Saturday, December 06, 2014

Shall Women be Preachers?

Eph 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ …
The call to accept and encourage female preachers is not new, nor is the support for it new. The argument goes something like this. “Only Paul opposed women speaking up in the assembly, only in a couple of passages, and only in specific cultural settings. Maybe Paul contradicted Jesus, but Jesus was right and Paul was wrong. Jesus would have accepted female preachers; He said nothing against it. Besides, women who ‘have the gift’ or ‘feel the call’ must be allowed to preach. It’s a God thing! Those who resist are legalists who lack love and do not understand grace. However, they are still to be loved and somewhat pitied for their lack of enlightenment.”
As we begin let’s note that there is a bigger issue at stake here. It is quite surprising to me that anyone would discuss the specific question of female preachers apart from the wider question: “What does the Bible teach about the distinctive nature and roles of men and women?” After all, Paul (by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration) finds God’s answer to this question in Genesis! Creation and the fall, not any first-century culture or problem, are said to be the basis for addressing this matter. Note the following:
1 Tim 2:11–15 (ESV)
11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
Now look at 1 Cor 14. Some claim that 1 Cor 14 has to do only with the problems in that one setting, because of particular problems in Corinth. The text will not permit that inference. Note that Paul (again by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration) says regarding this instruction, “As in all the churches of the saints …” That seems clear enough.
There is more. The text makes it clear that this teaching is “as the Law also says.” The Law stipulated this arrangement, long before the gospel came to Corinth. The culture did not precede or determine the principle. Rather the God-given principle was the unchanging basis that was applied to the culture. Read the following carefully:
1 Cor 14:33–35 (ESV)
33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
So let’s return to the underlying issue: the distinctive roles of men and women. The subject of male spiritual leadership and responsibility, a mega-theme throughout Scripture, runs counter to our modern secular culture. Today’s politically correct (and “religiously correct!”) society seems almost to say that men and women are basically interchangeable and that there is no inherent distinction between the sexes and the roles they may fulfill.
The Bible’s message, however, has not changed. And it is unmistakably clear. Here are some principles and truths it declares.
God created both man and woman in His image to have dominion over all creation under His authority. Implication: man and woman are equal in value, in significance, and in esteem. Gen 1
God created man first and created the woman from the man as a suitable helper for him. Implication: man and woman are different in order of creation and in respective roles. Gen 2
The woman was deceived by the serpent and gave the forbidden fruit to the man. Implication: the woman disqualified herself from taking spiritual leadership. Gen 3; 1 Tim 2:11-15
God then said to the woman, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Gen 3:16
God chose a man named Moses. Moses chose “able men” to serve as judges. He chose twelve male spies.
God chose a man named Aaron and his male descendants to serve as High Priests.
God chose a man named Levi and his male descendants to serve as priests and to lead the worship assemblies.
God chose male judges to deliver His people from oppression. The notable exception of Deborah is just that, an exception, which shows what happens when men like Barak refuse to lead.
God chose a man named David and his male descendants to be kings.
God chose numerous male prophets to preach.
What about the New Testament? Does the creation order no longer apply? Are men and women interchangeable, with no distinctions between their roles? Did Jesus change the original framework, and did Paul then contradict Jesus? Far from it.
Jesus chose twelve men to be His apostles. He commissioned these men (minus Judas Iscariot) to take the gospel to the entire world.
Jesus affirmed the Genesis account of creation and quoted it regarding marriage. Jesus never said anything that challenged or contradicted the truth of Genesis. Matt 19:1-9
Jesus in His parables consistently portrayed the father as the leader of the home. Cf. the Prodigal Son, the Marriage Feast, etc.
Jesus in His teaching consistently portrayed the father as the provider of the home. Luke 11:11-13
Jesus in His teaching consistently portrayed the Father using male terminology.
On the Day of Pentecost, the preachers were all men. They were the apostles. Note that this occurred in Jerusalem, not Corinth, before Paul ever became a follower and supposedly “invented” this idea to address a need in Corinth. Acts 2:7, 14, 37
Before Paul even became a Christian, the Holy Spirit directed the male apostles to appoint male servants to oversee the care of the Greek-speaking widows in the church. Acts 6
Before Paul even became a Christian, the Holy Spirit directed two men, Stephen and Philip, to preach. Acts 7, 8
Before Paul ever wrote 1 Cor or 1 Tim, the Holy Spirit directed that males would be appointed as elders to oversee every church. Acts 14:23
The only person specifically called an “evangelist” (one who preaches the good news) was a man named Philip. Acts 21:8
Women in the first century prophesied, but they were not permitted to do so in the church assembly. Acts 21:9; 1 Cor 11:4-5; 14:33-35
Paul (by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration) wrote that elders and deacons were to be men, each “the husband of one wife.” 1 Tim 3
Paul appointed males – Timothy and Titus – to preach and to lead churches in Ephesus and Crete.
Peter (by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration) also understood and stated the principle of male spiritual leadership. 1 Pet 3:1-7
According to the Greek text of Eph 4:11-16, the terms apostles, prophets, pastors / shepherds, and teachers were all masculine. They referred to male leaders in the church.
Male spiritual leadership is a grave, sobering responsibility. The fact is that men will give account to God for this stewardship. This is not the time for women to do what God expects of men. It is time for men to be men. "Preach the Word."
Cory Collins

