1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 28, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

This passage from 1 Corinthians 9 is often used in a variety of ways, often when in need of encouragement and perseverance. But it’s important to consider the context in which Paul wrote it, especially since he did not write with chapter numbers, verse numbers, and headings as we have in our Bibles today. Paul just came off a discussion on how he has rights as an apostle but doesn’t always choose to use them, and then he talked about the freedom he has in Jesus, which he uses however he needs to in order to bring more people to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 23, right before today’s passage, says, “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

While this passage is often interpreted as one of encouragement to keep going in the life of faith, Paul’s focus is more on denying oneself. He brings up images of sports and athletes which would have been very familiar to the first-century Corinthian believers. Every other year, they hosted the Isthmian athletic games. This competition featured athletic events and even musical competitions, and the events were wildly popular among people in ancient Greece (where Corinth was located). The main prize was literally a crown – first a wreath made of dried celery then changed to pine leaves in later years. The games honored a pagan god, so they died out once Christianity became the dominant religion in the 4th century AD. Just as Paul wrote previously that he becomes all things to all people, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to use athletic analogies to connect with the Corinthians since athletics was a prominent theme in their culture.

Based on this culture, Paul can make the assumption in verse 24 that everyone knows that each runner runs in a race to try and win the prize. No one is running just for fun, or to try and lose! Every runner desires to win. Even though there may be lots of runners, only one will get the prize. That is the point of having a race; races wouldn’t be as entertaining for the spectators or as important for the competitors if everyone received the same prize regardless of their performance.

In verse 25, Paul shares how every competitor has strict training. The race is not just about the few moments that the race itself lasts; it is about the months or years leading up to the race. There is work and discipline involved, and the athlete must exercise great self-control to stick to a good diet and a rigorous exercise schedule. All that work is for a crown that won’t last very long. Even for today’s Olympic athletes, the “crown” is a medal that will physically last longer than the dried celery or pine leaves from ancient Greece, but the fame is still fleeting.

But the difference between runners competing in races and the believer in Jesus Christ “running the race” of life is that the believer’s victory crown will last forever! The believer will receive eternal life as their reward. John referred to this as a crown in Revelation 2:10 as well: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”

Because of this greater reward, Paul shares in verse 26 how he does not run like one who doesn’t have a purpose. He then brings up another athletic analogy of boxing, comparing running aimlessly to a boxer beating the air. These images point to a lack of discipline and a lack of purpose. Paul definitely has a purpose – to preach nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).

Instead of running aimlessly or boxing the air, Paul says, “No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (verse 27). Ancient boxers were even more violent than the sport is today, pummeling one another with leather over their knuckles. Paul compares his Christian self-discipline to ancient boxing, showing how he needs to take his sinful desires under control in order to focus on the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Paul not only preaches the gospel message but he needs to live it out in his own life as well. It is one thing to share the words of the gospel message with others; it is another thing to live it with your entire life! Paul knows that he doesn’t just need to preach the message but he needs to live it – both for his example to strengthen his preaching and so he, too, may receive that prize of eternal life.

While Paul was definitely a recipient of God’s grace and forgiveness, that did not give him an excuse to not be self-disciplined and strive toward living a life that honors God in all ways. While this passage can definitely be one of encouragement for believers, it is a call to discipline ourselves for God. Just as an athlete would take care of their body in order to prepare for an important race, so should the Christian take care of their spiritual health in order to prepare for the crown of eternal life that we will win.

While only one runner wins the crown in a physical race, every believer who has faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death and resurrection will win the crown of eternal life! Strive to be disciplined in your faith through prayer, reading the Bible, hearing the Word preached, and gathering with other believers to worship God. Be disciplined as Paul was in order to strive for that greatest prize of all!

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The ICC 2: Can Creationists Do Real Science?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 25, 2023 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

One of the common charges against Biblical Creationists (who hold that God made everything in six days, that there was a global flood, and that the earth is only 6000 years old) is that they do not and cannot do science. I have long argued that such notions are absolute nonsense and flat out lies. I will argue that not only can we do science, but we do BETTER science than the extreme majority of our mainstream, secular peers.

We have to understand that science is a tool, not an theory. Science is a tool we use to analyze how the universe works and operates; it does not tell us “truth.” As a tool, science can be used correct or incorrectly. It can build up and support or it can tear down and destroy. It can lead to truth, or it can be manipulated to teach lies. Just because someone calls it science or just because someone has “PhD” with their name does not make it truth.

