A Snyder’s Soapbox review of, “Random God Sightings” by Kelly Hanes.

Random God Sightings (Paperback) - Walmart.com

I was approached by Emily Jones from Columbus Press via social media for the purpose of writing a review for a new book they were publishing. The book is, “God Sightings” by Kelly Hanes. The original message I was sent included a blurb about the book. After I read it, I was concerned that it might not be theologically sound. I sent Emily Jones this message, “…If you still want me to read and review your book, you should know ahead of time that theology is very important to me. If the book has heresies, or blasphemies in it, I will mention them in the review…” To which she responded, “… I understand your theological commitment. I will get you a copy right away. We would love to have you do a review…” That being written, I agreed to do a review.

The book promptly arrived, and I began reading it. I immediately ran into problems with the emerging theological positions. I wanted to give the author, “Kelly Hanes” the benefit of the doubt, so I kept on reading. Unfortunately as I progressed in the book, I determined that it was blasphemous, and heretical. Vague, emotionally manipulative language was used throughout. I believe that the vague language is used as a defense measure, so that if anyone is critical of the work the author could come back later and insist that the critic didn’t understand what she was writing, and that they are misrepresenting her. It is incumbent upon the author to use specific and precise language when explaining nuanced topics like theology. I would expect precision from someone who has won literary awards like she has.

The book, “God Sightings” is a collection of 26 vignettes about the author’s alleged encounters with God. It seems from what I could deduct that the author believes; that everyone at certain times is actually God, in some sort of panentheism. That people preexisted in Heaven. That emotions are the arbiter of truth and since God’s word wasn’t even mentioned, I’m guessing that it is completely under the authority of emotional experiences. That it is acceptable to lie to people and her Husband. There is a mixing of heterodox teachings, emotional manipulation, a reliance on emotional experiences, in some syncretic, new age/emergent movement mysticism.  These alleged extrabiblical personal revelations from god are not to be trusted because they conflict with His word, and what He has already revealed of Himself in it, as well as through the incarnation, and the creation.

If I give Hanes the benefit of the doubt, I could conclude that when she writes about seeing God in these individuals, that she really means, she sees God using them as the means by which He accomplishes His sovereign will, while not indwelling the unbelievers, but unfortunately after reading her book, I can’t give her the benefit of the doubt. It is fairly obvious that she truly believes that all people are God. Not in the sense of the Holy Spirit indwelling them, while economically remaining a distinct individual person of the triune God, but rather as God Himself in the panentheist understanding.

In other words, she writes that these people are God. She even reveals her thoughts that she had during her conversations with these people, and in those thoughts says things like, “The silence finally broke, and the children returned to their conversations. I looked at the brown-eyed girl and smiled, and she smiled back at me. It was then, in that moment, that I saw God, right there, in the girl’s eyes. Shining, confident, exultant. Oh, God! I said in my mind. Is that You? (notice how she capitalized You to indicate that it is God.) I should have known! I felt my heart lift, my spirit soar. As we sat there looking at each other, God and I, one of Her classmates, leaned over and confided to us, voice lowered, “You know what? Sometimes I think I see specialness too.””

In one vignette she writes about a man who she thought perhaps was a malfeasant regarding her children while at the store. The children had received stuffed animals from this strange man, and it aroused her suspicions. She followed him and had a conversation with him. This is part of what she said that relates to her panentheism, “My heart began to pound. When he looked at me like that, wrinkles crinkling, dark brown eyes shining as he mentioned my children, it all washed through me…God! I was speaking with God in the middle of the grocery store parking lot, and God had been glad to see my children that day.”

She returns to her van and children and then her eight-year-old son says, “You know what Mom? People like that could change the world.” I mean come on? Of course, this is no different than many American, “Christians” these days. We’ve collectively abandoned orthodoxy, and the surety of God’s word for fickle and fleeting emotional ebbs and tides.

In another vignette she writes about the evils of the world. Then makes this dubious statement, “Yet embedded within the killing world is another world, a world forever connected to The Good Kingdom, (Notice how she capitalized, “The Good Kingdom.” This leads us to believe she is writing about God’s Kingdom.) a world that each one of us has known. It stands as our reminder.” It seems that she is trying to establish our preexistence in Heaven. If that is the case, then she is guilty of false teachings.

