Dec 09

LOVING GOD, WITHOUT LOVING RIGHTEOUSNESS? (1)

Have you ever thought that you, that any person, could somehow “love God and not love righteousness?” There is a somewhat “new” trend among some, that they think, that they really believe, it is possible to love God without loving righteousness. No, in their “higher” learning, in their “mind’ above the rest of us; they have dropped part of the work “righteousness” to just “rightness!” Of course, when these folks of “higher” learning order something, by using the internet, or even “slow mail,” they get very upset if what they ordered is not what they received! They want “rightness!”
Therefore, let us look at the word “righteousness.” In general, “righteousness” is the state of being righteous! But, to see the word more fully, we turn to Thayer, who gives: ”1) in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God 1a) the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God 1b) integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting 2) in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due.” Did you see the word “rightness” is what Thayer wrote? It is within the words: “1b) integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness.” But, let us go the second “mile;” Strong gives: “equity (of character or act); specifically (Christian) justification: – righteousness.” Taking some of these one at a time; we have this: 1) “in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God,” and we must not leave out the word “rightness” (Thayer); 2) “specifically (Christian) justification: – righteousness” (Strong). Two more points, these from the inspired scripture! Frist, David wrote: “My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness” (Psa. 119:172). Earlier David had written: “Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times (Psa. 106:3). On and on we could go with this but turning our attention to the New Testament, John wrote: ““Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he (God frw) is righteous” (1 John 3:7). Of course, we need to ask the question, why is John so concerned with “righteousness?” Let John, himself answer our question: “even as he (God, frw) is righteous!” Let me dare you to be “righteous,” without having “rightness!” How blind are the blind?
Is it true, that the above verses do not have the word “rightness” in them? Here is meant that the word “rightness” does appear in the word “righteousness.” Calling upon Thayer once more, he wrote: “integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness.” So, it is not honest to conclude that the word “rightness” is not therein! As some of the “old time” preachers were somewhat fond of saying, “If you can see through a ladder, you can see this.” In other words, if you cannot see the word “rightness” within the word “righteousness,” don’t look at the ladder! While you are looking at the subject, it might be good to think on this: “All unrighteousness is sin: …” (1 John 5:17). Are we wrong to conclude, that “all unrightness is sin?” It is so glaringly wrong, to think/ teach, that we are giving too much time to the necessity of “rightness!”
It might help to look at the other side of “rightness.” Would the other side of “rightness” be “wrongness” or would it be “unrghtness?” Once more I recall the words of the “old time” preachers; who like to say, “If not, why not?” If the other side of “rightness” is not “wrongness,” or “un–rightness,” just what would you call it? At least it is less than “rightness!” If there is some area between “rightness” and “wrongness,” (un-rightness) the high learned among us have found what Jesus knew nothing of! When confronted by “the chief priests and the elders of the people,” they questioned him about his authority, he asked them: “The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? (Matt. 21:23-25); Jesus recognized but two areas, “from heaven” “or of men!” Therefore, the conclusion is reached, there is no area between “rightness,” and “un-rightness” (wrongness)!
The conclusion is reached, to teach/preach that we have given too much time to “rightness” is to encourage men to sin! By what right do such men call themselves, “preachers of the gospel?” Take down the sign, “gospel preacher!” Do you really think that you can love God without loving “rightness?”

Frank R. Williams

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Dec 02

IS ONE RELIGION JUST AS GOOD AS ANOTHER? (8)

