IS IT BIBLICAL FOR A WOMAN TO BE A PASTOR?

It seems discussion regarding whether or not there is scriptural basis for a woman to serve as a pastor is undergoing renewed debate in various Baptist circles. In wading through the deep waters of this subject, one must turn to First Timothy 2:11-15 to gain an understanding. This portion of scripture is almost universally considered to be complex and difficult. Nicholas T. Wright, former Bishop of Durham, considers this portion of Scripture as the “hardest passage of all” to exegete properly. All who have wrestled with an understanding of what the Apostle was seeking to convey would agree with Bishop Wright, yet I do believe an understanding of the text is possible. Let it be stated at the outset, the goal is to be both gracious in presenting Scriptural understanding and to prayerfully honor the truth of Scripture in interpretation.

The portion of Scripture under consideration, beginning in verse 9, reads (KJV):

I Timothy 2:9-15: 9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Numerous interpretive approaches have been made seeking to grasp the meaning of Paul’s words to Timothy. When grappling with gaining an understanding of these verses, as one must always do, the context and the cultural background must be a guide in coming to a proper interpretation. Any interpretation of this portion of Scripture must take into consideration the theological, contextual, cultural and historical background, and other scriptural passages on the same subject. With that said, an attempt will be made to shed some light and understanding on these complex and often controversial verses.

An understanding of the culture background in which the verses under examination were penned is essential. In the Roman world, the female was a part of all the heathen religions, and women occupied a prominent place in the services. The worship of Aphrodite at Corinth was probably one the most immoral in which prostitution was actually made into a religion. The thousand vestal virgins who were in the temple of Aphrodite on top of the Acropolis in Corinth were nothing in the world but prostitutes. In all the mystery religions, there were priestesses who played a prominent role in the “worship” services (Leonard Swindler, Women in Judaism, 1976, 18-14 (24); also, Karl Barth, Ephesians, 2.656; and Vernon McGee, I & II Timothy, Through the Bible Books, 1978, 46-47).

Paul in writing to Timothy, who was residing in the pagan society of Ephesus, advises him concerning the church doctrinally, structurally and functionally. Like Corinth, Ephesus was one of the world centers of paganism, as the Roman goddess, Diana (in Greek the goddess, Artemis), was the prevailing deity of the city (Acts 19). The worshippers of Diana taught the superiority of the female and advocated female domination over the male, and the priestess were well known for officiating in temple “worship” (Lily Ross Taylor, “Artemis of Ephesus,” The Acts of the Apostles, Part I of Beginnings of Christianity ed. F.J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake, 5, 1933, 253-254; W.M. Ramsey, “Diana of the Ephesians,” A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. James Hasting, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1898, 1.605).

The worship of Diana was characterized by sexual perversion and so-called fertility rites, her image being represented as a many breasted woman. The female participants were known to be loud, boisterous and disruptive. As well, the women who were involved in pagan worship in Ephesus and Corinth, would adorn themselves in sexually enticing dress and ornate jewelry. Women occupied a very prominent position in heathenistic worship.

In addition to the worship of Diana, there was present in Ephesus the spread of the early seeds of Gnosticism. Gnostics derived their name from the Greek word “gnosis” which means “knowledge.” Gnostics believed each person possesses a “divine spark” within, but for one to arrive at a full knowledge of God one needed the help of emanations or aeons or “spirit guides,” to impart divine knowledge that would aid one in their spiritual journey to experience the fullness of the divine. Gnostics taught that Jesus was just one of the many aeons or “spiritual guides” along the way in the quest to experience the fullness of God.

While there are many variations of Gnosticism, the Gnostics believed the God of the Old Testament, who created the physical world, was a lower divine being, called the Demiurge. This lower divine being that created the physical world had emanated from the “fullness of God.” Gnostics turned the creation story upside down, believing Eve was the illuminator of spiritual consciousness in Adam. In Gnosticism, Eve was superior to Adam as she was sent to be the “awakener” of Adam who was in a deep sleep, having no spiritual soul or consciousness. While the Bible has Eve physically emerging from Adam’s side, the Gnostic version has Adam’s spiritual awakening being the result of Eve calling him forth from the depths of spiritual unconsciousness, crying out, “Adam, live. Rise up upon the earth.” Upon Eve “awakening” Adam, he says to her, “You shall be called the ‘mother of the living’, because you are the one who gave me life.” (From the Gnostic writings Nag Hammadi Library discovered in 1945 – Apocryphon of John and On the Origin of the World.) Gnostics contended that man was indebted to woman for bringing him to life and consciousness. Again, in Gnosticism Eve is superior to Adam. This is important to understand Paul’s meaning in I Timothy 2:11-15.

Worship of the pagan goodness Diana and the early seeds of Gnosticism, were twin towers of evil influence that Timothy confronted as he sought to bring order and stability to the Ephesian Church. So, with some knowledge of the historical and culture background in which Timothy found himself, attention can now be turned to gaining a better understanding of Paul’s instructions on Christian conduct in public worship. First Timothy 3:14-15 clearly states this is one of the reasons Paul was writing to Timothy, “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou may know how thou ought to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” The instructions Paul gives to Timothy was so that he would know how the church assemblies should be structured and function in the midst of a society influenced by pagan religion and false teaching.

As chapter two begins Paul gives instruction regarding public prayer and delineates the conduct of men and women in public worship. The men are to lead in prayer, “lifting up holy hands without wrath (anger) and doubting (disputing)” (I Tim. 2:8). Prayer must be offered in a spirit of love, harmony, peace and unity. Powerful prayer cannot be separated from living a holy life.

In addressing the woman’s conduct, because of the unfavorable light cast on womanhood because of the prominence of woman in pagan worship and Gnosticism, Paul elaborates on the character and conduct of the Christian woman in Ephesian society.

First, in I Timothy 2:9-10, Paul writes, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” It was because of these heathen practices of many women in Ephesus that Paul emphasizes in this portion of scripture that the focus for the Christian woman should be upon inner adornment and beauty rather than outward adornment and sexual allurement. The word translated “shamefacedness” (KKJ) has nothing to do with the “face” or “shame”, but denotes one who possesses the qualities of modesty and humility in their life. It “denotes a demeanor which is restrained by true womanly reserve and inner beauty” (Charles Erdman, The Pastoral Epistles of Paul, Westminster Press, (1965) 40-41).

Paul in these verses is encouraging women in the importance to set themselves apart by the way they dress so as to not have any misconstrued identity with those associated with women of the Temple of Diana. Paul is not against women “looking good,” but he is more concerned about women acting godly and dressing in an appropriate manner that is not sexually provocative. Christian beauty from the inside will always enhance outer beauty, not the other way around. A woman with a character adorned with goodness and grace is of greater value than costly jewelry.

Second, in I Timothy 2:11, Paul writes, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.” Paul gives similar instruction in I Corinthians 14:34, which reads, “Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak.”

First Timothy 2:11 is really quite revolutionary, considering many women at that time were not well educated and were not encouraged to learn. Paul is encouraging the Christian women to learn and be informed what the Scriptures teach. By learning the Scriptures, the Ephesian women would not be deceived by false teachers. He instructs them to learn in “silence.” Is Paul saying a Christian woman is not to speak at all in church or ever have any voice in church? From other portions of Scripture, we know this is not true.

It is clear from I Corinthians 11:5 that when proper order was followed and respect for authority demonstrated, women were permitted to pray in public worship. As well, women were prominent as prophets in both the Old Testament (Numbers 12:1-16, Judges 4:4-5, 5:7, 2 Kings 22:14) and the New Testament. Women prophets were active at Pentecost (Acts 2:17), Phillip had four prophesying daughters (Acts 21:9), and there were women prophets in Corinth (I Corinthians 11:5). The gift of prophecy was given to men as well as women, which both were allowed to exercise in pubic worship. David Kuske, of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, in an exegetical treatment of 1 Corinthians 11:3-16, defines “prophesy” as “sharing God’s word with others to strengthen, encourage, or comfort them.” He bases his definition on I Corinthians 14:3 which reads, “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort.” (David Kuske, “Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 11:3-16,” Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, 1999.) So, prophesy was the speaking of edifying words, not expounding doctrinally oriented “sermons” which was the function of the pastor.

A look at the Greek word “silence” sheds much light as to what Paul is saying. The Greek word hēsuchia which is translated as “silent” carries with it the idea of “calmness” or “quietness” or “harmony.” This same word is more correctly translated as “quiet” a few verses earlier in I Timothy 2:2. The word has more to do with an attitude and spirit that exhibits an orderly and teachable behavior more than simply physical silence.

