Minor-attraction – Not a mental disorder, a MORAL one.

Jeremiah 7:8–10 (ESV) “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations?

On 8/20, one of our Pastors, Scott, on his Facebook page, called attention to an article, posted at LifeSiteNews.com regarding a conference to be held in Baltimore on Aug. 17 of this year. The article’s headline read: “Academic conference seeks to normalize pedophilia.” You can read the article for yourself at the following link.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/academic-conference-seeks-to-normalize-pedophilia

It was not the conference itself which prompted me to further action. The truth is, I expect to see more and more of this kind of thing as time goes on. Once Biblical norms for sexual activity (or any other kind for that matter) are abandoned, all behaviors are either accepted or rejected as normal in society by virtue of that Society’s own whims. “Normal” becomes defined as whatever seems acceptable at the time to any group willing to stand up for it. Beyond that, some other “norms” simply seep in over time – un-championed but simply tolerated until no longer even drawing attention.

A respondent to Scott’s post queried whether or not this “news” was verifiable by some other source. I wondered the same and Googled a group mentioned in the article called “B4U-ACT” who were central participants in this conference. Among their stated concerns in dealing with “minor-attracted” people, are: “We believe that persons who are sexually attracted to children can be contributing members of their communities and that they deserve to be treated with respect. All clients should be treated in a caring, non-judgmental, and respectful manner. We see minor-attracted people as whole human beings, not as dangerous criminals or “deviants.” Therefore, we advocate the use of supportive therapeutic goals, assumptions, and approaches. Clients voluntarily seeking treatment should not be pressured or coerced to accept treatment modalities that they find objectionable.”

The LifeSiteNews article goes on the say: “On their website B4U-ACT classifies pedophilia as simply another sexual orientation and decries the “stigma” attached to pedophilia, observing: “No one chooses to be emotionally and sexually attracted to children or adolescents. The cause is unknown; in fact, the development of attraction to adults is not understood.” The group says that it does not advocate treatment to change feelings of attraction to children or adolescents. ” B4U-ACT appears to be active in advocating that that “minor-attraction” (pedophilia to most) no longer be classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – DSM.

The argument is that such is simply one more sexual orientation which ought to be understood rather than corrected. Just like homsexuality – or any other sexual attraction outside of heterosexuality.

Once again, Scott’s respondent raised an issue, and objected to minor-attraction being classified as a mental disorder too. You may find it surprising that I agreed with him. But not for the reasons he might have thought – nor you. So I post my response to him in full to further the discussion. I’ve no doubt we need to go even further – especially in view of the growing move within Evangelical Churches to no longer treat homosexuality as a sin – but to embrace it and let people remain in bondage to a soul-damning lifestyle under the guise of being “right with God”. These issues are NOT going away.

My response with slight modifications for use here: Dear _______ – What may surprise you, is that I wholeheartedly agree with the decision to remove and declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder in the DSM – though most likely not for the same reason(s) you may. And, I would say the very same for those who are currently classified as “minor-attracted”.

As you noted, I would be guided by Biblical reasons in treating the topic – and find that classifying homosexuality as a “mental disorder” in the first place, removes it from the Biblical category of a moral disorder.

Now let me be clear – homosexuality is not the catch-all bugaboo that many have made it out to be. All of us (from the Biblical worldview) are born with sinful tendencies of all kinds. Sin in each of us surfaces in a remarkable array of expressions. Homosexuality is but one of countless ways sin shows itself, and is neither the worst of all sins, unforgivable nor unconquerable in those whose disposition runs that way. Some are born with tendencies toward anger, others toward theft, still others toward unfaithfulness in marital relationships, uncontrolled sex drives of all kinds, pride, arrogance, greed, faithlessness – you name it. I have no doubt some are born with homosexuality at the very fore of their sinful nature, even as others are born with a predominate feature to their particular tendency. The point Biblically is that we need to: a. recognize the race-wide problem of sin, and, b. what God has done in Jesus Christ to address that problem – so that we might be reconciled to Him. And this, the Bible teaches is the Cross.

