Tag Archives: life

Mercy [and] Grace


cheseḏ [and] chānan
While not interchangeable, cheseḏ (mercy) and chānan (grace) are closely related. While mercy is the withholding of what is deserved (e.g., death and hell), grace is the bestowing of what is not deserved (e.g., life and heaven). 2 Samuel 9 gives one of the most graphic pictures in all the Bible of both mercy and grace, with ten startling parallels to the Savior and sinner:
First, Mephibosheth, the son of King David’s friend Jonathan, was crippled by a fall (2Sa_4:4), just as each of us was crippled by Adam’s fall, even rendered “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph_2:1-3).

Second, as David wanted to show Mephibosheth “kindness [cheseḏ] for Jonathan’s sake” (2Sa_9:1), God has shown us mercy and grace for the sake of the Lord Jesus (Eph_4:32).

Third, that kindness was neither deserved nor earned by Mephibosheth, who could do little for himself, much less do anything for the king of Judah and Israel. We in turn deserved nothing but death, and there are not enough works in the universe to save a single soul (Eph_2:8-9; Tit_3:5).

Fourth, Mephibosheth was sought by the king (Tit_3:1; Tit_3:5), again picturing unmerited favor. Likewise, not a single person has ever “[sought] after God” by his own power (Rom_3:11). “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” Jesus declared (Joh_15:16). A dead man can do nothing, so “no man can come to [Christ], except the Father which hath sent [Him] draw him” (Joh_6:44; cf. Joh_6:65; Act_16:13-14).

Fifth, David ordered and empowered servants to fetch Mephibosheth (Act_16:5), a graphic picture of evangelism. God has likewise called and empowered each of us as witnesses (Act_1:8; Mat_28:19-20).

Sixth, a result of all this was that Mephibosheth reverenced the king (2Sa_9:6), a challenge to us to worship Jesus.

Seventh, he became a servant of the king (2Sa_9:6), as are we of Christ (e.g., Rom_6:16).

Eighth, he was given riches and security (Rom_6:7), just as we have spiritual riches (Ephesians 1) and security in Christ (Joh_10:28-29; Rom_8:29-39).

Ninth, he was made a king’s son (Rom_8:11), as we are God’s children (Joh_1:12-13). And tenth, his physical condition was hidden from view when he sat at the king’s table (Joh_1:13). We, too, have been sanctified by Christ (Heb_9:12-15) and “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph_2:6).
Scriptures for Study: If you haven’t already done so, read this wonderful account and rejoice in God’s mercy and grace.

 

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Overcoming Temptations


1 John 2:15-17
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever,” 1 John 2:17.

The United States Declaration of Independence states that “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” are our God-given, “Unalienable Rights.” I am thankful for the freedom we have in this country and for the men and women who have fought to protect them. I also  really have no problem with the pursuit of happiness; I think everyone is on that journey. The question we need to answer is, What provides the most happiness? The answer to that question is found in God; that is, the utmost enjoyment to be had in life is found in the presence and pursuit of God. Unfortunately, many people are trying to satisfy their hunger for God with worldly pursuits.
In The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis put it like this, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The world, along with its desires, is fleeting. The way to overcome the temptations of the world is to find ultimate satisfaction and pleasure in the person and will of God. Do not be satisfied with merely worldly pursuits and pleasures. The pleasures of God are eternal.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you find ultimate satisfaction in God today?
Mark Clements

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WHO YOU KNOW


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Hebrew – Abel


 

Heḇel

 

In stark contrast to Cain, whom we studied yesterday, there was his brother Abel, whose name also tells us much. The Hebrew is Heḇel (H1893), which is identical to heḇel (H1892; ) and has an interesting etymology. It literally means “wind, breath, or vapor,” while another form speaks of vanity or emptiness, as is true thirty-eight times in Ecclesiastes alone (e.g., “vanity of vanities; all is vanity,”), showing the total emptiness and utter futility of life without God (Rom_8:20-22).

