Saturday, 26 February 2011

Thoughts on Calvin and Armenius

It seems to me that the question which Calvinists and Arminians seek to answer (the question of God's sovereignty versus freewill, in individual salvation) is a question that St Paul himself never directly addressed.

Romans 9-11 was Paul's defence of the doctrine of salvation by faith. These chapters don't seem to me to have been intended as a lecture on the question of God's sovereignty versus man's freewill in individual salvation.

Paul had just finished stating his premise that salvation is by faith (Romans chapters 1-8). Now in chapters 9-11 Paul addresses certain questions which arise because of that premise.

If salvation is by faith, does that not mean God's promises to Israel have failed? many were asking. Paul demonstrates that it is in keeping with God's nature, and not without precedent in Scripture, that God should do such a thing - that God should, of His own sovereign prerogative, extend His mercy upon His own basis - on the basis of grace through faith - rather than on the basis of nationality or works of the Law.

It is in this context that Paul's statements are to be understood. He wasn't answering the same question that Calvin and Armenius were asking.

To fail to understand Paul's statements in this light is to create an issue that Paul never directly addressed in Romans 9-11.

It's like, if I asked my sister to tell me how I could prevent a cake from flopping in the oven - and she wrote her answer to me. And then, many years later, two people begin to argue over how to change a flat tyre, and both of them use the text of my sister's letter to me years before in order to try to make a case for their own view about how to change a flat tyre. But my sister's letter was never about how to change a flat tyre - it was about how to prevent a flat cake! Failing to understand the original question that my sister's letter was addressing, wouldn't help anyone with the question of how to change a flat tyre.

In the same way, using the text of Paul's answer to one question in order to try to answer a completely different question isn't going to help much!

This doesn't mean the question asked by Calvin and Armenius should never be asked. It just means that if someone is going to look for proof texts in order to answer such a question, they will need to source their proof texts elsewhere than in Romans 9-11 since Romans 9-11 is not about that topic.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

TULIP - from Paul's Point of View in Romans


Both Jews (having the Law) and Gentiles (without the Law) are sinners. All have sinned.


Jewishness and Law-keeping are not conditions of election. Only BELIEVE - without works - and you will be saved. That's the method God elected.


Although Jesus died for all, it is by faith that we stand. Therefore Jews must not stumble at the stumblingstone. And Gentiles must fear. For it is by faith we stand.


Our nationality or status in regard to the Law neither attract nor obstruct the availability of God's grace to us. It's freely available to all, through faith.


If ye continue in the faith.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Water Baptism

John was baptizing people in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there.

John baptized there, because there was adequate water. He didn't baptize there because it was a river. Or for any other special reason. It was simply a matter of whether there was enough water.

When Philip and the eunuch went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?"

It doesn't say it was a river. It just says, "A certain water". The issue was not the type of water-system - all that mattered was whether there was enough water for two people to stand in the water and for one of them to be immersed.

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."

And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

They both went into the body of water, and came up out of it. That's all that matters. You only need enough water. It doesn't necessarily have to be a river. Or a baptistry. Just enough water - that's all you need.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Gay Marriage

Asked in an online survey, "Do you believe the Federal Parliament should change the Marriage Act to provide that same sex couples can register their relationships under Commonwealth law and that such relationships can be described as a 'marriage'?", I answered no.

Asked, "If you answered no to the above question, would you support legislation that provided for relationships between persons of the same sex to be registered as civil unions with the same legal rights & obligations of persons married, but not called 'marriage'", I answered no.

I suspect that those in favour of a change in the Marriage Act might be likely to respond in greater numbers to the online survey than would those who favour the Act as it stands. And therefore the results of the two above questions might not necessarily be indicative of the majority view.

One major reason why I favour that the Marriage Act remain as it is is because I am concerned that altering it in the way suggested might somehow make it seem more acceptable for gay-couples to adopt children. And I believe it is every child's natural right to be protected from being deliberately denied the opportunity to be brought-up by both a father and a mother wherever possible.

Two-State Solution for the Middle East?

Love alone compels us - if nothing else does - to desire that modern ethnic Jews should have a homeland of their own no less than we condone it for other ethnic nationalities around the world - especially after so many Jews were displaced from Europe during and after the Second World War. And what better place - with what better boundaries - than the Jews' once-held, once-promised territory?

Love compels us also to sympathize with any Arabs living peaceably within that territory who never knew any other homeland. Equal citizenship with the Jews within Israel, with private property rights, and equal privileges, was therefore their just allotment also.

Even so - even if modern ethnic Israel thus had the fulness of its once-held or once-promised territory restored to her - Arabs and Arab nations outside that territory, living in lands always held exclusively by Arabs and never at anytime in history by the Jews, would still have far more territory in terms of land-area than would Israel. Far more.

So this does seem kind of balanced, and fair. This is just a thought about how best to express the law of love. (And it needn't detract from the truth of divine election; nor from the truth of the single identity of "the seed" to whom the promises were made; nor from the the truth of the meaning of true Jewishness. It's about fulfilling "the royal law of love", with respect to both Jew and Arab, for "God has called us unto peace".)

Cool Drink Ingredients

Fluid extract of Coca 3 drams USP
Citric acid 3 oz
Caffeine 1oz (better to substitute this ingredient, I think)
Sugar 30
Water 2.5 gal
Lime juice 2 pints 1 qrt
Vanilla 1oz
Caramel 1.5oz or more to colour

7X flavour (use 2oz of flavour to 5 gals syrup):
Alcohol 8oz (hmmm...not sure about this ingredient)
Orange oil 20 drops
Lemon oil 30 drops
Nutmeg oil 10 drops
Coriander 5 drops
Neroli 10 drops
Cinnamon 10 drops

Monday, 14 February 2011


"Go ye into all the world..." Jesus said
"...and preach the Gospel to every nation"

The Apostles heeded His Word
And went without hesitation

But until the Holy Ghost was given
The upper room remained their station

"Wait for the Promise", Jesus had told them
They were filled with anticipation

In one place for ten days they waited
All in good relation

With the women and Mary and His brothers
They continued in prayer for the duration

Matthias along with the eleven
As an Apostle received his registration

For one-hundred-and-twenty people
It was a time of preparation

Then when the Day of Pentecost was fully come
The room was shaken with vibration

They all began to speak with other tongues
As the Spirit gave them dictation

When this was noised abroad
The city was filled with consternation

"How do we hear every man speaking our language?
Is this mere intoxication?"

"These are not drunk as ye suppose"
Peter stood and gave his quotation

"This is that which was spoken by Joel"
The empowerment for the ministration

"What must we do?"
The people asked with desperation

"Repent and be baptized, and you'll receive the Spirit too
For the Promise is for you and your children to every generation"

In that way, in one day
Three-thousand became the Church's population!

And today in contemporary society
We are still in the same situation

It's not by might, nor by power
Nor by human orchestration

But it's by the Spirit
When He comes with impartation...

...that we shall enjoy
the greater celebration

It's by letting go
of our reputation...

...allowing rather
the Spirit's manifestation...

...that we shall attract the harvest
without limitation

Judged by the Words of Jesus

Jesus said that the Father will judge no-one in the day of judgment, but has committed all judgment to the Son. Then Jesus said that He Himself will judge no-one in that day either - but the Word that He spoke will judge a man in that day.

Seeing we will be judged by the Word spoken by Jesus, we ought to make it our life-work to know what Jesus said, and to receive His Words, and believe them, and let them live in us, and keep them and do them and speak them.