Mixing all of these heresies, and heterodox teachings together with the rampant emotional manipulation is common among the leaders in the, “New Age, and Emergent Church” movements. It is syncretism at its worst.

It is also apparent from her work that she doesn’t understand the noetic effect of sin, or the curse of the fall. In an encounter with a sick girl, where they both hugged for a prolonged time she wrote, “My darkness was gone. Because She saw my soul and acknowledged it. Because She chose to “sit with me a while.” Because She looked me in the eye and pronounced me good. And somehow, in doing so, She had dispelled my darkness and I became well. I realized, as the girl disappeared from my sight, that it was God who had laid Her head upon my knee and wrapped Her arms around me. And it was God I had held in my arms. God is a sick girl, healing you.

Please note, that again she capitalizes, “She.” Hanes is implying that the girl is God. Then she flatly proclaims the girl to be God. Not only that, but God has pronounced her to be good. This statement lacks any grounding in Biblical truth. As Christians, we understand from the Bible, that we are not good, but rather are sinful. Christians have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them upon repenting of their sins and trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross for their justification to God. In other words, their righteousness is not their own, but God’s imputed to them.

On page 56 Hanes details how she, through deception, manipulates her husband into leaving Lowe’s hardware store because she doesn’t want to be there. Does that sound like an honest, and earnest Christian wife? How about, “I’d rather not go with you to Lowe’s, but I’d love to spend time with you after. Maybe we can go to dinner?”

Emotions are fickle. If you are counting on feeling God as a way to determine that your faith is true, then you will always be confused by the constant flux of your unbridled emotions. God says in His word, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” In James 1:5-8 we read, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

You see to have sure faith you must know God by the truth of His word. If you know Him, and His will, you can ask in faith. You can live and have stable emotions because you can temper them with what is true. This is the right way, not emotionalism and experientialism. The emotionalism and experientialism are an empty cistern, that cannot quench your thirst.   Instead trust in Christ. He is the living water that will satisfy your soul forever, and the only way to do this is to know Him by His word. 

Humans are not God. God is omnipresent. Each individual person of the trinity remains separate individual persons, in perfect communion with each other, while one in being. The only person of the godhead who has specific location is the Son, but by the indwelling of the Spirit, and the Spirit coming forth from the Father and Son, economically the Son can be considered omnipresent by the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit unites the believer to the Father and the Son. This is how we are in Christ. A human, who is not Christ, is not God. The only human to every be God is Jesus Christ, and He was not solely human. He was the hypostatic union of human and God natures. Both natures, 100% God and 100% man joined perfectly in the person of Jesus without mixing the natures.

Vignette 12, “God Sings” really gets my hackles up. Doesn’t Hanes know that the unbeliever is at war with God. They are His enemy. He doesn’t love them as a Father. God is angry with the wicked every day according to scripture. Romans 8:8, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” With the reading of every line of, “God Sightings” I agonized, “If I have to read one more expression of panentheism, or any other heresy, I’m going to burn this book.” Reading this book was truly a test of my patience. I wondered to myself, “Has this woman every studied the Bible?”

If vignette 12 ticked me off, vignette 24 sealed the deal. It was titled, “God is an Atheist.” After reading that one, I’m left wondering if the author has taken hallucinogens, or has a mental illness. Run from this book, and never read any of Kelly Hanes’ work until she repents, and trusts in the real God, the God of the Bible, not the one she made up that makes her feel all special. I know she is going to feel attacked after reading this review. Perhaps she’ll take her own advice from vignette 25? I hope my review shakes her out of her blasphemies, heresies, and lies. I hope she is so upset that she repents and comes to true saving faith.

I cannot recommend this work for Christian study. It is not edifying or conducive to genuine maturation of your faith. This is a solid, “Don’t waste your time.” From cover to cover, this book has no redeeming qualities for the Christian, and his library. The author, Kelly Hanes, regardless of the world’s opinions of her qualifications to teach, is Biblically disqualified, and it is well demonstrated by this heretical book that seems to present panentheism, human preexistence, and new age syncretism, as Christian.

For all the other reviewers who clamored their adoration for this book, “What is wrong with you people? Have you never read the Bible? Tolle Lege!”

Have you ever talked with someone who openly mocks Christ, and your faith in Him?

