Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Few Thoughts about Being Filled with the Holy Spirit

There are two Greek words that are used by the biblical writers to convey this concept. Luke always uses some form of pimplemi.

  1. What I found interesting was to first look at how it is used in non Holy Spirit contexts. 

I have put the filled word in bold, the agent of filling bold and the resulting action italicized.

 Luke 4:28 And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff.

 Luke 5:26 They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

 Luke 6:11 But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

 Acts 3:10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

 Acts 5:17 But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. 18 They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. 

Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming.

 Acts 19:29 The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. 

Conclusion: When pimplemi is used in non-Holy Spirit contexts it used to describe the influence upon a person of something that affects them internally to act a certain way. The affecting agent in these cases is always an internal emotions produced as a response to some external circumstances. The affecting agents are rage, fear, confusion, jealousy, or wonder and amazement. The external circumstances that produced these affects were usually hearing the apostles’ or Jesus’ words, or witnessing their miracles. The effects of rage, confusion, or jealousy resulted in planning or carrying out some kind of violence or arrest. Fear, wonder, or amazement, either resulted in saying something about it or just being in that state.

  2. Passages using pimplemi in relationship to the Holy Spirit.

 Luke 1:15 “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16 “And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Luke 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45 “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”

 Luke 1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

 Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

 Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people,

 Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

 Acts 9:17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; 19 and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 

Acts 13:9 But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, 10 and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? 11 “Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.” And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand.

 Acts 13:52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

 Conclusion: While in the previous passages the internal affecting agent was an emotion that was responding to external circumstances, in these passages the Holy Spirit replaces the emotion as the internal affecting agent and it is not in response to external circumstances. And the Holy Spirit’s filling produces the following effects: leaping of a baby for joy in the womb, a preaching ministry, crying out in a loud voice and speaking prophecy, speaking in tongues, speaking with boldness, possibly the gaining or losing sight, desire to get baptized, and can be accompanied with joy.

  3. One passage using a synonym of pimplemi (plerow).

 Eph 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. 

Conclusion: It appears here as well that being filled with the Spirit is an internal influence that the Holy Spirit exerts to produce an external result. It usually involves bold speaking. The types of speaking in the examples given are prophecy, speaking in tongues, preaching, exhortations to one another, singing, and giving thanks. It has been accompanied by physical manifestations of gaining or losing sight and well as emotions like joy. The question is whether this filling of the Spirit continues today. I would say that there is nothing to suggest that the filling of the Spirit does not continue, but some of the effects may have ceased. That gets into a discussion of whether the revelatory gifts like prophecy or tongues continue today. I think it would also be important to explore the connection of the filling with the Spirit to passages that speak of His leading, walking by the Spirit, living by the Spirit, the production of fruit by the Spirit, etc.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Principles for Dating #2

Hello my children,

The second principle is "The Confirmation Principle."

Holland argues that it is important to submit your dating relationship to the God-ordained authorities in your life as well as the providentially placed people in your lives, like friends.

If you look at the relationship that Samson wanted to have with the Philistine woman in Judges 14:1-5, you see that not only was his interest in her based purely on physical attraction, but he also broke principle 1 in that he did not care about her character or even her religious beliefs. Even further, he didn't care about the input of his parents. He rejected their advice and "one thing led to another" and his wife betrayed him, 30 men died, multiple crops were destroyed by fire, and his wife and father-in-law were burned to death (Judges 15).

There is a God-ordained and designed level of care, instruction, and protection that God has woven into your lives. The first thread is your parents. Before you are an adult they are in authority over you and have responsibility to guide, teach, and protect you. But even once you are an adult they are to be honored and recognized as a valuable resource and can still serve as guides, teachers, and protection if you will let them.

It is good to have your parents involved from the beginnings of a relationship (or even before one starts). It would be good to involve them in considering who to pursue for a relationship and how.

