Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reformation Day

On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther boldly nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenburg Chapel, marking the start of the Protestant Reformation. As he studied the Word of God, the words in Romans 1:17 jumped out at him.

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
(Rom 1:17)

There it was in black and white, the just shall live by faith! The heretical popish church had devised a scheme to line their cathedrals with the gold of peasants. Over time, the heresy of purgatory had crept into the church with no scriptural warrant whatsoever. Then, very conveniently, the church had convinced the ignorant masses that if they wanted to spring their loved ones from the grip of purgatory, they needed to purchase “indulgences,” which were payments to the church. The church, then, promised to say special prayers on their behalf, etc. Sounds like an early version of a televangelist, doesn’t it? This deception had spread over all of Christendom because the Bible was not available in the common language of the people (German in Martin’s case). So only the priests could read the scriptures in Latin. It did not take long for Martin Luther to be driven into exile in order to preserve his life. During this time, he translated the entire Bible into German, thus flinging open the truth to even the common man.

The Protestant Reformation is one of the most important historical events in post biblical church history, Yet most Christians today are ignorant of it. It is my opinion that this is “by design.” As church coalitions form and ecumenical councils decry the “division” caused by sound doctrine, the modern church capitulates and climbs in bed with that great whore of Revelation to commit fornication with her.

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
(Rev 17:4-6)

Remember on this day, the blood of the martyrs spilt on behalf of Christ’s Church. Study the history and honor the heroes of the faith. Resist the urge to compromise for the sake of peace. Our Reformation ancestors died for the five solas of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, and Soli Deo Gloria.

Also, consider the other “holiday” that the world celebrates on this day. This too is by satanic design to keep your mind away from the great good that was accomplished by the Reformation. So, today, if someone wishes you a "Happy," followed by the name of their pagan holiday, simply reply back, "And a Blessed Reformation Day to you."

Monday, October 30, 2006

Biblical Patriarchy

In this modern, politically correct age in which we live, the whole concept of “Biblical Patriarchy” is a dirty word. It would not surprise me if my blog gets blacklisted on internet filtering software due to my use of this very unpopular concept. Yet, I submit to you that Biblical Patriarchy is the means with which God has worked with man from the beginning of time.

Even before the fall of Adam, God created woman to be a “help-meet” or a helper of the man. She was to assist him in taking dominion over the Earth. Yes, they were a team. They were to work it together. However, the ultimate responsibility for leading this new family landed squarely on the shoulders of Adam. Adam and Eve both sinned in the Garden of Eden. Those who would claim that woman is inferior because “she sinned” are simply just misinformed. In fact, the scripture tells us that the woman was deceived, but the man sinned willfully.

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
(1Ti 2:14)

Yet, through this episode, we see God’s design for leadership unfolding.

For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
(1Co 11:7)

Throughout the scriptures, families were always represented by the father of the household. This was the beginning of our republican form of government, and formed the basis for the American republic when our ancestors sought to form a new nation, based on the truth of scripture. It is a common fallacy (even consistently spoken from the White House) that America is a democracy. When a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, what kind of government have you given us? He replied judiciously, “A republic, Ma’am, if you can keep it.” This is important when considering the context of Biblical patriarchy and male headship within the family.

