We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Challenge to the Church


The challenge to the Western church is subtle but unprecedented in its scale, and it must be answered with a courageous no to everything that contradicts the call of our Lord—whatever the cost and whatever the outcome.  Is Jesus Lord, or are the forces of advanced modernity lord? The church that cannot say no to all that contradicts its Lord is a church that is well down the road to cultural defeat and captivity.  But the courage to say no has to be followed by an equally clear, courageous and constructive yes—to the Lord himself, to his gospel and his vision of life, humanity and the future, so that Christians can be seen to live differently and to live better in the world of today.

Os Guinness, Impossible People, pg.21-22

Friday, January 19, 2018

Emotion Will Not Sustain Faith


Just as a marriage cannot be sustained by the tumble of infatuation, a life of faith cannot be sustained by passionate emotion. Yes, it may be a wonderful (and necessary) entryway, but without depth of knowledge and understanding, it will be “blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

To Truly Love God, You Need to Learn About Him


We have replaced rich, robust theology in the Church with emotional music and constant reminders that “God is love and loves you and He’s your personal Savior and loves your soul …” These words are great at bringing outsiders through the doors (because they’re true by and large) but poor at growing believers into mature witnesses with rich understanding of the deep things of God.

I have found the opposite to be very true. I have found that the more I learn about God, His Word and theology which describes Him, the more I can love and worship Him, because now there is that much more to adore and be amazed by. If my ability to worship God is a fire, learning more about Him only adds more wood to the blaze. After all, if you really loved God, wouldn’t you want to learn as much about Him as possible? . . .

I’m saddened that atheists are so passionate about what they believe that they will read stacks of books in order to define their beliefs, while we are happy to float along the surface with a “Hillsong-deep theology” and call it good. And we wonder why people are leaving the Church in droves.  A church that offers only emotional, feel-good theology is going to lose the long-term wrestling match to a well-read and convincing atheist nearly every time


Monday, January 15, 2018

“Teenager”?


I really despise the term “teenager” because it brings up the image of a child, and very often “teenagers” are even called “children.”  BUT, they are NOT “children.”  People who are in their “teen" years are really nothing less than young men and women.

A lot of problems have arisen due to the use of the word “teenager.”  Let’s look at a few of them of them:

1.  When young men/women in their “teens” commit crimes, they are given lighter sentences for their crimes than if they were adults (those who have reached the age of majority), and often the records of their crimes are sealed and unable to be used as evidence in trials for crimes they commit as “adults.”

2. When participating in consensual sexual relations, if one is still a minor (under 18 years old), the other individual can be charged with a sex crime and will have the title “sex offender” for the rest of their lives!  (I have personally seen this happen when the male was 19 and the female 17, and when the male was 18 and the female 16.)

3.  When a “teenager” commits a crime and is killed by a law enforcement official, the media cries about how the police killed a “boy” or a “child.”

Christians are just as guilty of using the term “teenager” as is the secular world, and this should not be.  Throughout history young men and women in their “teen” years married and raised children and even farmed their lands.  “Teens” have served in the military since the beginning of the existence of militaries.  “Teens” have reigned as kings and queens.

Young men and women in their “teen” years are NOT children and should not be treated as such. Instead, children should be raised so that by the time they reach puberty they will be mature enough to begin learning how to be adults.  The failure to do so is a problem among Christians as much as it is among the secular world.  And this is one reason our children are not equipped to deal with the secular world during their junior high and high school years, let alone when they are in college.

Brothers and sisters, let us start using discernment and stop playing the secular world’s game of using the term “teenager” (or permutations).  Let us call our youth in their “teen” years, “young men/women.”  Let’s train them to be young adults and not children.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Great is Thy Faithfulness


Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changes not, Thy compassion's, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Summer and winter, springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.


By Thomas Chisholm

Saturday, January 13, 2018

About “Lucifer”


Back in August 2010 I posted an article explaining the origin of the name “Lucifer” being applied to Satan. In June 2016 I decided to clean extraneous stuff from it, and explain the information in a more chronological flow; I also added some clarifying statements, and republished the article with changes, deleting the older one.  I have recently read some additional and more accurate information, so I am now replacing the 2016 article.