 

While this word at first seems odd when applied to Abel, it in reality is quite appropriate. Why that name? One commentator offers this reason: “By the time of Abel’s birth, Eve had become thoroughly impressed with the impact of God’s curse on the world. God had indeed made the creation ‘subject to vanity.’” Abel’s existence itself was a vapor, that is, short-lived in comparison with the life spans of the day. Adam, for example, lived 930 years (Gen_5:5). By the evil of his own brother, however, Abel’s life was cut short. As vapor is present one moment and gone the next, so it was with Abel.

 

The application of this word to each of us is challenging. James writes on this very subject: “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil” (Jas_4:13-16). Compared with the long life spans of people in Genesis, each of us is on this earth for a very short time. In light of eternity, it truly is only a vapor. How, then, should we live? Should we live a life of arrogance and self-determination? Or should our life be one that seeks God at every turn, whether it be in business decisions, personal living, or family life? To believe truly in the sovereignty of God is to believe He is in control of all things and that we are to bring ourselves into conformity to His will.

 

Scriptures for Study: Read what Job writes about the fleeting nature of life (Job_7:6-7; Job_9:25-26; Job_14:1-2). What wonderful encouragement do Peter and John give us (1Pe_1:24-25; 1Jn_2:17)?

 

 

 

 

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Father


 

aḇ

 

No examination of the names and titles of God would be complete without considering the title of Father. The Hebrew ’aḇ (H1), which “apparently is derived from such baby sounds as abab,” appears almost 1,200 times in the OT. We should also note that ’aḇ (H2) is the Aramaic form, the basis for the NT usage of abba (G5) that appears three times (Mar_14:36; Rom_8:15; Gal_4:6). Obviously, ’aḇ refers to a biological father (Gen_2:24), but it also refers to the head of a household (Gen_24:40), a grandfather (Gen_28:13), an ancestor (Gen_10:21), or even a patron of a class (Gen_4:20). What does such fatherhood indicate when we think of God as our Father? Let us consider five applications.

 

First, our Fatherbegets us. He gives us life. “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (Mal_2:10). Spiritually then, through Christ, we are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible” (1Pe_1:23). Having thus been “born of God,” we know God (1Jn_4:7), love God (1Jn_5:1), overcome the world (1Jn_5:4), and guard our behavior (1Jn_5:18, “keepeth” is tēreō [G5083], “keep an eye on, watch over, observe attentively, guard protectively”), and do not habitually commit sin (1Jn_3:9).

 

Second, our Fatherteaches us. We are to “hear the instruction of [our] father” and learn doctrine, wisdom, and God’s law from Him (Pro_1:8; Pro_4:1-4; Pro_5:1). From where do we get our spiritual Father’s instruction? From His Word alone.

 

Third, our Fatherdisciplines us. As an earthly father corrects his child because of love (Pro_3:12; Deu_8:5), so God our Father “chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. . . . for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Heb_12:6-7; cf. 2Sa_7:14). Yes, discipline is painful, but it brings us back to obedience.

 

Fourth, our Fatherprovides for us. Why do we worry about clothing, food, and other basic needs of life? Our “Father knoweth that [we] have need of these things” and He will provide them when we seek Him (Luk_12:28-31; cf. Mat_6:9-11).

 

Fifth, our Fathergives us aname. As one’s family name is a precious thing, God has given us names that should be precious to us. Each of us is a “saint” (Php_4:21), a “Christian” (1Pe_4:16), and a believer (Act_5:14). Let us live up to those names’ lofty standards.

 

Scriptures for Study: How do we become children of God (Gal_3:26)? What proves we are children of God (1Jn_3:10; 1Jn_5:2)?

 

 

 

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California Hospital Tries to Murder Young Girl – Claims She’s Already Dead Despite Beating Hear


Read the Lesson on Soul and Spirit and then read this story.