Monday, November 24, 2014


Note: this material is not original. I do not know the actual author(s).
1. As you begin, pray for understanding.
2. Read and meditate on the Scriptures that record each prayer.
3. Take notes about what you read.
4. Write out and offer your own prayer.
5. Set specific goals and take specific action as appropriate.

1. Abraham’s Prayer for Sodom in Genesis 18:20-33
2. Jacob’s prayer for mercy from Esau in Genesis 32:6-12
3. Moses’ prayer at the burning bush in Exodus 3:1-4:18
4. Moses’ praise after the Red Sea crossing in Exodus 15:1-18
5. Moses’ first prayer for Israel’s sin in Exodus 32:7-14
6. Moses’ second prayer for Israel’s sin in Exodus 32:30-34
7. Moses’ prayer for God’s presence in Exodus 33:12-34:9
8. Moses’ prayer of discouragement in Numbers 11:10-30
9. Moses’ prayer after the people rebel in Numbers 14:10-20
10. Moses’ 40 day prayer in Deuteronomy 9:18-20 and 9:25-29
11. Joshua’s prayer in defeat in Joshua 7:3-13
12. Hannah’s prayer for a child in 1 Samuel 1:1-20
13. Hannah’s prayer of thanks in 1 Samuel 2:1-10
14. David’s prayer of praise for God’s kingdom in 2 Samuel 7:18-29
15. David’s praise for deliverance in 2 Samuel 22:1-51
16. Solomon’s prayer for wisdom in 1 Kings 3:4-15 (2 Chronicles 1:5-12)
17. Solomon’s prayer to dedicate the Temple in 1 Kings 8:22-61
18. Elijah’s prayer of self-pity in 1 Kings 19:9-18
19. Hezekiah’s prayer for deliverance in 2 Kings 19:14-19
20. Hezekiah’s prayer for healing in 2 Kings 20:1-6
21. David’s prayer of praise in 1 Chronicles 17:16-27
22. David’s prayer at the people’s generosity in 1 Chronicles 29:10-20
23. Jehoshaphat’s prayer in a crisis in 2 Chronicles 20:1-23
24. Ezra’s prayer for the nation’s sin in Ezra 9:3-10:4
25. Nehemiah’s prayer for Jerusalem’s plight in Nehemiah 1:3-11
26. David’s prayer at his son’s rebellion in Psalm 3
27. David’s prayer of praise in Psalm 8
28. David’s prayer for a pure heart in Psalm 19
29. David’s prayer to his Shepherd in Psalm 23
30. David’s prayer of forgiveness in Psalm 51
31. David’s prayer for guidance in Psalm 139
32. Isaiah’s prayer for mercy in Isaiah 64:1-12
33. Jeremiah’s praise of God’s wisdom in Jeremiah 32:17-27
34. Daniel’s prayer of confession in Daniel 9:4-19
35. Habakkuk’s prayer of praise in Habakkuk 3:1-19
36. The Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-15
37. Jesus’ prayer for his disciples in John 17
38. The church’s prayer for boldness in Acts 4:23-31
39. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church in Ephesians 1:15-23 and 3:14-21
40. Prayers of worship in Heaven in Revelation 11:15-19; 15:1-4; and 16:5-7

