Sunday, July 31, 2016



Present perfection is that state of the believer as he awaits the Second Coming of Jesus and concerns the state of blamelessness, having no blemish even though the body has need of the final act of His perfecting at the Second Coming.
The church modern day belief concerning present perfection is that of the non-possibility of the present perfection state spoken of in 2 Pet. 3:14 as well as Phil. 2:15, Eph. 5:27 which states the hope and expectation of Christ all while the pastor is to be blameless as well as the deacons in order to qualify (1 Tim. 3:2, 10). Do you wonder why the church today is performing so poorly with the next generation who are raised in these households and know the actual truth. The modern belief gets down to restating passages such as 1 John 1:9 which says "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." They state it as "When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The change of the preposition "if" to a conjunction "when" is actually declaring an expectation of sinning that destroys present perfection while the preposition "if" is declaring the biblical method of the preservation of the state of present perfection. They do dances with verses that might disqualify them.
Present perfection was made possible "one way" in the church age by Christ saying "if I wash thee not you have no part with Me." (John 13:8) He was teaching them of water cleansing while on earth as well and their need for it. Blood cleansing separates the saved from the unsaved as well as water cleansing (foot washing) which we call sanctification. Some attempt water cleansing (foot washing) but never get the task finished as Rev. 21:27 and Rev. 21:8 teach. All while attending the church services and taking counseling session regularly. 1 John 1:9 is grace being used in these instances so that sin may abound. So He states His needing the assistance of Church saints in the washing of the feet until He performs the final foot washing at His coming. The Master and Teacher of John 13:13 gives the cleansing washing in the past through His death and resurrection while presently cleansing through washing using His word Eph. 5:26 and then finally His final washing as He takes His bride home to rule and reign with Him in righteousness - His three stage washing and triune sanctification ministry.
Hope & Promise of Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 3:2; Eph. 1:4; 1 Cor. 1:8; Matt. 5:48 is the full completion of His triune ministry being  brought about by the God of Resource - El Shaddai. Gen. 17:1-2.
The BESETTING SIN prevents the unsaved from attainment of present perfection. Rev. 21:8.

Saturday, July 30, 2016



"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach."  1 Tim. 3:2

There seems to be allowances made in the work designated as Pastor in the Bible so as to allow deviations from the past to allow either a woman or a divorced man to serve as the Pastor of a local body of believers.

 A true believer must make a call concerning whether he or she will allow such a one to exercise that work in their lives. A wrong choice could bring about death spiritually to the one having made that choice. So one would be wise to go to the only book of truth to make that call.
Many denominations have muddied the water by making separate works of the work of the bishop, overseer, pastor, shepherd. The bible teaches in Acts 20:17, 28 that they are the same person. Paul calls this one by all those names. Again one needs to be careful anymore where you attend church.
The television is also a poor place to get ones information concerning this subject for there is untold revelations of immoral people acting as a blameless qualifier of the office they are making their wealth from.
For those who want women to take the eldership, the qualifications are laid down in the above verse. One qualification which blocks their pathway is the husband of one wife. As in 1 Tim. 5:9, "wife of one man," implies a woman married but once; so "husband of one wife" here must mean the same. A woman cannot meet this requirement, neither a divorced man.
Both "wife of one man" and "husband of one wife" requires in this intimate relationship grace untold displayed as well as communion with the Teacher and Lord of John 13:13.
My seminary professor taught us that "snakes don't talk" according to the account in Genesis concerning the snake and Eve which Paul teaches Timothy as the reason why women cannot be a pastor in 1 Tim. 2:12-14. Adam having been given the task of naming animals before Eve was even in the picture realized after the task was finished that not one animal stopped and asked him how his day was going. He was well aware by that time that snakes don't talk. He did not share that with Eve and she was deceived utterly by the devil but Adam was not. He intentionally knew he was sinning. Again this was not a generational and political new awareness of mankind because the reason goes clear back to the beginning, at creation.
If the Lord and Teacher of John 13:13 can't qualify as well as disqualify one to care for His bride while they reside on earth the church has failed to teach the right doctrines to bring about blamelessness for His bride who entrusts to this work he left to men who qualify according to His words of instruction.

Friday, July 29, 2016


"An overseer, then, must be above reproach..."  1 Tim. 3:2
America as well as the world and especially Europe has been busy redefining words as well as what they mean and the churches have followed suit. Too many times the news media is glad to report of a situation in a church that reflects the tolerance of men in the office and work of a bishop, pastor, overseer, shepherd (all the same person according to Acts 20) as not having the character trait of blamelessness. Not only is the pastor not blameless, the followers of that man are also sinning daily that grace might abound. And their state that they live in will eventually fix as stated in Rev. 22:11 "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." All those trips to the confessional and those that counsel endlessly on a prevailing sin go into eternity sealed in their sinning behavior. They might be politically correct in their minds and probably are. Walking as He walked is not possible in the environment created. Therefore I took a trip through the Bible to see what Jesus says is the correct definition of that word and find that political correctness has invaded the church house.
According to the Word of Jesus, the Bible, it defines blameless as:
Guiltless, free from sin and error in a legal sense, not able to be punished, innocent. Judges 15:3
Greek, "unexceptionable"; as the result of public investigation unaccused [TITTMANN].
The character trait needed to qualify for the pastorate. 1 Tim 3:2.
The servant of the Lord from the beginning was to be of that character to serve. Gen. 44:10.
Qualification of keeping an oath. Josh. 2:17.
Qualities of John's parents Zacharias and Elizabeth in Luke 1:6 as well as further described as righteous and walking in ALL of His commandments and ordinances.
Seen to be the perfect reflection of the Lord Jesus Christ made possible by the faithfulness and calling of Him in 1 Cor. 1:8.
Also further described as the harmless sons of God without rebuke in the midst of others who are not in Phil. 2:15.
As concerning the law found to be righteous as well as zealous (dedicated, consecrated, persistantly vigil, bringing all your powers to a consecrated effort of attaining) for your belief as Saul in Phil. 3:6
How the true christian is KEPT through the power of the sanctifier work of the word and Holy Spirit unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in 1 Thess. 5:23.
The whole person is promised this <spirit, soul, and body> The physical, psychical, pneumatic nature of man. There will not only be the perfecting of each part, but the perfecting of all three in their proper relationships, absolutely blameless. That is a recognition of the threefold fact of human personality finally reached. Man is essentially spirit and flesh, and he has a mind, or consciousness, or soul. The spirit is the essential, the body is the expressional, and the mind is the consciousness, which is either spiritual or fleshly according to whether spirit or flesh is in the ascendant in the life. The distinction between spirit and soul is sharply maintained throughout the Scriptures.... I think the teaching of revelation concerning the nature of man was most lucidly expressed by Justin Martyr, "As the body is the house of the soul, so is the soul the house of the spirit."
The spirit is justified when you believe, the mind is sanctified through processes, but not until the perfected body is given to us can we come to the ultimate meaning of our salvation in Christ. In this tabernacle we groan, not until the body is made the perfect instrument of the spirit life.
*ITS NATURE-A work wherein God will wholly finish the process of sanctification. This sanctification is based on past sanctification, but it is personal and progressive, moving toward the point of perfection.
*ITS TIME-It will be finished at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Either by resurrection or transformation. See Phil 1:6 which speaks of "until the day of Christ." The completion of the process.
*ITS RESULT-We are made like Christ. See 1 John 3:2 where we are "like Him." Similiar, not gods, but like Him as a perfect man.
*ITS MEANS-It will be accomplished by the unhindered vision of Christ. See 1 John 3:2 where it says "see Him as He is." For then we will have better eyes to see Him with. Better mouths to praise Him with. Better ears to listen to His truth. A perfected body with better parts.
*ITS CERTAINTY-It is pledged by the faithfulness of God. 1 Thes 5:24 w/ 23.
Therefore the state of the true believer who awaits the final step of perfection - the replacement of the present body with the one which is the perfect instrument for His service and with which we will never groan again.
The overseer, pastor, elder is to be of this character trait in 1 Tim. 3:2. (His role as the superintendant of the church body he has been alloted by Christ). Also the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach.He is unrebukeable. (Greek anepileptos.) Titus 1:6-7 further qualifies them with faithful children. (anegkletos)
Quality of the deacon also in 1 Tim. 3:10. (Different Greek term used - anegkletos.) Found to be blameless then they are allowed to serve.
Trait of true poor widows after their family have cared for them and can't do anything further, the church household then are to treat them as Christ would so that they might remain blameless in 1 Tim. 5:7.
God's children are to be diligent to be found in that state with that quality in 2 Pet. 3:14. (Unblameable, in peace and without spot). Some need to get busy.