In this article we will be looking at “The New Age” religion and a few of its beliefs. First, it is NOT related to Christianity! It is said that this religion promotes the development of the person’s own power or divinity. Divinity is the quality or state of being Divine! Being Divine is the same as being God! In the New Testament there is one Greek word translated both “Godhead” and “divine.” First, when Paul was at Athens, he declares to them what they worshipped what they called “the unknown God.” In doing so, he said: “God (theos) that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord (kurios) of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; (Acts 17:24-25). He then followed with: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring” (verse 28). This brings us to verse 29: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God (theos), we ought not to think that the Godhead (theios) is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” Just a point here before moving on, Paul’s argument is: 1) we are not made of gold, silver, and graven by art and man’s device, therefore, 2) neither is the God of who we are his offspring! No, man is much more than these physical items; as he who made us and whose “offspring” we are, is not such!
It is the Greek word “theios,” translated “Godhead” that we are here interested in. The reason is that Peter also used this same Greek word: “According as his divine (theios) power hath given unto us (the apostles, frw) all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3). Then, Peter informs us that he gave to the apostles, “all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” in order that we “might be partakers of the divine (theios) nature” (verse 4). We, who obey the gospel of Christ, do not become God, but we do become “partakers of the divine nature!” It is the natural order of becoming “partakers of the divine nature,” that our “nature” becomes like the “nature” of God. The word “nature” is the Greek “phusis” which means: “growth (by germination or expansion), that is, (by implication) natural production (lineal descent).” Here it would be good to recall the way God created man in the beginning: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: …” (Gen. 1:26). In obeying the gospel of Christ, we have the opportunity to become once more, what we were as made by God in the beginning! Man was in the beginning, germinated by God and in obeying the gospel, we are, in a sense, re-germinated by God; as Peter wrote: “Being born again (begotten, frw), not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23).
Now, with these thoughts in our mind, let us return to what is called: “The New Age” religion. Remember from our opening statement: “It is said that this religion promotes the development of the person’s own power or divinity.” Divinity is the quality or state of being Divine!” Having now looked at the word “Divine,” and the word “Godhead,” both being the same Greek word, which is “spoken of the only and true God” (Thayer). For the “New Age” folks which “promotes the development of the person’s own power or divinity,” is to declare they are “gods!” There is a great difference between being “made in the image and likeness” of God and claiming to be god! Here I quote: “A person in New Age would see themselves as deity, the cosmos, the universe” (EveryStudent.com). This reminds me of a woman I heard on a FOX NEWS program, as the woman said, “We are whatever we want to be.” She went as far to say; a white American male can be an Hawaiian female. Here is a good answer to such: “Each of the major religions doesn’t have a different path up the same mountain — they are not even on the same mountain!”
“The teaching of Christ” is the one true religion; as it has within of, the one true and living God! In “the teaching of Christ,” no one is what he just says so! Peter wrote: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born (begotten, frw) again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:22-23).

Frank R. Williams

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Nov 25

AMERICA’S DAY OF THANKSGIVING

Is there anything that is without controversy? Not likely these days! I can remember being taught certain things about Thanksgiving Day in the early years of my schooling. Today, like so many other things, things I was taught are now challenged by this one and that one! It is true, that many facts get lost through the years, and no one living today was present for what we call the first ‘Thanksgiving” in America; therefore, for the sake of the fact that America has a day, one day of the year, which is called “Thanksgiving Day,” let us forgo the controversies.
Here is a little “history” about the unique day in America, that we call Thanksgiving Day. Here is what I found; “Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. It originated as a harvest festival. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, after Congress requested a proclamation by George Washington. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November (Wikipedia, underlines and bold in the quote).
Whatever the case maybe, America has a unique “Thanksgiving Day!” At least this is true in my “eyes!” We can debate and debate, as some are prone to do but America has a “Thanksgiving Day!” This is the result of America’s willingness to see that there is reason to set aside one day of the year, enjoy the bounty, or even the scarcity of the year now present, and be thankful! To the Christian, there is nothing unreasonable about this attitude! This is one “Holiday” that in and of itself, has no religious background; such as Christmas, which is “Christ” “mas,” of which the New Testament knows nothing and came to the world through the Roman Catholic Church. The “teaching of Christ” knows nothing of “mass!” The Latin term “missa” itself was in use by the 6th century; this is like a confession, that it is not of the New Testament! The New Testament being completed by 70 A.D. (To those who hold that the New Testament was not completed until 96 A.D; this is still too early for the “missa” that which was in use by the 6th century!).
Thanksgiving is at the heart of Christianity! When Paul wrote, “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18), he then reveals the results, or the means of: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (verse 19). Then, he continued with the thought, still revealing what it means to “be filled with the Spirt;” “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and (Greek word “kai,” which can mean, “even”) the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 20). Therefore, giving thanks, having a thankful attitude is natural to the Christian! It is part of the character of a Christian! Paul also wrote: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6). Here, let us take advantage of the fact that we are looking at this verse, to note what some fail to understand. It is the words “be careful for nothing.” The word “careful” (merimnaō) meaning “to be anxious about” “nothing!” This may help: “very concerned about something .” Now for the words, 1) “supplication (deēsis) which means: “a petition” and “request;” 2) “prayer,” the Greek “proseuchē” means: “prayer (worship); and these two works are followed with our word, “thanksgiving;” which is the Greek “eucharistia” and means: “gratitude; actually grateful language (to God, as an act of worship)” (Strong).
It is good that America, at least once a year, stops and has a day of Thanksgiving! I am not deceived, that most of Americans even think of God on this day, but it is still good that America, nevertheless, has such a day! Therefore, as a Christian, let us be grateful to God and give him our thanks for all the blessings we so enjoy both physical and spiritual!

