Provoking Thoughts

"Consider your ways ..." -Hag 1:7

Volume 2 No. 4

Thursday, March 21, 1996


The Old Paths

Swearing, Cussing Preachers

Doing Violence to the Law of God

What Are You Planting?

Imputation of Sin and Righteousness

The Fall of the Roman Empire

Facts About the Bible

The NIV - The Devil's Handiwork

Consider Him

No Excuses, Please

Who are we?

The Old Paths

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (Jer 6:16)

The old ways have been under attack for a long time now, but that is still where we should look if we want stability, success, and real wisdom. Somehow the Church made it through the ages without all of our modern spiritual genius - and it made it pretty well at that. In our day and time we are always being pressed to throw out the old ways and even pressured to believe that the pitiful state of the church now is the fault of our distant spiritual forefathers.

In order to convince people to throw out the old ways, those old ways must be criticized and many times (continued on page 2) misrepresented and lied about. It is hard to do that when the people who have tried and proven these "old paths" are still around, so you must wait until they are dead and gone. That way you don't have any opposition when you begin your work of deceit. You can say what you will about a dead person and they will not put up a fuss, even when you tell outright lies about them.

That is what is happening these days with all of our educated "doctors" of theology and other self-proclaimed prophets. They are going back 150 to 200 years and blaming the present, pitiful state of Christianity on great men of the past. Lately, I have read various attacks on Charles Finney and his methods, doctrines, and character. They are distortions of the truth, if not outright, undocumented lies that are being fabricated by men whose goal seems to be to destroy more of the old paths. These modern revisors of church history have never led, caused, or been a factor in a revival of any kind worth mentioning. They have no great works or any significant mark to be left on the world for the cause of Christ. Yet they sit in judgment on men who have been long dead, and pretend to be able to discern that all the problems we have today began with them. It is my opinion that the problems we have today are the result of the wicked, permissive, Calvinistic-tainted doctrines of these very men who have made themselves judges of the past.

I maintain that the thing that bothers our modern critics about Finney, and other men of the past was their insistence on personal holiness, and the powerful way they pressed it home. Preaching doesn't seem to do that today. Preachers can beat and rail on the people about their sin, but can't seem to present a clear, powerful, and convincing message on holiness anymore. Finney gave very strong and convincing arguments against Calvinism and all it's senseless, unscriptural teachings. Those who are attacking Finney got most of their information from a book written years later by one of the leaders of Calvinism on Perfectionism. This entire book was not on perfection, but rather an attack on Finney after he was dead. Of course, Finney refused to defend himself while he was alive against the letters attacking him sent out by Asahel Nettleton and Lyman Beecher. He felt it was better to leave it in God's hands and keep busy about the work. Lyman Beecher changed his mind years later and even had Finney to preach in his church, but apparently Asahel Nettleton went to his grave with a bitter heart toward Finney. Nettleton was one of the most well-known evangelists when Finney came on the scene and word began to spread about the success of his revivals. From the appearance of things, it seems that Nettleton began to eye Finney like Saul eyed David. Finney did something right! He had the fruit to prove it. We would do better to read his works and try to do what he did than to try to make him a scapegoat for the problems in the church today.

In our modern thinking we have not only tried to do away with some of the heroes of the past, but here are a few more of the old paths that have been under attack so long that they are about gone. Take, for example, reverence in the house of God. The old-timers had it right! They taught their children to respect the house of God. We have preached that the church house is just a building, and now we have a generation that has no respect for it. They tear up the songbooks, eat candy and throw their gum and trash in the floor. They run and play, and eat and drink right in the place where we supposedly meet with God. They come in dressed in sloppy, everyday clothes and tennis shoes. Women come in with pants and shorts on; men come in their regular, everyday clothes, just as if they were going to play ball or something - and think nothing of it. What's worse is that the preacher and the people think nothing of it either. The meeting place has always been a HOLY place. God met Moses at the burning bush and told him to take off his shoes because the ground he was standing on was holy ground. Not the priests, or anyone else could go into the temple without washing and sanctifying themselves. The old timers knew better than this, but we still think our new methods and campaigns are better than God's "old ways."