If there's anything in life therefore that we ought to want to master, it's the Words of Jesus.

"Never a man spake like this man," said some of Him.

"And they wondered at the gracious words that poured out of his lips."

"To whom shall we go. You alone have the words of eternal life," said the disciples.

"The Words that I speak unto you are spirit and they are life," said Jesus.

"You are clean through the words which I have spoken unto you," said Jesus to His disciples.

"The Law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ," wrote John.

"He spoke with authority, and not as the scribes."

"I don't speak my own words, but as the Father has given me a commandment, so I speak".

Unlike the Law which was weak because of the sinfulness of sin, Jesus' Words come with their own gracious saving power, where the mere hearing of - without works, but by grace through faith - produce eternal life.

With credentials and promises such as those, who would not want to hear His words!

The Gospels record some 55 or 57 parables spoken by the Lord. Learning the lesson of each of them, in context, might be a good place to start.

Is Christianity Communist/Socialist?

The generous distribution of wealth that took place in Acts chapters four and five was a response to an emergency. It wasn't something that all Christians did everywhere. It only happened in Jerusalem.

Also, it was voluntary. The Apostles never demanded it of anyone. People were still free to decide what to do with what they owned - whether they would sell it and give the proceeds or not.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Seven Things God Will Do

Seven things that God will do for him who has set his love upon Him:

1. I will deliver him
2. I will set him on high
3. I will answer him
4. I will be with him in trouble
5. I will honour him
6. I will satisfy him with loooong life
7. I will show him my salvation

William Penn - Quaker and Pionner

William Penn - Quaker and Pioneer
by Bonamy Dobrée

Lazarus Rising

Lazarus Rising
A Personal and Political Autobiography
by John Howard

Every chapter in this book is a moral lesson. Grateful.

Discussion About Tongues

The following is an ongoing discussion, slightly edited, with a viewer of my video-testimony entitled: "You Can Speak With Tongues Whenever You Want To".


You quoted a small portion of 1 Cor. 14 and failed to take the rest into consideration. Verses 27-28 state, "If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But IF THERE IS NO ONE TO INTERPRET, LET EACH OF YOU KEEP SILENT in the church and speak to himself and to God." If you go around speaking in tongues whenever you want then you violate the command to have an interpreter present

Also, verse 22 of 1 Cor. 14 states that "...tongues are a sign not for the believer but for unbelievers..."

Speaking in tongues -- assuming that it still legitimately happens (which I don't believe it still does)-- doesn't help you communicate better with God. There is no part of speaking in tongues that allows you to talk to God better. The whole purpose is for nonbelievers to see the miracle of you suddenly speaking a foreign language. So with no nonbelievers around it is pointless


Thanks for commenting on my video about "You can speak with tongues whenever you want to".

Yes, Paul instructed the Corinthians that it served no purpose for individuals to hold the floor, address the congregation in a tongue, with no-one understanding.

He said the speaker himself was edified by it, but no-one else was.

He told them that if no interpreter is present, he should either pray to interpret themself, or else refrain from addressing the church in tongues, and instead speak to himself and to God.

Notice that - he could speak to himself and to God.

So there is a valid use of speaking with tongues even when a person is by himself. Even when he himself doesn't understand what he is saying.

Paul himself said that he spoke in tongues more than them all, but not in the church. He did so when he was by himself.

And tongues were not always languages known to people in the audience. If it was otherwise, there would have been no need for the supernatural gift of interpreting tongues. And it would never have happened that no man understood a tongue. And in that case, Paul's instructions to the Corinthians should never have been necessary.

But notice that it was possible - in fact, common - that tongues were not always understood by anyone present. And yet, in such cases, Paul never said that the tongue itself was wrong. He only said that there wasn't much point in addressing the congregation in an unknown tongue, expecting the congregation's attention, if no-one understands.

In such cases, Paul conceded that the person speaking is nevertheless edified himself; and he admitted that a person who gives thanks in tongues even though no-one understands, nonetheless gives thanks well. He admitted that speaking in the tongue could still be useful, if the person chose rather to speak it to himself and to God rather than publicly.

So my video was talking about speaking in tongues not to address a congregation, but to speak in tongues privately to God. I was pointing-out, that we have the prerogative to pray in tongues privately whenever we wish. We don't have to wait until the Holy Spirit takes full control of us. He never does that. He gives the utterance, but He does so in response to a choice of our will to pray in tongues rather than with our understanding. That's what my video is about.


Thank you for your kind response! I do, however, have a few comments/questions to pose concerning some of the things you mentioned.

The first thing I have a question about is when you said that if there are no interpreters and you can't interpret, then you should either not speak in tongues in front of the body or you should "...speak to himself and to God...." Now just to make sure I read through chapter 14 quite a few times and found that part nowhere in there. The only thing that even resembled that from what I could tell was when Paul said when he prays he will pray with mind AND spirit, and sing with his mind and spirit, etc. For the record, I don't believe "spirit" here is referring to the Holy Spirit singing through us in tongues. Rather, I believe it is referring to the fact that when we worship it should be in "spirit and in truth," in such a way that we understand what we're saying but also mean it in our hearts. Anyway, back to the issue, it seems that you imply or assume from this passage that one has authority to speak in tongues outside of the public assembly, yet I see nothing in the passage that authorizes that. This also brings back up the question, "If tongues are a sign for the Unbeliever, then what good or purpose is there in using them in private?" That would be violating the purpose for which tongues are given, right? It is also worth mentioning that when one speaks in tongues, they don't know what they're saying, "for if I pray in a tongue, my Spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful (v. 14)." So what good would it be to pray on your own when you don't know what you're saying, because Paul says we should pray with our spirit and our minds? It also seems that you are assuming when Paul "could speak to God" outside of worship that he spoke it in tongues. There doesn't appear to be any indication of that from what I have seen.

I'm just going to pause right here and say that I'm not trying to come across harsh, I know that the way I word things can sound that way sometimes. I'm just trying to have good, healthy discussion about the topic (:

You went on to say, "Paul himself said that he spoke in tongues more than them all, but not in the church. He did so when he was by himself." Again, this seems like another assumption, but in verses 18 and 19 Paul said nothing about speaking when he was by himself. All he said was that in the church it would better to speak 5 words normally than to speak a mouthful in a foreign language that nobody understands-- again he is emphasizing edification through an interpreter.

Okay, now a highly debatable issue, but I'm going to mention it anyway. You said, "And tongues were not always languages known to people in the audience. If it was otherwise, there would have been no need for the supernatural gift of interpreting tongues." Assume that I start speaking Chinese to a church that has both Chinese and White members. The Chinese members will perfectly understand what I'm saying while the white members won't. I say this to mention that if the tongues spoken were actual earthly languages, then there still would have been a need for interpretation because there would be people who didn't understand-- especially since many congregations had members of different races.

You may respond, "well then someone who already knew the language being spoken could interpret and there would be no need for the gift of interpretation." However, there were many languages that could have been spoken that most people would not understand. Also, don't you think that if tongues really are unknown languages, then why on earth would people in the first century have believed the interpretations that were given? They simply would have thought the interpreter was lying or crazy, because there would have been nobody able to speak the language that could verify that it is indeed an earthly language, and that these men spoke it through the power of the Holy Spirit.

