Inclusion of a resource/presentation does not indicate endorsement of the contents. Provided for educational purposes regarding perspectives in the fields of theology and religious studies. Issachar Bible Church is conservative Trinitarian not affiliated with any organized denomination at this time.

Friday, February 23

Marks Of A False Teacher

Former Southern Baptist Potentate Lavishes Praise Upon Homosexual Son’s Theological Acumen

Bivocational: The Future Of Ministry

Listen to "Bivocational: The Future of Ministry" on Spreaker.

The Importance Of Church History

Liberalism & Irreligion

Trusting God In One Situation & Not In The Next

Stealth Calvinism At First Baptist Of Bayshore, Niceville Florida

Excommunicated For Exposing Stealth Calvinism

Transhumanism: The Quest For Immortality

Religion and the Technological Future: An Introduction to Biohacking, Artificial Intelligence, and Transhumanism

Tuesday, February 20

Can Angels Procreate With Women?

Help: Our Pastor Is A Calvinist

Artificial Intelligence & The Antichrist

Detecting The Spirit Of Antichrist: I John 2:18-27

The Dumpster Fire Of Charismatic Gullibility

Christ, Culture & Apologetics

Living With Frenemies

Methodist Eschatology

The Doctrine, Discipline & Spirit Of Methodism

Reflections On Church History

The Future of Mainline Protestantism in America

Thursday, February 15

Unsettling Advent Devotionals Wobbly With Shaky Assumptions

It used to be that the Christmas season allowed the individual a sliver of each year to enjoy pursuits one might considered distinct and even detached to an extent from the concerns and troubles of ordinary life. Some look forward to the Advent season to reflect upon the eternal profundities of God coming into the world in the form of human flesh. Others bask more in the Yuletide side of things to wallow in pleasures that might seem unseemly or overly celebratory other times of the year. Most Americans strive to cut the difference by managing to find a position somewhere in the middle as they exhibit renewed appreciation for friends and family through the wholesome enjoyment of the good things bestowed upon mankind by the loving Creator.

Yet it seems some are so bent on the overthrow of the American way of life and the Western civilization upon which that standard of prosperity rests that they have attempted to co-opt what was intended to be one of the most uplifting aspects of an otherwise drab season to advance their own revolutionary ends.

The newsletter blog Public Witness claims that the purpose of its “Unsettling Advent” devotionals is to remind the Christian disconnected from the events surrounding the birth of Christ by approximately two millennium that the world Jesus stepped into was not exactly one exuding the charming warmth of a Currier and Ives painting or even that of a Hallmark romantic comedy.

A desire for historical authenticity is to be commended. Such a perspective can deepen an appreciation for what the Savior endured for the sake of our own sinfulness and just how far humanity has come since then.

However, from the approach advertised under the banner of this Advent series, one is forced to ask is this really so much about devotional literature or more about propagandistic pamphleteering.

For example, one set of these rants is titled “Advent In A Time Of State Executions”. As a pretext, these authors reference from the Gospel of Matthew the event known as the Slaughter of the Innocents where Herod murdered the boys below two years of age in Bethlehem one might say for the sake of convenience. But instead of drawing a parallel with abortion, the focus is shifted to those that are in most cases not all that innocent. Those are, of course, those awaiting execution on death row.

This slick political ad campaign bemoans the states that continue to move forward with capital punishment over the course of the Advent and Christmas holidays. And so what? The Lord's work is never done and bless these states.

The alleged purpose of the Unsettling Advent series is to get back to the hard truths of the Bible. Perhaps one of the hardest to accept upheld by an all-loving, all-powerful and all-just God is that there are those individuals that are no longer deserving of continued existence on this Earth if their guilt is established fairly beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The text of divine revelation reads in Genesis 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

Those attempting to co-opt the New Testament in support of a progressivist agenda will no doubt eisegete the narrative in the Gospel of John where in regards to the adulterous woman Christ Himself admonishes let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

The case can be argued that capital punishment in regards to adultery does not apply because Christ came into the world not only to fulfill the Covenant made with Israel but to extend that special kind of relationship to the whole world and all of mankind. As such, certain aspects of those obligations might no longer apply as they did in an arrangement where these sorts of moral failings and sins were to be addressed in a much more explicit or strident manner.

Christ is revealing in this narrative by this gesture that one of these areas in which moral truth would be applied in a modified manner would be in human carnal relations. For while Jesus in no way overlooked what the woman stood accused of as evidenced by His words recorded in John 8:11 admonishing her to go and sin no more, neither did Christ demand the imposition of a punishment that He as part of the triune Godhead required of those part of the covenant with the nation of Israel. If such was no longer required of those often referred to as the Chosen People, surely such a punishment would not be required of those possessing more of a run of the mill nationhood.

Yet nowhere in this particular passage or anywhere else in Scripture did Christ speaking on behalf of deity or the Father and Spirit for that matter abrogate the punishment elaborated in Genesis for the taking of human life unjustified in the context in which it ceases here in the mortal realm. The oft repeated refrain of all sins are equal aside, a criminal homicide is a much more serious transgression than an act of illicit carnality.