The founders of this country knew exactly what they were doing when they limited the right to vote to men. They did not set it up this way because they despised women. They did not feel that women were ignorant or were incapable of thinking on their own. They intentionally set our republic up in this manner in order to promote the concept of America being composed of family units, rather than individuals. In this way, the family was promoted as the basic building block of society. For it is through families, including a father and a mother, that children are raised properly. Our city, state, and federal office holders are/were in office to represent the “families” in their districts, not the individuals. This is the reason that the 19th Amendment was not passed until the 20th century. It was during the 20th century that our society successfully emasculated its men. It was during this dreadful century that men left their responsibilities as providers to their families. The 20th century brought with it a virulent attack on the Biblical concept of patriarchy. What is the fruit of this crusade? Women have left the home en masse. Children (what few of them there are) are being raised in daycare centers. The number and strength of sexually transmitted diseases have skyrocketed. Divorce is rampant with over 50% of all marriages ending in divorce. Of those marriages that have remained in tact, many, many are plagued with infidelity. This problem is exasperated by interoffice romances. I don’t know what the official stats are, but a quick look around my office reveals that there is roughly an even amount of men and women in the workplace in corporate America. Is it any wonder that temptation for infidelity exists when a man goes to work and spends the lion’s share of his time working with other women? Then he goes home at night only to see his wife and family for a few hours before having to repeat the same thing the next day. The potential for hazard is even greater if that same wife has been working with other men for the greater part of her day. God created man and wife to work together, not independently. We should expect to see these types of problems when we ignore His design.

Some accuse Christianity of trampling on women. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is in Christianity that women are held in high esteem. A wife is a picture of Christ’s Church. Husbands are instructed to love their wives in the same manner as Christ loves His Church. This is a very high standard indeed! Christ loves His Church with an immeasurable love. It is a love whereby He gave His own life for His bride, and took her sins upon Him who knew no sin. So, unlike Islam, which treats women like dogs, Christianity esteems women as being equal in worth and value to men.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Gal 3:28)

Yet, we can not take this verse out of context and make a claim that there are no God ordained roles for men and women. Though equal in worth and value, the scripture clearly shows the roles He has ordained.

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
(1Co 11:3)

So, what is the answer to the situation we find ourselves in? We must seek to return to the God ordained ways of structuring our families, our churches, and our government. Parents should seek to return home with their families. Understanding that fathers have been given the responsibility of providing for their households, this return home should start first with mothers. Then, as God allows, the father can seek to move from a corporate culture back to a family based enterprise. Through the reintegration of the Christian family, and the reestablishment of the Biblical Patriarchal roles God has given us, we can, once again move this country in a godly direction, and preserve for our progeny, a Godly heritage. May God once again “Bless America” as we seek to follow His commandments.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Trip to the Zoo

We recently visited the Oklahoma City Zoo. It was beautiful weather. This zoo is really nice. The children had a blast.

Here's a picture of them climbing all over the gorilla statue.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Flash Cards 1.0

Today's post is a contribution from a homeschool father (me) to my children and any of your children who would like to use this program. I have coded a simple Flash Card program that runs on the internet. I know that some of my children could use the practice in doing flash cards, and this program will help them to learn the problems quickly. Currently, this program only does addition. It also only does numbers from 1 to 12. The problems are generated randomly. So, you can have problems as simple as 0 + 0 and as complicated as 12+12 with all combinations in the middle. There is a five second time period to answer the problem. To answer, you may either type it in the box and let the time expire, or hit the submit button.

Some planned future enhancements are:
1) Allow the student to hit "enter" which will do the same as submit
2) Add sound...probably a voice saying "Right!" and "Wrong!"
3) Add subtraction, multiplication, and division
4) Make sure problems don't repeat.
5) Add problems missed to the end of the list to repeat intentionally.
6) Beautifying the layout a bit.
7) Vary the number of problems in the test. It is currently set to 25.

If you have suggestions or bug reports, please leave a comment on this blog entry. This was coded in javascript and has only been tested in Internet Explorer 6.0. I tested under Firefox, and unfortunately, it's not working with that browser yet. So, I've got a bit to learn, but this is a start. I also discovered a bug in that if you finish a test, you can't simply restart. You must do a refresh on the page. I'll work to get that fixed too.

