My Old-Fashioned Faith

I have an old fashioned faith. I believe that the Bible is the sole authority in understanding and knowing God, the only infallible guide that teaches man how to be saved through the saving death of Jesus at the cross and His resurrection. I sing because I know I have been saved and that not by works. I sing, not because the melody suits present day tunes, modes and ambiences, but I sing because I am a sinner who has been forgiven. I rejoice at this thought so my song is one of rejoicing, even as it is also that of pain, knowing that countless many others are in need of this same rejoicing. I do not seek to promote a sense of euphoria by showing human wisdom and feigning that God will speak to me as more privileged than the next saved man beside me.

My faith is old fashioned. I remember my fathers before me, who endured the nails and spikes like what my Savior endured, the lions and the crosses, the fire, the storms that engulfed them for their stand of this old fashioned faith. I do not seek adulation or to adulate performance, whether it be in the name of this faith, by which many have forgotten how much tribulation and trials must we endure to make us richer in the maturity of this old fashioned faith.

I am an old fashioned Christian, and looking at a fashion, I can say that not even the best wardrobers this world can offer, can promote my growth and that of my fellow believers in the Word and never be a stumblingblock on the faith of the young ones. I have my liberties, but my love is as old-fashioned as my faith. I seek to hear the Bible preached at the pulpit and not science, fiction nor opinion. I seek the truth of God and Him speaking through His Word rather than the dreams and aspirations of human wisdom.

I look forward to my Fashion Designer, who crafted my old fashioned faith, who clothed the most magnificent lilies of the valley and who has fashioned me a new, blessed and incorruptible body, which none of this world’s best fashions can ever match, or is even one wit capable, to clothe.

An Appeal to Some Baptists

Instead of writing a full rebuttal of a teaching that has been going around recently, I am writing this article to hopefully illuminate some of us on the genealogy of Baptists.

Speaking about genealogies, Paul, through the Spirit, warns us in 1 Timothy 1:4 not to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in the faith. The genealogy I am talking about is the teaching (though may not be recent, as when as a YP, this would be a joke among us, which we all knew was a joke, that we belonged to the right religion) that the true or correct “religion” or “group” is the Baptist group. This is taken from the assumption (again, as a YP, we took this as a joke, but now has become a teaching), that: a) John THE Baptist was a Baptist, similar to what our Baptist groups of today and that since he was a Baptist and he baptized our Lord Jesus Christ, then it follows that b) Jesus Christ was also a Baptist.

Let me quickly say that premise b is a inductive fallacy that fail the simplest of all logical tests, the terms, from my collegiate education, would fail me now because of the following:

1. This is based on the assumption that John THE Baptist was a Baptist. I mean, as a Baptist like what Baptists today are now. There are many places in Scripture which tell us that this is not true. He himself was not sure if Jesus Christ was He that was to come (a very strong connotation to the promised Messiah, Matthew 11, Luke 7).

2. The earliest occurrence of the word “Baptist” as ascribed to John was in Matthew 3:1. He was born to Elizabeth and Zacharias who later prophesied that John would be called the prophet of the Highest.

The title Baptist therefore comes as a result of his work as one who was preparing the way of the Lord and in so doing was preaching repentance and baptism, as a sign or consequence of such a repentance. He was in the deserts till his showing to Israel (Luke 1:80). Sometimes he was referred to as John Baptist (Luke 7:20) or John the Baptist in many of the references to him. But this is the same in the Greek (I am no Greek expert but a simple look-up into the Greek Interlinear reference reveals this). The title therefore comes a result of the work that he was doing – preaching and baptizing. He baptized those who repented, Since Jesus Christ was not yet revealed, or the mystery of the gospel, as to how sins would be atoned for at the cross, the knowledge of the work of Jesus Christ was not yet known to John as evidenced by item 1 above.

These simple references (although there are a lot more), would tell us that Jesus established His church not through John the Baptist, neither that Jesus Christ was a Baptist because He was baptized by John. We all know why Jesus allowed Himself to be baptized by John – to fulfill all righteousness, a pattern which all of those who repent must follow (Matt. 3:15, 28:19-20).

I am no historical expert but a simple search into the history into how the Baptists got their name tells us a different story. The believers were first called Christians in Antioch, not Baptists (Acts 11:26). The earliest denominations who did not compromise their faith in the first centuries, as can be learned from the Trail of Blood by Dr. Carroll, were also not named Baptists.

I am a Baptist and I am happy to be one.

But I appeal to my fellow Baptists to please be more responsible in this area of teaching as we can be a stumbling block, a laughingstock to the world whom we are trying to win for Christ as we preach that none can be saved by membership and we tone others who call themselves to be of the right religion, a thing that must not be mentioned, even if one belongs to such or if even such ever occurs. What I know is that there is a right assembly of believers, the body of Christ, of whom, He, the Master, the Savior, the Head, should only receive all glory, honor and preeminence (Col, 1:18).

