Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Doctrine Of The Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most important beliefs of Christianity. It is central to the Christian understanding of God. This doctrine is held by the large majority of Christianity.

An Explanation of the Trinity

“The doctrine of the Trinity is the belief that there is only one living and true God. Yet, the one God is three distinct Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three have distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. They enjoy eternal communion and are coeternal and coequal.” -Dr. Bill Gordon, NAMB

“This word [Trinity] does not appear in the Bible. But it is clear that the one God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Spirit (Matthew 28:19). It is a revealed doctrine, not one arrived at by human reasoning. Yet it submits itself to reason.”
-Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs, A Layman’s Handbook of Christian Doctrine, Broadman Press, Nashville; 1974.

Some misunderstand and say Christians believe in three Gods; they do not. The Bible makes it plain that God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; 1 Timothy 2:5), yet He is revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No one can fully understand the details of the Trinity, but it is taught and revealed in Scripture. Besides, if a lowly human could understand all about God, He would not be God after all. God’s being and understanding are far beyond our understanding.

Scriptural Evidence for the Trinity (there is much more than what is listed here)

While the Bible does not use the term Trinity, it teaches the concept of the Trinity. (Neither does the Bible use other oft used Christian terms: missionary, evangelism, etc.)
1. Obviously, God the Father is God. Psalm 89:26; 1 Peter 1:2, 17; Romans 8:15.
2. Jesus, God the Son, is God. Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8 (Psalm 45:6-7); 2 Peter 1:1.
3. The Holy Spirit is God. Acts 5:3-4. The Bible gives characteristics to the Holy Spirit that only apply to God. Psalm 139:7-13; Luke 1:35; Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Hebrews 9:14.

The Bible describes the Father, Son, and Holy Sprit as distinct Persons.

Several passages speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the same context. Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4- 6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; Titus 3:4-6.
 
Illustrations have been used to partially explain or represent the triune nature of God. While none are perfect, perhaps they can give you a hint of the Trinity:
A three leaf clover - it is one, yet three.
A man - he can be a son, a husband, a father.
Water - can be solid (ice), liquid (water), steam (vapor).

God
"There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being."
-Baptist Faith and Message, 2000, the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention; full statement can be found at sbc.net.

“God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!”
-Christian hymn Holy, Holy, Holy by Reginald Heber, Baptist Hymnal, 2008, LifeWay, Nashville, TN. Also in many other hymnals.

“Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” -Matthew 28:19

For more information: Jesus Christ is God, and Fights I Didn’t Start and Some I Did (volume 1; great chapter on the deity of Jesus) by R. L. Sumner; biblicalevangelist.org.
 
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 25, AD 2015.

More articles in lower right margin. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wine for Your Stomach's Sake; 1 Timothy 5:23

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. -1 Timothy 5:23
 

This Bible verse has often been misused to justify the recreational use of a mind altering drug (alcohol).

Evangelist Sam Jones told of a man asked by a friend to take a drink. The friend said, “Didn’t Paul tell Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake?’
The man replied, “Yes, but my name is not Timothy; and even if it were, there’s nothing the matter with my stomach.”

A closer look at 1 Timothy 5:23 reveals no evidence for social or moderate drinking.

First, the wine referred to could have either been fermented or unfermented. The Bible and ancient writings often refer to unfermented wine by the name wine (Isaiah 65:8; Matthew 9:17; etc.).
Modern English translations do so as well.
Ancients knew and practiced multiple ways of preserving unfermented wine. It was available throughout the year. See “Ancient Wine and the Bible” for detailed explanation and documentation of this fact.

Unfermented wine or grape juice has the same, if not more, healthy properties as alcoholic wine; without the harmful side effects.

Health benefits of unfermented wine (grape juice):
1. Contains beneficial antioxidants.
2. Helps protect cardiovascular health.
3. Encourages flexible arteries.
4. Contributes to healthy blood pressure.
-gleaned from Welchs website; 2009, www.welchs.com.
(But watch out for grape juice with “added” sugar.)