 

California Hospital Tries to Murder Young Girl – Claims She’s Already Dead Despite Beating Heart

 

Posted: 30 Dec 2013 09:33 PM PST

 

Editor’s Note:  The whole idea of “brain death” is a fraud. A person is dead when the breath of life departs from them; their spirit and soul are no longer present in their body. A person who has given up the ghost, can not be kept alive by machines. If one can be kept alive by a machine, their soul must still be present and biblically they must still be alive. Most “pro-life” groups may not recognize this fact; this only proves that these are truly murderous, perilous times that we live in today.

 

OAKLAND, CA, December 20, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A pioneer doctor in neonatology is championing the life of a 13-year-old girl from California who was officially declared “brain dead” by doctors after a routine tonsillectomy last week went horribly wrong.

 

The first thing about ‘brain death’ is that brain death is not true death. It never was and never will be,” said Dr. Paul Byrne, a pioneer neonatologist and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Toledo to LifeSiteNews.com.

 

JahiMcMathInHospitalBed-250px-240x168

 

This girl is still very much a living person. Her life ought to be protected and preserved. No one should be hastening her death or shortening her life,” he said.

 

Tonsillectomy is a common surgery. Jahi McMath’s December 9 surgery was recommended by doctors to allegedly address the her sleep apnea. While the surgery at first appeared to be successful, the girl began coughing up blood before suffering cardiac arrest. Doctors declared her brain-dead December 12.

 

The McMath family is seeking a court injunction today through their lawyer that would prevent doctors at the Children’s Hospital in Oakland from taking their daughter Jahi off life-support, despite doctors allegedly telling the family that she is “dead, dead, dead, dead.”

 

But Jahi’s mother Nailah believes that her daughter is not truly dead.

 

I feel her. I can feel my daughter. I just kind of feel like maybe she’s trapped inside her own body. She wants to scream out and tell me something,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle.

 

Jahi’s uncle Omari Sealey agrees: “She’s still warm. I can feel her presence, I can still feel her smile,” he told KGO-TV.

 

Byrne said that it should be “obvious to everyone,” not just the girl’s relatives, that she is still alive.

 

Her heart is beating, she has circulation, she has respiration, her immune mechanisms are intact, and I’m sure she is healing from her tonsillectomy. Healing happens in only a living person.”

 

These are facts of life, [indicating] that this girl is a living person and that she’s not dead,” he said.

 

Byrne explained that someone does not “become dead” because a doctor declares someone ‘brain dead’, “although they intend it that way”, he added.

 

He explained that the brain dead criteria was “invented” in 1968 by an ad hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School openly seeking a way to harvest organs for transplanting. Since a dead organ taken from a corpse cannot be successfully transplanted into a living body, the committee settled on a definition of death that would allow the harvest of healthy living organs from a still living body that lacked signs of brain activity.

 

Brain death was invented, conjured, made-up to get organ transplants,” he said.

 

Declaring someone ‘brain dead’ to harvest organs is always to the detriment of the patient, Byrne explained. “No one can recover once they’ve had their beating heart and other organs cut out.”

 

If doctors can, they will take this young girl’s organs.”

 

Byrne said it’s a common misconception that a machine, such as a ventilator, gives a person life. The machine only sustains an already existing life.

 

In a case like Jahi’s, the ventilator “only moves the air into a living person. It does not move the air out.”

 

The air comes out become the person is alive,” he said.

 

The machine supports the vital activities of respiration and circulation, but it does not give life. The life comes from God and from no place else. What doctors [are supposed to] do is protect and preserve the life that’s there,” he said.

 

The girl’s family is waging a legal battle to keep their daughter on a ventilator and to have doctors insert a feeding tube into her.

 

I want her on as long as possible, because I really believe that God will wake her up,” the mother said. The family held a prayer vigil on Wednesday night for their daughter’s recovery.

 

The family is keeping constant vigil at their girl’s bedside, fearing that doctors might pull the plugs without their knowledge or consent.

 

The doctors know that the law favors whatever decision they make. California law states that “a person who is declared brain dead is legally and physiologically dead.” According to the law, Jahi is dead.

