The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand

January 1998



1) Paganized Christianity
Joshua 8 - The Taking of Ai
Follow-up to "Phineas Priesthood"


Paganized Christianity

     This pastor has a great deal of material he put together several years ago. Since then, several things have transpired, including an English course. Thus he must go back to correct and edit all that past material. The Lord was good in seeing that a great deal of that material is in electronic form, though there are several binders full of material yet to be entered. One present project is editing the Bible lessons put together in the mid '80s. The following is one lesson from the Deuteronomy series. The Deuteronomy lesson series is available by e-mail. This particular essay is from an informative lesson in chapter 4 of that series.

     One of the major problems fallen man has is lowering the Lord God to his fallen level rather than exalting fallen man to the Lord's level through conversion. I do not know how many times I have encountered the thought that we must lower "Christianity" to the pagans' level if we expect to reach them (attract them into the church), and passages such as 1 Corinthians 9:22 are used to justify the paganization of "Christianity," even paganize the Christian assembly so unconverted pagans will feel comfortable. Pagan things such as "contemporary Christian" music are used to attract pagans "to the Lord." That "music," however, is no more than rock with supposed Christian words. Another major modern move to lower God to fallen man's level is the many modern versions of "God's word" that are flooding the market.

     While editing this document for The Biblical Examiner, I received a couple advertisements: one was for an "exciting seminar" to learn how to attract the "unchurched:" Designing a Worship Service... to Reach the Unchurched. The speaker was Dr. Glen Martin, a national speaker for Promise Keepers. The announcement compared "WORSHIP ... THEN & NOW."


Hymn books
Song leader
Slower pacing
Softer sounds
Longer service
Standard format
Soft Lighting
Contemplative atmosphere
Audio orientation
Varied talent used
Haphazard service
Little planning


Praise songs
Small band
Worship leader
Faster pacing
Louder sounds
Shorter service
Variable format
Worship folder
Bright lighting
Celebrative atmosphere
Praise team
Visual orientation
Best talent used
Rehearsed service
Much planning


     In the comparison above, I see that almost every accepted practice in church services has been discarded, including changing "sermons" to "messages." Though I know of no Biblical prescribed method for conducting a Christian assembly, in Mr. Martin's "then & now" list, there is a point that should cause alarm in the heart of every true Believer: Content-oriented messages and services have been replaced with Heart-oriented messages and services. In other words, to attract the "unchurched," the modern "worship service" should be aimed toward the emotions—no doubt making one feel good about himself, self-acceptance. It is man-centered, paganism, pure and simple. One should also notice that the atmosphere is changed from "contemplative" to "celebrative," whatever "celebrative" means. Apparently, the emphasis has been changed from man's responsibility before a thrice holy God to a god responsible to man. (Isa. 6:3, Rev. 4:8.) Clearly, the new "worship" emphasis is on man and his emotions.

     There was also an interesting blurb in a box—"RISK-FREE GUARANTEE. Because of our commitment to superior customer satisfaction, we offer this RISK-FREE guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied ..." you can get a complete refund. Thus Mr. Martin is selling a commodity (at $89 a pop). Is he not in the church growth industry selling the Lord? (Jn. 2:17, 2 Pet. 2:3.) No doubt, he had many buyers, and we would be surprised who purchases his commodity.

     After the military, this pastor "grew up" with and in the "mega-church" syndrome of the 60s and 70s. The "mega-church" failed then to stop the social decay, e.g., Roe v Wade. The same mentality of our day elected one of the most corrupt presidents in US history. "Paganized Christianity" has no practical application into society; its purpose is simply to make the "worshiper" feel good about him or her self, feel good about heaven, feel good about God, feel good about his fellow man, feel good about the social chaos around him and even feel good about the devil. The movement replaced content with emotion over the past 100 years, and has trained Christians to be totally unconcerned about the social chaos around them , waiting for the Lord's return to straighten out the mess their indifference made.

     The Darbyites say it like this: When we understand our heavenly character, we become unconcerned about the world around us. We are simply strangers and pilgrims passing through the area. We have no concern with surrounding events nor any responsibility to do anything about them. All we do is spread the truth and see if we can save a few souls out of the turmoil as we pass through. Anything more than a few souls saved is a false hope.

     Strangers and pilgrims with no concern about nor influence in surrounding social evil was a favorite theme of John Nelson Darby. He compared the Christian to a stranger passing through town with absolutely no influence nor concern about what is taking place in that town.1 Of course, the Darbyist's thinking rejects the Christian responsibility the Lord taught with the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Lk. 10.)


     US 231 is a major North-South 2 lane highway between Crawfordsville and Lafayette through our small town. With no stop light, at times it is quite difficult to even get on the highway. Darby compared the Christian in society to a person zipping through our small town on that highway—he has no responsibility nor concern for anything that goes on in Linden, Indiana. So what if the town burns down? That is none of the stranger's concern, except to pull someone out of the fire if he happens to see it.

     Darby was totally convincing of the powerlessness of the Spirit of God to work in the hard heart of fallen, sinful man to change him from the inside out, and thus change his society from the bottom up. He denied the faith as clearly spelled out in passages such as 1 Corinthians 1:18_., 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15—changed men will naturally produce a changed society.