In the one, the typical outcome consists of broken hearts, shattered relationships, and in some instances the conception of a new existence whose life will forever be impacted by the questionable life choices of the respective parents. However, despite the hardships, each of the resultant outcomes can be overcome to an extent and even a degree of imperfect restitution made to the directly aggrieved parties.

Such is not possible in the case of unjustified homicide. Unlike the instance of adultery, the maliciously deceased cannot received an alimony check in compensation. Unlike the child conceived outside the confines of marriage, the homicide victim cannot receive a child support payment for the purposes of buffering the financial struggles that often result from a broken home or one that was never legitimately formed in the first place. Unlike a shattered heart broken after its been discarded once a body has been defrauded by someone of less than noble intentions, the slain body cannot be sustained by the hope that one day a truly loving companion will at long last be encountered.

The individual that is no longer alive possesses no such possibility or opportunity for advancement or improvement in this reality. That is because such individuals are dead. Why shouldn't a similar price be extracted from or a penalty be imposed upon those that with aforethought of one kind or another interrupt to the level of termination the corporeal viability, sustainability and potentiality of another individual?

The tone of the press release announcing the Unsettling Advent devotional comes across as isn't it terrible that those with executions scheduled during the Advent and Christmas seasons won't get to experience the joys particular to the holiday time of year. But what about the victims and their families who will themselves never get to enjoy these celebrations often as a result of crimes that in most instances they had no way of preparing for mentally or spiritually in terms of concrete chronometric specificity.

With dismay, it might be stated that, of the topics addressed by the Unsettling Advent press release, the concerns regarding capital punishment on the surface can at least be presented in terms of nonpartisan ethical reflection. Even more disturbing is the way in which issues are discussed in the section of the press release titled “Advent In A Time Of Political Anxieties”. Nearly every compelling story possesses an antagonist whose motives and intentions are at odds with and bent on derailing those of the protagonists.

The Christmas narrative is no different. Though not as developed with the literary detail of a Darth Vader or a Lex Luthor, as the Unsettling Advent press release astutely points out, Herod and Augustus as well as other prominent groupings played a similar role to greater or lesser extents across the comprehensive milieu of Mediterranean world.

The Emperor Augustus is frowned in the Unsettling Advent press release for setting into motion the tax and census scheme that prompted Joseph and Mary on the journey to Bethlehem in the first place. As discussed earlier in this analysis, Herod ranks as a villain over this story for the murder of young children in the attempt to solidify his own hold on power, prompting the Holy Family to seek refuge in Egypt. Other political actors referenced by the Unsettling Advent scribes for the purposes of allegedly providing a cornucopia of context (borrowing a decorative symbol from an adjacent holiday on the calendar) include the zealots looked upon negatively for appealing to religious nationalism in the attempt to overthrow the Romans and “...other factions [that] accepted the mixing of church and state to advance their own wealth and influence”, which must be an allusion to the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Yet the Unsettling Advent scribes are not so much history buffs with a stickling enthusiasm for academic detail. These intellectual manipulators are not content to simply be mere observers of the historical process but themselves intend to manipulate the grand narrative sweep by attempting to apply these character archetypes to the political figures of our own day. In so doing, it is hoped that the contempt felt by the devout for these villains will evoke a similar degree of revulsion in order to coerce acquiescence to a controversial partisan agenda.

For example, the press release laments, “Questions ring through the news about the health of our political leaders and the criminality of a leading contender and his plots to return to power ... Not to be outdone, our electorate is awash with QANON and Covid conspiracies, continuing delusion about fraud in the last presidential election...Throw in Christian nationalism, authoritarian calls to restrict democracy ... an its a recipe for political upheaval.”

In essence, in the minds of the Unsettling Advent propagandists, you are the equivalent of a terrorist if you notice that President Biden can barely string together a coherent sentence or place one foot in front of the other without the likelihood of possible collapse. Those wondering if there might be something to QANON claims regarding a so-called “Deep State” implementing an agenda over which average taxpaying citizens are denied any input or if there is little reason to intake into one's body an experimental concoction that did next to squat in preventing an illness these vaunted experts are disturbingly evasive as to the pathogen's likely etiology are equated with the worst tyrants of this historical era under reflective scrutiny.

Yet while these skillful verbal manipulators attempt to convey the impression that it is an act of high treason to question the obvious decline of one particular occupant of the Oval Office, these same pundits have few qualms about spreading blatant deceptions regarding the likely opponent to the Codger In Chief. For what exactly is the alleged criminality of Donald Trump disqualifying him from seeking elected office or even the allegedly illegal plots he intends to orchestrate should he be returned to power?

One can question the prudence of the remarks of President Trump articulated on January 6, 2021 before the kerfuffle that erupted at the Capitol. However, as of yet, Trump has not been convicted of insurrection in a court of law. For in what the media propagandists love to categorize as “OUR BELOVED democracy” whenever they exaggerate the severity of these events that took place on the scrutinized day the criteria of a ruling handed down in the judiciary is the standard by which an action such as insurrection is determined to have taken place punishable by law.