 

Byrne said that only New York and New Jersey have a conscience clause that offers specific protections to a patient declared ‘brain dead’ whose primary caregiver does not hold cessation of brain activity as true death. “In the other 48 states, there is nothing in their laws to give any kind of protection to the person declared brain dead.”

 

All of the laws — and I mean all of them — all revolve around getting organs,” he said.

 

The hospital administration is asking the family permission to release details that they say will “provide transparency, openness and provide answers to the public about this situation.”

 

We implore the family to allow the hospital to openly discuss what has occurred and to give us the necessary legal permission—which it has been withholding—that would bring clarity, and we believe, some measure of closure and deeper understanding of this medical case,” said Dr. David Durand, chief of pediatrics, in a statement.

 

Many people posting online comments underneath Jahi’s story carried by various media agree with the doctors that it’s time for “closure”.

 

I’m so sorry for this family. The problem is that they don’t seem to understand that no one ‘wakes up’ or recovers from brain death. It’s not like being in a coma, where there is still brain activity. The brain is dead; she can’t come back,” wrote one.

 

Despite the pain they are going through the realization is this: She is clinically brain dead. When the brain stops, everything else stops as well. The life support machine is not going to bring her back to life,” wrote another.

 

Legal brain death is 100% of never coming back, She is a corpse and the human life in her is 100% gone,” wrote yet another.

 

But LifeSiteNews.com has reported on numerous stories of people declared ‘brain dead’ by doctors and who have unexpectedly recovered.

 

Here are incidents from the past five years:

 

  • July 2013 – A New York woman who was pronounced ‘brain dead’ by doctors unexpectedly awoke just as her organs were about to be removed for transplant.

  • October 2012 – A documentary titled “Pigen der ikke ville dø” (“The girl who refused to die”), aired on Danish TV, telling the story of 19-year-old Carina Melchior, who awoke after doctors declared her “brain dead“ and had approached the family about considering donating her organs.

  • April 2012 – Doctors declared british teen Stephen Thorpe “brain dead,” telling the father that the boy would never recover from a serious car accident. Despite pressure from the doctors, the father would not consent to allow the boy’s organs to be donated. With the help of other doctors, five weeks later Thorpe left the hospital, having almost completely recovered.

  • July 2011 – Madeleine Gauron, a Quebec woman — identified as viable for organ donation after doctors diagnosed her as “brain dead” — surprised her family and physicians when she recovered from a coma, opened her eyes, and began eating.

  • May 2011 – An Australian woman declared “brain dead” regained consciousness after family fought for weeks doctor recommendations that her ventilator be shut off.

  • February 2008 – 65-year-old Raleane Kupferschmidt was taken home to die after relatives were told by doctors that she was “brain dead” from a massive cerebral hemorrhage. The family had already begun to grieve and plan for her funeral when she suddenly awoke and was rushed back to hospital.

  • March 2008 – In one particularly chilling case, 21-year-old Zack Dunlap, who was declared “brain dead” following an ATV accident, recounted how he remembers hearing doctors discussing harvesting his organs. Zack showed signs of life only moments before he was scheduled to be wheeled into the operating theater to have his organs removed. One of Zack’s relatives provoked the reaction by digging a pocketknife under his fingernail.

  • May 2008 – A Virginia family was shocked but relieved when their mother, Val Thomas, woke up after doctors declared her ‘brain dead’. Doctors had not detected brain waves for more than 17 hours, but kept the woman breathing on a respirator. The family were discussing organ donation options for their mother when she suddenly woke up and started speaking to nurses.

  • June 2008 – A Parisian whose organs were about to be removed by doctors after he had “died” of a heart attack, revived on the operating table only minutes before doctors were to begin harvesting his organs.

 

Dr. Byrne said that with California’s permissive “brain death” laws, the most important thing people can do is pray.

 

Pray for this child, for this family,” he said.

 

The post California Hospital Tries to Murder Young Girl – Claims She’s Already Dead Despite Beating Heart appeared first on The Trumpet Online.

 

 

 

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Soul and Spirit


Bob Hess has done some in depth research on Man’s Soul and Spirit. With consideration of the girl on life support because of a common operation, maybe this will give some people a little insight into a dilemma.