You went on to say, "And it would never have happened that no man understood a tongue." I will point out that there were men who understood these tongues. Look in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost: when the apostles started speaking in tongues there were Jews present from many different nations, and each of them heard their own native language being spoken. Now the Spirit didn't fall on these Jews-- these are the same Jews that Peter preaches a message of repentance to shortly after-- so we know that these Jews don't have the gift of interpretation yet. So, essentially the apostles are speaking multiple earthly languages and these people hear all of them and are able to understand their native language being spoken. This is why they are so amazed, because the apostles couldn't possibly know all of their native languages, yet they were speaking them. So yes, there were people who could understand specific tongues whenever it was spoken in their native language, and this is a good thing because it only verifies the fact that when someone spoke in tongues it was actually a miracle of God rather than someone babbling on with the approval of an interpreter who could be lying about his interpretation. No there is no indication that the speaker could control what language he spoke in, so often there may have been times where a language was spoken and absolutely nobody understood. But, being an earthly language, most would probably recognize it even if they didn't understand it. This is why tongues are for the nonbeliever. It is evidence that God is working. Otherwise there is no need for them. Paul already emphasized the importance of comprehending what you are saying, so if you comprehend your prayers there is no need for tongues UNLESS you are using them as a sign of God's power to nonbelievers.

"He admitted that speaking in the tongue could still be useful, if the person chose rather to speak it to himself and to God rather than publicly." -- This was similar to something you said earlier, as well. Again, I see no indication anywhere in Ch. 14 where Paul said this.

I would again just like to emphasize that I'm not trying to sound harsh, but I do think it is good to discuss matters in a healthy manner like this. Again, thank you for your response!


28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence
in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God

In the above Scripture, Paul allowed a person the option of speaking in tongues privately to God.

I CORINTHIANS 14:14-17 [With my comments inserted in brackets]:
14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth,
but my understanding is unfruitful.

[Praying in tongues exercises my spirit, but my mind doesn't benefit]

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will
pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit,
and I will sing with the understanding also.

[I have two different ways of praying or singing available to me: praying or singing with my spirit (i.e., in tongues, as in verse 14) and praying with my understanding (i.e., in my known language).]
["I will" is mentioned four times, indicating that it was the Corinthians' own responsibility to choose the most appropriate way in which to pray or sing, in any given circumstance.]

16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall
he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen
at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what
thou sayest?

17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not

[If you give thanks with your spirit (i.e., in tongues) although your giving of thanks is none-the-less valid, your guest can't benefit because he doesn't understand what you're saying.]


Just a few comments:

In verse 28 it appears that you are making an assumption in saying that Paul is telling us to speak in tongues privately. Based on the context, it could be referring to either tongues or speaking as we normally do.

As far as verses 14-17, you make a good point in your statement here, one that I have not thought of before for those verses. Your view seems to fit the context better. I will definitely look more into this and the greek behind the text.


27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

The context for verse 28 is set by verse 27. The topic is SPEAKING IN AN UNKNOWN TONGUE, not speaking in one's own known tongue.

It is precisely because the topic is an unknown tongue (rather than an understood tongue) that Paul proceeded to give his advice: an interpreter is needed; and if no interpreter is present, the speaker should refrain from speaking publicly.

If the topic was instead SPEAKING IN AN UNDERSTOOD TONGUE, then no interpreter should be needed; neither should it be necessary for the speaker to remain silent in the event that no interpreter is present; and neither should it have been necessary for Paul to advise the speaker to restrict himself thereafter to speaking to himself and to God rather than to the congregation.

If it was speaking in an understood tongue that Paul had in mind, it shouldn't have been necessary for the speaker to thereafter speak exclusively to himself and to God rather than to the congregation, for the congregation would have understood him. And Paul's advice therefore would be utterly irrelevant.

Therefore, both the CONTEXT and the CONTENT of verse 28 demand the meaning that Paul allowed a man to speak with tongues to himself and to God. Speaking in tongues to oneself and to God was Scriptural.


Good point, John. Again I will continue to look at this; however, this particular discussion isn't extremely relevant, seeing as how I still am of the opinion that tongues are not able to be spoken today (biblically, anyway). For this discussion to be relevant we would have to establish that tongues:

1) Are still relevant today. Obviously you believe you speak in them by the power of the Holy Spirit, so you are of the opinion that they very much are still relevant today. However, based on what I read about miracles and signs from the Bible, accompanied by 1 Cor. 13, I am of the opinion that tongues are no longer given.


2) Are utterings rather than actual earthly languages. We talked about this already, but I don't remember if you answered me as far as my opinion on the Day of Pentecost. Anyone can -- if they so chose -- babble on in nonexistant tongues and say they are speaking the word of God (and it is easy to convince oneself that this is the work of God if that's what you've been told your whole life). I'm not trying to be offensive, but from my view I think you could see how it one could convince themself that they are speaking in tongues, perhaps. Regardless of your experiences, you should at least ackowledge the fact that it is possible for someone to truly believe that God is working when He actually is not working in the way they thought. I am not saying that "I am right, you are wrong," I am simply showing you my line of thinking.

So before our discussion on 1 Cor. 14 can become relevant, we must first establish that tongues can legitimately be spoken -- correctly -- today.


1) The simplest reason why tongues are still relevant, is because the Bible does not say that they have ceased.

2) Tongues are always languages - and the Bible mentions different kinds, for example:

a "tongue" (I Cor.14:26);

"tongues" (Acts 10:46; 19:6; I Cor.12:30; 13:8;14:5,6,18,22,23,39);

"tongues of men" (I Cor.13:1);

"tongues of angels" (I Cor.13:1);

"new tongues" (Mark 16:17);

"divers [kinds] of tongues" (I Cor. 12:10);

"diversities of tongues" (I Cor.12:28);

"other tongues" (Acts 2:4; I Cor.14:21);

an "[unknown] tongue" (I Cor.14:2,4,13,14,19,27).

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Universal Laws of Life

There are certain universal laws which govern the world.

For example, the law of gravity. Ignore it and you get hurt; work with it - and everything falls into place.

Same with all the laws of physics.

Same with morals - there are universal principles of morality which teach us how life and relationships and society in general work best.

And it's the same with economics. And productivity.

And politics. There are certain universal laws which make politics work or fail, depending on our compliance or non-compliance with those universal laws.

It's not by chance that one political and economic system works, while another fails. It's not by chance that one political system tends toward freedom, harmony, general well-being, and prosperity - while another system slowly squeezes the vitality out of an economy.

Success or failure depends upon an understanding of those universal laws and how a legislature co-operates with them.

The written laws of a successful nation will be the consequence and the expression of these universal principles, not the supposed source of them.

So if your field is politics, discover the universal principles of political science - then apply them, and comply with them - and be successful.

Or, if you want your relationships to be great, discover the universal principles that make for good relationships.

All of life is governed by universal laws that are just as real and can be just as life-enhancing or life-endangering as the law of gravity.

In any field of life - whether it be economics, politics, physics, or relationships - discover the universal laws that govern the field, then work with those principles - and be blessed.

Or, ignore those principles and substitute them instead with your own philosophy - and bear the consequences. But remember - if you hurt anyone else in the process, God won't hold you unaccountable.

Comply with God's Law, and life works.

(God revealed His Law in His Word. He also wrote it intrinsically and innately on the hearts of every man. Even nature itself expresses His laws, day after day and night after night.

