Saturday, January 28, 2012

Light On Those Dark Imprecatory Psalms

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

    The Christian faith is one that is known for its emphasis on love. Love, not only for its friends, but even its enemies. The New Testament portion of the Bible reveals that the central person of the Christian faith, the Lord Jesus Christ, was/is the embodiment of a love which includes even its enemies. One cannot thoughtfully read through the eye-witness accounts of his life, found in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and miss his emphasis on this kind of love. And this theme is also found in the rest of the New Testament, though to a greater degree in some parts of it than in others.
     What, then, are we to make of those statements in the Old Testament, all of which is as much the Word of God as the New Testament, that seem to contradict the New Testament teaching about loving  one's enemies?
     The statements in the Old Testament to which I am referring are mostly found in the Book of Psalms. These Psalms are called "imprecatory Psalms" because in them we read prayers in which the Psalm-writer asked God to severely judge his enemies. What raises questions in our minds is the fact he did not ask God to forgive his enemies, but to judge them. How do we explain this? How do we reconcile it with the teaching of Jesus Christ, who said we should love and forgive our enemies, and who said we should want God to bless them, in spite of their wrong-doing?
    Well, Franz Delitzsch, a Bible scholar from the 1800's, can shed some light on these dark passages in the Book of Psalms. Here (in red) is what he wrote on Psalm 35. It is applicable to the other imprecatory Psalms:
There are only a few Psalms of David belonging to the time of Saul's persecution, which, like Ps 22, keep within the limits of deep inward grief; and in scarcely a single instance do we find him confining himself to the expression of the accursed fate of his enemies with prophetic certainty, as that which he confidently expects will be realised (as, e.g., in 7:13-17). But for the most part the objective announcement of punishment is swallowed up by the force of his inmost feelings, and changed into the most importunate prayer (as in 7:7; 17:13, and frequently); and this feverish glow of feeling becomes still more harshly prominent, when the prayer for the revelation of divine judgment in punishment passes over into a wish that it may actually take place. In this respect Ps.; 7, 35, 69, 109 form a fearful gradation. In Ps 109, the old expositors count as many as thirty anathemas. What explanation can we give of such language coming from the lips and heart of the poet?
Perhaps as paroxysms of a desire for revenge? His advance against Nabal shows that even a David was susceptible of such feelings; but 1 Sam 25:32f. also shows that only a gentle stirring up of his conscience was needed to dissuade him from it. How much more natural-we throw out this consideration in agreement with Kurtz-that the preponderance of that magnanimity peculiar to him should have maintained its ascendancy in the moments of the highest religious consecration in which he composed his Psalms! It is inconceivable that the unholy fire of personal passion could be here mingled with the holy fire of his love to God. It is in fact the Psalms more especially, which are the purest and most faithful mirror of the piety of the Old Testament: the duty of love towards one's enemies, however, is so little alien to the Old Testament (Ex 23:4f., Lev 19:18; Prov 20:22; 24:17; 25:21f., Job 1:29f.), that the very words of the Old Testament are made use of even in the New to inculcate this love.
And from Ps 7, in its agreement with the history of his conduct towards Saul, we have seen that David was conscious of having fulfilled this duty.
All the imprecatory words in these Psalms come, therefore, from the pure spring of unself-seeking zeal for the honour of God. That this zeal appears in this instance as zeal for his own person or character arises from the fact, that David, as the God-anointed heir of the kingdom, stands in antagonism to Saul, the king alienated from God; and, that to his mind the cause of God, the continuance of the church, and the future of Israel, coincide with his own destiny. The fire of his anger is kindled at this focus (so to speak) of the view which he has of his own position in the course of the history of redemption. It is therefore a holy fire; but the spirit of the New Testament, as Jesus Himself declare sin Luke 9:55, is in this respect, nevertheless, a relatively different spirit from that of the Old. That act of divine love, redemption, out of the open fountain of which there flowed forth the impulse of a love which embraces and conquers the world, was then as yet not completed; and a curtain then still hung before eternity, before heaven and hell, so that imprecations like Ps 69:20 were not understood,even by him who uttered them, in their infinite depth of meaning. Now that this curtain is drawn up, the New Testament faith shrinks back from invoking upon any one a destruction that lasts l`wlm; and love seeks, so long as a mere shadow of possibility exists, to rescue everything human from the perdition of an unhappy future-a perdition the full meaning of which cannot be exhausted by human thought.
In connection with all this, however, there still remains one important consideration. The curses, which are contained in the Davidic Psalms of the time of Saul's persecution, are referred to in the New Testament as fulfilled in the enemies of Jesus Christ, Acts 1:20; Rom 11:7-10. One expression found in our Psalm, emi'seesa'n me doorea'n (cf. Ps 69:5) is used by Jesus (John 15:25) as fulfilled in Him; it therefore appears as though the whole Psalm ought to be, or at least may be, taken typically as the words of Christ. But nowhere in the Gospels do we read an imprecation used by Jesus against His own and the enemies of the kingdom of God; David's imprecations are not suited to the lips of the Saviour, nor do the instances in which they are cited in the New Testament give them the impress of being His direct words: they are treated as the language of prophecy by virtue of the Spirit, whose instrument David was, and whose work the Scriptures are. And it is only in this sense that the Christian adopts them in prayer. For after the pattern of his Lord, who on the cross prayed "Father forgive them," he desires that even his bitterest enemies may not be eternally lost, but, though it be only when in articulo mortis, that they may come to their right mind. Even the anathemas of the apostle against the Judaising false teachers and against Alexander the smith (Gal 1:9; 5:12; 2 Tim 4:14), refer only to temporal removal and chastisement, not to eternal perdition. They mark the extreme boundary where, in extraordinary instances, the holy zeal of the New Testament comes in contact with the holy fervour of the Old Testament.
   Here is a link to the website from which this quote was taken: This link even provides a photograph of the famous Bible scholar.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Wonder Of Prayer