 

 

I had an individual who wanted me to do a lesson on “The Difference Between The Soul And The Spirit”.  I taught a Sunday School lesson on this over the weekend and will pass it on to you.  I hope this will answer questions that MANY Christians have had down through the years.

 

The secret to understanding this topic is the Biblical Terms that were used in talking about the Soul and Spirit.  I attempted to show this in my class.  My Sunday School class seemed to understand it, so I’ll give you a try.  Here it is.

 

 

1.  The Greek word Psuche is translated into the word SOUL and LIFE.

 

 

    a.  In the New Testament this term is used to speak of the immaterial part of man.  It is invisible and is contained inside of the flesh covering.

 

    b.  Man’s soul speaks of the INTERNAL LIFE ELEMENT of the man.

 

    c.  I know that this may set many back on their heals, but animals have a soul.  In Revelation 8:9 we read “And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died and the third part of the ships were destroyed”.  The word “life” is the Greek word Psuche or in the English, soul.

 

    d.  The difference between the animal and man is that the man was created with a soul that was made up with three elements.  Man’s soul consists of two additional elements that animals do not.  Man has a SPIRIT and a MIND that are part of the makeup of the human SOUL or PSUCHE.  Animal souls do NOT contain these two elements.  We will get into these two elements later.

 

    e.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Paul speaks of this.  He says that when the Lord comes back, we will go to be with him as a whole person, body, spirit and soul.

 

    f.  In Genesis 2:7 we are told that God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life.  the word soul in this verse the Hebrew word, nephesh.  This word means breaths.  Here it states that man became a living soul or a living, physical, breathing being.  The term corresponds with the Greek word Psuche which is translated as “life” in Revelation 8:9 and soul in other references that are too numerous to mention.  See also 1 Corinthians 15:45 where the term is translated as soul and in Acts 20:10 where it is translated as life.

 

 

2.  The word Greek word Pneuma is translated as SPIRIT.

 

 

    a.  As was stated in our look at Psuche, the human has an element within the soul that is called the spirit.  That is one element that is NOT found in animals or other created beings.

 

    b.  It is very important to realize that this is NOT the word that is used for a GHOST.  The KJV translates Pneuma as Ghost in speaking of the Holy Spirit.  “Ghost” is a completely different term in the Greek, which we will see later.  The third person of the Godhead is the HOLY SPIRIT and NOT the HOLY GHOST.

 

    c.  The SPIRIT of man is not a material element, but is, as the soul, immaterial.

 

    d.  This part of man makes the man aware of his body and his natural, physical environment.

 

    e.  It is the part of man that makes him like God in the respect that it (the spirit) is eternal (will NEVER go out of existence) and it can share that characteristic of God.

 

    f.  It is the part of man that can be given a new birth from God (John 3:3-7).  NOTE:  It is the SPIRIT (Pneuma) that is born again (from above by the Spirit of God) and not the soul (Psuche).  This new birth is made possible through placing one’s trust in Jesus as his

 

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Hebrew Words


 

River

 

nāhār

 

A river invokes images among the most serene in nature. Humans are irresistibly drawn to rivers, a source of refreshment and even life itself.

 

The Hebrew nāhār (H5104), which is found in several Semitic languages, appears about 120 times in the OT. The first is when “a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (Gen_2:10). Think of it! Flowing through the perfection of Eden was a river, undoubtedly a quite large one, for it fed four others. That river probably made the “Mighty Mississippi” look like a creek.

 

Several other great rivers are mentioned in Scripture, including the Euphrates (Gen_15:18; Gen_31:21), the Nile (Gen_15:18, “river of Egypt”), and the Tigris (Dan_10:4, “Hiddekel”). Nāhār also refers to ocean currents, as Jonah was tossed about by the “floods . . . billows . . . and . . . waves” (Jon_2:3).