Regardless of how exactly this works out, it should be the heart of a child to get their parent's thoughts, listen to their concerns, and honor their admonitions.

Parents are given for many good reasons that should be considered:

Exodus 20:12 12 ¶ "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

Leviticus 19:3 3 'Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father

Ephesians 6:1-3 Ephesians 6:1 ¶ Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

Proverbs 6:20-23 My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life.

Proverbs 10:1 A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.

If God gave you parents He expects them to have very important input into this vital decision. It is true that not all parents are wise in these matters, but as in everything, check their advice and wisdom against God's word.

Grace and peace,

Dad

Monday, June 13, 2011

Principles for Dating: #1

I am in the process of writing letters to my children about things they should think about regarding dating. I am posting them here in case they can benefit others.

Hi loveys,

This is the second installment of the dating series. We are going over Rick Holland's ten principles from the book _5 Paths to the Love of Your Life_.

The first principle is: The Character Principle.

The basic idea is that it is more important to _be_ the right person than to _find_ the right person. In other words, you should really concentrate on being conformed to the image of Christ. If you are seeking Christ you will desire a person who also seeks the Lord and wants to do His will.

Titus 2:2-8 gives a good list of character qualities for us to measure ourselves against.

sober-minded
dignified
self-controlled
sound in faith, love & steadfastness
reverent in behavior
not slanderers
not slaves to wine
teaching what is good
loving
pure
hard worker
submissive to authorities
a model of good works
having integrity
sound in speech
people have noting evil to say about you.

Other passages add other qualities:
humility (Phil 2:3-11)
holiness (1 Pet 1:14-16)
godly love (1 Cor 13:4-8)
selflessness (James 3:14)
the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-25)
Christlikeness (Eph 4:13)

It would be good to go through this list and see what areas you need to grow in. It is most important that you look upon your heart, because that is where God looks (1 Sam 16:7).

Titus 2 and 2 Timothy 2 indicate that it is helpful to have a mentoring relationship where someone encourages you and holds you accountable in these areas. Perhaps it would be good for you to ask your discipler to go through the list and talk about these things with you.

Finally, in addition to being the right kind of a person, in trying to find the right kind of person, these are the characteristics you should look for in others as well.

King Lemuel said it well: "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (Prov 31:30)

Again, let me know what you think. If you have questions or want to discuss something, feel free to respond to this message or send me a private one.

I love you all,

Dad

Friday, February 11, 2011

Defending the Faith

I recently received this note from a non-christian friend. I thought I'd share my response in case it helps someone else in thinking through these things. Pray for his salvation.

Friend's comments: I was gonna ask you about this show I watched the other night. God vs Satan. We all know that god cast Lucifer out of heaven for basically trying to throw a coup. At this time Lucifer was a cherub, and he had managed to get one third of gods angels to back him. I have no idea who created gods cherubs, that's another mystery to me, but he cast out Lucifer and in turn made him king of the underworld. I think that was a big mistake for someone who knows all and sees all. He turned an ordinary cherub, into a king. Some call it a balance. Kind of like the ying and yang.
If we look at society today, it's easy to see that the devil is winning this game. Now don't get me wrong, I don't believe in any of that crap. But if I was a god. I believe I would have sacrificed Lucifer instead of waiting so long than to creep into a womans house when her man wasn't home and raping her like a common criminal.
I'm a big fan of the History channel where they are continously blowing gods out of the skies and this idea had occured to me. That god in the old testament makes a lot of mistakes, just in the first book of Genisis.
And another thing occured to me in our last discussion about evolution. I have to go with the walk of man as a good example of that. At least that is solid proof. And why could Jesus perform all the magic tricks like walking on water, raising the dead, healing the sick, and feeding the multitudes but he couldn't do a thing with those nails. But cried to his so-called daddy and his daddy turned his back on him. Lucifer came out smelling like a rose.