We have listened to some of our modern Baptist popes ridicule and make fun of our spiritual ancestors for singing the Doxology, praying through, seeking God, and keeping God's commandments. For several years now we have junked the "old ways" and substituted new ways that don't work. The "faith once delivered" made it down to us over the centuries by men who did something right. We are failing to deliver that faith to the next generation. Let's go back to the "old ways!" There is where we will find what is missing in our churches. According to the Word of God, that is where we will begin to see men finding rest for their souls. There is where we will find the good way. 

Swearing, Cussing Preachers

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Exo 20:7)

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Eph 4:29)

It is really disappointing to hear what comes out of the mouths of some of the preachers of our day. Sometimes it seems as though there is a contest on to see who can be the most brazen and macho from the pulpit. It has gotten to the point now where many preachers are outright cursing and swearing all the way through their messages. "What are you talking about?" you ask. Well, I am talking about the bad language being used by Baptist preachers these days.

Taking God's name in vain is a serious violation of God's law and shows that a person has no fear of God and is not under submission to Him. Taking God's name in vain is more than adding a curse word to it. It is simply any use of God's name unless you are talking about Him or to Him. The light, careless use of the name of God tells a lot about a person's spiritual condition. "Bless God!" "My God!" "My Lord!" or just saying "God!" when you are not talking directly to Him or to someone else about Him is taking the name of the Lord in vain. The person who does this will not be guiltless before God, even if he is a Baptist preacher.

That's bad, but that's not all we're talking about here. It has gotten more common now for preachers to use words like "hell" and "damn" in ways that are not at all proper. I listened to one preacher recently who used the word "hell" in every way you can imagine except to warn sinners not to go there. He talked about raising ---- and someone beating the ---- out of someone else. He talked about someone who was mean as ----. Every other word seemed to be some slang word or phrase, either identical, or extremely close to those the world uses in their ungodly conversations. Phrases like "cursing, damning, and swearing," grab attention, but it is inappropriate for a child of God to talk that way - let alone a man behind a pulpit!

When someone has to resort to lewd, base language to try to get their message across, it simply proves they don't have much going for them. It gives real reason to question whether they are a true man of God or not. After all Jesus said:

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. (Mat 12:35)

". . . for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh," says the preceding verse. A man who is called and annointed by God to preach the Gospel doesn't have to resort to crude, rough language to get the message across. In fact, it destroys the message of the Gospel when it is presented with such garbage. The preacher may go away feeling like a real macho, he-man, but God is not glorified, Christ is not lifted up, and it gives occasion to God's enemies to blaspheme. Our language is sufficient, and the Word of God is powerful enough to arrest the hearts of sinners and saints without trying to grab their attention with words and phrases that are nothing more than cussing! 

Doing Violence To The Law of God

Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. (Zep 3:4)

According to Strong's Concordance this is the meaning of violence: - to maltreat:--make bare, shake off, violate, do violence, take away violently, wrong, imagine wrongfully.

What does this verse mean when it says the prophets of Israel had done "violence to the law?" They were light and treacherous persons. I believe it means they had done the same thing that many have done to the Law in our day. They had made the Law of God irrelevant and unimportant. They had "shaken off" it's influence on their lives. They had taught the people to take it very lightly and not worry about it. After all they were only human and couldn't help being wicked. Surely God didn't expect them to keep the Law and would no doubt understand their "faults, shortcomings, and weaknesses." After all, He is a God of love and mercy, and the Law is death, bondage, and condemnation.

The Law of God is the schoolmaster that brings men to Christ. No man can possibly be saved apart from the Law of God. The Law of God sets the standard God expects from men. "Without the Law, I had not known sin," and ". . . the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good . . . that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." (Rom 7) Therefore, those who love righteousness love the Law of God. The Psalmist talked many times about delighting in the law, and how it is sweeter than honey to the mouth, and the rejoicing of the heart. Something is wrong when a man claims to love God and righteousness, yet always speaks of the Law of God in negative, undesirable terms, or as something that is irrelevant to us as Christians. No man thinks or speaks evil of the person who was instrumental in the salvation of his soul - why then should he be that way about the schoolmaster that brought him to Christ? It seems he would revere and respect it.