Cory Collins

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why Jesus is My Lord

Today I ran across this piece in my files. Though I do not know the author’s name, I must share these encouraging words about Jesus Christ, our Savior and Conqueror.

He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End!
He is the keeper of creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all men.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be...
Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!

He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings peace!

The world can’t understand him,
The armies can’t defeat Him,
The schools can’t explain Him, and
The leaders can’t ignore Him.

Herod couldn't kill Him,
The Pharisees couldn't confuse Him,
And the people couldn't hold Him!

Nero couldn’t crush Him,
Hitler couldn’t silence Him,
The New Age can’t replace Him, and
Unbelievers can’t explain Him away!

He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
His ways are right,
His word is eternal,
His will is unchanging, and
His mind is on me!

He is my redeemer,
He is my Savior,
He is my guide, and
He is my peace!

He is my Joy,
He is my comfort,
He is my Lord, and
He rules my life!

I serve Him because His bond is love,
His burden is light, and
His goal for me is abundant life.

I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise,
the power of the powerful,
the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers,
the leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and
the sovereign Lord of all that was and is and is to come.

And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size:
His goal is a relationship with ME!
He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me, never forget me, never overlook me, and never cancel my appointment in His appointment book!

When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face death, He carries me home!

He is everything for everybody, everywhere, every time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine!
My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world.
So, if you’re wondering why I feel so secure, understand this...
He said it and that settles it.

God is in control, I am on His side, and that means all is well with my soul.