Unlike the loud and boisterous women involved in pagan worship, Paul instructs Christian women to learn quietly, in calmness and in a respectful manner in the presence of the prevailing authorities. Paul’s advice to Timothy, and to the Corinthians, is that everything must be done decently and in order, giving respect and “submission” to those in authority (I Corinthians 14:33). Paul’s advice to Timothy is to not permit women to disrupt church services which was prevalent in pagan worship. Christian women are to set an example that demonstrates respectfulness. As seen from other Scriptures, Paul’s instruction does not limit a woman’s voice in all places at all times. Women may engage in public “prayer and prophecy” (I Cor. 11:3) as long as it is done orderly, respectfully and their voices are not disruptive. The women, nor the men, were to go beyond the bounds of good order.

Third, in I Timothy 2:12, Paul writes, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Approaching this portion of Scripture in the context in which it was written sheds informative light upon the instructions of Paul to Timothy. Gaining a proper sense of Paul’s instruction is found by seeking an understanding what he meant by (1) “teach” and (2) “usurp authority.” As shall be discovered, the words didaskein (teach) and authentein (usurp authority) cannot be separated, they are interwoven, as teaching is included in the exercise of authority and an act by which authority is exercised.

Kenneth Wuest in his Greek Word Studies says the tense of the Greek word “teach” (didaskein) renders Paul’s instruction, “I do not permit a woman to be a teacher [in the capacity of a bishop/elder/pastor whose responsibility is to expound doctrine in public assemblies].” According to Wuest the context is dealing with authoritative order and functionality within the church, recognizing that in public worship it is the responsibility of the pastor to be the “teacher” in matters of doctrine and interpretation. (Kenneth Wuest, “Commentary on I Timothy”, Word Studies, Eerdmans Publishing, 1973, pp. 47-49; also, Dana and Manley, Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p. 199).

The authoritative structure and function within the Ephesus Church was to be opposite of the structure and function found within the pagan temples. The office of pastoral authority is given to the church, it does not come from the church. In order to secure a Biblical foundation of the office as it exists in the church it is necessary to ground it firmly in Scripture. Theologian Gleason Archer writes, “Here we have a clear principle of subordination of woman to man in the structure of the church as an organized body in the matter of pastoral leadership.” Scriptures allow women to pray, prophesy and teach children and other women, as found in I Corinthians 11:3, II Timothy 1:5; 3:13, and Titus 2:3-4. In Acts 18:26, Aquilla and Priscilla took Apollos aside and both “expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly,” indicating Priscilla helped in teaching a man in private. As well, Paul was most thankful for the productive ministries of Dorcas (Acts 9:36), Lydia (Acts 16:14), Phoebe (Romans 16:1), and many others (Acts 17:4, 12). From these Scriptural examples, it is clear Paul saw the work of faithful Christian women as indispensable; however, there is no Scriptural evidence he ever recognized any of these women in a position of pastoral authority. Archer states, “God intends that the responsibility of [pastoral] leadership devolve on man rather than woman” (Gleason Archer, Bible Difficulties, Zondervan, 1982, 411).

Paul goes on to say that the woman is not to “usurp authority” over a man (v. 12). Understanding what Paul meant by this hinges on the Greek verb, “authentein.” The problem is that this verb is found nowhere else in the Bible. Biblical scholars debate the meaning of “authentein,” which has several shades of meaning. The lexical history of this word is long and complex. The various meanings will help shed greater light on the cultural context of what Paul meant when he wrote to Timothy.

It must be noted that study of Paul’s letters shows that he regularly used a form of the Greek word “exousia” when referring to the use of authority in the church (see 1 Cor 6:12, 7:4, 1 Cor 6:12, 7:4, 9:4-6, 9:12, 11:10, 2 Cor 2:8, 10:8, 13:10, Col. 1:13, 2 Thess 3:12, Rom 6:15, 9:21). That the meaning of “authentein,” in verse 12, has been the source of considerable differences of opinion among biblical scholars over the years it is likely that Paul was addressing something more than the usual respect for pastoral authority when he used the Greek word “authentein” instead of “exousia.” Interestingly, Professor Albert Wolters sees Paul’s use of the word authentein as a play on words. Wolters points out “. . . the word authentēs played a prominent role in Gnosticism; for example, it was the name of the supreme deity in the systems of early Gnostics [sects].” Authentēs is typically translated into English as “supreme power” in works by Early Church Fathers who addressed Christian Gnosticism. There is a clear link between the word authentēs with Gnosticism. Wolters concludes in his thorough examination of the word “authenerin” that “in the light of the meaning which that word had in the Greek of the day, [it could be translated] ‘master,’ conveying the basic idea of mastery.” (Albert Wolters, “A Semantic Study of Authentēs and its Derivatives”, The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Spring 2006, 44-65). Moulton and Milligan (Vocabulary of the Greek Testament) are in agreement with Wolters that authentein means “mastery, autocrat.” In other words, the woman was not to seek mastery over the man who was functioning in a pastoral capacity, but be respectful of his position.

Most respected Bible translators of I Timothy 2:12 have interpreted “authentein” to mean: “to usurp or exercise authority” over a man, or “to have authority” over a man. Ralph Earle gives a similar meaning, “one who acts on their own authority” (Earle, “I Timothy,” The Expositors Bible Commentary, Vol. II, Zondervan, 1978, 363). The prolific Bible commentator Warren Wiersbe translates the meaning as “not to ‘lord it over’ the man” (Wiersbe, Be Faithful, Victor Books, 1982, 37); as does the New Testament theologian Donald Guthrie (Guthrie, New Testament Theology, Intervarsity Press, 1981, 779). The Greek scholar A.T. Robertson contends the meaning of the verse is that women are not to “have dominion over a man in public gatherings.” He connects several meanings to the word authentein: playing the master, autocrat, domineer, authoritative (Robertson, “I Timothy,” Word Pictures in the New Testament, Volume IV, Baker Book House, 1931, 570).

While over the years the overwhelming majority of English Bible translations have been in agreement in rendering the meaning of the Greek word authentein as having to do with “usurping or exercising authority over” the man (e.g., KJV, RSV, GNB, NIV, CEV, NASB, NLT, NET, AMP, BRG, ESV, HCSB), Walter Liefeld points out, “A perplexing issue [surrounds] the meaning of ‘authentein.’ Over the course of its history this verb and its associated noun have had a wide semantic range, including some bizarre meanings, such as committing suicide, murdering one’s parents, and being sexually aggressive. The word has had a history of being associated with violent behavior and conduct” (Walter Liefeld, “Response to David M. Scholer”, Women, Authority & the Bible, IVP Books, 1986, 220).

As Liefeld does, Leland Wilshire does not limit the translation of authentein to only in reference to the use of usurping one’s authority. Wilshire concludes that authentein might best be translated “instigate violence.” Wilshire bases this conclusion upon a study of known uses of the word “authentein” in Greek literature from the years 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. He found that while the word “authentein” was used on occasions in extra-biblical literature to denote authority, it was also widely associated with various forms of self-willed violent behavior. Wilshire’s research fits within the historical context of what Timothy was dealing with in the pagan worship embedded in the Ephesian society, as women were not to “instigate violent behavior” against those in pastoral authority (L.E. Wilshire, Insight into Two Biblical Passages, University Press of America. 2010, 28-29; and also, Wilshire, “I Timothy 2:12 Revisited,” Evangelical Quarterly, 65:1, 1993, 45).

Andreas Köstenberger, following the traditional view as to the meaning of authentein, suggests a possible translation of this phrase might be: “I do not permit a woman to teach in an authoritative capacity or to exercise authority over a man.” He argues that I Timothy 2:12 is a universal and timeless prohibition of a woman teaching Christian doctrine in an authoritative pastoral role. (Köstenberger, “A Complex Sentence: The syntax of 1 Timothy 2:12”, Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-12, Andreas Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner, eds. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academics, 2000).

Taking into consideration all the shades of meaning of “authentein,” women in Timothy’s congregation, therefore, was to neither teach nor commit violent conduct or display disruptive behavior in public assemblies, as would have been prevalent in the pagan religions of that day. The various meanings of “authentein” all seem to convey the same instructive truth: Paul is advising Timothy to not permit women to have mastery over or usurp the man’s authoritative role as pastor in the church, to not instigate disruptive behavior in public worship so as not to mirror or to resemble in appearance the heathen religions where women were prominent in the leading of worship. Such an admonition had to do with the teaching of doctrine, urging the Christian woman to be careful neither to disrupt the worship nor to assume the place of public expounder of doctrine in the public gathering of the church. Again, keep in mind that the women led in the mystery religions and cults of Paul’s day, and they were nothing but sex orgies. Paul is cautioning women not to behave in a disruptive manner or in an authoritative capacity publicly, for in so doing one could be misunderstood of making an appeal on the basis of flaunting sexual or physical charm or signaling improper innuendoes. Such actions would be a deterrent to prayer, proclamation and public worship.