But all of us have transgressed God's Law, and sinned and fallen short. The wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Receive Jesus and He will make you a new heart - in righteousness and true holiness. He will empower you by His Spirit to walk after the royal commandment of love, thus fulfilling all the principles of God's Law.

As more and more people receive Jesus then begin to express these principles in their individual lives, in their families, at church, in the work-place, and in government - society will begin to work better.

We won't see perfection though, until Jesus comes again and removes all evildoers and puts down all opposing authority and rule. He will also abolish death. And we so look forward to that day.

But the reason He delays His coming is because He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.)

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Particle v Wave Model for Light

One popular method of measuring stellar distance relies on Red Shift theory - which as I understand it assumes the object is moving away from us at high speed (as in the expanding universe theory). This method depends on the doplar effect and also on the wave model for light.

But there is a known problem with the wave model for light. The photoelectric effect of light cannot be explained by it.

There is a problem with the particle model for light too. The double-slit experiment seems to show that light is either traveling faster than the speed of light, or it is appearing in two places without having traveled between the two places (if we insist that light is a particle).

Particularly interesting also is Carver Mead's claim that caluculations made using the particle model result in a discrepancy of 10 to the power of 50. That's a pretty BIG variation!

It seems scientists don't really know what light is yet - particle, or wave. Light still behaves in ways they don't have a unified model to explain.

So I wonder - to what extent might scientists' failure to come up with a unified model for light, be impacting on scientists' conclusions about the distances of stars, and the age of the universe?

I also wonder whether light traveling in one direction does not interfere with light traveling across it at right angles. And which model for light might explain it best.

Former Prime Minister John Howard said one of his favourite subjects in Law School was the Law of Evidence.

I wonder how the evidence is stacking up in favour of the existing models of light, and for the as-yet untested theories which depend so much upon those models? (Theories such as the distances of stars, and the age of the universe.)

Christian Support of Scientific Discovery

Leonhard EULER is further evidence that Christians, Christianity and the Bible have not always stood in the way of scientific discovery.

To say otherwise is a misrepresentation of history.

For example, Christopher Columbus was not severely persecuted for implying that the world was spherical. That myth is listed in the top 20 most common fallacies of history.

Another myth is that all Christians before Capernicus thought the world was flat. Saint Augustine wrote about the earth being a sphere, as early as circa 4th century AD. Other Christian writers even proposed that the sun, and not the earth, was the centre of the solar system. Aristotle wrote about the sphericity of the earth hundreds of years before Christ. The sphericity of the earth had long been deduced by seafarers. Some denominations of the Church in some locations did later criticize these ideas - but not for long, and not everywhere, and not in every denomination of the Church.

In fact, the Bible mentions the "circle of the earth". That the earth is a sphere was depicted in early drawings of the Church.

Tongues and Interpretation Expressed Publicly

I remember one time at church here on the Gold Coast, before the Pastor began his sermon, he instead addressed the church in another tongue. Another brother then interpreted, saying, "Come and be healed - physically and emotionally," says the Lord.

Without any further adieu, the Pastor promptly invited all those in need of healing to come forward for prayer. We had a move of the Spirit! One demon even came out, with quite some commotion. All this before the sermon had even started.

Needs were met, and the congregation was all the more eager to hear what the Pastor had to say after that.

It was a good example of how the public use of the gifts of tongues and the interpretation of tongues can open-up the way for other expressions of the Spirit - and greater blessings - in our meetings.

Cessationism's Dispensationalist Implications

Some cessationists point-out that the Gospels include things that no longer apply directly to the Church and therefore were not written for the Church. And they say that the Epistles, on the other hand, were written directly for the Church.

But do cessationists really believe the Epistles are letters to the presentday Church for doctrine and instruction?

If the instructions in I CORINTHIANS about signs and gifts are no longer relevant, then they should concede that I Corinthians at least is one Epistle that was not written for the presentday Church.

Cessationists also like to point-out that I Corinthians was an early Epistle, and that later Epistles don't contain instructions concerning the use of the gifts of the Spirit because by that time the gifts were being phased-out of use.

Even if the sign-gifts were not mentioned in later Epistles, that in itself wouldn't be evidence that they'd passed away. It could just mean that Paul didn't need to address the manner of the use of the sign-gifts in those Epistles like he needed to in his first Epistle to the Corinthians.

But in fact, other Epistles do mention them.

ROMANS mentions "mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God".

In II CORINTHIANS Paul mentions the Holy Ghost, and power - in defence of the authenticity of his ministry.

GALATIANS also mentions ministering the Spirit and doing miracles.

For the EPHESIANS, being filled with the Spirit was evidently not meant to be a thing of the past, for Paul exhorted them in his Epistle to them that they should continue to be filled with the Spirit (verse 18) - just like they had been when he was with them.

In the Epistle to the PHILIPPIANS Paul predicted the future, thus exercising the supernatural gift of the word of wisdom (1:19,25).

COLOSSIANS mentions "all might [not just some might, but ALL might] and glorious power". There was no diminishing of power.

Colossians also mentions "spiritual songs" - i.e., songs in tongues and interpretation (I Cor. 14:15).

I THESSALONIANS gives an instruction concerning the gift of prophecy; and even says not to quench (diminish) the things of the Spirit!

II THESSALONIANS mentions the work of faith with power.

In I TIMOTHY Paul again predicts the future - thus exercizing again the supernatural gifts of the word of wisdom and prophecy (4:1).

In II TIMOTHY Paul urged Timothy to stir-up the gift (which had been imparted to him through the laying-on of hands). Timothy's gifts hadn't passed away. They were just as valid as ever.

In II Timothy Paul also mentioned the power of the Gospel, without qualifying that some of the manifestation of that power might have diminished by then.

He told Timothy that he should keep (preserve, not diminish) all the good things that were in him, by the Holy Ghost!

Again, in II Timothy Paul exercised the supernatural gifts of the word of wisdom and prophecy when he predicted that in the near future men would have a form of Christianity which would deny (fail to give place to) the power of God. Paul was certainly right about that!

He then told Timothy to continue to do the work of an evangelist - and instead of saying that the work of an evangelist by then no longer included healing, miracles and casting-out demons, he added that Timothy should make FULL PROOF of this ministry.

And these were very late Epistles! There is no Scriptural indication that signs and wonders had diminished towards the end of Paul's ministry.

I could continue and mention the writings of JAMES, PETER, and JOHN - each of whom mention signs.

The Book of REVELATION, and the OT Book of JOEL both mention that God will be giving signs right up until the coming of the Lord!

So if cessationism is true, then it can't be said that the Epistles were written for the Church any more than the four Gospels were.

If such was the case, a Third Testament should have been written. And it should be said of the presentday Church that it is built not merely "upon the foundation of the holy Apostles and Prophets" like the early Church was, but instead upon the foundation of the holy Apostles, Prophets, and Oregon and Augustine (later 'authorities' who wrote that tongues had by then apparently ceased)!

And in such a case it should be conceded that the presentday Church must in fact constitute a different dispensation of the Church distinct from the dispensation of the early Church (as much as Presbyterians lothe dispensationalism!)

Feel free to point-out any lack of logic in my argument. I'm open to learn.

Contextualizing Predestination in Rom.9-11

Calvin vs Arminius.

I like John Welsey's notes on these passages of Scripture.

"But Wesley was an Arminian wasn't he?"

My preliminary thoughts are as follows:

That Paul's general treatise throughout Romans was that salvation is received by faith irrespective of nationality, not earned by keeping the Law or through being Jewish by birth.