At most, there only exists Trump's oration urging demonstrators to march to the Capitol to express their opinion. What agitators chose to do there was of their own decision and volition. All Donald Trump did in the disputed instance was to encourage American citizens to exercise their constitutional and God given rights.

For is the freedom of speech and the right to petition for the redress of grievances not enshrined in the Bill of Rights? In the propaganda blowing this incident out of proportion, is not the location of the national legislature referred to as “OUR beloved Capitol”? If such verbal formulations are to be taken seriously, surely there is nothing wrong with individuals progressing along the public thoroughfare for which seizure of a significant percentage of their income and resources is claimed to be justified in order to make available and maintain.

Those claiming President Trump should be held responsible from a legal standpoint over the outcome of what ultimately took place that ballyhooed January afternoon irrespective of what the objective historical record documents him as actually saying or doing because of the solemn reality of the sway elected officials hold over their most enthusiastic supporters whether intended or not to push the ideologically imbalanced to engage in extremist behavior and subversive actions need to reflect upon the implications of what they as leaders are proposing. For if Donald Trump should be barred from pursuing elected office not so much for what he has been convicted in a judicial proceeding of actually doing but rather for the nebulous offense of lending support to disreputable activist elements that can be categorized as subversive in nature, shouldn't this standard be applied to candidates and office holders across the political spectrum?

Do those claiming to uphold the ideal of principles over partisanship intend to call for the removal of Vice President Kamala Harris from the ballet? For that particular termagant advocated on behalf of a leftwing legal defense fund for those arrested at Black Lives Matter incidents of mayhem and the destruction of property.

Likewise, should Senator Mitt Romney be barred from holding a seat in the U.S. Senate? For unlike Trump who merely told those that assembled January 6, 2021 to march in order that their opinion be heard, Mitt Romney is documented as having marched as part of an actual rally in support of Black Lives Matter. Granted, the Faith + Works march during which Romney mumbled through his plague cult muzzle the revolutionary catechetical invocation “Black Lives Matter” might not have destroyed property like those marches in which the most fanatical adherents of this movement along with their Antifa allies mobilized for destruction and mayhem. But neither did a number of those that demonstrated at the Capitol Jan. 6, 2021 but ended up arrested anyway.

At no time in their respective remarks did Mitt Romney or Kamala Harris explicitly condemn the violence clearly linked to or advocated by a significant number of those involved in these outbursts of subversive upheaval. At no time did Kamala Harris clarify that her support was specifically for those accused of crimes that they did not commit or rather simply blanket support because she agrees ideologically with those intent on toppling the United States as part of a leftwing anarchist or Communist revolution.

Those upholding historical authenticity and Biblical accuracy freely admit that the context into which the God of the universe and the Savior of mankind stepped into the world is about the most humble way possible. Often in reflecting upon the beauty of that, it can be easy to overlook the struggles that had to be overcome by the Holy Family as Christ fulfilled the obligations necessary in order to make salvation available. Yet with an awareness now made known, the believer also needs to be discerning of how activists connected to the Unsettling Advent Devotional Series have attempted to hijack these profound truths in order to advance an agenda as blatantly political as the conservatism that these these leftwing religionists rile against from their perch of sanctimonious piety.

By Frederick Meekins

Tuesday, February 6

Pastor Unable To Distinguish Between Scriptural Comprehension & Spiritual Desperation

In a sermon, a pastor remarked that a Buddhist priest could quote from that faith’s text for twenty-one hours straight.

As any good Fundamentalist is wont to do, the minister turned that claim into a pretext from which to castigate the average believer for not being able to pull off a similar circus trick regarding the Bible.

The Buddhist priest is a religious professional.

The mundane churchgoer filling the pew likely is not.

Unlike the Buddhist priest in a system of spiritual bondage where doesn’t have to lift a finger to have his physical needs catered to by the superstitious, the regular Christian does not have the time necessary to perform this sort of task likely not so much about understanding the text under consideration but rather a desperate attempt to earn what is understood to be salvation in that particular system of belief.

Thus, isn’t the one that should feel the shame be the preacher making these sorts of allegations who himself flubbed up on a Scripture reference during the children’s lesson portion of this very same worship service?

For if a Buddhist priest can quote from a text for twenty-one hours straight, shouldn’t the pastor making such a to do over rote Biblical recitation be able to accurately state a single reference?

by Frederick Meekins

Thursday, February 1

He Is In The Light

Protect Yourself From The Cults

Should Woke Pastors Remain In Leadership?

How To Become A Christian Fantasy Author

When Personality Cults Become Deadly

Nine Weapons Of Fundamentalism

Religious Cult Manipulation, Rogue Entity Theory & The Angelic Presence

Introduction To Orthodox Theology

The Bible & Extraterrestrials: Angels, Demon & Aliens

The Need For Public Theology

Challenges In Contemporary Ministry

Theology In Cyberspace

The Complicated Legacy Of Jack Hyles

How To Study Church History & Why Every Christian Should

The Real David Platt?

The Real David Platt Extended Trailer

Not Treating Jesus Like A Good Luck Charm

What Is The Polish National Catholic Church?

The Absurdity Of Reformed Theology