     The Darbyist's idea of strangers and pilgrims is obviously drawn from a misunderstood Scriptural phrase. (Heb. 11:13-15, 1 Pet. 9-12.) However, the astute reader will find that the context of both usages is avoidance of the fleshly lusts, which war against the soul... Strangers and pilgrims has nothing to do with being unconcerned about surrounding wickedness; strangers and pilgrims has everything to do with not being influenced to return to the pagan practices left behind at conversion.

     Moreover, let us point out that the Christian assembly is just that: an assembly of Christians who have been reached through evangelization. (Mt. 28:19, 20, Heb. 10:25.) Its purpose is not to "attract the unchurched;" its purpose is to teach the saints, to equip the saints so they can apply the word of God into every area of life. (Eph. 4:11-14, Heb 6.) A purpose of strong doctrine from the pulpit is to keep paganism out of the church. (2 Pet. 3, Jude 3.) In fact, Paul specifically warned Timothy against those who would reduce Bible doctrine to make it appealing to the hearers, e.g., the "unchurched." (2 Tim. 4.)


     A major passage used in the church growth ("mega-church") industry is Luke 14. Did not the lord send the servant everywhere to invite all, so that the master's house may be filled? Did not the Lord there encourage using about any means, even "Pagainzing Christianity," to fill the lord's house with the unchurched?


     The Lord's words were spoken to a Jew sitting next to him while they were in the house of one of the chief Pharisees. The servant's invitation to the people was to come to a great super, not come fill a house. The great supper was/is obviously "The gospel-feast."2 The invitation, therefore, was to salvation through faith in Christ. The invitation to "The gospel-feast" was first issued to the Jews, who refused—they all with one consent began to make excuse. (See Jn. 1:11.) In response to the Jews refusal, the lord sent the servant to the highways and hedges, the Gentiles, to compel them to come to "The gospel-feast." The servant could be the Spirit, the Apostles or Christians in general; regardless, the invitation to the great supper went to the Gentiles, for the Jews rejected it. (Compel—persuade, entreat, including influence by example. Thayer.) Paul and Barnabas were an illustration of what the Lord meant in Luke 14, Acts 13:44-52.

     In other words, using Luke 14:23, as I did when I was trapped in the "mega-church" mentality, to justify "Paganizing Christianity" to attract the unchurched, is to seriously wrest the Scriptures to one's own destruction. (2 Pet. 3:16.)

     The second advertisement was for books. One of the books listed on the front page was "Spirit Wars, Pagan Revival in Christian America." The thinking person should be left with no doubt as to why there is a "Pagan Revival in Christian America." It is because there is a pagan revival in the average church. The services and "messages" are "Heart-oriented," rather than "Content-oriented." The emphasis is not on doctrine, but on emotions and good feelings aimed at the "unchurched." What can we expect other than a "Paganized Christianity" when serious, sound Biblical doctrinal content has been excommunicated from the average Christian assembly?


     Moses directly addressed the problem of "Paganized Christianity" in Deuteronomy 4:12-26. Those who desire to dispensationalize Moses' words from their "Bibles" so they can continue to "Paganize Christianity," should compare Deuteronomy 4:24 with Hebrews 12:29:

For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God (Dt. 4:24). For our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:26).

     In Deuteronomy 4, Moses restates the Second Commandments, Exodus 20:4-6. There are two prohibitions in Exodus 20:1-6: first, against serving other gods, and second, against serving Jehovah God in ways used by heathens to serve their gods, i.e., against "Paganizing Christianity." Deuteronomy 4:16 is against corrupting the word and worship of Jehovah God, the Lord Jesus Christ, in any way. "Paganized Christianity" is an abomination to the thrice holy God of Scripture. The Christian God of Scripture must be worshiped with and in holiness, not with and in anything associated with paganism.

     James Durham, writing before 1765, points out that one way the First Commandment is violated is "when confidence and trust is placed in any thing besides God..."3 The clear application is that when confidence is placed in "pagan means" to attract the unconverted, or "unchurched," to Christ rather than trusting the Spirit, the First Commandment is violated. Paul warned that using the wisdom of men denies the power of God... (1 Cor. 2:5.) Durham also points out that the Second Commandment is broken through making images: "1. Because such images cannot but beget carnal thoughts of God, as Acts I. 7. 29. [sic] contrarily to this commandment."4 The clear application is that pagan means to attract pagans to the gospel "cannot but beget carnal thoughts of God," clearly violating the Second Commandment.

     Durham makes this observation: Any picture or image, e.g., a lamb, to represent God and/or the Lord Jesus Christ in any visible human form violates the Second Commandment:

[A]nd although the Son was, and is man, having taken on him that nature, and united it to his Godhead, yet he is not a mere man; therefore that image, which only holdeth forth one nature, and looketh like any man in the world, cannot be the representation of that person which is God and man.5

     Certainly, says Durham, a mere man may be painted, for he has only one nature. However, the Son is unique, for his nature is both the Trinity, the Godhead's, and man's. The Second Commandment forbids any representation of the Tri-Une God, including the Son. Accordingly, the Lord God did not permit any form or figure of himself to be seen when he spoke to his people at the mount.