These are the qualities of one who has been close to His Lord and Teacher of John 13:13, who have received the cleansing words of Christ and make corrections furnished by the ministry of the Spirit, having used the feetwashing commandment as well as 1 John 1:9 as well as James 1 instructions concerning the anointing with oil - all commands of the Lord and Teacher to keep one of His own spotless and therefore blameless.

O.T. naqah, naw-kaw'; a prim. root; to be (or make) clean (lit. or fig.); by impl. (in an adverse sense) to be bare, i.e. extirpated:--acquit X at all, X altogether, be blameless, cleanse, (be) clear (-ing), cut off, be desolate, be free, be (hold) guiltless, be (hold) innocent, X by no means, be quit, be (leave) unpunished, X utterly, X wholly

anaitios, an-ah'-ee-tee-os; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and G159 (in the sense of G156); innocent:--blameless, guiltless as the temple priests asked who were guilty.

N.T. anegkletos, an-eng'-klay-tos; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and a der. of G1458; unaccused, i.e. (by impl.) irreproachable:--blameless

amemptos, am'-emp-tos; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and a der. of G3201; irreproachable:--blameless, faultless, un-blame able.

anepileptos, an-ep-eel'-ape-tos; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and a der. of G1949; not arrested, i.e. (by impl.) inculpable:--blameless, unrebukeable.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016



A friend's wife just had a stroke that left her almost inanimate and near lifeless, at least in his eyes. Trying to reason why God would have this happen has cause hatred to appear towards God and His reason(s). She inhabits a vessel that has a purpose in God's eyes and until that purpose if fulfilled she lives in that body as she does. I pray that the Holy Spirit co-habitat's that vessel with her.

Implements or containers ordinarily used as in, for example, the Temple service or household activities. Vessels are utensils designed for holding dry or liquid products. A number of vessels and other utensils are mentioned in the Bible.

Vessel is that which is used for a purpose and God's choice of vessels is the human. Made in His image and likeness, male and female, married and complimenting Him and each other for a purpose outlined by Him in the opening verses of the Bible. He uses both saved and unsaved. The saved is used for spiritual purposes and therefore is required to cleanse the vessel that the human inhabits. Marriage enters into this picture of vessels used for the others purposes. As the bride of Christ. Marriage cannot be understood outside the usage of vessels. Saul was said to be a vessel for the Lord's use in Acts 9:15. Rom. 9:21 says they might be chosen for either honorable or dishonorable service but serve they do. 1 Thess. 4:4 says we are to sanctify our vessel being that we co-habitate with the Holy Spirit. Our vessel needs sanctification, separation to its ultimate intention by cleansing; and that sanctification is communicated by the coming of God, and by the purifying splendor of His glory and is always the outcome of the coming of the cleansing, purifying glory of God - 1 Thess. 3:13. Vessel has a dual function since salvation - 1 Cor. 6:13. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. Our bodies are members of Christ for His use. Wives are known by God to be the weaker vessel as seen with Christ and His bride who is weak as compared to Him - 1 Pet. 3:7.

Monday, July 25, 2016


(James 5:19-20)

In these final verses James sets forth the ultimate purpose in this service of anointing and prayer. It is to reach the hearts of the saints and deal with sins in their lives. While personal sin may not be the cause of sickness, on the other hand it may be. But in either event, an opportunity is provided whereby the suffering one may be brought nearer to the Lord.
(1) There is always a possibility of a saint erring from the path (19). "Brethren, If any of you do err from the truth.” In these words James names those who may err, and points out the nature of the error.
Christians may err, as the word "brethren" and the phrase "of you" will attest. And no Christian is in more danger of erring than that one who has already erred in thinking that he cannot err. In fact Christianity finds men who are erring, and after bringing them within the fold they continue to err, though the work of Christ progressively reduces this throughout life. When the great work of salvation is complete, then the time of erring will be over.
Straying from the truth is the nature of their deviation. The word "err" means to stray or wander away, and in this ease it is a wandering away from the truth. Wandering from the path of truth then leads to wandering from the way of truth. Without a doubt this phrase “err from the truth” includes, both the doctrinal and practical wandering away of the saint. False doctrine is wandering away from God and the light that is in Him, and it will eventually lead into evil practice. For apart from the truth of God there is no guiding light by which to chart one's course. (John 13:13) And man without light in himself must eventually fall into the ditch during life and into hell when the sheets are balanced for eternity.
(2) There is then a practical value in converting an erring saint (20). For if "one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." One is actually in unison with His Savior and His ministry of sanctification. He positions also with the entire trinity.
The immediate effect of converting the sinner is that of changing him from his course in doctrinal error. The word "converteth" means to turn around, a complete about face. And the only possible place where this may begin is with doctrinal error. The sinning saint must see God anew in all His holiness, he must see the exceeding sinfulness of his sin, and he must see the dire consequences of proceeding any longer therein. He comes back under the teaching and Lordship of Christ. A complete about face from doctrinal error will also bring a complete about face in the saint's way of life. Once the saint is converted on these points another result will follow.
The issuing effect of converting the sinner is that of covering a multitude of sins. These are not the sins of the brother who is working with the erring brother, but the sins of the erring brother. The sins of the mind and faith, the doctrinal sins, will be covered by the blood of Christ. The sins of life and conduct, the practical sins, will be covered by the blood of Christ. The sins that might spawn from these will be thus covered. And best of all, they will be cleansed from the life of the saint (1 John 1:9). He comes back to the stance of blameless.
The ultimate effect of converting the sinner is that he will be saved from physical and eternal death. Personal sins, which may be the cause of physical illness, if not dealt with and done away, may bring one to the brink of the grave. In the anointing service these are dealt with. But even though God may not visit physical death upon a professed sinning saint, if he continues in sin, doctrinal and practical, he belies his profession and will ultimately not only suffer physical death but also eternal death. Fixed in his moral state according to Rev. 22:11.