You cannot distort God's Law without misrepresenting God. When violence is done to the Law, people get the wrong conception about God and what He is like. People worship a false God and receive "another Jesus" when the Law is made light of or by-passed altogether. This false, distorted god doesn't expect holiness of life from his followers. That is why his preachers don't preach holiness, and instead preach on other subjects. They preach against sin in general terms, but never in a manner that applies personally to those they are preaching to. They preach a lot on the weakness of the flesh, man's sinful nature, and the inability of man to please God. This stuff may sound pious, but instead of conviction of sin, it does nothing but comfort the people in their transgressions. They speak of the grace of God as if it were a bathtub where you clean up every day after walking in sin and fleshly desires. These are light, treacherous persons!

The man who stands up for the Law of God and implies that God does indeed require something of us is called a "legalist" and is promptly accused of "mixing works with salvation." Those who know the truth and read their Bibles must learn to ignore these accusations. Realize what kind of people these are who hurl these accusations! These are light, treacherous persons, who do violence to the Law of God! God is against them as surely as He was against them in Zephaniah 3:4. The Gospel DEMANDS some things of men. Salvation is NOT UNCONDITIONAL. You must believe; and that means REPENT, surrender and commit yourself to Christ - not just accept the facts about Jesus. If they call that works for salvation, they don't know what salvation, or works are. Why is their blessing or fellowship necessary to you? Who wants the devil's blessing anyway?

It is high time for those who believe the true Gospel to do violence to the false prophets of our day. I don't mean physical violence, I mean the same kind of violence they are doing to the Law of God. Ignore them, shake off their influence, make them bare before the world for what they really are. They are light, treacherous persons who are doing violence to the Law of God and they will be judged for it. 

What Are You Planting?

If you plant for 1 year, plant grain.

If you plant for 10 years, plant trees.

If you plant for 100 years, plant men.

If you plant for eternity, plant God's Word, for it imparts spiritual life to all who receive it in their hearts.

Imputation of Sin and Righteousness

- from Memoirs of Charles G. Finney

I have spoken at considerable length of my protracted controversy with my theological teacher, Mr. Gale. Upon reflection I think that I should state a little more definitely some of the points upon which we had so much discussion. I could not receive that theological fiction of imputation. I will state, as nearly as I can, the exact ground that he maintained and insisted upon. First, he maintained that the guilt of Adam's first transgression is literally imputed to all his posterity; so that they are justly sentenced and exposed to eternal damnation for Adam's sin. Secondly, he maintained that we received from Adam, by natural generation, a nature wholly sinful, and morally corrupt in every faculty of soul and body; so that we are totally unable to perform any act acceptable to God, and are necessitated by our sinful nature to transgress his law, in every action of our lives. And this, he insisted, is the estate into which all men fell by the first sin of Adam. For this sinful nature, thus received from Adam by natural generation, all mankind are also sentenced to, and are deserving of eternal damnation. Then, thirdly, in addition to this, he maintained that we are all justly condemned and sentenced to eternal damnation for our own unavoidable transgression of the law. Thus we find ourselves justly subject to a triple eternal damnation.

Then the second branch of this wonderful imputation is as follows: The sin of all the elect, both original and actual - that is, the guilt of Adam's sin, together with the guilt of their sinful nature, and also guilt of their personal transgressions, are all literally imputed to Christ; and therefore the divine government regarded him as an embodiment of all the sins and guilt of the elect, and treated him accordingly; that is, the Father punished the Son precisely as much as all the elect deserved. Hence their debt being thus fully discharged by the punishment of Christ, they are saved upon principles of "exact justice."