Cory Collins

Saturday, October 25, 2014

From Death to Life - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Luke 9:23 And [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
It’s strange but true. Only when we have grasped the reality of death can we understand the meaning of life. Charles Colson in The Good Life tells the story of the great nineteenth-century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881). This gifted author, who wrote Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), and The Brothers Karamazov (1880), experienced this paradox in an unexpected and dramatic way.
Enamored with French Utopian socialism, the young intellectual attended a meeting that the Russian czar believed was subversive. Because of that, Dostoyevsky was condemned to eight years of hard labor. After he had been in custody for a time, he learned that his sentence had been changed to execution by firing squad. He prepared to die.
On a bleak winter day, Dostoyevsky and his fellow prisoners were marched through the snow in front of the firing squad. As a military official shouted out the death sentences, an Orthodox priest led each man to a platform, giving him an opportunity to kiss the cross the priest carried. Three of the prisoners were then marched forward and tied to a stake.
Dostoyevsky looked on, realizing he would be next in line. He watched the soldiers pull the men’s caps down over their eyes. He felt revulsion in his stomach as the firing squad lifted their rifles, adjusted their aim, and stood ready to pull the triggers. Frozen in suspense, Dostoyevsky waited for what seemed like a lifetime.
Then he heard the drums start up again. But they were beating retreat! He watched, stunned, as the firing squad lowered their rifles and the soldiers removed the prisoners’ caps from their eyes. Moments from death, everything changed. Their lives would be spared.
Immediately after this incident, Dostoyevsky wrote a letter to his brother about the change the experience had brought about in him: “When I look back on my past and think how much time I wasted on nothing, how much time has been lost in futilities, errors, laziness, incapacity to live; how little I appreciated it, how many times I sinned against my heart and soul—then my heart bleeds. Life is a gift. … Now, in changing my life, I am reborn in a new form. Brother! I swear that I will not lose hope and will keep my soul and heart pure. I will be reborn for the better. That’s all my hope, all my consolation!”
We are certainly not endorsing this man’s theology or specific beliefs, but one thing is clear. Dostoyevsky’s near execution and the eight dreary years in a Siberian prison gave him a unique gift: the ability to see life from its end. He understood what really mattered in a way that many people never do. And this perspective equipped him to write great novels filled with incredible insights into the human condition and into the battle between good and evil.
Dostoyevsky’s novels helped keep religious faith (as he understood it) alive during the seventy years of Soviet repression. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the dissident whose Nobel Prize-winning books exposed the repression of the Soviet gulag, took many of his cues from Dostoyevsky. Through Solzhenitsyn and other dissidents who treasured Dostoyevsky’s work, Dostoyevsky’s suffering proved an indirect but powerful force in toppling the evil Soviet regime.
When I read Colson’s account I imagined myself in Dostoyevsky’s situation. How focused my life would be, how grateful my heart would be, and how intense my faith would be, if I were literally given my life back at the brink of death. Instead I can become so caught up in the everyday routine of life and miss the precious gift of each moment.
We are not told how the murderous insurrectionist Barabbas reacted when he was taken off death row and avoided crucifixion. When the crowd shouted for Jesus to be put to death instead, Barabbas was suddenly free, though it was he who deserved to die. Did he go on as he had lived before, returning to a life of crime and evil? Or did his “near-death experience” transform his view of the purpose of his life? Did he become a follower of Christ?
The apostle Paul actually had several “near-death experiences,” one of which he described in 2 Cor 1:8–10: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” Paul had to identify with the death of Christ before he could connect with His resurrection. He had to “die” before he could really live.
We so easily take life for granted. Days pass, weeks slip by, seasons change, and years roll along. We float downriver as if life here will go on forever. What do we have to show for our lives? What have we accomplished? What good will we leave behind? If we knew for sure that we were going to die today – but then we didn’t – what difference would it make? Just thinking about it can make all the difference in the world in your life and mine. We are not merely living people who will one day die. We are dying people who have been given real life in Jesus Christ. Let’s make the most of it – for Him.
Rom 6:13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Cory Collins

Monday, October 06, 2014

The Beliefs and Teachings of Beth Moore

Display of Beth Moore resources at a local LifeWay store.