     The Pulpit Commentary deals with Deuteronomy 4:15-20 thusly:

As the people had seen no form or figure when God spake to them, so they were to beware for their very lives (cf. ver. 9) of acting corruptly by making any kind of image, whether of man or of beast, for the purpose of worshiping God as represented by it; they were also to beware of being so attracted by the splendour of the heavenly bodies as to be forcibly seduced to worship them and offer them religious service. They were not in this respect to imitate the heathen; for God had delivered them out of the furnace of Egyptian bondage, had taken them for himself to be his special possession; and therefore they were to take heed not to forget the covenant of Jehovah their God, nor to offend him by making any image or representation of him as an object of worship. Among the heathen, and especially in Egypt, images were the very pillar and support of religion; but in Israel, as God had revealed himself to them without form, it was as a spirit he was to be worshiped, and not under any outward representation.."6

     Those who lower a "worship" service to the level of the "unchurched" have clearly violated the Second Commandment. Keil comments thusly on Exodus 20:22-26 under "THE GENERAL FORM OF DIVINE WORSHIP IN ISRAEL":

As Jehovah had spoken to the Israelites from heaven, they were not to make gods of earthly materials, such as silver and gold, by the side of Him, but simply to construct an altar of earth or unhewn stones without steps, for the offering of His sacrifices at the place where He would reveal Himself. "From heaven" Jehovah came down upon Sinai enveloped in the darkness of a cloud; and thereby He made known to the people that His nature was heavenly, and could not be imitated in any earthly material. "Ye shall not make with Me," place by the side of, or on a par with Me, "gods of silver and gold," -- that is to say, idols primarily intended to represent the nature of God, and therefore meant as symbols of Jehovah, but which became false gods from the very fact that they were intended as representations of the purely spiritual God--Ver. 24. For the worship of Jehovah, the God of heaven, Israel needed only an altar, on which to cause its sacrifices to ascend to God. The altar, as an elevation built up of earth or rough stones, was a symbol of the elevation of man to God, who is enthroned on high in the heaven; and because man was to raise himself to God in his sacrifices, Israel also was to make an altar, though only of earth, or if of stones, not of hewn stone. "For if thou swingest thy tool (lit. sharpness, then any edge tool) over it (over the stone), thou defilest it" (ver. 25). "Of earth:" i.e. not "of comparatively simple materials, such as befitted a representation of the creature" (Schultz on Deut. xii.); for the altar was not to represent the creature, but to be the place to which God came to receive man into His fellowship there.7

     Though there were no steps up to the altar, the elevated altar symbolizes the elevation of man to God. At the risk of being "excommunicated" by the brethren more than I already am, let me say this: This pastor realizes that neither the Geneva Bible nor the King James Version of God's word is verbally inspired, despite what some of the brethren might contend. ("If the KJV was good enough for Paul, it is good enough for me.") I will insist, though, that both Bibles are the closest thing the English speaking world has to the Spirit-breathed texts.

     Both the Geneva Bible and the King James Bible are in a very elevated form of English. We cannot avoid the fact that most, if not all, of the modern versions of God's word were/are motivated by at least two things: first, money. Neither the Geneva nor the King James can be copyrighted. They have been public domain for many years, so there is no profit in promoting either. Second, rather than elevating man to the Bibles' elevated form of English, English has been and continues to be lowered in the modern versions to the level of the natural man. May I ask: What is wrong with trying to "elevate" man to God's level through Christ? (See Rom. 10:6.)

     A couple of interesting comparison between the modern versions and the KJV showing how the word of God has been and is being corrupted are St. John 3:18, 36 and 1 John 5:7. Some modern versions have changed "believe" to "obey," and some have changed the words clearly teaching the Tri-Une God, "The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost," to unoffensive wording that does not teach the Trinity. The more radical of the Bible corrupters completely dismiss 1 John 5:7, saying that it was not in the original manuscripts. V. 7 offends those who deny the Trinity.

     The Church of Rome handles the Fourth Commandment in an interesting way: Though the Roman Catholic Church did not remove Exodus 20:4 from its Confraternity edition, it totally removed v. 4 from its list of the Ten Commandments. Though Rome still lists Ten Commandments, because it left out the Second Commandment, it had to split the last commandment in two: "9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors' wife. 10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods."

     Those who love the Christian God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ, should find it extremely encouraging that the New World Order promoters, i.e., One Word Government, are working to make the English language the language of their NWO dreams. Surely the wrath of man shall praise God. The best efforts fallen man offers against the Lord and his Christ are no more than tools in his hand. (Ps. 2 and Ps. 76:10.)

     Though one of my nephews works for Microsoft developing software, I certainly am against Microsoft's total dominance of operating systems (OSs). The feds broke up AT&T for anti-trust violations, yet Microsoft has a larger share of the OSs than AT&T ever had of the phone service. I like W95 even less than I did Windows 3.11. (Give me DOS any day. Someone defined a computer as "a machine to run Microsoft Office.") However, the major computer OSs and software are written in English, giving a huge, world-wide motivation to learn English and make it the universal standard. The universal standard of English makes the preaching, teaching and reading of God's word in English possible world-wide.

