Friday, July 31, 2009

Calvinism? Reasonable Doubt! (part one)

Comparing Calvinism with Reality and Scripture

"I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please."
-Isaiah 46:10

In a universe of created beings with freewill, God knows the details of history and fulfills his purpose. God does not need to override freewill because in his power and wisdom he will do all that he pleases. Since God knows the end from the beginning, his eternal council had already decided all his counter moves before time began. The God of scripture has more wisdom, power, patience and love than the divine tyrant of Calvinism.

Basic Calvinism (Reformed Predestination)

The five major tenets of Calvinism are easily remembered with the acronym TULIP.

T = Total Depravity

U = Unconditional Election

L = Limited Atonement

I = Irresistible Grace

P = Perseverance of the Saints

Total Depravity means that humans are incapable of doing anything good concerning their own salvation. Calvinism teaches that because of this totally fallen state we can not even respond to God's offer of salvation. Thus, in Calvinism, God must give man faith before man can accept God's grace.

Unconditional Election means that there are no reasons (or, conditions) why certain men have been chosen (elected) by God to be saved. The men who are saved where elected by God based only on God's will. This also means God did not look into the future and chose to save those he knew would except his offer of salvation. Some people are elected for salvation, others are not.

Limited Atonement means that Jesus died on the cross only for the sins of those he unconditionally elected (or, those he chose for no reason). Jesus' death was enough to pay for everyone's sins, he just bore the sins of those he had chosen.

Irresistible Grace means that when God calls the elect men that he died for they can not resist. If you are elect, then Jesus paid for your sins, God will give you the faith and you will respond to his call. If God calls you, you will come. If he hasn't elected you, he didn't pay for your sins and he won't call you, because you can't be saved. Everyone hears the call of the gospel with their natural ears, but only the elect hear the inward call of God and respond.

Perseverance of the Saints means, obviously, you can't lose your salvation since God elected you, called you, gave you the faith and made you accept his grace. The Father elected you, the Son died for your sins, the Spirit has applied salvation and you are eternally secure.

Scriptural Balance and Refutation of TULIP

T= Total Depravity: Balance and Refutation by Scripture

Scripture shows that total depravity does not mean men do not have a free will or that they do not have the ability to respond to God, or that they can not hear God, or understand God. Total depravity means that men can do nothing to save themselves and their whole nature (spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, will, etc) is corrupted (not destroyed) by sin.

1. Fallen men have free will

2. Fallen men can respond to God

3. Fallen men can hear God

Genesis 3:10, After Adam fell he could still hear God, "I heard you in the garden and I was afraid . . . so I hid."

Genesis 4:6, God spoke to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?" and Cain heard and responded to God when God spoke, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (4:9)

4. Fallen men can understand God

Romans 1:18-19 - ". . . the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them

Romans 1:18-19 - ". . . being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God, nor gave thanks to him (1:20,21) . . since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to depraved mind." (1:28)

U= Unconditional Election: Balance and Refutation by Scripture

The error of unconditional election goes in two directions. One, it claims that some people are elected by God, others are not based only on God's choice. Two, this election is not based on anything man can do, including man's willing acceptance of salvation. Unconditional election means God did not respond to man's faith in time or in eternity past through foreknowledge, but instead God chose some people for salvation and rejected others before time began.

1. The Bible makes it clear that faith is a necessary condition for receiving salvation:

Ephesians 1:13, "You also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit."

Romans 5:1, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Acts 16:3, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved."

Romans 3:30, "There is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith."

2. Faith is not a work. Belief in the truth is non-meritorious. Faith is a response of the will. Faith with the heart is no more a work than seeing with the eyes is a work.

John 3:14, "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." (Israelites were healed by "looking" at Moses' snake, just like anyone who "believes" in the Son of God will be saved. No effort, just results.)

Romans 4:5, "To the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness."

Romans 3:27, "Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? no. but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law."

3. Election, choosing, predestination is based on God's foreknowledge of our free will response to the offer of salvation and the ministry of the Holy Spirit:

Romans 8:29, "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son."

1 Peter 1:2, ". . . who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father"

4. Notice the full process of salvation from eternity past to the application of the blood of Christ in time. First Peter 1:2:

Eternity Past:
" . . . who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. . . "

Testimony of the Holy Spirit in time offering salvation:
". . . through the sanctifying work of the Spirit . . . "

The response of faith ("obedience of faith" Romans 1:5):
" . . . for obedience to Jesus Christ . . ."

