Saturday, August 29, 2009

Christians Get Focused! Spare the Drama!!

As the northern kingdom of Israel stumbled through their 210 year history which ultimately ended in the Assyrian dispersion in 721 BC, their kings were continually recorded as never having repented of the sin of Jeroboam, the very first king of Israel in the north. This sin included Jeroboam's re-writing Israel's history, introducing new gods and establishing a new philosophy to live by. With out the road map of history Israel could never return to where they had derailed from God's plan. Thus, they could never really identify their sin and repent. History, that is correctly recorded and taught, is the truth that is necessary for a nation to judge itself by. Incorrect history is not truth. Re-written history is a lie and will lead to wrong conclusions.

Some modern errors in the church need to be identified with a little more precision. I am thinking about churches and Christians, including my church and myself, who are quick to point out the sin of homosexuality, the blaspheme of public schools as they forbid prayer while claiming to be non-religious and the failure of our government to honor the constitution while American citizen's race into social error, ignorant of American history and world history. But, these are not the heaviest pivotal points for our society!

How can churches blame homosexuality when adultery and divorce are what actually destroy marriage, families and children? How can churches accuse public schools of not praying when we do not hear prayers of repentance and intercession from the church itself? How can the church accuse politicians of forsaking the Constitution and bemoan the ignorance of public knowledge of our history when the vast majority of churches have forsaken the Scripture and the average Christian's knowledge of the Bible is so pathetic that they would fail an entrance exam into a fifth grade Sunday school class, let alone a college entrance exam.

We, the church, have "redefined" marriage and are destroying children, the next generation!
We, the church, are the one's who refuse to pray, even when we are allowed to pray!
We, the church, are forsaking the Bible and are ignorant of its contents.

Indeed, homosexuality is a sin against God, against man and against natural law. Public schools do oppress Christianity, our Constitution is forsaken and the public is ignorant. But, don't you think it is time for the church to take the beam out of its own eye before they attempt to surgically eradicate evil in human society?

Galyn Wiemers

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Do Not Fear Truth

This is my response to a good blog by Shane Vander Hart.
I agree there is a problem with the evangelical mind of today that is somehow connected back to the revivalism of the 1800’s. This revivalism and the “disestablishment” that followed would be the obvious result of the Reformation. The Reformation was good. The Revivals of the 1800’s were good. Also, the Fundamental movement of the 1920’s was good. Heck, I even enjoyed the Jesus Movement and the Charismatic movement in the ’60’s and ’70’s. Who would complain about the Great Awakening that we saw in the 1700’s? The problem with the Revivalism was not the movement but man’s nature. Free enterprise is good even when dealing with the truth. I mean, start a church, preach the truth and those with ears to hear will come. But, man’s nature (as in preachers and church people) doesn’t want to deal with the failure of being rejected by those without ears to hear. Fear of failure leads to compromise and is followed by the establishment of some form of institutionalism to defend against further challenges and growth. Thus, as foreseen in your quote above, “pragmatic concerns would prevail over principle” (simply put, “fear stifles truth”). For me it is as simple as “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct , rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.” To be truly successful in ministry we must follow the principle of the cross before the crown even in the midst of potential church growth and revivals. In other words, you can not be afraid of failure and rejection which must occur when teaching the Word of God and the orthodox theology found in scripture. Jesus and Paul promised that if you teach truth you would be met with rejection and failure, but credited with being faithful. I believe when enough people reject institutionalized evangelicalism and once again seek the truth as found in the Scriptures they will themselves experience reformation, great awakening, revivalism, and what is more, they will find THE TRUTH DOES WORK. Put truth first, and functionality follows. (I enjoy your blogs.)
Galyn Wiemers

Saturday, August 8, 2009

White House Collects Disinformation Sources?

What is this? The White House website is asking citizen's to report other citizen's who are spreading "disinformation"? What are they going to do with all the news papers and TV news stations that get reported? Here is a quote from the web page:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to
Isn't disinformation based on what you think is true information? I think atheist teach disinformation. Atheist think I teach disinformation. Can you see that this can only lead to a huge change in our culture? We are finding out that those who teach us tolerance really mean accept and submit. This is why you have to practice true tolerance (respecting others with different opinions) but always debate the definition when someone uses it.