Ac 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
It is always right, even necessary, to examine the Scriptures daily to see whether a public speaker’s teaching is biblical. In doing so we must not judge anyone’s heart or question anyone’s motives or intelligence.
Wanda Elizabeth “Beth” Moore was born on June 16, 1957, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She is an evangelist, author, and Bible teacher. She is married with two grown children. She is the founder of Living Proof Ministries, based in Houston, Texas. Formerly a member of Houston’s First Baptist Church, she now belongs to Bayou City Fellowship (BCF) in Houston, where her son-in-law, Curtis Jones, is the lead pastor.
What is Bayou City Fellowship (BCF)? What does this group teach and practice?
BCF is a charismatic group which holds that “all men and women are born corrupted, sinful, and condemned.” From birth all people are “enslaved to sin” and are “unable to understand the things of God.” The Holy Spirit must first enable such understanding. They "believe all the gifts listed in the New Testament are still active." The gifts listed in 1 Cor 12:4-11, said to continue today, include tongues, healings, prophecy, etc. The group teaches that the Spirit baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ so that they are saved. Later they are to be baptized (by immersion) in water. A person once saved can never be lost, though “Christian freedom is not an excuse to sin.”
Readers, would you invite any member of BCF to teach a Bible class where you worship? Why or why not?
Let’s get back to Ms. Moore herself. She is a dynamic, passionate, and articulate presenter. She is very effective and persuasive. She has an extremely devoted following. Many enroll in every class she produces, faithfully watching the videos and eagerly doing the daily homework. They find her message and style engaging and captivating. They eagerly await each new Beth Moore study, on any topic or part of the Bible that it may address.
Though Beth Moore no longer belongs to a Southern Baptist church, the Southern Baptists’ publishing arm, B & H (Broadman and Holman), publishes her materials. The Southern Baptists’ commercial arm, LifeWay Christian Stores, promotes and sells them. The extent and influence of Ms. Moore’s ministry can also be seen in increased sales. The ministry reported 2011 income in excess of $5M and over $12M in assets.
To allow Beth Moore to speak for herself, please watch this sample YouTube presentation before reading further.
Readers, after watching the video, would you invite Beth Moore to teach a Bible class where you worship? Would you participate in such a class? Why or why not?
Some have a strong, even intense emotional commitment to Ms. Moore. In fact one can draw a very strong response from her supporters just for questioning her beliefs and teachings. I know this from firsthand experience! Several years ago, when her material was introduced into a local church setting, I asked some objective, Bible-based questions. As a result some sisters in Christ in that local church snubbed me and acted as if it was my problem!
With some it seems virtually impossible to have a rational, biblical evaluation of what Ms. Moore teaches. They react by asking, “How can you question a person who is so sincere? Who obviously loves God with all her heart? Who touches so many lives? Who has taught me more about the Bible than anyone I have ever known in my life?”
It is not Ms. Moore’s sincerity, passion, or love that is in question. We dare not judge such things. However, if the Bereans could evaluate Paul’s teaching in the light of Scripture (Acts 17:11), surely we can do the same with Ms. Moore’s teaching. Because her teaching is public, it is not difficult to ascertain its content and tone.
Does Beth Moore teach what the Bible teaches?
[1] Ms. Moore teaches that one receives salvation through the “sinner’s prayer” rather than through baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Her website notes, “How to Receive Jesus Christ: 1. Admit your need for forgiveness and peace. 2. Be willing to turn from your sins, believing that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave. 3. Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and be your Savior.”
Readers, would you invite Beth Moore to tell the people you know how to be saved? Regardless of her sincerity, is she teaching what the Bible teaches on this vital subject?
If she is not, may we say so without being harsh, judgmental, or unfair? Certainly it is OK to talk and write publicly about a public statement like this. Surely we may say with kindness and love, “This is not what the Bible teaches.”