Satan’s name was never originally “Lucifer.”  Nope, it never was, even though one of the things which KJV Only people say is that the new Bibles have left out “Lucifer’s” name when they change the word in Isaiah 14:12. When you understand the origin of this name, you will realize how ridiculous this argument becomes.

Step one:  In ancient days people thought the “morning star” and the “evening star” were two different astrological objects, when in reality they were really both the planet we now call “Venus.” The Greeks called it “Hesperus” in the evening and “Phosphorus” in the morning, while the Romans (with the Latin language) called it “Vesper” in the evening and “Lucifer” in the morning. So, “Lucifer” was nothing more than the name Romans gave to the planet we now know as Venus. The word meant “light bearer,” but identified the “Morning Star.”

Step two:  Early Church fathers Origen (died 254) and Tertullian (died 220) spiritualized this passage and incorrectly decided that it was talking about Satan and his rebellion against God (read Jude 6; Matthew 25:41). In fact, the prophet Isaiah was really talking about the wicked king of Babylon who claimed to be like God, and who boasted that his throne would lie beyond the stars (Isaiah 14:13-14). The king sought the glory associated with “Helel,” but God had other plans. He would bring this wicked king down to the depths of the Earth where he belonged (verse 11).

Step three:  When Jerome translated the Hebrew book of Isaiah into Latin (while writing the Latin Vulgate Bible), he had only a vague idea what the Hebrew word “Helel” meant.  Helel means something like “shining one.”  Isaiah 14:12 described this “shining one” as “the Son of the Dawn,” so Jerome concluded that Helel was the Hebrew name for Lucifer, the morning star.  (It is interesting to note that in the Vulgate the same word, “lucifer,” is used at 2 Peter 1:19.)

Step four:  The people who translated the King James Version in 1611 borrowed heavily from Jerome’s Latin Bible, and when they came to Isaiah 14:12 they didn’t understand the Hebrew “Helel,” so they just kept the Latin “Lucifer” rather than trying to translate “Helel” into English. Their translation of Isaiah 14:12 then went like this: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” 

Step five:  John Milton, in 1667, put the idea of Isaiah 14 applying to Satan, along with the KJV use of “Lucifer,” into his famous book, “Paradise Lost,” which had Lucifer as an angel who sinned and was cast out of heaven.  And this is how Satan became Lucifer.  

Satan’s name never was Lucifer, so anyone who makes such a claim is basing their belief really on John Milton’s story and NOT on the Bible.  Unfortunately, this has become a well-held tradition in the Church, both the idea that Isaiah 14:12 is about Satan, and that Satan’s name was Lucifer.  Traditions die hard.

Today, in order to avoid this confusion, modern translations use “Morning Star” or “Day-Star” instead of “Lucifer.”  

We have no idea what Satan’s name may have been prior to his fall.  “Satan” (Hebrew) and “Devil” (from Greek) both mean “adversary.”

Now, a really interesting thing with the KJVO claims is that by changing Isaiah 14:12 to read “Morning Star” while at the same time translating 2 Peter 1:19 as “morning star” (e.g. NIV) we’ve now associated Jesus with Satan, giving them both the same name!  Ergo, we have a “Non-Inspired Version” (NIV) of the Bible. Of course the context of the use of the word is different, but context doesn’t seem to matter to KJVO people. I guess when the Vulgate did it that was okay?

I had never heard of the Lucifer/Satan connection when I first read the Isaiah passage, and I never would have gotten the connection from the context; this doctrine is disputed by many theologians in commentaries I have read.  

Nevertheless, if Christians quit using this term to name Satan, then we will cease forcing the Scriptures to say something they don’t say.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:

What was the shape of Jesus’ cross?  No, it wasn’t a “stake” as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim.

Why Quaker beliefs are problematic.

The Bad:
The cultic nature of the New Apostolic Reformation.

Moody Bible Institute has had some discernment issues for quite a while, but I didn’t know just to what extent this was until I read this article.  Now things have been coming out which have led to resignations among the leadership.


Jonathan Cahn’s new book, “The Paradigm” has led to me being contacted about a review of this book which could show how horrid Cahn’s teachings are.  While looking for information, I came across this link to discussions about all sorts of issues regarding Cahn.  This is a site I started following last year—and can highly recommend—but I missed these!  Well, if that isn’t enough for you, here is another collection of links exposing Cahn’s nonsense; good resource if needed.