 

At least one major reason rivers were so significant in Jewish thinking was because there were so few of them in their territory. Unlike the rich, fertile lands of Egypt and Mesopotamia, which existed solely because of their rivers, Israel was “a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: A land which the LORD thy God careth for” (Deu_11:11-12).

 

Psalms 46 is a case in point. Why is God “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psa_46:1)? Because in the midst of raging, cataclysmic chaos (Psa_46:2-3), “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High” (Psa_46:4). While Jerusalem, of course, has no river (cf. October 22), God Himself is the river and brings it many blessings. This verse looks forward to the millennial Jerusalem and was obviously in John’s mind as he penned the book of Revelation (Psa_22:1-2; cf. Zec_14:8-11).

 

We defer to Spurgeon in closing today: “Divine grace like a smoothly flowing, fertilizing, full, and never-failing river, yields refreshment and consolation to believers. . . . It is no boisterous ocean, but a placid stream, it is not stayed in its course by earthquakes or crumbling mountains, it follows its serene course without disturbance. Happy are they who know from their own experience that there is such a river of God.”

 

Scriptures for Study: Psalms 46 (January 14) is one of thanksgiving and trust. Read it through prayerfully, noting that God is our refuge (Psa_46:1-3), our resources (Psa_46:4-7), and our ruler (Psa_46:8-11).

 

 

 

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J.R. GRAVES, LIFE, TIMES AND TEACHINGS 17


 

Chapter III

 

TROUBLES AND TRIUMPHS

 

 

A CLASSIC ENGLISH WRITER has forcefully and beautifully said:

 

 

There’s untold power in him who knows a thing’s

 

of God’s own willing; though doubts may shroud

 

in cloud the transient hour.”

 

 

It is the unmeasured power of belief that a soul lives by. Give a man faith – unclouded, heartfelt belief – and though his brain be narrow, and his knowledge small, he will impress and have successes, while the man of great intellect and broad culture, who does not know anything of God’s own willing or purpose, will fail. But if such faith dwell in any earnest soul, a clear strong mind, a trusting, fearless heart, mountain difficulties melt before him, he can tunnel or explode or scale them. He can stand in the very storm center, beneath the black clouds and the thunder strokes with uplifted face and fearless heart, and where that faith is in the reasonable, vital, soul-lifting, sanctifying, God-revealed, eternal truth, he is always irresistible. Fixedness, firmness and fearlessness will mark his course. His spirit will be caught by those with whom he comes in touch and conviction and acceptance will follow, or else opposition and even sometimes hate.

 

 

This kind of faith distinguished J.R. Graves, a modest, quiet, unassuming person, reticent in company and not specially gifted in social conversation. But he flashed forth whenever God’s truth was attacked, or when it was his opportunity to preach the word, or when intelligent converse lay along such lines.

 

 

Here are some of his words, which carry conviction with them to every candid mind, that the loftiest impulses controlled him. When charged with perverse notions he replied: “I can only deny this, because I cannot show my heart to my readers. But to my God I can, without fear of condemnation, lay my hand upon it and appeal to him to believe the rectitude of my intentions. When I obeyed the voice that spoke to my conscience, I gave up all the cherished plans of my life to preach the gospel of the Son of God. Nor did I find the limit to stop at this point, i. e., simply teaching the positive commands of Christ. These words burnt themselves upon my eye, rang with weighty import upon my ear, fixed themselves ineradically in my heart: “Every plant which my Father hath not planted shall be rooted up.” I am conscious of no other motive. I appeal from my accusers to my master and Judge.”

 

 

When he penned these fervid words, he stood before the world as the disturber of religious peace, the foe of Campbellites as well as of Methodists – and other communions whose erroneous teachings he attacked. He stood almost alone, and like Luther before the Diet of Worms, said: “I can do no other, God help me.”