Christians To The Lions Stock Photos & Christians To The Lions Stock Images - Alamy

I have a few acquaintances, who for some personal reasons, think that it is a good, fun, time to mock Christ, and my faith in Him, as well as the faith of all Christians. They say things like, “Christ is a mythological character, God does not exist, all Christians are crooks, all Christians are homosexuals and touch little boys, Christians are the ones bringing all of the illegal immigrants in, If there is a God Christians are just trying to make themselves feel better by making up Christ who they dump all their sins on and God is really going to grind them to powder because there is nobody to atone for their sins, Christians are the worst people, the Bible is made up, religion is just used by the elite to control the masses, (“religion is the opiate of the masses.” ala Karl Marx, oh by the way he is dead, but Jesus is alive!) I am God worship me, I’d never worship a god who would allow people like you into heaven, Roman Catholicism, Easter Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodoxy, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnessism, Seventh Day Adventism, Judaism, Islam, (insert blasphemous heretical cult/religion here) are all the same.

Now we know these are ignorant, and hateful statements, that are the product of a heart and mind set against God, but it doesn’t cause us to be any less hurt when someone says them regardless of their professed reasons for saying them.

1 John 5:19, “19We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

Romans 1:18-23, “ 18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”

Romans 8:6-8, “6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

It is even more upsetting when friends, or family say these things purposefully to get under our skin. Why does it hurt? Because our identity is wrapped up in Christ, if we are in Christ. Someone is mocking the one who you love, gave you new life, took the punishment you deserve, the one who died for you, and changed your heart. Of course, it should hurt.

Take heart, God is our fortress. He is our defense. God will not be mocked.

Psalms 62:5-8 “5My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.

6He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

7On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

8Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.”

Galatians 6:7-8, “7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Psalms 1:1-6, “1How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

2But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

4The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.”

We know that they only mock us, and God, because they hate God. One day, if they don’t come to be in Christ, they will be judged outside of Him. They will be judged in their sins.

Matthew 5:11-12, “ 11“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Romans 8:1-5, “1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

What should our response be when people treat us badly because of Christ? I encourage you to follow the link and read the article. How many of us could do like Christ, and stand silently while being accused falsely, insulted, and assaulted without a plea or defense? How many of us could pray for God to not hold this against them? How many of us could look forward to the treasures in Heaven, while allowing someone to destroy our earthly pleasure? As Christians, we need to think about these questions, and respond as Stephen, and the other Apostles who were martyred, and all the martyrs thereafter, even today being martyred for Christ. God is good, and we must praise Him, and tell of Him to all the world, even if they persecute us, and kill us.

 

Jesus declares all foods clean, makes a way for men from all nations and tribes, and ultimately ends the sacrificial system with His sacrifice.

Rough, Dirty Hands | Converse Life

While talking with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, it came to light that he and his family are no longer Baptists, but have joined the Messianic Jews. This seemed odd to me as I would assume that they would be in the Hebrew Roots movement as they are not Jews, but nonetheless the conversation continued. He used a few scriptural references to prove his points, but upon further examination, it seemed to me that the references he made actually prove his points to be false. It is a matter of having a framework of presuppositions to provide context by which to interpret the scriptural references cited. From my perspective, which I obviously think is correct, he is wrong, but from his perspective I am wrong. We talked for a bit longer, and agreed to disagree. Neither of us swayed the other.

He insisted that the New Testament scriptural references to food that Jews would eat excluded the foods that were unclean in the Old Testament. I conceded that to a Jew who was not a Christian, and even early converts, pork probably was not on the dinner plate, but I did not agree that pork is still of limits. He also insisted that we are still under obligation to follow all of the laws. He made no distinction between, the moral law, the ceremonial law, and the royal law. To that, I simply asked, “Do you make a booth outside your house and live in it for a week? Do you sacrifice animals in the temple, on the altar? Do you pay a temple tithe?” Of course we know the answers to those questions demonstrate an inconsistency in praxia.

In Mark chapter 7 we read about Jesus chastising the Pharisees.  He is telling them that having dirty hands and eating with them doesn’t defile you, but He is also saying that the food that goes in doesn’t defile you, as well as saying that ceremonial washings don’t help you.

Mark 7:1-23 “1The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. 3(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; 4and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) 5The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?”

6And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.

7‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’

8“Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

9He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 10“For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’; 11but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ 12you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.””