As has been seen, women could speak, pray and prophesy in the church, but they were not to function authoritatively as in pagan worship nor be disruptive in public worship when one was speaking authoritatively. This passage teaches there are authoritative roles and subordinate roles and proper functionality within the church and public worship must be held in an orderly manner. New Testament scholars Andreas Kostenberger, Thomas Schreiner, and Scott Baldwin conclude from their thorough study of I Timothy 2:12 women should not function “as teaching pastors or teaching elders/overseers of the churches. This means that women should not proclaim the Word of God from the pulpit to the congregation of the saints” (Andreas Kostenberger, Thomas R. Schreiner, and H. Scott Baldwin, eds. Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-12, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996, 210)

Let it be made clear, “Both man and woman are equally precious and worthy before God (Gal. 3:27-28), and the assigned level of responsibility does not give the men any special advantage or any inherently higher status before God than is granted to the woman” (Gleason Archer, Bible Difficulties, Zondervan, 1982, 411). Priority does not mean superiority. Both male and female are created in the image of God and both are inherently of equal worth in the eyes of God, yet have different functions and roles that God has called them too.

Fourth, Paul in explaining his instructions on the functionality of men and women in the church, writes in I Timothy 2:13-15, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” Paul offers two reasons why the responsibility of pastoral authority and leadership is vested in the man: (1) For Adam was first formed, then Eve. Paul cites the order of creation in establishing masculine leadership in the church; and (2) Eve was deceived first. While Adam followed in disobedience, Eve fell first for the deceptiveness of the serpent. Paul’s inspired and instructive words are rooted in the culture-transcending account of the order of creation and the fall.

Paul is refuting the teaching of Gnosticism that Eve was the “awakener” of Adam’s spiritual consciousness, as Adam was formed first, then Eve. Eve was not the illuminator of Adam’s spiritual consciousness, as Gnosticism taught, but she was deceived by the serpent, and as a result sin entered the world (Adam went along with her and was guilty, as well). While Eve was prominent in Gnosticism and pagan worship, Paul points out that in the Christian Church structure of functionality in pastoral authority and leadership has been assigned to the male. It is not a matter of equality, but a matter of divinely assigned authoritative function.

Establishing from the Genesis creation account that Eve was not created first and that Eve was not the “awakener” of man’s spiritual consciousness, as Gnosticism taught, but was deceived by the serpent, in verse fifteen Paul says the woman shall be saved in childbearing. What did Paul mean? In the Greek “childbearing” (teknogonias) follows an article, which would render the phrase “the childbirth.” This is a clear reference to the birth of the Savior, the promised Messiah (Robertson, Word Studies, 570). Eve was deceived and sinned (as did man), but another woman, Mary, gave birth to the Savior. Woman, as well as man, are saved by “THE childbirth,” as Mary gave birth to the promised Messiah who is the true “awakener” of mankind. And is not that what the Lord promised to Eve, that salvation would come through the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15)?

Another interpretation of what Paul meant by a woman being saved in childbirth is suggested by W.E. Vine. He writes, “By means of begetting children and so fulfilling the design appointed for her through acceptance of motherhood…she would be saved from becoming a prey to the social evils of the time and would take her part in the maintenance of testimony of the local church.” Such an interpretation is most plausible and fits the context of the Epistle. (Earle, “I Timothy,” The Expositors Bible Commentary, Vol. II, Zondervan, 1978, 362).

In summary, in a society of pagan religions, immoral behavior, and false teachings, (much like today) the desire of Paul was that Christian women live holy and godly lives. He desired the Christian woman in Ephesus to not be disruptive in church assemblies, respect those who were teaching and not usurp pastoral authority. The question arises, were Paul’s instructions regarding the structural and functionality of men and women in the church intended to be normative principles and guidelines or were they just temporary instructions for the local situation in Ephesus?

It is not difficult to understand why Paul’s instructive words are so unpopular in our current culture. One can find a plethora of biblical commentators who argue that Paul’s instructive words were not to be normative for the Church, but were confined to the local situation in Ephesus. Again, Paul’s inspired and instructive words are rooted in the culture-transcending account of the order of creation and the fall. Steven Baugh, professor of New Testament at Westminster Seminary, thus concluding after extensive research that Paul’s injunctions “are not temporary measures in a unique social setting,” but are to be normative for church structural order (found in Kostenberger, Women in the Church, 49). Douglas Moo, New Testament professor at Wheaton College, concurs with Baugh, stating, “It can only be concluded that the results of an exegetical investigation carried out of [I Timothy 2:11-15] must stand as valid for the Church in every age and place (Moo, “I Timothy 2:11-15: Meaning and Significance,” Trinity Journal NS (Spring 1980) 62-83).

It is the contention of this writer, as well, that two thousand years of Church history has validated that the inspired Word is giving normative instructions how the authoritative function of the Church should be structured. To seek to explain away Paul’s words in I Timothy 2:11-13 regarding the assigned leadership and subornation structure of the Church as it pertains to men and women, one must do some exegetical gymnastics to the text and other texts that speak to this issue. Instead of sound exegesis, many force Scripture to accommodate their particular point of view.

Many today are painstakingly twisting and pretzelizing the Scriptures to make it more palatable in the 21st century to those who want the Bible to say something other than what it says. The problem is not that the words of Paul are misunderstood, the problem is that though they are understood they are not acceptable deep down in the recesses of our human nature. It must be remembered, the Word is to correct and instruct us, it is not our place to correct the Word in order that it might fit our preconceived ideas and notions. If we believe in the inspiration of Scripture, then why do we think we can improve upon the instructions that were given to us by divine inspiration? If one believes the Holy Spirit superintended Paul’s writings, then the instructions the Apostle peened to Timothy are by divine inspiration and transcend time and cultures.

Quoting Gleason Archer, he offers wise words of caution, “Those who attempt to rework Scripture are violating and reducing Scripture to a plastic medium that can be interpreted to mean anything the subjective desire of the interpreter may choose. Such an interpretation must therefore be regarded as tantamount to rejection of the objective authority of Scriptures” (Archer, Difficulties, 412).

In a final word, while no doubt debate will continue to rage on in the parsing of Paul’s instructions to Timothy, let us not lose sight of the intent of Paul’s inspired advice; that the Christian Church is to be comprised of men and women who are striving to live holy and prayerful lives and who conduct themselves in public worship in a respectful and dignified manner for the purpose of edification of the believer through the proclamation of the Word in order that men, women, boys and girls might come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

ETERNALLY SECURE NOW AND FOREVER

It is realized that when the subject of Eternal Security is discussed, two camps quickly pitch their tents and draw lines in the sand. One camp passionately embraces eternal security, while the other camp contends one’s salvation is conditional and can be lost. While I am in the camp of those who embrace eternal security, it is recognized good brothers and sisters hold to a different position. But standing upon the holy mountain of biblical truths I view eternal security as a truth that sparkles like a glimmering diamond kissed by the light of heaven’s scriptural light. For one to contend that one can lose their salvation, in the end logically implies: (1) salvation is not by grace but is works-based, salvation being ultimately based on one’s actions not God’s unmerited favor, and (2) Christ’s death on the cross was not sufficient to save without our works, our works bringing the salvation process to completion. One who contends it is possible to lose one’s salvation cannot affirm salvation is by grace (which means without any admixture of human contribution), then in the next breath contend our salvation is conditional by that which we must do.

When Jesus cried out on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), it was a cry that excluded our works as needed for salvation. It was a cry of completion. In the Greek Jesus’ declaration is one word, tetelestai, which means “paid in full, the debt has been paid, complete.” It was used by merchants to indicate that a receipt had been paid in full and nothing more was owed. Tetelestai was a word used by authors, artists, or mathematicians to declare their work was complete and finished, nothing else needed to be added. As well, according to Roman law if a person was convicted of a crime, a certificate of debt was prepared which listed his offenses and the prescribed penalty. This would be nailed to the door of his cell until the day when, having paid his debt in full, he was released. The magistrate would then take this paper and write tetelestai across it, denoting that justice had been satisfied in full and the person would never have to pay that debt again. Jesus’ use of the word clearly implies that His payment for our sins was sufficient and our salvation has been paid in full, was finished and complete. No “work” of humanity can add to the sufficiency of what Christ accomplished. As well, the Greek word tetelestai is in the perfect tense, which describes a completed action which produced results which are still yielding results in the present. The perfect tense carries two ideas: (1) completed action and (2) continuing results. In the word tetelestai Jesus was declaring the atonement has been accomplished, completed once and for all time and its sufficiency is still having an effect in the present. Christ death on the cross forever secured our salvation, apart from any works of humanity. Through His atoning work on the cross, Christ “became the author of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9).

Before examining four key scriptures that shine like bright stars in the heavens in regard to the matter of eternal security, four objections raised by those who oppose eternal security will briefly be considered.

(1) It is contended that those who hold to the doctrine of eternal security open the door to the promotion of sin or that it gives one a “license” to sin and live as one pleases. Eternal security is not a license to sin. Paul warns that such an attitude should “perish” from the thinking of a Christian (Romans 6:1-2). A person who thinks eternal security is a license to sin either has a lack of understanding of salvation or has never been saved. A person who has truly been redeemed by Jesus Christ will not intentionally live a life characterized by continuous and willful sin. Christ came not to save us in our sin, but to save and deliver us from our sin (Romans 6). A true understanding of eternal security promotes faithfulness not faithlessness.