“Older men and women who drank fruit and vegetable juices more than three times a week were 76 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who drank juices less than once a week, a new study shows.” -alzinfo.org; 2006.

“Alcohol is not actually heart-healthy…Red wine contains some beneficial compounds such as flavonoids and resveratrol, a potent antioxidant in the skin of grapes associated with a number of health benefits. Of course, grapes, raisins, berries, and other plant foods also contain these beneficial compounds. You do not have to drink wine to gain these benefits.” -Joel Fuhrman, M.D., The End of Diabetes; 2013.

However, even if Paul was recommending alcoholic wine:
1. He only said a little wine.
2. Strictly for medicinal purposes.
At most, this is only justifying a little alcohol for medicinal reasons. In addition, today there are usually more effective medicinal drugs than alcohol. 
3. It is also interesting that as a pastor, Timothy, for good reason, had been abstaining from wine.

Stomach health note: If you have stomach problems, many authorities have recognized several things that may help: 1. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. 2. Drink plenty of water. 3. The live culture in yogurt can be helpful. 4. The live culture in un-pasteurized Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar can be helpful. Incidentally, even vinegar is called wine (sour wine) in the Bible. 5. A pinch of baking soda mixed in water can settle an acidic stomach. (But, see a trusted M.D. for proper medical advice!)

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 9, AD 2015.

Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times
Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, the book
Dr. R. L. Sumner on "Ancient Wine and the Bible"

Many more articles in lower right margin.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Resources - Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Sunday; March 15, 2015

Alcohol & Substance Abuse Prevention Sunday is the third Sunday of March each year. This year it will be March 15, 2015. Youth and adults need to be warned to stay away from recreational drugs. Please use this opportunity to do so in your church, Sunday School, and Bible Study classes. You may also want to use good quotes, like the one below, in your church bulletin or newsletter. 

Resources:
“Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence” by David R. Brumbelow
“Alcohol Today: Abstinence in an Age of Indulgence” by Peter Lumpkins
Can be ordered at any bookstore.

American Council on Alcohol Problems (ACAP)
sapacap.com

Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)
wctu.org

Alcohol And Drug Abuse Prevention Sunday - Free Resources

Note: Some observe this emphasis at other times, such as the month of April. Whatever the date, get good information warning about drug use to others.

“The upcoming generations need to know the havoc brought on our society and upon individuals by the use of alcohol. If we use it ourselves, we recommend its use to others. A Christian should not exercise his freedom to put himself and others at such a risk.” -Judge Paul Pressler (quoted in Ancient Wine and the Bible)

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 3, AD 2015.

Other Articles (Labels) and Resources in lower right margin.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Why So Many Reject Man-Made Global Warming

Last year a San Antonio Express News editorial supporting man-made Global Warming was published. It lamented the fact that so many still reject this idea. Following are some reasons why so many Americans reject this agenda. 

1. When I was in grade school, I was taught man-caused “Global Cooling” by the same group of scientists and experts. The first Earth Day saw protests against Global Cooling. Then, the same group began teaching the opposite, Global Warming.
  
2. A meteorologist said he had a difficult enough time accurately predicting the weather a week ahead of time; there was no way he could accurately predict the weather for the next 100 years. Yet Global Warming enthusiasts do so on a regular basis.

3. Sea level rise has actually slowed in recent years, despite carbon emissions. Actual world temperatures have consistently been below Global Warming models / predictions.

4. Our area has just experienced two cold fronts, one the end of July, 2014, the other the first part of August. Earlier this year a Global Warming study ship was trapped by miles of new ice, in the summer, in Antarctica. Isn’t it supposed to be getting warmer?

5. Everything is used to prove Global Warming. If it doesn’t snow, it’s because of Global Warming; if it does snow, it’s because of Global Warming. If there is a drought, or flooding, it’s because of Global Warming. Yet these climate changes have occurred for centuries.