14After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16[“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]

17When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23“All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

Mark 7:19 “ὅτι οὐκ εἰσπορεύεται αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν καρδίαν ἀλλ’ εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν, καὶ εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα.”

Stephen preached about the cessation of the sacrificial system, and temple system, immediately preceding his martyrdom. That is why they killed him. He was preaching Christ as the fulfillment of these shadows and types. With His fulfillment of the sacrifice, He made a way for men from all nations and tribes to be the Church. The picture of clean Israel against a pagan backdrop, would be replaced with Peter rise up and eat! The picture of clean and unclean food is analogous to the people, and the analogy does not negate the truth behind it that also applies to the food, as we can see in 1 Timothy.

1 Timothy 3:14-1 Timothy 4:1-5

14I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

16By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Here we read Stephen’s testimony,

Acts 6:8-

“ 8And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. 10But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” 12And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. 13They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; 14for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” 15And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.

1The high priest said, “Are these things so?”

2And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and said to him, ‘LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.’ 4“Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. 5“But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM. 6“But God spoke to this effect, that his DESCENDANTS WOULD BE ALIENS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND THAT THEY WOULD BE ENSLAVED AND MISTREATED FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS. 7“ ‘AND WHATEVER NATION TO WHICH THEY WILL BE IN BONDAGE I MYSELF WILL JUDGE,’ said God, ‘AND AFTER THAT THEY WILL COME OUT AND SERVE ME IN THIS PLACE.’ 8“And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abrahambecame the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

9“The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him, 10and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his household.

11“Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it, and our fathers could find no food. 12“But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13“On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family was disclosed to Pharaoh. 14“Then Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all. 15“And Jacob went down to Egypt and there he and our fathers died. 16From there they were removed to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

17“But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, 18until THERE AROSE ANOTHER KING OVER EGYPT WHO KNEW NOTHING ABOUT JOSEPH. 19“It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive. 20“It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father’s home. 21“And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son.22“Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. 23“But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. 24“And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. 25“And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26“On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’ 27“But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND JUDGE OVER US? 28‘YOU DO NOT MEAN TO KILL ME AS YOU KILLED THE EGYPTIAN YESTERDAY, DO YOU?’ 29“At this remark, MOSES FLED AND BECAME AN ALIEN IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, where he became the father of two sons.

30“After forty years had passed, AN ANGEL APPEARED TO HIM IN THE WILDERNESS OF MOUNT Sinai, IN THE FLAME OF A BURNING THORN BUSH. 31“When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: 32‘I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB.’ Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. 33“BUT THE LORD SAID TO HIM, ‘TAKE OFF THE SANDALS FROM YOUR FEET, FOR THE PLACE ON WHICH YOU ARE STANDING IS HOLY GROUND.34‘I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANS, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM; COME NOW, AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.’

35“This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND A JUDGE?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. 36“This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37“This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.’ 38“This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you. 39“Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40SAYING TO AARON, ‘MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT—WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.’ 41“At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42“But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL? 43‘YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA, THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.’

44“Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. 45“And having received it in their turn, our fathers brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations whom God drove out before our fathers, until the time of David. 46David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.47“But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48“However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:

49‘HEAVEN IS MY THRONE,
AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET;
WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?’ says the Lord,
‘OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE?

50‘WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?’

51“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.52“Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
54Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. 55But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse.58When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.59They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.

Christ’s fulfillment of the shadows, and types represented in the Patriarchs, ceremonies, and sacrifices, is inexpugnable. Anyone citing the false accusation against Stephen as evidence that we must keep all the laws of the Old Testament demonstrates their complete lack of understanding of the sermon Stephen preached and was killed for by men who were seeking to be justified by their own righteousness. Can your righteousness surpass that of the Pharisees?

Have you ever wondered why Hollyweird keeps cranking out woke, s.j.w. feminist/misandrist, trash?