Many say that we should go to each person privately, as much as possible. To this end I have written a letter to Ms. Moore about this subject. Would you join me and do the same? Again, with kindness and respect for her knowledge and sincerity, you can contact her personally and ask her to reconsider what the Bible teaches about salvation. Her website says that the best way to reach her is by mail, at this address:
Beth Moore              12131 Malcomson                Houston, TX  77070
Before we go on to other teachings, let’s note this. Many sincere people, from various evangelical religious groups, have also expressed concern about some of Beth Moore’s teachings, which are noted below. You may search online and see that this is the case.
[2] Ms. Moore adds her own content to the Bible’s actual teaching. In the DVD series Believing God, she discusses Mark 9:14-24. Ms. Moore claims that when Jesus came down from the Transfiguration with the three disciples He had taken with Him, He found the other nine arguing about why He had not taken them with Him. Why had Jesus picked just Peter, James and John? Why were the others not good enough? This arguing supposedly gave them “a failure of faith.” Ms. Moore said that they had argued with the Pharisees and the teachers of the law “until they talked them out of their faith.” And this is why she says we are not to argue with “Pharisees” who want to destroy our faith in what God can do. This is simply not in the Bible, and in fact it contradicts it. The context (verse 29) gives Jesus’ actual explanation. The failure to cast out the demon was not caused by arguments about why some were not chosen or by arguments with the Pharisees about anything.
One of Ms. Moore’s followers once told me, “She’s showing us things I never saw in the Bible before!” She was right. As you consider her materials, listen carefully and be sure the Bible actually teaches what she says it teaches.
At another time Ms. Moore affirmed that Jesus was actually born on December 25. She suggested that He was quite possibly conceived on the Jewish Day of Atonement, and in that case He could in fact have been born on “Christmas Day.” Then she said, “That works for me!” She gave no Scripture. She had no biblical basis for her conclusion. The point here is not to tell people how to remember the coming and birth of the Savior. It is just to emphasize that we must be careful not to say more or less than the Bible says on any subject.
[3] Ms. Moore teaches men, in the presence of men (1 Tim 2:11-15). You saw this when you watched the sample video noted above. People may disagree as to whether she is “preaching” or “teaching,” but in either case the Scripture is clear.
Ms. Moore does state that women are to be subject to their husbands. In this same regard, she needs to make it clear that, according to Scripture, women must not teach men. She needs to insist on following this truth. This is a watershed issue in the religious world today, and we simply must speak where the Bible speaks. Ignoring biblical truth can be just as dangerous as adding to it.
[4] Ms. Moore claims that God has spoken to her individually, personally, and specifically.
You have already watched the sample presentation above, where she describes her verbal argument with God in an airport about brushing a man’s hair. You can read a description of this encounter here:
There she is quoted as saying, "Again, as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind."
In the Session 6 DVD of Believing God, Ms. Moore describes a conversation she had with God. He called her “Baby” and “Honey.” He established her as a religious authority, through whom He would give additional revelation beyond the Bible. She says: “You know what He told me not too long ago? I told you when I first began this whole concept, He first started teaching it to me about five years ago, and He said these words to me: ‘Baby, you have not even begun to believe Me. You haven’t even begun!’ You know what He said just a few days ago? ‘Honey, I just want you to know we’re just beginning.’ Oh, glory! That meant I had begun. Hallelujah! But He was telling me, ‘When this ends, we ain’t done with this. Honey, this is what we do for the rest of your life.’ And He said those words to me over and over again: ‘Believe Me. Believe Me. And I hope it’s starting to ring in your ears, over and over again, Believe Me.’”
Elsewhere she writes, “As we study we may see several examples of Him [Christ] posing a question that only He could answer. Christ certainly uses that teaching method with me. Sometimes He’ll cause me to dig through Scripture for a question He seemed to initiate. Other times the question may come as a personalized whisper in my heart: ‘Beth, why are you acting that way?’ Often my answer is ‘I don’t know, Lord! Can you tell me why?’ If I really search His heart, sooner or later He’ll give me insight into my reactions” (Jesus, the One and Only, by Beth Moore, B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tenn., 2002, p. 47).
