A New Word Hath Been Birthed!

In a discussion with a couple of my friends, I mentioned that a certain sentence (which they were using to describe me) probably had an equivalent in one word somewhere. We made a few attempts at making one, but it came to little more than random roots strung together in a most unharmonious, gangly, and inefficient fashion. I was then challenged to come up with one myself, and I said I would do so if I found that there was none already extant.

So I went on an excursion into the depths of an online thesaurus, examining several networks of synonyms, but regarding all that I found as unsuitable for our purpose. I became rapidly convinced that there was no word with the meaning that we wanted, in English at least.

So I embarked on the next stage: creating one. No small task indeed.

I set myself these goals:

  1. It had to be short.
  2. It had to be memorable.
  3. It had to have a consistent etymology (all the roots of one language).
  4. It could not be a homonym or even a homophone.
  5. It had to have a pleasurable sound.
  6. It had to be easily memorable.
  7. It had to be intuitively spelled.
  8. It had to be able to be easily, intuitively, and consistently changed from one word form to another.
  9. It had to have a useful, concise, and precise meaning.
  10. I had to like it.

Alright so that last one was the hardest. 🙂

I tried to use Latin, but it really didn’t ring right, although it made etymological sense.

I finally settled on Greek (just because I like Greek), and was able to make a passable word for what I wanted, meeting all of the above requirements.

And so…

* bows, drumroll *

Presenting: Chronstrue!

Here are the proposed new dictionary entries for it and its various related forms:

CHRONSTRUE, v. [Gr. chronos time + Gr. stronnuo strew, spread]

  1. To diffuse your time over many tasks. To dilute your focus by scattering your attention among many occupations.

I tend to chronstrue altogether too much.

CHRONSTRUE, v.t. [Gr. chronos time + Gr. stronnuo strew, spread]

1. To chronstrue a period of time by filling it with an excessive number of tasks.

I always chronstrued my evenings in an attempt to finish the tasks of the day.

2. To chronstrue a task by adding an excessive number of subordinate tasks.

Chronstruing your projects makes for added stress and delayed completion.

CHRONSTRUER n. [see Chronstrue]

1. A person who habitually chronstrues.

No good leader is also a chronstruer.

CHRONSTRUITION n. [see Chronstrue]

1. A period of time that is chronstrued.

My afternoons consistently turn into chronstruitions.

2. A task that is chronstrued.

I was handed this vast chronstruition, and was told it had to be done by the next day.

CHRONSTRUTE a. [see Chronstrue]

1. The state of having been chronstrued.

Eradicating all chronstrute times in your schedule is a key step in maximizing your efficiency.

The closest synonym is ‘diffuse,’ and its closest antonym is ‘focus.’ It does take a bit of knack to get the ‘r’s right the first time, but other than that it seems pretty easy to pronounce.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Any alternative example sentences are more than welcome.

Typography and Lexicology

Greetings,

I could not resist sharing this on my blog with y’all when I saw it. Watch it and heed it!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kdrsPRZnK8]

An Examination of the Lexicology of Theocracy

Me: “I believe that the Bible should be our foundation for discerning how we ought to influence government.”

Someone-else: “You are advocating a theocratic utopia!”

Me: “Ummmm… No.”

The above exchange is all too common, unfortunately, to be more than slightly humorous to me. I get that response all the time, and it is, to be honest, rather aggravating. 😛

Many people have evinced a desire to understand what a theocracy really is, and as I am tired of trying to say the same thing over and over again, I thought it would be handy to answer the above response once and for all. (And put the debates all in one handy location. 😉 )

But that is rather hard to do, because it really isn’t a response at all, but a knee-jerk reaction. However, the word Theocracy has a lot of varying connotations, and as they all have a profound lexicological bearing on Godly government, I believe it is worthwhile to discuss them.

As with any word that you want to find the best definition for, I will of course turn to Webster’s 1828 for a Biblical definition:

THEOC’RACY, n. [Gr. God, and power; to hold.] Government of a state by the immediate direction of God; or the state thus governed. Of this species the Israelites furnish an illustrious example. The theocracy lasted till the time of Saul.

This gives me a very good place to start my study. The modern dictionaries and common usage has watered and perverted this definition until it is practically unrecognizable, and lexicologically useless (except to throw at someone to annoy them). Getting back to the above definition would be a major improvement in the current state of our language, and also a major help in discerning God’s will for the formation and influence of government.