This article will be a bit out of the ordinary for my site.  Don’t panic!  I will revert to my regular subject matter once I get his rant out of my system.
I mean seriously, who is going to see these movies?  Who keeps buying tickets to see this trash?  The last couple of times I’ve shelled out my hard-earned cash for some tickets, I’ve been fed a crap sammich wrapped in hatred of me, the patron!  Do they really think we are self-loathing enough, masochistic enough, to keep watching their, “movies” forever?
Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel – Trailer #2
I’ma just gonna read this book over here I’ve been neglecting for years and call it good!  If we all stop going, they’ll have to change it up, unless they are being funded by the lefties out there?  Maybe there is actually enough of these man hating nut-jobs out there to support Hollywood?  Wait, hold on a tick…  They’d have to crawl out of their mom’s basement, put down the phone, and get a job first….  Wait, hold on a tick… Maybe their moms are giving them money?  Maybe they are getting disability checks?  Maybe they are lefties?  Oh no!  These movies could be here to stay…
Trolls and Church Bells | JeremyVarner.com
I can tell the future for ya, ready?  Man BAD! Little man/boy BAD! Woman GOOD!  Girl GOOD!
The Politic | Yale's political publication since 1947
Gay man, more like woman, GOOD! Trans-woman=repentant man who now be woman, GOOD!
A Trans Ma'am in a Trans Am | Trans Am Meme on ME.ME
Woman heroine, man either villain, or need woman to rescue him, cuz him dumb, weak, and can’t keep it in his pants, and will always be fooled by super smart, and strong woman…
Get Tickets to an Advanced Screening of Atomic Blonde - IGN
Of course, they can level up that heroine and make her a person of color, (p.o.c.) and another thing, why are the poc in the movies lighter skin than I am?  It is almost like the leftists are racist or something?  I don’t care what color a person’s skin is.  It sure seems like Hollywood does though.  They got their own weird version of affirmative action going on.  They are going out of their way to cast culturally appropriate actors in ethnic roles, but not so much for roles that were once filled with bland, spiceless, boring, racist, white characters.
Apparently only white people, cuz they are white, are racist, and they are the only ones who can’t be victims of racism…  I’m sorry, doesn’t that just smack of racism there?!  I mean, COME ON SKIPPY! ARE YOU GONNA STAND THERE AND SAY THAT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE? Whoops, I’m sure I triggered someone for not warning that I was going to use the word, “straight.”  Get over it!
So, I guess what I’m trying to say, is that we must all stop going to the movies, subscribing to streaming services, and listening to musicians who hate us, and are enemies of the common good.  Well that is it for that rant.  I’m glad I got it out of my system.  That is the good thing with having your own site.  Facebook, and Twitter can’t pull your content down.

My Review of the King James Version, Giant Print Leather Bible from www.KJVBibles.com and Christian Art Publishers.

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If you are like me, you probably have not heard of Christian Art Publishers or KJVBibles.com. It seems they are newcomers to the scene. We are all familiar with names like Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Broadman & Holman, Christianbook.com, Lifeway.com. Unfortunately, some of the big names have been bought out by unbelievers over the years and don’t care as much about quality of materials or content. Hopefully we will see new independent companies/ministries arise who do care about quality of construction and content. We will see over time how things play out.

A representative of KJVBibles.com contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their Bibles, and I was. They promptly sent me a copy of their Giant Print, thumb indexed, double column, red letter, edition, in brown genuine top grain cowhide leather. When I unboxed the copy, I discovered there was a minor defect. I informed them about it, and they sent me another copy without complaint, or difficulty. It arrived in the expected condition. Upon removing it from the shipping box, I was presented with a handsome two-piece retail box, that should be retained for storage when not in use.

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Upon picking the Bible up, I could tell from the feel of the cover, and the looseness of the text block, that this was a good value for the suggested retail price. It is a visually interesting cover as well as tactilely. The words, “Holy Bible King James Version” are hot stamped in gold colored foil prominently on the front cover. The cover is perimeter stitched, and there are five decorative hubs ornamenting the spine. There is more hot stamping of gold colored foil on the spine. It reads from head to tail, “KJV,” “Holy Bible,” “King James Version,” and “CA” as a logo. The texture of the cover is not dramatically pronounced. It isn’t particularly thick either which explains the price.

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The publisher’s page in the front indicates that the Bible was printed and bound in China. This also sheds light on the low price, but don’t let that scare you. Many Bibles are printed in China these days. The key is to implement strict quality control. If a publisher is able to do that successfully, you will receive a good quality product. Whether or not Christian Art Publisher has been able to do that will be seen over time.