     As English becomes the language of the NWO, what has the enemy done to undermine the word of God and the English standard of speech? Primary, he has lowered the word of God to the level of fallen man with many modern versions of "God's" word. Using Keil's symbol of the elevated altar with no steps, the enemy has lowered the alter to man's level. Rather than man being elevated to God, God has been and is being lowered to pagan man's level, "Paganized Christianity." Many of the modern versions of "God's word" use common vernacular—paganized language, which is felt will make God's word more appealing to the "unchurched." (Those of us who know God's word realize that it is the Spirit who must give the love for God's word, for it does not appeal to the natural man.)

     Moses warned against trying to worship the Lord God with any kind of a physical image. His warning was not that Israel would totally depart from the Lord God and turn to Baal. Rather, the danger he foretold was Israel's effort to worship and serve Jehovah God in a heathen manner—they would paganize their worship of the Lord. As we follow Israel's history, we find Moses' warnings went unheeded: 1 Kings 12:25 and 2 Kings 17:15_., record Israel's departure from serving God in the proper way, to serving God under the calves, to the end of openly serving Baal and, finally, making their children pass through the fires of Moloch. (See 2 Kin. 23:10, Jer. 32:35 and Ac. 7:38-43. Rom. 1:21 tells us that man's problems start when he refuses to worship, serve, honor and glorify the thrice holy God as required by his word. From that point, it is all downhill. In other words, Israel did not immediately pass their children through the fires of Moloch; that evil was the end result of failure to worship and serve the creator as required in his word. "Paganization" in the small areas leads to the most serious pagan practices.)

     Israel looked around, and saw how the heathens served and worshiped their false gods, both with images and in the heavens. The heathen methods of worshiping and serving their gods made inroads into the Hebrew worship of Jehovah God. Israel tried to worship and serve the Lord God in the manner used by the heathens to worship and serve their false gods. Of course, their efforts led to Baal and Moloch worship, but they never openly denied the Lord God. Rather, they tried to serve both—they paganized their worship of the Lord God. (1 Kin. 18:21, 2 Kin. 17:33, 41, Hos. 10:2, Zeph. 1:5.)

     Aaron tried to worship God in a heathen (Egyptian) manner when he set up the calf, and said, "here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you out of Egypt." (Ex. 32.) Aaron did not deny the Lord God, for he said, "tomorrow is a feast unto the Lord." (v. 5.) The calf was a similitude, a figure, to represent the Lord God. Aaron offered a pagan way to worship the Lord who delivered them from Egypt, a way like the pagan Egyptians used to worship their god, Ra. Egypt's calf was not Ra, but only represented Ra.

     This pagan manner of worshiping God, i.e., worshiping God under an image, was warned against before it took place. In Exodus 20:22-26, the Lord said, I talked to you from heaven, and you saw no similitude at all of me. Therefore, do not follow the heathens' examples of trying to worship me, your God, as they worship their gods with images of silver or of gold. Rather, you will worship me through the altar of earth and through the sacrifices upon that altar. You can use nothing of this earth or of the works of your hands to represent me, the Lord your God, the Creator of all heaven and earth.

     The sin of using pagan means to worship the Lord God can be traced down from the warning in Exodus 20:22-26, to Israel's final carrying away into captivity. The effort to worship and serve the Lord God in a pagan manner is one to which God's people are very susceptible. Man's natural inclination is to paganize his worship of his thrice holy God, or the Lord would not have warned so much against it.

     The brass serpent was an effort to worship the Lord in a pagan manner. (Num. 21:9, 2 Kin. 18:4.) The same thing happened with Gideon's ephod (Jud. 8:26), and with Micah's mother. (Jud. 17:1-5.) Those were all images dedicated to worshiping the Lord God; they were the result of the heathen influence of Egypt and Canaan, as the Egyptians and Canaanites used visual representations to worship their false gods. Israel, despite Moses' many warnings, followed the pagan practices. (2 Chr. 36:14-17.) 2 Chronicles 33:16-17 tells us that Israel tried to serve the Lord God after the manner of pagan worship, in high places and groves—Israel paganized its worship of the Lord God.


The first altar after the Flood was built on a mountain Ge 8:20 Abraham also built an altar on a mountain Ge 12:7,8 It was on a mountain in Gilead that Laban and Jacob offered sacrifices Ge 31:54 After the Israelites entered the Promised Land they were strictly enjoined to overthrow the high places of the Canaanites Ex 34:13 De 7:5 12:2,3 and they were forbidden to worship the Lord on high places De 12:11-14 and were enjoined to use but one altar for sacrifices Le 17:3,4 De 12:1 De 16:21 The injunction against high places was, however, very imperfectly obeyed, and we find again and again mention made of them 2Ki 14:4 15:4,35 2Ch 15:17 etc.8

1. Heb. 'asherah, properly a wooden image, or a pillar representing Ashtoreth, a sensual Canaanitish goddess, probably usually set up in a grove #2Ki 21:7 23:4 In the Revised Version the word "Asherah" (q.v.) is introduced as a proper noun, the name of the wooden symbol of a goddess, with the plurals Asherim #Ex 34:13 and Asheroth #Jud 3:13 The LXX. have rendered asherah in #2Ch 15:16 by "Astarte." The Vulgate has done this also in #Jud 3:7.9