The scientific method and scientific processes are about observing, testing, analyzing, and seeking how things work and operate. The secularists boast that science is about questioning things, though it sure is amazing to me how little they actually question. But if one is going to call it “science,” then it should be backed up by experimentation. While there are areas like theoretical physics, they are not in the same category as hard science” Nikola Tesla stated over 100 years ago that “Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.”

Do Creationists, who believe in the supernatural, miraculous creation, do real science? The answer is yes. I have known this for a long time, but at the International Conference on Creationism, I got to see it first-hand. During this conference, 29 full papers were presented along with 27 abstracts and 22 posters, each showcasing scientific study and either experimentation or pointing towards experimentation. My own poster didn’t have any experimental data because of not having equipment, but I did have data for what experiments should showcase. All the presentations had guidelines to follow including the concept, idea, materials, methods, data, conclusions, etc. All those things you may have seen in your high school science fair are actually what is practiced in the real world, too. For the posters, you just had a few minutes to discuss your research. For the papers and abstracts, you not only dealt with presenting much more detailed research, but you also faced questions from elite scientists.

“But you are all creationists and therefore you are just affirming your own worldview and your own position,” says the skeptic. Don’t the mainstream journals do the same? Do they allow critique from creationists as they demand we let them do with us? To this day, I have yet to hear a single complaint against Biblical Creationists that is not practiced by those very complainers. We aren’t perfect, and we do get things wrong. The science by YEC is not the gold standard; Scripture is. Likewise, to the secularist, their “science” is not the gold standard; to them naturalism and “millions of years” is. Don’t believe me? Question it in front them and they defend it religiously, like it is a sacred cow.

Coming into this conference, the very weekend we arrived, an article was released regarding updated models of how the universe came about due to the images of the James Webb Telescope. They are now calling to push the age of the universe to 27 billion years instead of the 13.8 billion we have been taught for decades. Fully intact galaxies and stars that totally refuted the current Big Bang models keep showing up. Instead of changing their models because they were refuted by the evidence, they simply change the target and tweak things to make it fit.

One comment really caught my attention. This doubling of the age of the universe was necessary so the “constants could evolve.” I teach physics for a living. Constants in science are, well, constant. Yet this is published and accepted for mainstream science. If a creationist were to say this, we’d be the laughingstock.

In 1994, Dr. Owen Lovejoy infamously sought to explain the hip of the Lucy fossil by using a Dremel to “fix” the hip. This was shown on public TV on NOVA. Imagine a Creationist doing this. Lovejoy gets a pass, but what about Creationists? We are held to far stricter standards. And guess what? The science we are doing still holds against such standards. That said, secularists can do true science, too. They can build computers and rockets and medical machines just as easily as we can. But when it comes to anything related to origins, secular science is truly the lowest quality work that can be conceived, with the false priests of “Word of Faith” people being their prime competition.

During the ICC, I got to see the film “Is Genesis History: Mountains After the Flood,” a quasi-sequel to the original film. The film primarily focused on the work of Andrew Snelling and John Whitmore in their investigation of the Grand Canyon and the folded rocks that take all sorts of wild shapes. Snelling was denied access to the Grand Canyon on religious grounds and had to win a lawsuit to do his work. The film focused on this study, walking the audience through the field work. This is not storytelling. Snelling is not an Evolutionist or an “Old Earther” who does little study and tells many stories. He gets out there and gets his hands dirty. We see Dr. Whitmore measuring the angles of the Coconino Sandstone in person, easily refuting decades of textbook literature which has it all wrong because they did not go out and actually do the measurements themselves. We see here what professional science looks like. You go out, you do the experiments, and your experiments can be replicated. Any mainstream person can go do what Snelling and Whitmore did. None of us can do what the “old earthers” tell us they did because it’s storytelling.

The old earth experiments they actually do look nothing like what they are extrapolating. They say you can bend a chunk of ice with just the right pressures without bending it, therefore stacks upon stacks of rocks can bend with just the right heat and pressure too. But they only did this with a single block of ice, not stacks of ice each of which would bend the way they did at different pressures. Also, when you DO bend rock like that, there are signs of fractures and some metamorphosis involved. What Snelling showcased was that no such pressures were present upon solid rock, and a blind test with a similar rock just upstream of the Grand Canyon that was NOT bent could not be distinguished. This proved that the folded rocks were bent when they were soft, justifying the Flood models and refuting the mainstream models.