Praise be unto Him saved us from perpetual damnation.

Where Is The Love?

When a person is away from his country for work, he is in search for companionship and his cultural values are questioned. It is times like this when Filipinos away from home gather to drink, eat, sit, talk. these being the least. It is on these times when the heart is ripe for the gospel seed to be planted. A group has been doing Outreach here for several years and thank God, souls are getting saved every Sunday. But getting saved is only the first step as the Lord commanded us to “go and teach”, not just to preach, or simply to make disciples of men.

Please pray that God will send forth more laborers for His harvest, for this, undeniably is God’s harvest, and yet, the workers are few. Others may be resting at home, having fun or doing what THEY think SHOULD be done during Sunday afternoons.

No matter how one looks at it, this is an opportunity knocking for every Christian, Filipino or otherwise, simply because other places are also filled with similar scenarios from other nationalities.

Where are the laborers? Can’t we forego a little of our comforts, or review our beliefs, so that these would have the opportunity to hear the gospel?

We preach love, but where is the love?
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Thecrossman Quotes

ON QUOTING QUOTES:

If I would have to write a new proverb with the hope to encourage others, would it be not better if I have only shared God’s Word which is like a endless river of wisdom to inspire even the frailest of all souls like me? The Word of God- it is the ultimate word, the only lasting word.

THE TRUTH OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST:

There is no truth more profound in the fact that Jesus came, was crucified and resurrected after 3 days. History and archaelogy testify to this. This is a fact that so many want to stifle, silence, distort, whatever. But this fact remains true as all his disciples gave their lives just for this truth and countless others after them.

So, since this is true, now what are you going to do with all that He said that is written in the Book?

ON LEGALISM AND “CHURCHIOSITY”:

It is so sad that there are still many Christians who do not know the real difference between a church and a religion.

ON GRACE:

Grace is total reliance on God not only from salvation, but all throughout the entire sphere of the Christian’s life on earth.

ON THE WORD OF GOD:

There are two ways how the Word of God can be rendered ineffective. By attacking it or not proclaiming it. The Word of God need not to be defended even if it is attacked because it is all-powerful. But by not proclaiming it, we have rendered it ineffective on the souls of men. The Word of God do not depend on the qualities of its bearer, all we need to do is bear the Word of God and bring it to the lost. From there, its power, the power of God, will transform the souls of men

ON CHRISTIAN GROWTH:

A fruitful tree is so wonderful to admire, but it only has attained thus after years of being buffeted by the wind, sun and rain. As it digs its roots into the rich soil, and firmly establishes itself, can it become a shelter for the birds of the air. 

ON PROPHECY:

I’d rather be a harsh reality prophet of doom than to be a false prophet at all.

ABOUT WAITING:

Waiting for a bus involves being at the bus-stop before the bus arrives.

1 Kings 11 – The Wasting of a Blessing

King Solomon had so much blessings. He was endowed with much wisdom, the kingdoms of the then known world sought his keenness. He had so much wealth. And women. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines and these turned away his heart from the Lord.

He served the gods of his women – Ashtoreth and Milcom, strange and detestable idols of the neighbors of Israel.

So God stirred up enemies against him – Hadad, Rezon and Jeroboam, all who had histories of antagonism against David, his father, or Joab, David’s general, or even against Solomon himself.

When we are persistent in our disobedience, God will turn the blessing into cursing. This was what He promised His people in Deuteronomy 28 and can still, apply to us, if we remember how the Lord will chastise those whom He loves.

May we never waste the blessings God has given us. If Solomon was wise, but could he have been wiser by not going astray from God?

Whatever it is, wine, women or song, or the cares of the world, let us continue with the blessings that God has showered unto us.

His Name be praised forevermore.

“Haling” – Responsibility Demands Knowledge

The practice of backyard waste burning (“Haling” in Visayan), is an age-old tradition that seemed appropriate before but is actually scientifically and environmentally unsound. It is so annoying to see how this practice is tolerated in this country for such a long time, even with the ever-increasing consciousness everywhere about global warming and environmental preservation.

It is quite easy to say that we have no choice. I think it is a matter of making more possibilities.

Let us look closer into why this practice is still rampant today.

SOLUTION TO THE GARBAGE COLLECTION PROBLEM.

Before the “modern” plastic age, packaging materials were made from indigenous materials, mostly from banana leaves, paper and other organic materials. Back then, these materials are disposed of by burning them in bonfires that were lit in almost every household as a solution to the garbage collection problem. I remember this was even taught in the schools. Since CO2 is good for the plants, I recall that this virtue was also taught/But it is now known that CO2 is an ozone depleting gas and therefore is a huge contributor to pollution and global warming. Asthma and allergies are some of the side effects brought about with the gases produced in these backyard cleanup process.