The above treatise gave believers at Rome a dilemma - did the fact that most first-century Jews were failing to receive salvation, because of their unbelief in the Gospel, imply that God's ancient promises to Israel were somehow now failing?

Paul's statements in these famous Predestination chapters were his answer to that dilemma - and need to be understood in that light.

They need to be understood as a continuation of and a defence of his treatise that salvation is by faith, rather than as a discussion of a whole new topic (namely, Calvinism v Arminianism) as if from left-field.

By appealing to Scriptural precedent and prophecy, Paul was defending God's sovereign prerogative to extend mercy on the grounds of faith alone rather than on the grounds of Jewish nationality or the works of the Law.

"'Extend mercy on the grounds of faith'. Yet faith itself has to be given, it is a gift, not a natural attribute in man since the fall. We are saved by faith (by means of), not because of faith,"
some may say.

But that's outside the scope of Paul's design in these chapters. The only dilemma Paul was seeking to answer here was the dilemma caused by his simple treatise that salvation is through faith. He was discussing the impact of this treatise on the question of God's ancient promises to Israelites. His statements were not in answer to questions which only came centuries later about what role God might have in granting saving-faith.

To understand how to apply someon's answer, we first have to know what question he was answering.


I ask my sister how to prevent a cake from flopping in the oven.

She writes her answer to me in a letter.

Years later, two people are discussing how to change a flat tyre.

They both argue over my sister's answer.

But my sister's answer was about flat cakes - not flat tyres!

Similarly, we could misapply Paul's answer if we don't identify the question.

The question asked by the believers at Rome was not the same question being debated today by Calvinists and Armenians. It was a question of how Paul's treatise that salvation was by faith impacts upon God's ancient promises to Israel.

So it's a mistake to take Paul's answer to that question, and instead make it an answer to Calvin's and Arminius' question.

That sort of reasoning wouldn't help us with changing a flat tyre nor with preventing a flopped cake.

"Ok I have it...............Im getting a black laundry marker and completely marking through everyplace that the Bible says The Elect, chosen, predestinated, called. And Im so glad the Bible says that I chose God before the foundations of the earth
though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls — not because of works? before either was born? oh, and there is that word ELECTION again. hmmmmmmm and God's PURPOSE......I though it was all based on me??????"
some may say.

Before the foundation of the world, God elected to extend His mercy to you on the basis of your faith despite your nationality and without the works of the Law. I think that's the tenure of Paul's argument in Rom.9-11.

"On the basis of my faith????? Bull hickey...........Romans 9 plainly staes that it is not him that willeth or runneth.....but according to God's purposes..........
better read the Bible...........we have nothing good in us unless God puts it there
though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who call Romans 9:16 (New Living Translation) 'So it is God who decides to show mercy.' We can neither choose it nor work for it,"
some may say.

But you didn't work for it - you only believed it!

That is Paul's point throughout all of Romans.

"...and he chose me to believe!" some may retort.

The meaning is that the availability of salvation to the Romans through faith was not a plan that was contrived by their own will, nor awarded to them on the basis of their running or works - it was a plan which originated in God's own merc...y.

That's why Paul explained that the Gospel didn't mean that the Roman believers should be conceited above the unbelieving Jews - because it was by God's mercy and by faith alone that they stood.

Paul was defending the Gospel of salvation through faith by proving that it was indeed God's prerogative to save or reject without any recourse to a person's nationality or works (of the Law). Only believe! That's God's mercy.

Otherwise it could not have had any relevance at all when Paul warned, in this very context, that the Roman believers could just as well be cut off if they didn't continue in faith. They should not be conceited but fear, since it was by faith that they stood.

The inclusion of that warning makes no sense unless Paul's statements were meant to be understood as a defence of God's right to save or reject without respect to a person's Jewishness or Law-keeping.

In Rom.9-11 Paul was responding both to disillusionment at the rejection of so many israelis on one hand, and to conceitedness over the promotion of so many Gospel-believing Gentiles on the other hand. It was Scriptural for God to have set His own basis for extending His mercy even if it meant some natural-born Jews would miss-out; and it meant the Gentiles should also maintain a healthy fear - because the basis which God set by His own prerogative is faith alone.

That's what Paul was arguing.

"and he chose me to believe!" some may again retort.

But that is a question that is outside the scope of what Paul was discussing in Rom.9-11!

I'm not saying it is a question that shouldn't be asked - just saying that it wasn't the issue which Paul was answering in Rom.9-11.

And if we do happen to ask that question, we make a mistake if we assume Paul's statements in Rom.9-11 apply directly and deliberately to that question - because they don't!

The question which Pastor Calvin and Pastor Armenius squabbled over in the 16th century didn't even get a mention in Paul's letter to the Romans.

Instead the pertinent issue during the first century in Rome, which Paul addressed in Rom.9-11, was the doctrine of salvation through faith and its RAMIFICATIONS FOR ISRAEL AND FOR GENTILES.

Was God unjust to reject unbelieving Jews? Did it mean His ancient promises to Israel had failed? Plus there was the danger that Gentile believers might become too complacent with their new privileges in the plan of God. Those are the issues which Paul sought in Rom.9-11 to answer.

Rom.9-11 wasn't about some Calvinistic/Armenian debate in God's mind about who to give saving-faith to and who not to give it to - rather, it was about defending the Gospel (of salvation by faith) despite its ramifications for natural-born, Law-keeping, but unbelieving Jews. And Paul's statements need to be understood in that context.

That's the meaning that springs naturally to my mind anyway, when I consider the chapters in context.

Monday, 7 February 2011


28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly
teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, DIVERSITIES OF TONGUES.

Notice that each of the gifts listed in the above scripture are public ministries.

In this Bible Study I want to draw our attention to the last ministry gift in the list: the public ministry of tongues and interpretation.

There is a public ministry of tongues and interpretation. It's not just for private use only.

As a public ministry in the church, diversities of tongues was considered by Paul to be important enough to list it along with the roles in the church of apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, then gifts of healings (evangelists), helps (deacons), and governments (pastors/elders/bishops).

Like the other offices listed above, God “hath set [or appointed] some [some members] in the church” to function publicly using the gifts of tongues and interpretation.

Tongues as a Distinct Public Function

Notice that throughout I Corinthians 12-14, Paul is primarily dealing with tongues as it is used in a distinct public ministry, rather than discussing how the individual believer can or cannot use tongues in his private prayer-life for his own personal edification.

Each of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in I Corinthians 12:7-10 are dealt with as manifestations of the Spirit during public church gatherings.

Paul’s whole discussion about the gifts is in the context of what takes place “when the whole church be come together into one place” (14:23). So he's not talking about what we do when we're by ourselves. He's talking about a church service.

So when our opening text continues on to say, “do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” (verse 29), this is not to imply that some believers will never be able to speak with tongues ever at all.

(All believers today who are baptized with the Holy Spirit may pray with tongues, just as in every account in Bible days. Praying in tongues is personally edifying, and can't be encouraged enough.)

Rather, in verse 29, Paul is simply explaining that in public church-life, all of us will not need to have the same ministry function.

To some it will be given by the Spirit to address the church with tongues and interpretation during public gatherings.

Now let’s consider another verse which also deals specifically with tongues as a public ministry in the church.

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

The above advice (limiting the number of speakers to two, or at the most three, and then only when an interpreter is present) clearly is specific to the use of tongues as a ministry to the church – otherwise we make it inconsistent with occurrences within the Book of Acts.