There are things that creationists have gotten wrong, but my point is that if you hear someone claim that Creationists cannot do science, you can be sure of at least one of several things: 1) they have never read any Creationist literature, 2) they don’t understand science, and 3) they are in denial. We do science, and we do good science, certainly a higher quality than what the mainstream practices. It was Creationists who founded the extreme bulk of the fields of science we know today, and it is Creationists who are leading the studies on finding facts. Read the Creationist journals; we are constantly finding things. Read the mainstream journals; they are constantly getting things wrong. To say we don’t do science is either ignorance, naivete, or simple dishonesty. It is time we stop letting the scoffers set the terms and force them to actually engage our material. They won’t, because they wouldn’t know what to do, but don’t let them off the hook.

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1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 21, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
- 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

In this section of his letter to the first-century church in Corinth, Paul has been talking about his rights as an apostle and how he has freedoms and rights that he doesn’t necessarily use. Here, he continues to address his freedom but also discusses how to relate to other people. He began this section previously in verse 1 by saying, “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord?” He then talked about his apostleship, and now he gets back to that idea of freedom.

Paul is free, but he chooses to become a slave to everyone (verse 19). He has the freedom in Christ and in his lifestyle to make that choice. It is clear from the text that Paul has chosen this for himself, and he is not forced into this decision. Why would he choose to be enslaved rather than completely free? “To win as many as possible.” The word used there for “to win” can have meanings of gaining, making money, winning over, or even sparing someone. In this specific context, the idea is to figuratively acquire a person for God’s Kingdom – to help others know Jesus Christ. As Paul said right before this in verse 18, “What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.” Paul chooses to be enslaved to everyone so that he may preach the gospel and help them discover the salvation and freedom that only come from Jesus Christ.

Then, Paul discusses three different groups of people that he has tried to make himself like in order to win them. First, in verse 20, he talks about the Jews. Paul was actually a Jew (see Philippians 3:4-6), so it was not that big of a stretch for him to become “like a Jew.” But, when Paul was living as a religious Jew, he persecuted Christians, so he has distanced himself from that life. However, what he means here is that on matters that are not essential for salvation, he would conform to the practices of Jewish law. Some examples of this can be found in Acts 16:3, Acts 18:18, and Acts 21:20-26.

Paul then mentions “those under the law,” but that is simply another way of saying “the Jews.” The Jews were God’s people who had received the Ten Commandments and all of the laws God gave them in the Old Testament. By saying that he is “not under the law,” Paul is simply saying that he is no longer bound to follow all of the ritualistic laws that no longer apply because of Jesus’ fulfillment of them.

The second group Paul addresses are the Gentiles - “those not having the law” (verse 21). Even though Paul was culturally a Jew, he entered into the non-Jewish culture in order to share the gospel with the Gentiles (see Galatians 2:11-21). Paul specifies that he is still under God’s law and more specifically under Christ’s law. He is still bound by what God commands him to do, even though he is no longer under the Jewish rituals from the Old Testament. Jesus Christ still has a “law” of sorts that Paul follows because he follows Jesus. Again, Paul’s goal is to win them to God’s Kingdom.

The third group Paul mentions is “the weak” (verse 22a). Here, he is referring those with a weak conscience, who he discussed at greater length in 1 Corinthians 8:9-12 (see this blog post for more on that). Even though there are certain things that Paul can do that will not weaken his faith or his Christian lifestyle, he knows that others may not be as mature in the faith as he is, and he does not want his actions to make anyone fall away from following Jesus.

Even though Paul has already addressed all people, even simply by stating the two groups of Jews and Gentiles, he emphasizes that point by saying, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (verse 22b). While Paul has freedom, he often chooses not to exercise it for the sake of others.

Verse 23 summarizes this entire thought: “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” Everything that Paul does, especially not acting on the freedoms that he has, is for the sake of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Everything in Paul’s life is all about the gospel message!

Why does Paul have such a strong sense of purpose? He states that it is so he “may share in its blessings.” That may sound a bit selfish to us from that English translation, like Paul is only sharing the gospel so he can personally receive benefits. But first of all, we must look at Paul’s life as a whole; he was constantly put in prison, persecuted, beaten, shipwrecked, etc. for the sake of the gospel! Those don’t exactly sound like great personal benefits to the lifestyle of preaching the gospel.

But the Greek word used there has the idea of “communion” or “fellowship.” It’s not just about Paul; it’s about all people who may share in the faith! Paul is clearly not making himself a slave to everyone and giving up his freedoms for his own benefit but for the benefit of all who become believers and enter into the fellowship of faith.

While God does not always call us to live the lifestyle that Paul did, what are you doing in your life to reach those who do not yet know Jesus? How are you reaching them with the gospel so that they may share in our Christian community?