The link for the program is: http://www.mikesoutherland.com/webapp/FlashCards.aspx


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fall Festival Time

Maybe I’ve been more vocal this year than in years past…(I doubt it!) Or maybe it’s because Oklahomans are more “liberal” than Tennesseans…(I would expect them to be about the same), but for whatever reason I have had two minor conflicts when it comes to the issue of Christians celebrating halloween this year. Since childhood I have been convinced of the evils of halloween. Of course, it’s not like it takes a lot of spiritual discernment to look at a holiday that focuses on death, destruction, and fear and make the determination that maybe, just maybe, this celebration has at least the “appearance of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:22)

So, it has always baffled me that at this time of year churches feel the need to offer a halloween alternative. Call it a “Fall Festival,” a “Harvest Festival,” a “Hallelujah Night,” or whatever you want to call it, it’s basically the same thing. The stated purpose is two fold.

1) Give Christian children something else they can do on that day since the world has its halloween parties and “trick or treating.”
2) Provide an outreach to the community so that the world can be evangelized.

I want to address these two reasons from a Biblical point of view to examine whether or not the church really has a legitimate need for these festivals.

First, should we have a festival so that our own Christian children will not feel “left out” when their friends talk of their halloween festivities? As parents, we should instruct our children that there are things that the world does that we should have no part in, simply because the Bible tells us that it is wrong.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(1Jo 2:15)

As we offer this instruction to our children, they will learn that they are to be separate, “distinct,” from the world. As adults they will come to understand that fellowship with friends should not take place at happy hour at the local bar. They will learn not to compromise with the world for the sake of enjoying the same pleasures with a Christian disinfectant sprayed on it.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
(Jam 1:27)

So, I maintain that our children don’t need to be “thrown a bone” when it comes to giving up something that is wicked. They should simply say, “Yes sir” and accept their father’s direction that we don’t participate.

Next, should we have a festival in order to reach all those unbelieving children for Christ? Then, in turn, we can reach the parents later. The first problem is that we are using worldly entertainment as “bait” for the presentation of the Gospel. We know that the carnal mind is enmity against God. (Romans 8:7) So, why do we try and disguise the Gospel presentation in a package that even the world will enjoy? If we are being deceptive in the “product” we are selling, how can we expect them to truly seek the Lord for repentance of sins? The Lord tells us how the Gospel is to be presented:

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
(1Co 1:21)

God has ordained preaching as the means to save the lost. What’s more, this preaching is to be done out in the world by you, the individual Christian. Our church leaders equip common believers to do the work of the ministry. (Eph 4:11-12) We don’t need to sponsor some big festival where we pass out candy, act just like the world, and throw a Christian message in here and there in hopes of evangelizing the lost. It’s much better to stand on the street corner and proclaim, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” We have two excellent examples of this in scripture. First, John the Baptist proclaimed this message. (Matthew 3:2) Next, the greatest preacher who ever lived (and is still living), our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed the exact same message. (Matthew 4:17) If you do this, people may walk by and look at you funny. They may say strange things about you. If you are in a tyrannical country, they may even through you in jail. (Matthew 14:3) But the fact remains that this is the means by which the Lord has ordained to bring in His elect into the Kingdom. If He has called them, they will respond to the message. If He has not called them, no amount of candy coating will lure them into the Kingdom.

No. A Harvest Festival/Fall Festival/Hallelujah night/Halloween alternative is not only unnecessary, but I submit to you that it stands in violation of what God expects of us.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Family Integrated Church

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
(Mar 10:13-14)

There is a modern unscriptural movement in Christendom that is so prevalent in modern churches that most likely you are involved in it, and you don’t even know any better. This is a movement known as “age segregated church.” In this type of arrangement infants are dropped off at the nursery on your way in the door. Walkers are on the other side of the nursery, but basically in the “baby wing.” Three and four year olds have their own classrooms with plenty of watercolors and play dough, not to mention animated video tapes that will keep them entertained. On down the hall older children are herded into their classrooms, while the youth huddle together in the back to discuss matters of the day, as it relates to “their” culture. Finally, Mom and Dad make their way into the auditorium in order to hear the message targeted for “adults.” The children love this arrangement as they get to visit with all their friends. The teenagers love it because they can foster their relationships with the other teenagers. Mom and Dad love it because they get a much needed break from having to put up with their out of control children for an hour or so. “But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased…” (Mark 10:14)

