Category Archives: Church

Rebuttal to “How To Silence Idiotic Kim Davis Supporters”

I support Kim Davis 100%. Below is a video that proposes to teach how to “silence” me (and the title calls me an idiot, to boot, which is an ad hominem argument). First, watch the clip, then read my reply.

Warning: Some crude language.

Well, I’m a Kim Davis supporter, and it does not silence me. The clip is woefully wrong on so many levels. Let’s name just a few:

  1. One need not agree with, endorse, or even understand someone else’s religious belief in order to afford them accommodation for conscience sake.
  2. The clip’s implied notion of “it is wrong to live by part of the Bible if we don’t keep all of it” is a clever deception. There are multiple covenants in the Bible. The previous ones are often lumped together in a singular phrase: “Old Covenant.” Christians are enjoined to the “New Covenant.” If someone has not agreed to a certain covenant, then we don’t hold them accountable to its precepts. The fictional characters here act as though all the world are signatories to the Mt. Sinai Covenant (also known as the Mosaic Covenant). Christians don’t demand of unbelievers an obedience to our own covenant, let alone obedience to one we don’t even belong to. If you don’t want to take part in a certain covenant, then, yes, you can ignore its precepts, but you also won’t get its rewards, either. Remember that last part when the Day of Judgment arrives.
  3. It is nearly-universal Christian teaching that the Mosaic Covenant’s ceremonial codes and judicial penalties are not binding on non-Jews, i.e. those who are not part of that covenant (although the Old Testament has some broadly-applicable, explicit commands and some clear, timeless moral judgments of God, and all its content, however minor, harbors principles worthy of study). While we are on this, if we cannot believe in the Bible unless we live by all its covenants, then liberals cannot invoke the Supreme Court in Obergefell unless they also abide by all SCOTUS rulings, such as that black people are not persons, etc, and liberals cannot invoke “rule of law” over Kim Davis, while they ignore all the laws on the books protecting natural marriage (as done, for instance, by President Obama and many states’ attorneys general).
  4. The Bible’s overall message regarding sexuality has moral aspects that are clear in both the Old and New Testaments. One need not be a Jewish “Old Covenant” believer to know homosexuality is sexual sin; the “New Covenant” believer gets this knowledge from the New Testament as well. Furthermore, the Old Testament’s descriptions of what behaviors constitute the sexual sins, which all fall under a blanket term (fornication) are binding upon non-Jewish believers, as this matter falls within a limited set of Old Testament requirements declared binding on Gentile believers (see Acts 15).
  5. The TV script writer foolishly presumes that all transgressions are equal in nature, i.e. “all sins are equally severe; there is no big sin and no little sin,” which is blatantly false. Our Western judicial system is based in a significant way on the Mosaic Law’s “Lex Talionis” — the principle or law of retaliation, that “the punishment should fit the crime” (i.e. a penalty inflicted should correspond in degree and kind to the offense of the wrongdoer). This is based on a bedrock truth that not all sins are equal. The TV script writer betrays both their faulty view of “equality of all sins” and their glaring ignorance of the Bible by inserting into the script two falsehoods—that mixing crops/seeds and mixing thread types in clothes were both to be worthy of death under the Mosaic Law (the Bible nowhere called for such a penalty)—and implying that all minor infractions against the Mosaic Law are equal to, and as severe as, homosexuality, which is a concept that is indisputably not biblical.
  6. Bible passages that regulate/restrict bad behavior, including  slavery, rape, polygamy, and wrongful divorce, etc, are not endorsements of said behavior, and the overall message of the Bible has always led true believers away from such behavior.
  7. Finally, the TV clip “creates” the very bigotry it seeks to rebuke, in two ways: by fictitiously and intentionally portraying a callous, arrogant Christian it creates a false preconception of Christians, and in modeling a horrendous, flawed “how to silence the Christians” approach, it teaches anti-Christian bigotry to biblically illiterate unbelievers who “buy the lie” hook, line, and sinker. That fosters hatred toward believers and ensconces ignorance and bigotry as noble attributes.

Everything We Think We Know About Marriage and Divorce Is Wrong | Shaunti Feldhahn

It’s common knowledge that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, right? Only problem: That stat is wrong. 