With the entrance of plastic materials, the problem has worsened since plastic is now a common packaging material and hence it is a new ingredient of this dangerous recipe of backyard burning. Unless garbage collection management is left out, “Haling” would still be here.

SOLUTION TO THE MOSQUITO PROBLEM

I can still recall, how “Haling” was used to drive off mosquitoes. Dried coconut husks would produce dense smoke from their ambers which slowly consume the husks and unlike burning where less smoke is produced, this practice had more “smoke efficiency”. With coconut still a common plant everywhere in the Philippines, it should not be surprising how this method could be used, together with waste burning and be viewed as a solution to the mosquito problem.

Rather than eliminating ponds and places where these mosquitoes breed, more effort is placed in driving these mosquitoes to the neighbors and hence trigger a chain of reaction from neighbors and before long, one can see a whole community engulfed in dense smoke every afternoon. Please see the pictures below.

Whatever the reason, this practice must be stopped. The government must step in. Education, legislation, implementation of the right solutions  must play hand in hand in order to put an end of this rape of the environment and of this maybe innocent intrusion to everyone’s right to breath free and clean air.

Our people must realize that any smoke that reaches our neighbors is actually such an intrusion.

Lastly but not the least. it is God-given responsibility to take care of our environment (Gen. 1:28).

Backyard bonfires in Dauis island almost every afternoon.

Backyard bonfires in Dauis island almost every afternoon.

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Form and Content

When our Lord Jesus was here on earth, He taught and preached. The difference being in the MANNER of transmission. He taught his disciples and interacted with them, yet He preached against the scribes and Pharisees in a discourse that involved both form and content.

In Matthew 23, we see how our Lord berated them for their FORM of godliness (I immediately remember 2 Ti,. 3:5). They had the form, not the true value of godliness. They were devoid of CONTENT.

It is sad that today we see a lot of these today. People talk about having all the forms of godliness. While it is specially true that the Christian will always have the fruit of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. There are those who IMPLY that once you do not have temperance or any of the other fruits, you may not be living a godly life or you may not be a Christian at all.

When Peter had meals with the Gentiles, he did eat well with them. However, when certain men (Jews) from James came, he dissembled himself from the Gentiles, most likely because he did not want to be discovered by his fellow Jews that he did eat with Gentiles (Gal. 2:11-14). Was Peter there when the scribes and Pharisees also berated the disciples when Jesus ate with sinners and publicans (Luke 5:30)? Would he have forgotten how the Lord replied them and how he corrected them.

The form with which the Lord rebuked the scribes and Pharisees may be deduced here. It is not pretty. It was the use of the an analogy of a physician and the sick which drives home the point. When Paul rebuked Peter for his hypocrisy mentioned above, he WITHSTOOD HIM TO THE FACE. I am not saying that we should not be gentle and meek. What I am saying is this – CONTENT is more important than FORM, though we are not to dispense the latter, though it is of much less significance.

Let us not be misled with what our priorities in our Christian life should be. Paul, in teaching Timothy, told him to preach the word, instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Doctrinal purity is of utmost importance in the church. With it, the gospel may be diluted, polluted, contaminated or perverted. Hence we see today.

We must defend the truth, regardless of form, though we try as much as possible to have it. What matters most is the meat, not the tin can that houses the meat. Yes, it is also important, but let us not forget to get our priorities right.

1 Kings 10 – The Splendor Which Is Of God

So is this chapter so aptly titled.

The splendor that was attributed to Solomon was not his, but God’s. Even the wisdom that he so possessed which impressed so many peoples, or different languages and races and the Queen of Sheba, who visited him and saw his splendor and witnessed his wisdom and thus remarked “it was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom”. The queen was delighted in behalf of the people, of whom Solomon ruled. Lessons no. 1 – when the Lord blesses a certain leader, the blessings flow into the entire constituency.

Prov. 29:4 – The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.

2 Sam. 23:3-4 – The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

The splendor of Solomon was not his, it came from God.

When we obey God, seek His truth, study His Word diligently (2 Tim. 2:15), and immerse ourselves in His Word (Joshua 1:8), then our way and our conversation is led in His truth and we can walk in uprightness because His Word will guide us through and through.

But if for any reason when those who teach and lead, only study or teach what we think should be taught in the fear that  we may offend others, we do not fulfill wholeheartedly what His Word teaches (see the words “all things” in Matt. 28:19-20).

May the Word of God saturate us all and may He reward us with His splendor, be it spiritual, in terms of the quality of growth reached souls will pursue.

Then we can say all the time, all that I have are not mine but simply given to me of God.