not know what his doctrinal beliefs are.  I don’t care.  I do, however, think he has devised a very useful tool for Bible reading and study.  Here is how it works:

This system divides the 66 books of the Bible into 10 lists.

  1. Matthew-John
  2. Genesis-Dueteronomy
  3. Romans-Colossians, Hebrews
  4. 1 Thessalonians-Philemon, James-Revelation
  5. Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
  6. Psalms
  7. Proverbs
  8. Joshua-Esther
  9. Isaiah-Malachi
  10. Acts

With this system you read 1 chapter from each list every day.  The next day, you go on to the next chapter in each list.  When you get to the end of a particular list, you start again with the first chapter in that list.  Since each list varies in length, the combination of 10 chapters you read each day will constantly change as you work your way through.  By following this system, you can actually read every chapter in the Bible in just 250 days, less than 1 year!

Now, that still may seem like a daunting task, but reading 10 chapters from your Bible each day actually only takes less than an hour to accomplish.  With practice, you will find that it may actually take less time than that.  But is 1 hour of Bible reading each day too much to ask of someone who desires to “show themselves approved”, or who wishes to be able to “rightly divide the Word of truth”?

Following this system will result in the scriptures revealing themselves to you in ways you have probably never seen before.  The Bible is its own commentary, and as you read through the various chapters each day, you will begin to see patterns emerge; phrases, and expressions repeated over and over again.  Themes will develop and will become familiar to you.  Prophesies given in the Old Testament will be expounded upon in the New Testament.  You will see teachings in one section of scripture clarified and expounded upon in another.  You will suddenly see connections throughout the Bible that you did not realize were there before!  That is an exciting prospect, and that is a tremendous motivation.  You will suddenly find that you cannot wait to get to the next day to find out what you will discover!  Consider the words of the Psalmist:

Psalm 119:97-104

“O how love I thy law!

It is my meditation all the day. 

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies:

for they are ever with me.

I have more understanding than all my teachers:

for thy testimonies are my meditation.   

I understand more than the ancients,

because I keep thy precepts. 

I have refrained my feet from every evil way,

that I might keep thy word. 

I have not departed from thy judgments:

for thou hast taught me. 

How sweet are thy words unto my taste!

Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 

Through thy precepts I get understanding:

therefore I hate every false way.”

I exhort and encourage every believer to get deep into God’s Word.  These are the instructions for life and godliness.  You must know and understand them for yourself if you are to become a mature believer who is able to discern truth from error.  And these words will equip you to go out and give these same words of life to a lost world!

Andy

Motivational Quote for Protestants Still in the Institutional Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 30, 2016
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