My Comments:
In exploring things like this it is important to separate what the Bible actually says from things that it is purported to say by those who build straw men arguments against it. It is true that the Bible teaches that there must have been a rebellion in the angelic world (2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6). It is also possible that Isa 14:12-15 is a reference to the fall of Satan, although that is debated.

The cherub designation comes in if Ezekiel 28 is a reference to Satan (That is debated as well since this is in the context of referring to judgment upon earthly kings). But let's say that Satan is a cherub. It is important to note that cherub in the Bible is not some fat baby angel like in art works, but was a class of angels.

You say that you do not know who created God's cherubs. Well, that Bible says, Exodus 20:11 11 "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them."

So, it appears that God created the angels as well.

You also mention the name Lucifer, which only appears in the KJV of Isaiah 14:12, which should probably be translated as "shining one."

But, regardless of all of that, the Bible does not say that God made Satan the king of the underworld.

Understanding how to answer that depends though on what you mean by "underworld." If by that you mean hell, then the Bible does not teach that Satan is in charge of hell. Rather hell is the place designed for his eternal punishment (Rev 20:10).

If however by underworld you mean the earth where people live, then God also did not make Him the king of the earth. Now, you may be arguing that God's act of casting Satan out of heaven made him a default ruler of sorts. If that is what you mean then i would agree, but that is only because the hearts of unbelievers follow him. It is true that he exercises a dominion over the hearts of those who do not believe in Christ. He serves as their so-called "god" as he blinds their eyes and holds them captive to do his will (Acts 26:18; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:1-2; 2 Tim 2:26).

However, it is not really like the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang. In the Bible God and Satan are not equal opposing forces. God is the sovereign creator who rules all of creation and Satan is a created but fallen being and a defeated foe (Hebrews 2:14-15) on a short leash allowed certain freedom to do his evil, but really only ends up furthering God's plan. He is able to be resisted by Christians (James 4:7; 1 Pet 5:8-9) will be crushed under their feet (Rom 16:20), and will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:10).

As for looking at society and thinking that the devil is winning the game, once again this is not a biblical perspective. The Bible does not teach that God is trying to win some game. Rather, the Bible teaches that God is accomplishing the salvation of His people. And I can testify as one of them that he is doing really well. It never teaches that the world will get better, rather the expectation is that things will get worse. A rule of righteousness, peace, and love will only occur when Christ returns as King and destroys His enemies.

Now as to your idea that it would have been better to sacrifice Satan, well, once again, according to the Bible that would not have accomplished anything other than killing Satan. Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, was sacrificed in fulfillment of the OT prophecies and sacrificial types in order to as a human perfectly fulfill God's law in order to be a blameless sacrifice, and as God he was able to bear an eternity of the wrath of God toward the sins of all of His people in the short time upon the cross. Thus, he perfectly satisfied God's justice so that those who believe in Him as their savior may have the forgiveness of all of their sins.

As far as Jesus on the cross. The fact is that he could have called 12 legions of angels to defend him (Matthew 26:53-54) or could have come down himself if he had wanted to, but why would he? He lived his whole life for this purpose, to die for the sins of His people. The Bible teaches over and over that he laid down His life willingly. Then, he was resurrected so that those who believe receive the benefits of his death and are joined to Him in His resurrection as well to live a new life which will go on for eternity. As for his crying out "My God, My God Why have you forsaken me?" That is a quote from the OT in Psalm 22 and signals that Christ was fulfilling prophecy. It is true that he was abandoned to suffer the cross in the place of sinners so that he could bear the wrath of God, but this was not a weak or pitiful thing, it was rather a path to victory over death, sin, and Satan.

As for your contention that the incarnation was an act of rape, again you have it wrong on several counts. First, just for facts sake Mary was not yet married, so her "man" wouldn't be home with her. She was probably still living at home. Second, God did not rape her. He did not have a body, and did not have intercourse with her. He performed a miracle by causing her to conceive. After this miracle she is still called a virgin. So the biblical picture is not of rape. Third, perhaps you do not like the fact that He caused this to happen at all and feel that it was forced upon her. Well, if you read the account Mary is a very willing participant and in fact rejoices over her privilege to have this happen (Luke 1:26-2:7). So, your straw man argument doesn't hold up.