There are two rival definitions that are prevalent in usage today (other than the correct one).

One is used by a group of eminent (but with whom I passionately disagree with on several vital and foundational issues other than that of the definition of theocracy) scholars who call themselves theonomists for the most part.

The other is merely a ‘label.’ A word used for attack, rather than refutation. This form is so perverted and weakened that it carries just about as much weight as the ridiculous word ‘speciesist,’ which term is used to label someone who thinks that humans are (oh horror!) better than any other species of animal. In other words: pointless, useless, and meaningless. This is the term used in my opening exchange, and which really merits little more than what I am saying right here: ignore it. 🙂

There are, in fact, three groups of people who use the word Theocracy (other than the group that is right, of which I am a proud member, hehe).

The first are those people who use the word Theocracy correctly, and assume that I want to institute a nation in replica of OT Israel, complete with stonings for idolatry, adultery, and cursing your parents (with the possible exclusion of the ceremonial laws, whichever ones those might be).

The second is a group of people who believe that we shouldn’t use the Bible at all in government (on various grounds, all of which are wrong and heretical, and I will mainly point these people to 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The third are the theonomists, who at first with me that we should use the Bible to determine government, assuming that I intend to do what the first group fears I will (although they call it by a different name). In other words: these people want me to institute a nation in replica of OT Israel, complete with stonings for idolatry, adultery, and cursing your parents (with the possible exclusion of the ceremonial laws, whichever ones those might be).

I am now going to refute all of the above at once by explaining why I believe that we definitely should not try to replicate the OT government (whether or not you exclude the ceremonial laws). My reason is very simple:

Israel was not only a theocracy, it was the only true theocracy that ever has existed, and ever can or will exist (outside of heaven, but that is a different topic).

The theonomists (from what I can tell) claim that every nation is a theocracy, if any is, and deny that Israel was any exception to the rule. They point to such verses as Daniel 2:21 (“he removeth kings, and setteth up kings”) and other similar verses to show that God has sovereign rule over every nation equally, and that to assert that He has more rule over Israel than over any other nation is lessening His sovereign power. Needless to say, theonomists are for the most part Calvinist, which makes it hard to debate them on this issue.

They are in part right (every lie has a bit of truth). God does remove kings, He does set up kings, He does guide the course of the nations, He does punish nations that give themselves over to abominations (every major nation that has accepted homosexuality, abortion, and like sins have ceased to exist within a few generations from that point).

But God did not orchestrate and lead Hitler to slaughter his millions. He did not order terrorists to attack the World Trade Center. It was not His will for any of these things to happen, any more than it is His will for any person to go to hell (although they do), or for the deaths of hurricane Katrina (although they still died), or for the thousands of innocent orphans of Haiti to have the troubles they are having (although they are).

All these things are our fault, because of our rebellion, our sin. Our world is cursed by sin. (For more info on that, see Answers In Genesis.)

But.

God did rule directly over the OT nation of Israel before the Monarchy.

Look at Webster’s definition (that he got from the Bible): whatever Israel was before the monarchy, and was not afterwards, that is what a theocracy is.

Theocracy is a state of government like a democracy, a monarchy, a republic, or even socialism.

The word is from two Greek words: Theos and Cratos: God Rules. Democracy is where the people rule (also aptly called mobocracy by the American founding fathers and me). A monarchy is where a king rules (there are elected monarchies, hereditary monarchies, etc.). Theocracy is where God rules.

That was what Israel was. It was the first and last true theocracy.

Judges 8:22-23 Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.
23 And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.

God instituted a unique system of government for Israel. There was a hierarchy of officers, captains, princes, and elders, and above all those was one man: the judge (there were of course other judges, but this was the judge). So far it looks like a monarchy (rule by one man). But that is not what God thought. And neither did the Israelites.

1 Samuel 8:4-5 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

They wanted a king so that they would be like the other nations (in direct defiance of God’s covenant with them for them to be unique and separate, which we will get to).

1 Samuel 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

They were not merely requesting a change of human leadership (“they have not rejected thee”) but a change from God’s theocratic system of government for a monarchy (“they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them”).

So how did the theocracy work?