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The inside cover is lined with a sheet of what looks to be a thin vinyl sheet, glued down to the inside of the cover. I hope it holds up. It looks as if it could come unglued from the cover due to there not being any peach-flex acting as a stiffener and gluing surface. Of course, if there were, the cover would not be so flexible, and comfortable to hold, and there are worse things than an inner liner coming unglued. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if they were done away with, and another section of hide were used as an inner liner, but this would add to the cost of the addition. It is why the edge lined R. L. Allan’s, and Schuyler’s are at the top of the premium Bible market pecking order. The durability of this inner liner will also be seen over time.

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As I mentioned earlier, the text block has just the right tension on the signatures to make it flexible, and durable. I was pleasantly surprised to see this. The page edge gilt took some flipping through the pages to get them separate. Take care not to tear them when separating the pages. I’m not one for thumb indexing. I find it slows you down, and the stickers have a bad habit of falling off. These do look like they are glued down well. Hopefully there won’t be any problems with them down the road.

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The paper is a bit more toothy than what I am accustomed to in Bibles, but it does offer decent opacity at 75% and is 28 g.s.m. The 14 pt. font is nicely printed with sharp clean edges, and uniform consistency throughout. Even the red lettering is printed with similar quality. The red lettering is a bit lighter than some other publishers, but it is still quite legible thanks in part to the 14 pt. text.

The text is laid out in a double column, verse format, with footnotes, and limited cross references at the bottom. Due to the size of the text, and the volume, the page gutters are small. The looseness of the sewn text block does allow you to open it up far enough to read the text without it getting lost in the gutters. It lays nice and flat on your reading surface.

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There is one narrow brown ribbon marker that matches the color of the leather cover, head and tail bands, and the inner liner. Overall it is an appealing edition.

There is a useful, if not small concordance in the back, as well as a reading plan, and scripture verse finder, and 8 color maps. I really like the paper that the maps and presentation pages are printed on. They are thick enough to take ink well, and not glossy. The glossy ones don’t take ink well, and often crack. These look much better and I think they will hold up well. I would however, swap out the scripture verse finder for a larger concordance, or a KJV glossary for archaic words that are unfamiliar to modern readers, if it were up to me. Trinitarian Bible Society on their Westminster KJV has a neat system where they have a star next to the archaic word in the body of text, and then a star in the margin with a modern replacement for that word in the margin. I’d love to see some system like that employed. I think it would help the younger readers appreciate the KJV translation better.

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After using this Bible for a while, I’ve come to appreciate the easy to read text, the comfortable size, and the flexible cover. For the sub one-hundred-dollar niche this is a tremendous value. I’m all about finding a good value. Add in durability, good looks, and a great form factor, and you have a winner. If you are looking for a new KJV Bible for yourself, or as a gift, this would be a great choice. You can purchase yours from their website.

Here is a link to KJVBibles product page for this edition.

You can also purchase a copy on Christianbook.com

Don’t forget to check out more pictures at my Flickr page.

ISBN-13: 9781432127008

My Review of, “Romans Roadblocks” by Josiah Nichols.

In Josiah Nichols’ new book, “Romans Roadblocks, Using Hermeneutics to Discover the Essentials of the Christian Faith” you’ll follow him along through the first chapter of Romans while he demonstrates, and employs hermeneutics to exposit the text. This book is not intended for academia, nor is it a tedious comprehensive study of Biblical hermeneutics. In Romans Roadblocks you will learn about Biblical hermeneutics by following along as Josiah employs the methods of hermeneutics to the text.

Some may find more scholarly works difficult to follow or understand. If you’ve been studying the Bible for any amount of time, you might find out by reading this book that you were already practicing some of the methods of hermeneutics without knowing it. You might also discover where you have been making errors in your study and interpretation.

One thing that will become evident is how interconnected scripture is to scripture. You’ll see Josiah cross reference texts to other texts in different sections of the Bible for context when those cross references are justified by citation or some other requisite.

As the title implies, the essentials of the Christian faith are in view here. If you follow the author along through the book, you will learn about the topics listed in the table of contents. (The author labeled it as outline.)

Chapter 1 Biblical Hermeneutics
Chapter 2 Saul Called Paul
Chapter 3 Biblical Audience: Church in Rome
Chapter 4 Studying the Book of Romans
Chapter 5 What the Passage Says
Chapter 6 Christian Identity
Chapter 7 The Gospel’s Authority in Holy Scripture
Chapter 8 God’s Fully-Divine and Fully-Human Son
Chapter 9 The Resurrection is the Declaration of the Son of God
Chapter 10 The Trinity
Chapter 11 The Results of the Gospel and the Obedience of Faith
Chapter 12 Blessings of the Gospel
Bibliography

By, “unpacking” scripture along with Josiah you will find that theology is something we all do. You can’t have a thought about God without it being theology. Hopefully, after going through the steps, and seeing the theology revealed in the scriptures, you will have a better grasp of the fundamentals of the faith. I think you will.