By Pastor Bruce Oyen


   The Christian life is one of knowing the Lord in a personal way, not just knowing about him. When we read the Bible, he speaks to us. And by it he strengthens us. But prayer has a very vital part in our relationship with the Lord, too. Perhaps the following poem about prayer will be a blessing to you.

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

Have you considered the wonder of prayer?
That we can pray anytime, anywhere?
That we can lift our hearts to God above?
To one who cares for us with his tender love?

Oh, how good to turn to him when in need!
To know he listens, that he pays heed!
To bring our burdens to him, to bring our care!
To sense he's waiting  to meet us there!

God wants us to bring our needs to him,
whether they're big or small.
None are overlooked by him.
He's concerned about them all.

If you are God's child,
here's what you should do:
Pray to him daily.
He wants to hear from you.

Pray in the name of Jesus,
God's own beloved Son.
He honors the name of Jesus,
and remarkable things get done.

Give thanks for God's answers
given to your prayers.
They are his reminders
that he really, truly cares!

God's Simple Plan Of Salvation Still Works!

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

    Are you seeking salvation? That is, do you want to experience God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness? Do you want to receive eternal life and know you have it? Do you want to make sure your soul will go to heaven when you die? If so, I have good news for you! These blessings and more can become yours today! Yes, TODAY! But you need to know God's paln of salvation.
   God's plan of salvation is very simple, in comparison to what you might think. Many persons wrongly think they must be good enough to qualify for salvation. To them, it is somewhat like graduating from high school or college. That is, they think if they get good grades from God, so to speak, he will give them what they are seeking. As a result, such persons are never quite sure they will make it to heaven. They wonder, "What if I the slip up along the way? Maybe that will disqualify me from salvation. I know I often do not think and behave as well as I should."
   Well, if that is how you think, I have have good news for you! More importantly, God has good news for you! He wants to give salvation and its many blessings, and he wants to do so today!
    If that is what you are seeking, click on the following link and read the article called "God's Simple Plan Of Salvation." If you believe in Jesus Christ because of the message you read, please let me know at once. I want to be of further help to you in the Christian life. Or, if you have questions about this matter, please send me an e-mail right away.
    Here is the link to "God's Simple Plan Of Salvation" :

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why Oppose Alcohol But Not Gluttony?