Deuteronomy 17:8-10 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, [being] matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;
9 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment:
10 And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall show thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee:

If your local judges and Levites are unable to decide a controversy (not matters of doctrine, but matters of judicial law), the parties involved go to the temple, to Jerusalem, the seat of the government and of God. There they bring it before the judge and the priests. What do they do? They use the holy oracles of God to get the answer straight from Him who sees all, is the law, and who is perfectly just. That is why…

Deuteronomy 17:12-13 And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

Disobedience is punished by death (even if the original matter was small). That is because it is flagrant and direct defiance of God’s Word spoken to you directly. That is unique to Israel, and cannot be implemented with impunity in a NT government situation. True, we are commanded by God to obey the government (true government), but we are even more strongly commanded to obey our parents (in our youth). You aren’t committing a capital crime if you disobey your father just once (even under the OT law). This is just one of the many instances where Israel’s unique, theocratic situation deeply affects its criminal law.

Now, why was Israel a theocracy, and how did it become one?

Very important question, glad I asked it for you.

Deuteronomy 7:6 For thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that [are] upon the face of the earth.
7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people:
8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

There is the ‘why,’ plain and simple.

Deuteronomy 7:12-13 And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only [ye heard] a voice.
13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, [even] ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.

This is explained in several parts of the law, that the ten commandments were the core of the covenant between God and Israel. They bound themselves to obey them on pain of death. Several, were of course, already a part of the role of government (thou shalt not steal, etc.). Others were already sins (thou shalt not covet, etc.) Yet others were rather new (remember the Sabbath to keep it holy). But this law became assimilated into the government system of Israel (punishing covenants is part of the role of government), and therefrom sprang laws making actions that are abominations to God capital crimes.

This is why we cannot merely extract the ceremonial laws and implement the rest. We cannot replicate that covenant: it was initiated by God, and relied on the oracles that are now gone by.

We can do a few other things to learn about government from OT Israel though (you can learn tons of other things from it as well, of course). Such as, because we know that God kept the laws of Israel based off of the normal, unchanging, role of government (with some additions), we know that if a law wasn’t in OT Israel, we definitely shouldn’t implement it nowadays (a law in principle, not the exact application).

There are lots of verses that could be added, supporting my above conclusions, but I will spare you the necessary repetition. I will, however, conclude with a series of passages conclusively setting the OT Israel in its unique and unreproducible status.

Exodus 34:10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou [art] shall see the work of the LORD: for it [is] a terrible thing that I will do with thee.

Deuteronomy 4:5-8 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
6 Keep therefore and do [them;] for this [is] your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation [is] a wise and understanding people.
7 For what nation [is there so] great, who [hath] God [so] nigh unto them, as the LORD our God [is] in all [things that] we call upon him [for?]
8 And what nation [is there so] great, that hath statutes and judgments [so] righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

(Notice that the other nations did not say “Why don’t we do that too?”!)

Deuteronomy 4:31-38 (For the LORD thy God [is] a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
32 For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and [ask] from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been [any such thing] as this great thing [is,] or hath been heard like it?
33 Did [ever] people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?
34 Or hath God assayed to go [and] take him a nation from the midst of [another] nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
35 Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he [is] God; [there is] none else beside him.
36 Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he showed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.
37 And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;
38 To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou [art,] to bring thee in, to give thee their land [for] an inheritance, as [it is] this day.

(Notice that the purpose of Israel was not to convert other nations to its form of government, but to drive them out and destroy and decimate them.)

Deuteronomy 5:3-4 The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, [even] us, who [are] all of us here alive this day.
4 The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire,

This theocratic covenant was even unique to a particular time period in Israel’s history. It started at Moses, and ended at Christ (isn’t that interesting?).

This is only one plank out of 8 foundational principles of theonomocracy.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

I Almost Hate to Post This

Greetings and Sincere Felicitations,

As many of you know, I am not a Calvinist. I harbor no ill-will towards those of you who are Calvinists, and I do not disassociate with those who believe in TULIP. I am still your friend, although I may differ greatly with you on several key points of doctrine.

I wanted to say that before I continued with this post so that y’all can’t come back at me later saying that I am attacking you. Nothing could be further from the truth. I sincerely love you, but I also sincerely hate the doctrines that you espouse.

Calvinism is a far reaching set of doctrines. It spreads and influences practically everything, and it creates a difficult atmosphere for those of us who aren’t Calvinists, as many of the fundamental aspects of various disciplines (politics, government, fantasy writing, etc.) are dramatically effected by whether one believes in TULIP or not.

