Your Questions Answered, Live!

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Is the current order of books in the NT the wrong order? Must someone repent of their sins in order to be saved, or is that adding something to justification by faith? Am I downplaying the nature of slavery in the Old Testament?

 

Hour 1:

 

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: The weekend is coming. Maybe you have some free time, or down time. Maybe you have time to press in and go after God, seek His face, and have a breakthrough. Take advantage of the opportunities the Lord gives you!


Hour 2:

 

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: It’s good to discuss doctrine and look at different beliefs within the body, but let’s do our best to unite more than divide, and be fruitful rather than argumentative!

 

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Difficult Passages in the Torah and the Believer Today

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Revolution: The Call to Holy War by Dr. Brown: This book is not a call for the violent overthrow of the government, nor is it a call to take up arms, nor is it a call to political activism in and of itself. It is a call to something far more extreme, a call to live out the gospel…

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How Saved Are We? by Dr. Brown:  This unsettling book challenges us to ask ourselves what kind of born-again experience we have had if it calls for almost no personal sacrifice, produces virtually no separation from the world, and breeds practically no hatred of sin.

 

 

13 Comments
  1. George Whitefield was pro-slavery.He even is credited with at least partly getting a law passed in geogia to bring back slavery after it had been outlawed. He also owned slaves.
    How could a true man of God have such a beleive.Does it not break the second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as ourself.

  2. Repentance from dead works is a kind of strange task–that we should be able to really to that, by understanding coming from darkness into light. I have to say I was actually humbled recently by Joel Olsteen, Mr. Positive. I flashed by him cruising to another channel, and briefly stopped just for a moment on his smiling face. “Repentance is a change of thinking about life, trusting God and going from negative dark thinking to positive faithful thinking.” He may be right, the shift of the mind and heart to the better Way, to live life by the affirmation of God in Christ of the Atonement as a gift–accepting that all at once for the very first time is a radical change of mind and direction for anyone. Hopefully this begins a lifetime process of alike discovery, where as each dark belief is brought to recall’s surface of thought it is abandoned for the other presenting reality the Spirit of Christ offers to replace whatever that darkness is. I am uncertain if repentance is something we do of the will, or some act of grace through faith where more of Christ is established in one, one potentially being a vessel of His light and Way in time. This seems to be the kind of repentance which lets go of the past as it is brought to the surface of awareness, then accepts some counter ideal or trust that the Spirit provides. It is not to say that if one reads scripture and discovers God’s otherworldly values there once cannot petition the Father to change one in any area of conviction or shortcoming. Frankly I think repentance ultimately is permitted by yielding to Christ, where He is given His placement in our heart. Then and only then can the heart turn to childlikeness, simplicity of affection’s care (‘the pure in heart shall see God’).

    As I get older I think of what happened a few months back when looking over my elementary age children sleeping, where, a twinkle of heaven’s attitude invaded my heart with delight over their existence and was more real than anything else had been that day. How wonderful it would be to hold on to that kind of delightful affection and love.

  3. Dr.Brown could I get your thought on George Whitefield and his stance on being pro slavery?

    This was a man I had greatly admired until I discovered where he stood on slavery.
    I know from reading your books that you mentioned whitefield in several of them and I beleived you thought highly of him as well.??

  4. Bob T,

    This was a glaring blind stop for Whitefield. He didn’t comprehend the nature of the slave trade and thought that the key was to be compassionate and Christian towards the slaves — without realizing the evil of slavery itself.

  5. Thinking about moral progress.  It’s a good thing that we want the world to be a better place for us all.  I think that the world is more able to tackle these deep moral issues today.  However, I think that we flatter ourselves too much with our judgments against others as if destiny made us better than those in the past.  Christianity in it’s pure form, I believe, was a very big force for change that made the world what it is today.  And it was built upon the foundations of the Old Testament.  It must have been a very difficult task for God to come up with a way through history that would be enough to be able to change the hearts of men.