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

     One common response given to those who oppose alcoholic beverages goes something like this: "Why do you oppose alcohol but not gluttony, since the Bible speaks against it, too?" This is a legitimate question. But do those who ask it know what the Bible means by "gluttony"? Is gluttony simply eating so much that one is over weight? No, it is far more serious than that. So, then, what does the Bible mean by it? Let some Bible dictionaries answer the question.
The Holman Bible Dictionary
   Here (in red) is the definition of the subject given in the Holman Bible Dictionary:
One habitually given to greedy and voracious eating. Gluttony was associated with stubbornness, rebellion, disobedience, drunkenness, and wastefulness (Deuteronomy 21:20). A more general meaning for the Hebrew term as a “good-for-nothing” (Proverbs 28:7 TEV) is reflected in some translations: wastrel (Deuteronomy 21:20 REB); profligate (Deuteronomy 21:20 NIV; Proverbs 28:7 REB); riotous (Proverbs 28:7 KJV). When Jesus was accused of being a “glutton and wine-drinker” (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34), it was in this expanded sense of being one given to loose and excessive living. The Bible knows gluttony makes one sleepy and leads to not working and poverty (Proverbs 23:21).
   Here is a link to the website from which this quote was obtained:
Easton's Bible Dictionary
    Here (in red) is the definition of gluttony given in Easton's Bible Dictionary:
(Deuteronomy 21:20), Heb. zolel, from a word meaning "to shake out," "to squander;" and hence one who is prodigal, who wastes his means by indulgence. In Proverbs 23:21, the word means debauchees or wasters of their own body. In Proverbs 28:7, the word (pl.) is rendered Authorized Version "riotous men;" Revised Version, "gluttonous." Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34, Greek phagos, given to eating, gluttonous.
    Here is a link to the website from which this quote was obtained:
    We learn from these dictionaries that gluttony is far more serious than simply eating too much and being, perhaps, over weight because of doing so. Consider, again, part of what the Holman Bible Dictionary says about the matter: One habitually given to greedy and voracious eating. Gluttony was associated with stubbornness, rebellion, disobedience, drunkenness, and wastefulness (Deuteronomy 21:20). Does that really describe most persons we know who eat too much? Most likely not.
    Truthfully, I think many of  those who oppose alcoholic beverages do oppose what the Bible means by gluttony.  It would be odd for them to oppose alcohol and not oppose these things, too.
    Furthermore, as one carefully reads through the Bible, one sees that everyone of the sins that constitute gluttony are spoken against. Therefore, when someone systematically teaches and preaches through the Bible, these sins will be exposed to be what they are: sins that need to be eliminated from one's life.

