Confusing spiritual mercy with a lack of physical justice

It seems as though many people in the religious world do not know the difference between spiritual mercy triumphing over spiritual justice and spiritual mercy that ignores physical justice – even to the extent that child molesters are given a pass from deserved prison time simply because they wear a collar around their neck!

“…Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be defrocked, two canon lawyers and a church official told AP. Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry.” (Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy)

“Penalties” including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry? The reality of such a “penalty” is nothing but a prime example of what it means to confuse mercy with a lack of physical justice. It would do an injustice to the phrase “slap on the wrist” if someone were to use it in connection to the “penalties” listed above.

Spiritual mercy is God’s business, and such a mercy can be found by meeting his requirements regardless of the sin that has been committed.

Physical justice is the responsibility of those who are in authority upon the Earth. Without physical justice there is no law; only anarchy. And when such justice is blatantly ignored by those in authority, the victim is forced to suffer an injustice twice…once at the hands of the criminal, and again at the hands of the “authority” who perverts the very definition of the word justice with their less than paltry judgment.

The justice being ignored by the Vatican’s pope is not something that has been incurred by a speeder, a jay-walker, someone stealing so they can eat, or even two consenting adulterers. The crime was the institutionalized sexual assault of children! And a lack of cuffs around the wrist due to a collar around the neck perverts the concept of mercy triumphing over judgment by denying physical judgment a chance to even take place.

““Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7)

#authority, #justice, #mercy

A man of his time

A well-known New Testament scholar made this remark: “At least some of the calumnies down the years are unfair, even ridiculously incorrect.  For example, he was certainly no misogynist!  For one thing, his numerous positive references to women co-workers and leaders in his churches testify otherwise.  He was, to be sure, a man of his time, and so he seems to have held (with most others of the day) that a wife was bound to her husband.  But he also held, unusually for his time, that a husband was equally bound to his wife, including a sexual exclusivity that husbands as well as wives owed to their marriage partners (e.g., 1 Corinthians 7:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8).  This effectively challenged the “double standard” in sexual behaviour otherwise commonly approved in the Roman period.”

The “Conversion” of Paul

The disappointing aspect of this paragraph is in the remark that pertains to the sentiment of Paul being a man of his times and seems to have held that a wife is bound to her husband. The author of the blog is not speaking against Paul, it must be said. I am only troubled by the words used and what may be conveyed with the use of them.

That Paul was a man of his times is perfectly normal to understand, and even accept. We are people of our time also, struggling with the variety of opinions holding sway. So fluid are some of these opinions is almost boils down to what day of the week the opinion holds sway, and on that day some accept, but on other days not.

Yes, it is true that Paul was a man of his times, but that which he wrote was not as a man of his times, but by the authority of God (1 Corinthians 14:37). When Paul spoke favorably about women he did so, not as a man of his times, but by the authority of God. Whatever Paul thought about the role of women, to himself he kept it and allowed the authority of God to guide his pen and his teachings. I am confident, however, that God’s opinion became Paul’s.

Would it not be great if preachers did the same today?

#authority, #headship, #misogyny, #women

4-14-2015 “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41) – Speaks Boldly

Whether Jesus preached that great Sermon on the mount, or in Capernaum’s synagogue, “the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29; Mark 1:22 NKJV). There is a difference between preaching what one knows about the Scriptures, and preaching as an author of the Scriptures. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works” (John 14:10 NKJV). No church or preacher today has been given that same boldness to change or privately interpret the Word of God. But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ?” (John 7:26 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#astonished, #authority, #boldly, #privately-interpret, #scriptures

I was watching Fox News while they interviewed…

I was watching Fox News while they interviewed John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel. I was surprised when he spoke out strongly against what he called “the manmade global warming myth”. Coleman had written an article accusing the media of becoming propaganda activists for environmental extremists. He claims the threat of Global Warming is a crock and an example of manipulated science. He says that gullible Hollywood types, clever politicians and naïve conscientious citizens mean well but have been duped. Well, I’m certainly no expert, and therefore don’t know who is right and who is wrong. But I’m glad to hear that there is another side to “The Inconvenient Truth”. It reminds me of the proverb (18:17 “The one who states his case first seems right, until another comes and examines him.” When two experts take diametrically opposite views, how can the uninformed know who to believe? I suppose this is why there is so much cynicism regarding Christian leaders. People need to know the truth. At least there is a recognized authority on which to establish truth from error: the word of God. But even this is assailed in many circles today. This is Just A Minute.