Receiving of Salvation by the individual believer:
" . . . and sprinkling by his blood."

L= Limited Atonement: Balance and Refutation by Scripture

God loves all people, not only the elect. Jesus died to save all people, not only the elect.

1. God loves all people

Romans 2:11, "For God does not show favoritism."

Matthew 5:45, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Would it not be ironic if God would give everyone sunlight and rain, but only a few the offer of eternal life?)

2. God calls all people

Matthew 22:14, "For many are invited, but few are chosen." (Read the parable before this which basically means the Jews were invited but few accepted the invitation, so additional invitations were sent out to the Gentiles. Refusing the invitation in this parable results in that person not being chosen.)

3. God is love and love does not force its will, but instead is patient, kind. Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

4. Jesus died for all people in all the world through out all time.

Matthew 23:37, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, . . . how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were not willing."

John 1:29, "Look, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Romans 5:6, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, . . . But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Matthew 5:46-48, "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - I would assume this means the perfect God would die for every one's sins, not just the elect. Jesus would go to the cross for those he knows will never be his brothers.)

1 John 2:2, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."

2 Corinthians5:14-19, "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. . . All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them."

1 Timothy 2:3, 4, "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

1 Timothy 2:6, "The man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men."

Hebrews 2:9, "He suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."

2 Peter 2:1,"They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them."

I= Irresistible Grace: Balance and Refutation by Scripture

Scripture shows that God's grace, or calling, or drawing, to salvation is not irresistible.

1. Scripture shows that mankind has the free will to reject God's grace.

Matthew 23:37, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, . . . how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were not willing."

John 3:19, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light."

John 5:39, 40: " These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life."

John 8:24, "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am you will indeed die in your sins."

John 12:37, "Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him."

Acts 13:46, "Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we not turn to the Gentiles."

Acts 14:2, " But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers."

2. Scripture shows that mankind has the free will to accept God's grace:

John 1:12, 13: "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 6:37, "Whoever comes to me I will never drive away."

John 6:40, "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal live."

John 6:47, "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."

John 12:42, "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him."

Revelation 22:17, "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."

P= Perseverance of the Saints: Balance and Refutation by Scripture
This refers to once saved, always saved. The main problem with Calvinism is the issue of man's free will in response to God's offer of salvation. Once salvation has been secured there is no reversing the process. Salvation is eternal. The believer has been given everlasting life. At this point of TULIP, the scriptures and logic agree with "P".

2 Corinthians 5:17, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."

Ephesians 1:13, 14, " . . . the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession."

Scripture supports a form of "T" (total depravity; corruption of the will, not destruction) and scripture absolutely teaches "P" (Perseverance), but "U" (unconditional election), "L" (limited atonement) and "I" (irresistible grace) require a manipulation of scripture that distorts the clear reading of the text and the consistent witness found through out scripture.

Galyn Wiemers

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The End of the World According to Islamic Theology

Watch this short 2:22 YouTube video to understand the Islamic view of the end of the world. It appears their first trumpet by the angel Rafael causes a mild breeze to blow around the world causing a type of "rapture" of the faithful before the second trumpet brings destruction on those who remain. Take a look:

Galyn Wiemers

What Are They Saying in the Arabic Blogosphere?

Information concerning the practice and topics of Arabic bloggers has been researched and reported by Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Here is part of their report:

Personal life and local issues are most important
: Most bloggers write mainly personal, diary-style observations. But when writing about politics, bloggers tend to focus on issues within their own country, and are more often than not critical of domestic political leaders. Foreign political leaders are discussed less often, but also more in negative than positive terms. Domestic news is more popular than international news among general politics and public life topics. The one political issue that clearly concerns bloggers across the Arab world is Palestine, and in particular the situation in Gaza (Israel’s December 2008/January 2009 military action occurred during the study). Other popular topics include religion (more in personal than political terms) and human rights (more common than criticism of western culture and values). Terrorism and the US are not major topics. When discussing terrorism, Arab bloggers are overwhelmingly critical of terrorists. When the US is discussed, it is nearly always critically.
Galyn Wiemers

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Exegetical Fallacies

To help me learn, remember and become more familiar with the teaching of D.A. Carson I would like to summarize his book Exegetical Fallacies. (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2006, copyright by D. A. Carson 1996, ISBN 10:0-8010-2086-7).