As for the statement that "Lucifer came out smelling like a rose." Its absurd (whatever it means?). Rather, I think he will smell more like burnt toast.

Two final comments: 1) As to your contention that God made mistakes, there is no evidence of that in the Bible. If you read the whole thing it consistently reveals that God is perfect and His whole plan can be seen in context. It is only when one tries to stand in judgment upon the Bible by their own skewed perspective and does not take it as it is intended by God that it could be construed as God making mistakes.

2) I have no idea what you mean by "the walk of man" as "solid proof" of evolution. Do you mean the fact that man walks upright? If so, wouldn't that better be evidence of a great designer?

Well, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak the truth about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and hopefull clarify some things. I pray that your eyes will be opened to see your sin and your need of the glorious savior and His work on the cross.

Grace and peace,

Brian

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Shealy Family


On our wedding day in 1988, Brian and I were given a Christmas memory book that has space for recording 25 years of holiday memories. I am completely amazed to find that Brian and I will be celebrating our 23rd Christmas this year and our book is almost full! Our family Christmas photo has eight more people in it than when we started, our life is full and busy, and God has proven His faithful love to us year after year! 2010 was no exception. Here’s an update on our family…

Caleb (5) is determined to grow up in spite of the fact that he will always be our baby. Recently, he has discovered jokes, like this: “Why do chickens sit on eggs? Because they don’t have chairs.” Some of his favorite things are his cereal bowl with a built in straw, his black ankle socks, marshmallows, and Dad’s funny series of bedtime stories called The Bee Bop Bear Cops.

Luke (9) joined swim team a few months ago, and has grown about 3 inches this year. He is a big fan of Ereth, a funny, grumpy porcupine character from the Poppy book series, and is really happy when Seth is around to play video games with him. Luke and Caleb enjoy battling each other throughout the day with all their Nerf swords, axes, and guns, complete with lots of homemade sound effects.

Briana (11) has collected an armful of silly bandz this year, and loves to chat with her friends on the phone. One of her favorite memories of 2010 was going ice skating with a couple of her friends on her birthday. She loves to read books from The Charlie Bone series, and is hoping to be baptized this next year.

Lindsay (13) loves to swim and work out, and enjoys planning and organizing things. Making cards and giving gifts makes Lindsay happy, and most often she likes to give away friendship bracelets that she makes from patterns she finds on the internet or creates herself. She took voice lessons this year and sang in the girls’ youth choir at our church.

Ali (15) Ali has been exploring all forms of art this year like styling her family’s hair, singing with her friends, learning guitar and piano, drawing everything from sketches to portraits, and has just recently discovered photography. (I think it runs in the Shealy veins.) She is always available to be Savannah’s model when she needs someone for a photography class project.

Adam (17) is a senior in high school, and is thinking about career choices and possible majors. He loves to plays sports such as basketball, and volleyball with our church’s summer league. Relaxing for Adam means enjoying the X-box 360 and computer games, but he still has a soft spot for good books, (which is a good thing since he just got a new box full of books in the mail today that must be read before graduation!).

Seth (18) is recovering from having all 4 wisdom teeth removed this week, and from taking Chemistry his first semester in college. He is working toward a degree in criminal justice, and has recently applied to a cadet program with the police department. Seth got to travel to South Carolina with Brian for Thanksgiving this year, and has become quite a good swing dancer.

Savannah (21) spent the year building her wedding and portrait photography business, and was excited to travel to New York to shoot the wedding of a friend. You can see her work at: www.savannahlauren.showitsite.com. She is now pursuing a degree in photography, and in her spare time enjoys swing dancing and doing aerials with her brother, stalking the blogs of her favorite photographers, exploring San Francisco with her friends, and finding new Spurgeon and C. S. Lewis quotes.