6. The polar ice cap is melting. But what they don’t explain is the growing and receding ice cap, has been going on for decades. Glaciers are melting in some parts of the world; yet glaciers are growing in other parts of the world. Recently Artic ice is receding, however Antarctic ice is increasing. And despite dire predictions, the polar bear population is just fine.

7. Weather goes in cycles, yet that fact is easy to forget. While the Houston, TX area usually gets down only in the 20s and 30s F. in winter, we forget it got down to 7 degrees F. in Houston in 1989. Few remember the terrible ice storm of 1951. Few know that Galveston Bay froze over at least two times in the 1800s. We have hurricanes in Texas, then we go for years with no hurricanes. Weather changes, regardless of what man does. Despite the predictions of global warming, we will have another bitterly cold winter. Seems it happens here roughly every 20 to 50 years.

8. Global Warming supporters often ignore the Medieval Warming Period (c. AD 950-1250). Global temperatures rose during this period long before our modern day industry and transportation. And, as cycles go, it also eventually cooled without the help or interference of mankind.

9. The Global Warming experts have changed from Global Cooling, to Global Warming, to Climate Change. When this change is complete, they’ll not have to worry about skewing the records or being sure the world wide temperature is rising. They will only have to demonstrate the climate is changing. Now that is a winner! The climate always changes. Even before the “evil” internal combustion engines and big oil, the climate radically changed, and the weather often goes in cycles. 

For those interested in the scientific evidence, see that evidence and documentation at cornwallalliance.org. See also the book, “The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists,” by Roy W. Spencer, a former senior NASA climatologist.

I’m against pollution and for wise use of our God-given resources. I’m also for responsible big oil, exploration, drilling fracking, and pipelines. Unless you walk or ride a bicycle everywhere you go, you should be too.

Why not simply judge environmental protection by its merits. Instead of creating a false crisis, let’s just consider reasonable limits to pollution.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 26, AD 2015.

Note: This article, slightly revised, was published in the Baytown Sun August 6, 2014. 

More Articles (Labels) in lower right margin. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for other’s?’” 

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”

“If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.”

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

“The principle of self defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi.”

“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 19, AD 2015.

The Roman Road of Salvation
 
Nelson Mandela Quotes; and Comments About Mandela

Other articles in lower right margin (Labels). 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

On Small And Large Churches

If a church is a sincere baptized body of believers meeting to worship, study God’s Word, fellowship, and evangelize, then I am for them. 

If a church believes and preaches the Bible, I am for them whether they are large, small or anywhere in between. After all, aren’t we are all on the same team?

Large churches can do things small churches cannot do.

Small churches can do things large churches cannot do.

Large churches have both pluses and minuses.

Small churches have both pluses and minuses.

There are some bad large churches.

There are some bad small churches.

No church, whatever the size, is perfect.

Some folks are more comfortable in a large church.

Some folks are more comfortable in a small church.
Regardless of size, each church seems to develop its own personality. 

God has a place for every size church if it is preaching the Word.

Some small churches become large.

Over the course of time, some large churches become small.

Because of deaths, people moving away, and other transitions, a church, large or small, usually has to work hard just to stay even.

Some churches, large or small, eventually die.

Even if a church dies, that will never erase the good they did during their years of ministry. None of the churches started by the Apostles are operating today, but they accomplished much for the Kingdom of God. Other churches have risen to take their place.

A large church can give a huge gift to missions.

A number of small churches giving small gifts, combined, can give huge gifts to missions. Through both, many are enabled to hear the Gospel.

It is unseemly for large church pastors to run down small churches or pastors of small churches.

It is unseemly for small church pastors to run down large churches or pastors of large churches. At least they should not run them down simply because they are large or small.