Frank R. Williams

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Nov 11

IS ONE RELIGION AS GOOD AS ANOTHER? (5)

The question, does Hinduism have a “god” is most interesting! Here is one statement dealing with the subject: “Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centred and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God.” (Tawfik Hamid). One might ask, “Do you know any more than you did to start with?” Just how unorganized is Hinduism? It is said that Hindus, can in fact, choose to be polytheistic, pantheistic, monotheistic, agnostic and even atheistic! It is most difficult to arrive at any comprehensive definition as to just what Hinduism is. The general answer is, Hinduism is whatever the individual person determines for himself, this is “Hinduism!” Nevertheless, there are some practices; such as: 1) Yoga, 2) meditations, 3) a pilgrimage to what they call, “holy cities,” as in more than one, and 4) they live according to “one’s dharma (purpose/role), or as one determines. But in the end, Hinduism is whatever the individual mind says it is!!
Is the Hinduism religion just as good as all other religions and no worse? Yes and no! One may debate just how Hinduism is measured alongside all other religions but when tested by the religion of Christ, it falls deeply short and in fact, it’s moral base is very weak and this a real understatement! As one writer put it: “The greatest problem for Hinduism is its lack of a moral foundation. Recall that in a Hindu universe, good and evil are equal opposites, created by the mind of Brahma. In such a worldview, it cannot be said that there is anything wrong with evil.” (An Essay By Hannah D. // 9/6/2013). It is, therefore, a most convenient religion!
Without any hesitation, it maybe concluded that Hinduism is a religion that is not the equal to Christianity; and not only so, but it is harmful to those who follow it! Hinduism came, largely, through the minds of unknown men! One of the more interesting things about Hinduism is that it has no founder, neither does it have a date of origin. The writers of what is known as “sacred” texts are largely unknown! It is believed that Hinduism started as early as 1,500 B.C. and their oldest text is the Vedas. In our study, it is most important to note that there is no one core teaching; thus, it is removed from controversies, as in “proof text” debates! It is mostly cultural and not creedal. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruseya, which means ‘not of a man, superhuman’ and ‘impersonal, authorless” (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Also from Wikipedia, this: “Vedas are also called śruti (“what is heard”) literature,[8] distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smrti (“what is remembered”).” Nevertheless, whatever written material Hinduism has, it is all from the weak minds of men!
However, this is not the end, these writing also are divided. “There are four Vedas: the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda.” Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions), the Aranyakas(text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices), the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads (texts discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge). Yet, Hinduism is still largely just what a person says it is, more or less! I was unable to find information about disfellowship or excommunication! This certainly goes along with the individuality, the nature of Hinduism!
When the question is asked: “Is one religion as good as any other religion?” The answer, despite “pluralism” which has become the religion of the “Politically Correct,” Hinduism is not as good as, nor anywhere near “the teaching of Christ,” which was given by the Holy Spirit through inspired men! There is no salvation in Hinduism!