You see the modern Sunday School movement, which gave rise to the children’s church movement, had its beginnings in the late 1800’s. So, for over 1800 years, the Christian Church met together as families. This movement was formed for the well intentions of teaching poor orphans about the Bible. Yet, it did not take long for it to expand to include not only orphans, but the children of the congregation. Prior to this time, fathers used to lead their families in family worship each night. They realized that they were responsible to disciple the next generation so that the Church did not die. However, as they observed the Church organization taking on this job, many stepped back and allowed them to take the responsibility that previously belonged to them. As a result, children (and the adults they have grown up to be) have become biblically illiterate. Children no longer are expected to sit still for two hours while worship is going on. They are so media saturated that they can’t do without the alluring trance of the television long enough to sit and worship the creator of the Universe.

Yet, there is a reformation gaining momentum. Yes, the establishment is huge, and it won’t be an easy transition. But here and there, one family after another are waking up to the fact that unless things change they will lose their children. This family integrated reformation comes on the heels of the homeschool movement. Just as families have looked at the government school system and decided that they have been given jurisdiction by God for the training of their children, and not the state, they are beginning to wake up and realize that the church does not have the jurisdiction for training their children either. It really makes a lot of sense when you stop to think about it. And families are, finally, stopping to think about this very important issue.

Fathers, it starts in the home under your leadership. Disciple these young ones that have been entrusted into your care. Then, sit them down right next to you in the meeting of the Church on the Lord’s Day. They need to learn right doctrine. They need to observe how men and women worship the Lord. They need to see their own Daddy honor the one true God.

Let the children come unto me, for such is the Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fiction Worth Reading

It’s not often that I take time out of my busy schedule to read works of fiction. My general attitude on fiction is that it appeals to emotions. Its primary purpose is the entertainment of the flesh. With so very many excellent non-fiction books and articles that I long to read, how can I ever justify taking time out to read fiction? Well, recently I was influenced by my daughter Brittney to read “Duncan’s War” by Douglas Bond. She had ordered it from one of my favorite ministries and internet bookstores, Vision Forum.

The setting takes place in 17th century Scotland. The heroes of the book are the Scottish Covenanters, and the villains are the Anglican English. Actual history is woven throughout this very interesting story. I found myself learning quite a bit that I had not known before. It has encouraged me to secure for myself, and my family, the non-fiction book, The Scots Worthies, by John Howie. Though I have not yet read that one, I have heard it is very good as well. But I digress. “Duncan’s War” held my interest to such a point that when I finished it, I moved on to “King’s Arrow” and “Rebel’s Keep.” Brittney had ordered the entire set.

The story tracks a family of Presbyterian Covenanters as they live their lives, raise their families, attend Lord’s Day worship in the field, and eventually fight for “King and Kirk” against English dragoons who are bent on squashing their free expression of worship to the only Sovereign, the Lord Jesus Christ. One thing that impressed me in this series is the constant singing of the Psalter, the honor given to the Word of God, and the complete trusting in the Providence of God in ordering all that He predestines should come to pass.

There are gruesome parts in this series. Yet, they reflect the horrific atrocities carried out against our Scottish ancestors by the tyrannical English. At times I could relate to each of the characters in seeing through the eyes of the father, son, brother, warrior, and pastor. It was very believable because it was fiction based on fact. It reminds me a little of the Henty novels in their excellent approach to teaching history through stories.

As a parent, I highly recommend this book for children from around ages 10 up to adults. Some younger children could be scared by the graphic details of the spitting of body parts of Christian martyrs. So, its not one I would recommend for family worship if you have young children. However, as a fiction work, I believe it was well worth my time to “entertain my flesh” in this way, for in so doing, I believe I have imparted a new respect for these church fathers into my spirit.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A New Niece

…but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
(Rom 8:15)

My sister and her husband have just returned from Russia when they were able to meet, for the first time, their new adopted daughter. Read their story here.