The Bible Opposes Evolutionary Theories

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

     If we want to know the true account of the origin of the universe, including our own origin, we must turn to the Bible for infallible information on the subject. The first two chapters of the Bible's first book, called "Genesis," tell us that the universe came into existence by the power of  Almighty God, not by the processes of evolution, not even by the processes of what is called "theistic evolution."
   Theistic evolutionists tell us that God brought the universe into existence over long periods of time. But that is not what the Bible teaches. I have read the Bible from cover to cover more than 50 times, and I know firsthand that one of its most dominant themes is the miraculous origin of the universe. As an example, read Acts 4:23 and 24. There is not a shred of evidence in the Bible that its authors believed in anything other than the Genesis account of God's creation of all things. The Lord Jesus Christ himself affirmed the truthfulness of the first chapters of Genesis, we are told in the 19th chapter of Matthew's Gospel. If we believe in him, we must believe what he believed on any subject, including this one.
    If we believe in him, we must believe that God brought the universe into existence in a short period of time. That is, in six 24-hour days. Jesus Christ did not question the book of Genesis. He affirmed its reliability. In fact, he affirmed everything in the Bible that sceptics question.
    Some readers might think to themselves: "God brought the universe into existence in six 24-hour days? Come now!" But it would better if we had the attitude of a young boy who was visiting about this with his young friend. He said to his friend, "God created the world in six days? In six days? Why did it take so long?"
    The Independent Fundamental Churches Of America, International, is one of many organizations that dogmatically affirm belief in the Biblical account of the divine and miraculous origin of the universe. All Christians should do the same. Here is the IFCA, International statement:
1994 - Santa Rosa, CA
WHEREAS, the evolutionary theory has so pervaded our society that those who hold to a literal
six twenty-four hour day creation are often regarded as being intellectually simplistic,
uninformed, and unscientific; and,
WHEREAS, this attitude has in many cases resulted in organizations, churches, and individuals
attempting to maintain respectability through their accommodation of evolutionary theories
claiming that creation took place over a long period of time; and,
WHEREAS, such accommodation violates the principles of literal interpretation of Scripture and
the doctrine of a verbal, plenary inspiration by shaping the scriptural record to harmonize with
evolutionary theory; and,
WHEREAS, such a violation can serve as the initial catalyst for doctrinal deviation and further
interpretational distortion;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the members and delegates present at the Sixty-fifth
Annual National Convention of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America meeting in
Santa Rosa, California, June 23-28, 1994, reaffirm our belief that the proper method of
interpretation is to take all Scripture in its natural and literal sense; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we affirm our belief in a literal six twenty-four hour day
creation as clearly taught by Scripture through the wording in Genesis 1,2 and as supported by
the rest of Scripture (e.g., Exodus 20:8-11; 31:17,18); and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that IFCA churches be encouraged to endorse this position in
their official church documents (e.g., doctrinal statement, constitution, by-laws, policy manual or
position paper); and,
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to Dr. Henry Morris and the
Institute for Creation Research along with a letter from the national executive director,
commending them for their sacrificial labor in promoting scientific biblical creationism.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wine And The Bible: Two Common Mistakes In Our Thinking About These Subjects