I have no doubt that many will battle against the wrong bent of homosexual tendencies all of their lives (even after they become Christians) the way the prideful will battle their tendencies all of their days. But the good news of the Gospel is that God accepts Jesus’ death on Calvary in our place so as to be able to deliver us from the just wrath our sin deserves – and then places His own Spirit within Believers to give us the impetus to begin to walk in freedom from those tendencies rather than remain mastered by them.

For the Christian – the mere tendency is no longer a condemned state. He (or she) can fully own their particular sin(s) as truly part of themselves, while fully accepted by God as they grow to be freed from them. But we must make no mistake here – Jesus did not die to leave us IN our sins, but to deliver us FROM them.

Jeremiah 7:8–16 (ESV) “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord. Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. And now, because you have done all these things, declares the Lord, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim.

As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.

What do we say to the Norway Massacre?

What do we say?

In the aftermath of the shocking tragedy last week in Norway – serious reflection is called for on many fronts. Not the least of these, must be cast in the light of how many Christians cried out in the aftermath of the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks, and other terrorist assaults linked to Islamic activists. So many of us thought (and some asked) “where are the Islamic spokespeople condemning these actions?” Rightly so.

And now, its our turn.

On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik engineered and carried both a bombing of government buildings in Oslo Norway – killing 8 people, and then murdered 68 more people (wounding 96) at a youth camp on the island of UtØya.

According to Breivik’s 1500 page (+ or -) manifesto “2083 – A European Declaration of Independence”, his actions were aimed in large part to stem the tide of growing Islamization in Europe.

All this – he claims – flows out of his Christianity.

So let us respond firstly this way: Biblical Christianity in no uncertain terms has absolutely nothing to do with such actions, and as Christians we not only condemn these actions, but stand at the forefront of calling for the highest performance of justice in punishing these wicked and heinous crimes.

To take up arms in this way in the name of Christ and His Church, is to strike at the very core of the Gospel. Both this, and every other such violent action carried out supposedly in the name of Christianity is reprehensible in the highest degree. No spiritual battle can be won by the use of physical weapons. The Kingdom of Christ conquers the hearts and souls of humankind through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and His substitutionary death on the cross of Calvary to atone for human sin. It is a Gospel of God’s free, unmerited grace – NOT of conversion by the sword, or the gun or the threat of death, ill-treatment or any other such means. Jesus took no man’s life. He gave His own in our place. The Gospel bids us look at His cross, His bearing God’s just wrath on humankind, His death, burial and resurrection. The last “enemy” He will conquer is death itself. Killing others is as antithetical to His kingdom and plan as can possibly be imagined.

Anders Breivik’s actions are not remotely Christianity, even at its worst. It is human sin using religion as a justification for its twisted, un-Biblical ends. We condemn it.

Dare I speak for Christianity so boldly? I do. Because the teaching of the Bible is so absolutely clear as to be unmistakable in this regard. “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5 (ESV)

Let us speak secondly to the families of these victims. We weep for you. Our hearts agonize for you. We grieve even above the horror and the loss at the way it was done and in the name of the Savior we serve. We are so very sorry for your losses and the pain which will never be gone. For the invasion of your hearts and minds – for the theft of your peace and safety. Our God teaches us that no neighbor of ours should ever fear harm from a Christian. That these events shake that safety is a double tragedy, for it not only robs you of your loved ones, it makes one look at all religion as suspect. It is only logical. And while we can do so little tangibly to soothe your savaged hearts – we will grieve and weep with you. And vow never to forget. We want you to know the Savior who died for sin, so that we might be reconciled to God – and to know the hope of the promise that one day, in His rule and reign, there will never be any such tragedy again. We love you – as best we can from afar. But we cannot love you at all as the Father loves you. He draws near to the brokenhearted. May you find Him near now. May you come to know Him in His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and comfort. His Son was brutally murdered in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. And the cosmos still vibrates from the travesty. But in His death, for all who believe, there is the promise of the forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation to God the Father, so as to become His own sons and daughters ourselves.