#authority, #just-a-minute, #weather

Articles on Liberalism

liberal-conservative1

On my website, I have posted the first in a series of articles entitled, “The Implications of Liberalism.” Based on research I did several years ago, I examine the subject of liberalism and its ideas and presuppositions. I will not be naming brethren or congregations. My purposes are larger than personal attacks.

Liberalism is real despite the sloppy ways that the word is used today. The concept has a lengthy history and those who follow its tenets have fairly common beliefs and plans. The more we understand Satan’s attacks the better off we will be as we teach and preach (1 Peter 5:8).

“Despite the traditional use of Christian phraseology modern liberalism not only is a different religion from Christianity but belongs in a totally different class of religions.” [J. Gresham Machen].

I hope you will share your thoughts. People often have emotional responses to the word ‘liberal” and instead of reasoning through the ideas, they just start yelling. Satan is succeeding at destroying the Lord’s Church and the dangers are too serious for us to put feelings over truth.

We must ALWAYS “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) because hateful words, even if truth is taught, turn people away from God. God gave us brains, language and reasoning skills and we must use them to reach lost or confused souls.

#authority, #conservative, #liberalism, #liberals, #truth

Authority and Respect

On occasion we speak about authority in religion, putting emphasis on God’s authority in the things we do as the body of Christ in our worship to Him. This is most appropriate, and we ought not to minimize it like, unfortunately, some do. Not only are we to operate this way, but our respect for authority needs to be in place before obedience can express itself properly.

To respect authority is to look at one who is in a position that demands attention and submission. One’s parents are in position that demands attention and submission; one’s teacher is the same. The submission that one gives to a parent may not be the same that one gives to a teacher, but there is similarity.

When the Lord said to His disciples that He had all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), He did not delegate that authority to anyone else. It is still His authority, and it is to Him that we submit ourselves. To not submit to His authority do is to fall under the disappointment and disapproval of the Lord Himself (Luke 6:46).

How does one show respect toward authority? One shows respect toward authority by submission, that is, by obeying the one who is in position of responsibility in exercising that authority. This can be done willfully or unwillingly. If it is the latter, then respect is in mere appearance, not in substance. If it is the former, then respect is not only in the deed (act of submission), but in the heart (substance) also.

While toward man we might feign appearance of respect, there is no such feigning to the Lord. To man we don’t answer, but to the Lord we must.

#authority, #obedience, #respect, #submission

(#170) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:21-22-Can this be saved?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 24:21-22: “My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change; For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin those two can bring?”

“Fear” here is used in the sense of “respect,” and since “there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1), then those who respect God’s authority will never set about to overthrow or disrespect “the authorities that exist.” This is clearly expressed in other passages, such as Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17. “The king” who was to govern over God’s people, however, was commanded by God, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). “The king” (representing the highest authority in government) should (1) read the God-given Scriptures; (2) respect their authority by yielding to their commandments; (3) not consider himself above the law! In other words, if a “king” wants the respect of those who respect God, he must show respect to God!

Those “given to change,” are the restless souls who feel the establishment cannot be right, any “new” way has to be better, and they, therefore, seek to “fundamentally change” whatever constitutional regulations that exist! Countries where this spark has been fanned into flames have burned their flags, ignored their constitutional laws, and been ruled by those who think themselves above the law! This is of the Devil, for this was the appeal: he made to Eve that caused the first sin (Genesis 3:1-19); in one of the temptations he made to Jesus Christ (Luke 4:1-13); behind the “cultural revolution” in the United States in the 1960’s and political upheavals since.

Those who do not “fear the LORD” nor “fear the king” are both destroyers whose disrespect for God and His authority always produce disorder, destruction, and damnation! This is change without hope! King David said: “Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies” (Psalm 40:4). Asaph wrote: “Have respect to the covenant; For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty” (Psalm 74:20). Jesus illustrated the disrespect the Jews had for God by the parable of “the owner of the vineyard” (God), and the “vinedressers” (Jews) in Mark 12:1-12.

God prophesied that Israelites would become so unfaithful in their Promised Land that God would let an outside people conquer them (Deuteronomy 28). That foreign nation was described very much like the “generation” that has arisen within the United States: “a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you” (Deuteronomy 28:49-51). Change the meanings of the words in language; make them intensely resentful of “the elderly” who have paved the way to a successful nation with sacrifices and blood; make them complete consumers with no ambition to work for profit to have to give to others; and who are so short-sighted and selfish they care not about the future “until they have destroyed you;” and you have an understanding of how a country can collapse! Though Deuteronomy was not a direct prophecy of our day and time, it surely paints a portrait of how any country can be destroyed!

“Who knows the ruin those two can bring?” This is a question some of us may be able to answer.
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#authority, #bible, #bible-study, #change, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #respect