Have you ever quoted the facts about the 50 percent divorce rate? Yeah? So have I. Have you ever lamented the fact that the divorce rate was the same in the church? Or that most marriages are just hanging in there, not vibrant and happy? … I had no idea that every one of the statistics I was quoting—statistics that fit both with conventional wisdom and what I saw reported in the media—were nowhere close to true…. [read more].

5 Tips on Strengthening Your Marriage

Recently (not long after my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary), I was interviewed by Perspectives magazine (the official publication of Indiana Bible College) on the topic of strengthening marriage. There were five key areas in the interview:

IBC: Current research shows that divorce is at an all time high—about the same for Christians as non-Christians.  What does your church do proactively to strengthen marriages and families?

Joseph: Trying to keep proper focus on everything that needs attention is a bit like trying to keep 50 plates spinning atop 50 poles. Every church must needs have “a lot of irons in the fire.” At Christian Apostolic Church, we have a Marriage Ministry Dept, with an elected couple leading it. We schedule marriage retreats from time to time (Dr. David Norris and Sister Nancy Norris are tremendous at this; highly recommended) and other marriage events. We teach on marriage-related topics in Sunday School—both in the adult class for those already married, and preparatory lessons in the college & career class and high school-age class. Marriage topics often enter into preaching and teaching in other services besides Sunday School. To help families with their financial wisdom, we host a campus of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (highly recommended). We celebrate National Marriage Week annually, and basically do all we can to move forward in this vital area of understanding.

IBC: Do you recommend or require premarital counseling?  Do you do this yourself?

Joseph: Yes, I do premarital counseling, teaching from a curriculum I culled from various sources and corroborated with Scriptures. It takes quite a few hours to teach and usually requires three to four sessions to accomplish it. For first-time young couples planning to get married, I insist on it before agreeing to officiate their wedding. We have occasionally abbreviated or waived this for older folks who were entering into a biblically-allowable subsequent marriage.

IBC: In your opinion, what are the three or four most important elements for building a strong marriage?

Joseph: I would summarize these three as 1. Prayer, 2. Preparation, and 3. Priorities:

  1. Prayer: The most important element is to pray from your youth up for God’s help in preventing you from marrying the wrong person, and for His help in choosing the right mate. Then, don’t settle for anything less than God’s best choice for you. This means saying no when other people falter and say yes. Don’t even date someone who does not seem worthy as a potential marriage partner! One must prayerfully, carefully choose a mate for life only after securing a certain word from God that they are right for you. Caution must be used because while one is infatuated with a “love interest” it’s all too easy for our heart to deceptively fool us into thinking we’ve heard from God, when He has not spoken.
  2. Prepare yourself for marriage emotionally and financially. Avoid the “Hollywood” lies, myths, and stereotypes, and realize you won’t be able to change your partner’s annoying habits and hangups. Many old-timers assure us all that it’s a terrible mistake to think (before you marry) that you can change someone after the wedding. Work hard (by budgeting, and being frugal and careful) to make sure you go into your marriage debt-free, hating debt, and already having either a nest egg toward a downpayment for a home, or a plan already worked out for a home. Dave Ramsey recommends waiting for at least a year after marriage before buying your first home, just to give time to get settled into marriage and good money-management habits, and, as he puts it, to learn just how close to your in-laws you can afford to live! (Smile.)
  3. Prioritize by building your marriage on a solid, biblical foundation of commitment to God first, your partner second (as a higher priority than one’s children—that’s important), family third, and then church, work, and all else coming afterward. Keeping God number one is a foundation both partners should share in common. Making a marriage work without that is very tough.

IBC: What is the greatest enemy of marriage and families today?

Joseph: The Bible addresses each gender’s area of weakness. For example, while both genders are taught by the Scriptures to love, respect, and submit to each other, men, in particular, are told to “love your wives, even as Christ loved the church” (see Ephesians 5:22-33). This points to a weakness; often we men don’t love our spouses as we should. After we “get the prize” (having gotten her married to us), we often stop treating her with affection and tender love as we did while courting. Women crave emotional intimacy more than men. They really need that from us. Men, on the whole, ought to give more attention to doing better in this area.