Thirdly – we must address Mr. Breivik. Sir, I do not have the slightest notion how you came to possess such dark, hateful and heinous thoughts as would lead you to carry out this butchery. But you need to know it has nothing to do with Christ, nor the Faith which bears His name. Do not use the cloak of true religion to justify your deeds. The Savior you claim to know, said that “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Matthew 15:19 (ESV) Your actions came neither from Him, nor His Bible – but out of your own dark, lost, perverse, sin-bound heart. This is your wickedness purely and simply – and not God’s command to you in any way, shape or form. God is a God who forgives. Even the chief of sinners. But such forgiveness belong to none who continue to justify their wickedness under whatever guise. You exemplify the wickedness in all of us. Why it is we need a Savior to begin with. Now is the time to recognize that all you have thought and done has nothing to with serving God, and everything to do with fostering and giving in to the depravity which remains yours and untouched apart from Christ Jesus. We plead with you to repent – to own your evil – and to seek the mercy of God. I pray it is not too late.

Lastly – to us all. Let us be ware, that the seeds of such sin remain in the breast of us all. Let us not point the finger without remembering that apart from sovereign grace, we would be given over to the crimes no less shocking and heinous than these. Breivik’s crimes are but the symptoms of the same disease we all carry.

Let us be quick to condemn such things – loudly and publicly as as adverse and antithetical to all things Christian as they can be. Let us never condone any such wickedness in the name of Christ.

Let us learn to hate our own sin and strive constantly to put the deeds of the flesh to death within us personally.

Let us guard our hearts lest our fears of global movements and changes – like the perceived rise of Islamic influence, lead us to respond in fear rather than faith, and in human hatred rather than in love for our God and our neighbors.

Let us be ever more fervent about the Gospel. Let us be clear that all men are sinners, and there is no hope for any of us apart from Christ. Let us be like the Apostle Paul who reminded the Corinthians that

he “decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2 (ESV) Not Americanization, Western Culture or even American Evangelical culture – but Christ.

Let us hold up the victim’s families in prayer. Let us not be in the least dispassionate toward their suffering, and keenly aware that the name of our Savior was – however egregiously – attached to these events in some way.

Let us learn true spiritual warfare – and bring it back to the place it belongs in our thinking. We cannot change the world through politics, violence, war or force – but through preaching and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We fight on our knees – pleading for souls. We fight in our praise, making the glories of Christ known. We fight in our walking in righteousness for His name’s sake. We fight by walking in the light of His Word – which leads us ever and always to Christ. We fight by faith – believing and trusting His promises, and refusing to trust in the arm of man. We fight by loving in Christ.

“Not a Lot to Say” – An open letter to the Huffington Post re: Greg Carey’s article

After reading an article recently in the Huffington Post – (READ THE ARTICLE HERE)

I could not help but respond to Professor Greg Carey’s assertion, the Bible has little to say about marriage. Greg Carey is Professor of New Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster PA (a UCC school – bio HERE).

Dear Editors:

I want to applaud the Huffington Post for being willing to ask and address the question which headed the 7/7/2011 edition article: “What Does the Bible Actually Say About Marriage?” A timely and important topic.

And, I’d like to say how much I appreciated Professor Carey’s irenic tone and his willingness to step up to the plate in pointing out that some of the commonly perceived “marriage” passages in the Bible aren’t passages about marriage at all! – like 1 Corinthians 13. Bravo! Carelessness in reading the Scriptures carefully and in a contextually sensitive manner, breeds all kinds of misinterpretations. Worse, it breeds an approach to the Bible we wouldn’t tolerate in any other
literature. Professor Carey is spot on when he notes that:

“Unfortunately, many Christians use the Bible to support their own prejudices and bigotry.” I might add that not only some Christians do this – but some self-professed non-Christians engage in the practice at times too. Sad.

When Theodor Geisel, writing as Dr. Seuss penned “The Cat in the Hat” – he did not imagine (nor do we ordinarily) assume others might read that line as implying that it contained a polemic against the psychological mistreatment of house pets through systematic imprisonment in disorientating millinery prisons designed to keep them from climbing the evolutionary ladder. It was a fun tome about a mischievous feline protagonist. Biblical statements seldom fair as well at the hands of some – even those who would profess to be its adherent and defenders.