As I read through this book I was made keenly aware of errors that I have made in my own exegetical work and assumptions. The second thing I realized was that many of the scholars I trust and study from make some of the errors Carson identifies. I feel it is important not to just read his work, but to be able to understand it and avoid the errors that he identifies.

In the introduction Carson says:
A critical interpretation of Scripture is one that has adequate justification - lexical, grammatical, cultural, theological, historical, geographical, or other justification.
Chapter One, Word-Study Fallacies, Carson lists the following examples of exegetical errors or assumptions. Some of these I have made in the past:
  1. Root Fallacy - the etymology or the root of the word does not always determine the meaning of a word. An English example is the Latin root for "nice" is "nescius" which means "ignorant. "Servant" translates the Greek "hyperetas" which comes from "eresso" which meant "to row" in Homer's 700's BC. How many of us have used that to explain the meaning of "servant"? I did on the top of page 228 in my "Framework" book. Carson is not saying this does not give us insight but does say:
    I am simply saying that the meaning of a word cannot be reliably determined by etymology or that a root, once discovered, always projects a certain semantic load onto any word that incorporates that root.
  2. Semantic Anachronism - this occurs when a late use of a word is read back into earlier literature. The best example of this is the word "episkopos" or "bishop". The bishop of the New Testament is not the same as the bishop in 45o AD. Carson also uses the Greek word "dunamis" which means "power" and is the basis for our word "dynamite." But, the Greeks were not thinking of blowing things up when they said "dunamis."
  3. Semantic Obsolescence - this is when the word in the text is assigned a meaning that was used in the past but had ceased to be used when the text was written. Carson refers to an English dictionary of his entitled: Dictionary of Obsolete English. Homers Greek is no longer the Greek of the Septuagint or of the New Testament. I have Kittle's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (10 vol.) and Colin Brown's Dictionary of New Testament Theology (4 vol.) which provide the classical meaning of the Greek word. This is interesting, and at times useful, but Carson warns that these meanings of classical Greek are 700 years old when Paul uses the same words in the New Testament. The example he uses is the word "martus" which means "to give evidence" but developed into a word which meant "to give evidence of personal convictions and die for it". Thus, our word "martyr".
  4. Appeal to Unknown or Unlikely Meanings -
  5. Careless Appeal to Background Material -
  6. Verbal Parallelomania -
  7. Linkage of Language and Mentality -
  8. False Assumptions About Technical Meaning -
  9. Problems Surrounding Synonyms and Componential Analysis -
  10. Selective and Prejudicial Use of Evidence -
  11. Unwarranted Semantic Disjunctions and Restrictions -
  12. Unwarranted Restriction of the Semantic Field -
  13. Unwarranted Adoption of an Expanded Semantic Field -
  14. Problems Relating to the Semitic Background of the Greek New Testament -
  15. Unwarranted Neglect of Distinguishing Peculiarities of a Corpus -
  16. Unwarranted Linking of Sense and Reference -
I have to go teach class right now so I will fill in the details of my study of Carson's book later . .

Galyn Wiemers

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Global Education or Global Propaganda?

The percentage of Christians in Pakistan is 1.6% (some say 2%), yet Muslims burnt a Christian village on 6-30-09 in Pakistan. The percentage of Muslims in the USA is only 0.6% (according to Newsweek 4-13-09), yet we are afraid to simply teach history to our children. Who are we afraid of? or, are we just clueless? Why does "global education" only result in "global propaganda"? Read this blog and then check your local school's libraries for wonderful books about Islam (there should be several) and grab a textbook while you are there. Is it education or propaganda? Are we afraid or are we just stupid?

Read this article concerning Islam in American textbooks. Remember, the Muslim world is known to be removing facts such as the Holocaust's occurrence and the Jewish Temple's existence from their student's textbooks. To the victor go the spoils which includes the privilege of recording history. We are clearly playing the part of the loser in this battle.