Beth Moore also notes sometimes she has been mistaken about God speaking to her. She says that there are occasions when "I probably misunderstood or accidentally ascribed [the voice] to Him." Read these words in their own context.
In So Long, Insecurity, Moore writes: “I’d like to replay it to you in the form of a dialogue because when it occurred, it was as if God spoke every word concretely and audibly to me. In reality, what I’ll describe was expressed in my spirit rather than in my physical hearing. After spending years in relationship with God, seeking what He’s like and how He operates in Scripture, I, like many people, can get a sense of something He’s strongly impressing upon me without “hearing” precise words. When thoughts come to me out of the blue that I’m convinced did not originate in my own mind, if they’re consistent with God’s character and sound like something He would say in Scripture, I usually assume it’s Him. Ultimately, time proves whether or not I discerned the voice correctly. If it produces substantial fruit, I know it was God and I was on target. If nothing comes of it, I probably misunderstood or accidentally ascribed it to Him. None of us are beyond confusing our own thoughts with God’s, no matter how many times we've been around the bend with Him (Moore, “So Long,” pp. 325-326).
When God speaks to Beth Moore, what would He instruct her about salvation? Would He have her teach others the “Sinner’s Prayer?” Or would He have her say, as the apostles did, “Repent and be baptized?”
[5] Ms. Moore allegorizes Scripture. That is, she takes elements from the Bible, turns them into symbols of other ideas, and draws her own conclusions. Speaking of the demoniac of Matt 8:28-34, she says, “Before we proceed to the next point, consider a fact revealed in verse 27. The demoniac didn't live in a house. He resided in the tombs. I wonder how many people today are living “in the tombs?” I know a woman who is still so oppressed by despair that decades after the loss of a loved one, she still lives “in the tombs.”  (Jesus, the One and Only, by Beth Moore, B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tenn., 2002, p. 143-144)
Of course, the text itself does not actually highlight the difference between living in a house and living in the tombs. In fact the man was not only in the tombs but also on the mountains (Mark 5:5). The point of the event actually has to do with Jesus’ power over demons, the people's fear of His authority, and His directing the man to tell others at home what the Lord had done for him. This passage does not refer to people today who are in despair because a loved one died. Certainly the Lord promises us His comfort (2 Cor 1). This text, however, describes a specific miracle, unique in several respects, in which Jesus miraculously cast out a large number (“Legion”) of demons. This particular text does not promise that Jesus will miraculously remove one’s grief after bereavement.
The problem with allegorizing is that one can make the Bible say anything he wants. For example, “Legion” actually involved many demons. We could make that large number refer to a multitude of struggles that people have. There would be no need to limit it to grief. We could include in the list anything we choose. We could claim that, according to this passage, Jesus will miraculously, visibly, and totally cast out all the problems we have. Some even say that many conditions with which people suffer today are caused by demons that possess them. Why not?
Then, of course, Jesus sent the demons into a herd of pigs. Who are the “pigs” in our allegory? Could we make the pigs to be God’s enemies today and claim that our grief and bereavement will somehow be transferred to them? And what is the allegorical significance of the townspeople, the cliff down which the pigs descend, and the water in which they drown? We could make these things represent whatever we choose. Apparently, however, the significance of this strange event is simply that the devil's power is real and destructive. Jesus, with His supernatural might, is able with a word to overcome the devil's worst. 
[6] Ms. Moore takes an ecumenical, inter-denominational approach, going along with man-made denominational divisions, doctrines, and traditions. Her website notes, “We actively support the unity of all believers eclipsing all denominational, economic, or ethnic diversities.”
When God speaks to Beth Moore, would He give her that message? Or would He tell her to call all her hearers back to the “one Lord, one faith, one body, and one baptism” of Eph 4?
Readers, would you ask a person (even the most sincere and passionate) with these beliefs to teach anyone – including yourself – about matters pertaining to eternal life and death?
Here’s a much safer course, in fact the only safe course. Keep reading that Bible, believe what it says, and stick with it. Evaluate everything by it, and honor the Lord by obeying it.
Cory Collins