Read the White House page HERE and watch the crazy little video they provide. How dumb do they think we are?
Galyn Wiemers

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Excavation on Western Wall Plaza

Excavation just to the west of the Western Wall in Jerusalem began in 2007, soon after we left Israel after having taken classes at the Jerusalem University on Mount Zion. Some of the finds include:
  • a portion of the lower aqueduct which brought water from Solomon's Pools to the Temple Mount during the days of Herod.
  • another mikva (ritual bath) from the time of the Second Temple (built by Herod)
  • a colonnaded street which most is most likely the eastern connection to the Cardo, a Byzantine main street
  • a covered stoa
  • a row of shops
In the photos below (found at blog and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs) we can see an ariel view of the Old City of Jerusalem showing the location, a view of the Western Wall Plaza looking east, and some of the details of the excavation.

The above photo is marked by the yellow box in the view in the top photo. I remember arriving in Jerusalem late one night in June of 2007. Toni, Ryan and myself left our things in our rooms and headed out into the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem around 10:30 pm. We walked through the winding stone streets and quickly arrived at the stairway leading down to this Western Wall Plaza. It was a stunning view lit up and still active at 11:00 at night. I remember standing there taking in this amazing view of the ancient Temple Mount's western wall which was surrounded with the sounds and motions of the modern worshipers and pilgrims. Today this view is interrupted by the excavation as seen in the photo above. If we were take this same view today we would be looking over the green walk way across the lower part of the photo and over the excavation to view the Western Wall.

This photo is of the Byzantine Cardo located in the red box above.

The excavations are being conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authorities at the request of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation who are planning on building the Western Wall Heritage Center here once the excavations are completed.

View live cam of the Western Wall Plaza here

Galyn in front of the Herodian blocks of the Western Wall

Galyn Wiemers

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Calvin Was Not a TULIP Calvinist

The fact that John Calvin did not believe or teach "Limited Atonement" is well known among certain people. But, among others, there is, like always, great confusion. (The "L" of TULIP which is taught by Calvinist and the Reformed crowd stands for "Limited Atonement". This false doctrine believes that Jesus only died for those who would be saved, not the whole world.) On the issue of "Limited" vs. "Unlimited" atonement the Calvinist and the Reformed theologians may be dismayed to see John C. and me standing in the same corner of this debate. (We quickly part ways, though, on the issue of election, human will, Israel, and eschatology.)

Here some statements made by Calvin in his writings, commentaries or theological works that clearly indicated that he believed that Jesus' death on the cross paid for all the sins of the world, for all the sins of mankind including those who will suffer eternal damnation. This is called unlimited atonement and forces the Reformed followers of Calvin to abandon TULIP and instead consider TUUIP. I myself would be a TRURP (Total depravity, reject election, unlimited atonement, resistible grace and perseverance of the saints.)

Here is what John Calvin said in favor of unlimited atonement for the whole world and against limited atonement:

From Calvin's Commentary on Isaiah, page 131, Isaiah 53:12,
Yet I approve of the ordinary reading, that he alone bore the punishment of many, because on him was laid the guilt of the whole world. It is evident from other passages, and especially from the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, that 'many' sometimes denotes 'all.'
From Calvin's Commentary on the Gospel According to John, page 64, John 1:29,
When he says, the sin of the world, he extends this favor indiscriminately to the whole human race.
From Calvin's Commentary on the Gospel According to John, page 50, John 12:46,
The term whosoever, appears to have been added on purpose, partly, that all believers, without exception, may enjoy this benefit incommon, and partly, to show that the reason why unbelievers perish in darkness is, that, of their own accord, they forsake the light.
From Calvin's Commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans, page 211, Romans 5:18,
He makes this favor common to all, because it is propounded (note: this means - 'to put forward or offer for consideration or acceptance') to all, and not because it is in reality extended to all; for though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered through God's benignity indiscriminately to all, yet all do not receive him.
From Calvin's Commentary to the Hebrews, page 125, Hebrews 5:11,
The Apostle means that its benefit shall come to none but to those who obey. But by saying this he recommends faith to us; for he becomes not ours, nor his blessings, except as far as we receive them and him by faith. He seems at the same time to have adopted a universal term, all, for this end, that he might show that no one is precluded from salvation who is but teachable and becomes obedient to the Gospel of Christ.
From Calvin's Commentary to the Hebrews, page 220, Hebrews 9:28,
To bear, or, take away sins, is to free from guilt by his satisfaction those who have sinned. He says the sins of many, that is, of all, as in Romans 5:15. It is yet certain that all receive no benefit from the death of Christ; but this happens because their unbelief prevents them.
From Calvin's Institutes,
The first thing to be attended to is, that so long as we are without Christ and separated from him, nothing which he suffered and did for the salvation of the human race is of the least benefit to us (3.1.1)
. . . God, who will have all men to be saved. By this he assuredly means nothing more than that the way of salvation was not shut against any order of men; that, on the contrary, he had manifested his mercy in such a way, that he would have none debarred from it. (3.24.26)
I agree with Calvin, but against Reformers, that Christ did die for the sins of every man in the entire world. I do believe in perseverance (once saved, always saved) because the work of salvation is the work of God and can not be reversed. I agree with total depravity, except I believe man still has a will to accept the offer of salvation when illuminated by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I reject irresistible grace because I do believe man can reject the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I reject the concept that God elected only some people for salvation based solely on His choice and not on His foreknowledge. So, I am not a Calvinist, but really, neither was Calvin.