Imagine my surprise then when I reached the article’s section headed by the words: “Not a Lot to Say.” I must confess a certain amount of mystification over Prof. Carey’s assertion here. The implication that the Bible simply does not have much to say about marriage, is in my limited understanding, grossly inaccurate. I should like to understand the unit of measure used in arriving at that conclusion. We might say the United States Constitution does not have “a lot” to say about the “right to privacy” – but few in our day would argue that so little said (some argue nothing said, but indirectly) implies the concept is of little importance, or that what IS said isn’t vital to interpreting how the Constitution applies.

So when I consider how the Bible treats the establishment of marriage and its fundamental elements in Genesis2:19-25; It’s repeated demonstration of the failure of polygamous relationships (it never whitewashes the attendant problems); God’s emphatic prohibition of adultery (Ex. 20:14, Deut. 5:18 with other allusions); God’s prohibition of sex outside of the marriage covenant and the extensive and detailed parameters instituted regarding legitimate and illegitimate sexual partners and marriageability (see the entire context of Leviticus 18:1-23); The Bible’s repeated treatment of the betrayal of God’s People’s relationship with God in terms of adultery (myriads of passages but most explicitly and extensively portrayed in the book of Hosea); Jesus’ explicit teaching on the nature of the marriage relationship by limiting legitimate divorce to cases of adultery (Matthew 19:3-9); Jesus’ explanation that not everyone can remain single but only those “to whom it is given” (Matt. 19:11);  The Apostle Paul’s extensive treatment of marriage issues in 1 Corinthians 7 – 40 packed verses worth!; Paul’s far from “ugly” but transcendent exposition of the keys to a harmonious marriage relationship in
Ephesians 5:22-33) when he shows proper arrangement and order (with submission by the way – NOT subjugation – but good order); Peter’s call to husbands to treat their wives NOT as spiritual inferiors, but as the equals they are before God with honor and cherishing them as finer vessels than they (1 Peter 3:1-17); and then the pervasive typology that the Bible employs to describe the Savior’s relationship with His Church in the framework of monogamous, committed marriage with inviolable fidelity and faithfulness (Eph. 5:25-32; Rev. 19:7; 21:2 & 9; 22:17); and a host of other references and allusions – when I consider that (and more) I gasp – “Not a Lot to Say”? Preposterous! Volumes to say. And not a word of over-romanticized fluff, but nuts and bolts reality having to do with every aspect of the marital relationship.

Contrary to the good professor, I must insist the Bible has plenty to say about marriage, and the gift it is from the hand of God – whether or not one comes from the Judaic or Christian traditions.

As an Evangelical Christian, I have come to count the privilege, the honor, the deep spiritual significance and the wonder of this phenomenal thing called marriage precisely because the Bible has so much to say about it.

Pick it up, read it, and be amazed.

Mother’s Day 2K11 – An Ode to Mother’s Spit

Of all the cosmic mysteries

Like light, or atoms split

Or subatomic particles

A quark – and stuff like it

Nothing so defies noesis

Or makes scientists to quit

Than mining out the secrets

Of the average Mother’s spit

Its solvent and degreaser

and adhesive all in one

Its used on hair and face and eyes

On noses when they run

Dissolving peanut butter,

Tar, or makeup all like one

It tames the angry cow licks

Smeared with kleenex or a thumb

It really doesn’t matter

How this substance is applied

Its uses are most varied

Its employments deep and wide

MacGyver wished he had it

When his hands were bound and tied

A thumb’s spread of it handy,

Can all problems override

My Mom would use it everywhere

My memory holds traces

Removing rust from bumpers

Soothing little sunburned faces

It really is ubiquitous

Pops up in oddest places

It truly can be used

In all of life’s most troubling cases

Can’t get hair to stay in place?