Frank R. Williams

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Nov 04

IS ONE RELIGION AS GOOD AS ANOTHER? (4)

This week we will be looking at Hinduism. For a starter, just what do you know about Hinduism? It may surprise you to learn that Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world. The first two are: 1) “Christianity” and 2) Islam. While searching for a few facts about Hinduism, it was learned that there is an estimated 1 billion Hindus worldwide; while about 80 percent of the India’s population regard themselves as Hindus. However, about 30 million Hindus live outside of India.
The first question that generally comes to mind is: “Does Hinduism have a “god,” a deity?” There is, as viewed in Hinduism, “One Supreme Reality” know as Brahman, but manifested in many gods and goddesses. Here is one statement found in my search: “The components of Hinduism can vary from individual to individual but generally include the belief that there is one Supreme Being that is the Creator and the Unmanifest Reality, the belief in four divine Veda scriptures, the belief that the universe will go through multiple creation cycles, the belief in karma, the belief in non-injury, the belief in the reincarnated soul and the belief that there are divine beings living in unseen worlds.” To help our understanding of Hinduism; here is another statement I found: “One of the more interesting Hindu teachings it the teaching of non-injury. Non-injury, or nonviolence, is one of the teachings that the spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi used throughout his political career. The idea of non-injury is that all life is sacred and should not be harmed through actions, words or even thoughts. Instead, all life must be revered. Many Hindus are vegetarians because they do not want animals to be harmed in any way as animal life is “life” and should be held sacred.”
Nearly everyone knows something about cows and India. However, here a few things you might not know. Thirty percent of the world’s cattle live in India! Also, there are 26 distinctive breeds of cows in India. Three of the types are: 1) the hump, 2) the long ears, and 3) the bushy tailed. This brings to the question, “Are cows really regarded as “sacred?” The first thing a person visiting India would notice is that there are cows everywhere! As one who has visited India, I can testify that cows indeed are everywhere; and they are free to roam inside stores! To help us see the high place the people of India hold the cow, here is a statement Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “If someone were to ask me what the most important outward manifestation of Hinduism was, I would suggest that it was the idea of cow protection.” There are some who trace the cow’s sacred status back to Lord Krishna, who is one of the “faith’s” most important people. It has been said that he appeared in a herd of 5,000 cows! He is described as “bala-gopala,” which means, “the child who protects the cows;” while another of Krishna’s holy names is “Govinda” which means: “one who brings satisfaction to the cows.” On the other hand, another of their scriptures identifies the cow as the “mother” of all civilization, while its milk is said to nurture the population! However, there is a question when it comes to the cow, which is regarded as “sacred,” the Hindus do not exactly worship the cow as deity; at least this is true of some; however, it is not true of all. On the Hindu calendar, on the 12th day of the 12th month, a cow ritual is performed in Jodhpur place which is in western Indian state of Rajasthan.
Finally, in this article, the question of sacred, there is the Mahabharata, an epic poem and we find Bhishama saying: “Cows represent sacrifice. Without them, there can be no sacrifice … Cows are guileless in their behavior and from them flow sacrifice … and milk and curds and butter. Hence cows are sacred…”
Is one religion as good as another and no worse? You can see that there is a great difference between “the teaching of Christ” and Hinduism! On the one hand, all you need do is just look at the nation of India and compare it with America, over the history of each. While America was advancing and modernizing, India was locked in time! The nation was not allowed to advance, as this is not the nature of Hinduism! While hunger is evident throughout India, there is the cow roaming free; and it is against to law to kill and eat!

Frank R. Williams

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Oct 28

IS ONE RELIGION AS GOOD AS ANOTHER? (3)