Next, I want to discuss the early Augustine position vs. the later Augustine position which changed from his earlier writings because of his debate with Pelagius and the Donatist. Even Augustine, who the Reformers also claim, contradicts TULIP. It is going to be easier to call TULIP a false teaching than it will be to call me a false teacher.

Galyn Wiemers

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Prayer: Why Do We Need To Pray?

People often ask . . .
"Why do we pray?"
"If God knew how my life would turn out before
I was born, why should I pray?"
"Will it change the outcome?"
"Is praying a step of obedience?"

The following verses can make a person wonder this very thing: "Why pray?"
  • Matthew 6:32-34, "For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
  • Matthew 6:8, "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."
  • Isaiah 65:24, "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear."
  • Luke 1:13, After maybe as long as forty years of prayer for a son to be born Zechariah hears the angel tell him, "Zechariah, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. . . "
Some people answer the question, "Why pray?", by simply saying we should be obedient. But, praying just to be obedient is a very weak and a non-motivating answer. At least, for me it is not a satisfactory answer. But, of course, that is why a lot of Christians do a lot of things, such as, go to church, read their Bibles, get baptized, etc. They have no idea what they are doing or why it is important. They just know we are supposed to do it. The Christian life is much more than just being obedient. There is a game plan and God wants you to understand "Why" we do things.

Human Will and Responsibility
  • God originally created man to rule and to have authority (Genesis 1:26)
  • Man is not an animal, he was created in God's image and was God's representative on the earth.
  • Man was given free will, told what was right or wrong, and told of the consequences for his actions. (Genesis 2:16)
  • When Adam sinned it effected him, his world and all of mankind (Romans 5:12)
  • The Exodus Generation, for example, was given a promise, but chose not to follow God's plan. They did not want what God wanted. (Deut. 1:26)
  • The second generation after the Exodus had the choice of blessing and cursing set before them. They could chose which one they wanted. (Deut. 11:26)
  • They were also told to chose between life and death. (Deut. 30:19)
  • Man is unique, then, because he can make decisions that effect his sphere of operation or his realm of authority.
God's Ultimate Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility/Authority
  • Imagine God's Absolute authority (sovereignty) being a large circle or bubble.
  • Everything is in this bubble and under the authority of God. It includes time, history, angels, material, humans, etc.
  • Inside this large bubble are much smaller bubbles (or, kingdoms) which represent each of our own spheres of control, operation, responsibility or authority.
  • God has ultimate responsibility but inside his bubble (realm, kingdom) he has granted individuals to have their own bubble.
  • This bubble is our lives, the things we can control and influence.
  • We do have responsibility and we do make a difference. We can control what comes in and what goes out of our lives to a very great extent.
  • God wants to place his truth, his salvation, his promises into our lives, but we have the authority. If we do not want his plan, like the Exodus generation did not want his plan, we can reject it. But, if we do want his will or his promises we are the one's to allow it into our bubble.
  • If there is something we need, God has already made a way for it, but we must ask.
God Makes Promises and Plans; We Seek Him and His Promises
  • James 4:2, "You do not have, because you do not ask God."
    James 4:1-2 describes people wanting things (food, provision, education, etc.) but they covet, fight, quarrel and kill to get it. God says they don't have because they have not asked him. They weren't asking for bad things, but they went about getting what they needed and wanted in their lives (their bubbles) with out walking in God's ways, trusting God's promises and asking God for what they wanted.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:20, "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. And so through him the 'Amen' is spoken by us to the glory of God."
    Every promise (that applies to us) is available to you as a believer in Christ. So, our position is to speak the 'Amen' or, the 'so be it'. Our job is to ask for it, seek for it, to want it and allow it into our lives.
    1. It is "in Christ," or "through him" which means "in Jesus name."
    2. We speak the "Amen", or the prayer, request. We open the door to our realm of authority for God's promise.
    3. This is "to the glory of God." When we receive God's promises through prayer God is glorified.
God's Promise to Elijah and Elijah's Prayer for God's Promise
  • James 5:13-18 - these verses include "Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."
    This verse is true but in both cases (no rain, and lots of rain) God had already made a promise. Elijah's job was to hear, proclaim and pray for the promise.
  • 1 Kings 18:1, God promises he will now send rain on the land
  • 1 Kings 17:41-44, Elijah prays seven times before the promised rain comes.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
Matthew 7:7-8

"Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob,
you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel."
Isaiah 43:22

During the next few weeks in church we will be discussing the basics of prayer. I will be attempting to make prayer more understandable so that it is more natural to pray and more productive for our lives. You need God in your life. We need God in our nation.

Watch this sermon in RealPlayer here
Listen or download the .mp3 here

Galyn Wiemers

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Examining John 6:44

John 6:44-47, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. . . Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me . . . I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."

  • "draws" is the same word used in John 12:32, "But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
  • "draw" (" 'elko" or actually "helko") is the key word here for Calvinist. Please listen to R.C. Sproul discus this word in his book "Chosen by God" and then read the text directly from Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (vol. 2 of 10).
Sproul writes concerning the word "draw", or Greek "helko", in John 6:44:
"The key word here is draw. What does it mean for the Father to draw people to Christ? I have often heard this text explained to mean that the Father must woo or entice men to Christ. Unless this wooing takes place, no man will come to Christ. However, man has the ability to resist this wooing and to refuse the enticement. The wooing, though it is necessary, is not compelling. In philosophical language that would mean that the drawing of God is necessary condition but no a sufficient condition to bring men to Christ. In simpler language it means that we cannot come to Christ without the wooing, but the wooing does not guarantee that we will, in fact, come to Christ."
Sproul now continues:
"I am persuaded that the above explanation which is so widespread, is incorrect. It does violence to the text of Scripture, particularly to the biblical meaning of the word draw. The Greek word used here is "elko". Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament defines it to mean to compel by irresistible superiority. Linguistically and lexicographically, the word means "to compel." To compel is a much more forceful concept that to woo. To see this more clearly, let us look for a moment at two other passages in the New Testament where the same Greek word is used. In James 2:6 we read: "But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?" Guess which word in this passage is the same Greek word that elsewhere is translated by the English word draw. It is the word drag. Let us now substitute the word woo in the text. It would then read: "Do not the rich oppress you and woo you into the courts?" The same word occurs in Acts 16:19. "But when her masters was that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities." Again, try substituting the word woo for the word drag. Paul and Silas were not seized and then wooed into the marketplace."
Sproul has told you what he wants you to know about the word "draw" or "elko" (actually " 'elko" or "helko"). Now, I would like to tell you the rest of the story concerning the Calvinist "key word" from their pivotal verse found in John 6:44.