For example, have you ever wondered why Peter never insisted that only two, or at the most three, be allowed to speak with tongues, at Cornelius’ household? and why he never insisted that they keep silence unless someone interpreted?

“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word”, and he “heard them speak with tongues and magnify God” (Acts 10:44,46).

We know this was no small gathering, because it says that Peter went in to the house, “and found MANY that were come together” (verse 27).

What's more, they even interrupted Peter's sermon while they spoke in tongues, for we are told that, “WHILE PETER YET SPAKE these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word” (verse 44)!

We see the same thing at Ephesus. Paul didn’t insist on any such protocol or guidelines either. After baptizing certain disciples, we are told, “when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve” (Acts 19:6,7).

Clearly then, it is scriptural to have meetings like that - where the Holy Spirit falls and many speak with tongues at the same time, or everyone prophesies, or sees visions, or are filled with joy - even if no interpreter is present.

We've seen meetings where all of this has happened – meetings just like the Pentecostal outpouring in Acts chapter two!

(If it’s been a while since you were in that type of meeting, you could plan such a meeting. Make it happen - like Smith Wigglesworth who said: “If the Holy Ghost doesn't move, I move the Holy Ghost”).

When Paul gave his advice to the Corinthians, he was addressing a different scenario. He was offering guidelines concerning the specific ministry of addressing a congregation in tongues.

By the time Paul wrote this, the Corinthian church had been established long enough for a variety of public ministries to become recognized among them. So it had now become necessary for Paul to address the manner in which some of these gifts should be expressed.

When it came to the public use of tongues, Paul’s advice to the members was: There's not a lot of point for all of you to stand up and hold the floor, drawing everyone’s attention to yourself, to address the congregation with an unknown tongue, since no one understands you. Better to just have two or three of you speak, then let the interpreter speak as well, after you’ve each had your say in turn.

The guiding principle of all public ministry to the church, which Paul urged them to keep in mind was, “Let all things be done unto edifying” (14:26).

It’s obvious to anyone that a person needn’t bother holding the floor to address an entire congregation in an unknown tongue – unless someone interprets. It simply wouldn’t be edifying.

However, it’s an entirely different situation if the Holy Spirit is being poured out and everyone begins speaking with tongues, like they did in Cornelius’ house, and at Ephesus, and in Acts chapter two. In such cases, no-one is holding the floor as such; everyone is being filled with the Spirit; and in fact everyone is edified – even without an interpreter.

We can have meetings like that today. It isn’t unscriptural for a congregation to sing or pray together in tongues, because when done in unison, it isn’t obtrusive. Actually this is still decent and orderly.

But when tongues is used for the purpose of addressing a congregation, it is only natural then that someone should interpret, if we are to apply the advice, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Cor.14:40). So it is evident that Paul was talking about circumstances where tongues were being used very specifically in a public ministry function.

Some people have not understood this and have therefore mistakenly felt that it isn't Scriptural to have meetings where the Holy Spirit gets poured-out on everyone at the same time.

Making Room for the Gift

I have been witness to the powerful effect that the gift of tongues and interpretation can have in the church and in the community, when it’s given its rightful place alongside the other offices in the church.

In one meeting, the Holy Spirit impressed upon a pastor that before he gave his sermon, he was to speak with tongues, and then a certain brother would interpret.

So he proceeded to speak with tongues, and then stepped down off the stage and handed the microphone to the brother to give the interpretation.

“Come and be healed. Be healed physically and emotionally...says the Lord,” he said.

That was a fairly simple message, but what the Pastor did next allowed God to manifest His power in a way that completely changed the course of the meeting and allowed the people's needs to be met that day.

Without any further ado, the Pastor led the congregation to respond to the message, by inviting anyone forward who needed to receive healing.

The power of the Holy Spirit manifested with many healings, and one person was delivered from an evil spirit. That was before he even preached. But needless to say, everybody was eager to hear what he had to preach on after that!
It was the public ministry of tongues and interpretation, coupled with the way the Pastor made room for the congregation to respond, that opened-up the way for God to do what He wanted to do in that meeting – things which hadn’t otherwise been planned.

In another church where I was a guest, when I stood to the pulpit to preach—instead I began to speak with tongues. It went on and on, and I wondered when it was ever going to stop. Finally the interpretation began to flow—and I just continued preaching along the same theme as the interpretation. As a result, several were touched by the Holy Spirit with tears, repentance and reconciliation, and some were filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy.

Afterwards one of the elders of the church told me, “This is exactly what we needed.” God knows what a church needs—and sometimes it’s different to the sermon-structure we have in mind.

On that occasion, again it was the gift of tongues and interpretation that inspired the sermon which God wanted to be spoken in the meeting.

Smith Wigglesworth often interjected his sermons with tongues, then he’d interpret them, pouring forth heavenly revelation to the congregation.

Once during another series of meetings, I witnessed how speaking with tongues can begin to reach even the outside community.

When I stood to preach this particular Sunday morning, the anointing was so heavy that I couldn’t preach. Instead, I preached in tongues, and God used someone else to interpret. All over the building there were tears of repentance, people being reconciled, and people getting filled with the Spirit and speaking with tongues, without anybody even laying hands on them.

During that series of meetings, one person claimed he heard about a dozen young people speaking Indonesian; an overseas visitor claimed she heard a remote Chinese dialect; and another person heard his own Maranaw dialect, as people spoke in tongues. This was a sign and a wonder to them.

Many became so filled that they spoke in tongues non-stop for days afterwards. One such girl was still speaking with tongues when she got to school on Monday. “Why haven’t you ever told me you can speak Chinese?” her teacher scolded her. So she asked God for her own language back, so she could explain to the class. Then she was able to preach to them, and the whole class fell to the floor under the power of God. She prophesied to each of them. Demons came out of many. Students got up off the floor asking with tears, “What have we got to do to be saved?”

This continued for days so that classes couldn’t continue. The Principal called her parents to the school, asking them to sign an affidavit that they would forbid their daughter to preach the Gospel anymore at school or else risk seeing her expelled. But the more their daughter tried to keep order, the more her fellow students thronged her classroom seeking prayer. Even a TV news camera crew turned-up wanting to interview her. But she didn’t want to attract any more attention to herself.

So she thought of a way she could see the work of God continue, without attracting any more attention - she could lay her hands on her friends, imparting the anointing to them, so they could be used to spread the work of the Spirit. Everywhere her friends went, they now carried the same anointing, and the work of the Holy Spirit spread to other schools and universities. I visited one lecture hall where the whole contingent was flat on their backs under the power of God. Many began coming to the church.

Notice that it was the phenomenon of speaking with other tongues that sparked this move of God in the community. Paul said, “Tongues are a sign…to them that believe not”. (I’ve always wondered how tongues will ever become a sign to unbelievers, if we never let unbelievers hear them!)

How Tongues Can Open Up a Meeting

The seemingly insignificant gift of tongues can actually have great effect in a church and community, if we let it.

To begin with, we need to admit that we need this public office of tongues in our meetings, and we ought to earnestly desire it.

Then we need to be practical about giving tongues its place, either during worship, or during the Word, or at some point in the meeting.

Then so much more can be gained or lost, depending on how widely we respond to it.

Sometimes instead of just moving-on with the program after an interpretation or prophecy has been given, the meeting leader could consider whether the word is meant to shape the rest of the meeting - and if so, allow time for the congregation to respond and to see the Holy Spirit move.