As you read this article, keep in mind, the overall subject is: “pluralism,” which says that: “One religion is just as good as any other and is no worse.” The “good” in the statement must be defined or everyone will put their own definition on it. After looking at the meaning of the word, I found two words that defined the word “good,” as used here; the two words are: 1) profitable and 2) advantageous. You may have to think on this for a while! To help with this, a question or two will help: 1) Is good ever unprofitable in the long run? And 2) Is good ever disadvantageous in the long run?
Before leaving the above, hear Paul as he wrote to Timothy: “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Tim. 4:8). “Godliness” is piety toward the one true God, the God revealed on the pages of the Bible! “Godliness,” unlike “bodily exercise,” is both “profitable” and to our advantage, “having promise of this life that now is, and of that which is to come.” These words can never be said in truth of any other religion; other than: Christianity as revealed in “the teaching of Christ!” This means that “godliness” is included in “the teaching of Christ;” it is in the gospel of Christ; and it is in the “truth” that has the to power to make us free!
With these thoughts in mind, let us turn our attention to the subject of Peter and his being the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. In the first place, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church is not allowed to marry. This doctrine means that Peter is totally unqualified to be Pope! Why is this true? It comes as a total surprise, to some, to learn that Peter was married! Did you question: “How do you know this?” We shall allow the apostle Matthew to answer: “And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever” (Matt. 8:14). We might say, not only did Peter have a wife, but he also had a mother-in-law! But, this is not the only place that we get such information. Paul wrote: “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” (1 Cor. 9:5). Clearly Paul knew that Peter (Cephas) had a wife and he took her with him in his work in the kingdom! This makes Peter totally unqualified to be Pope! Just as an afterthought, so to speak, Paul wrote of this doctrine which is not of “the teaching of Christ,” but that it would come later than inspiration. Here is what Paul had to say: “Forbidding to marry, …” (1 Tim. 4:3). The context of these words is very important! Let Paul give the context: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly,that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (3) Forbidding to marry, …” (1 Tim. 4:1-3). The teaching of not being allowed to marry is in bad company, to say the least! “Forbidding to marry” is a false doctrine and it is not of Christ.
On this same subject, through the years we have learned what this false teaching has done to some who have reached the level of “priest” in the Roman Catholic Church, as they have been caught up in acts of homosexuality with young boys. This has become a “blackeye” upon the whole Roman Catholic Church through the years. It is a problem they have brought upon themselves; as it is their teaching which has no part in “the teaching of Christ:” “forbidding to marry!”
Peter was a married man, unqualified to be the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church! But, this is not the only problem the Roman Catholic Church has as it relates to Peter. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Peter was in Rome, serving as the first Pope as the New Testament was being written. However, not one verse in the New Testament has Peter in Rome. This means there is no inspired record of Peter ever being in Rome. This is a major problem to the claim of the Roman Catholic Church! There is one verse, and within this one verse there is one word, that the Roman Catholic Church uses in trying to prove that the New Testament has Peter in Rome. Just what verse would this be? Peter wrote: “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son” (1 Pet. 5:13). So, how does this help their case? They have made “Babylon” a figurative word, to be Rome and not the actual Babylon Peter was in! However, there is really no evidence for making “Babylon” figurative; thus, making it Rome. It is most likely, literally, Babylon on the Euphrates!
In conclusion, right at the foundation of the Roman Catholic Church, we learn that this religion is not equal to, or anywhere near the religion of Christ!

Frank R. Williams

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Oct 14

IS ONE RELIGION AS GOOD AS ANOTHER? (2)