First, Sproul doesn't tell you all that Kittles TDNT says about the word "helko." Quoting now from volume 2, page 503:
"The basic meaning is to "tug" or "draw." In the case of persons (Acts 16:19; 21:30; James 2:6, [notice all three of these verse were used by Sproul to get the meaning "drag"] ) it may mean to "compel" . . . It may also mean to "draw" to a place by magic . . . It is used of a magnet . . . (drawing the hungry as by a magnet to the Cyprian loaves) . . . of the inner influence of the will . . . More comparable with the Johannine usage is that of Porphyrius Ad Marcellam. . . the beauty of the good . . . . In the OT helkein is used of powerful impulse. The obscure heilkuksan se of Song of Solomon 1:4 is somehow meant to express love. The word is used of mother love in 4 Maccabees 14:13; 15:11 . . . The original refers more to patience. The Septuagint is thinking, not so much of drawing out in deliverance but of drawing to oneself in love. This usage is distinctively developed by John . . . Force or magic may be discounted, but not the supernatural element."
Second, Sproul is correct in his use of the samples from the New Testament but he is once again selective and avoids using these:
  • Song of Solomon 1:4, "Take me away with you - let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers." Which in the Greek Septuagint says, "Draw me after you - we will run. The king has brought me into his chambers."
  • Jeremiah 31:3, "The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."
  • John 12:32, "But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
A couple of things need to be pointed out as we go past these verses above.
  1. How do you think the bride was being taken into the king's chamber? Drug by her husband? Sproul would seem to think so if he would have continued.
  2. In Jeremiah the Lord is telling the nation that had rejected him and who were on their way to a national over throw that "I have drawn you." Yet, they did not respond. Also, notice the "drawing" came from an "everlasting love" from eternity past. Yet they rejected it.
  3. Jesus said he would "draw all men to" himself." If that was irresistible why do they not all come? The determining factor is each man's response.

Another factor to consider is that there is another word in the Greek NT used for "drag" which is the Greek word "suro." It is used for "dragging in a more violent and aggressive sense. It never means "draw." The difference can be seen in John 21:6, 11 (helko) and John 21:8 (suro). In John 21:6 and 11 the fishing net is first attempted to be "drawn" to the disciples on the boat, but the attempt fails. Then in 21:11 Peter "draws" the net to himself up on shore. The difference is seen between verse 8 when the net could not be drawn to the boat and later when it was drawn by Peter on the shore. Since the disciples could not "helko" (draw) the net to the boat they instead "suro" (dragged) the net behind the boat as they made their way to shore. If John had wanted to record Jesus saying in John 6:44, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me drags him," he could have used the word "suro." He did in John 21. Instead the word "helko" is used which has a rich history of not meaning to "drag".
Once, again, Mr. Sproul doesn't go here.

One more thing concerning "helko" in John 6:44. The verb "draw" is in the subjunctive mood, the aorist tense and the active voice.
  • The active voice means God, the subject, will do the action of the verb.
  • The aorist tense conveys a point of action in the past.
  • But, most interesting, is the subjunctive mood which is not the mood of reality (indicative mood) nor the mood of command (imperative mood), nor the mood of desire or wish (optative mood), but instead it is the mood of potential which indicates the verb could potentially happen.

says concerning this word in this passage of scripture: "The drawing is not like that of the executioner, who draws the thief up the ladder of the gallows; but it is a gracious allurement, such as that of the man whom everybody loves, and to whom everybody willingly goes."

Augustine says, "If a man is drawn, says an objector, he comes against his will. But we answer if he comes unwillingly, he does not believe; if he does not believe, he does not come. For we do not run to Christ on our feet, but by faith; not with the movement of the body, but with the free will of the heart . . . Thank not that you are drawn against your will; the mind can be drawn by love."

Chrysostom says, "This expression does not remove our part in the coming, but rather shows that we want help to come."

John Phillips
says concerning John 6:37: "God does not act in an arbitrary way nor in defiance of the human will when he draws people to Christ. Someone once tried to persuade me that God has chosen some people for salvation and chosen other people for damnation. Such an idea is monstrous. God does not arbitrarily and sovereignly damn the greater part of the human race into an existence they did not seek, on terms they did not select (so-called "total depravity"), under impossible handicaps they did not choose (depraved in will and 'dead in trespasses and sins'), dominated by forces they cannot control (the world, the flesh, and the devil), into a ruined family (Adam's) they did not themselves plunge into original sin, just in order arbitrarily to send people to hell for not choosing a salvation offered only to the 'elect.' That may be some people's idea of God and some people's view of salvation, but such concepts make God out to be a tyrant worse than any in the history of the human race. However, such is not the God of the Bible and such is not the kind of 'salvation' offered us." (The John Phillips Commentary Series, "Exploring the Gospel of John")

Galyn Wiemers