Myra – I’m beginning to feel as if the kids are growing up in time-lapse photography speed! Within the next year the youngest child will start kindergarten and three will have graduated from high school. These are busy days, but I must say they are some of the happiest days of my life! Aside from watching God at work in our family, I’ve been so encouraged this year by the latest music of Steven Curtis Chapman, his CD called Beauty Will Rise. It is a strong testimony to God’s love and faithfulness to His children in their most painful trials. I’m looking forward to a “day off” next week that Brian is giving me, and I hope to dust off my camera, write on my blog, and maybe explore my favorite thrift store.

Brian has seen some major physical changes since last year. He lost 30 pounds, shaved off his beard, and took our family through an intense 90 day exercise program! No, this isn’t a midlife crisis, just an effort to help us all strive for better health. The results have been exciting, and it has been a fun thing to do as a family. Brian has completed two years of his PhD program, and is as busy as ever overseeing The Cornerstone Seminary, serving on the elder board at our church, and shepherding our home fellowship group.

In the remaining days of the Christmas season, our family will enjoy the special things that go along with the holiday: the food, opening gifts, seeing all the beautiful lights, and receiving cards and photos from many of you. But when it is all over for another year, the tree comes down, and the gifts have all been put away, the Savior that came to Earth so long ago will still remain the living gift that we desperately need. “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” He is still the only hope that never disappoints. Our prayer is that in the year to come you will treasure Him above any earthly gift you have or desire.

Merry Christmas with love,
Myra for Brian, Savannah, Seth, Adam, Ali, Lindsay, Briana, Luke, and Caleb

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Example of Christian Liberty - Charter Schools


Awhile back I posted a series on Christian liberties. These areas are often difficult to navigate through. I have often had people raise specific issues regarding liberties so I thought I would post an example of an issue to try to help someone think through an area of Christian liberty. I do not by any means think I necessarily have the perfect answer to difficult issues like this, but at least it is an example of working through an issue. Hopefully it will help someone. The issue involves Christian homeschoolers and Charter Schools. Here is a sample letter:

Dear Friend,

Thank you for the packet of information on Charter School ISPs. I can appreciate your concerns. I am thankful for your desire to honor the Lord in all things and I’m thankful that you would come to me with your questions. Issues like these where there is no explicit command from Scripture (i.e., Don’t use Christian materials when you homeschool through a Charter School.) we have to try to apply principles that would be more implicit.

It is good to gather information on an issue as you have, but consider that these materials only present one side of the issue. What we should do in trying to solve a problem or come to a conclusion about something is to make sure that we can fully understand the other person’s viewpoint and even be able to argue their perspective better than they can, if possible. Then if we still disagree at least we can be sure that we are accurately reflecting their side and know for sure what we are rejecting and why.

The issue under consideration, as I understand it, is: First, that there are some Christian families that have their children in Public Charter Schools. Second, your issue is not that they choose to do this, but rather that some of these people use Christian educational materials during their school time instruction which you believe clearly violates the CA Constitution. Third, in your conscience, if you would do this, you would see it as sinning against God by not submitting to authorities (Romans 13:1-6). Do I have that right?

In looking at the info you gave me it was interesting to note that several of the position papers or pamphlets are arguing against anything but Christian homeschooling. They are arguing against Charter Schools because a Charter School as a public school would prohibit a Christian education. If I understand you correctly, that is not an issue with you. You would allow for freedom in regard to school choices. Someone could choose public school, public charter school, private school, or homeschool and that would be their liberty. Correct? So, we would not give weight to these arguments.