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The ICC 1: Overview of the International Conference on Creationism

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 18, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The week of July 16-19, 2023, was truly an opportunity of a lifetime for me. Back in November, the El Paso Creation Network that I am an active part of hosted Dr. John Whitmore of Cedarville University, one of the top geologists in the creation community, and Nate Loper of Canyon Ministries (touring the Grand Canyon from a Biblical perspective) to talk about the Flood. During the conference, I told Dr. Whitmore about studies I have been doing regarding radiometric dating methods and the need for a more scrutinous examination of them. He suggested I do a poster presentation at the 9th International Conference on Creationism, held only every 4-5 years. I had never heard of that before. When I looked it up, I likely had those big cartoon eyes with glee and excitement!

This conference is a gathering of the top Biblical Creation scientists in the world, focused on not merely gathering together and pooling resources but to get research published and presented in a professional format. You can watch a video about the conference here. This is not your normal conference where you bring in speakers to give talks about different subjects. This is a professional conference where people are presenting their research and getting published. In my circles, I am often one of the larger fish in the pond, and here I knew going in and fully confirmed when I was there that I was one of the smaller fish in a much larger lake.

The conference was the evening of Sunday, July 16 through the afternoon of Wednesday, July 19. I flew to Michigan to visit family for a week and a half before the conference, and then my parents drove me to Cedarville University in Ohio (outside Dayton. For the return trip, I joined the caravan from El Paso that was coming separately.

There are keynote speakers during most conferences of this type, but this one was different. Instead of having a single keynote speaker each night, Dr. Whitmore and his crew decided to have someone speak on each of the major fields Creationism addresses: 11 speakers in all over three nights.

The formal paper presentations were each of the three mornings. There were two types of presentations: full papers and abstracts. The full papers are the heart of the conference. There were 29 full papers presented in three different rooms at a time, with four sessions each morning. So, each person could sit in during four full papers each day, but they would miss 1-2 others each time slot. Each presenter would be given 50 minutes to address the highlights of each paper, some behind the scenes, and deal with questions.

Alongside the full papers were the abstracts. In formal papers, the abstract is a basic summary of the whole paper and whole concept. The abstract presentations were only 20 minutes each and would basically give the main overview of a topic, but not yet complete enough to give it full paper status. There were 27 abstracts presented, at the same time as the full papers. Needless to say, no one got to see it all. None of the presentations were recorded to my knowledge without expressed permission, and the main reason why is because they wanted people to focus more on the paper itself, not just the presentation that would be just a sampling of what was going on.

The afternoons had three major events: roundtable talks, poster presentations, and field trips. The round-table talks were a group of experts who formed a panel to discuss a variety of topics and address questions from the public. There were three roundtables, and I didn’t sit on any of them because I was busy doing other stuff. One roundtable dealt with “feathered dinosaurs,” another dealt with the Flood boundaries, and the third dealt with the biogeography in the post-Flood world. Several people commented that the discussions were really good, and they were having some good debates.

The poster presentation was one of the highlights for me as this is where I got my turn to shine. I was one of 22 posters, and I had a two-hour time slot on the second day to “defend” my studies. I’ll make a separate post on that specifically. The posters were meant to present initial ideas and studies that were not ready for full papers. This time operated like a science fair on steroids. I had awesome feedback which I will share later as I further report on this conference. The posters were up for the entire conference, and I got to share my studies throughout the conference.

The field trips went outside the campus to discuss the geology and botany of the area. I was not on any of those trips so I cannot comment. But prior to the poster presentations we got a full viewing of a current draft of the film “Is Genesis History? Mountains After the Flood.” This is a quasi-sequel to the first “Is Genesis History?” film that went to theaters, but this one focused specifically on the studies that Andrew Snelling spearheaded in the Grand Canyon to analyze the folded rocks in the area and to prove/disprove how they folded. The film followed him, Dr. Whitmore, and Dr. Steve Austin in their studies in this field, showcased how Creationists have been doing their research, and much more. It is my understanding this film will not go to theaters when it is finished so it may go straight to DVD.

Then the evening closed with the keynotes, and we had a “soft” closing to the whole conference. After the final presentations that Wednesday morning, we had lunch and a few events for people to choose from, but most started scattering. Oddly, there were no closing final remarks in a large group.