Abbey is a beautiful baby girl, but as with all the children at that orphanage, she is malnourished. My sister and brother-in-law have chosen this little girl for their very own. As soon as they can get her from the Russian orphanage, which should happen in November, they will take this little girl and give her all the love, care, and nourishment that she needs.

Adoption is a beautiful picture of what God does for us. This little girl had no say in who adopted her, or whether she would be adopted or not. This little girl was not any more or less deserving of adoption than any of the other children in that orphanage. The adoption of this particular little girl does not represent injustice on the part of my sister and her husband for not taking home all the other children, but rather it represents great love and mercy by them toward their beloved child whom they called out from among the crowd. Just as my sister and brother-in-law will provide for all her needs, Father God supplies all our needs according to His riches in Glory. (Phil 4:19)

What’s more, I know my sister and her husband will impart values to this child and raise her in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4). Therefore, not only will this child have her physical needs met, but through the grace of God she has most certainly been called as one of God’s elect, and will trust the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal savior when she is old enough to understand. For each one who has trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior has been chosen by the Father to be one of His own.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
(Eph 1:3-5)

The next time someone tries to tell you that man chooses God, remind them of the story of adoption. Abbey didn’t choose my sister and brother-in-law for a mother and father, but rather they chose her. Likewise, I didn’t “choose God” for my Father, but rather He chose me as a son.

Glory to His Name.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Christ In Us

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
(Gal 2:20)

How glorious is the thought and the truth that “Christ is in me!” The very Son of God, the one by whom everything was made that is made (John 1:3) makes his abode in the very hearts of His people. The way He does that is through the Holy Spirit, whom He has sent. (John 16:7) For we know that Christ personally sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. (Heb. 1:3)

When Christ lives in us through His Spirit, He gives us the strength to accomplish every task that He gives us to do. There are certainly things that He requires of us, and it is only by the simple fact that He lives in us that we are able to do His will.

Yet, caution should be taken when considering this great truth not to fall into one of the many heresies promoted when considering scriptures such as Gal. 2:20 out of context. J.C. Ryle writes in his introduction to his work, Holiness:

They will see there that two centuries ago the wildest heresies arose out of an extravagant teaching of this very doctrine of the "indwelling of Christ" in believers. They will find that Saltmarsh, and Dell, and Towne, and other false teachers, against whom good Samuel Rutherford contended, began with strange notions of "Christ in us," and then proceeded to build on the doctrine antinomianism, and fanaticism of the worst description and vilest tendency. They maintained that the separate, personal life of the believer was so completely gone, that it was Christ living in him who repented, and believed, and acted! The root of this huge error was a forced and unscriptural interpretation of such texts as "I live: yet not I, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20) And the natural result of it was that many of the unhappy followers of this school came to the comfortable conclusion that believers were not responsible, whatever they might do! Believers, forsooth, were dead and buried; and only Christ lived in them, and undertook everything for them! The ultimate consequence was, that some thought they might sit still in a carnal security, their personal accountableness being entirely gone, and might commit any kind of sin without fear! Let us never forget that truth, distorted and exaggerated, can become the mother of the most dangerous heresies. When we speak of "Christ being in us," let us take care to explain what we mean. I fear some neglect this in the present day.

So we see that when Mr. Ryle wrote this in the 1800’s, this was a very real issue that the church faced. I can only imagine that such heresies have proliferated today. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, an Antinomian is:

One of a sect who maintain, that, under the gospel dispensation, the law is of no use or obligation; or who hold doctrines which supersede the necessity of good works and a virtuous life. This sect originated with John Agricola about the year 1538.