The other interesting thing that I find in the info is that none of it comes to the clear conclusion that you have come to, that if a Christian homeschools under a Charter School and yet uses Christian curriculum he is sinning by not submitting to authorities. They talk about the problems with Charter Schools. They mention that Charter Schools are not supposed to allow Christian education during school time. They mention that some Charter School administrators do allow parents to buy and use Christian curriculum, but are not supposed to. They state that parents in Charter Schools are allowed to supplement the child’s education with their own money on their own time. Yet, interestingly, none of the material, unless I missed it, states the conclusion that a parent who’s Charter School allows it would be in sin for doing it because of violating the Constitution. Mainly, they talk about the risks/dangers involved in doing so. If the courses were audited there could be repercussions such as loss of credits or even expulsion from the program. Roy Hanson comes the closest to saying it is sin when he states that it violates the regulations and then refers to possible deception involved and cites 2 Cor 4:2, which is Paul's statement about his ministry being of a different character than the false apostles because he did not come by way of deception.

So, I guess the questions would be: 1. Since it appears that it is a violation of State regulations, is it also a violation of the commands to submit to the governing authorities? 2. Is it deception?

The first problem I have in answering these questions is that I do not have the benefit of knowing how people who are doing this would answer them. I can’t make their argument better than they themselves make it because I do not know it. So, I would have to reserve final judgment upon it until I have heard their thinking on it. They may have valid points I have not considered. So, until then how should I evaluate it for myself? First of all I would approach the issue believing the best about my brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Cor 13:7) and assuming that they are not sinning until it is undeniable. Then, as the issue arises in conversation I would want to hear how they do process the situation and their actions. It is possible that some people are just ignorant of all of the factors involved. For these you can patiently inform them over time. Others may have fully thought through it all and are acting in good conscience.

Nevertheless, let’s try to answer the best we can in light of what we do know. As for the second question it seems easy. A person should know whether he or she is lying or not. If they are going to violate the regulation then they should not lie about it or try to deceive those who would inquire.

The first question is more difficult. It seems to me to be clearly a violation of regulations but even so there may be several possible legitimate reasons for such a violation. Here I would need to hear the person’s reasons for it. But I can propose some possibilities:

1) They believe it is an immoral law for the government to dictate that children cannot be taught from a Christian worldview, yet they also have the freedom to be in a public Charter School and benefit from it, so if they choose to be in it they must disobey a command to exclude God from their education.

2) Another possibility would be that there are conflicting interpretations of the law in other branches of the government (judiciary, executive, legislative) that would allow an interpretation of it that would provide freedom for homeschoolers to supplement within the school hours. Perhaps this is unlikely and I do not know of any, but I have seen this kind of thing happen often.

3) Some might feel that they have conflicting authorities. They are submitting to their immediate government authority who allows this, while other authorities do not. It is interesting that there are many laws on the books that are not enforced by governing authorities at various levels. In fact, as for going against the Constitution there are many governing authorities that go against the original intent of the US Federal Constitution. So, what do we do in such cases? Do we follow the Constitution or the particular governing agency or office that is violating it and overseeing us in the particular sphere we are operating? Sometimes these are tough questions.

4) Perhaps there are other justifications.

As it stands now I would have to conclude that this is a matter of conscience. If a person is convinced in his own mind that they are not lying and that they are free to use Christian materials in violation of this regulation and that it is not a violation of God’s command because of one of these justifications, then while I might not follow their rationale myself, I would not judge them as sinning against God. I would let God determine that (Romans 14:4, 10, 12, 13).

If after all of this a person still has a problem with people doing this and believes it is clearly a sin then in our church they would need to realize that they are in a church whose leadership views it as a freedom of conscience issue. So, they would need to do what makes for peace.

So, this is where I’m at on the issue presently. I’m certainly open to further discussion. Feel free to gain input from other elders or mature Christians you interact with. I hope this helps some.

Grace and peace,
Brian

Monday, July 19, 2010

True Biblical Love

I recently did a 2-part series on genuine biblical love for the college and career ministry at our church and thought I'd share it here for anyone that might be interested. Click here.