This conference may well have sparked a new chapter in my life. I most certainly plan to come again the next time hopefully to present a full paper, not a mere poster. Whoever says that Biblical Creationists don’t do science either has never read anything, never looked, or doesn’t even know what science actually is. This conference proved that we don’t just do science, we do it well. I had respect for these guys going into the conference; that respect has truly skyrocketed, and it is a total shame that these scientists like Dr. Whitmore, Dr. Snelling, Dr. Austin, Dr. Baumgardner, and Dr. Humphreys are not considered among the greatest scientists of our day. Their research is top-notch and impeccable.

Watch for more of my reflections from this conference in my posts for the next few weeks.

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1 Corinthians 9:12-18

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 14, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
- 1 Corinthians 9:12-18

This passage is a continuation of Paul’s thoughts from the previous section, so you may want to read that post for the context of this one. Paul talked about his rights as an apostle, including the right for the church to financially support him in his work. He concludes that thought and introduces his next point with verse 12: “If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.”

Even though Paul and the other apostles deserved financial support from the church, they did not necessarily use it. Instead, they are so driven to share the gospel that they will do whatever it takes! They will not stop the spread of the gospel message of Jesus Christ, and they will do whatever work it takes to make that happen. They don’t spread the gospel so they can receive the benefit of support from the church; rather, they spread the gospel for its own sake. That is their singular mission.

Paul gives a broader religious argument in verse 13 that applies to the Christians, the Jews, and the pagans. He does not quote Scripture but instead refers generally to “the temple” so that all can see what he means. Those who work in the temple get some material goods from that work. When animals are sacrificed, the temple workers get food from those sacrifices. The Corinthian believers would have been familiar with pagan temple worship and how pagan priests would be fed through offerings that were brought there, so Paul uses that to help them understand his position.

In verse 14, he connects that specifically to sharing the gospel. He states that God commands that those who preach the gospel should be supported by the believers. This is supported by Matthew 10:9-10, where Jesus sends out disciples to teach and instructs them to not bring extra supplies for themselves. When preaching the gospel, that message should be their sole focus, not how their material needs will be met.

But in spite of all this evidence that the church should support Paul’s work, he emphasizes again in verse 15 that he did not use these rights. He is also not asking them to start supporting him in the future. Paul desires to maintain that he is unselfishly spreading the gospel message, and he doesn’t want to even give the perception that he may be doing it for the material gain of being financially supported by the church.

Paul recognizes that it is his preaching of the gospel that is most important, as he shares in verse 16. When he is preaching, he cannot be boasting, and preaching the gospel is his highest priority. This strong desire to preach came from Jesus Himself when He appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul recounts that narrative to King Agrippa later in his life, which we can read in Acts 26. In Acts 26:16-18, Paul shares the specific command from Jesus that drove him to preach so earnestly: “Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

Paul goes on in verse 17 that it is important for him to preach voluntarily. While Jesus did command him to preach, Paul has the choice to obey or disobey that command. He continually chooses to obey through his preaching. If he chooses to preach the gospel because he desires to, then he receives a reward. If he preaches the gospel only out of obligation to what Jesus told him to do, then he does not receive a reward.

What is that reward? He offers the gospel message completely free of charge so that the people hearing his preaching do not feel obligated to financially support him through that ministry (verse 18). Paul desires to prove how genuine he is in preaching the gospel so that there isn’t even the appearance of him desiring financial support in exchange for his services.

What does all of this mean for us today? Does this mean that those who preach the gospel should not request pay for their work? Not necessarily. It all comes down to what God has called us to do. If God calls those who preach the gospel to provide for themselves financially in other ways, then that is what they should do. If God calls those who preach the gospel to do that work with complete focus and not be distracted by other work responsibilities, then that is what they should do.

Paul did what he knew God was instructing him to do – support himself by being a tentmaker while being focused on preaching the gospel. If you are a preacher or a teacher who shares the gospel message with others, make sure you are listening to how God wants to provide for your needs. If you are a person who hears the preaching of the gospel, then pray about how God may be asking you to support those who do that work and desire your financial support.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Slavery 10: Take Every Thought Captive

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 11, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

When Jesus set us free from sin, He made us His own slaves to serve Him, to worship Him, and also to enjoy Him. But this goes much beyond just the general spiritual notions. As I wrap up this series, I want to look at one more absolutely critical aspect of life: our thought life. Our thought life includes not just the things we think about but also the teachings that guide and direct how we think and operate. If we are to be followers of Christ, then our thinking needs to follow Him as well. Paul puts it this way: we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.

What do we think about? I can safely say that few of you reading this, including yours truly, do not think about what Christ would have us think about on a regular basis, let alone as much as we know we should. I wish it were more, but we have to be honest. None of us, while we live in sin-cursed bodies, will ever get there. But are we going in that direction?