Let the saints praise God that through the avenue of physical sickness an opportunity has been provided in which the saint may be healed. But more important than that, it provides a place where inventory of one's spiritual state may be diagnosed and healed, blessed and blameless, ready to meet the Savior and able to see Him as He is.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


(James 5:16, 18)

It is now set forth in the argument of James which follows and it is clear that the same thread of thought goes on as the reading of the Revised Version indicates, "Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." "Therefore" looks back to what has already been said, and forward to new thoughts about to be expressed.
(1) Preparation for the service of anointing should be made by confession of sin (16a). In the preceding verses, 13 through 15, James was touching the high points of the service. Confession of sin must therefore come first, for sin is that thing which interrupts the whole relationship with God. Until that is successfully removed, there can be no happy and healthy fellowship with the triune God. True worship is therefore possible in spirit and truth. And what is true with the individual and God is also true of the entire Christian community. Blameless is the quality of both the pastor 1 Tim. 3:2 as well as his flock 2 Pet. 3:14. So there is need for each one to confess his sins before others of the Christian community. This certainly implies that the sins may be known by all and should therefore be faced personally and forsaken. This is the very thing that makes for the health of the Christian society and helps to strengthen that bond of fellowship with God. In the case of anointing the sick there is special need for confession preceding anointing.
(2) Following confession and anointing should come the prayer of the elders (16a). The general word for prayer is used in this connection, covering all the various aspects of prayer. The character of this prayer will then be that of warship, intercession, childlike converse, thanksgiving, and petition. It will recognize the Word and the will of God, and seek the good of the sick one. As the tense here indicates, the habit of praying should characterize the practice of the Church. It may include much praying for one man during the same sickness. But right here James reaches out to the full sweep of Christian concern, when he urges the people to pray one for another. The ultimate goal he has before him is that such prayer might bring healing to sick members of the Church. This is indicative of the fact that the Christian society is one mutually concerned for one another, this concern beginning with the spiritual and then reaching out to the physical.
(3) In order to undergird his argument James now points to the power of prayer (16b-18). In proof he first cite the principle governing the exercise of prayer (16b), and then points to particular instances of its operation (17-18).
The principle governing the exercise of prayer is set forth in the latter part of vs. 16. In the Authorized Version it reads, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." The Revised Version read, "The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working." The Revised Standard Version reads, "The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects." Except for a few changes in wording these three readings all mean the same thing. Taking into consideration the participle rendered "effectual fervent" (AV), "in its working" (RV), "in its effects" (RSV) in the above readings, and translating it as a passive voice as it is so rendered in every one of the other 18 appearances of the same form in the New Testament, the following reading emerges: "The prayer of a righteous man, which is being energized (wrought) in him, accomplishes much." This makes the power of the prayer to depend not upon the righteous man, but upon God who works in the righteous man. God is the energizer (Phil. 2:13), and works in the righteous man "both to will and to do of his good pleasure." When He works in a man to pray, that prayer will accomplish much. It is powerful, for it pleases God.
The particular instances when such prayer was offered up to God are set forth in verses 17 and 18. To establish the fact that these instances are appropriate to the occasion now being discussed, James points out the fact that Elijah was "a man subject to like passions as we are" (17). His prayers were answered because they were wrought in him by God, and not because he in himself differed from other men. And what was true of him is also true for all those who are truly the servants of the Lord. Two instances are then cited from the prayers of Elijah (17, 18). In the first prayer Elijah prayed that it might not rain, and the Lord stayed the rain for three years and six months (1 Ki. 17:1, 7). In the second he prayed that it might rain, and it did (1 Ki. 18:36, 37, 41-45). So powerful were these prayers that nature moved at the word of this prophet of God, and an evil king and a whole nation bowed down to recognize that Jehovah is God. But the power of these prayers was not in Elijah but in the God who wrought within Elijah. Remembering that Elijah was of like passions with us, and that it is God working in believers that produces powerful prayer, Christians should take heart and pray for the sick that they might be healed.

Saturday, July 23, 2016



In presenting the teaching of this passage of Scripture it will be treated under a threefold division. The provision for the sick in anointing and prayer appears first in the passage (James 3:13-15), followed by the power of the service of anointing and prayer (5:16.18), and concluding with the purpose of the service of anointing and prayer (5:19-20).