(Most oft on little boys)

A dab or two will do the trick

He’s dapper, slick and poised

Got schmutz that’s on your face,

Or clothes, or even on your toys

A crumpled tissue moistened

Will restore your soiled joys

No one is quite certain

With what this substance is infused

The Pentagon and NASA

Fear that it can be abused

The only rule that’s binding

On just how this stuff is used

Is Mom’s alone can wield it

For its powers to be loosed

Hawking had suspected that

Its Matter, dark and light

That make up all the universe

Its length and width and height

Its mass is all comprised of it

He thought he had it right

Cosmologists and Physicists

Agreed with him alright

But looking back upon his youth

He caught a glimpse of it

The truly magic substance

That makes every theory fit

The fabric of the cosmos

Isn’t sewn to perfect fit

The universe is glued up tight

With naught, but Mother’s spit

For my Mom Lillian Ferguson

Mother’s Day 2K11 / Love  Reid

The fear of the Lord: Does God have your ear?

Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Everyone agrees to the truth of this statement, but unpacking it is sometimes a little difficult. What is this “fear of the Lord”, and isn’t it counter to living with God in love and acceptance? Not at all.

The first time the idea of fearing the Lord appears in Scripture in explicit terms is in (of all places) Exodus 9. And it is used in a unique setting. It is spoken of as the response of some Egyptians, who upon hearing Moses’ pronouncement that the 7th plague of hail was about to be poured out. The text reads: Exodus 9:20 (ESV) “Then whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses.”

And if you think back to Genesis 3 and the Fall – although your do not see the words explicitly stated, the principle is there. In fact, this is the very seed from which all sin springs – failure to fear the Lord, to fear His Word.

And what exactly is meant by that? In the final analysis, to fear the Lord is simply to take Him seriously, so that His Word to us is of the highest and utmost importance. Whatever else we may think or feel – His opinion, His view, His warnings, His pronouncements regarding what is good, and what is ill and dangerous – we heed. Above all.

Things are, as God says they are. Reality is what He declares it to be. Sin is what He says is sin and good is only what He says is good. It is when we lose this central “fear” – so that anything He says can be taken lightly, modified, twisted, is optional or can even be downright contradicted – that everything comes apart at the seams.

This is what it means to fear Him. Do you? Does God have your ear?

Off to get in touch with my inner-Pig

‘Tis that time of the year again.

Time to shove off to Texas for my vacation.

Time to get back in touch with my inner-pig.

Hope to see you mid-January.

“Hereafter” – a brief review of the new Clint Eastwood movie.

“Hereafter” has been touted by some as Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece. As an Eastwood fan, I wanted to see it as much for his movie making as the subject matter. I was disappointed on both fronts.

Interminably slow and aimless, this dark, dismal drawn out exercise in existential nothingness was truly painful to watch. There are some great performances – Bryce Dallas Howard’s and young Frankie McLaren’s for instance are superb. It is a shame they are in this wreck of a movie. Damon does what he can trying to make a slow moving train with only one car look interesting. Jay Mohr is, well…Jay Mohr. Nothing more, nothing less. Cécile de France too does what she can but Peter Morgan’s do nothing script is just too much motionless intertia to overcome.

If you wanted a glimpse of the author’s idea of the “Hereafter” – you only get it by way of the vehicle itself – at least in terms of some kind of Hell. We learn from having to sit through this movie that at the least, Hell is endlessly long, pointless, hopeless, joyless and utterly meaningless. Beyond that, it is the same old “they’ve crossed over and everything’s OK” (we guess).

Do not. DO NOT waste your time or your money unless you want to experience PURGATORY THE THEME RIDE for yourself. Better yet, just take a stick in the eye and be done with it. At least then you can go to emergency and get treatment. There is no way to treat the damage this somnambulant dullard of flick does to you.

I HOPE I can sleep it off.

After all that is said and done, my wife and I did come away with this: As those who believe the Bible, and who hold to the living hope of the resurrection as a life-informing reality – we did not realize how bleak any kind of look into the future must be for those still outside of Christ. It is all nothing but the dimmest conjecture. I do think Christians can take advantage of the subject matter being raised – to truly give an answer of the hope that is in us because of Christ. I have lost touch with how hopeless my unsaved friends are – how they cling to just the barest thread of anything to try and make sense of death. We not only know what happens after we die – but why we die in the first place. And that makes the most amazing platform for the Gospel. We know – what everyone else, can only make the blindest of guesses at. As the old hymn writer said: “We’ve a story to tell to the nations…” And not a fictional one – the story of all truth – of the person and work of our Savior Jesus, the risen Christ.