  6. EZ 20:25: Wherefore I [GOD] gave them satutes not good, and judgments whereby they should not live…

    Tree of knowledge audacity condemns GOD without considering what He says. Compared to the ‘norm’ of the day, the Israelite law was indeed compassionate. The Calvinist extension to ‘the new world’ (disregarding Spanish conquistadors for this argument) as ‘the (new) promised land’ was invalid as to scope of territory; as it is also invalid as to ‘imperialist’ global conquest.

    In very recent history, the Church’s [that I am most familiar with] ‘going along with’ a preemptive military strike against another nation [Iraq] can arguably have led to the mess we’re in today; GOD has taken care of that; but where is the repentance?

    In Him, Ron M.

  7. DR.Brown,thank you for answering my question.A family member researched our family hitory and that our 4th great grandfather owned eight slaves in Va. in the 1840’s.
    He got saved and became a pastor and freed the slaves seeing the evil of it all.It’s a shame Mr. Whitefield could not see the evil of slavery.

    A year and a half ago I left the church I had been attending since a got saved over the pastor turning a blind eye to racism in our church.It was very hard to leave.It was as if I had left my family and my home had been broken apart.

    What happened was a man who had recently been attending our church made a statement to our pastor and church leader including myself that he believed black people came from a union between eve and satan.Then he made some other remarks that I won’t repeat.

    A few weeks later the pastor made this man a member of the church and allowed him to lead services.That is when I left the church.

    I never saw any racism in the church until then.I find it hard to believe anyone could be a devoted follower of Christ and a racist.But I know people who seem to be devoted to the Lord and racist.

  8. Dr. Brown,

    Thank you for your considering my question. Here is a summary of what I came away with from our interaction. Did I get it right?

    1. Hebrew slavery did have an upside, as James White put it, it was a “safety net” for those who were impoverished. In this context talking about “a different economy” makes sense. The problem is that on your DVD (Homosexuality and the Church) where you discuss slavery, you conflate Hebrew slavery with Non-Hebrew slavery. James White does the same thing.

    2. Nowhere in the Bible does it condone Israel going out into the surrounding nations and purchasing slaves (although it does not explicitly condemn the practice either). Thus, this is one area where there is a clear distinction between Israel and the surrounding nations of the time, as well as the later shameful slave trade in the American tradition.

    3. While treatment of Hebrew slaves was a far cry from “classic slavery” (Leviticus 25:39-40 If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. 40 He shall be with you as a hired man…) treatment of Non-Hebrew slaves also had limits. If one permanently injured a slave, the slave was set free. Although Slaves were still regarded as property and it was permissible to beat a slave such that no permanent injury occurred, this is again a distinction between treatment of slaves elsewhere. So in this regard it was “a step in the right direction”.

    4. Non-Hebrew slaves were a result of wars with surrounding peoples. The goal of the war was not to tap into a pool of potential new slaves, but to subdue an enemy. It was common practice in the larger culture to subjugate the survivors of wars to then in some way serve the victors. So it might be argued that Israel was just following the standards of the day. It would seem the options as what to do with the survivors of a conquered people were limited; if one were to just walk away then the survivors may shore themselves up to wage war again on another day. This leaves the following options : 1. Annihilate the survivors. 2. Drive the survivors out of the land. 3. Subjugate the survivors.

    Driving the people out of the land would always expose the victors to a potential return of the exiles at some future date in order to take back the land.

    Subjugation would ensure there would be no subsequent military offensive. Subjugation at times involved leaving a society largely intact and making it a vassal kingdom such that those conquered served the conquerers in some way. But in the case of those kingdoms conquered by Israel, the Lord had given victory to Israel precisely because God wanted to eliminate the evil practices of these people. So allowing these kingdoms to continue as vassals to Israel with their societal practices otherwise remaining intact was not really an option. Further, as history showed Israel was easily lured into accepting the pagan practices of those it came in contact with. Thus, the pagan practices of these people needed to be eliminated totally. In some cases (e.g. Canaanites), these societies were so steeped in evil, they were totally destroyed. It was only through God’s grace that some kingdoms conquered by Israel were allowed to survive even in part. But since there social infrastructure could not be allowed to continue, the only way to deal with them was to subjugate them in the severest fashion; that is by curtailing their freedom to such a degree that their former practices could not be reestablished. Such control resulted in a form of slavery.

    5. There was a potential upside to even non-Hebrew slavery. As a pagan the conquered people were destined for hell. As a slave, these people could now be exposed to knowledge of the one True God and be saved by joining into the Israeli laws, customs and ceremonies.

    6. There still appeared to be a “value” difference between the life of a Hebrew slave and that of a non-Hebrew slave. If a Hebrew slave was killed, the payment was a life. If a non-Hebrew slave was killed, monetary reparation could be made. Since these laws were put forth by God and not man, it appears that God values the life of the Hebrew slave well above that of the non-Hebrew slave. While on the surface this may seem unjust, there are two factors to consider here. First, since God made all life, He is sovereign and may value and take life as He sees fit. Second, the fact that God ordained the Israelites to conquer these people speaks to the evil the Lord saw within the conquered society. Thus, when one of these slaves was killed, it was in keeping with what he already merited from the evil already perpetrated as a participant in the conquered society to which he belonged.

    7. God has an ideal in mind for man; but man used his freedom in such a way that he fell short of this ideal. Because of the falleness of the nations in the land prior to Israel, God foresaw that Israel would either need to destroy these nations entirely or subjugate them to the point of being slaves such that their pagan cultures were dismantled. Thus, He gave laws concerning the slaves which would come as part of Israel’s conquests. Having to give laws concerning slavery (for both Hebrew and Non-Hebrew) was not in keeping with God’s ideal. Such laws were necessitated by the falleness of man. While slavery was necessitated by man’s falleness, its impact was mitigated by God’s laws. Note that there is another parallel in Scripture. Ideally there should have been no poor in Israel (Deuteronomy 15:4-5 HOWEVER, THERE WILL BE NO POOR AMONG YOU, since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, 5 IF ONLY YOU WILL LISTE OBEDIENTLY TO THE VOICE OF THE LORD YOUR GOD to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. So while God had a plan for Israel which eliminated poverty, He knew that Israel would fall short and thus within a few passages of declaring that there would be no poor in Israel, He gave laws concerning the poor! Thus, God in His foresight gave laws that should never have been necessary to implement if Israel had been obedient. The parallel with slavery is clear. Man used his free will in such a way as to actualize evil in the world. From this evil slavery of some of the people conquered was birthed(a better alternative than annihilation). In God’s foreknowledge of where man’s fall would lead, He gave Israel laws concerning slavery, laws that never should have been implemented if not for the fall of man.

    This same pattern is seen elsewher where. God states explicitly that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16 For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel), yet laws for divorce were given. Jesus says that such laws were given because of the hardness of hearts. That is it is God’s ideal that men and woman love each other in the sanctity of marriage, but God knew that because of man’s fallen nature many times he would fall short of the ideal; so short that the degree of marital discord would be more harmful (especially to children) that it would be a lesser evil to dissolve the marriage. The law of divorce was not then given because God approved of divorce, but because God knew the heart of man. The laws of slavery where not given because God approved of slavery, but because again, God knew the hearts and ultimate destinies of men. Both of these examples from Scripture show that because God gives laws relating to a given behavior, it does not mean that He condones those behaviors.

  9. I will keep this as short as I can. Here goes.

    A short time after becoming a believer in Jesus, I was able to read the Bible. IT MADE SENSE! Praise to Jesus for His Spirit for all he taught.

    My point: Not one time did it ever, ever occur to me to even think about something as Calvinism vs Armenianism. I read and followed Jesus, including context and understanding granting from His Spirit.

    It wasn’t until in a Bible study one week that the topic came up. I thought both sides were ridiculous because they were NEGLECTING other Biblical truths… no matter how plain. If two seemingly opposing scriptures are written, both are true. Not one true and another untrue. C’mon. Since then, I hear this topic talked about and I just point to Scripture and think “Follow Jesus. Follow what is written. Follow Wisdom.”

  10. S. Johnson, your summary was FAR better than my presentation! And to be sure, the question you initially posted did remind me of the importance of stressing that some laws did reflect less than ideal situations because of the hardness of the heart, as reflected by later statements and/or principles in God’s Word. Thanks for pressing me on the issue.

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