(James 5:13-15)
Your matters of importance need treatment in developing this points (1) the audience for whom this is provided; (2) the affliction for which this service is appointed; (3) the anointing of the sick with oil; and (4) the healing of the anointed one.
(1) The audience (13, 14). The phrase "among you" appearing twice in these verses clearly identifies the group to whom James is writing. By going back through the epistle a full description of this group can be discovered. This group is clearly identified as Jews. The epistle was written "to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" (James 1:1). Throughout the epistle the language and content clearly support the opening verse.
But further investigation in the epistle indicates that these are Christian Jews. James calls himself a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1). And then throughout the epistle identifies himself with the group to whom he is writing (1:18; 2:1; 3:1; 4:5 5:11). Such expressions as "brethren" (1:2, 19; 2:1), "begat" (1:18), and "worthy name" (2:7), indicate that these were Christians. When declaring that this group have "the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ,” there is no other conclusion than that they are Christian Jews.
However, this epistle reaches out to all Christians. In 45 A.D.  when this epistle was written, practically all Christians were Jews. And through this group the message went out to all gentile Christians as well. In this epistle the emphasis is so decidedly on the Christian element and not the Jewish, that this epistle was finally classed among the general epistles of the New Testament, and heads the list in the arrangement of the books of the New Testament from earliest times until the present.
Since this great physical provision has been made for Christians it clearly excludes those who have not yet come within the pale of the Church. Any wholesale effort to apply this to any and all who may be sick goes beyond the intent of this passage of Scripture.
(2) The affliction (13, 15). Perhaps no clearer description could be given than the words used by James in the original to diagnose the affliction for which this God-given provision has been made.
This affliction produces suffering which is sensuous (13). The word "afflicted" in verse 13 means the same as the words "suffering affliction" in verse 10, and the word "passions" in verse 17. This expression admits what every sober-minded person will admit, that there is bodily sickness which produces physical suffering and pain.
This affliction is one which leaves a person strength less (14). By the word "sick" in verse 14 James is describing one who is without strength, one who no longer has power within himself for recovery. It is interesting that this is the usual word for the sick. It is the same word used in John 5:7 translated "impotent" describing the man who could not help himself into the pool. He was without any power to do anything for himself.
This affliction is one producing a condition that is serious (15), as indicated by the words used in the next verse. The word "sick" is not the same one appearing in verse 14. It describes one who is prostrate and bed fast. The expression "raise up" indicates that such a one is lifted from his bed of illness by a power external to himself. It follows, then, that this provision for healing had been made for those who have illnesses of a more or less serious nature. Trifling matters, if there are such, are not to be considered here. This will cause the patient to reckon carefully with his illness, to determine that it is actual and of such nature that he needs the help of God.
(3) The anointing (14).  The service of prayer and anointing involves at least three things the obligation resting upon the sick person, the elders who officiate in the service, and the order and plan of the service.
(a) The obligation.  At the very outset of this verse the address is to the sick one and responsibility is placed upon him.
The initial step in a case of illness rests upon the one who is sick. "Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church" (14). It is not the business of the elders of the Church to go scouting for the sick. And it is only logical that the one who is sick will be more apt to know about it and its seriousness before anyone else. It is therefore his responsibility to call the elders. If the Word of God is followed implicitly, and he calls the elders, this will present the possibility of divine healers moving in upon a community and rounding up all that are sick.
This is a command laid upon the sick one, as the imperative mode of the verb indicates. He should be just as faithful in carrying out this command as any other in the New Testament. And to fail in this command is just as much sin as in any other.
The elders of the Church are those in some places of position and prominence in the local congregation. Personal purity and special ability will characterize these men. That is the reason for their election to the eldership (BLAMELESS). In such cases of need, they are the sort of men who will minister comfort to the invalid, and who will be able to get the ear of God for help.
To the sick person. James exhorts the one who is ill to call the elders. "Let him call" translates a word in the original which means to call into the very presence of the sick one. Apparently the Holy Spirit knew better than any other the methods that would be used in succeeding years, and therefore this clear instruction. By following this word the great mass meetings where the wizardry and chicanery of divine healers are on display will be prevented.
(b) The elders of the church.  So simply, and yet so clearly, a number of important features about the elders is set forth.
In number, more than one elder is to be called as the word "elders," in the plural, indicates. This prevision also serves as a protection against any false notions arising about the healing. Where there are two or more who officiate at such a service, it would be impossible for anyone to claim supernatural powers. For the healing will be the result of a combined ministry of anointing and prayer. In such cases, God alone will receive the glory that justly belongs to Him.
In sex, the elders are to be men and not women. The masculine gender of the noun "elders" makes no provision for the ministry of women. This is in accord with the duties and functions of women in the church as set forth in the New Testament. It is a protection also against the great number of women who through the years have advertised themselves as divine healers.
In locality, the elders should be members of the local congregation of believers. The word "church" can have no other meaning in this passage. No such thing as denomination was then known, and there was no such thing as office outside of the local assembly. There are several good things about this. In the first place, the elders will know the sick person, his life, testimony, the nature of his sickness, and whether personal sin is in any way involved. This will enable them to deal more accurately with the case and exercise a ministry for good. On the other hand, the sick one will know the elders, their position, prominence, person, purity, and powers. Knowing them as ordinary men, when healing comes, he will attribute it to God.
In position, these elders hold some office in the local church calling for qualifications of spirituality and ability. Being regarded with esteem by the members of the local congregation, they are also more apt to have power with God. For it is "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man" that "availeth much" (16). Again, one that is blameless. And it is a righteous man who will be more apt to help a sick man who is guilty of personal sin.
(c) Order and plan. A study of verses 15 and 16 provides one with other features of this service of which only a few are mentioned in verse 14.
Confession of sin on the part of the sick person should come first. The Brethren have doctrinal stances that allow for a man or woman to walk the walk of Jesus which was blameless and therefore be true to the words of Peter and Paul in 2 Pet. 3:14, Phil 2:15. We have the anointing service presented here, the threefolf communion service with the foot washing portion as well as 1 John 1:9. This is strongly implied, although not specifically stated in verse 15, "And if he have committed sins," and more specifically stated in verse 16, "Confess your faults one to another." In some cases the sickness may be due to personal sin, in which case healing will be withheld until the sin is confessed and forsaken. But though personal sin may not be the cause of the sickness, this will give a fine opportunity for the sick person to search his own heart and lay himself open and bare before the Lord.
Anointing with oil follows confession of sin. The tense of the participle "anointing" might well be translated "having anointed" him with oil. This should take place prior to the prayer. The oil becomes a beautiful symbol of the Holy Spirit who lives in and watches over the saint (James 4:5). The vigilance of the Spirit is not merely for the spiritual welfare of believers but also extends to the physical body which is His temple. His purpose with the bride is evident here bringing remembrance to the Savior and His words.
The authority of the name of the Lord is the order under which the elders are performing this rite. Thus the rite is not only performed as commanded by the Lord, but by being done in His name, the whole matter is placed in His hands, Here is implicit evidence that the healing of the saint is placed in the power and will of the Lord. His will above all else is sought, and if this should mean, for the good of the saint and the glory of the Lord, that healing be withheld, then the will of the Lord be done. (Matt. 28:18, John 13:3).
              Prayer for the sick immediately follows. This is a prayer of worship and devotion, as the Greek word implies, and not a prayer of demand. It is a prayer that recognizes the plan of God, the wisdom of God, His will and His Word. From the construction of the sentence, all the elders pray for the sick one. And the emphasis is upon prayer and not upon anointing, as the following verse attests.
The word of caution should be added. While nothing is said about using the services of a doctor, certainly nothing in the passage prevents it. It may be that God will heal through the medium of medical attention. This may be the means God will use in answering the prayer of the elders. It is wise at least to employ every good means. And it is good theology to remember that while God may will and order the end, He also uses means to reach the desired end. Above all things believers should not limit God by making it impossible for Him to use medical skill.
(4) The healing (15). "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." It will be noted here that a number of factors all working together bring about the healing of the saint.
(a) The Divine source.  This is clearly set forth in the words of verse 18, "And the Lord shall raise him up," All healing comes from the Lord, not matter what mediums may be used, or what prayers may be offered, or what gifts may be exercised. The Lord is the one who heals, for He is the Great Physician. He may do so immediately, with or without means, or He may do so more remotely, with or without means. He may do so instantly or over a period of time. The words "shall raise up,” denoting simple future time and expressing certainty, do not indicate how soon the healing will take place. But when the healing comes it may be concluded that whether by supernatural intervention or providential means it is from the Lord.
(b) The human appropriation.  James expresses this in these words: "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick." There are three important things about the prayer of the elders that should be noted here.
First, there is a prayer of worship and devotion; displaying the motive of those who pray. Such is the meaning of the word in the original for prayer. Since the definite article is used with this word, it is "the prayer," one which recognizes God as high and holy and good, who will not withhold any good thing from His own, when it falls within the center of His perfect will. This prayer is one which recognizes God's plan and purpose and displays a desire to find the exact place within that plan and purpose. It is a prayer like this that God hears and answers.
Second, this prayer is according to the will of God, seeking that thing which pleases Him. The original reads, "the prayer of the faith." The definite article used with faith makes it mean more than just mere personal faith. Its first meaning is the body of truth known as "the faith." The prayer of the faith is one in harmony with the revealed truth of God, and is according to the will of God (1 John 5:14). God answers such prayer. But a prayer that is according to the will of God is also one of personal faith, and in this case personal faith on the part of the elders. God not only supplies the foundation for faith, but gives faith to place on the foundation (Eph. 2:8, 9), And God honors such faith.
Third, this prayer is one wrought within by God Himself, thus indicating the manner in which the prayer is prayed. Verse 16 adds a thought that is for the most part misunderstood by the average reader of the English Bible. It reads, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Upon the basis of this reading the value of the prayer depends upon the righteous man. But upon closer investigation it will be found that the Greek participle rendered "effectual fervent" has been construed as a middle voice, whereas in the other 18 uses of the same word in the New Testament, the same form is always passive. This leads one to believe that it should read, "The prayer of a righteous man, which is energized (wrought) in him, accomplishes much." This reading makes the value of the prayer depend upon God, who energizes the prayer in the elders. Phil. 2:13 will verify this point, "for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
(C) The physical effect.  Such a prayer has power with God and will bring physical healing to the saint.
Such prayer will be the means of bringing recovery from sickness. "Save the sick" means deliverance from sickness, and this point to the healing of the body.
The Lord Himself is the absolute source bringing about restoration to service. "The Lord shall raise him up" means raising from a bed of illness, weariness, inability to do anything, and placing on his feet and putting him back into service.
The certainty of this event is guaranteed in God's time and it will be a reality to the sick. "Shall save" and "shall raise up" are in the simple future tense. Absolute certainty is guaranteed by this tense. But the exact time is not specified. It may be soon or over a period of time. Where healing does not follow, it is evident that God has not given "the prayer of faith."
(d) The spiritual blessing. The matter is not finished, as some might conclude, if one considers the closing words of verse 15, "And if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." This means in the final analysis that every relationship with God is for the purpose of bringing the soul in closer touch with Him. Therefore they stand blameless before Him, His intent for actually saving, having furnished one of the fore mentioned methods for bringing this blameless state about (2 Pet. 3:14; Phil. 2:15).
It is implied, although it is not specifically stated, that personal sins may be the cause of the illness. They sometimes are (John 5:14). And where personal sin is the cause of sickness, those sins must be confessed and put away, if healing is to come from the Lord. Confession of sin will bring the saint into a new light and place of blessing with the Lord. He will catch a new vision of the Lord and will see sin in its blackness as never before.
Where personal sin is not the cause of sickness, this service will provide an opportunity for the sick person to consider anew the holiness of the Lord and the sinfulness of sin, and will be one factor in bringing him closer to the Lord. Confessing faults one to another which expresses itself in prayer.