Yeah I know, I’m on hiatus – but you NEED this book!

Baruch Maoz is a native born Israeli – and a sound baptistic, Reformed theologian. Until quite recently, he pastored in Israel. I met him several years ago at a F.I.R.E. conference in Sharpsburg Georgia. And I was instantly taken by his passion for the Jewish people, the glory of Christ, and his approach to God’s Word.

This book – is profoundly important in dealing with the rise of, and the sometimes strange issues that accompany – the Messianic Jewish movement in America. It is clear, insightful, charitable – and above all Biblical. This is an absolute MUST read.

I cannot recommend it highly enough.

BUY IT HERE

Officially on hiatus until Sept. 14th

Yep – its that time again. Need to get away and recharge. I need to step away now (even though I am not gone yet) to get things ready for my absence, and hope to be back in the saddle on the 14th of September.

I’ll only be out of the pulpit for 2 Sundays.

Until then – take advantage of the Archives, and/or the links to the many other excellent sites I have listed.

See you soon!

Cult-proofing your kids (AND yourselves) Part 1

Slogans find their way into every culture. Webster’s 11th Collegiate states that a slogan is: “a : a war cry especially of a Scottish clan; b : a word or phrase used to express a characteristic position or stand or a goal to be achieved.” Such slogans can be merely catchy, or motivating like Patrick’s Henry’s famous “give me liberty or give me death” – or even vitally useful. It is this last category that our graphic above falls into. For during the Protestant Reformation, a series of slogans were used both to motivate, and to crystallize some of the key concepts being fought for. Sola Scriptura is the first of five of the most important of those Reformation slogans. And if they are digested and stood upon, they can serve a most extraordinary role still. If one embraces these slogans as a part of their world view, they can, all alone, serve to keep one safe from nearly every form of false religion, and Christian cult.

  • Sola Scriptura. What does it mean? In the first place, it is simply the way of  saying “Scripture Alone” in Latin. But what was meant by its use then? Above all other things, it meant that the Reformers, held that Scripture – the Holy Bible – stands uniquely, unerringly and supremely above every other authority. It serves always as the final court of appeals in terms of its revelation of God, our world view, and thus in defining faith, morals and ethics. No, The Bible will not teach you quantum physics, nor how to fix your motorcycle. It will teach you how to be reconciled to God in Jesus Christ, why you NEED to be reconciled and how once you have been – you can DO quantum physics and repair your motorcycle in godliness and to the Creator’s glory. Scripture does not contain all information on every subject. But it is the ONLY authoritative source of the necessary information God has revealed concerning who and what He is, who and what we are, the saving of our souls, the meaning of life and how to live it.
  • Every false religion, or even false expression of true Christianity errs on this point. It will either make some thing or some one equal to the authority of Scripture, or above it. It cannot rest with man being brought supremely under the authority of the Bible above all else.
  • We must be clear here – Scripture itself teaches that other authorities DO exist, and that by God’s appointment. As such, we are responsible to them. But every other authority, be it familial, civil or ecclesiastical has these inviolable parameters: NO authority, under any circumstances has the right to require one to do anything the Scripture forbids them to do, nor the right to forbid them to do anything Scripture requires them to do.
  • Every Christian cult follows suit in this regard. It will have as its final authority some other text or texts, personalities (who themselves are the final interpreters of Scripture irrespective of all others) or another source either equal to or above the Bible.

BEWARE!

  • Beloved, when God speaks, all others must shut their mouths. And God speaks, infallibly, only in His Word. Listen to Him. Do we listen to the Church as well? We had better. It is arrogant to ignore the gifts God has given to His Church throughout the centuries for our edification. But we do not mistakenly forget that churches, pastors, theologians, synods, councils and ecclesiastical powers of all kinds not only can err, but do. Not so God. Not so His Word.
  • Remember this, keep to this, and you cannot go far afield.