As such, to perhaps explain some of my odd beliefs, I am posting this playlist of videos (a nine part series detailing why I and many others do not believe in TULIP).

Have Fun!

What Love is This?

Oh, just a side note, I am not Arminian either. 🙂

Gifts Differing: A Very Dangerous Topic

Greetings,

I am going to be studying two parallel passages with you. The goal is to explain how God gives gifts to people, and also about a specific calling that He gives to some people.

The two passages are Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12 (1 Corinthians 13 and 14 are considered as well). The calling is the one of evangelism.

1 Corinthians 12 begins by specifying a topic and a purpose: to help us to understand spiritual gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual [gifts,] brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

For the sake of time, I will start at verse 4 (although there is much that is fascinating in 2-3).

1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11-14 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.

Romans 12:4-5 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

God gives different places, roles, and skills to His different servants and people. He has different things that He needs them to do, and He has different ways for them to do them. One person might be doing the same thing as someone else, but he may need to do it a different way than that other person. This is good and right.

Notice that I am not saying that God puts arguments, strifes, differences of doctrines, and variant beliefs in His body. No, He is against these things (2 Corinthians 13:11, Philippians 1:27, Philippians 2:2, 1 Peter 3:8). I strongly believe in absolute truth, and I believe that people are wrong about a lot of things (including myself). We are to resolve these differences in love, without compromising God’s Word and Doctrine.

But we do have different tasks, different ways of going about those tasks, and different priorities. Different skills, different callings. This is ordained by God, and for His good pleasure.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

1 Corinthians 12:15-27 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?
20 But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

We ought to never seek to elevate our own position, calling, or task above those of others. Period. We need every one of us, each doing exactly what we are each supposed to do. There are a couple key words in the above passages: ‘particular’ and ‘severally.’ These both have a similar meaning, that is, “to each his own,” private, separate. We each have our own task, and our own goals, and if we each seek God, we can each find exactly what God wants us each to do.

Now, that seems all rather obvious, doesn’t it? Very plain, very forthright. I believe God did it that way on purpose, because He knew how much trouble we would have with it. 🙂

Why is it that we still tend to connect the concept of following God’s calling with going into full time supported ministry in the church or in a mission field or something like that? Pastors continually extol the virtues of ‘going into the ministry’ and how it is the best job anyone could ever have.

…not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think…

…the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee…

Why do we not rejoice as much over someone learning that God wants him to go into web design (or whatever), as when we find out that he has been called to become a full-time pastor?

Pastors and missionaries live off of the offerings of the rest of the people of God. As such, that class of people cannot possibly make up much more than about a tenth of the total Christian population. So are the other nine parts destitute, and unable to give full glory to God?

If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing?

Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.

Realize that I am not bashing ‘the’ ministry at all. I am merely pointing out that it is not the only way to serve God, and not everyone needs to be in it.

So now we come to the hard part of my article, the one that will make a lot of people very mad at me (I expect it to, but I hope it won’t).

Evangelism.

Yes, I am going to say that there is more than one way to evangelize. There are tons of ways to do it right. There are some ways that are definitely wrong, and it is very easy to do it wrong, and actually mess up people’s understanding of the gospel so much that they are desensitized to it. This is very possible, and it happens on a massive scale all over the place. But there are also lots of ways to do it right: you just need to learn how. (For the record, most tracts do it the wrong way, which is why we rarely use tracts in our family, because we can’t agree with or promote what is in them.)

But that isn’t really the main point I am getting at.

Not everyone is an evangelist.

Not everyone is called to give the gospel.

Now watch and listen and put that steam back inside your ears: you might get a concussion carrying on that way! 🙂

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

“But what about the great commission?” you say. Here it is:

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
28:20 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.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost 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.

So, Jesus sent His apostles into all the world to preach the gospel, teach, and baptize them. He also calls many other people to do this. Some people say that because Jesus obviously wasn’t talking to just those particular people, He therefore must have been talking to everyone, but this is a blatant logical fallacy. Just because a group is not one set in a larger group, does not mean that group must therefore be the whole group: it could very well be a different set.

And notice this: the great commission includes the order to baptize. And yet…

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

This is Paul, the same one who said:

1 Corinthians 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

Even the great commission itself has different parts for different people! And it doesn’t apply to everyone in the first place, but merely to those who are called to those particular tasks.