 

 

“Th age,” as wrote Carlyle at that time, with lightening force and glare, too, was called “the age of shams.” The age of heroes, according to him, of real genuine men, had gone, and in their room had come forth shadows, masks, make-believes, unrealities. All this was to a great extent itself a sham – a caricature. Yet there is some truth in it. It cannot be denied that then and now much of so-called Christianity is a form – an image – a masquerade – a sham. Alas, there are sham ministers and sham church members, whose prayers (repetitions of dead men’s) are a sham, whose contributions to the name of Christ are a sham – a show, a pretense, a lie; in short, a wicked mockery. What a sham to call the Roman pope and his priestly hierarchy a church, that is, an assembly of believers in Christ Jesus! What a sham to call the General Conference “the Methodist Church of Christ.” What a sham to call the sprinkling of a few drops of water on the face of an unconscious babe, baptism into Christ’s death, a burial with him by baptism, and then call that babe a member of the church! What a sham to say that the eternal destiny of a soul is conditioned upon the action of a mortal man, who gives absolution at the confessional of the remission of sins in immersion!”

 

 

These shams stared J.R. Graves in the face. He felt called of God to meet them, expose them, and as far as he could do it, banish them from the earth. He had a mission and a message, and steadfast was his aim to fulfill the one and to deliver the other; making no pause, no compromise, whether in the vigor of young manhood or beneath the burden and infirmities of old age. His was a conflict unto death.

 

 

At that time, be it remembered, the Methodists had a chosen champion who lectured from place to place, attacking with denunciations, and misrepresenting with unscrupulous attacks, the principles and ordinances which distinguished the Baptists. These lectures, often mere tirades, were given mainly by an Irishman, of force and sharpness, whose name was Chapman (with several others in different southwestern states). To leave the truth thus perverted and slandered and travestied and shamed was to forsake the truth when humiliated, was to play the smirking coward when God and his cause demand men, real, red-blooded men, stalwart, heroic men who, like Tennyson’s Light Brigade at Balakalava: “Their’s not to reason why, their’s but to do and die.”

 

 

Dr. Graves was everywhere appealed to by his brethren to come to their help in conflict in which they felt themselves no match for those who attacked them, and he went, for “one blast of Rhoderick were worth a thousand.” He did not quit the field until the truth was vindicated. There were so many of these calls that people got the notion that such conflicts were his delight, but he sought not his own pleasure, he was God’s chosen defender and he halted not when God’s cause called for a champion. As we have said, Dr. Graves was frequently called to meet these men, and meet them he did, with sweeping overwhelming force. Indeed the swelling tide of Methodism was checked, and the Baptist cause was strengthened and greatly extended by his discussions. He was “A Sampson amongst the Philistines.” He felt called to this particular work, and he delighted greatly in his calling. Of one of his contest debates we let a competent witness speak: Major Penn, the great lay-evangelist, has left his “footprints on the sands of time.” He was once a successful lawyer of Humboldt, Tennessee, and later an active member of the Jefferson Church, Texas; respected and influential. He abandoned all to become an evangelist. God blessed his work and thousands were led to the Lord Jesus through his instrumentality. In his meetings he preached Christ only – justification by faith, and the Holy Spirit’s work in man’s renovation and salvation. None was any more free from everything like ritualism of church salvation than he. But he was the inestimable friend, and to some extent, imitator (I may say disciple) of J.R. Graves. He preached, as Dr. Graves did, the immediate duty of baptism by every convert; never hesitated to proclaim that “the immersion of a believer in Christ, saved persons, was the only baptism known to, or commanded in God’s Word.” In his early life he attended a debate in which Dr. Graves was the Baptist champion. Describing that debate, some fifty years after, he wrote: “Soon after my conversion I attended for one term the Male Academy in Trenton, Tennessee, and then for a single term the Union University of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, of which the distinguished J.H. Eaton, father of T.T. Eaton of Tennessee, was president.

 

 

About this time, while living in Humboldt, we heard of a great debate that was to be in Lexington, a town fifty miles east of us, between J.R. Graves, Baptist, and I.L. Chapman, Methodist. My mother and myself were anxious to attend and at once decided to go, although it was quite a journey and a one-horse buggy was our best means of conveyance. We arrived the morning the debate opened, and heard the first speech.