The Basics of How to Study the Bible.

DSCN2856As a Christian, it is good for us to desire the pure milk of the word. If you are a new believer, or even if you have been a believer for a while, it isn’t uncommon for Christians to have questions about how they should study the Bible. There are many articles out there that give some very generic information on how to study the Bible, and there are yet more that flatly get it wrong. The goal of this article is to be helpful, without being too complicated, or too simple. Hopefully it will be just the right combination for most of you.

If you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, you are blessed with a teacher who will lead you into truth. (1 John 2:27) This isn’t to say you shouldn’t learn from Christians who came before. The same Holy Spirit who indwelt them, indwells you. He teaches them the same truth, and since they already lived, and learned, we can glean some hard-won understanding from reading their works. Equipped with the Holy Spirit, your next consideration should be prayer. Pray for God to make Himself known to you by the study of His word and the power of His Spirit. Obviously, you’ll need a Bible, and a place to study. It also helps to have some way to take notes, and some reference materials, like a concordance, dictionary, and some commentaries. You can get many of these materials online for free on certain web sites, or as apps for your tablet or smart phone.

The next step is to have a plan, whether it is for a short-term word study, topical study, or long-term in-depth study of the entire Bible. I’m the type of person who reads slowly. I study while I read. Other people who read much faster do a study that is separate from their daily reading. If you are reading along, and not paying close attention you can find yourself many pages into a section with no recollection or understanding of what you just read.

You’ve got your materials, your plan, a place and time set aside to study, and you’ve prayed, now what? Time to consider some hermeneutical ideas before diving in. These are things you’ll have to remember to employ while you study, or you could come up with meanings to the scriptures that God, the author did not intend. It is imperative that we don’t approach the word of God irreverently, or eisegetically. We should come seeking the truth, not to bolster an argument for our own position.

I have two fancy words for you, “exegesis, and eisegesis.” Exegesis is when you read the Bible and allow it to inform your understanding. The meaning of the scriptures, and the intent of the author are brought out of the text through faithful study. Eisegesis is when you come to the text with a preconceived notion and read it into the text. You may have seen some false teachers do this. They will cherry pick a few verses out of context, arrange them in a way that seems to make them say what they want them to say. If you aren’t armed with the truth, you might fall for this trick. This is another good reason to understand how to study the Bible.

While focusing on the hermeneutical concept of exegesis we must also consider who the author is writing to, what language is being used, what idioms of that language are being employed, when the audience lived, where they lived, what their culture was like, what relationship the author had with the audience, what type of literature the writing is,(e.g. poetry, historical narrative, songs, prescriptive, prophetic, apocalyptic, epistles/letters, allegory, and wisdom/proverbial language to name some.) grammatical rules, transmission of the text to man by God, modern applications for the individual Christian, and the Church, and finally context, context, context!

Context is key. The meanings you come to by analyzing a verse must fit with the verses surrounding them, and the sections of scripture that speak to those topics in the rest of the Bible. They must also fit with the entire message of God’s word in toto.

I know all of that sounds daunting, but it really is worth the time, and effort to consider these things when you are studying. Since God as the author intended for us to understand His word, and by His Spirit has made it understandable to us, we can, and should read it in its literal sense most of the time. As you mature in faith, and become more familiar with scriptures, much of those aspects will become self-evident, and you’ll find yourself checking a couple of them to get the point of a difficult passage.

With all of that in mind you can follow along as we examine some small passages of scripture. First let’s examine Genesis 11:31-32, “31Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there. 32The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.”

Fortunately for us, modern Bible translations move the words around in the sentence to fit modern English grammar. Otherwise we would need to know the Biblical languages to figure out what is going on. With a simple plain reading of verse 31 we can tell who the object, and subject are, and what the verb is. If you had already read the Bible from the beginning to this point you wouldn’t already know that Moses was the prophet and patriarch whom God used to give us these scriptures, and that the Old testament is mostly ancient Hebrew with a small section in Aramaic. At this point the word of God was passed on verbally and had yet been written down. It wouldn’t be until later in the book of Exodus we would read that Moses was told to compile and write down the first five books of the Bible. This is where some of those resources come in handy that I mentioned earlier. You could use a commentary, and Bible history book, to help you out.