(2) A second objection to eternal security has to do with verses that appear to speak of salvation being conditional or contingent upon our works and “warning” passages that exhort the Christian to continue in the faith. In other words, the security of one’s salvation is conditional. However, there must be a distinction drawn between what an individual must do in order to receive salvation and how as a Christian one should live. Works or fruit are the proof we are one of His and we are connected to the Vine (John 15). Our fruit doesn’t secure our salvation, but our fruit is evidence we are secure in Christ. While there will always be a mystery and a tension between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man to exhibit fruit that gives evidence of salvation, “warning” passages exhorting the Christian to continue in the faith are for the purpose not to take our salvation for granted but to continue bearing fruit for the Savior whereby making our “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10).

(3) A third objection to eternal security has to do with those who have given outward evidence of salvation, but have now “forsaken” the faith once delivered to the saints. One is to never judge the truths of the Word of God by someone’s experience, but we are to judge one’s experience by the Word of God. John states, “They went out from us because they were not of us” (I John 2:19). Peter stated, “A hog returns to his wallowing in the mire and a dog returns to his vomit” (2 Peter 2:22). Those who appear to give evidence of faith, but later abandon the faith are only revealing their true character. Hogs eventually make their way to a mudhole because they have the nature of a hog. Biblical warnings against apostasy are warnings to those who have “professed faith” without ever having truly exercised genuine faith. One who takes the road of apostasy only gives evidence of past pretension.

(4) A fourth objection to eternal security has to do with one’s interpretation of Hebrews 6. Those who oppose eternal security contend the passage teaches the possibility one can lose their salvation. If one uses Hebrews 6 as an argument that one can lose their salvation, they must also affirm that one who does can never be saved again (Heb. 6:4-6). While it is not the intent to exegete this passage here, suffice it to say that Hebrews 6 properly understood in its context addresses rewards, not the possibility of one losing their salvation. While it is admitted the passage has at least six interpretations, a good rule to follow: if two passages appear to be in conflict, and one is clear while the other is not, it must be assumed that since they are both true, the unclear can only have a meaning which is compatible with the clear. This limits the range of meaning the unclear could potentially have, and the end result is that you interpret the unclear in light of the clear. Clear passages of Scripture must always be the bright stars that guide one to seeking an understanding of passages like Hebrews 6 that are often difficult to interpret (2 Peter 3:15-17). And there are many bright stars found shining within the pages of Scripture that clearly illuminate one’s path in regard to eternal security.

While the above are some main objections to eternal security, there are many scriptures that shine brightly with the light of affirmation. Four have been chosen which clearly affirm eternal security.

(1) The brightest star in the scriptures which shines the rays of heavenly light on the doctrine of eternal security is found in John 10:28. Jesus said, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” In the Greek, found in the declaration of Jesus to those whom He gives eternal life shall “never perish,” is what is called an Emphatic Negation. An understanding of Emphatic Negation reveals great riches within the text. When you have in the Greek the negative particles οὐ µή (ou mē) (both words are translated as ‘no’) in combination, it is emphatically declaring that an event cannot, will not, no way will it happen, by no means under any conditions will it ever occur. When an Emphatic Negation is found in a sentence it means that what is being talked about will never under any circumstance happen now or at any time in the future. An Emphatic Negation denies even the potential of it happening! When Jesus says “never perish” He is emphatically saying, “They will never, never, no they will never under any circumstances, there is not the even the slightest possibility or the potential of it happening now or in the future, that they will ever perish.” What assurance that gives to those who have trusted Christ.

(2) Another verse that shines as a bright star illuminating the truth of eternal security is found in John 6:37. Jesus stated, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no way cast out.” Contained in the clause “him that cometh to me I will in no way cast out” is found another Emphatic Negation. In other words, Jesus is emphatically saying that those who come to Him in faith, “Never, never, no never under any circumstances, there is not even the slightest possibility or the potential of it happening now or in the future, that I will ever cast them out.”

(3) Paul uses an Emphatic Negation in Romans 4:7-8 when he writes, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute [count] sin.” By using an Emphatic Negation in verse 8, Paul is saying of the man who places their trust in Christ that “no never, never, under any circumstances, there is not even the slightest possibility or the potential of it happening now or in the future that the Lord will count man’s sin against him.”

(4) Peter uses an Emphatic Negation in I Peter 2:6 when he writes, “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded (literally, “one who is put to shame, one who who suffers a repulse, or whom some hope has deceived.” Peter by using the Emphatic Negation assures his readers who have trusted Christ that they will “never, never, under any circumstances, there is not even the slightest possibility or potential of it every occurring now or in the future that they will be brought to shame or deceived of the hope they have in Christ.

While more verses could be cited, just these fours verses of Emphatic Negation are sturdy tent stakes which anchor our souls in the eternal security of God’s divine grace. How could one interpret those four verses any other way than a believer’s salvation is eternally secure? These four verses are shining stars which cast sufficient light on the truth of eternal security as more than a product of man’s imaginative interpretation, but is anchored in the very teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. Rather than being a doctrine that gives license to sin, it instills encouragement, commitment and confidence in the heart of the believer knowing that God’s amazing grace in Jesus Christ is sufficient to save and secure those who trust in Christ. In Christ we are secure now and forever. Amen

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? In Ephesians 5:18 Paul writes, “Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” Is being filled with the Spirit only reserved for a few select Christians, or is the verse applicable to all Christians? While the Bible teaches one receives the Holy Spirit at salvation (Eph. 1:13), there are those who contend we must beg and plead with God to fill us with His Spirit. Is that so?

Let us examine the Ephesians 5:18. The Greek word Paul uses for “filled” is from the word pleroo (πληρόω), meaning to “make full, to fill up, to fill to the full.” Three insights regarding Paul’s usage of the verb pleroo. (1) It is in the present tense, implying that we are to be continuously filled with the Spirit; it is not a onetime act or a onetime experience. (2) The word “filled” is an imperative, which means it is a command. Being an imperative (a command) means that we have the choice to obey to either allow or not allow being filled with the Spirit from happening in our lives. Being filled with the Spirit is an imperative necessity.  (3)Also, the word “filled” is in the passive voice, which means being filled is not something we can do to ourselves but is something that God does in the Christian…we do the yielding (our part), the Lord does the filling (His part).

Putting together all that is contained in the Greek word “filled,” we are commanded to be continually yielded to the Lord to allow the process of the Spirit to work and flow in and through our daily lives. Again, we do the yielding, He does the filling. A Spirit-filled Christian is one who sustains union and a yielded relationship with Jesus Christ.

Paul in contrast urges the Christian not to yield one’s self to alcohol and be brought under its influence, but instead continuously (daily) yield one’s life to the Lord whereby His Spirit can daily influence our lives. The Christian doesn’t have to beg and plead for the Lord to fill one with His Spirit; one must daily yield and make themselves available for His Spirit to fill and influence our lives. We must understand that the Holy Spirit will only fill the individual who is yielded and makes themselves available to Him. Only our obedience to God’s commands allows the Spirit freedom to work within us.

A.W. Tozer says it well, “One of the strange things about God is that He will come in as far as we allow Him. I have often said that a Christian is as full of the Holy Spirit as he wants to be. We can beg to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We can talk about it, but until we are willing to empty ourselves, we will never have the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God will fill as much of us as we allow Him to fill” (Tozer, The Crucified Life, Bethany House Publishers, 2011, 28).

When as Christians we live in deliberate disobedience to the Lord, we will not experience the fullness of the Spirit’s working and His power in and through us. So, let us daily be continually yielded and living our lives under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

TIMELESS LESSONS FROM NEHEMIAH

As one dives into the treasure rich waters of the book of Nehemiah one soon discovers the truths contained within its pages are as fresh as the morning newspaper. Nehemiah was a remarkable man from whom we can glean many golden nuggets of truth that are much needed today in circles of Christendom. Unfortunately, many today are unfamiliar with this charismatic man and the timeless truths found within his memoirs. It would be wise to revisit his architectural personality. He was not only a man who oversaw the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, he sought to be a builder in the lives of others.

Nehemiah is securely nestled in the Old Testament after the Book of Ezra. We meet Nehemiah in 445 BC, as he is serving as cupbearer for the king of Persia. As cupbearer he would taste of the king’s wine and food before the king ate to ensure no poison had been injected in them. No wonder Nehemiah is always saying, “Long live the king!” When we are introduced to Nehemiah he is talking to his brother, Hanani, who has come from Judah with the news that the former exiled Jews who had returned to Jerusalem were in distress and the walls and gates of Jerusalem were still broken down. Walls represented security, protection, and safeguard against enemies. Without walls Jerusalem was vulnerable to outside forces.