     After King Solomon's death, his son Rehoboam, at the urging of his young counselors and by the hand of the Lord, sought to increase his father's high tax rate. Israel then divided (over money, we might add), and ten tribes followed Jeroboam. According to the word of the Lord, only two remained with Rehoboam. However, Jeroboam was fearful that Israel would return to Rehoboam if his people had to go all the way to Jerusalem to worship God according to the law of Moses. So Jeroboam built two calves. In building the calves, Jeroboam did not deny the Lord God; he did, however, offer the service of the Lord God under the two images at Dan and Bethel. He used the calves to represent the Lord. He offered another way to serve and worship God other than the proper way at Jerusalem. He clearly "Paganized Christianity" to keep his followers. (1 Kin. chap 12.)10

     Protestants rightly teach Deuteronomy 4:15-20, Exodus. 20:4-6, 20-26, as a prohibition against Rome's images and idol worship. But it goes much farther than simply against idol worship. Exodus 20:4-6, shows us that the problem dealt with is the attempt by God's people (even those professing to love him dearly) to worship and serve their God in the same manner used in service to false gods. The warning is against looking around and seeing how the heathens serve their gods and then trying to serve our God in the same manner. The warning is against "Pagainzing Christianity" to make it appealing to the unconverted or the "unchurched." The worship of the Lord God is not a business; it is not a commodity to make appealing to "the unchurched," so they will "buy" it, nor can it be viewed as such. It is a ministry to God that obviously requires far more dedication than does a business.

     The Lord God has clearly shown how he desires his people to serve him in his word. Departure from his way is idolatry and wickedness. It was the cause of Israel's judgment as Israel tried to serve the Lord with the same pagan methods used by the heathens to serve their false gods. The same judgment will fall today if his people try to serve him in the same manner used by the non-Christians to serve their false gods. (Dt. 4:24, Heb. 12:26.)


     Among the hundreds of pagan methods of serving the false gods, here are a few imitated by God's people in their service to him. A few moments of serious consideration will lead to many more pagan methods than are listed, for they go into every area of life.

     Pagans use "deficit financing" (debt) to serve their gods. "Deficit financing" is as unscriptural as multiple husbands, yet God's people use this means to serve Jehovah God. (Rom. 13:8.)

     Pagans look to education to provide all of their needs as they serve their gods of humanism. God's people have willingly and gladly embraced the god of education. Rather than a dependence on the Arm of the Almighty, we now see dependence upon education. (Jer. 10:2.)

     Pagans seek political solutions to man's problems. Many of God's people, having given up any hope in God converting the pagans, have embraced the same solutions. Or the other extreme believes that Christians must not be involved in civil government, so they many times sit back and wait for God's supernatural rescue from the mess their indifference has made.

     Pagans look to science and modern medicine to cure the effects of ungodly and undisciplined life-styles. God's people have also forsaken the ways of the Lord that lead to a long and emotionally peaceful life. (Pr. 15:13, 15, 178:22.)

     Pagans look to psychology and psychiatry to solve "emotional problems."

     As a pastor, I regularly receive invitations to attend "workshops" at local hospitals. These "workshops" are conducted by psychiatrists and psychologists to "train" pastors in the antichristian practices of psychiatry and psychology, e.g.,

OCTOBER 23, 1997






     The "workshop" was limited to the first 54 persons who registered to attend. No doubt it was well attended by supposed men of God, gathered to accept counsel in the antichristian practice of psychiatry. I have never received a notice from a local hospital for pastors to attend a workshop on Scripturally dealing with the new, modern rage illnesses, such as depression, confusion and dementia. (Dementia, "n. 1 orig., insanity; madness 2 Psychiatry a severe organic mental deficiency or impairment: distinguished from AMENTIA SYN. INSANITY." Dementia is thus demented, or out of one's mind.) The pagan world, and much of the "Christian" world, considers those who accept the Scriptures as the final authority for every thought and action, demented. Thus if Dr. El-Khalili is true to his profession, the pastors who attend his workshop, if they hold the Scriptures as the only rule for faith and practice, will be considered demented by the instructor. He has them there, knowingly or unknowingly, to undermine their confidence in the word of God, which alone can solve the emotional problems.

     God's people must reexamine every area of life and break down the high places and cut down the groves if they expect God to prosper them, to hear from heaven and to heal their land. (2 Kin. 18:4-7.)

     The task will not be easy nor short-term. Ezekiel tells us that even after the victory is won by God, it takes seven years (a perfect number—they will not stop until the job is done) to discover and correct all the infiltrations of the pagan weapons of warfare into every area of life. (Ez. 39:8-22.)

End Notes:

1 J. N. Darby, Collected Writings, 2:549, fn #108, 452, 454, 457 (1852), etc. & Letters of J. N. Darby, 1:51 (1842), 229 (1853), etc.

2 P. Doddridge, An Exposition of the Gospels, [1840], 1978, 2:108-110.

3 James Durham, Law Unsealed, 1802, 47.

4 Ibid, 67.

5 Ibid.

6 Emp. added, 3:59.

7 Emp. added, 2:127.

8 Online Bible.

9 Ibid.

10 For further study into this, see Edersheim's Old Testament Bible History, 11:136-38, and 12:126. Josephus attributes the final fall of the Hebrew race to Jeroboam's two calves for worshiping the Lord God: "This was the beginning of miseries to the Hebrews, and the cause why they were overcome in war by foreigners and so fell into captivity. But we shall relate these things in their proper places hereafter." Antiquities, Book 8, chap. 8, 4).