Galyn Wiemers

Also note, the Pakistan government has already began paying for damages to the Christians caused by the Muslims on last week on June 30, 2009. Read it here:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An Email from Pakistan

I have three times put comments on Facebook and then deleted them concerning an email I received from Pakistan. I tried to comment after I opened an email from a man from Pakistan who has received Generation Word material and is familiar with our website. I will now try to express myself in this blog and hopefully will let it set here in cyberspace. (Our website, and a previous blogsite, has been under attack from the Middle East, Turkey, for about three years now. I don't need their virus or their hackers.) This email from Pakistan contains the details of what this man witnessed:

The attack took place on Tuesday (June 30, 2009) in the village of ______ near ______. Radical Muslims allegedly went on the rampage after a local Muslim cleric accused Christians of blaspheming against Islam’s holy prophet Muhammad and encouraged local Muslims to kill them. Around 100 homes were petrol bombed or demolished, while others were looted and vandalized. The mob assaulted many of the women and young girls in the village, throwing acid at some of them. Christians continue to face persecution in Pakistan . . . other women and girls who have been traumatised by this acid attack and the destruction of their homes. Muslim People cut the electricity and they don’t giving water and food material Christian people of that village they are crying for help. Burnt Houses Can not Be Record Because Of Muslim People Occupied The Area. And They Did Not Allow Anyone To Go There, Even Big News Channels Are Silent. And government too silent. Please tell this news to all people of your country and if it possible convey this message to your government we have video of this incident. This incident was preplan. Muslim want to threat the Christian people here in Pakistan. This Is Real Islam. Please its our request to your people needy try to help them and pray for them they are waiting the miracle. Local people try to help them but this time they need lots of help because they have no home no shelter no food no water no electricity. Must try to help them. Because we have no hope on others here in Pakistan.
My heart is torn with compassion and fierce anger. What can I do? Send them another copy of the "Framework" book? Maybe a CD about "Questions and Answers" from Bible class? Reply with an email of support? Tell them I will pray? All of this has its place and time, in fact, I will continue with these very practices. But, what can I do about a girl who has been splashed with acid? or, the community has been burnt with fire? Even the Muslim hospitals turned these people away and let them suffer.

These are the violent acts of a people who worship an impotent god (allah) and a false prophet (mohammad). They have no power and they have no truth. This is why the followers of this wicked religion must provide their own acid and their own fire and bring judgment with their own sword. Just like in the days of the Judges and in the days of Elijah the false god's and false prophets had no power themselves.

Remember Gideon? He tore down the altar of Baal and all of the Baal worshippers wanted to kill him but the leading priest of Baal said, "If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar." That day the community changed Gideon's name to "Jerub-Baal" which means "let Baal contend". Gideon began using the name Jerub-Baal himself and was proudly called by a name that reminded everyone, including Baal, that Gideon was still alive and waiting for Baal to avenge himself. Baal never did. Gideon grew old and died an old man never having met with Baal's wrath. Why? Because Baal is a false God. He has no power unless his deceived followers act for him. Baal has no hell to send the unfaithful to because he has no fire of his own. (Judges 6) So, Jerub-Baal lived long and died old of natural causes.

Remember Elijah on Mt. Carmel? (1 Kings 18) Four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal assembled to pray for fire to come from their god. They prayed, they sang, they danced, they offered sacrifices which included cutting themselves but nothing happened. Elijah taunted them saying, "Shout louder! Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or on a trip or in the bathroom ('busy' in the NIV is the translation of the Hebrew which means 'relieving himself' which refers to a bathroom experience.)" Then Elijah offered a simple prayer to YHWH and fire fell from the sky and burnt up the sacrifice, the altar and the dirt around it. The Christian God has his own fire!

"Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Paul writing in Romans 12:19-21) We serve a God who is Real, He is Powerful, He does See, He will Judge, and He has his own Fire in Hell. Jesus said, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)

In the fifth century AD the barbarians invaded the Roman Empire, but the ultimate result of these events was that the barbarians came in contact with the Christian faith. The barbarians were converted and Europe was saved from itself when it accepted Christianity. Even Rome persecuted the Christians from 70-312 AD and without lifting a sword, setting a fire, or pouring acid on the Roman children, the Christian faith overcame the Roman persecution. Rome itself became Christian.

islam must spread its empty, dead religion by force. You submit or you die. Christianity has Truth and with Truth comes power and authority. We do not convert the unbelievers by force; that would be oppression not conversion. We convert the heart by confronting it with Truth. This Truth does not violate the human will, but speaks to it. Jesus said, "The Truth will set you free." It is not our job to bring the sword, the fire (or, the acid!?), but to speak and live the Truth. Many, many of the muslims are and will continue to flee islamic oppression, impotent allah and lying mohammad as they hear and see the Truth of the Living God and of the Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus is pursuing the muslim world with Truth, Love and Grace. And, we speak and live for Jesus. There is revival among the muslim. They can only respond with fire, sword and acid since they have no truth to reply with.