Nehemiah upon hearing the news, could not shake the situation from his mind. He wanted to see those walls rebuilt. After praying about the situation for four months and gaining permission and blessing from the king, Nehemiah and his entourage made the 800-mile trip to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and secure the city. One day he is cupbearer in the palace, the next day he was the governor of Judah managing a project that seemed impossible! His relentless persistence and organization skills resulted in 52 days seeing the project completed (Neh. 6:15). It was an extraordinary accomplishment. In digesting the memoirs of Nehemiah one can learn much about the type of man he was.

Just what kind of man was Nehemiah and what timeless lessons can we learn from him?

First, Nehemiah acknowledged God’s Sovereignty, yet he acknowledged man’s responsibility (Neh. 1). One truth is apparent throughout the book and in his prayers, is Nehemiah’s belief that God is sovereign in His dealings with man and in the universe. Nehemiah knew nothing takes God by surprise or will anything or anyone derail His ultimate plan being fulfilled. However, Nehemiah didn’t use God’s sovereignty as an excuse to sit back and do nothing. He saw himself as being responsible and being used in the grand scheme of God’s divine purpose. Nehemiah viewed God as active in the universe, and he wanted to be a part of God’s workings. Yes, God is sovereign, but He uses people to carry out His plans and purposes, we must decide if we want God to use us in the process of the unfolding of His divine will.

Second, Nehemiah relied on the power of prayer, yet He recognized the need for action (Neh. 1). Throughout his memoirs we see him praying at every encounter, circumstance or situation. He believed that prayer was necessary before embarking upon a task for the Lord, but he also believed one had to put feet to their prayers. Praying for the Walls to be repaired, required some action on the part of him. Praying for the walls to be built was good and a must, but there had to be some foot power that took place for it to become a reality. As a woman once said to this writer, “I believe in putting footsies to my prayers.” Nehemiah is a sound example of one who put footsies to his prayers. When threatened by his enemies he prayed for the Lord’s protection, then armed half the men with spears, shields, bows, and armor and the workers worked with a sword strapped to their side (Neh. 4:15-23)! Let us never use prayer as an excuse not to take action, but let us put footsies to our prayers.

Third, Nehemiah had a genuine passion to see the walls rebuilt, and his enthusiasm resulted in others catching his vision and sharing his passion (Neh. 2). The passion in his heart resulted in him traveling 800 miles to undertake the task to rebuild the walls. After  surveying the ruins, he shared passionately his vision with the priests, nobles and officials. He enthusiastic presentation, ignited a fire in the hearts of those with whom he shared, and they got on board and began the work (Neh. 2). We can’t expect others to embrace the dreams and goals the Lord has placed in our hearts if we are not enthusiastic ourselves. Interestingly, the word enthusiasm comes from two Geek words that means “possessed of God.” Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without first enthusiasm.” Nehemiah and his team prove the truth of Emerson’s statement.

Fourth, Nehemiah was a superb administrator and organizer, yet he didn’t mind getting his hands dirty (Neh. 5:16). He organized the workers and gave all the teams working on the walls certain assignments which required painstaking effort and getting the hands dirty (Neh. 3). Nehemiah didn’t dictate what everyone was to do and then sit and watch everyone else work. He not only organized the project, he got in there and worked side by side with everyone. He got his hands dirty just like everyone else. A true leader is not one who simply delegates what needs to be done, but is out leading the charge to see that the task is completed successfully. Leaders in the mold of Nehemiah are willing to get their hands dirty.

Fifth,  Nehemiah faced severe opposition, yet he never lost his focus (Neh. 6). Before Nehemiah even started the work he faced opposition from the likes of men like Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, who sought to halt the work before it ever got off the ground. Then once the work started, they did all they could to halt the work (Neh. 2:22). Despite the opposition, Nehemiah never lost focus of the task at hand. He told his enemies, “I am doing a great work, I don’t have time be to be distracted by your detours” (Neh. 6:3). In spite of the persistence of the opposition, Nehemiah kept steam rolling down the track toward success. Too often when we endeavor to do a work for the Lord we pack it in at the first little opposition that pops up. The devil seeks to get us sidetracked, but to accomplish anything for the Lord requires remaining focused on the task at hand.

Sixth, when Nehemiah perceived discouragement among the people, he infused encouragement into the equation (Neh. 4, 6). As the work proceeded the workers got discouraged, Nehemiah was the kind of leader who refused to be overtaken by negative emotions, but sought to encourage them through the words he spoke and his presence among them. One who is an encourager can’t adopt a “down in the mouth” vocabulary, but must use words of positive reinforcement to instill “finishing energy” within those being ministering, too. As well, the ministry of presence is of invaluable aid in helping someone overcome discouragement. Our presence in someones life can’t be emphasized enough as to its support and the infusion of strength to continue on in the task.

Seventh, Nehemiah demanded Scriptural obedience from the people, and he set the example by living obediently before them (Neh. 10, 12) He didn’t teach by word only, but by his daily example . He didn’t say to them, “Do as I say, not as I do.” No, Nehemiah could say, “Do as I do.” Nehemiah didn’t tolerate sin in his own life, and he didn’t tolerate it in the lives of others. He was not like many today who compromise with sin and tolerate it. He was consistent in his voice against that which dishonored the Lord, and he was courageous in his actions in dealing with it. He threw Tobiah out on his ear when he found out he was living in a storeroom near the temple formerly used to store the grain offerings, incense and temple articles. He also locked the city gates so the people couldn’t go out and work on the Sabbath, and even tore hair out of the scalp of those who defied God’s commands…and then turned around and prayed for them (Neh. 13:25-29)! Nehemiah never asked them to live a life he himself refused to live. How can we ask others to obey in biblical areas that we ourselves are unwilling to be obedient? We can’t hold others to a higher standard of dedication to the Lord if we refuse to hold ourselves to the same standard. Nehemiah could scold others for being disobedient, because he set the example in the matters of which he spoke. We must do the same.

From Nehemiah these are seven timeless truths, among many, that are discovered within the inspired pages of the book that bears his name. Some key words that describe Nehemiah are faith, prayer, obedience, action, skill, tenacity and focused.
In a day of where compromise abounds, tolerance of actions and attitudes no matter how unscriptural they are, quitting when a little opposition arises, endeavors undertaken without passion, and prayer is neglected as the foundation of all endeavors, we need in Christendom more in the mold of Nehemiah. Oh, may his tribe increase.

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

YES, I HAVE BEEN BLINDED

It seems it is becoming more and more prevalent to read articles or find posts on social media which either insinuate or state in no uncertain terms that those who don’t embrace the agenda of secular humanism  and the progressive left, are blind to the prevailing times of tolerance and political correctness of all moral behavior and actions no matter how out of the norm, debased, perverted, or bizarre they may be. (I use the word “tolerance” as the compromise of moral and biblical convictions, a yielding of ground upon critical ethical, moral and biblical issues.) Those who don’t embrace the changing times of tolerance  have been labeled as “deplorables” and blinded by antiqued beliefs and old fashion doctrines that are fanciful to the reality of the way it ought to be and should be.

I must confess I am one of those who has been blinded. I count myself with the Apostle Paul who was blinded by the brilliant Light of Jesus Christ and as such viewed life differently from that day forward (Acts 9). Many moons ago as a college freshman, the Lord removed the scales from my eyes and shone His glorious Light into my eyes to see the brilliance of his face, blinding me to the way I used to think, live and behave. Being blinded by the Light of Christ, my “blindness” has led to embracing a biblical worldview.

Yes, I confess I have been blinded.

Having  been blinded by the Light of Christ, the eyes have been opened to behold the sacredness inherent in each human life. Since all life is sacred, I vehemently oppose the atrocious slaughter of babies through abortion, which is acceptable and even applaudable by those who see a baby as no more than a blob of cells. I unapologetically embrace the sanctity of life, that each life is created by God and bears His image. I will continue to remain blind to the agenda that thinks nothing of terminating a human life. The Light of Christ opens one’s eyes to see every life He created is of worth and value, and He gave His life that the sin-marred Image of God within us might be reestablished to communion with Him.

Having been blinded by the Light of Christ, as the stars are fixed in the heavens giving guidance to ancient travelers, the light of Genesis chapter 1-2 rests upon the brow of man and woman affirming God’s divine blueprint for the marriage relationship.  In the beginning God created Adam and Eve and joined them together. Marriage relationships which deviate from God’s original directive between a man and a woman are scripturally forbidden. Anything that is a perversion of biblical, traditional marriage weakness the home, society and the nation. The home, as ordained by God, is a bedrock of any stable society, and when that is destroyed society begins to sink into the quicksand of unrestrained immorality….which we are witnessing today in society.

Having been blinded by the Light of Christ, the divine rays of identity normalcy  shine exposing the deceptive delusion that one’s gender is fluid. God created male and female, and that can’t be altered. To mistakenly believe otherwise is to strike at the very core of one’s identity as to who God created one to be. One who accepts gender fluidity as normal is dismissing the truth that God created each person as either male or female for a distinct and definite purpose. To deny one’s biological identity is to deny God’s wisdom in His creation and abandon the creative purpose for which one was born.

