Archives For Discipleship

Whether or not people should consume any alcohol is a hotly disputed point. No passage sets forth the eternal riskiness of consuming alcohol more solemnly than what Paul wrote to the Corinthians to warn them about those who would not inherit the kingdom of God:

1 Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

In no uncertain terms, Paul proclaims under inspiration of the Spirit that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God! Those who become enslaved to alcohol will perish eternally unless they repent of their being drunkards.

Given that one’s eternal destiny is at stake on whether he becomes a drunkard or not, no one should risk perishing eternally by choosing to consume any alcohol.

Scripture provides a sobering account about a man who pretended to care for the poor, but his real concern was not at all about caring for them.

“The Judas Approach” to Helping the Poor

Seeing Mary lavish on Jesus her affection for Him by anointing His feet with very expensive perfume, Judas protested against what she did:

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

He asserted that the perfume should rather have been sold and the money given to the poor to help them. His real motivation, however, was anything but an earnest desire to help the poor:

John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

Instead of genuinely wanting to help the poor, Judas was a thief who wanted the steal the money for his own wicked gain.

Application

We must beware “the Judas approach” to helping the poor that pretends to care for the poor but actually is intended for getting money for oneself through iniquitous means.

Reading recently in John 2, a directly stated distinction between two wines caught my attention. Pondering that passage led me to consider whether something similar is also true about instrumental musics.

Some Wine That Was Better Than Other Wine

It was apparently commonly agreed among the Jews that some wine was better than other wine:

John 2:10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

Since Jesus was the One who created the wine in this account, we can be certain that it was wine that was objectively better than other wine that the ruler of the feast had previously tasted.

Are There Similar Differences among Instrumental Musics?

We have seen that there was some wine that truly was better than other wine. Does something similar also apply to styles/genres of instrumental music, or are there no styles/genres of instrumental music that we can objectively say are better than others?

If there are not any instrumental musics that are better than others, why are instrumental musics different than wines? How do we know that instrumental musics are different than wines in that respect?

Scripture certainly teaches that God is love (1 John 4:8) and that He loves the world (John 3:16). Knowing these truths about God, many think that to hate anyone is to not be like God.

Scripture, however, shows that such thinking is wrong. Scripture plainly teaches that God hates evil people:

Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Moreover, not only does Scripture teach that God hates evil people, but also it teaches that His people hate evil people:

Psalm 26:5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

Psalm 31:6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.

Psalm 139:19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

Application

Scripture teaches that God hates evil people. It reveals that His people hate evil people. To hate evil people is to be like God!

In a recent thread on Sharper Iron, I posted the following remarks concerning why many believers reject secular testimonies that speak about demons and music:

Another frequently used basis for rejecting these testimonies is the claim that believers who use these testimonies to argue for the rejection of music of the occult commit multiple logical fallacies in how they use those testimonies. Such claims include the purported use of guilt-by-association (GBA), the genetic fallacy, hasty generalization, and ad hominem.

To address the claim that GBA is routinely used to support the fallacious rejection of music of the occult, it is necessary to examine various passages of Scripture. Consider the following comparison of passages about Balaam:

Numbers 31:14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. 15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? 16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. 17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

In spite of 1400-1500 years (we do not know this time span exactly but can approximate it closely enough for our purposes) having elapsed after Balaam’s death, the glorified Christ indicted believers in a Christian church for having people in their midst who were holding the doctrine of Balaam. We know with certainty that Christ was not guilty of using the GBA fallacy when he rebuked the believers in this church for doing so.

Scripture does not provide any basis for our understanding that the doctrine of Balaam had been faithfully transmitted by his followers for all those hundreds of years since his death and had spread from where the Midianites had been all the way to Pergamos. How, then, was the glorified Christ able to validly declare that in essence the same perverse doctrine that greatly corrupted ancient Israel was corrupting a first-century church?

Because I have not received any interaction on that thread for several weeks now, I have decide to discontinue posting on that thread and continue posting further information on the topic here. To profit fully from what I plan to treat in future posts, I encourage you to go and read all my preceding remarks in the thread, “What Does 1 Corinthians 2:14 Teach about What Unbelievers Cannot Know?

Many people believe that they have the ability to decide whether music is fit for human use by listening to the music and analyzing it musicologically. They even think that they have the ability to analyze music of the occult in the same manner.

The following comparison between consuming spiked beverages and listening to music of the occult shows just how faulty and deadly this thinking is.