Joshua 8 - The Taking of Ai

     The Taking of Ai

     Those of us who are "Calvinists" are at times charged with ignoring man's responsibility. I must admit that I know "Calvinists" who totally ignore man's responsibility, believing that God will accomplish his purpose without any effort on man's part. They seem to use "Calvinism" to avoid human responsibility. I also know "Arminians" who totally ignore God's sovereignty, and place everything upon man, e.g., "Man will not convert the world to godliness." Certainly, I must agree with that statement, for man will not, but who are we to say that God cannot convert the world to godliness through the preaching of the gospel?

     Throughout Scripture, we see illustrated for us by the Spirit the proper balance between

     God's Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility

     Though we find God's total sovereignty and man's responsibility taught throughout Scripture, Joshua 8 records one of the clearer views of this important and key doctrine. Here is recorded the conquest of Ai. The method of conquest was not chosen by Joshua, but by the Lord, and that method was different from what the Lord required to take the strong hold of Canaan, Jericho. This shows us that the Lord moves differently in different matters and in different people. No one can judge another according to the way the Lord works in himself. (See Rom. 14:4, 2 Cor. 10:12.)

     Here are some points for your consideration from this chapter.

     First, the two Testaments, like our two eyes, mutually enlighten and assist each other. Without the two working together, it is impossible to see how God works in history. Moreover, without a working knowledge of the Old Testament, we will be unable to understand our Christian responsibilities as mentioned in the New Testament, e.g., Hebrews 4:11.

     Both Paul and James used Old Testament illustrations to present their spiritual doctrines. (Rom. 4:3, Gal. 3:6 & Jas. 2:23—Paul proved justification by faith alone, and James proved justification by faith WILL result in obedience to the word of God.) The Old Testament gives us literal, physical examples of the spiritual truths and requirements presented in the New Testament. (Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 1 Cor. 10:11.)

     Those who vainly try to separate the two Testaments will not be able to properly understand God's workings in history—in the lives of nations and/or individuals—nor will they understand the Christian's responsibilities to the God of History. Considering that the Old Testament illustrates man's responsibility to his Redeemer-King, we can safely say that that responsibility presented in the Old Testament is one reason fallen man is so determined to cut the Old Testament out of his Bible: Thus we cannot say, "That is Old Testament; therefore, it does not apply for us today." Pink said it like this:

Thus we see how that the principles which were to regulate Joshua and his men were the same as those which are to govern Christians in connection with their spiritual warfare. "The two Testaments, like our two eyes, mutually enlighten and assist each other" (A. Searle). They were to proceed with the utmost confidence in God, yet with entire submission to Him. They were to act faith in His sure promise, and at the same time render implicit obedience to His precept. They were to go forward fully assured that Jehovah had given Ai into their hands, nevertheless they must adhere strictly to the strategy He had specified. So, though told "the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Romans xvi, 20), we are definitely bidden to resist him steadfast in the faith (I Peter v, 9). Our confidence is "that He which hath begun a good work in us will finish it" (Phil. I, 6), nevertheless, in the very next chapter we are exhorted "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (verse 12). Mighty foes and powerful forces are arrayed in the fight, but the ultimate issue is not in doubt: "forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (I Cor. xv, 58). (Pink, Joshua, 215.)

     Second, the Lord delivered Jericho by a miracle, with no effort on Israel's part except obedience; he now delivers Ai through self-discipline and hard work on the part of his people. He delivered Jericho in a way to show his people that God alone is the one who will deliver the land into their hands—they would thus realize that though they had to put hard work into the conquest, the Lord alone was the one who delivered the victories.

     Third, God is sovereign, yet he holds man accountable for his actions. The cause of their failure to take Ai the first time was Achan's sin and Joshua's yielding to the suggestion of the spies that appealed to the natural desires: just a few men were needed to take the city. Joshua leaned to his own understanding, which resulted in defeat at Ai. Obviously, the spies also bare a great amount of the blame for the bad advice given to Joshua.


     We might mention here that good men can give bad advice; just because a man has been good in the past, does not mean his advice is good in the present. Only the word of God changed not, so all advice must be examined in the light of prayer and God's word; something Joshua failed to do.

     Continually, we are confronted with the two great themes of Scripture: GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY AND MAN'S CULPABILITY. Thus though man failed in his responsibility at Jericho and at Ai, God's good purpose was accomplished. I cannot work it out in my own mind, so I sure cannot put it down here. However, I will give Pink's statement on v. 3:

"So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai." That was not only an act of obedience, but, we doubt not, should also be regarded as one of faith—in response to Jehovah's "See! I have given into thy hand the King of Ai." Should any one be disposed to ask, "But since the Lord had made such an announcement, why was it necessary for Joshua and the whole of his army to go to so much trouble?" he would betray his ignorance both of God's sovereignty and of man's accountability. God's predestination of the end does not render needless our use of means: rather does the former include the latter, and is realized by the same. When the Lord informed Hezekiah through one of His prophets that He would "add unto his days fifteen years " (Isaiah xxxviii, 5), that certainly did not imply that the king might henceforth dispense with food, drink and sleep; any more than God's assurance to Paul that there should be "no loss of life" of the ship's contingent rendered it the less imperative to abstain from recklessness and to use means for their preservation (Acts xxvii, 22-24, 31). God's gracious assurances unto His people are not designed to promote indolence, but instead to stimulate and to encourage diligence, knowing that "our labour is not in vain in the Lord " (I Cor. xv, 58).