Whenever sin is confessed, whether it is the cause of sickness or not, it will be forgiven (1 John 1:9). If it is the cause of the sickness, the cause being removed, healing will follow. But best of all, the sin being removed will bring the believer into a new appreciation of fellowship with his fellow Christians and with the Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing more precious than this. If this service will accomplish this for the saint, he can well thank the Lord that He allowed sickness to come into his life so that his actual state may be diagnosed and healed. (Matt 5:48)

Friday, July 22, 2016



Interesting and illuminating are the views that have been taken toward this pass­age of Scripture and the rite which it presents. These views relate to the actual practice of the form, the kinds of healing involved, and the various sources from which the healing comes.

1. Actual practice. It will be amazing to the average reader that so many views as demonstrated by practice can arise over a passage that on its surface seems to be so clear. There are at least six.

(1) Protestant view. In general Protestants eliminate the application of the service by totally ignoring this passage. Professing Christendom largely falls into this class. (2) Spiritual view. This view explains away the application of the service to physical ills by interpreting it figuratively. The majority of Protestant commentators explain it this way.

(3) Catholic view. By interpreting this as a rite, known as extreme unction, for those about to die, the Catholics explain away the true meaning of the passage, and make it refer to a spiritual preparation for death,

(4) Hyper-dispensational view, those who draw sharply the dispensational lines insist that this passage and provision must be restricted to Jews, and that, perhaps, even for the millennium, and the Church is thus excluded.

(5) Wholesale view. Certain cults and sects today lay great stress upon healing and sweep away all restrictions, opening up physical healing to any and all who may be afflicted. This is generally held by those who advocate the gift of healing.

(6) Orthodox view. Though this view is not widely held, it restricts the physical heal­ing to those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the view which the writer holds and will present in this message.

2. Kinds of healing. To the average reader it may seem quite strange that more than one view could be taken on this point. But as a matter of fact there are two.

(1) Spiritual healing. This is for the most part the general view among Protestants, basing their contention on the supposition that James is speaking figuratively of spiritual healing. The Catholics follow this interpretation specifically, and use this passage as authority for the rite of extreme unction when one is being prepared spiritually for death.

(2) Physical healing. While this is the view that is the easiest to glean from the pass­age, few hold it. But of those who do, some think the application is for any and all ills that beset believers, while others think that this provision was made for ills of a more or less serious nature.

3. Source of healing. The division on this point is also very interesting in the light of what the passage says.

(1) God and oil in relation to spiritual healing. Those who insist that the healing is spiritual will on the one hand trace its source directly to God, making prayer and anoint­ing figurative, while others, such as the Catholics, will trace the source to the oil, making this form sacramental.

(2) Anointing, gift of healing, prayer and physical healing. Three views are held as to the source of physical healing.

Medicinal view. Those who hold this view insist that it is the oil that brings about the healing, for oil serves as a medicine.

Healing gift view. The advocates of this view argue that the prayer of faith is the same as the gift of healing spoken of in 1 Cor. 12:9, 28.

Prayer of faith. Those who take this position insist the Scripture clearly states it is the prayer of faith that saves the sick. Such prayer is God-given in each case the invalid is healed. This is the view which will be supported in this treatment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016



Dr. Herman A. Hoyt

The past ministry of Christ was in part characterised by Peter when addressing the gentile household of Cornelius as that of "healing all that were oppressed of the devil" (Acts 10:38). Even the most casual reader of the Gospels cannot miss the miraculous healings that so aroused the people to the presence and preaching of this new prophet in Israel. While His healing ministry was for "them that had need of healing" (Luke 9:11), it went far beyond them to touch the very roots of His presence among men. By His own testimony to John the Baptist, who was in prison and discouraged Christ insisted that these miracles of healing were credentials of His Messiahship (Luke 7:19-23).

The future ministry of Christ will also be marked by a great healing ministry. When He comes again as the "Sun of righteousness" He will then "arise with healing in his wings" (Mal. 4:2). "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert" (Isa. 35: 5,6). "And the powers of the world to come" (Heb. 6:5) will be in great manifestation, for the One in whom all these powers reside will be dwelling among men. In that day "the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick" (Isa. 33:24) as the inhabitants today, with very few exceptions, are saying.

The present ministry of Christ with reference to healing, however, is a major concern of the people of God. Therefore it is not surprising to find Luke clearly implying in the book of Acts that what Christ "began... to do" (Acts 1:1) while He was in the earth, He is continuing to do from the heavens. And the book of Acts constitutes the first great chapter in the present ministry of Christ from the heavens. Most certainly one of the things He is doing today is healing: Peter insisted that "his name through faith in his name hath Made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given Him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all" (Acts 3:16). With this as encouragement the newly formed Church, under the pressure of threatening, prayed, "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heals and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus" (Acts 4:29, 30).

The specific provision for God's people today and the way this provision may be appropriated is the question which has puzzled believers down across the years. This was just as true in the apostolic Church as today. For in the epistle of James, the first book of the New Testament to be written, clear directions were given to the Church, and where these directions have been followed God has honored His Word and blessed the saints with healing. The passage follows:

"Is any among you afflicted, let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:13-20).