It is the nature of religion to mold and develop the character of those who follow it. In our quest to address the subject of “pluralism,” which teaches that one religion is just as good and no worse than any other. Here is a little point with a big application, if two religions teach the same thing, then, there is no need for one of them. The reason attention is called to this point is that some have made the claim that their religion teaches the same thing as does “the teaching of Christ,” but they refuse to be identified as a “church of Christ,” which follows “the teaching of Christ!” Think on this, would “the teaching of Christ” produce anything not the “churches of Christ?”
Therefore, the question is put forth, if your religion teaches the “the teaching of Christ,” then, why not just accept “the teaching of Christ” and we can have unity; we can be one! Surely, no one desires division just for the sake of having division! Do they? Unity means we have power to reach the lost; as we all speak the same thing. In fact, “the teaching of Christ,” teaches this, for the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). However, there is a question that must be addressed; does your religion really teach the same thing as “the teaching of Christ?” If so, why are you known by another name?
Here we will take up one religion, the Roman Catholic Church, and notice only a few of its teachings that are not in harmony with “the teaching of Christ.” Many people, who study the New Testament, are aware of the claim, in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, which says that Peter was the first Pope and that the church was built upon him. Therefore, the question: “Is this claim true?”
First, let us notice the verse upon which this claim is based. It says, as recorded by Matthew while Jesus was speaking to Peter: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (Petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). The Greek words for Peter and “rock” have been added to the text so they may be easily identified! In looking at Thayer, it will be noticed that the Greek word “Petros” is capitalized while the Greek word for “rock” is not. This is, of course, totally human; as all the letters in the Greek text were capitalized. So, why bring this point up at all? Simply because it reveals the mind, the thinking, of one Greek Scholar. But, it is not just the scholarship of Thayer, but also of Strong, as he also capitalized the Greek word “Petros” but uses the lower case for “petra.” So, just what does this mean? It means that “Petros” is a proper name; while “petra” is not a proper name. It should also be noticed that the word “church” is never capitalized in the translations; such as the King James and American Standard, nor the English Standard Version; meaning it was understood by the translators that the word “church” is not a name! In fact, the Greek word “ekklēsia,” (church) means: “a calling out.” It relates to the “rock” and not Peter, as we shall see in the following!
Second, the meanings of the two words also comes into play here. First, taking the word “Petros (Peter), Thayer gives this: “a rock or a stone;” and Strong says: “Apparently a primary word; a (piece of) rock (larger than “lithos” and gives the meaning as: “a stone.” If this sounds like such a small matter, think of it this way; “a stone” is not a “rock” in Greek! Peter was called a “Petros,” a “rock” which is a little larger than a “stone.” However, “Petros” (Peter) is a “piece of a rock but not the “rock” itself. Second, the word “rock” which is the Greek “petra.” Thayer gives this: “a (mass of) rock (literally or figuratively): – rock.” “Petra” is “a rock,” the “massive” rock and is not a piece as of “rock” as is Peter. To this point, we have a “massive rock,” upon which Jesus said he would build his church; and we have a “piece of rock,” which is Peter, but Peter is too small to be the “rock” upon which Jesus said he would build his church! Therefore, Peter is not the “rock” upon which Jesus built his church.
Third, let us take up the gender question. Peter (Petros) is masculine in gender but the “rock” (petra) is feminine in gender! We all understand that there must be agreement in gender. It is necessary that we look for a feminine word to go with the feminine “rock.” That word is the Greek “ekklesia,” translated “church.” Therefore, Jesus never promised to build his feminine “church” upon the masculine “Petros,” Peter! It is a simple truth, the feminine “church” sets a top the feminine “rock” and that “rock” is not Peter! Peter was too small for the “church” to be built upon!
It is clear that “the teaching of Christ” is not the same as, in that it does not agree with, the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church! The Roman Catholic Church can NEVER be the church that Jesus built; the church that Jesus build was not built upon Peter; as he is too little and unsuited for such! Nevertheless, the doctrine of “pluralism” would have us all believe that all religions are equal with each other! Two religions, one built upon truth; while the other is built upon that which false; are not equal, neither can they every be!

Frank R. Williams

 

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Oct 07

IS ONE RELIGION AS GOOD AS ANOTHER? (1)

The word of the day, present day America, is that one religion is as good, or no worse, than any other! This is called, “pluralism.” If you look this word up, you will find several meanings; therefore, it is best that I define how I am using the word. I also believe that this is the real meaning of the word as used today. Pluralism is the teaching that one religion is just as good and no worse than any other one. It carries with it, the idea that one god is just as good as another god and that one “teaching” is equal with any other “teaching.” It, by its nature, denies that there is but one true God.
What are some of the religions, which are claiming, to be just as good as the religion of the God of the Bible? Let us start with Buddhism. How about these points:

  1.  “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.”
  2.  “Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.”
  3.  “Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.”
  4. “Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.”
  5. “Do not believe in traditions simply because they have been handed down for many generations.”
  6. “But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

More than likely, many would agree with these! However, if you read carefully number six; here is a question for thought. It is based on human determination as to what is “good and benefit of one and all”! Therefore, we would have to turn to Buddha to know the answer. Or else, we would be left without any means of knowing what is of “good and benefit of one and all!” There is another possibility; that each one is left to determine what is “good” and a “benefit to one and all.”
Buddhism is essentially a non-theistic religion and there is no one sacred text or book that Buddhists follow but Buddhists practice meditation and mindfulness. It might be of interest to you, that there are currently about 376 million follows. It is the fourth largest religion; following “Christianity,” Islam and Hinduism! It is older than Christianity, but not as old as Judaism. It was founded from 563 to 460 B.C. (This is questioned in some writings. Such as this, Buddhism first originated in India in the first century B.C.) In researching the subject, it was learned that Buddhism is making major inroads in America! One of the reasons for this, is that many people have immigrated to America who have brought with them, Buddhism!
The term “Buddha” is generally used as an appellation for the ancient Indian figure, Siddhartha Gautama, who is believed to have lived sometime between 563 B.C. and 483 B.C. “Buddha” is a Sanskrit term meaning “the awakened one.” (new world encyclopedia.org) This would appear to confirm that Buddhism does not have a Deity!
Therefore, when we pose the question, “Is one religion just as good, and no worse, than any other?” A godless religion, means that the religion is of human origin and Buddhism does not really deny it. It is no better than the human mind is capable of thinking and leaves us with the opened question: “Is there one human mind that is better than all other human minds?” I am reminded of the words of the “weeping” prophet: “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). Buddha cannot quote any words like Moses wrote: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).