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

    This posting is about wine and the Bible: two common mistakes in our thinking about these subjects. In it, I will present two of these mistakes, and give evidence to correct them. I have made these mistakes myself. As the saying goes, "Been there! Done that!"
Mistake number one:
    We mistakenly assume that the wine of Biblical times is the same as the wine of today. That is, we mistakenly assume the Bible always uses the word "wine" to refer to an alcoholic drink.
    The Baker Encyclopedia Of The Bible has some interesting things to say on the "nature of wine." For example, here (in red) it says the following: "Few would question that at least some wine of the OT (Old Testament) was fermented. Some scholars argue, however, that certain forms of wine in the ancient world were unfermented. They contrast two Hebrew words for wine, concluding that one particular Hebrew word which refers to fresh wine meant only grape juice (Prv 3:10; Hos 9:2; Jl 2:24; Mi 6:15)."
   The Encyclopedia then gives reasons for disagreement with this view. But those reasons do not change the fact that some Bible scholars believe some OT wine was unfermented.
    John MacArthur, Jr., a current-day Bible scholar, has an interesting comment on John 2, the chapter in which we read that Jesus turned water into wine. This comment seems to support the claim that wine in the Bible was not always alcoholic.
    Here (in red) is his statement on John 2:3,  from his one-volume commentary on the whole Bible: "The wine served was subject to fermentation. In the ancient world, however, to quench thirst without inducing drunkenness, wine was diluted with water to between one-third and one-tenth of its strength. Due to the climate and circumstances, even 'new wine' fermented quickly and had an inebriating effect, if not mixed (Acts 2:13). Because of a lack of water purification process, wine mixed with water was also safer to drink than water alone."
    MacArthur plainly said "wine was subject to fermentation." Therefore, it was unfermented wine until it fermented. He also said "even new wine fermented quickly." Therefore, it was unfermented wine until it did so.
    Albert Barnes, a Presbyterian Bible scholar of the 1800's, did not believe all wines referred to in the Bible were alcoholic. He addressed this subject in his commentary on the second chapter of John's Gospel. This chapter tells us the Lord Jesus Christ miraculously changed water into wine.
   Here (in red) is what Barnes wrote on verse 10:
The good wine. This shows that this had all the qualities of real wine. We should not be deceived by the phrase "good wine." We often use the phrase to denote that it is good in proportion to its strength and its power to intoxicate; but no such sense is to be attached to the word here. Pliny, Plutarch, and Horace describe wine as good, or mention that as the best wine, which was harmless or innocent--poculo vini innocentis. The most useful wine -- utilissimum vinum-- was that which had little strength; and the most wholesome wine-- saluberrimum vinum-- was that which had not been adulterated by "the addition of anything to the must or juice." Pliny expressly says that a "good wine" was one that was destitute of spirit (lib. iv. c. 13). It should not be assumed, therefore, that the "good wine" was stronger than the other: it is rather to be presumed that it was milder. The wine referred to here was doubtless such as was commonly drunk in Palestine. That was the pure juice of the grape. It was not brandied wine, nor drugged wine, nor wine compounded of various substances, such as we drink in this land. The common wine drunk in Palestine was that which was the simple juice of the grape. We use the word wine now to denote the kind of liquid which passes under that name in this country--always containing a considerable portion of alcohol --not only the alcohol produced by fermentation, but alcohol added to keep it or make it stronger. But we have no right to take that sense of the word, and go with it to the interpretation of the Scriptures. We should endeavour to place ourselves in the exact circumstances of those times, ascertain precisely what idea the word would convey to those who used it then, and apply that sense to the word in the interpretation of the Bible; and there is not the slightest evidence that the word so used would have conveyed any idea but that of the pure juice of the grape, nor the slightest circumstance mentioned in this account that would not be fully met by such a supposition. No man should adduce this instance in favour of drinking wine unless he can prove that the wine made in the" water-pots" of Cana was just like the wine which he proposes to drink. The Saviour's example may be always pleaded JUST AS IT WAS; but it is a matter of obvious and simple justice that we should find out exactly what the example was before we plead it. There is, moreover, no evidence that any other part of the water was converted into wine than that which was drawn out of the water-casks for the use of the guests. On this supposition, certainly, all the circumstances of the case are met, and the miracle would be more striking. All that was needed was to furnish a supply when the wine that had been prepared was nearly exhausted. The object was not to furnish a large quantity for future use. The miracle, too, would in this way be more apparent and impressive. On this supposition, the casks would appear to be filled with water only; as it was drawn out, it was pure wine. Who could doubt, then, that there was the exertion of miraculous power? All, therefore, that has been said about the Redeemer's furnishing a large quantity of wine for the newly-married pair, and about his benevolence in doing it, is wholly gratuitous. There is no evidence of it whatever; and it is not necessary to suppose it in order to an explanation of the circumstances of the case.
     Albert Barnes, quoted above, had more to say on this subject. Here (in red) is part of what Barnes wrote at the end of his comments on John 2:1 - 11:
5th. An argument cannot be drawn from this instance in favour of intemperate drinking. There is no evidence that any who were present on that occasion drank too freely.
6th. Nor can an argument be drawn from this case in favour even of drinking wine such as we have. The common wine of Judea was the pure juice of the grape, without any mixture of alcohol, and was harmless. It was the common drink of the people, and did not tend to produce intoxication. Our wines are a mixture of the juice of the grape and of brandy, and often of infusions of various substances to give it colour and taste, and the appearance of wine. Those wines are little less injurious than brandy, and the habit of drinking them should be classed with the drinking of all other liquid fires.
The following table will show the danger of drinking the wines that are in common use :