Consuming Spiked Beverages

Suppose a malicious scientist invents a colorless, odorless, sweet-tasting liquid that slowly poisons people so that their brains very gradually malfunction more and more. In collaboration with a corrupt, secret government organization, beverage manufacturers mix this poison in various beverages and then ship them to select grocery stores in neighborhoods of enemies of the state.

Not knowing what the government has done, scores of political enemies gradually go insane because they were never able to detect that the beverages were spiked. Because of the properties of the poison that make detecting its presence impossible through ordinary means, those who drink it have no ability to know of its presence and its poisonous effects merely by tasting, smelling, seeing, or drinking the spiked beverages.

To them the spiked beverages look, smell, and taste perfectly fine. Using their aesthetic abilities to determine the fitness of the beverages has disastrous consequences for them.

Listening to Music of the Occult

Music of the occult is music that evil humans produce either under the influence of demons or for summoning them or both (see footnote 1 in this post for some information about such music). Because demons are supernatural beings whose knowledge, ability, and experience concerning music far surpasses any ability or knowledge of humans, such music is incredibly dangerous music.

Humans who assert that we must listen to such music to know whether it is demonic music wrongly think that they have the ability to understand and detect anything about the music that would make it either harmful for humans to listen to it or unrighteous for them to listen to it or both. As with the spiked beverages, however, humans completely lack the understanding and capabilities to detect and determine accurately the deadly properties of this music.

Application

Christians should never assent to challenges to listen to music of the occult for the purposes of analyzing it and explaining what is demonic about it. Rather, we must totally reject all such music without exposing ourselves to it in any way.

 

Through the Bible in 2020!

August 31, 2020

This morning, I finished reading through the Bible for this year! I praise God that He has allowed me to do so at least once a year every year of my Christian life!

Given the incredible upheaval that is happening in our country at this time, who knows whether the day may soon come when the Bible may be a banned book in our country. For as long as we still have the freedom to do so, I urge you to immerse yourself in the Word of God every year and every day of your life.

An unbelieving woman at Endor was involved with a demon and the occult. By treating what Scripture reveals about her, we learn that we must beware dangerously wrong views about unbelievers, demons, and the occult!

An Unbeliever Who Had a Demon

Scripture reveals that there was a woman at Endor about whom other people knew and testified that she had a familiar spirit:

1 Sam. 28:7  Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.

God through the inspired writer of Scripture confirms elsewhere the validity of their testimony that she had a demon:

1 Chr. 10:13  So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;

Because she had a demon, we know that she was an unbeliever. We also know that she did not have the Spirit.

Furthermore, Scripture does not provide any information about this woman ever having any access to divine revelation, either directly or through reading or hearing read whatever divine revelation that had by then been inscripturated and was available at that time.

An Unbeliever with Authentic Information about Occult Interactions with Demons

Without initially revealing his identity to her, Saul contacted this unbelieving woman to engage for his sake in an occult practice through a demon:

1 Sam. 28:8  And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

When Saul did so, she testified of her knowledge that Saul had cut off such people who had demons and engaged in that occult practice:

1 Sam. 28:9  And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

She also testified of her belief that for her to comply with this request would be to endanger her own life.

She thus responded in a way showing that she knew that she had a demon. Two points support this reading of what is recorded about how she answered him.

First, her responses imply that she did not protest by saying that she does not believe in demons or that there is no such thing as a demon.

Second, her responses imply that she also did not say that she does not know how to interact with demons to engage in the occult practice that he wanted her to do.

Her responses therefore teach us that she knew and believed that she was a woman who had a demon in keeping with the type of person that they believed her to be.

Furthermore, other divine revelation about this same event shows that she knew that she was being asked to interact with to a demon to receive information through it:

1 Chr. 10:13  So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;

This unbelieving woman who had a demon authentically knew that she had a demon and that she had had interactions with it in engaging in an occult practice. Without having the Spirit or having access to divine revelation, she authentically knew and believed these things and testified to them.

An Unbeliever Who Knew Authentically about Other People Engaging in Occult Interactions with Demons

This woman knew and believed that there were other people who had demons and engaged in occult interactions with them in the same way that she did:

1 Sam. 28:9  And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

We thus learn that not only did this unbelieving woman who had a demon authentically know that she engaged in occult interactions with a demon, but also she knew of others who did the same thing. Because she was an unbeliever, we learn that having the spiritual discernment that only a (mature) believer would have was not necessary for her to have such authentic knowledge and to testify authentically about her having such knowledge.