Frank R. Williams

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Sep 30

THE WORLD AND THE EARTH (7)

In our study of the words, “The world and the earth,” several verses have been studied and this is as much a part of our study as the words themselves. Little good would be gained, if we only studied the words, but no verses or context. In this, what may be the last in this series, we will look at the Greek “aiōn,” which is used and greatly misunderstood in Matthew chapter twenty-eight and verse twenty: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (aion).” This word means: “1) for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity, 2) the worlds, universe, 3) period of time, age” (Thayer). As with many other word, or group of words, the context must determine how the word is used! So, what meaning best fits the context?
We have already learned that the “world” does not equal the word “earth;” therefore, to what “world” does Jesus have in mind? Dismissing the idea of the “world” being equal to the word “earth;” therefore, it appears that Jesus has in mind “the end of the age.” Now, just why is this the best meaning of the word and context? Jesus is talking to his apostles, as verse sixteen identifies them: “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.” Now believing in Jesus’ resurrection, they finally go to the place Jesus had appointed before his death. He tells them that he has been given “all authority (power) in heaven and earth.” Notice the word “earth” in Jesus’ statement. The Greek word is “gē” and this is the same word used in Peter’s writing about the end of time: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10). Therefore, when addressing the end of the earth, so long as it exists, Jesus has “authority” over the “earth” and Peter said it would end. But, this is not the Greek word Jesus used in Matthew twenty-four, verse twenty: “… lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (aion). It is most important that we hit hard on the word “world,” that Jesus did not use the Greek “kosmos,” as he did in Mark 16:15. No, Jesus used the Greek “aion” and it is best understood to mean, age. Therefore, Jesus is promising to be with the apostles, until the end of the age. This does not tell what “age” Jesus is talking about, however.
When Luke recorded the words of Jesus to the apostles in “Acts of the Apostles;” he said: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (verse 8). Wait, did you see it? Did you see that Jesus used the word “earth,” in this, his commission to the apostles! So, how do we put Matthew twenty-eight, verse twenty and Acts one, verse eight together? If you are a careful reader, you will have noticed that in Matthew’s account, that Jesus said to the apostles, “… lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (aion).” If we correctly put the two accounts together, Jesus is saying to the apostles, that he would be with them as they “received power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you: …” Now, let us reach over and bring the words Jesus said to the apostles in John 14:17: “… for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Jesus is here talking about the “Spirit of truth,” which is the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit would give the apostles “power, after” he came upon them. In the Holy Spirit’s coming upon the apostles, he would guide them “into all truth” (John 16:13). Notice these words: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26). Jesus would be with the apostles, as the Holy Spirit testified of Jesus and confirmed their teaching with the “spiritual gifts!”
Here is a most interesting statement made by Jesus to the apostles: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). Did you get it? So, how did Jesus come to them? Jesus came to the apostles in the Holy Spirit as he “testified” of Jesus! One last point just here: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). Once more I ask, did you get it? What is “it?” It is the word, “forever,” which is the Greek “aion” the same word Jesus used in Matthew 28:20! But, there is another word, tied to “aion,” in the text and it is “eis.” With this word, we get, the Holy Spirit “abid(ing)” with the apostles, “unto the end of the age!” This age could not go longer than the apostles! For it is said of them and no one else! The “age” (aion) cannot point to a time that reached beyond the lifetime of the apostles!