The sad thing is that many people try to make others guilty if they do not hand out gospel tracts frequently, or if they do not share the gospel actively. They say that you must not care about people going to hell if you don’t share the gospel with them.

The answer is no. We do care. We care very much. But that doesn’t mean that we feel that it is incumbent upon us to step outside of God’s calling for us to do someone else’s job (although we do it sometimes, we don’t set aside our own calling to do so). Besides, the fact is that every Christian who lives a holy life is, in a very powerful way, sharing the gospel. He is showing forth and being a witness for the glory of God. And living that way can get God’s glory into many places that no other method will. It is very effective, and a very necessary part of the body of Christ, despite what some people try to say against lifestyle evangelism.

Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

What Do I Think About Music? Ask Her.

Greetings,

Music is a very controversial, and difficult issue to deal with. I have meditated on possibly posting a series on what I believe on the subject, but I have decided to forgoe that idea…

…because I agree with someone who already wrote a series on it that is really well presented and very well studied. Read her series, and then ask me what I think about it. It is Biblical, logical, and out of the box.

It is in three parts, so I have included all three links, as well as a link to her blog. She has many other subjects that she tackles in the same Biblical, logical, and paradigm shattering manner as this.

A Topic of Discord: the Great Music Debate, Part 1, The Meekness of Wisdom

A Topic of Discord: the Great Music Debate, Part 2, The Insignia of Baal

A Topic of Discord: the Great Music Debate, Part 3, The Message and the Messenger

Enjoy yourself, and tell me what you think!

God's View of Gun Control

The year was 1984. The cloaked Arab slid through the dense Jerusalem crowds. His heart would have been pounding, but his religion and experience in this sort of thing overruled his more natural nervousness and fear. He glanced across at his partner on the other side of the square; he was ready. Where was the third? Panic gripped his heart, but then he saw the other member of his team. Why were his palms sweaty? He brushed them off, leaving dirty smudges on his hands. He had mowed down crowds of innocents before with no qualm, why would now be different? He gritted his teeth against his urge to hesitate, and threw back his cloak. The bark of his machine gun exploded across the dusty street, sending death biting into the Israeli populace. His two team members opened fire on his signal and joined him in what they thought would be carnage. Suddenly flashes and sharp cracks echoed around him, and a burning pain ripped through his chest. Six shop owners had returned fire with their sidearms. His two comrades fled as he lay in a pool of his own blood… and died. Only one Israeli had fallen with him. After that, terrorists preferred long range attacks on Israel: machine-gunning armed civilians was too risky.

That is my rendition of a true, historical, factual event that really did occur. ‘The Seven Myths of Gun Control’ by Richard Poe was my source for the history of the event. This book is highly recommended by me to help you to understand clearly, from many statistics, logic, and history, how gun control increases crime.

Here is my article on the subject.

I could go about this in the same way that the aforementioned book did. I could use perfect logic, irrefutable statistics, and solid research, gleaned from reputable sources. But that has already been done quite well, and the best I can do right now is refer you to them. I am instead going to take a different tack.

I am going to look at it Biblically.

Basically I am going to be examining the question: Is it a crime to own and carry weapons?

If it is a crime, then of course government should punish those who do so.

If it is not a crime, then what sort of justification does government have to prohibit it?

Basically put, a crime is a sin that government can punish. Many sins it cannot punish (if you disagree with that, I hope you get out of the lunatic asylum soon 😛 ). Many sins it can (if you disagree with that, you are an anarchist, and that is a whole different discussion). The debate is which sins it can and cannot punish, for the most part.

Of course, if something is not a sin, it cannot be a crime. This is something that is painfully obvious, but which many many people miss utterly.

If God does not tell us that something is a sin, it is not a sin.

If God commands someone to do something, it is not a sin.

So, if God tells someone to carry a weapon, or if He does not tell them not to, then it is not a sin for them to carry a weapon.

And is therefore also not a crime. And government cannot punish them for doing so.

Now, of course, it is impossible for someone to prove that something is impossible or non-existent (theoretically). And so of course I might have missed it…

But.

The Bible does not forbid people from bearing arms. And there are very few passages that might be even construed to say that. I might be forgetting some, so if I am missing a couple, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to address them. Thanks!