Thank God for the large churches that lead hundreds to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Thank God for small churches that may lead one or two or ten to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. When you count how many church members it takes to lead someone to Christ, sometimes the small church may be the most effective, but certainly not always. There are many variables and fruit will vary from year to year, but all should be telling others of Jesus and His salvation.

Regardless of church size, some church fields are more responsive than others.

One church may be more effective in some areas, other churches in other areas. But God can use us all.

Ultimately, God will be the righteous Judge of each church and pastor.

Large and small church pastors have struggles and stress those who are not pastors will never understand. Some of that stress is the same between large and small church pastors, some is different. But all those pastors need our prayers and support.

Being a large church pastor has its advantages and disadvantages.

Being a small church pastor has its advantages and disadvantages.

You can raise a family well in a large or small church. Again, each will have advantages and disadvantages; but if a family is faithful and committed to the Lord, it can be done and done well.

Inevitably some small churches will lose members to large churches.

Often, however, large churches lose members to small churches.

Each can offer things the other cannot; perhaps it all balances out in the end. Regardless, Christ is being preached.

I read somewhere that you will get to know about 50 people well in your church, regardless of it’s size. So, in some small churches, you will know everyone!

Large churches have small groups. Some churches are a small group.

I believe God is honored by a faithful church, regardless of the size.

Some need to repent of their arrogant attitudes against large churches.

Some need to repent of their arrogant attitudes against small churches.

All believers should be a faithful part of a Bible believing church, whatever the size of that church. May God bless you and your church.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 1, AD 2015. 

Other Articles:
Church Buildings - Dos and Don'ts #1
Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow; the book
Lester Roloff Letter to Joe Brumbelow / Separation
Conservative United Methodists
Baptists on Tithing
More articles in lower right margin

 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas; Or Happy Holidays, Xmas?

At this time of year some Christians write articles saying the use of holiday and Xmas, instead of Christmas is just fine. After all, “holiday” comes from “holy day,” and the “X” is an abbreviation of the Greek name of Christ. Some say early Christians, under persecution, used the “X” as a secretive way of referring to Christ and Christianity. I disagree. 

I understand “Happy Holidays” is sometimes used to include Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. However, it is also often used to be politically correct and so no one will be offended by the “Christ” in “Christmas.” It is regularly used to secularize Christmas. As a comedian said, “I’m dreaming of a secularized generic holiday.”

I also agree that some Christians can get obnoxious in arguing with store clerks about Christmas. Please use a winsome attitude in wishing someone a Merry Christmas!

I still like “Christmas” as being more understandable, meaningful, and descriptive than “Holiday” and “Xmas.”

A holiday can be as much Presidents Day or Columbus Day as Christmas. Very few would ever stop and consider, or know, that the word began as “Holy Day.” To most it just means a day off work. Holiday has become a generic term.

We may derive comfort that to a very few the X stands for Christ.

But the X seems to be just as secretive today as it may have been in the first or second centuries.

I doubt one in a hundred knows or considers, “Oh, the X in Xmas stands for Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem.”

I also doubt many know much about the ancient Greek language.

Abbreviations are often not understood, so why not take the time and effort to write it out?

Many more Americans understand the name Christ, rather than understand the name “X.”

To many, “X” stands for the unknown. Others may view Xmas as X-ing out the name of Christ.

I would not recommend an evangelistic preacher to go around preaching about X. They might think you’re talking about Malcolm.

So while I may not angrily protest, I do prefer stores have the courage to actually use the word Christmas. Recently I heard the Houston mayor speak of the city “Holiday Tree.” And yes, I suspect she was trying to not offend atheists, non-Christians (who usually have no problem with using the word Christmas), and to be politically correct.

So to all I wish you a Merry Christmas!

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 18, AD (In the Year of Our Lord) 2014.

Articles:
"Merry Christmas" is Preferred by Customers
10 Commandments for Christmas
Young Preachers - Finding a Place to Preach; Part 1
More articles / Labels in lower right margin.