Frank R. Williams

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Sep 23

THE WORLD AND THE EARTH (6)

By this time each reader is asking the question: “How many articles are you going to write on this subject?” Truth is, the answer is unknown!” It is believed that more verses need to be covered which address the “world,” as in the nation of Israel.
Here is a question that will reveal one of the difficulties in any study of the word, “kosmos,” “world” as found in the New Testament: “Just what was the world of the New Testament?” There are at least four worlds in the New Testament: 1) Jewish world, 2) the Hellenistic world, 3) the Samaritan world, and 4) the Roman world (Though other divisions can be made, but this will do for our study). In trying to look at each of these, in any detail a larger series of articles would be required, which we do not intend to address; but only in calling attention to the four “worlds” just identified. If it were our purpose to really study the larger context, we would have to engage in a deep investigation of the following, as the words relate to the four “worlds” of the New Testament. The three areas are: 1) cultural, 2) social, and 3) historical contexts. We shall not do so; however, it is necessary to identify at least one verse where each “world” is seen. First, the Jewish “kosmos,” When Jesus sent out the twelve, he said: “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:5-6). Here Jesus has introduced three “worlds:” 1) the world of the Gentiles, 2) the world of the Samaritans, and 3) the world of “the house of Israel,” the Jewish world. It might be, that Jesus is using the words, “the Gentiles,” as a reference to the Roman world. This leaves us with one more to identify; and Luke will handle this for us. When the first problem arose in the church, Luke wrote: “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration” (Acts 6:1). Here Luke has pointed out for us, two “worlds” within the church; and they are: 1) “the Grecians” and 2) “the Hebrews;” at this time. Just who are these two “worlds” called: 1) “the Grecians” and 2) “the Hebrews?” Even when we think we know who the “Hebrews” are, do we really? First, “the Grecians” and to keep it simple, were called, from the Greek word “Hellēnistēs,” which is used throughout the New Testament to refer to Jews born in a foreign land who spoke Greek. Second, the “Hebrews,” and the Greek word is “Hebraios,” which means: “any one of the Jewish or Israelitish nations (the tribes, frw) who spoke in what was then termed the Hebrew language. Therefore, in only two verses, we have identified the basic four “worlds” of the New Testament. No effort here will be made to address a larger context, as this serves our purpose.
The following will be useful to us; “Read just a few chapters in one of the Gospels (There is but one “gospel” given in four accounts. frw), and you’ll encounter Romans and Herodians, Jews and Gentiles, Pharisees and Sadducees, teachers of the law and ordinary country folk, and many others” (Mel Lawrenz, “How to understand the Bible.”) This is quoted to help us see that the “world” of Jesus’ time, could be divided into smaller groups, “worlds.” The words written and put above the head of Jesus on the cross, helps us see this; they were: “And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Luke 23:38). These words divide the “worlds” of Jesus’ time into three “worlds:” 1) Greek, 2) Latin, and 3) Hebrew. However, do we understand what is meant by the word “Greek?” If we have not done at least some study, more than likely the answer is, “No!” It may come as a surprise that the Greek word translated, “Greek,” is “Hellēnikos;” and means: “Grecian.” Adam Clarke wrote about this verse: “The inscription was written in Greek, on account of the Hellenistic Jews, who were then at Jerusalem because of the passover; it was written in Latin, that being the language of the government under which he was crucified; and it was written in Hebrew, that being the language of the place in which this deed of darkness was committed.” The Bible Illustrator gives us this: “It was the custom of the Romans, that the equity of their proceedings might more clearly appear when they crucified any man, to publish the cause of his death in a table written in capital letters, and placed over the head of the crucified.”
So, you think there is nothing else? Wrong! There is at least one more group, “world,” of people. Let Mark introduce us to this group: “And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him” (Mark 3:6). The internet page, “Got Questions,” has this: “The Herodians held political power, and most scholars believe that they were a political party that supported King Herod Antipas, the Roman Empire’s ruler over much of the land of the Jews from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39. The Herodians favored submitting to the Herods, and therefore to Rome, for political expediency.”
The “world,” and here the word “world” stands for all of humanity, in the time of Jesus and the apostles of Christ was complex, to say the least! It was to this “world,” that Jesus commissioned the apostles: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15).

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/the-world-and-the-earth-6/

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