Brandy has fifty-three parts and 39 hundredths in a hundred of alcohol; or .........................53.39 per cent. Rum ................................53.68 " Whisky, Scotch .....................54.32 " Holland Gin ........................51.60 " Port Wine, highest kind ............25.83 " lowest ..................21.40 " Madeira, highest .............. 29.42 " lowest .............. 19.34 " Lisbon .............................18.94 " Malaga .............................17.26 " Red Champagne ......................11.30 " White " ..................... 12.80 " Currant Wine .......................20.25 "
It follows that a man who drinks two glasses of most of the wines used has taken as much alcohol as if he had taken one glass of brandy or whisky, and why should he not as well drink the alcohol in the brandy as in the Wine? What difference can it make in morals? What difference in its effects on his system? The experience of the world has shown that water, pure water, is the most wholesome, safe, and invigorating drink for man.
     Barnes' comments deserve serious consideration, for they can clear up some of the fog in so many of our minds. I have his commentary set, but obtained these quotes from this website:
   EVEN TODAY the word "wine" does NOT  always refer to an alcoholic beverage. But most most us don't know that fact. "Been there! Done that!"  As proof, here is a link to a website for one of many companies that sell NON-ALCOHOLIC wines:
Mistake number two:
    Though there was alcoholic wine in Biblical times, we mistakenly assume that it had the same, or nearly the same, alcohol content as today's wines.
     But there is evidence against this assumption. For example, the Baker Encyclopedia Of The Bible, in its discussion of the nature of wine in Biblical times, says this: "Ample evidence is available to demonstrate that wine, though always fermented, was usually mixed with water in the classical and Hellenistic world."
     The New Unger's Bible Dictionary has an interesting study on the subject of wine in the Bible. It considers the various Old Testament and New Testament words that relate to the subject. The first Hebrew word considered is "yayin," which means "effervescing." Here (in red) are some statements from Unger's Dictionary on this Hebrew word: "The intoxicating quality of 'yayin' is confirmed by Rabbinical testimony. The Mishna, in the treatise on the Passover, says that the four cups of wine were poured out and blessed and drunk by each of the company at the eating of the Paschal lamb, and that water was also mixed with wine because it was considered too strong to be drunk alone. The Gemara adds, 'The cup of blessing is not to be blessed until it is mixed with water.'"
     At the end of the study of this Hebrew word we read this: "Although invariably fermented, it was not always inebriating, and in most instances, doubtless, was but slightly alcoholic, like the vin ordinaire of France."
     John MacArthur, Jr.'s statements given above also reveal that wine in Biblical times was not as inebriating as many current-day wines. Read his words again: "The wine served was subject to fermentation. In the ancient world, however, to quench thirst without inducung drunkenness, wine was diluted with water to between one-third and one-tenth of its strength. Due to the climate and circumstances, even 'new wine' fermented quickly and had an inebriating effect, if not mixed (Acts 2:13). Because of a lack of water purification process, wine mixed with water was also safer to drink than water alone."
     Easton's Bible Dictionary makes statements to the same effect: "Wine is little used now in the East, from the fact that Mohammedans are not allowed to taste it, and very few of other creeds touch it. When it is drunk, water is generally mixed with it, and this was the custom in the days of Christ also. The people indeed are everywhere very sober in hot climates; a drunken person, in fact, is never seen", (Geikie's Life of Christ). The sin of drunkenness, however, must have been not uncommon in the olden times, for it is mentioned either metaphorically or literally more than seventy times in the Bible." Here is a link to the website from which this quote was obtained:
    Smith's Bible Dictionary makes the same point: "The use of wine at the paschal feast was not enjoined by the law, but had become an established custom, at all events in the post-Babylonian period. The wine was mixed with warm water on these occasions. Hence in the early Christian Church it was usual to mix the sacramental wine with water. (The simple wines of antiquity were incomparably less deadly than the stupefying and ardent beverages of our western nations. The wines of antiquity were more like sirups; many of them were not intoxicant; many more intoxicant in a small degree; and all of them, as a rule, taken only when largely diluted with water. They contained, even undiluted, but 4 or 5 percent of alcohol.--Cannon Farrar.)" Here is a link to the website from which this quote was obtained:
   The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia makes statements that also prove that some wines of Biblical times were diluted with water.  The more important statements have been underlined.The quote is in red:
Mixed Wine:
In Old Testament times wine was drunk undiluted, and wine mixed with water was thought to be ruined (Isaiah 1:22). The "mixed" or "mingled wines" (see I, 1, (5), above) were prepared with aromatic herbs of various sorts and some of these compounds, used throughout the ancient world, were highly intoxicating (Isaiah 5:22). Wine mixed with myrrh was stupefying and an anesthetic (Mark 15:23). At a later period, however, the Greek use of diluted wines had attained such sway that the writer of 2 Maccabees speaks (15:39) of undiluted wine as "distasteful" (polemion). This dilution is so normal in the following centuries that the Mishna can take it for granted and, indeed, R. Eliezer even forbade saying the table-blessing over undiluted wine (Berakhoth 7 5). The proportion of water was large, only one-third or one-fourth of the total mixture being wine (Niddah 2 7; Pesachim 108b).
The wine of the Last Supper, accordingly, may be described in modern terms as a sweet, red, fermented wine, rather highly diluted. As it was no doubt the ordinary wine of commerce, there is no reason to suppose that it was particularly "pure."
    This Encyclopedia quote was obtained from this website:
    More evidence could be given to prove that the alcoholic wine from Biblical times, especially New Testament times, was diluted with water, and therefore not as inebriating as many wines of today. That being so, we cannot accurately say something like the following: "It was common to drink wine in the days of Jesus Christ, so no one should object to our drinking it now, so long as it is drunk in moderation."
    That wine of long ago was not equal to today's wines. Today's wines usually are much more inebriating, unless they are nonalcoholic wines, or unless they are greatly watered down.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Understanding Radical Islam