The prominence some attach to this ceremony amounts to that of an ordinance. On the basis of the fact that Christ commissioned His disciples to heal as well as to preach, this contention is founded. It is recorded that Christ "sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick" (Luke 9;2), "and they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed then," (Mark 6:13 ARV). But while the writer may be wrong, it does seem that the rite fails to measure up in every one of the five essential characteristics for a church ordinance. All who take this passage seriously, however, will agree that an important provision is made for the Church, and every believer does well to hear and to heed the instruction. For the sake of appreciating what ample provision has really been made for the saints, it is the purpose of the writer to give careful exposition of the above passage.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016



The unbelieving world in general denies the validity of the doctrine of non-resistance. This is not surprising to the well-taught Christian. For he understands that the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). Like Christ and the children of God, the doctrine of non-resistance is so utterly contrary to the thinking and practice of unregenerate men; they cannot under­stand it (1 John 3:1). It appears to be wild-eyed foolishness to them.

But when the Christian faces up to the fact that the larger part of pro­fessing Christendom also rejects this teaching as an integral part of the Word of God then there is reason for real concern. Protestantism as a whole, and especially evangelical Protestantism of the present day, is vigorously opposed to the doctrine of non-resistance. In times of war these great evangelical bodies join the hue and cry of the populace in general. And they look with dis­dain upon the smaller bodies of Christians who earnestly endeavor to follow their conscience in conforming to what they believe the Bible teaches on this doctrine. Since the origin of Protestantism in the fifteenth century, the atti­tude of the great evangelical bodies has not changed.

Two reasons underlie this attitude. They are cited here again to refresh the mind of the reader. The first is the failure to comprehend fully the mean­ing of separation of church and state. Separation of church and state is in­dorsed up to a point and faithfully followed. But when it comes to its practi­cal implications in relation to war, the thinking suddenly stops short. The second reason relates to the area of eschatology. Because the principles of interpretation vary at this point, these great bodies do not believe that Christ alone is the One who will establish a warless world when His kingdom is inaugurated in the earth. Many of them do not believe that this is an imminent possibility. It therefore devolves upon the church and the state together to maneuver in every possible way, even by means of war, to bring in an age of peace.

In support of this position they are able to marshal any number of real problems calculated to destroy the validity of the doctrine of non-resistance. These problems, on their face, appear to be absolutely insuperable. But they only seem that way. Where sufficient knowledge of the Scriptures is available, and a proper system of interpretation is followed, these problems are greatly reduced in significance. There are three: the military campaigns of Israel, the proclamations of Christ at various points, and the place of the believer in relation to human government. Since little real effort has ever been made to place these problems in proper perspective, it is here hoped that the Spirit of God will guide writer and reader into the clear atmosphere of Biblical truth.

1. The first problem relates to the practice of Israel in the past as recorded in the Old Testament. From the moment that Israel became a distinct people with the call of Abraham, and later organized at Sinai into a nation, wars have characterized her history. As a result of depredations imposed on Sodom and the family of Lot, Abraham raided the retreating armies in the night and repossessed the goods that had been taken and released Lot (Gen. 14:1-24). Family difficulties almost erupted into armed strife between Jacob and Esau (Gen. 32:1-23; 33:1-16). Israel suffered physical oppression in Egypt under hostile rulers (Exod. 1:8-14; 3:1-22). This led to flight from the land pursued by the army of Pharaoh (Exod. 13:17-22; 14:5-31). At Sinai this people was organized into a nation (Exod. 19-20). The arrangements of camp were made for the march through the wilderness and the fighting men were numbered (Num. 1-2). From that point on through the wilderness Israel engaged in war to protect themselves from hostile peoples: Amalek (Exod. 17:8-16), Sihon (Num. 21:12-32), Og (Num. 21:33-35). Then there came the campaigns under Joshua and the Judges for the conquest of the Promised Land (Joshua and Judges). Conquest was not completed until David was crowned king and finally established in. Jerusalem as capital (1 and 2 Samuel). After the division of the kingdom under Rehoboam both Northern and Southern kingdoms were constantly engaged in carnal strife with hostile nations near and far until they were overrun by Assyria and Babylon.

In view of the fact that these wars, many of which were commanded of God, mark the long history of the nation, it is difficult for Christian people to reconcile this with the command to resist not him that is evil by the use of physical force. If the people of God in the Old Testament dispensation were doing right when they engaged in carnal strife, then is it not right for the people of God in the New Testament to engage in the same thing? This problem is very real and it is useless to set it aside without some good reason. To relieve this paradox three things must be pointed out.

(1) Israel was a nation of this world, while the church is a spiritual nation not of this world. Israel was a nation just like any other nation on the face of the earth, with the exception that Israel had been chosen of God. This people had distinct physical characteristics which differentiated them from all other people. They spoke a distinct language which set them apart from others. They lived in a particular location on the face of the earth. There were boundaries to their homeland. They maintained a government, with a capital city, a throne, a king, a royal family. And to maintain this nation in the land God permitted the use of physical force, for this was the only argument that would be understood by the pagan peoples of earth.

But the church is not such a nation. Peter calls it "an holy nation" which has been "called . . . out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9). The characteristics of this people are spiritual, its language is that of every nation, its location is within the boundaries of every nation. It has no phys­ical boundaries to maintain, no capital city to defend, no earthly throne to adore, no human monarch to protect. The Christian's native land is heaven (Phil. 3:20). The courts of heaven and His holy Majesty, the Lord Jesus Christ, need no material or human protection. Christians are pilgrims and strangers in this world and therefore they do not possess any physical property in perpetuity, and their spiritual possessions cannot be taken by any show of physical force.

Since this difference between Israel and the church is so profound, it is easily understood on the one hand why Israel needed to protect her land with armies and carnal weapons, while on the other hand the church has no need for armies, lest she be found to be fighting against herself, for the church is in every land.

(2) Israel was not a regenerated people, while the true church is made up of regenerated people. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:3-4). Israel could not perform the righteousness of the law even though the external pressure was brought to bear upon them, for they walked after the flesh. Where unusual virtue was manifested by Old Testament saints, it was evident that the source was not the external pressure of the Old Testament law, but the power of the Holy Spirit within. But with the great masses of Israel, they lived on a very low moral plane as compared with the New Testament saints.

Inasmuch as Christians are expected to follow a much higher moral standard than the Old Testament law, especially in the case of non-resistance, they have the resources of the indwelling Holy Spirit to enable them (1 Thess. 4:7-8). The Lord purposed that this holy nation should display in the world the virtues of Christ (1 Pet. 2:9). Thus the command to non-resistance was given to "blessed" born-again people (Matt. 5:3, 38-39), who will constitute the aris­tocracy of the coming kingdom. They ought to display today the virtues that-will be realized in fullness when the kingdom is set up, for believers are the first fruits, the fore-glimpse of the coming kingdom when all physical violence will be banished.

(3) Israel was a nation operating as such during the dispensation of the law, while the church is a spiritual nation living during the dispensation of grace. This point can be cited as an argument out of context. But in this case Christ Himself points to the past and the law which operated then, and then with sovereign authority imposes the principle for the life of believers. "Ye have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" (Matt. 5:38 ASV). At this point Christ is citing Exod. 21:23-25, the principle for maintaining justice in Israel. Then without hesitation He raises the stan­dard for believers to that of grace, "But I say unto you, Resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matt. 5:39 ASV).