Why is it that Catholic universities never seem to follow Catholic doctrines?

The Ugly:
Michael Brown is participating in a conference headlining a bunch of hardcore heretics.  Don’t EVEN try to defend him — he continues to prove he is a blatant false teacher.  This is the NAR at its finest!  Phil Johnson has written an interesting article about Brown’s continued support for false teachers.


The NAR and Bethel just get more and more bizarre.

More on Christalignment.  Kris Vallotton of Bethel Redding has approved of this group.  There is nothing Christian about this.  This article, and the video report, give excellent reporting on the “tarot cards” used by Christalignment, as well exposing Michael Brown’s defense of it!!!

Proof positive that Bethel’s Kris Vallotton preaches a gospel of wealth.

If you didn’t think the PCUSA was full-blown apostate before, try explaining this away.

An example of how false teacher Paula White abuses Scripture to suck money from her gullible followers

The humorous 
KJV-Only Pastor Tests Positive for NIV.  It must be true because I saw it on the Internet.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

God Gave Us the Ability to Reason


What could ever have established the nonsense of transubstantiation in the world, if men had been fixed in this great truth, that God gives no revelation contradictory to our own reason?

Isaac Watts, The Improvement of the Mind: A Supplement to Logic, pg.263

Monday, January 8, 2018

Market-Driven/Seeker-Sensitive is NOT Biblical


A church fed on excitement is no New Testament church at all.  The desire for surface stimulation is a sure mark of the fallen nature, the very thing Christ died to deliver us from.

A.W. Tozer

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What Do You Dread?


This will be a wee bit different from my normal articles because of a recent incident of which I’m aware.  A problem developed because someone lacked discernment, let alone compassion, and since this blog is about teaching discernment in theological matters, there is nothing wrong with giving a lesson in general discernment.

What are things you can dread: Things which bring danger? Things which bring bad news? Things that can cause hardship?  And much more, of course.

How about when it comes to correspondence from friends and relatives?  AHH, here’s where things can get sticky for people who have no compassion or discernment.

My father was a very, very abusive man — both physically and emotionally.  I was raised with corporal punishment being either a fist or a belt.  My mother suffered a lot, as you can imagine, before they divorced; my father got my brother and me and Mom kept the three girls.  For my brother and me things never got better.  Even as I grew older my father was never lacking cruel words.  As I grew to adulthood and joined the Army, my father (who died in 1996) tended to give me more respect over the years, so we kept in communication through the mail.  However, we would sometimes have disagreements over various issues (such as my trying to teach him why he needed to leave Mormonism.  No matter whether the topic was theology, history, sociology, etc, no one could ever know more than he, and that led him to always belittling me as being stupid.  Once when discussing the issue of women suffering sexual harassment, he claimed that women either liked it or deserved it (yada yada), and when I tried to counter his argument he told me I knew nothing about women, especially because I was so stupid to have stayed married to the same woman for half my life (he was married three times and had many live-in relationships, let alone general promiscuity).  I ended up dreading mail from him because I knew every letter would be full of nasty attacks and criticism and charges of ignorance, etc.  This is a case where the dread would have been solved if there were never any more correspondence—What was dreaded was the evil, the wickedness, the cruelty.

What about another type of correspondence which can be dreaded?  I know of a couple who are estranged from their grown children due to outside influence.  They love getting letters and photos from them, but, even so, these are “dreaded” because they open the wounds of how the relationship dissolved and how much they have missed in the lives of their children and grandchildren.  In this case cutting correspondence with the couple would only bring on more grief; they’d much rather have the correspondence and suffer the open wound of the loss than to not have any correspondence.

Well, one year this couple did not get an annual Christmas letter from their one child’s family, and when they noted that to them a few months later, it led to receiving one the following year.  However, before the missing letter and the current letter, somehow that child had been alerted to something one of the couple had written which could lead someone to think the letters were “dreaded,” and decided if that was the case then they just wouldn’t send the annual letter.  Here is where discernment and compassion should have come to play.  Since the children knew how much their parents were grieving the estrangement, and how much hurt was involved, they should have understood the reason for “dreading” such correspondence was due to wounds being opened at the same time of receiving joyous news.  They should have been able to discern that the dread felt was not dreading the letter, but dreading the emotions which would be raised as they remember the hurts and grief of the past years.