Likewise women, in particular, are told to “respect and obey” their husbands  (again, see Ephesians 5:22-33). This points to an area of weakness. Many women don’t realize how powerful their words and treatment are in either building up their man, or tearing him down and destroying his sense of self-worth. And while women usually crave emotional intimacy more than physical intimacy, for guys it’s the other way around. We usually crave bedroom action and have need of it more often, while, regarding emotional intimacy, we’re like camels are with water. We can seemingly drink a little emotional intimacy and then go for years in the “desert” without any more. That’s no trouble for us men. In either case, where the man is not actively “loving” his wife, or the woman is not carefully “respecting and submitting” to her husband, there will be serious problems, often resulting in the destruction of the marriage. The final blow is often dealt by infidelity (either emotional or physical), but the underlying issue was there long before the infidelity began.

IBC: What book(s) (other than the Bible) do you recommend a couple read if they are struggling in their marriage?

Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible, by Jay E. Adams, available on Amazon.com
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible, by Jay E. Adams, available on Amazon.com

Joseph: Without a doubt, the book on this topic I’ve recommended more than any other, next to the Bible, is Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible by Jay E. Adams. It’s only a 100 pages long, but it’s so powerful because it points readers back to the Scriptures, giving them an in-depth, guided look into how very much the Bible has to say about these important areas. (In fact, I blogged about this very book recently.) The Word of God is powerful, and not only is it not silent about these topics, but it says much more than many people realize—even more than most preachers realize. This is a must read book. Get it. You won’t be sorry. Every preacher should have to read it, especially pastors.

Are you guilty of this very common doctrinal error?

Are all sins truly “equal” in God’s eyes?

Heart issues (inward sins) lead to outward sins (wrongful acts, hurtful crimes, etc). The Bible shows that both inward and outward sins are wrong, but it does not anywhere teach they are equal in God’s eyes. Thinking they are equal is like saying, “I already hate him, so I might as well murder him. Same thing, right?” or “I already lust after her/him, so I might as well have sex with her/him. Same thing, right?” These are not the same! One is cause, the other is result; but dealing with the cause before committing the result is clearly much different than “going ahead and doing it!”

Many people think that all sins are equal in the eyes of God, yet that firmly-held notion does hold up well under biblical scrutiny. If you are like me—one of many that has thought that way—read the following with an open mind.

Yes, the Bible does teach that it only takes one transgression against the law to make someone guilty of all the law. But don’t read so much into it that you go into false doctrine. Look at the Bible’s teachings “on the whole” to see the bigger picture.

The easiest way to prove that not all sins are equal is to read the New Testament, in John’s first epistle, where he writes of “sin not unto death” and of “sin unto death” (1 John 5:16-17). So, at the very least, we can prove that not all sins are equal in God’s eyes because some warrant harsher judgment or penalty.

This concept is clearly seen when studying the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament, in which some sins were minor and carried very light consequences, such as waiting a certain number of days before being able to do some aspect of worship, while other sins required a repentance that involved the sacrifice of an animal (and for some it was a small, inexpensive animal, while for others it was a larger, more expensive animal), and ranged all the way up to (in some cases), death (no repentance was adequate and there was only a death sentence)!

Consider, also, an Old Testament legal restriction, said as “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” This doctrine is called the Law of Retaliation (lex talionis, in Latin). The Believers Study Bible commentary says this about the Lord Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:38,39:

(vv. 38,39) Jesus does not deny the law of retaliation (lex talionis, Lat.) as a valid principle of legal justice. While insisting upon adequate punishment, this law safeguarded justice by not permitting excessive punishment. Jesus advocates a desired response more characteristic of a regenerate citizen of the kingdom.

Lex Talionis shows clearly that in God’s eyes, in a just legal system, the punishment must fit the crime—with our point being that not all crimes are equal.

In a future installment we will address the common misunderstanding about what adultery is (in the biblical sense) and why inward adultery (lust of the heart) is not equal (in God’s eyes) to outward adultery by fornication (sexual infidelity by a married person), even though both are wrong. Again, one is cause, the other is result, and if the cause is not dealt with, the result that happens is much worse than dealing with the cause before the result occurs.