In reality, the Bible consistently assumes that people have weapons, or that, in a normal situation, they would. And in one place, Jesus actually commands his disciples to carry swords (Luke 22:36-38)! I am pretty sure those weren’t for plowing or making fancy shish kebabs. 🙂 And of course guns are the modern equivalent of a sword.

God gives several laws to the Israelites regarding their swords, such as the one mandating that they all have a special tool on the back to serve as a digging implement (Deuteronomy 23:13). This was to prevent the camp from being defiled, and is thus a sort of ceremonial law, and should not be construed as license for governments nowadays to mandate the manufacture of weapons.

It was assumed that every man had weapons in several places (i.e. Genesis 34:25, Exodus 32:27, Deuteronomy 1:41).

Granted, when Jehoiada masterminded the overthrow of Athaliah and set up Joash in his rightful place as king, he had to arm the Levites who were to guard him (2 Kings 11:10, 2 Chronicles 23:9). But realize however that Athaliah was a murdering tyrant who was mortally afraid of revolt (which is a valid fear for every tyrant), and she might very well have banned weapons (like the vast majority of other tyrants in history), which would explain why Jehoiada had to arm them out of the treasury.

There are multitudinous passages that could be examined on this subject, but they all come to the same conclusions as above given: the Bible assumes that in normal situations the average man owns and carries weapons.

Now I know of two passages that people generally bring up when weapons are mentioned. The first is in the Sermon on the Mount (which is representative of the other similar passages that they bring up), and the other is when Jesus was arrested. First we will talk about the arrest.

Here is a harmony of the gospels (a compilation of a passage from each of the gospels), showing in context with each other everything that is said to have happened in this passage under question:

When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? Then Simon Peter having a sword, stretched out [his] hand, and drew his sword, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.”

The passage that most people quote, out of context, is Jesus’ words: “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Or, as it is sometimes put: “All those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”

This last version is either absolutely wrong, or not absolutely true. David lived by the sword (which is why he could not build the temple, 1 Chronicles 28:2-3) and he died not by it, but peacefully with his son on the throne. The same for many others (Samuel, who hewed Agag in pieces, and did other similar things, died peacefully of old age), although many of those who lived by the sword did die by it (Joab for one).

In the context of this passage, it is very clear what Jesus was saying: it was God’s will and His will for Him to be taken away. He was laying down His life willingly. God would not fight on His behalf, and He would not ask Him to. And a handful of fishermen would be slaughtered by the trained soldiers if they tried to resist. It is actually very simple: Jesus was protecting them.

As for the other passage, it is in reality the strongest argument that I have found against bearing weapons, although it is weak enough.

Matthew 5:38-47 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others?] do not even the publicans so?

This is more against using a weapon than having one, but of course they are connected.

The context here is talking about behaving unselfishly, being charitable, and being longsuffering. Now, of course it would be not very charitable or longsuffering for you to shoot someone merely because they called you stupid. That would be merely proving their point. 🙂 But is that really the question?

In NT Israel, a back-handed slap was an insult, an attack on your pride. If you are slapped on your right cheek, then that is a back-handed slap: an insult. Which you are to ignore… and turn the other cheek.

A palm slap is a direct challenge to combat. A serious threat to your life. It is a clear overture of intent to kill. This is a slap on your left cheek: your other cheek.

In other words: ignore insults, but check to make sure that the person isn’t really about to kill you. But what then?

Each of these things listed here are merely superficial, things that are “less than your life” (Matthew 6:25), not your life itself, which is interestingly excluded from the citation of lex talionis: An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. The original included Life for Life. The original was also directed towards the government, not towards regular citizens. So it seems that we are supposed to forgive and let things slide as much as possible… up to a certain point.

Which is when we would need a weapon to defend ourselves.

Exodus 22:2 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, [there shall] no blood [be shed] for him.

Intriguing…

Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Important.

Now of course at about this point people start panicking: “But then there will be chaos!” “Everyone will be shooting instead of being nice!” “All the criminals will have free rein!” “There will be anarchy!”

Notice that all those are gut reactions, not stemming from any sort of experience or research, but merely from propagandist hype that has embedded its sophistries into the natural instincts of the populace. The fact of the matter is that the exact opposite of all of the above exclamations are true. The reasons why are sadly outside the scope of this article, and I must again refer you to something like ‘The Seven Myths of Gun Control’ by Richard Poe.

If something is outlawed, only outlaws will get it.