While we are not justified by the law, the law gives us the foundation for living a life of holiness and morality. Be very careful, fellow Christian, to remember that Jesus Christ kept all the law on our behalf. What’s more, to the extent that we do indeed “die to the flesh” and allow Him to live through us, we will “keep the law” by allowing His Spirit to work through us. The scripture reminds us that if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Gal 5:16)

For additional reading on this subject, I recommend the book, Holiness, by J.C. Ryle.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Preparation of the Bride

Glimmering sword piercing His side
Precious blood flowing down
Mixed with water, comes forth His bride
Yet just a babe, not ready for her gown.

Two thousand years have come and gone
The Groom has done His part, but what about this lady?
She cries aloud, "Lord Jesus come!"
But, alas, she's still a baby.

Grow up young woman! Can't you see?
The Lord tarries not of His own choosing.
The Father desires the bride to be
Spotless, holy, and uncompromising.

Bring out the myrrh, spare not the aloes
Cleansing must be done with cassia
Adorn yourself within your palace
The gold of Ophir for your sashes.

Oh so perfect, pure, and sweet
No blemish can be seen upon a bride fit for a King.
Examine yourself, my lady, wash your hands and feet
It's only through death to flesh that you may sing,

The song so lovely, the song so dear, the song of sweet surrender
The wooing of the Spirit calls from within the Bride
From this secret place of intimacy, the Lord will hear her
When the flesh is dead, the soul in submission, only her spirit cries!

When the Spirit and Bride say "Come!"
The Lord will surely hear her!
For the marriage of the Lamb is come
And His wife has made herself ready!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dating, Courtship, and Marriage

Is dating the best way to find one's life mate? Click here to hear a recent speech I gave to my Toastmasters club that gives my opinion on the subject.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sans Peur

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
(2Ti 1:7)

I’m sure many of you have seen the stickers on the back window of pickup trucks roaming about the South proclaiming “NO FEAR!” I’m here to tell you that my Scottish ancestors were using that phrase before it was “cool.” “Sans Peur” is the motto of the Sutherland clan. The literal translation is “without fear.”

With joy I have embraced that slogan as the motto for our individual family as well. There are more attacks than ever before on the Christian family. These attacks come from every front. The media bombards us with anti-Christian propaganda. Our culture, or what’s left of it, tears at the fabric of family life. Our children are shown vulgar pictures on billboards as we drive down the freeway. Divorce is rampant, while the dating culture trains young men and women to keep a mate for just a little while until moving on to their next trophy. The children conceived while playing this “dating game” are butchered in the most brutal ways imaginable, all in the name of “choice” and “women’s rights.” Evil is called good and good is called evil. Our schools feel they must be “diverse,” so they teach about all sorts of false religions. Yet, due to a contrived philosophy of “separation of church and state” they fail to teach the only true religion of Christianity. The church stands idly by unwilling to take a stand out of fear that they it may offend their base membership, lose their following to a more “tolerant” organization, and thus will not have the funds to pay the mortgage on their multi-million dollar facility. Our language continues to devolve into the most crude form of communication. No longer can you assume the general public will understand you unless you write at about a fourth grade level. And of course “fourth grade level” includes all types of four letter expletives, which are readily heard on fourth grade playgrounds across the country.

Yet, in the midst of this cesspool we call “modern society,” Christ is raising up a remnant. Families are standing up “Sans Peur” against the forces of evil. With the Lord our Banner (Jehovah Nissi Ex 17:15), we stand strong against the onslaught of these attacks. Fathers are rallying to the role God has given them. Families are withdrawing their children from government school systems. Christians are returning to the “old paths” of courtship when selecting spouses for their children. Men are protecting their families by tossing the trash box out of their homes (also known as the “television”). Christian women are once again beginning to act and dress as true, Christian, ladies spiting the scorn of feminism, and embracing the role of “keepers at home.” We are living in exciting times! We are witnessing a reformation in the family, church, and state that is unparalleled in the history of the world. While the world’s population is shrinking fast, true Christians in this modern reformation movement are exploding with growth. While the rest of the West is bearing children at a rate that will not even replace themselves, these Christian families are having many children for the glory of God. While much of the modern, compromising church is wallowing in fear wishing for the Lord’s return to “get them out of here,” modern reformers are planning to “occupy until He comes” by raising up a godly seed that will take dominion over every area of life.