The next book I am going to write is going to be on Proverbs 3:5. It will be a whole book on that one verse and its applications, and it won’t be a little booklet either. What does this verse teach us? That we are to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. We don’t have the information or the thinking skills on our own to process things correctly. We need God and God’s knowledge, and we need to depend upon Him wholly and only. We rely too much on our own experts and own education and we turn out to be outright fools when we do so.

Many people praise me for the wisdom I show through my writing, but if anyone gets anything of value in my writing, it’s not me. The only way I can describe it is the Holy Spirit bearing witness to my spirit and it just flows out. By no means am I claiming any form of divine inspiration, but it’s simply the truth God has plainly revealed through Scripture. It’s not my wisdom or insight but God showing His truth to those who love Him and follow Him. All it takes is child-like faith and submission to God, and He will show you deeper and deeper truths that have always been there. However, many times, my thought life is not on the Lord, and there are times when what I write and what I think about are not healthy. Many times, I feel like a hypocrite because I know to speak such great truths, but my own private life does not match up. Our thought life can bring life, or it can bring death. The only way it brings life is when it is subjected to the will of Christ.

The classic go-to case when dealing with such topics is pornography. Understand that just watching porn or avoiding it is not enough to deal with this. Where most struggle is adultery in the heart – the thought life of undressing another and being engaged in sexual activity with them or watching them engaged with others. We know that this is a sin, a sin of the heart. But why do so many struggle with it? We have to realize that this foe is bigger and stronger than we are. We know this intellectually, but as I wrote about last week, the slave to Christ has Christ’s power available to drive out and keep out. That truth is not a reality to us yet. But when you listen to those who escaped porn, they don’t talk about how they “beat” porn. They talk about how they were delivered, rescued, freed, etc. It was someone else’s power that did it. That someone is Christ. It will be a battle, and we have to get up every time it knocks and exert that power and authority Christ bestows. How do we do that? We take every thought, every idea, every temptation, and every teaching and force it to submit to the will of Christ.

Most people think this is for the bad thoughts, but it is for the good ones, too. EVERY thought is to be taken captive and submitted to the will of Christ – even every teaching and every doctrine. We must put Word of Faith teachings to submission to the will of Christ. We must put Cessationist teaching to the will of Christ. We must put our eschatology (end times) teachings to the will of Christ. We must submit our politics, our science, our history, our teachings of the Gospel, our social media, our emotional reactions – all of it – to the will of Christ. If that means we have to stop, slow down, and be slow to speak, slow to action, and guarding and checking every thought, then we need to do that.

But I can say this: Jesus is not a bad master. Paul even gave us guidelines on how to think. Philippians 4:8 is a great place to start. When we submit our thought life to Christ and when we submit all teachings to Christ, not only will we see true freedom and we will have true life, but we will be able to tear down the strongholds that hold others captive, too. Again, the life of slavery to Christ is a life of power. By being a slave to Christ, we actually get to rule. Our rule is submitted to Christ, but it is in that submission that we get the power. The centurion understood this. He saw Jesus operating with power, and he knew that the only way he could get that power is by being under authority. The same is true for us. When we submit ourselves to be the slave of Christ, we are equipped with the authority of God’s slave, and the position of God’s slave is far higher than any prince or ruler of this earth. When it is all said and done, let us take the position of the slaves of Luke 17:7-10. After doing all we ought, we say, “We are but unworthy slaves. We have only done that which we ought.”

Let us remember our position as Christians. While we are to rule, that rule only comes by serving and taking the position of a slave. We are to take every thought captive to the will of Christ. We are to do things God’s way. We are not to play God and proclaim to be the arbiter of truth. We are to be loyal slaves, those who submit to our Master, who is a good Master, and let Him take care of us. He will do above and beyond what we could ever imagine, we just have to trust Him. He is worth it, and the life of a slave to Christ is worth it. He will never let us down, and He will take us to places and realms we could never imagine otherwise.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


1 Corinthians 9:1-11

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 7, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. Don’t we have the right to food and drink? Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?
Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?
- 1 Corinthians 9:1-11

After discussing the issue of whether the early Christians could eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols (which you can read about here and here), Paul gives an example from his life of sacrificing for the sake of the gospel message.

Right before this, Paul had said how the believers have the freedom to do things such as eating meat that was sacrificed to idols, but just because they can doesn’t mean they should. They need to be considerate of the other believers who may be watching them.