 

 

“I wish I could describe the grand old hero of Baptist faith. These were his palmiest days. In robust health, eloquent in speech, graceful and attractive in manner, he swayed the multitudes that were in constant attendance during the three days’ debate. Dr. Graves, as I thought, completely demolished the Methodist champion” (Life of Penn, p. 40).

 

 

The debate was adjourned to Canton, Mississippi, and was followed up several times in different places with unvarying results.

 

 

In these debates Dr. Graves was always at ease, and always self-possessed. He could not be thrown off his guard and never lost his temper. His intensity at times was overwhelming. Carlyle says some of Luther’s sentences had Austerlitz battle in them.” The same might be said of the red-hot logic of J.R. Graves. His words were like chain-shot from a rifle cannon, and nowhere, so far as we could learn, but the Baptist cause was aided where these discussions took place. Great revivals often followed.

 

 

But, be it remembered, that in the logical and scriptural arraignment and denunciation, too, of the errors he combated, especially of the unscriptural forms of church government and of the ordinances, he would always announce and repeat that he did not question the true standing of his antagonist as a believer in Christ. In his last great debate with Dr. Ditzler he said (as was usual with him):

 

 

I may unchurch an organization, i.e., deny that they possess the scriptural characteristics of a gospel church and not thereby unchristianize its members. If my opponent should attempt to make the impression upon you that I deny that you are Christians because I deny your society is a church, he will pursue a course both unwarranted and unprincipled” (Debate, p. 927).

 

 

But even if he had not uttered this denial of any such charge, the whole scope of his writings, his known views, and teachings were sufficient.

 

 

That master of pure English, Dr. Channing, has well said: “Human language does not admit of entire precision. It has often been observed by philosophers that the most familiar sentences owe their perspicuity not so much to the definition or the definiteness of the language as to an almost incredible activity (in the heart of the reader) which selects from a variety of meanings that which each word demands, and assigns such counts to every phase as the intention of the speaker, his character and situation require.” If readers would only remember this.

 

 

What meaning does the term kingdom in Dr. Graves’ vocabulary demand? An organization of churches. What does his language demand when he emphatically says: “I may unchurch an organization (that is deny that it possesses the scriptural characteristics of a gospel church and hence kingdom) and not unchristianize its members?”

 

 

His whole life, his character, the drift of all his writings, and his denunciation of any charges, demand in all manly fairness that no such meaning be put on his language or his mistaken view of the kingdom.

 

 

If it had been done during his lifetime he would have denounced it, in his own fiery language, as a malicious falsehood. But he has gone. That eloquent tongue is silent. That wonderful instrument, from which every tone of varied music went forth, is broken.

 

 

He hears not, he heeds not, he’s freed from all pain,

 

He has preached his last word, he has fought his last battle,

 

No sound should awaken him to conflict again.”

 

 

 

 

 

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The Source of Sin


 

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.

 

Every summer we take the family on vacation to a cabin on the lake. There are several routes we can take to get there, and usually, I like to take the route that incorporates interstate highway along with a wide state highway because it is the safest, surest way I know to arrive at our destination. Last year, however, I thought I would be adventurous and take a back way. On the map, the back way looked a little curvy, and there were a few more turns to make, but it looked like it might be shorter. In reality, the route carried us over a mountain and the roads were dangerously curvy.  Not only that, when I drove it the first time it was pitch black, so as I drove, I heard this phrase several times coming from the passenger seats: “Are you sure this is the right way?” I was not so sure at the time.

 

Life is a journey. God has a plan for us—a road map—that might take us down some narrow roads, but if we follow His guidance, we can be sure the way will be well lit and there will be no cause for doubt or alarm. Sometimes, however, we follow our own will and emotions. We begin to place confidence in our own abilities and judgments, or we respond to circumstances based on our own feelings. When God is no longer our guide and we begin to trust our natural instincts and emotions, it is like traveling down a dangerously dark and winding road, and we will be led astray.

 

 

JUST A THOUGHT

 

Will you follow God’s resolute truth today or your own wavering emotions?

 

 

Mark Clements

 

 

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