So, dear Christian, and Christian father in particular, I challenge you to put away fear. I charge you by the grace of God to:

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
(1Co 16:13)

Jesus Christ will show Himself victorious over all.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Geneva Bible

Are you part of the “King James Only” crowd? You know the people I’m referring to. They eschew any translation of the Word of God that is not the King James Version. I’ve read many of their arguments, and admittedly they make many very good ones. There is every reason to suspect translations that use Westcott and Hort as their source text. These two guys were not even Christians, and yet their Greek and Hebrew source texts were used to translate many modern versions of the Bible, including the New International Version.

Because of my reading on this topic, I have grown especially fond of the King James Bible, and to some extent, the New King James Bible. When I memorize scripture, I have always done it in the original King James Version. I love the poetic form embodied in that beautiful translation.

However, did you know that the King James Bible was actually written in response to King James’ distaste for the Geneva Bible? Particularly upsetting to King James were the notes written by the early Reformers that claimed a moral right to oppose tyranny. For instance, the Geneva Bible claimed that the Hebrew midwives who hid their male children from the Pharaoh were right to do so. King James, with his view on the divine right of kings did not approve of what he considered seditious advice appearing in the Word of God. Additionally, the Geneva Bible had the Roman Catholic Church as its enemy. The papacy was actively burning Protestants at the stake when this Bible was written, and the evils of the Roman church were decried in the notes. One prominent example is the claim in Revelation 11:7 that the Pope is the beast described as coming out of the bottomless pit, deriving his power from hell.

So we see that in reality, the King James Bible was written in a “politically correct” manner in order not to offend. Somehow this fact is missed by those making the same claims against the TNIV. While I would certainly agree with the critics of the TNIV, in that the Bible should not be rewritten to remove gender specific language, I believe that the King James Bible needs scrutiny as well on their attempts to remove the “offensive language” of their day. When the authors of the King James Version approached King James, they boasted to the king that the word “tyrant” or “tyranny” does not appear anywhere in this Bible.

What I find amazing is that for over 300 years the Geneva Bible has not been published. The last time it was published all the English text was written in “Old English” style (of course) where the character “s” looked like an “f” much of the time and spelling was different. For instance, the word “son” was spelled as “sonne,” etc. For several years now, I have desired to find a copy of the Geneva Bible. On the internet, I have found places that sold reprints of the 1599 edition. These are hand-bound, and quite expensive. Plus, all the old style was preserved. So, serious study would be difficult. However, just this month I have discovered that Tolle Lege Press is publishing a brand new edition of the original 1599 Geneva Bible. It is a word for word copy of the original, but all the hindrances have been removed. Modern typefaces and spellings have been used. Also, rather than cramming all the notes on the sides of the pages, they are listed at the bottom of the page like a modern day study Bible. I have preordered my copy at an introductory price of $59.99 in genuine leather. I make no commission if you decide to order one of these Bibles. I share it with you for your own enjoyment. The website for more information is http://www.1599genevabible.com. I am looking forward to receiving mine in the mail.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Running With Patience

On the Lord’s Day morning, October 15, I was meditating on Hebrews 12:1.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
(Heb 12:1)