Paul asks 4 rhetorical questions in verse 1, all of which are structured to be answered with a “yes.” He is free in Christ, he is an apostle, he has seen Jesus, and the church in Corinth is the result of his work. All of these verify his status as an apostle. While Paul was not with Jesus during His earthly ministry (as was required of an apostle in Acts 1:21-22), Paul did meet Jesus face-to-face on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9). The church in Corinth, and therefore all the believers there, were because of Paul’s obedience to God’s calling, the sacrifice of Jesus, and the work of the Holy Spirit

In verse 2, Paul realized that some may not recognize him as an apostle because he did not follow Jesus during His earthly ministry. But Paul knew that he was so influential with the Corinthian church that they recognized his role and authority as an apostle. That congregation was the seal that marked him as an apostle. His work in Corinth really authenticated Paul’s role as an apostle.

Starting in verse 3, Paul begins to defend his apostleship against those who would criticize him for that claim. While the language used in this verse has legal connotations, Paul is obviously not defending this issue in a courtroom but rather to all who would read this letter, so that they would understand the authority that God had given him in the church.

Then in verses 4-6, Paul brings up rights that were due to those working for the gospel in that time period. He first mentions the right to food and drink, which implies that as one who works for the church, the church should provide for his basic necessities. By mentioning the right to bring along a wife, Paul is saying that if he were married (as Cephas aka Peter was), she should be permitted to participate in the ministry and be supported as well. When Paul mentions “the Lord’s brothers,” that refers to Jesus’ physical half-brothers, the children of Mary and Joseph.

We know that Paul worked as a tentmaker in order to provide for himself while doing ministry, but Paul is stating how he had a practical right to be supported by the church if he chose to do so. Paul also brings up Barnabas in this, that both of them should have the right to be financially supported by the church if they desired to do so.

Paul provides additional examples of this theory in verse 7. Soldiers are supported in their military service. If you have a vineyard, you would eat the grapes that you grow, thus being supported in a way by that work. If you have a flock, you would drink the milk provided by your herd. The implied conclusion, then, is that if you work for the church, the church should at least partially support your needs.

But rather than only basing this on his own authority, Paul shows that this is from Scripture by referencing Deuteronomy 25:4 in verses 8-9. It’s not just Paul who is making this claim, but God laid it out for the people of Israel centuries before this. They were commanded not to muzzle an ox while it was working in the grain, that way it could eat some while it was working. If God is that concerned for oxen, how much more concerned is He for people, especially people who are called to work for His Church!

Paul is not only sharing about his rights as an apostle but he’s also teaching the people about how God cares for them (verse 10). While God does take care of animals such as oxen, He takes care of His people even more. The person who plows the field will reap the harvest, and then he can bless others with that.

Paul reiterates in verse 11 that these principles should apply to himself and the others who are working for the Corinthian church. Shouldn’t they have the right to have at least some of their needs met through the generosity of the church?

These concepts are still true today. Those who work for the church should be supported by the church. That means pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and all those whose vocation is serving God in some way. Those who work in other fields are still called to work for God and share the gospel message, of course, but the work of those not in vocational ministry-related roles should desire to support those who spend their time working toward equipping others spiritually and doing the work of the church.

Even if Paul himself did not need the financial support of the church, he makes the case that as an apostle and one who is doing God’s work, he should have the opportunity for the church to support him. Whether you are one who is supported by the church or one who is doing the supporting, continue to ponder this passage and pray about what God is calling you to do.

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Slavery 9: Slaves to Christ

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 4, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

This statement that we are slaves to Christ is so central to the Gospel message that Paul makes a huge deal of it in Romans 6 in describing the born-again, transformed life. He had just come out of Romans 5 describing how the grace of God overcomes sin, how Jesus died for us while we were still sinners and still slaves to sin, and that by faith we enter salvation. But he paused to address a train of thought that would derail one’s faith: that because God’s grace is so great, we can sin freely and expect God to cover it. Commentaries suggest that Paul’s language in Romans 6:1-2 is so strong that he comes to nearly cussing. This is the only time besides Galatians 1 (when he confronts the false teacher that led them astray) that he goes this hard. The Christian should never enter the thought or notion of being able to continue in sin without fear of judgment or discipline.

From this, Paul goes on to describe how we are to die to sin and how sin is to become repulsive to us. Last week, I wrote about how many people want to come to Christ on their own terms. They want to hold on to certain sins and certain lifestyles and certain teachings. To be a Christian is to die to those things. Jesus said this clearly: “You must deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Me.” We are not following Him if we follow our own path and do things our own way.