In this way, the interpretation of tongues can have the effect of being much more than simply a word during a meeting. It can open up the whole meeting, or even start a whole work of God in the community, as the testimonies above illustrate.

Altar calls, instead of being relegated to the end of a meeting, can happen anytime - and often, the altar-call is just the beginning of other things that God wants to do in a meeting.

For example, I've observed that after people pick themselves up off the floor and return to their seats after an altar call, quite often two people will remain under the power of God.

Shortly, they will stand, and one of them will begin to speak in tongues while the other interprets. Then they may begin laying hands on the congregation, usually with a message of repentance and of the need to preach the Gospel because of the soon return of the Lord. All of this after the altar-call was finished. If we’d assumed that the altar call was the end of the meeting, all that extra blessing would have been missed.

In another use of diversities of tongues, brother Hagin would sometimes speak in tongues while his wife would interpret – as a means of giving “counseling” to someone who had come for help.

Interpreting tongues can also be useful in one’s private prayer-life and study-life, as a means of obtaining guidance and revelation from the Lord, or simply to assist with our prayers.

Who May Have This Ministry?

“I would that ye all spake with tongues” (I Cor.14:5), said Paul. Although the public ministry of speaking with tongues may be part-and-parcel of the office of the prophet, it is not limited to prophets. Anyone in the church who desires to may speak with tongues.


When we become practical about giving the Holy Spirit room to do whatever He wants, whenever He wants, through whomever He wants—then we will witness the full place and power that He has ordained for this gift in the church.

Speaking in Tongues

1. Jesus said that believers shall speak with new tongues.

MARK 16:17
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; THEY SHALL SPEAK WITH NEW TONGUES;
18 they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

2. Speaking in tongues is a sign to unbelievers.

I Corinthians 14: 22
21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
22 Wherefore TONGUES ARE FOR A SIGN, not to them that believe, but TO THEM THAT BELIEVE NOT...

3. The gift of the Holy Ghost is for all believers.

ACTS 2:38-39
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized EVERY ONE OF YOU in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.

4. When believers were reported to have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, it is recorded that they spoke with other tongues.

ACSTS 2:1-4
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were ALL with one accord in one place [the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty - Acts 1:15].
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon EACH OF THEM.
4 And they were ALL filled with the Holy Ghost [every one of them], and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

ACTS 10:44-47
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the HOLY GHOST FELL on ALL them [not only on some of them, but on ALL them] which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
46 FOR THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST as well as we?

ACTS 19:5-7
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the HOLY GHOST CAME ON THEM; and they SPAKE WITH TONGUES, and prophesied.

5. Speaking in tongues is a means of speaking the wonderful works of God, and magnifying God

ACTS 2:11

ACTS 10:45,46
45 ...on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

6. Speaking in tongues is a means of speaking, or praying with the spirit to God

2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue SPEAKETH not unto men, but UNTO GOD: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

14 For if I PRAY IN AN UNKNOWN TONGUE, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
15 What is it then? I will PRAY WITH THE SPIRIT, and I will pray with the understanding also...

7. Singing in tongues is a means of singing with the spirit

15 ...I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

8. Speaking in tongues is a means of blessing with the spirit, and giving thanks.

16 Else when thou shalt BLESS WITH THE SPIRIT, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy GIVING OF THANKS, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
17 For thou verily GIVEST THANKS well, but the other is not edified.

9. Believers can all speak in tongues together out-loud at the same time, during an outpouring of the Spirit or publicly in the church during times of corporate praying and singing - even when there is no interpreter, and no matter how many people are speaking at the same time.

In the upper room, 120 people spoke in tongues together (Acts 2:1-4); Corenelius' entire household spoke in tongues together, even interrupting Peter's sermon to do so! (10:44-47); and at Ephesus 12 people spoke in tongues and prophesied together (19:5-7.)

In such instances, no individual was holding the floor and addressing the whole church - and there was no interpreter. The whole congregation was speaking in tongues together at the same time. It's Scriptural for a congregation to do that. It's different only if an individual is led to address an entire congregation in tongues.

10. Speaking in tongues, to address an entire congregation, is a means of benefiting the church.

Divers kinds of tongues is one of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit which is given for the benefit of the whole church.

I Corinthians 12:10
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another DIVERS KINDS OF TONGUES; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Diversities of tongues is one of the public ministries which God has set in the church.

I Corinthians 12:28
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, DIVERSITIES OF TONGUES.

11. The gift of the interpretation of tongues is given so that the church can understand and benefit when an individual addresses the congregation in tongues.

I CORINTHIANS 14:5,13,27,28
5 I would that ye all SPAKE WITH TONGUES, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, EXCEPT HE INTERPRET, that the CHURCH MAY RECEIVE EDIFYING.

13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may INTERPRET

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and LET ONE INTERPRET.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

12. Speaking in tongues is a means of edifying oneself.

I CORINTHIANS 14:4,18,28
4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH himself;

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him SPEAK TO HIMSELF, AND TO GOD.

13. A believer may speak with tongues as often as he desires, as an act of his will, for the Spirit gives utterance.

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit
[as an act of my own will], and I will pray with the understanding also [according to my choice]: I will sing with the spirit [by volition], and I will sing with the understanding also [by my choice].

ACTS 2:4
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Speaking in Tongues to Yourself and to God

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

"Speak to himself, and to God" - in tongues, or with your understanding? Is the purpose of speaking with tongues limited to being a public sign to unbelievers who hear their own language? Or does this verse set a Scriptural precedent for the validity of speaking in tongues privately - to oneself and to God - even if it's an unknown tongue and no-one is present to hear and understand?

The context for verse 28 is set by verse 27. The topic is speaking in an unknown tongue, not an understood tongue.

It is precisely because the topic is an unknown tongue (rather than an understood tongue) that Paul proceeded to give his advice: an interpreter is needed; and if no interpreter is present, the speaker should refrain from speaking publicly.

If the topic was instead speaking in an understood tongue, then no interpreter should have been needed; neither should it have been necessary for the speaker to remain silent in the event that no interpreter was present - for the congregation would have understood him.

And if it was speaking in an understood tongue that Paul had in mind, then it wouldn't have been necessary for him to advise the speaker to thereafter restrict himself to speaking exclusively to himself and to God rather than to the congregation - for the congregation would have understood him. Paul's advice would therefore have been utterly irrelevant.

Therefore, both the context and the content of verse 28 demand the meaning that when Paul advised the speaker to thereafter speak to himself and to God, he was talking about speaking in tongues to himself and to God. Therefore, speaking in tongues to oneself and to God is Scriptural.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Solar Panel Efficiency

In electricity generation, temperature affects voltage output. When the temperature of the solar panels on your roof increases, output decreases. If you can therefore keep the panels cool, you'll generate more power.

You could set-up some sort of sprinkler system. Increased output of 10-20% has been reported. Disadvantages include the cost of continuously supplying water to the panels; and water droplets deflect away from the solar cells a slight portion of the light required to generate electricity.

To avoid such disadvantages, could you instead encase each panel in clear glass in a clear aqueous solution? You wouldn't need to keep supplying water; and deflection could be reduced allowing almost all of the sunlight to reach the solar cell where electricity is generated. Output could improve by an estimated 40% or more.

Issues: the aqueous solution must not heat-up too much; it must not freeze; it must not deflect too much light away from reaching the solar cells; and it must not corrode the solar panel.

Experiments still need to be done.

Commentary on Genesis 1

This commentary will be added-to progressively:


1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

In the beginning - not a beginning. Only one beginning is mentioned. Calls into question the gap theory.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Light in general. Its source and composition not described.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

The light evidently came from a single direction, and the earth had begun spinning on its axis.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

The firmament might refer to space in general, rather than to earth's atmosphere specifically

(Because on the fourth day, God set the two lights and the stars in the firmament of the heaven. The sun, moon and stars are not actually in the earth's atmosphere, but they are in space.

If the firmament referred to is earth's atmosphere, then it would have to mean that God set the lights in the firmament of the heaven only in the sense that from the earth they appeared visible in the atmosphere.

The question of whether Genesis 1 describes the events of creation in literal, scientific terms, or merely in terms of how those events appeared from the view-point of earth, will be addressed throughout this commentary.)

If the firmament means space in general, could it mean that a body of water was separated to a position at the extremity of the universe?

Or, if the firmament refers to earth's atmosphere specifically, could the "waters above the firmament" refer to water vapour in earth's atmosphere? or to clouds? or to some water canopy in orbit around the earth?

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

It may or may not have been a single land mass.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

Could it be that while God made light on the first day, on the fourth day He organized that light into various forms such as the sun, moon and stars? Similarly to how God organized for the dry land and oceans to be separated on the third day, the earth and water which He had already made on the first day?

Or were the sun, moon and stars made completely independantly of the light made on Day 1?

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

So, the term the "firmament of heaven" includes the earth's atmosphere, in which the bird's fly, but the term is perhaps not limited to mean the earth's atmosphere only, but also all of space in general.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

The Creation of Light

Could it be, that on the first day of creation, God made light:

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there
was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good:
and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the
darkness he called Night. And the evening
and the morning were the first day.

...whilst on the fourth day, God further organized the light (into three main forms: sun, moon and stars)?

14 And God said, Let there be lights in
the firmament of the heaven to divide
the day from the night; and let them
be for signs, and for seasons, and for
days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the
firmament of the heaven to give light
upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the
greater light to rule the day, and the
lesser light to rule the night: he made
the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of
the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over
the night, and to divide the light from
the darkness: and God saw that it was
19 And the evening and the morning were
the fourth day.

Or were the lights, made on the fourth day, completely new light-sources, unrelated to the light that was made on day one?

Friday, 4 February 2011

True Discipleship

Jesus had a cross ahead of Him on this side of His kingdom. So do we.

(The disciples understood Jesus's identity as Messiah, but didn't at first understand the inclusion of the cross. We too are destined for the kingdom - but may have fallen slow of the goal that eternal glory comes only by way of taking up our cross. Since it wasn't Jesus' time to be made a king, it isn't ours either. Our role is to be like Christ - Christians - like Christ. To find our life by losing it. The prize of the upward call of God [the invitation to heaven] and being raised from the dead is not obtained without pressing towards knowing Jesus and sharing in His sufferings and being made conformable to His death.)

Thursday, 3 February 2011

It's Okay to Question New Scientific Dogma

Scientists admit they don't even know how our moon was formed. Each theory has problems and lacks evidence.

How much more difficult must it be then to conclude how stars thousands of light years away were formed?

Is it any surprise then that scientists, relying on observations made using a newly made, stronger telescope, are now confronted with having to rethink previously-held beliefs about how stars were formed?

These latest observations, made with this new and stronger telescope and deemed to be so much more reliable than any previous observations, are allegedly of light that is still being reflected around an area of space some 4,000 light years away and some hundreds of years after the event causing the initial burst of light occurred and the re-reflected light is now some 20 billion times fainter than when the alleged event occurred.

Imagine how difficult that must be. Imagine how much scientists must have to rely on previous assumptions in order to hypothesize about what they are observing. And yet this is considered groundbreaking improvement in scintists' ability to observe; it's considered so much of an improvement that they're willing to reconsider long-established beliefs because of it.

So how much more difficult must it have been for scientists to deduce their earlier conclusions (about the way stars were formed and hence their age)? Way more difficult than making conclusions about how our own moon, which we can see with the naked eye, was formed - which scientists admit not being able to do yet. And yet scientists' previously-held assertions about how stars were formed and hence their age were accepted almost without question by many. Text books were filled with their dogma, which presented it like foregone conclusions.

It's okay to refrain from giving immediate assent to difficult-to-substantiate scientific assertions, until time has proven them with practical developments which attest to their correctness.

The Bible Doesn't Say the Earth is Flat

Every now and then, history is misrepresented in order to advantage a particular interest-group.

This is seen perhaps over land disputes in the Middle East. Perhaps it's also seen when the motives behind the British Commonwealth's annexation as protectorates of other nations is concerned.

There is often an element of myth involved in such distortions.

One field of history where an element of myth has become widely accepted is the view that Christianity and the Bible were always obstacles to scientific advances.

Myth: that everyone before Capernicus thought the earth was flat.

In fact, much of the world had already thought of the world as a sphere since hundreds of years BC.

Myth: that the Church persecuted Christopher Columbus for in effect asserting that the world is round.

In fact no such persecution took place, and this mistaken view of history has been listed as one of the top 20 common mistakes in people's understanding of history.

Myth: that the Church universally persecuted scientists who proposed that the sun, and not the earth, is the centre of our solar system.

In fact this proposal was taught very early by a Church leader, and later during the Middle Ages by a bishop of a church, and the view was widely held by Christians. Resistance by the Church did exist in some parts of the Church at some times in history - but it certainly was not universal across the Church, it was not permanent, and it was not as strong as what is widely purported.

Myth: that the Bible says the earth is flat.

The Bible mentions the circle of the earth. The sphericity of the earth and the centrality of the sun were depicted in early drawings long before the Middle Ages.

Conclusion: the popular criticism that the Bible has stood in the way of scientific discovery is an imbalanced and somewhat biased distortion of history that is commonly presented in a synical way against people of faith, but is not based on as much historical fact as has been widely purported.

The extent to which Capernicus may have been persecuted is over-stated. The extent to which the organized Church may have resisted scientific discovery has been over-represented, and is not an accurate reflection on the longheld concepts contained in the Bible itself and always adhered to by groups of Christians.

A more balanced view of history is to understand that the Bible and Christians were some of the earliest to assert and promulgate the scientific concepts of a spherical earth with the sun as the centre of the solar system, concepts which have now found universal acceptance.

While some church-groups and Christian individuals at some times in history did criticize those concepts, there were always other church groups and Christian individuals at the same time in history who always did embrace them.

It's important to understand this point of history in a balanced way, because it removes the myth that the Bible is largely at odds with science on that particular fundamental point of science.

It means that when a Christian sits down to consider other scientific theories, he can do so knowing that the Bible and Christians were among some of the earliest proponents of other scientific concepts which later found universal acceptance.

It means that when he sits down to consider some other scientific hypotheses - such as macro-evolution, or the age of the universe, for example - he need not bring with him the notion that his Bible has proven historically to be an obstacle. Rather, he can come without that false inferiority, knowing that his Bible has proven historically to be a positive catalyst for a growing and good understanding of natural philosophy (science).

It puts whatever other scientific hypothesis he is considering on a level playing-field with his Bible - rather than on an apparently imposing pedestal based on mis-history.

And that can only be of assistance towards openness.