Our God will provide his own fire and his own Hell. I do not fear the fire of islam or the hell of allah since they do not exist. This fact has been proven by the muslims themselves since they have to provide their own fire (and, acid?!) to convert or punish the Christians. Pouring acid on woman and children!??! What is that prove? They are the deceived cowards.

(Now that I have posted this blog, I anticipate some form of cyber-fire or internet-acid. My boys who are in the US Marines and a computer engineer in the US Air Force have explained clearly to me that nothing on the internet is "protected" and everything is accessible to those who want it. I assume that the cowards of allah can see this if they want, so why hide it. Why fear those who can only burn the body but can't touch the soul, when I know the God who can throw both body and soul into Hell.) My God brings his own fire. I speak his truth.

Galyn Wiemers

Saturday, July 4, 2009

If You Want to Learn, Start Teaching

Many times people have asked me where I received my Bible training. Then they wait to hear the name of some familiar, prestigious seminary and hope they are doctrinally aligned with it. I have seen the hope in their eyes as they ask the question because if I say I was educated at "(fill in name of great school here)" they will be relieved to know someone, somewhere told me everything I know and that I am simply parroting information. The basic assumption is that if you go to a great school with great teachers then you will attain their great knowledge. That is how, it is assumed, people learn. Well, this is not the best way to learn, in fact, it is very, very slow and ineffective, thus, the pathetic condition of Bible knowledge and Christian understanding today (we could throw the public schools into that same pile, but they already have standardized testing to humiliate them.)

Teaching and learning go together.
  • The best way to learn is to teach.
  • The best way to understand is to explain.
  • The best way to know is to help somebody else know.
  • The best way to study for a test is to write the test.
  • The best way to know the truth is to debate against someone who disagrees with "truth"
This has been proven over and over in studies and in experience. When people ask me where I received my Bible education I tell them it began in the fifth grade Sunday school classroom as a teacher. I learned so much there I began to teach whenever and wherever I could. Obviously, I have read a lot of great authors/books (including God's best seller, the Bible), listened to a couple (there are not many) great pastors, and sat up late into the night arguing with friends and foes about "truth" and doctrine. But, the greatest place of learning for me was in front of people while I was teaching. Why is this true? Well here is some information from another writer (Armen, 5/25/2009):
Memory Retention Percentages Are Based On Pressure
You learn 90% of what you teach to others because big pressure is on you at that time to not seem clueless while explaining the content. There is pressure on you here, since you would appear foolish if you offered to teach something and didn't have the concept understood. You learn 80% of what you experience because you do it on the spot, and have to correct errors during the process or it won't work out. The pressure is on you there to continue through until you complete the procedure. You remember 70% of what you discuss with others because you have solid comprehension to be able to respond to others and their possible arguments or comments. This goes on for the other points. The more pressure there is on you to know the material, the higher the probability that it will be encoded into your cognition.
So, create pressure when you want to learn. I have always referred to this pressure as a concentration level. My students are concentrating on the information, but not nearly as diligently as I the teacher am. I discovered this back in 1986. While the students were learning 10-30% of what they heard me say (I use a lot of animation, scribbling on the board, etc. to push into the 30%), I was learning and remembering 90% (on a good night, of course.)
A popular quote by William Glasser says “We learn… 10 percent of what we read, 20 percent of what we hear, 30 percent of what we see, 50 percent of what we see and hear, 70 percent of what we discuss with others, 80 percent of what we experience, and 95 percent of what we teach to someone.” The percentages might be somewhat off, but they are close enough to actual values to internalize this information for future learning.
If you seriously want to learn the Scriptures, church history, theology, apologetics, or whatever, then start a class, find a class, start an arguement or find someone who disagrees with you and start talking. It may be painful at first. My wife remembers me coming home from class in 1986 and crying as I sat in our living room because I could not effectively teach a 20 minute Bible class. It was very, very painful in many ways, but after a few weeks I learned some things and found a groove. Since then I have easily taught well over 4,000 hours of Bible classes. (That would be the same amount of time as verbally instructing a group non-stop, 24 hours a day from January until July.) Of course, I didn't teach non-stop because for every hour of teaching I probably spent three hours in study and research because I was under pressure to perform intelligently and communicate efficently.

If you want to learn start teaching.

Galyn Wiemers

Friday, July 3, 2009

Have You Ever Read Second Samuel 18-20?