Discussion

From the points treated above, we learn several key truths. First, we know that people who are unbelievers can authentically know that they truly have had demons and have had occult interactions with them.

Second, we also learn that having the Spirit and having access to or familiarity with divine revelation are not necessary for unbelievers to have such authentic knowledge.

Third, we learn that people’s authentically knowing that they have demons and proclaim information through occult interactions with them does not require that they have the spiritual discernment that only a (mature) believer has.

Application

We must not hold several wrong views about unbelievers, demons, and the occult. To begin with, we must not hold that unbelievers cannot know authentically that they have a demon and have had occult interactions with them.

Furthermore, we must not believe that they cannot authentically speak about their having had occult interactions with demons and being influenced by demons in those interactions.

Moreover, we must not hold that we may safely disregard testimonies from unbelievers about their having had occult interactions with demons.

Conclusion

By holding the wrong views discussed above, there very likely are many believers who have endangered themselves by disregarding information provided by unbelievers about their occult interactions with demons. We must correct any such wrong views that we may have been holding, and we must treat any such information with great seriousness and care and alter our lives properly according to the nature of the information!

What should we think and do concerning making use of the abilities of unbelievers and of products made by them? Because believers should base all their doctrine and practice on what God has revealed in Scripture, this post compiles biblical passages that provide direction about this matter.

David and Solomon made use of non-Israelite people and products on various occasions. Considering these passages provides instruction for us.

David

David used Goliath’s sword to kill Goliath and later availed himself of the sword again when he needed a weapon.

1 Samuel 17:51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.

1 Samuel 21:9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

David also had put on him a crown that was on the head of an Ammonite king.

2 Samuel 12:30 And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.

David employed skilled craftsmen from Tyre to make his house.

1 Chronicles 14:1 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and timber of cedars, with masons and carpenters, to build him an house.

After defeating an enemy, David took for himself chariots belonging to the enemy.

1 Chronicles 18:4 And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots.

Solomon

Solomon recognized the excellence of the Sidonians in hewing timber and availed himself of that resource.

1 Kings 5:6 Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.

Solomon employed a highly skillful half-Israelite man in making the temple of God.1

1 Kings 7:13 And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. 14 He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.

Solomon had his servants collaborate with knowledgeable sailors of Tyre.

1 Kings 9:27 And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.

Solomon imported chariots from Egypt and then exported them to others.

1 Kings 10:29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.

Application

These passages show that both David and Solomon took advantage of the skillfulness of certain non-Israelites (or half-Jewish men) in certain areas of their expertise. They also made use of some products made by non-Israelite peoples.

These passages provide a biblical basis for believers’ making use of certain unbelievers for accomplishing certain tasks in their lives. This revelation also shows that believers may make legitimate use of certain products made by some unbelievers.


1 Scripture does not provide definitive information for us to know with certainty whether this skillful half-Israelite was an unbeliever or a believer.

“That’s just one verse, and we should not base our doctrine and practice on just one verse.” I have heard and seen a number of statements to this effect.

Is it right to base doctrine and practice on just one verse?

Nearly Universal Practice Based on One Verse

I have probably attended more than a hundred baptismal services. With very, very few exceptions, every person that I have seen baptize other people baptized them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

They have done so in keeping with key teaching that Christ gave to His disciples when He commissioned them:

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

To put this nearly universal practice based on this verse into a proper biblical perspective, we need to consider what else the Bible teaches on the subject.

Baptism in the Triune Name is Not Seen Anywhere Else in the NT

Aside from Matthew 28:19, no other passage in the Gospels speaks of baptizing people in the triune name of God. The book of Acts does not have any records of anyone ever baptizing anyone in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Moreover, the Epistles do not have any teaching about baptizing with that formula. Similarly, there is no teaching about doing so in the book of Revelation.

Therefore, Jesus’ teaching about baptism in the triune name of God is never seen anywhere else in the NT.

Discussion

Many believers likely think that we should not base our doctrine and practice on just one verse. A thorough examination of Scripture, however, shows definitively that only one verse supports the nearly universal practice of baptizing in the triune name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

Conclusion

If we should not base our doctrine and practice on just one verse, the doctrine and practice of nearly the entire Church today concerning how we should baptize people is not what it should be.

Is it right to base doctrine and practice on just one verse?