3 Huge Tips For Drawing Closer to God

These three huge tips about how to “pray through” will really help you draw closer to God:

  1. To “pray through” has nothing to do with praying until you force God to change His mind and help you. God’s mind does not need changed. To “pray through” means to pray until you get through your own insecurities, until you get past your own carnal desires, until you get past your own doubt, complacency, and fear. To “pray through” is to pray until you’ve allowed God to change not just your mind but your very nature; to pray until your carnal nature is mortified, put to death.
  2. God already wants to help you; He wants, more than you can comprehend, to help you. There is nothing about prayer that is twisting God’s arm and making Him say “Uncle.” It is one’s own carnal nature than needs to be compelled and controlled. There is a point as one prays where his or her own spirit is helped and strengthened by God to the point that, together with God’s Spirit, the inward man triumphs over the outward man. This is the moment of victory; the moment of breaking through; the moment of being able to lay aside the bitterness and grant forgiveness; the moment of seeing past earthly, sin-cursed values and weighing matters truly according to eternal values.
  3. “Praying through” is the moment of getting through all that must be gotten through if we are to become like our Lord. We cannot become (as He is) the very image of God, the very human manifestation of God, but we can hope to become (as He is) a glorified and perfected man. That is the goal, and we desire to pray for His help until we reach it. Let us endeavor to “pray through.”
Praying Through
Brian Murphy Jr, a young minister at Christian Apostolic Church, praying and worshiping during the 2013 Youth Week at CAC, Clarksburg, WV. Photo by Doug Joseph, copyright (c) 2013 by Doug Joseph / Christian Apostolic Church. All rights reserved.

In Lieu of Flowers, God Gave Us a Miracle: The True-Life Story of Zach Sandy

Front cover of the book "In Lieu of Flowers, God Gave Us a Miracle"
Front Cover

We are pleased to announce that the new book about Zach Sandy from Whitestone Publishing, “In Lieu of Flowers, God Gave Us a Miracle: The True-Life Story of Zach Sandy” is now available for pre-ordering at a discount! Order from either Amazon.com or AuthorStock.com — Save money and be assured to have your copy in hand for the HUGE LAUNCH PARTY scheduled for July 11, 2013, the 1-year anniversary of Zach’s miracle!

With high school behind us, this was supposed to be a last chance for summer fun with family and friends before heading into the real world of college and work. Tragedy never strikes us, always the Jones family down the street, right?

Brandon and I had just finished a basketball tournament, which we lost in an inglorious fashion, and we were sitting in the gym. His youth pastor ran up to him and said he had a call from his dad.

Brandon took the call and then looked at me and said, “Zach was struck by lightning.”

According to the light-hearted mood, I answered, “Well, good for him.”

The blood drained from his face as he replied, “No, Zach was actually struck by lightning.” I ran outside and found my sister. We immediately began praying with a group of friends, and after that I made a few phone calls, asking friends to pray. I turned around and saw Brandon walking out into a field. With emotions running high, and my world falling apart, I followed him. We spent about 15 minutes with our faces in the grass travailing and pleading before God that he would perform a miracle….

—Samuel Vaughn (cousin to Zach and Brandon)

Press release (5/3/2011) — For immediate release:

Press release (5/3/2011) — For immediate release:

Pastor Doug Joseph and the saints of Christian Apostolic Church, in Clarksburg, WV cordially invite you to a special celebration commemorating the assembly’s 40th anniversary. On May 20, 21, & 22, 2011, specials services will be held Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 6:00pm, and Sunday at 10:00am and 6:00pm. Special guests will include the Honorable Margaret Bailey, Mayor of Clarksburg; the Honorable Jim Hunt and the Honorable Patsy Trecost, members of the Clarksburg City Council; Rev. Terry Null, former Pastor of CAC, and Rev. Jerry *Samouce of Clayton, NC, will bring your Bible to life by demonstrating biblical artifact restoration & reconstruction techniques before your eyes, complete with a live bronze-pouring demonstration. These 3,000 year old artifacts of biblical archeology will be displayed and explained with profound lessons that apply directly to every Christian’s life. Come see, hear about, and touch your biblical heritage. A map and driving directions to the church are available on the church’s website, at www.cac.us.com — or contact the church by email, [email protected] — or by phone, at 304-624-4459.

For radio announcements: *Samouce is pronounced “suh-moose

Questions?
Pastor Doug Joseph
[email protected]
Cell: 304-629-1196