The direct object is, “Terah.” The verb is, “took.” The subject is, “Abram.” From the grammar, and a plain reading of the verse we know that Terah took Abram from Ur to Canaan. We also know that Abram was the son of Terah. We can check this by looking at the genealogy that was in the preceding verses. From those same verses we know that Haran is also a son of Terah, and a brother of Abram. We also know that Lot is Terah’s grandson by Haran, and that Terah took Lot with him, when he took Abram. We know that Sarai was Abram’s wife, and Terah’s daughter-in-law, and that she also went with them. The town, “Haran” as translated in English looks like Abram’s brother’s name, “Haran.” By using a concordance and a Hebrew dictionary we can find out that these two proper names are not the same. Haran the son of Terah and Abram’s brother is spelled, “הָרָן֙” in Hebrew. Whereas the town’s name is, “חָרָ֖ן” Haran, Abram’s brother means, “mountaineer” in Hebrew. It is pronounced, “haw-Rawn” Haran the place means, “crossroads” and is pronounced, “cha-ran.” If we pick up where we left off the scripture says v31b, “;and they went as far as Haran, and settled there.” We know the, “they” refers to the group that was traveling with Terah. We also know they finally stopped at the town, “Haran” and settled there. The literal and plain meaning of the text is what we needed here in this historical narrative. With a little help from grammar, the original language, a concordance, Biblical history book, commentary, and a concordance we have it made. “32 The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.” The days of who? Terah. What about those days? Were they actually talking about literal days, or were they talking about how long he lived? From our knowledge of the idioms we know that the narrative is about how long he lived, not the actual days of his life. It is a figure of speech. We can see that he lived 205 years. We also read that at the end of those days, Terah died, and that it happened in Haran.

Even though this was only two verses, you can see that it can quickly become quite complicated and involved if you are straining for understanding but worry not! Your mind can do most of this on the fly, and quite quickly. You might not even recognize that you are doing it.

For our next example let’s look at 1 Timothy 5:17-18, “17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”” Even with no context we can see what is meant regarding the elders and their keep. This is due to the explanation in the form of a quote from the Old Testament and what follows immediately after. We also have added scriptural context from 1 Corinthians 9:9-14, “9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. 11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? 14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.”

You can see how additional context helped to understand the quote from the old Testament in the way that it was intended. After reading the quote from Deuteronomy a person might think that Paul is quoting the passage out of context. If you do think that, you should go read Justin Taylor’s article which quotes some other people’s work, and a couple of commentaries. (Read the article hereI think after consulting it you will come to agree with the author’s perspective that the ox was loaned or rented to the man to process grain, and as it was another man’s property he should not abuse it for his own gain. Paul is saying that he and other elders like him are the, “oxen of the Lord” if you will, and they should not be mistreated. With other men’s works, and commentaries, it is important to examine them carefully. Their interpretation may not be the best one. Examine their reasoning, and the context of their arguments and conclusions to see what you think is the truest. I happen to agree with Justin Taylor. I think in context to the entirety of scripture, and what we know from it about the created order this explanation makes the most sense.

You’ll notice this time we used a text with a quote from the Old Testament. It was from one of the Pastoral Epistles, but due to the quote we had to look at the broader context of scripture and examine 1 Corinthians, as well as Deuteronomy. The main text we were exegeting is prescriptive/instructional. You’ll also notice that we were doing a Bible study, but hopefully you could see that the same process would be used for a topical study, or a word study.

With a word study you would want to use a concordance and see how many different Greek, and Hebrew words were translated as the English word you are using, and how many times the specific word you are studying was used in the Bible, and what it meant most of those times, being careful to employ the hermeneutical principles mentioned earlier to determine what the intent of the author was to communicate.

I hope that this brief primer on how to study the Bible was helpful, and easy to follow. The word of God is our food. It is the mind of God for us to know Him by. It is how the sovereign God chose to explain Himself to us. It is entirely about Him. We can see Jesus in every book and chapter. We can preach the gospel of Christ out of every book. He is the central theme, not us. God bless you in your efforts to know Him better by His word.