    To see information about a good DVD series called, MILITANT AND MISLED (Understanding Radical Islam In A Post 9/11 World), click on the following link:
    This series on one DVD is from a compassionate Christian perspective, and gives the testimony of at least one Muslim who became a believer in the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Ohio Bible Fellowship Promotes Abstinence From Alcoholic Beverages

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

    The Ohio Bible Fellowship is well-known for its uncompromising stand for the fundamentals of the Christian faith. What follows is a link to its article  about the Christian and alcoholic beverages. It is found in its periodical, The Ohio Bible Fellowship Visitor:
     Here is a link to The Ohio Bible Fellowship website:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Southern Baptists And Regular Baptists Promote Abstinence From Alcoholic Beverages

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

    The Southern Baptist Convention has an official statement promoting abstinence from alcoholic beverages:
On Alcohol Use In America
June 2006
WHEREAS, Years of research confirm biblical warnings that alcohol use leads to physical, mental, and emotional damage (e.g., Proverbs 23:29-35); and

WHEREAS, Alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation's highways; and

WHEREAS, The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family; and

WHEREAS, The use of alcohol as a recreational beverage has been shown to lead individuals down a path of addiction to alcohol and toward the use of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; and

WHEREAS, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating the consumption of alcoholic beverages based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of "our freedom in Christ"; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages.