While it be true that unless God gives the victory no efforts of ours can possibly achieve it, nevertheless it is our bounder duty to make every effort. Though the fall of Ai was certain, yet Israel were called upon to discharge their responsibility. God's promises to us are not given to induce slothfulness, but to be a spur unto obedience to His precepts. Faith is no substitute for diligent and zealous work, but is to act as the director of the same. Hope is not to absolve us from the discharge of our obligations, but is to inspire unto the performing of the same. It is because victory is sure in the end that the soldiers of Christ are called upon to fight: that assurance is to be their incentive, from which they are to draw their energy. The genuine exercise of faith has a powerful influence both upon the Christian's efforts to mortify the old man and to vivify the new. This is clear from Romans vi, 11, and what follows: we must by the reckoning of faith account ourselves legally one with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection before we can expect any success in subduing our lusts or developing our graces (v. 13). Faith is indeed the victory "that overcometh the world" (l John v, 4), yet as the previous verse clearly shows, it is a faith which is operative in the keeping of God's commandments. (Joshua, 212.)

     Though Israel had the promise of victory, they had to follow strictly the plan given by God.

     Vv. 3-7, notice the emphasis on human responsibility before God's deliverance. The victory was all of the Lord, yet the overwhelming emphasis was on human responsibility, e.g.,

He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it (Pr. 10:4, 22).

     Human responsibility and Divine blessing—the two are consistent; they cannot be separated.

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain (Ps. 127:1).

     If there is no human responsibility (labour), there will be no house.

     Certainly, I am a "Calvinist." However, the Scripture is clear on the fact of human responsibility to preach the gospel, for that is the means the Lord has ordained to save the elect (1 Cor. 1:21). Human responsibility in God's plan includes evangelization, but God alone does the converting, and that converting is according to his sovereign purpose and pleasure alone (with no advice from anyone). (See Job 9:12, Dan. 4:35, Eph. 1:5-9, Phil. 2:13.)

     I know some "Calvinists" who are as bad as some "Arminians:" The "Calvinists" totally ignore man's responsibility, and the "Arminians" totally ignore God's sovereignty. And thus both flee from their responsibilities (as clearly laid out in both the OT and NT) to preach the gospel to every creature and teach all nations to be obedient to the faith, e.g., "What's the use? God will convert the world to godliness without my help," or "What's the use? No matter how much I work, the world will never be converted to godliness."

     I might mention that when one man or group of men refuses to follow God's plan, he will exalt another—Old Testament Israel was cut off and replaced by a New Israel, the Israel of God, the church. (See Mt. 21:33-46.)

     God's plan will be accomplished despite man's irresponsibility, and he will use men to do it.

Follow-up to "Phineas Priesthood"

     Get to Work

     Our community, both Crawfordsville and Lafayette, is experiencing a great influx of Mexicans—one comes and finds a job, and it is not long before there are many more who follow. In fact, several large companies reportedly advertise in Mexico for workers. We are finding that local companies are hiring Mexicans over the local people.

     Probably the largest employer in our area is a local branch of a large printing firm, R. R. Donnelley. (Reader's Digest uses Donnelley Marketing for its sweepstakes promotions. Reader's Digest books that are returned by the customer are returned to the Crawfordsville plant for processing.) Donnelley employs better than 2,000 people in its Crawfordsville branch. Several of our people work there. Our experience is that Donnelley is laying off local people, replacing them with Mexicans. However, typical of other companies who are being Mexicanized, Donnelley justifies its action by saying that it cannot fill its vacancies with local people, so they must hire anyone they can get. Yet if a local person applies for a job, that person will be hired as a "temporary, task-force" employee, while Mexicans are hired "full time," with no fear of layoff as with "task-force." Moreover, there are very little or no taxes withheld from the Mexicans. Thus they can be hired in at a greatly reduced wage, yet they will "take home" about the same amount as will those who have taxes withheld. The savings to the company are enormous.

     In a recent public meeting, felt by many present to be a Donnelley (who sponsored it) "white wash," many questions were asked concerning Donnelley's policy. The Donnelley spokesman danced around the hard questions, refusing to address the issues. Evidently to cover itself, Donnelley circulated a letter within the company well before the meeting telling its employees that if they disrupted the efforts to Mexicanize the company and community ("diversity" is the buz word), the employee would be terminated. Needless to say, though many Donnelley employees were present, not one said anything contrary to "public policy." BIG BROTHER IS HERE WATCHING EVERYTHING.

     The meeting was a "public forum," with the front people being a local "Public Broadcasting" station, where listeners were invited to call in.

     One caller tearfully ask why she was laid off from two divisions of Donnelley in a row as Donnelley "downsized," and little or no effort was made within Donnelley to help her find work elsewhere within the company. Yet at the same time, Donnelley seems to hire every Mexican that comes along. (The plant manager is a female Mexican, if I understand correctly. She wisely was not at the meeting.) The caller asked, "Doesn't anyone in the community care that I am a single mom trying to support myself and my child?" Donnelley responded that there are plenty of welfare agencies within the community that can help her. Donnelley refused to address the issue that the lady who had worked for them for over three years had been "downsized," and in areas where they were hiring, the Mexicans were given priority. Rather, Donnelley told her to Get on welfare.