We actually know several couples with similar family separation issues who all have the same dread of learning what they are missing, but strongly desiring whatever communication they get.

So the discernment lesson is: don’t assume the reason someone dreads something, rather find out why the dread exists.  Making the wrong assumption can only make things worse.


Monday, January 1, 2018

Books I Read in 2017


As with previous years (all but 2016 now deleted) I am following the idea of other bloggers and letting my readers know what sorts of things I read — well, that is, besides the Bible and newsletters, journals, etc!   This has actually been another fairly slow year for reading books; hard to find time.

Like 2016, a few books were repeat reads for me for various reasons (some so I could give them away, but mostly just too many years passed to remember what was in them!).  Those will be noted in blue.  For the most part, the titles should tell you what the subject was.  You’ll notice that my two favorite subjects are history and theology.  But if you’re interested in seeing what I fill my head with, take a gander below. (These are the order in which they were read, as I build my list as I go).

The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story, by Elliott West

Images of America: Fort Yellowstone

A Basic History of the United States, Vol. 4: The Growth of America 1878-1928,  by Clarence B. Carson

On the Reliability of the Old Testament, by K.A. Kitchen 

Images of America:  Yellowstone National Park

The Lady Be Good, by Dennis E. McClendon
(Story about a B-24 bomber which crash-landed in the Libyan desert in 1943 and found 16 years later: how they overshot their base and what happened to the crew, etc)

The First World War, by Hew Strachan

The Four Feathers, by A.E.W. Mason
(Novel which led to several movie versions, of which I have the 1939, 1977, and 2002 versions, and I wanted to see which followed the book the best.)

A Basic History of the United States, Vol. 5: The Welfare State 1929-1985, by Clarence B. Carson

The American Muhammad, by Alvin J. Schmidt
(About Joseph Smith, Mormon “prophet”)

The Anxious Christian, by Rhett Smith
(Read at the request of the book’s owner, and I found it to be very poor teaching.)

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
(Wanted to see what the movie was based on; the movie was better than the book!)

Standing for Christ in a Modern Babylon, by Marvin Olasky

1914 and the Gentile Times, by Ralph Woodrow
(Examining Jehovah’s Witness claims)

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
(Comparing with the movie, and so the next book will be more fun. Too many years since I read both books because mine were loaned out and never came back, and I replaced them finally this past year)

The Darwin Conspiracy, by James Scott Bell
(Using the plot of “The Maltese Falcon,” but instead of the bird the item chased is a manuscript explaining the conspiracy to make everyone believe evolution.  Pretty witty, but also with lots of historical footnotes.)

Possession and Exorcism, by Traugott K. Oesterreich  
(I only read about 1/3 of the book before giving up.  Too much hokum and unbiblical nonsense. Book was given to me by an elderly friend.)

Betrayal at Little Gibraltar, by William Walker
(About a World War I battle.)

The Rage Against God, by Peter Hitchens
(Passed to me by a friend — for my “entertainment”)

The End of Reason, by Ravi Zacharias

Exodus: Myth or History? by David Rohl

Cedar Rapids: Tall Corn and High Technology, by Ernie Danek

Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, by Anthony Esolen

The Big Red One: American’s Legendary 1st Infantry Division from World War 1 to Desert Storm, by James Scott Wheeler

A History of the Holocaust, by Saul S. Friedman

Jesus Among Secular Gods: The Counterculture Claims of Christ, by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale

The Mystery of E Troop: Custer’s Gray Horse Company at the Little Big Horn, by Gregory Michno

The Love Dare, by Stephen & Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough

The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan

Saving Kennedy, by Jerry L. Pattison
(Time travel stories)

Mormonism Unveiled or Life & Confession of John D. Lee and Brigham Young

Measuring the Music, Another Look at the Contemporary Christian Music Debate, by John Makujina

Logic: The Right Use of Reason in the Inquiry After Truth, Isaac Watts
The Improvement of the Mind, A Supplement to Logic, with A Discourse on the Education of Children and Youth, by Isaac Watts

Trusting the Shepherd: Insights From Psalm 23, by Haddon W. Robinson