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to take an active role in supporting legislation that is intended to curb alcohol use in our communities and nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churches to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries.
    It was taken from their website: Here is a direct link to the statement:

   The General Association Of Regular Baptists also has an official statement promoting abstinence from alcoholic beverages. The quotes from scholars of New Testamant Greek make it especially helpful. Here is a link to the full statement:

      Here is the conclusion to the statement:
    WHEREAS most fundamental Baptist Churches historically have taken
the position of total abstinence from alcoholic beverages; and our own
GARBC fellowship on previous occasions has passed resolutions
favoring total abstinence from alcoholic beverages; and the majority of
the churches in fellowship with the GARBC have church covenants
which commit their members to “abstain from the sale and use of
intoxicating drink as a beverage” or words which carry a similar
meaning; and, due to changing ethical standards, there have been
mounting pressures on Christians to lower their standard of total
abstinence from alcoholic beverages to that of “moderation” only;
    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we, the messengers of the churches
in fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches,
meeting in annual session in Lakeland, Florida, June 26–30, 1978, for
all the foregoing reasons, reaffirm our historic position of total
abstinence from alcoholic beverages which we believe to be, both
specifically and in principle, not only a soundly Biblical position, but
also the only practical position for God's people; and
   BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be published in
Baptist Bulletin
churches in fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist
Churches and our other brethren as well, for their mutual
encouragement in this “evil day” in which we “stand” (Eph. 6:11–14).

The Independent Fundamental Churches Of America, International Promotes Abstinence From Alcoholic Beverages

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

      As we know, alcoholic beverages have long been a curse to the world. What follows is a good statement against their use. It is an official resolution by The Independent Fundamental Churches Of America, International. This resolution can help us in these days when more and more Christians are accepting the use of alcoholic beverages, so long as they are used in moderation.


1980 - Green Lake (Wisconsin)
WHEREAS, righteous and godly men such as Noah (Genesis 9:20,21) and Lot (Genesis
19:32-38) brought sorrow and shame to their homes and the world through intoxication with
wine and strong drink, and
WHEREAS, no priest was to enter the temple of God who had drunk wine or strong drink “that
ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean” (Lev. 10:10),
and these Old Testament patterns are examples for us ( I Cor. 10-6, 11), and are profitable for
correction, for instruction in righteousness (II Tim. 3:16), and
WHEREAS, Proverbs 23:20-35 lists the harmful effects of drinking as poverty, woe, sorrow,
contentions, babblings, wounds without cause, redness of eyes, poison, immorality, perverse
talking, death, numbness, fights, sleep and alcoholism, and
WHEREAS, Jesus said it is better to have a millstone hung around the neck and be drowned in
the depth of the sea than to offend one of our youth (Matt. 18:6), and alcoholic drinking by adults
is a primary offense in giving our youth a supposed just reason for drinking, and
WHEREAS, the abstaining entirely from the drinking of alcoholic beverages is the only certain
way to avoid numerous sins and sorrows, and
WHEREAS, Christian believers should be willing to say with the Apostle Paul that “It is good
neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is
offended, or is made weak” (Romans 14:21),
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the Pastors and the Delegates of the churches of the
Independent Fundamental Churches of America meeting in Annual Convention, June 23-27,
1980, at Green Lake, Wisconsin, reaffirm the position of total abstinence from alcoholic
beverages, which position, we believe, to be both specifically and in principle, a sound Biblical

The resolution was taken from the IFCA, International website. Here is a link to the statement against alcoholic beverages:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"How To Shrink Your Church"

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

    In these days when big churches are thought by many to be the sign of God's blessings, it is good to read something on the subject from a Biblical perspective. In other words, it is refreshing to read an author who challenges the church growth experts, and who reveals they can't always be trusted to be Biblical.
    That leads me to say you need to read an article first brought to my attention by Dave Hunt's excellent website, The Berean Call. Here is the link to the Dave Hunt's website:
   The article is called "How To Shrink Your Church."To read the full article by Pastor Tim Suttle, click on the following link:
    If you are Biblically oriented, you will be glad to read the article. If you are caught up in church growth philosophy, it might first make you upset. But it could well change your life for the better.
    To one and all I say, read it, follow it, and tell others about it.