This is the change made by Christ for His people during the dispensation of grace. The charge of inconsistency cannot be brought against Christ. He is the One who gave the Old Testament law, and He has the sovereign right to raise the standard when He deems it right and proper. The Old Testament law was good in its place and served its purpose. But now a principle of conduct is imposed which supersedes the old and lower principle, and is to become the norm for a regenerated people living during the administration of grace. This change from absolute justice and retaliation in kind to non-resistance does not mean that Christ is counseling believers to do nothing. By reading through to the end of Matt. 5, it becomes clear that an advance is to be made from justice to love. The believer is to go beyond the restraints of pure justice to the communica­tion of positive benefit to the offender.

2. The next problem confronting the doctrine of non-resistance is inherent in the proclamations of Christ as recorded in the New Testament. Upon several occasions Christ made statements which seem to contradict His command on non­-resistance. They are used by those who stand opposed to the doctrine of non-­resistance. However, as in most cases when the immediate and larger context is examined, they fall easily into line with the general teaching of Christ on the use of physical force.

(1) Matt. 10:34 is the first passage that deserves attention. "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I am not come to send peace, but a sword." At first glance this statement might appear to counsel division and the exercise of physical force. But the context makes it clear that Christ was calling for spiritual division. This would be effected by His person and His pronouncements. Some will believe in Him and that will set them at variance with those who do not believe in Him. This sharp division among men produced by Christ is placed under the figure of a sword, but it is not the sword employed in physical force, as the verses preceding and following make abundantly clear (Matt. 10:25-42).

(2) Luke 22:35-38 constitute the second passage. "And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one" (Luke 22:35-36). Here is a passage of Scripture that is admittedly difficult. And so far as the general run of commentators, none of them are certain that they know precisely the true meaning of this passage.

Some take this quite literally to mean that Jesus was counseling the use of physical force in view of changing conditions. Up to this point there has been divine provision and protection. But that period is now drawing to a close and wicked men are being permitted to use violence against Christ and His followers (Luke 22:37). The disciples, too, took Him quite literally, "And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough" (Luke 22:38).

But others feel that the reference to the time when they went without purse, scrip, shoes, and sword, and lacked nothing was intended as a token of conditions that would characterize the coming rule and reign of Messiah in His kingdom. But that is to be delayed, and wicked men are being permitted to have their day of living on the human and earthly level with its violence and depri­vation. The disciples are therefore being forewarned that they must experience these conditions until the kingdom is established. Some measure of responsi­bility will rest upon them for material provision and for self-protection.

Later, on the same occasion, when the vicious crowd had gathered to take Jesus, and Judas had betrayed Christ's identity to the enemy, "When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?" (Luke 22:49), before He could answer, "one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear" (Luke 22:50). "Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matt. 26:52). If in the former place Christ was urging the disciples to use physical force in self-defense, then He has certainly reversed Himself, for He is now admonishing just the opposite. To make amends for this impulsive and mistaken move on the part of Peter, the Lord graciously restored the ear of the dismembered victim.

Whatever our Lord meant upon this occasion by His statement about buying a sword, it certainly cannot be construed to mean that He is sanctioning war in any sense. If He did mean self-defense in some limited sense, then it is to be explained in the light of other Scriptures instructing the Christian on the use of physical force.

3. The final problem demanding attention is the proper relation of be­lievers to civil government. Of all the problems this is perhaps the most difficult. It is especially difficult because believers do naturally feel an obligation to their governments. And this feeling is strengthened by the Scriptures in that believers are commanded to respect, support, and obey their governments.

(1) The passage that is usually used to set forth the proper relation of believers to civil government is Romans 13:1-7. It is argued by some that the force of verse one is sufficient to warrant obedience in military service. On its face and without regard to the context, this appears to be a legitimate conclusion. But in the judgment of the writer, such is based upon the failure to note the primary intent of the passage.

The key to this passage is in verse 3. "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil." This means that the fundamental sense of orga­nized government is to promote good and punish evil. For this reason believers ought to obey rulers where rulers are actually performing the function for which they were ordained of God. "Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good" (Rom. 13:3-4). Due to sinful human nature, rulers in organized government, monarchs often failed to discharge this basic function of government. But even where monarchs did evil, it is obvious that Paul is not arguing for Christians to do evil simply because it was commanded by the government.

This was written in the days of Nero Caesar, a monster of iniquity, and a sworn enemy of Christians. He is remembered to this day for his notorious evil deeds, and Paul was not in any sense condoning his wickedness. But even in the fact of this wickedness, if Paul meant that believers should take up the sword in obedience to Caesar or against Caesar, it is strange that he prefaced his own counsel on human government with such words as appear in Romans 12:19-21, and then concluded his exhortation on government with the words, "Owe no man anything, but to love one another" (Rom. 13:8), without seeming to feel any inconsis­tency. The background of this exhortation in Rom. 13:1-7, is the common knowledge among Christians concerning the low level of morality in the Roman government. The natural response was to rebel against the government. But this would have led them into the exercise of some form of physical violence. So Paul cautions them against the very thing that some interpreters would like to read into the text.

(2) Because the true Christian bows in obedience to the Word of God in relation to human government, he is also conscious that there are times when he must obey that same Word when it commands him in matters contrary to human government. This means that there is a higher law than that of human govern­ment that is the law of the government of God. The believer should be subser­vient to human government in all things that are right. But even though God permits human government to engage in war, God has limited the believer in this respect. He cannot engage in carnal strife in the taking of human life.

The Christian is called upon to be separated from the things of this present evil world (Rom. 12:2). And this extends to many things which are practiced by the citizens of the state. Physical violence is just one of those things. In recognition of the prior claim of God upon his life, he must often bow to the law of God in preference to the laws of civil government. Knowing that God has spoken clearly in His Word, the believer must obey God in refusing to take up arms for the purpose of taking human life. When the constituted authorities of the Jews commanded the disciples to refrain from speaking of Christ, their answer was, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:19-20). Later, to the same group when further threatened, they replied, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). This principle is sufficient authorization for refusing to bear arms.

But this does not mean that the believer necessarily repudiates the authority of human government as it seeks to discharge its responsibility in relation to war. The believer may still serve the government in some capacity that is good, and thus fulfill his responsibility to his government as com­manded of God. This may sound like pure casuistry to some because any service to the government aids in the taking of human life. But this sort of reasoning is beside the point. For in a wicked world it is necessary for every person to make a selection of activity in which he is personally engaged. The Christian must do this in all areas of life whether it be in times of peace or war. Since he cannot take life even in times of peace, he is under the same responsibility in times of war.

Monday, July 18, 2016



Many different types of non-resistance today are clamoring for attention and they appear to be very much like Biblical non-resistance. The outward resemblances have led the public in general to place them all in the same class. But there are precise and sharp differences when they are examined more closely. The sources out of which they arise, the systems they develop, their essential significance, and the service they are designed to achieve are clearly distin­guished from Biblical non-resistance. In general there are four types of pacifism that are not synonymous with Biblical non-resistance: philosophic, political, social, religious.