The third branch of this wonderful theological fiction is as follows: First - The obedience of Christ to the divine law is literally imputed to the elect; so that in him they are regarded as having always perfectly obeyed the law. Secondly - His death for them is also imputed to the elect; so that in him they are regarded as having fully suffered all that they deserve on account of the guilt of Adam's sin imputed to them, and on account of their sinful nature, and also on account of all their personal transgressions. Thirdly - Thus by their surety the elect have first perfectly obeyed the law; and then they have by and in their surety suffered the full penalty to which they were subject in consequence of the guilt of Adam's sin imputed to them, and also the guilt of their sinful nature, with all their blame worthiness for their personal transgressions. Thus they have suffered in Christ, just as if they had not obeyed in him. He, first, perfectly obeys for them, which obedience is strictly imputed to them, so that they are regarded by the government of God as having fully obeyed in their surety; secondly, he has suffered for them the penalty of the law, just as if no obedience had been rendered; thirdly, after the law has been doubly satisfied, the elect are required to repent as if no satisfaction had been rendered; fourthly, payment in full having been rendered twice over, the discharge of the elect is claimed to be an act of infinite grace. Thus the elect are saved by grace on principles of justice, so that there is strictly no grace or mercy in our forgiveness, but the whole grace of our salvation is found in the obedience and sufferings of Christ.

It follows that the elect may demand their discharge on the score of strict justice. They need not pray for pardon or forgiveness; it is all a mistake to do so. This inference is my own; but it follows, as everyone can see, irresistibly, from what the confession of faith itself asserts, that the elect are saved on principles of exact and perfect justice.

I found it impossible to agree with Mr. Gale on these points. I could not but regard and treat this whole question of imputation as a theological fiction. Upon these points we had constant discussion, in some shape, during the whole course of my study. 

Mr. Gale was a Presbyterian , and was not converted when he tried to instruct Finney in these Calvinistic doctrines, but was saved years later.


In 1787 Gibbon completed his notable work, The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. Here is the way he accounted for the fall of the Empire.

Facts About The Bible

What is the difference between Catholic confession and Baptist confession

- when both continue to practice their sin?

The NIV - The Devil's Handiwork

You'll never hear a preacher who uses the New International Version of the Bible preach on these two verses - because they were left out by the servants of Satan who took it upon themselves to edit God's Word and create a new translation.

For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. - Mat 18:11

And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. - Acts 8:37

You may decide for yourself why these people would want to delete these verses from the Bible. These are by no means the only verses that were left out, but they are only an example of what the translators of the NIV have tried to do. This translation is being promoted and used by nearly all the contemporary "Christian" radio personalities and ministries. If you buy a religious greeting card, most likely you will find a Scripture quotation from the NIV instead of the KJV. The devil never gives up and he sees no need to change his tactics. From the beginning he has said, "Yea, hath God said?" Woe and shame on the people who call a book the Word of God that the devil himself has edited! And God pity those who can't even discern the hiss of the Serpent himself. 

Consider Him

When the storm is raging high,

When the tempest rends the sky;

When my eyes with tears are dim,

THEN, my soul, "consider Him."

When my plans are in the dust,

When my dearest hopes are crushed;

When is passed each foolish whim,

THEN, my soul, "consider Him."

When with dearest friends I part,

When deep sorrow fills my heart;

When pain racks each weary limb,

THEN, my soul, "consider Him."

When I track my weary way,

When fresh trials come each day;

When my faith and hope are dim,

THEN, my soul, "consider Him."

Clouds or sunshine, dark or bright,

Evening shades or morning light;

When my cup flows o'er the brim,

THEN, my soul, "consider Him."

- Author Unknown


A professing Christian who tried to explain away his responsibility for breaking the law received double punishment. He said to the judge, "Your Honor, as a believer in Christ I am a 'new man,' but I still have an old nature, and it was the old man' that committed the crime." The judge's reply to his plea was: "Since it was the 'old man' that broke the law, we'll sentence him to 30 days in jail. And since the 'new man' was an accomplice in the wrong, we'll give him 30 days also. I therefore sentence you to jail for 60 days!"

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