Now to be clear: this is not legalism. I can picture many readers of last week’s post objecting to legalism. If following Christ at the expense of self is legalism, then what you are hearing is not true Christianity but antinomianism. It is the desire to live lawless lives, where they think they are saved but not expected to follow a law. Jesus called those who professed His name and would cast out as “workers of iniquity,” “as lawless ones.” The language is that of “you who live as though I gave you no law to follow.” His yoke is easy, and His burden is light, but there is still a law. I like to boil down this law into two simple commands: believe and obey. That is all there is to it. But obedience requires two things: one is faith; you have to believe Jesus. The second is that you have to submit to the Lordship of Christ. You don’t obey anyone you don’t submit to.

As much as the King James Version is perhaps the most respected version in English, they got something wrong. The KJV translated the Greek term doulos, which is commonly translated as “slave,” as “servant” or “bondservant” to lighten the weight of the term and also to avoid the connotation with the slave trading that had been going on in the rest of Europe. They got this one wrong. This mistranslation has carried to most of the English versions until John MacArthur and his team at The Master’s Seminary went to update the NASB and specifically targeted this term among others when giving the “Legacy Standard Bible.”

The born-again believer is to be a slave to Christ. What does that mean? It means our lives, our job descriptions, our hours, and our routines are to be determined by Christ. Most of us don’t live that way. We run our own schedules and our own agendas before consulting our Master. What Jesus lived for, the very essence of His being, was doing the will of His Father. He was controlled by no other thing but His Father’s will. He did not stop doing what He was to do for the sake of family, food, sleep, shelter, annoyance of unbelief, or anything. Jesus had many opportunities to do many different things, but He took the approach of (and I quote Paul Washer on this), “I have no opportunity but the doing of God’s will!” I can’t think of anyone where that truly is their general lifestyle, with perhaps only Rees Howells getting remotely near that point.

To be a slave to Christ is to give up all your rights. Yes, many of us are Americans, and we Americans love our freedom of speech, our right to bear arms, our right to not be illegally searched or arrested, etc. Paul exercised his Roman rights when under trial in Jerusalem under Felix and Festus. So, if we have political rights, there is nothing wrong with exercising them, but they have to be submitted to the will of a much higher authority – Christ. We are not servants of the United States. While we may be citizens, we should not serve the US as our Lord. We serve Christ. Now serving Christ does mean being good citizens and being peaceful with all men, but our primary authority is Christ. Our job is to what Christ says, and He has the right to rule over us.

When you take up your cross and deny yourself, you are denying your rights and submitting them to Christ. I know this sounds hard, but if Jesus is our Master, He is the one who determines what our rights are. But let me also say this: our rights as the slave of Christ are FAR better than what any country could give us. We don’t need a government agency to uphold our rights or a right to block a government agency from doing something corrupt. We have Christ defending us, and that is much better. Don’t hear what I am not saying. I am not saying that we should sit back while corrupt representatives, who do no representing, take things away from us because they think they can play god with our lives, our money, and our resources.

Slaves in Roman times had rights. Slaves in ancient Israel had rights, too. We also have rights with Christ. But these rights are not to prevent God from ruining our fun. These rights are to give us power and authority to go out and proclaim the Gospel. Remember this: God’s logic is backwards and upside down to us. We picture the slave as being the lowest of the low, yet that is precisely whom God uses to exalt above kings and rulers. If Maximus Marcus Aurelius could, as a slave, become more powerful than the Emperor of Rome (in the movie Gladiator), how much more so the Christian? By becoming a slave to Christ, we become His ambassadors, His representative, and His body. That comes with an extraordinary command and extraordinary power. We can change lives, shut down wicked industries, heal the sick, cast out demons, trample snakes and scorpions, and the list goes on. Are you doing that now? Only on a small scale. Why? Because I have not yet fully submitted myself to Christ as a slave. I still have sin in me that wants to rule my life instead.

But the real reason we don’t see the Church out and about living with power enough that would make rulers shake is because we don’t actually believe the Bible as we claim. Queen Elizabeth I said she feared the prayers of Edmund Burke more than she feared the most powerful armada in the world, and she beat them in battle because of prayer warriors. The Allies should have lost many battles in World War II but Rees Howells took the war on his knees. He prayed over strategies and tactics and battles as though he was on the front lines, and while he wasn’t alone, it was his prayers among others that turned the European front against Hitler. How did Howells have such power that if he was looking at a property, the owner knew to get out of the way? He became a slave to Christ even to the point where he would not spend a penny unless God gave him permission.

Next week I will conclude this series with one major application to being a slave to Christ: to submit every thought to the will of Christ Jesus.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.