1. Philosophic pacifism is comparatively new. Though it may have existed before, it did not make appreciable impression on society until the Second World War. It does not base its teaching on Biblical or religious principles. For reasons that are sometimes called spiritual, sometimes moral, sometimes social, and sometimes political, the advocates of this type of pacifism insist that war is wrong, and governments should outlaw war as a means of settling disputes. In this area there is no effort to organize movements against the government. It is largely a personal, individual effort when confronted with conscription into the armed services. Such people insist that it is an infringement upon human rights and liberty provided by the constitution of the United States. They are perfectly willing that governments may wage war, and in most cases will support the government in its prosecution of war, but they want the right as human beings and philosophic reasoning to be exempt from personal participation in armed conflict.

It is not difficult to see that this position is based purely on human reason, and is therefore to be distinguished from Biblical non-resistance which bases its convictions on divine revelation.

2. Political pacifism confines itself largely to the sphere of govern­ment and international relations. Of late years this type of pacifism has pro­vided fertile ground for the propaganda of subversive organizations. Communis­tic and Socialistic elements within the nation have used this as a stepping-stone to hinder, and if possible, prevent the upgrading of armed might and potential for pro­tecting the country against hostile nations. The desire for peace and the desire to escape the heavy burden of taxation which military preparations demand are skillfully used to promote this brand of pacifism. Such groups as "The American League for Peace and Democracy" and "The American League Against War and Fascism" and kindred groups for alleged political and ideological reasons promote this program with ulterior design. They are determined to undermine the government and make the nation vulnerable to dissolution from without. Undiscerning patriotic citizens of the United States have classed Biblical non-resis­tance with this type of pacifism and have been aroused to righteous indignation.

But any careful scrutiny of the differences between Biblical non-resistance and political pacifism will reveal that the pattern and purposes are entirely at odds. Biblical non-resistance derives its authority from the Bible and does not seek to undermine the government, while political pacifism is based purely on human reason and is utterly subversive.

3. Social pacifism is perhaps the most dangerous type of pacifism in existence today. It operates largely in the religious area but combines the political in its ideological system. All religious liberalism is infiltrated with this approach to war. The leaders in this movement are largely theologians who deny the eschatology of the Scriptures. They argue that no thinking Chris­tian could possibly accept the prospect for the future as set forth in the prophetic Scriptures. In their estimation all that is left of Scriptural truth is the grace of God. But after 2000 years they feel it has accomplished very little for society. In this late hour the world has experienced the greatest wars, the severest famines, the most widespread poverty, and the most devastating disease. They argue, in this day of enlightenment and scientific development, it is high time for a new interpretation of Scripture. In the place of the eschatological hope as set forth in the Bible, the church should now develop a hope for humanity by entering into industrial relations, political affiliations, international connections, and community socialization. This is the social gospel with its emphasis on human betterment, the alleviation of suffering, the reduction of poverty, and the complete abolition of war. It is not difficult to see how those who hold the social gospel make an easy prey to communism. Communism as well as Socialism holds out a hope for men, even though it is a false hope, that by human effort a glorious social kingdom can at last be realized by commu­nizing the world.

But Biblical non-resistance is not to be identified with this type of pacifism. The social pacifist has apostatized from the Scriptures. He not only denies the eschatology of the Bible but he perverts the doctrine of the grace of God so that the entire Bible is lost to the believer. But more than that, he undermines the government of the land and lays a foundation for its eventual overthrow. Biblical non-resistance holds tenaciously to the entire Bible and it does not pervert the doctrine of the grace of God by which alone men may be saved. As true adherents to the Word of God it teaches patriotism and obedience to the government under which it operates.

4. Religious pacifism is held by Christian groups who are sincerely dedicated to the Bible. These groups do not repudiate the Bible, but they are incon­sistent in their interpretation of the Bible relating to war. Their eschatology provides the basis for these inconsistencies. Starting with the position that war is wrong, they have decided that war is wrong even for nations of this world, and therefore they should oppose the war effort in their own nation. They have refused to buy war bonds, participate in the war effort, enter into the armed services in any capacity, or even to pray for their own nation. Since there are many groups who fall into this class, many variations of this sort of pacifism exist and they are not easily classified. But in almost every case they draw their reasoning from the Scriptures. Two errors of interpretation can be dis­covered in their theological systems. The first is the failure to see fully that the church is completely separated from the state. Even though they give lip service to this tenet of the faith, they proceed in their thinking as though it did not exist. They identify church and state, and since the church has no authority to employ armed might, they conclude that this is also true for the state. The second error is the failure to see the true prophetic picture of the consummation of the age. The Word of God promises the establishing of a kingdom in the earth at the coming of Christ. That coming is imminent and may take place at any moment. Therefore the Christian should be enthusiastically expect­ing Christ's coming and witnessing for Him as the opportunity provides. The Christian can therefore perform his responsibility to the government in every­thing except participation in armed conflict, and let war take its course know­ing that shortly Christ will come and usher in the age of peace for which all Bible-believing Christians long and pray. But these groups do not follow the Scriptures at this point, feeling that it is their responsibility to oppose war now and by human effort help to usher in the age of peace.

Failure to see clearly the Scriptural teaching on these two points has made them easy prey to modern religious liberalism. To a very marked degree in some places, and in lesser degree in others, liberalism has infiltrated their doc­trine. The leaven of liberalism is gradually taking its course and is working havoc in many areas. But in some areas there is a desperate effort being made to cling to the Word of God and demonstrate this fact by a pacifism which they feel is Biblical, even though there are inconsistencies on the above two points.

5. Biblical non-resistance must not be identified with any of the above forms of pacifism, most certainly not with religious pacifism. Biblical non­-resistance recognizes that the Bible teaches the separation of church and state, and that the Bible teaches that each has its place in this age. Biblical non-­resistance also recognizes that the believer should be separated from the things of this world, and therefore he should be separated from the personal use of weapons in the taking of human life. But Biblical non-resistance recognizes that God permits human governments to exercise force for the protection of lives and property in this present age. War is wrong, but armed might is the one final argument understood by sinful men and to which they ultimately bow. That was the reason that in the inauguration of human government following the flood God ordained that physical force could be used to establish its authority (Gen. 9:5-6).

Biblical non-resistance holds that the Christian does have a responsibility to the government (Rom. 12:1-7). He should obey the state in everything that is good. He should pay his taxes, pray for those in authority, and submit himself to every law that does not ask him to do anything contrary to the higher law of God (Acts 4:17-20; 5:28-29). Taking human life is one such thing clearly pro­hibited by the law of God (Exod. 20:13). Taking the life of a brother in Christ is condemned (1 John 3:11-16). At this point the believer must respectfully refuse to comply in every detail with the regulations of military operation. But the believer is free to serve his country in the army or under civilian direction in anything that is good. There are multitudes of things that need the dedicated and efficient service of men in the army. As a non-combatant a believer can serve in the medical corps, as chaplain, encourage the sick and dying, and bear a personal witness to the saving grace of our blessed Lord. In this way he can serve his country on the one hand, and at the same time faith­fully discharge his responsibility as a Christian in everything that pertains to life and godliness.