I am going to try to communicate quickly the week of chaos and confusion in David's kingdom when Absalom, his son, claimed the throne of Israel.
  1. Absalom and his general, Amasa, march into Jerusalem with the support of people from all twelve tribes. Israel proclaims Absalom as their king. David is out.
  2. David flees leaving behind the priesthood, the ark of the covenant, and some of his best advisers in Jerusalem. David's personal body guard and the military forces with Joab flee with David.
  3. The next day David's forces engage Absalom's forces. General Joab kills Absalom. (So far so good. This is fairly simple: General Joab and King David have defeated General Amasa and Prince Absalom. The kingdom is secure . . . but, now it gets confusing, even for David's military . . . )
  4. David is upset when he is told Joab had killed Absalom to end the civil war despite the fact David's military had won the battle securing David's kingship.
  5. David fires General Joab for killing Absalom (the enemy) and replaces him with Amasa, the defeated rebel general of Absalom.
  6. The tribe of Judah, David's tribe, rushes to welcome David back to his throne with out inviting the other eleven tribes to join them. The other tribes were ready to welcome David back, but were upset that the tribe of Judah did not involve them in the "ticker-tape" parade welcoming David back.
  7. The northern tribes (Israel) express their disappointment to the southern tribe of Judah who "responded even more harshly than the men of Israel" (2 Sm. 19:43).
  8. This causes Sheba, a troublemaker from the tribe of Benjamin in Israel, to sound a trumpet and challenge the legitimacy of David as king. All of the northern tribes (Israel) join with him and a second civil war in less than 72 hours now breaks out.
  9. David orders his new general, Amasa, to organize his troops within three days to pursue Sheba. Now remember, Amasa was leading a civil war against David and fighting David's military less than 48 hours earlier. Now Amasa is to organize and lead David's troops into this second civil war.
  10. Israel is still trying to figure out who is king: David or Absalom?
  11. The military is trying to figure out who the general is: Joab or Amasa?
  12. Nobody really knows who the enemy is or who the good guys are anymore. (The Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, Amelekites, Ammonites, even the Arameans, all the way up to the Euphrates River, have been subdued by David.) The enemy that was just defeated was the king's own son who was supported by members of David's own royal staff. Now David's faithful military have been placed under the command of the rebel general Amasa and ordered to attack Israel. All this has occurred in about 72 hours.
  13. When David's troops are assembled (3 days later) under the leadership of Amasa, the former General Joab shows up and secretly kills Amasa. As David's forces begin marching under the leadership (they think) of the rebel General Amasa against their own land of Israel they march by Amasa's corpse. Groups of soldiers continue to stop in the road by Amasa's corpse in confusion since he is suppose to be the general who is up front leading them into the battle. They do not realize Joab has regained his position.
  14. David's troops are now marching for David against Israel under the leadership of a general David had fired but they think they are following the rebel general they had just defeated in a civil war earlier in the week.
  15. Amasa's corpse is removed and hidden in the ditch and David's men march to the northern border of Israel to attack an Israelite city where Sheba fled.
  16. Joab, the fired general who murdered David's general to regain his position, begins to besiege the northern city of Abel-Beth-Maacha. While in the process of battering in their walls a wise women looks down from the wall and asks, "What are you doing?" When Joab responds by saying they are fighting the rebel forces of Sheba, the wise woman says, "Give me a minute," and soon returns to the wall with Sheba's head. When she throws the head down to Joab this civil war ends and the men return home.
  17. General Joab went back to King David in Jerusalem and they lived happily ever after . . . until David ordered Solomon to kill Joab after Joab had made Solomon's older brother, Adonijah, king before David had died . . . but, that is a story from First Kings.
So, what's the application of these verse? We live in a great land of the United States of America. Throughout time and around the world there are some crazy things happening. Thank God for his mercy on us today in America.

Galyn Wiemers

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Early Christian "Church"

The early church had no holy buildings or sacred objects. The people were simply believers in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the truth that had been revealed by God. Because of Christ the people themselves were holy, they were the sacred, they were the priests. The people were the church. They met in homes to worship, learn and fellowship. A home in Dura-Europos (Fort Europos) near the banks of the Euphrates River still shows frescoes of Biblical scenes: Peter walking on the water, paralytic being healed, women at the grave, plus David and Goliath. A wall had been removed in this house to open up room for up to 70 people to meet. This private home that doubled as an official meeting place of believers (the church) dates to around 232 AD. Christians were meeting here in a Roman fortress city right next to an active synagogue which has also been excavated.

Galyn Wiemers