Have you ever noticed the phrase, “run with patience?” How does one “run with patience?” I know that in every race I have run patience would not be the word I would use to describe my attitude. Usually, I want to strive to get ahead. To me, “patience” would mean hesitation, or a likeliness to lose. Yet, the Word of God speaks very clearly that we are to “run with patience.” Now, this could be that we need to pace ourselves. After all, if we are running a marathon, we do not begin the race by sprinting. Those who do such a thing may, for a moment, pull ahead of the entire pack. Yet they will tire quickly, and most likely will not even finish the race. While this application could be made to our Christian walk, I think we need to examine the full context of this verse by taking into consideration the scriptures that follow, as well as the entire Chapter 11 that precedes it. In doing this, I arrived at a slightly different interpretation of this particular scripture. Verse 2 tells us:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Heb 12:2)

So, we see that it is Jesus Himself that both authors and finishes our faith. It is His sovereign will that directs and determines the race we run. How quick we are to strive to live this life in our own strength, and yet how much we need to learn to rely on His strength to carry us through. Looking at chapter 11, it becomes apparent that this race may not even be completed in our own lifetimes. Chapter 11 lists several mighty men of God. Yet we are told in verse 39:

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
(Heb 11:39)

We see Moses, who being the great leader and man of God though he was, did not enter into the promise land. Yet, he groomed Joshua for the job of leading the people into this land flowing with milk and honey. Consider that as faithful fathers and mothers we are laying a foundation for a multi-generational vision for which we may never see the end result. Yet, we can leave a legacy of faith that our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and our descendents beyond them can carry on. There is currently a reformation going on whereby fathers are rising up to take their God given place as heads of their homes. These fathers are beginning to take the lead in homeschooling their children. They are beginning to take on the mantle of Family Priest that God has placed upon them by discussing matters of spiritual importance with other brothers in Christ and making changes in their own households. Many, including me, long for the day when we can establish businesses for ourselves in order to spend an even greater amount of time carrying out the Deuteronomy 6 mandate of teaching our children as we sit, walk along the way, lie down, and rise up. Yet, as worthwhile as these goals may be, some of us may not obtain them in our lifetimes. The industrial revolution did not pull fathers out of the home overnight, and it may be difficult indeed to restore the God ordained structures of fathers and sons working together as quickly as we may like. So, brothers, let us run the race, with the intention to win, but let us do it with patience, knowing that the Lord Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith, is faithful to complete the good work that He has begun in us. Be sure that your efforts will bring about reformation, if not in your lifetime, then in the lifetimes of your descendents.

Bless His Holy Name.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

How Do You Know He Lives?

How long has it been since you examined the hymns you sing in church? I lead my family each evening in a time of family worship. We do three basic things, we pray, read the infalliable Word of God (the Bible), and we sing. Oftentimes we sing from the hymnals that I bought for each family member. Last night my eldest son requested that we sing "He Lives!" I wholeheartedly agree with the message that Jesus lives! PRAISE GOD! However, when coming to the last stanza of this old favourite hymn of mine I almost stumbled over the words.

You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!

Yes, Jesus does live in my heart. Yet, is that truly the way that I know he lives? I submit to you that feelings can deceive. Ours is a culture that tells us "if it feels good, do it." And sadly, this attitude has carried over into the church. What should be the proper answer to the question of "How do you know He lives?" My answer is thus. He lives, because He tells me so in this passage:

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Rev 1:18)

2 Peter 1:3 tells us that through the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, He has given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness. We know that this knowledge of Christ is given to us through His Word.

So, brothers, Sola Scriptura (scripture alone), is the cry that I proclaim. Anything else is just fluff and deceitful feelings.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Southerland Family Vision

As my first blog entry I thought it entirely appropriate to list our newly created Family Vision Statement. Proverbs 29:18 tells us that where there is no vision, the people perish. Here is the Vision Statement:

We will glorify and enjoy the Triune God forever by trusting our Lord Jesus Christ alone to provide our salvation by grace alone through faith alone, obeying Him according to His commandments in scripture alone, and fulfilling the Genesis Dominion Mandate by raising godly sons and daughters who will positively influence and reform the three spheres of God ordained government, consisting of the family, the church, and the state. This we shall continue until the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, all for the glory of God alone.