No limitation of righteous liberty can bring about anything but tyranny and rampant crime.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

Shoot Straight; Listen Up

Greetings,

That is a strange title for an article which proposes to deal with children’s songs, but as I meditated on what I would write, I discovered that I needed to address several other, very important, and foundational concepts before hand. And it is from these that I drew the inspiration for my title.

I have been accused of superfluous obfuscation of my verbiage multitudinous times in the past, and I will undoubtedly be arraigned for that fault many more times in the future. I do not apologize for using words that are perceived as gargantuan, or words which exclusively pertain to higher vocabularies than those commonly utilized and recognized in ‘normal’ society. This article is where I intend to expain why.

Although I find it amusing how easily I can confuse people with my words, I rarely do so in malice or pride aforethought. I sincerely strive to use the words that fit the place and time that I use them in. Of course I fail in this many many times, resulting in either undue confusion, or in a perception of arrogance on my part, and for those times I apologize.

But I will not stop using big words.

Why?

Because we need them.

Each person has a certain level of vocabulary, intelect, and comprehension. These three are inextricably tied into one another: when one increases, the others increase with it, when one decreases or atrophies, the others fail with it.

This personal level determines a person’s ability to function ably in life and in society. It is therefore important as humans and as Christians, that we strive to improve ourselves in these areas. This is not so that we can show off or boast ourselves over others, but so that we can ably serve our Lord and Master in all that we do.

There is a common idea going around that promotes ‘talking below your audience’ so that they will have no problems at all understanding you. This has some application, I have no doubt, but that application is not where many people generally apply it.

People like things simple and easy.

Therefore we should make things simple and easy for them so that they will like us, right?

Sometimes.

Not all the time.

And certainly not most of the time.

If you do not use a muscle, it atrophies. If you do not use an ability, it vanishes. If you do not push harder, you will grow weaker. That is how everything works (there might be some exceptions, but I really can’t think of any at the moment). If you do not think, you will become dumb. Think about it.

If everything a person takes in is below their level that I talked about, their skills of perception and comprehension will atrophy. Their skills of outward communication deteriorate with them, and their overall level will drop. If people continue to aim below their level of comprehension, slowly, the process will repeat and continue to repeat until you have someone like the average teenager today (I will kindly refrain from a precise description of that miserable state).

This same thing occurs in maturity and in spiritual growth as well. If everyone gives you responsibility lower than your capability, your level of responsibility will decrease. If everyone constantly gives you only milk, you will never be ready for meat.

The only way for people to grow is for those who interact with them to talk and be higher than them, so that they have to work to understand, and thereby they grow and strengthen.

Therefore, for the most part, each of us should talk at our own level. Shoot straight. We need to only talk below our level when the situation demands it. We should rarely try to talk above our level, the few situations where we would need to would be when we are deliberately striving to grow in a particular area by talking to someone or about something that is higher than us.

But in those situations, you should mostly be doing the other half of my title: Listen up. Always strive to find input that is bigger and higher than you: waters you need to swim in. Hard things. That includes reading deep literature (the Bible, the Dictionary, old books, etc.), and finding and talking with mentors. Mentors are so crucial that I am planning a whole article on them.

But what in the world does any of this have to do with children’s songs??

Everything.

What is a children’s song? In the context that I am referring to in particular, a children’s song is a song about Christianity that is made to be easily understood by children. In other words, it is watered down milk, fit only for lazy people and sick people. Not made for helping anyone grow strongly. Of course, there are some “children’s songs” that are truly classic, and give strength and growth to people no matter where they are, but they are by virtue of that fact alone, not children’s songs.

What is wrong with children singing hymns? Nothing. In fact, there is much good to be got out of that.

Much.

That is how children grow. That is how they learn. That is how they understand. That is how they realize that Christianity is something that is important, and which needs to be taken as important.

But how can they understand all those archaic words??

How do they understand any words? That is how they learn! And that is how we ought to learn. If they are exposed to it, they will learn it, period. The sooner the better (learning is easier at young ages, especially when it comes to vocabulary and language).

My five year old sisters walk around the house singing constantly: singing ooooold hymns with biiiiig words in them. They might not always get them right, but they try, and they learn from them.

(By the way, if you think that this would also apply to Sunday School and Nursery: it does.)

So.

Expand your vocabulary.

Get a mentor.

Sing hymns.

Shoot straight.

Listen up.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser