Sin and Salvation; and Is There a Christian Message in the Hobbit?

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Dr. Brown responds to questions about whether true believers can walk in persistent sin; and then gets listener perspectives on the new movie the Hobbit. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.


Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: If we take the blood of Jesus seriously, let us remember it was our sin that nailed Him to the cross and therefore, let us hate sin just as we love Jesus!

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Do what you do with a clean conscience before the Lord. Simply be sure that you do not defile yourself just because you like movies.



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  1. A caller at the 30 minute mark said that we are not to judge. I immediately thought of how her statement is in contradiction to the clear words of 1 Corinthians 5:12. τί γάρ μοι καί τοὺς ἔξω κρίνειν οὐχὶ τοὺς ἔσω ὑμεῖς κρίνετε. For what is to me to judge those outside of (salvation) is it not rather for you to judge those inside (already have salvation). {salvation in the parenthesis may not be implied but rather those of the fellowship or assembly in the process of training or sanctification working out their salvation with fear and trembling as it is written in Phillipians 2:12}

    On the contrary, to the common and sometimes correct misconception that we are not to judge, it obviously would stand contrary to the teachings of the early disciples and followers of Paul who were instructed to judge those on the inside but not those on the outside. This is not debatable, it is only potentially debatable what inside and outside refers to. The verse prior to this many today would find unchristian and shocking, Paul says to not even eat with certain people from the New American Standard Bible saying,”But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler– not even to eat with such a one.

    I laugh because this type of practice of not associating with or eating with an unrepentant brother would be considered a sin by most Christians and they would accuse the Apostle Paul of judging other believers. What church in the whole world practices the teaching of Scripture taught by Paul, most would condemn Paul if Paul lived in this generation and say “thou shall not judge”. Most Christians would practice the opposite and never excommunicate the unrepentant brother, but that was what Paul used to do when he was making disciples for G-d.


    This summer I reread Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison in Fortress Press’s extra­ordinary new edition of his collected works. Letters and Papers remains almost endlessly suggestive and stimulating theologically. But in this reading I noticed how often the imprisoned Luth­eran pastor mentioned tobacco. There are, in fact, no fewer than 20 entries in the index under “Smoking.”

    “I am very grateful for any smoking supplies,” Bonhoef­fer mentions in one letter. In another he adds his “special thanks for the smoking supplies and to all the kind donors of cigarettes,” and elsewhere he offers gratitude for “cookies, peaches, and cigarettes.”

    Bonhoeffer often re­inforces his gratitude with superlatives and exclamation points. “Maria’s and Mother’s cigarettes were magnificent,” he writes. “I thank Anna very much for the cigarettes.” And: “I thank you very much for everything, also for the cigars and cigarettes from your trip!” He praises a Wolf cigar for its “magical fragrance” and on another occasion declares, “I’ve lit the big cigar and am enjoying it immensely—thanks very much!” When his dear friend Eber­hard Bethge delivers a cigar sent by Karl Barth, Bon­hoeffer finds it so fine that he staggers at its “truly im­probable reality.”

    Bonhoeffer’s nicotine en­comia brought to mind other theological figures who smoked. C. S. Lewis incessantly smoked cigarettes and a pipe. J. R. R. Tolkien appeared almost elf­ish in the author photo for The Hobbit, grinning and grip­ping a pipe. Barth, too, liked a pipe but sometimes smoked cigars. Other confirmed smokers in­clude Paul Tillich, Rein­hold Niebuhr, James Gustaf­son and Richard John Neu­haus.

    Enthusiastic smokers can also be found in the ranks of conservative evangelicals. The British Baptist C. H. Spur­geon believed cigar drafts prepared his throat for preaching. Chal­lenged on this practice, Spur­geon replied that he would continue unashamedly to “smoke to the glory of God.”

    During his student days at Princeton, J. Gresham Machen remarked that cigar smoking was “my idea of delight” and wrote to his mother, “When I think what a wonderful aid tobacco is to friendship and Christian patience I have sometimes regretted that I never began to smoke.”

    I honestly believe that these men of God were men of God and that they did not lose their salvation and go to hell because they enjoyed tobacco.

    But for the sake of argument today the phrase “they get saved but they continue to smoke and drink and go to strip clubs” was used. All the callers agreed that if someone continues to do these things than maybe there were never saved in the first place. Going to strip clubs and lusting at the one stripping is definetely wrong from the principle of not treating the daughters of Jerusalem like harlots, lust is contrary to walking in the Spirit.

    I guess I disagree with you my teacher on smoking and alcohol drinking.

    If unrepentant smoking leads Bonheiffer to hell, or CS Lewis to hell, then we for the first time we have a machloket, which is fine I had many machlokets with many of my rabbis in the yeshivas in Jerusalem.

    If doing Kiddush every Shabbat is going to lead me to hell, since I am a practicing Nazirite, I don’t do Kiddush with wine but with bread or beer, then we have a debate.

    I stick to the Scripture that says be sober minded at all times, even Pesach is four glassess of wine, and we are all sober minded, honoring Hashem with meal, song and liturgy, far from anything remotely debacherous. Among the Jewish world that blesses God when drinking alcohol my rabbis taught that drunkeness is less prevalent but among the Christians that condemn it as a sin, drunkeness and addiction abuse exists.

    In the Jewish world among the Yemenites and Sephardis the Hukkah is a social practice that my rabbis often participated in. If the most orthodox of the most haredi do not see smoking and alcohol to be a sin against the Creator, then if you do, More, then why? And if yes, what is the state, in your evaluation of Bonheiffer and Lewis enjoying tobacco and I thought Smith Wigglesworth smoked a grandpa pipe as well and countless others of wonderful lives dedicated to the God Eternal. Shalom More.

    Tzadik b’Emunah yichyeh.

  3. Eliyahu, thanks as always for your comments. Much appreciated!

    If I’m correct, re: the rapper quoted on the air today, by “smoking” he meant “smoking pot” and by “drinking” he meant “getting drunk” — not smoking cigarettes or having a social drink (or drinking wine as part of a religious ritual). We can check on that, but for sure, he made himself clear about going to strip clubs. May the Lord mercy on this young man and bring him into real life transformation.

  4. Dr. Brown,

    Thanks you again for a great program. I only listened to the first half so far, so please forgive me if you addressed this later in the program.

    I was wondering about your view on the word “inherit” in verses like 1Cor 6:9.

    Some teachers who I have listened to have been emphasizing that this is referring to rewards and not to salvation. You can “enter” the kingdom (1Co 3:11-15) without “inheriting” the kingdom.

    I do not necessarily agree with that position, but I am still trying to sort these things out.

    I think you mentioned this in a debate with Dr. White, but you did not get in depth in that program. I did not listen to the 2nd program with Dr. White yet. I have a lot of programs to catch up on :).


  5. Dear Dr. Brown, I am so glad to hear that you are writing a book on grace. I was going to ask you to do a show on the subject because I hear so much on “hyper grace” as you call it, as well as books and church teachings that seem to be infesting the body. I can’t wait for it and pray that you can publish it soon…

    God bless you, your family and your ministry!


  6. As one that doesn’t encourage smoking tobacco, I know what it’s like to go without and see God answer prayer for some cigarettes when there didn’t appear to be any to be had, for so many that I was with at the time who did use tobacco were fresh out.

    God knows what it is that we suffer through and can lead a soldier to a pack in the roadside ditch during a police of the area to pick up trash in the middle of what seemed to be nowhere, (before it rained even) and later on, by the grace of God I was able to quit.

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