Having  been blinded by the Light of Christ, His glorious light illuminates the false assumption that all religions are equal in their endeavors to obtain salvation and entrance into heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Christianity alone has the answer to the sin problem of man. The man-made religions of the world say, “Do this and do that, and you shall obtain salvation.” Christianity says, “Christ has already done all that is necessary for man’s salvation, believe and be saved.” Man is incapable of complying with God’s holy demands, Jesus on our behalf complied with those holy demands for us. Christ is the Door who gains us entrance into heaven, all other doors lead to eternal darkness.

Having been blinded by the Light of Christ, brings into focus  the truth that an orderly society is not possible without Christian principles of morality as the foundation of a society. History is littered with fallen nations which have proven the validity of this truth. Secular humanists can deny history all they want, this nation’s Forefathers, though they were not all Christians, recognized that any nation must have woven into its foundation biblical morality or chaos will result. John Adams, our nation’s second President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence, on June 28, 1813, wrote in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, “The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite, and these Principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity; in which all these Sects were United.” The Bible says it clear, “The nation that forgets God is tuned into hell” (Ps. 9:17). Our nation’s chaos can be traced back to the relentless eroding of biblical morality.

Having  been blinded by the Light of Christ,  He has enlightened the eyes to see all of humanity as broken and in need of a Savior. One truth is certain beyond argument, man is broken, a sinner, and alienated from God. All humanity is broken and each of us have adopted different ways, lifestyles, and actions by which that brokenness is manifested. Our brokenness can be manifested through the adoption of many lifestyles and behaviors that deviates from God’s moral directives in regard to addictions of all kinds, gender confusion, sexual immorality, destructive social interaction, a mindset bent toward dishonesty and deceptiveness, cruelty toward one’s fellowman, and the list goes on. Seeing all humanity as broken, helps one to see that all need the message of Christ’s loving redemptive power which can deliver, restore and redeem. The cross of Christ is God’s answer to sin and man’s brokenness. When one sees humanity as broken it instills in one, while disapproving of the sin, a love for  the sinner as one for whom Christ gave His life that they might be redeemed and “fixed” from those actions and behaviors which damns and destroys the body and soul.

Yes, I have been blinded by the Light of Christ, and as such I see life through the glasses of a biblical worldview and my true magnetic North being the cross of Christ. There can be no compromise with the godless philosophies of secular humanism and any agenda that seeks to purposely undermine biblical morality and abandon the sacredness of life. As society descends further into a state of decadence and distancing itself further from the foundation on which it was once built, with each passing day my eyes focus more and more on the Eastern skies, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). It is my earnest prayer that the Gospel will shine forth in an effulgence of grace, inspiring wonder and adoration, which will produce an awakening in humanity for whom Christ died and desires each to gaze upon His glorious face which shines brighter than a thousand suns.

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

WHAT IS MEANT BY THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD?

God is faithful. The Psalmist proclaimed, “For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5). What does it mean to say God is faithful? Is our saying He is faithful based on our perception of how we define faithfulness?

Recently I was praying about a matter of great concern, and the Lord graciously heard my cry, and in His grace I witnessed and experienced His hand move on my behalf and grant the answer to my request. I was thanking the Lord for how he granted my petition and said in praise, “Lord, I want to thank you for your faithfulness.” I stopped in the middle of my prayer, and asked myself this question, “Was I equating God’s faithfulness to the fact that he granted my petition?” Well, what if He had not granted my petition, would He then have been unfaithful? Is God’s faithfulness determined by whether or not he beckons to my request to turn situations and circumstances to my favor? Does God’s faithfulness in my life mean the absence of difficulties?

So, what is meant when the Bible says God is faithful? Faithfulness speaks to the very core of God’s character. Faithfulness has to do with being reliable, fidelity, firmness, stability, trustworthy, trueness to one’s word, dependability. While no earthly man is 100% faithful, the Bible teaches that God is 100% faithful in all He does in accordance with His divine character. God is always faithful to Himself. God is unchanging; therefore, He can never cease to be what He is and He will always be consistent with His righteous character.

God’s faithfulness cannot be defined by our perception as to whether or not events or circumstances work out in what we perceive to be in our favor. God is faithful even if events don’t turn out as we wish or think they should. God will never deny His own character or His divine plan to grant our request. God is always faithful to His character, for Him to do otherwise He would become unfaithful. Several examples are cited as to what is meant.

God’s faithfulness to His holy character. God will not and cannot deny His faithfulness in regard to his holy, moral character. When God created man He expressed His holy character in the form of moral directives that were for the welfare and blessing of humanity: that men should not steal, lie, covet, murder, that marriage is between a man and woman, that those of the same sex should not lay with one another as in the marriage relationship, honor thy father and mother, honor the Lord of heaven and acknowledge Him as Creator and Sovereign. When we violate God’s moral directives, negative consequences result. God will not be unfaithful to His moral nature by rescinding the consequences of violating His moral character. To do so He would not be faithful to Himself. God will be faithful to His moral character and will never rescind His holiness for anyone no matter how much one prays for Him to do so. Our nation today is experiencing the consequence of God’s faithfulness to His holy, moral directives.

God’s faithfulness in covenant. God made a covenant with Israel that if they were loyal to Him, didn’t embrace the god’s of the surrounding pagans, and would be a witness to the true God of heaven that He would bless them abundantly, but if they disobeyed and forsook Him they would experience the consequences of embracing other gods and would eventually go into captivity to other nations. God was faithful to His covenant, as when they obeyed Him they were blessed beyond measure and when they disobeyed they endured the bitter consequence of their forsaking their God. While the people blamed God when they found themselves in bondage, God was only being faithful to His covenant. He was faithful, they were not. God would have violated His faithfulness if He had changed the “terms” of the covenant to accommodate their disobedience. “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

God’s faithfulness to His Word. Joshua said, “Not one word of all His good promises have failed” (Joshua 21:45). Jesus stated, “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Both the OT and NT echo the message that all that God has recorded to us in His Inspired Word may be trusted, and that the Bible supplies us with reliable and dependable information and instruction that one can rely upon with certainty. One can be sure of the truthfulness and reliability of His Word. “All your commandments are faithful” (Psalm 119:86). The Lord wants us to have assurance that His promises cannot and will not fail. He has promised He will never leave us or forsake us regardless of the circumstances, that He will work all things (good and bad) for the good of those who love Him, that heaven awaits those who trust Christ, etc. Paul said all the promises of God in Christ are yes and amen (2 Cor. 1:20). To those who adhere to the Word find it is a firm foundation upon which to build one’s life, because God is faithful to His Word.

God’s faithfulness in salvation’s design. God will not can cannot deny His faithfulness in regard to His designed plan of salvation. The Bible is a Book of redemption/salvation history. The Bible records how God has revealed Himself to sinful man and how he progressively unfolded His divine plan to provide humanity with a way to come into the presence of Holy God, which culminated in the Christ of the cross. Since man cannot comply with the holy demands of God, judgment is holiness’ reaction to man’s willful sin and disobedience to God’s perfect holiness. For God not to judge sin He would have to deny faithfulness to His holiness. What is man to do? God in Christ came to earth to be the answer to man’s predicament. Christ in his perfect life complied with God’s holy demands on our behalf, and satisfied holiness’ judgment on sin as He hung on the cross. The Christ of the Cross is God’s ONLY provision to the problem of man’s sin, and He will not make an exception for me or you. If He did, He would violate His own faithfulness in regard to what He proclaimed in Jesus, “No man comes to the Father but through me.”

God’s faithfulness to His divine plan: The Psalmist wrote, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.” (Ps. 33:11). From the depths of the counsels of eternity, God set forth in motion a great master plan that involves all of creation and humanity that He is bringing to pass in real time. In and on his timetable He will bring to pass everything that He has purposed. Our finite minds cannot understand it all, how his plan is unfolding universally or in our individual lives, but we can be assured His divine plan is unfolding. As man stands in the train station of life, he is faced with two choices as the train of God’s master plan barrels down the tracks of history – either watch as the train passes by or get on board and ride with Him to His designed plan for our lives!! Isaiah wrote that he will bring it to pass with perfect faithfulness (Isaiah 25:1).

God’s faithfulness in His love. John declared, “God is love” (I John 4:16). God demonstrated His love toward us, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. God is faithful in His love toward humanity. One may reject His love, scoff at His love, but He will continue to be faithful in His love. One may hide themselves from the sun but one can’t keep the sun from shining. In Christ God has expressed a love that shouts He will never cease to love us, for even if we refuse him and find ourselves in hell His love will never cease. Such love boggles the mind. One may reject the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ but His holy-love still emanates from His faithful character continually urging all to embrace the Savior before it is too late. The faithfulness of God’s love as found in the Christ of the cross towers over time, bidding us to come unto Him and therein find the confidence of redemption and hope.