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Child of God, Born into Paradise

One of our elders and best friends, David Dunham, lost a precious granddaughter when the little girl his daughter was carrying passed away. Dave wrote and delivered this eulogy at the funeral service for Claire. With his permission I present his remarks here.

Introduction – Thank you all for being here. It humbles us to see so many have come to support our family, especially Allen and Leia, on this day of sadness.
Claire Alice Martin
She has changed our lives forever.
None of us well ever look at a baby the same way again. Every tiny one will tear at our hearts, reminding us of Claire. And it will cause us to love them even more. Because we know the hurt that is caused if the arms that cuddle that child are suddenly empty.
No matter how much love you have felt for every little one you know – you cherish them more now than ever before. Because you are now reminded of how precious and fragile each one is.
Every pregnant tummy you see demands a moment of prayer from you for that little one and its parents. Because you don’t ever want anyone else to feel the pain you are feeling.
And every child, born or unborn that is cared for carelessly causes you to wonder to yourself: don’t they know – don’t they know how delicate and priceless that life is?
Has there ever been a child more anticipated than this one? More longed for? More dreamed of? More looked forward to?
Celebrations have happened. Gifts have been given.  Plans have been made. There are gifts not yet given and we perplexed over what to do with them. And now tears flow. These all illustrate how we have all invited and accepted Claire into our lives and into our hearts.
The anticipation of meeting her has grown every day since the day we knew her life had begun. And now the introduction has not gone as we had all envisioned. And now we need blessings from God more than ever.
We have all said that a child is a gift from God. Now we realize that the gift is not God’s obligation but a true blessing and gift from The Almighty to us, His creation.
How is that one whom we have never met has become so dear to us? It is absolutely remarkable. The influence and impact she has had on our lives comes from above. This is the result and experience of love. Love is not to be explained. It is to be experienced. It is a gift from above.
Leia and Allen have been getting to know Claire for several months, now. She has been the focus of their lives, the love of their lives. A few others have been privileged to feel her movements. None of us has gazed into her eyes and felt the love that a baby has for those that love her.
To someone who doesn’t know any better, they might think that the love we have for her is not possible. We know better. We love Claire deeply and we always will. We have not yet met her, but we miss her.

David, the King of Israel, had a son that was very sick when he was born. David prayed earnestly for that son for seven days. The son died. I believe that we can learn a lot from how David reacted to the news.
He had been on the floor, weeping, praying and fasting, for seven days. His servants had observed this. They had tried to get him to eat; and he would not. They were fearful of how he would react when he got the news that the child was gone. They had seen how devastated the king was. They were afraid that he would be even worse when he got the news. What would he do to them? What would he do to himself? They were afraid he may do something desperate.
David could tell that the servants were nervous about something and he asked what was wrong. So, they gathered their courage and told him. David got up from the floor, cleaned himself up, and he asked for food, and he ate. The servants were startled and puzzled and finally one of them asked him, “Why are you acting like this”? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept. Now that he is gone you get up and eat.
David eventually replied, “I will go to him, but he will not return to me”.
And so it is with Claire, we will go to her.
The things that we dread and suffer through, days like today, Claire will never suffer through. We will not yet gaze into her eyes, but she will gaze into the eyes of Jesus.
Rev 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Can we find it within ourselves to rejoice in this? That little Claire will never know mourning or crying or pain? That she was born into paradise.
Let us take our ultimate comfort in the ultimate promise of God. And yet we mourn.
And mourn we should. We mourn together. As we should. And we want Claire back. We will go to her but she will not return to us.
As the tears flow, we are supporting each other. Loving each other. As Jesus loved Mary and Martha as they wept for their brother Lazarus. Jesus wept.
Jesus is described by Isaiah as “a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering”.
Today we weep. God above knows our pain. He never wanted it to be like this. And yet, sin is in the world and we all suffer because of it.
And, of course, we wonder why.
The wise teacher of Ecclesiastes said it this way:
Ecc 8:7 Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?
 8 No man has power over his spirit to retain it so no one has power over the day of his death.
Ecc 8:14 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve.
Ecc 8:16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe man's labor on earth-- his eyes not seeing sleep day or night--
 17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.
So, I implore you, do not spend too much time trying to figure it all out. It will only be, as the wise man says, “A chasing after the wind”. You can chase it all your life and never catch it. Nothing is gained for all of your effort.
Instead, let us heed the teacher: Ecc 12:13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Job also set such a strong example of faith for us. Upon hearing the news that all of his children had been killed:
Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship
 21 and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
And further on he said, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
I am not saying that this is going to be easy, because it isn’t and it won’t be. And don’t expect that the sadness will quickly pass. Mourning takes time. And trust. And Faith.
As I said before, Claire has changed our lives forever. I am glad that I am changed because I will not regret having loved Claire. I have now seen love in a way that I couldn’t have predicted or understood without experiencing it myself. Maybe you feel the same way. I have never been through anything more difficult yet I will always treasure it. And God willing I will never experience it again.
God bless us all.
Cory Collins