     It was also revealed that because the local INS, located in Indianapolis, is so understaffed, six for all Indiana, Mexicans are able to be in the community without documentation nor work permits. The local police said they will not enforce the laws concerning undocumented Mexicans because that was the INS's job—call them if you have a problem with undocumented workers; don't bother us. The only way the local police will get involved is if the Mexicans are involved in a violent crime.


     Being a pastor, I must try to view these things Scripturally.

     First, if anything is taught in the Word of God, it is that when a people turn from the Christian God of the Bible, that God will assuredly deliver them to foreign invaders. That deliverance does not have to an armed, invading army; it can be to hard working foreigners, e.g., Mexicans. The books of Judges and 2 Kings record many such instances.

     Second, as a rule, the local workers have lost their work ethic. It is not uncommon to be able to phone a friend who works at Donnelley's, calling him off the production floor. Then one can chat with that friend for an extended period on "company time." That problem is not common among the Mexicans.

     One of our men and his wife work in a very skilled area of Donnelley, he having been with Donnelley over 30 years. It is not uncommon for American workers in that skilled area to sleep on the job. One man would come in, lay his head down on his desk, and when it came time to "punch out," he would take credit for co-workers jobs on his card, so it would look like he did something. After a very extended time, Donnelley did take action against him.

     Third, the Mexicans are doing what the local labor force does not want to do. There is a local crew of Mexicans who will tare off a roof, deck it and put on a new roof in a very few days, maybe in to _ the time it takes a local contractor. A man complained to me that a local carpet layer takes a 15 minuet brake for a cigarette every hour. The Mexicans do not do that. It is hard to complain against folks who will do the same work in half the time, thereby saving the costumer a good amount of money.

     Fourth, I worked out of a couple union halls for some years before Divine Providence placed me into the "ministry." In both cases, the jobs were obtained because my dad, who had been a Steam Fitter for many years, worked for the companies. The first company, where both my dad and his brother worked, specialized in anything requiring moving the earth. In that company and on the major project where I worked, there was absolutely no time for anything except keeping the earth-moving equipment moving as fast as it would go, as long as the equipment was not damaged—not a second could be wasted because the bid had been so close to get the dam project. The company was a major contractor in the Indianapolis, so it used a sizable percentage of the operators out of the local Operating Engineers. Thus the company had to contend very little with the union. That contractor was the first job I had out of the military, but I heard from the other operators on the jobs that the company was large enough that they could require more out of their operators than could smaller companies. The smaller companies would face union problems if they insisted on such a stringent work schedule as had to be kept on the dam project.

     However, the second company was a mechanical contractor. Mechanical contractors work on heating and air conditioning, using men out of the local Steam Fitters', or Pipe Fitters', union. One of the projects I worked on was a large hospital addition. On that project, the union "pusher" would come around and check on the crews. I remember very well one day while piping up an air handling unit—he came around as serious as a heart attack and said, "Don't work yourself out of a job." When the company's foreman made his daily rounds to check on the job progress, the same union man would come around to all his crews, warning that the foreman was making his rounds.

     In other words, even in the middle 60s, I found the American Christian work ethic severely undermined by the unions. The attitude so prevalent on that hospital job, make a good job last as long as you can, has, like a killing virus, infected the whole work force.

     In other words, sad to say, Americans seem to have brought the situation upon themselves; they, by in large, refuse to work hard, yet they expect excellent pay for hard work.

     I am not at all advocating a Mexican labor force, but I am certainly saying that if the American work force, as a whole, does not return to its Christian roots, i.e., Christian work ethic, employers have no choice but hire folks who will give them a good return on their investment.


     For some reason many Americans think that they should receive something from the government. They think that the government should create jobs, provide welfare, and give us quality health care. But, this is not the government's job, although many think that it is.

     Americans must learn that the government does not owe them a living. America's god is not Jesus Christ anymore. Their God is the state and Federal Government. Most are not willing to work hard to make a living. They are always looking for a handout, a freebee, or an extra benefit. Few are looking to Christ for their sustenance. The government is trying to accomplish things that are seemingly good without God. This is why they are failing at everything that they attempt to do. People are not trusting in God anymore. The government is trying to serve outside of it's function. This goes against God, for the only function of government is to uphold His law. One can't blame the government for this however; the problem goes far deeper than that. The problem is ourselves. We must look at our own hearts. Who is our God? Jesus Christ or the government?

     The government is just trying to please us. We gripe for jobs. They attempt to create jobs. We want welfare; they give us welfare. We think we need quality health care; they try to provide health care. It is not the government's fault. It is our fault. How can the government accomplish something that only God can accomplish? How can they function outside of their sphere? They can't, but we want them to. And then we get angry at them for not coming through.

     We are trying to do everything without God. This is why we are getting no results. It is not the government's problem; It is our own. We must begin now to trust in God. He is our provider, our strength, our help, and our hope. We must look to him. The government does not owe us a thing, we just have to trust in God and work hard.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land (2 Chron. 7:14).

Pastor Need         

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