Yes, our Lord is faithful even if events or circumstances are difficult and don’t always appear to work out as we think they should. God’s faithfulness means He will never violate His character, but He will brings to pass in our lives that which will work together for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28). Whether we understand it or not, we can be assured that our Lord is completely reliable, trustworthy and faithful. Yes, God is faithful…always, all the time!

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

WHAT DOES “ONLY BEGOTTEN SON” MEAN?

Begotten SonRecently someone asked me to explain what was meant by the phrase found in the Fourth Gospel referring to Jesus as the “only begotten Son” (John 3:16). In John’s writings he uses the phrase “only begotten Son” five times in referring to Jesus (John 1:14; 1:18; 3:16; 3:18. I John 4:9) (the phrase is used nine times in the NT – three times in Luke, once in Hebrews, five times in John’s writings). It is important to understand what the phrase means, as erroneous teachers contend the word translated “begotten” teaches that Jesus is not equal to God in essence and that Jesus is not eternal in His existence, but was at some point in time created or “begotten,” contending Jesus had a beginning. Such a false conclusion fails to consider what the Greek word translated as “only begotten” actually implies and means.

While volumes have been written in seeking to explain the meaning of “only begotten,” an attempt will be made to be clarifyingly brief. The Greek word monogenes (μονογενής) is a compounded of monos (μονος) meaning “only, single of its kind” and genos (γενος) “race, family, offspring, kind.” The word is translated into English as “only” or “one and only” or “only begotten.”

According to one reputable Greek-English Lexicon, the word monogenes has two primary meanings in the NT. The first means “pertaining to being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship.” The author of Hebrews attaches this meaning of “only begotten son” when speaking of the special and unique relationship Isaac had with his father Abraham which no other earthly person shared (Heb. 11:17). Isaac was the “only one of [his] kind within a specific relationship” in regard to being the promised son of the covenant. The second meaning is “pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind, single of its kind, only.” (Walter Bauer, Editor F.W. Danker, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition, (University of Chicago Press, 2001).

The much-respected Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says “begotten” means “single of its kind, only….used of Christ, denotes the only Son of God or one who in the sense in which He himself is the son of God has no [equal] brethren….” (John 1:1-3).

Greek scholars Moulton and Milligan conclude from research of multiple early sources that monogenes means “one of a kind,” “only,” and “unique” (Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, Baker Academic, 1995, 416).

Without question Jesus is unique in kind, having no equal brethren. Jesus is the self-expression of the Father because He and the Father are One (John 10:30). That Jesus is the “only begotten Son” seeks to highlight the uniqueness of Jesus as the one and only Son of God who is one with the Father in eternal relationship, being in nature and essence One. In John 1:1-3, the Apostle of Love makes it clear that the “Word” (Jesus) was not only with God in the beginning but that the “Word” was God. Jesus as the eternal “Word” is more than just “one of a kind,” John is saying that Christ as the “only begotten Son of the Father” uniquely shares the very nature of the Father.

That “begotten” implies “one of a kind” or “only” or “uniquely unique” can be found in a myriad of Greek writings. Found in a second-century writing, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, is a doxology which reads “Now unto him who is able to bring us all by his grace and bounty unto his eternal kingdom, through his one and only (monogenes) Son Jesus Christ, be glory, honor, power, and greatness forever” (Martyrdom of Polycarp (20.2)).

Writing about the same time as the Apostle John (c. 95 AD), was Clement of Rome. In 1 Clement 25, Clement wrote of the Phoenix, a mysterious bird of the East, as monogenes; meaning that the bird was “unique” or “the only one of its kind” (Richard Longenecker, “The One and Only Son,” chapter 11, The Making of a Contemporary Translation (International Bible Society, 1991), 122).

Found in the writings of the sixth-firth century BC philosopher Parmenides, he spoke of the Supreme Being as “ungenerated, imperishable, whole, unique [monogenes], and without end” (Frag. 8.3-4).

Another place where monogenes is found to mean “unique” or “incomparable” is in the Wisdom of Solomon, a Jewish book written around 100 B.C. In it is found a hymn to God’s “Wisdom” in which it is said that “there is in her a spirit quick of understanding, holy, unique /incomparable (monogenes), manifold” (7:22). While Wisdom is personified, monogenes is used in referring to Wisdom as “unique” and being “from everlasting, from the beginning” (Proverbs 8:22).

In addition to the examples given, which help shed light on the usage and meaning of “only begotten,” many more quotes could be cited from classical Greek writings (i.e., Plato, Herodotus, etc) and from the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew OT), where monogenes is used in the sense of “unique, one of a kind, incomparable, peerless, matchless, of singular importance, or the only one of its kind” (Longenecker in Barker, Kenneth, “The One and Only Son,” chapter 11 in The NIV: The Making of a Contemporary Translation, Zondervan, (International Bible Society, 1991), 119-126, 165-166.)

In summary, the phrase “only begotten Son” has no reference to Jesus being a created being at some point in time, which would erroneously teach that Jesus and God would not be One in nature and essence. F. M Warden summarizes in Monogenes in the Johannine Literature, “The evidence hitherto presented leads to the necessity of regrading monogenes [translated “only begotten”]; as expressing basically uniqueness of being, rather than any remarkableness of manner of coming into being, or yet uniqueness resulting from any manner of coming into being” (Warden, Monogenes in the Johannine Literature, (SBTS: Ky, 1938), 35-36). As the uncreated One, “only begotten” stresses the uniqueness and “onlyness” of Jesus and the oneness of the relationship of the First and Second Persons of the Trinity.

When John uses the word “begotten” he is describing the uniqueness of Jesus as the Son of God and to the uniqueness of the relationship of God and Jesus as the result of their being of the same nature and essence. John by using the phrase “only begotten Son” is shining light upon the truth that Jesus is not only “one of a kind” or that He is “one and only and unique,” but Jesus is the true divine Son of God, having the same divine nature or essence as the Father (John 1). John seeks to highlight the uniqueness of Jesus as the one and only Son of God who is one with the Father in the eternal past in nature and essence, there never being a time when the Father and Son were not one and in relationship.

The early church seeking to give understanding that Jesus as the “only begotten Son” is not a created being but is the one and only unique, eternal Son of God, in one of the earliest creeds, the Nicene Creed (325 AD), stated in unmistakable words: “We believe…in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.”

O, what a Savior.

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

BECOMING A VESSEL OVERFLOWING WITH THANKSGIVING

In reading First Thessalonians recently, 5:18 leaped off the page into my spirit, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” In doing a word study on the verse, the word translated “thanks” comes from the Greek word εὐχαριστέω (eucharisteō). The word comes from two Greek words, eú, “good” and charis, “grace.” It is thanksgiving based on and in the “good” grace of Christ.

The word translated “thanksgiving” is  used some forty times in the NT in various forms. The word is translated throughout the NT as “to be grateful, feel thankful, to give thanks, to consecrate a thing by giving thanks, to ‘bless,’ the giving of thanks at the beginning of a feast or in general before eating, to be grateful, to express gratitude towards God, to give praise for the wonderful works of God in Christ.” At the last supper before administering the bread and wine, Jesus gave thanks (eucharisteō) (Luke 22:19). It is where the word Eucharist is derived, being a transliteration of the Greek word eucharistia, which is another name for Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper. It means thanksgiving, giving thanks for the Sacrifice of Christ for the sins of humanity. When we celebrate Communion, we are expressing thanks to Christ for His sacrifice for our sins.

Our thanksgiving is rooted in the “good” grace found in the sacrificial work of Christ on our behalf. Christ’s grace being the foundation of our thanksgiving, not changing circumstance. The Christian’s thanksgiving is not dependent upon material blessings which can be lost, but our thanksgiving is based upon the finished work of Christ from whom all the riches of our spiritual blessings flow (Ephesians 1) Paul declares the Christian can be thankful in “everything” because no matter what happens the sacrificial work of Christ on our behalf is unchanging.

In I Thessalonians 5:18, the word “thanks” is in the present tense, active voice, which means thanksgiving is to be the active habit of our lives. It is also in the imperative mood which expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding, in this case Paul is commanding the Christian to give thanks in “all things.” Thus, thanksgiving should be a characteristic of the Christian life. We should be a vessel overflowing with thanksgiving. In the crazy, mixed-up day we live in where change occurs by the minute, let us anchor our thanksgiving in the forever settled work of Christ.

O, we have so much for which to be thankful. It is in thanksgiving we sense His refreshing, abiding presence and enjoy unbroken communion with Him. Thanksgiving is the beauty of the rose in a world of thorns, praise to our Lord being the fragrance filling the air with the scent of His presence. Because of what Christ did for us on Calvary, Paul wrote, “We are bound to thank God always….” (2 Thess. 1:3). Yes, thanks be to God for is unspeakable Gift (2 Cor. 9:15).

Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday the fourth Thursday of every November – it is to be the daily attitude of our lives….vessels overflowing with thanksgiving.

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

DOES THE LORD LEAD US INTO TEMPTATION?

I recently had a question asked of me regarding a petition found in our Lord’s Model Prayer or what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer. The petition specifically referred to is, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil [One]” (Matthew 6:13). The question asked was, “The way the sentence is worded it implies that the Lord is the one who leads us into temptation, and the petition is requesting the Lord not to do so. Does not James tell us that it is not the Lord who tempts us, yet that petition suggests He does?”

This presents an exegetical problem for many. How is one to interpret the meaning of “lead us not into temptation?” Let it be stated, the Bible is clear that God does not tempt us to do evil (James 1:13-14), but “God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape” (I Cor. 10:13). One can be sure that “lead us not into temptation” does not imply that God brings us into the place of temptation.

It is understood that many times when translating words into another language it is often difficult to find an equivalent word that best conveys the meaning of the original thought, and, as well, words often carry with them several meanings. The word translated “lead” in Matthew 6:13 in εἰσενέγκῃς (eisenegkes) which is the inflected form of the verb εἰσφέρω (eispheró) (eis-fer’-o). This is a compound verb formed by the preposition εἰς (to/into) and the verb φέρω (to bring into/carry something or someone). While “to bring into an area or bring in” is the basic meaning of εἰσφέρω the word has a rich history in Greek literature which sheds light on what the verse is petitioning.
Homer (c. 8th Cen BC) in the Iliad employed the word εἰσφέρω to speak of that which is “sweep along or swept away” like in the waters of a river. Herodotus (4th Cen BC) in Histories used the word εἰσφέρω to speak of “the proposing of political measures.” Other Greek writers used εἰσφέρω to refer to “being brought into” or “introduce” or “bring forward” (Henry George Liddell & Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford: Clarendon Press, revised 1940).

The various usages of the word conveys the idea of “don’t allow me to be swept away by temptation” or “don’t allow anything to be proposed against me that would defeat me” or “don’t let me to be introduced into or brought into temptation.” The petition parallels with what is found in Psalm 141:4 – “Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.” This petition also has a parallel in a daily prayer found in the Talmud (the Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law and Jewish theology), “Bring me not into sin, or into iniquity or into temptation. And may the good inclination have sway over me and let not the evil inclination have sway over men” (Berakot 605, Str-B 1:4).

In the light of the rich heritage of the word εἰσφέρω, the OT parallel in Psalm 141:4, and the daily prayer in the Talmud, the petition in Matthew 6:13 is best understood as meaning “don’t let me be swept away by the power of temptation” or “don’t let me succumb to the power of temptation” (Craig Blomberg, “Matthew,” New American Commentary, Volume 22, (Broadman Press, 1992) 119-121). The sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer is requesting protection against and deliverance from the sway of the Evil One who seeks to sweep us away like mighty river.

It is truly a daily prayer we need to lift to the Lord.

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

RESTORING PASSION IN THE MINISTRY

The pastoral ministry is filled with the exhilaration of glorious mountain top experiences as well as discouraging valleys that seem too low from which to ever crawl out. The pastoral ministry is both rewarding and leaves one scratching their heads why they ever entered the ministry. The pastoral ministry is more than a profession, but a calling. I was once asked by a pulpit committee if I was a God called preacher. My response was, “Yes I am, for no one in their right mind would do this if they weren’t called.”

Pastors must develop fresh sermons every week, deal with sickness, surgeries and death among the members, listen to the personal problems of others, try to answer critics of why something was done a certain way, serve as a referee between squabbling parties, smooth ruffled feathers over trivial issues, try to keep a fresh vision before a congregation that often doesn’t want to latch on to the vision, is on call twenty-four hours a day, expected to keep confidences when they themselves often have no confidant, and the list goes on. One can see why it is easy for pastors to grow weary, discouraged and lose their passion.

A pastor is not superhuman as some might imagine. In the demanding age in which we live it is becoming all too common for a pastor’s passion to wane. Many great “pastors” have lost the fire in their embers. Moses got so agitated at the Israelites he wanted to throw in the towel. Jonah got irritated and went off into the corner and pouted. Elijah got discouraged and went off into the wilderness and asked God to take his life. Jerimiah got so provoked he turned in his resignation. The Disciples briefly went back to the fishing industry. So ministers losing their passion is not a twenty-first century phenomenon.

The question is what does a pastor do when his passion needle is heading toward empty or seems to have vanished altogether? How can passion in the ministry be restored?

First, the pastor must remember who called him into the ministry and that the One who called him is still on the throne. The one who has been called into the ministry is following in the steps of the Greatest Shepherd of all. Ministry is a holy and divine calling. And He who calls men into the journey of pastoral ministry has not vacated the throne. The author of Hebrews reminds that when one becomes weary and discouraged, consider Christ who endured untold hostility yet He remained faithful in His calling (Hebrews 12:3). One called into the ministry is not greater than his Master, so hostility and weariness will result… but the One who issued the call still sits on the throne serving as the example and imparting His strength to continue in the task at hand.

Second, the pastor must remember who dwells within. Paul stated that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells within each believer (Romans 8:11), and that being so every pastor needs to realize they face no issue or problem in their own strength but have dwelling within a supernatural power from above (Holy Spirit). When one realizes that the power of the Lord of Glory indwells, it should not only bring humility but it should lite a passion in the heart to think that the Lord who spoke the universe into existence is willing to infuse us with Himself.

Third, when passion seems to be ebbing low the pastor must “offer the sacrifice of praise” (Heb 13:5). This is essential. It is easy to praise the Lord when all is going well. However, we must praise the Lord when it is not easy, when it is a sacrifice. Something unique happens when a pastor in personal worship, begins to praise God when the winds of life seem to be blowing contrary. Instead of concentrating on external issues and how one “feels,” give thanks in personal worship for God’s sovereignty, for God’s gift of His Son, for the salvation you have experienced, the call that has been placed upon your life, for His indwelling Holy Spirit, for the hope of heaven, etc. When the focus is removed from self and focused praise offered to the omnipotent God, there is a transformation that takes place in the soul that is supernatural. When one offers the “sacrifice of praise,” one embraces the truth that God is still good and can be trusted in spite of the storms. In habitual praise He is honored, and our faith grows deeper and passion restored.

Fourth, the pastor must recognize loss of passion is a spiritual battle. The devil wants the pastor to become discouraged and throw in the towel. The devil wants the pastor to magnify problems and interpret God in the light of the circumstances instead of interpreting the circumstances in the light of who God is. That is why the pastor must read the Bible for personal, spiritual nourishment and not just for a sermon. That is why the pastor must pray for his own spiritual growth not just the growth of his church. If the pastor is not growing spiritually, he can’t expect the members to be growing. There is no way to stand against the Evil One if we are not filled with the Word and we are not drawing upon His divine strength through prayer.

Fifth, the pastor must get proper rest and exercise. No matter how superhuman a man is, if he doesn’t get proper rest and exercise, he will find himself eventually going through the motions in his “ministerial” duties on a tank that is empty. It is called burn out. The Bible says one’s body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and when it is not properly looked after it will deteriorate. When Elijah became discouraged the Lord told him to do something very “spiritual” …. eat a nutritious meal and get some rest (1 Kings 19:5-18)! The pastor needs to at least three to four times a week do something considered physical exercise which will clear the mind and get the temple in better shape to do God’s work.

Sixth, the pastor must refuse the temptation to go it alone, to become a lone ranger, to withdraw from fellowship with fellow pastors. A pastor should never become so busy he doesn’t have time to intermingle with other pastors. Every pastor should have one or two ministers he can laugh with, cry with, pray with, and share his deepest secrets. No pastor is Atlas, who can bear the weight of the world upon his shoulders. A pastor needs some trusted friends who can help make the weight on the shoulders a whole lot lighter and help reignite the embers in the soul.

Do you need a restored passion in the ministry? Every pastor needs the kind of passion found in the words of Charles Spurgeon: “I no more believe it possible to stop ministers, than to stop the stars of heaven. I think it no more possible to make a man cease from preaching, if he is really called, than to stop some mighty cataract, by seeking, with an infant’s cup, to drink its waters. The man who has been moved of heaven, who shall stop him? He has been touched of God, who shall impede him? With an eagle’s wing he must fly; who shall chain him to the earth? With seraph’s voice he must speak, who shall stop his lips? Is not his word like a fire within me? Must I not speak if God has placed it there? And when a man does speak as the Spirit gives him utterance, he will feel a holy joy akin to heaven; and when it is over he wishes to be at his work again, and longs to be once more preaching. I think if God has called a man, he will impel him to be more or less constantly at it, and he will feel that he must proclaim among the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

Lord Jesus let it be so that a fire burns in our souls, a passion that is contagious, a passion that is greater than any earthly cause, a passion that forever exalts the atoning cross of Christ.

Blessings,
Dr. Dan