The God Who Kills and Saves

I’ve been reading Joshua and was struggling a little with all of the mass killings – the wiping out of whole populations of cities with no mercy. I think such a thing goes right against the grain of the modern-western conscience (how “moral” and self-righteous we can be at times) and it can be a struggle to understand God commanding it.

But I came to see that God was acting no differently than He did at the time of the flood or with what He did to Sodom and Gomorrah. The only difference was in the method of dealing with the evil in the land. In one case He used water, in another He rained down fire; with the evil population of the Promised Land He used an army of men.

rahab-aIn each case He also saved a family: Noah from the flood, Lot from Sodom, and Rahab from Jericho. I wonder how much the latter reflects the state of the people of the Promised Land – that the one most “worthy” to be saved from the destruction of Jericho was a prostitute.


Spirit, Scripture and Scholarship

When we turn to bible scholars we need to always keep in mind we’ll come across both good and bad, and if we rely ONLY on the work of those “scholars” we’ll never know the difference. We’ll merely adopt what we ourselves find most appealing and what tickles our own intellectual ears.

 I’ve seen far too many Christian bloggers who do little more than make reference to one man’s words after another; Quoting this teacher, then that writer – maybe throwing in an occasional verse of scripture to give everything “biblical legitimacy”, but no real indication that they’ve addressed scripture for themselves and come to terms with what it says.

 When we choose to read and listen to the teaching of others we need to be sure to search the scriptures to see whether their teaching REALLY conforms to scripture. And if it IS valid teaching, then pass on the understanding that has been gained by referring to SCRIPTURE rather than continually noting that Spurgeon said this or MacArthur said that, etc.

If it IS biblical truth, note it as such and not as the teaching of _ _ _ _ _ (fill in the gaps with name of any popular teacher).

Shouldn’t we be more excited about the discoveries we’ve made FROM SCRIPTURE as we checked their teaching rather than giving recognition to a man?


 The big danger is the lack of personal involvement with scripture and the lack of trust in the Holy Spirit. The danger is that people put ALL their trust in the scholarship of others instead of in the Spirit and scripture; reading commentaries and study bible notes and assuming they’ve been studying the Bible.

 Christians need to be freed from the idea that scripture is beyond their understanding and therefore they will need someone to interpret and explain it to them. That attitude is a major problem across the “church”, from the mainline traditional denominations through to Charismatic/Pentecostal groups. Man’s teaching is exalted and placed entirely in the hands of a “qualified” elite. Traditional churches promote a seminary education as the requirement for ministers, charismatics look to people they see as specially “anointed”.

 The poor average man-in-the pew is encouraged to be dependent upon the appointed or anointed “minister” instead of being encouraged and taught to search the scriptures for themselves, with the Holy Spirit being ignored altogether.

You Are Being Warned

The following was posted in the comments section of my post “Clearly Some Don’t Want To Understand”.



Just in case it’s overlooked, being in such an out of the way place, I’ll post the following statement, (made against me) so people can consider its warning. Although after the warning I will point out the serious inaccuracy near the beginning.


FOLKS WHO ARE READING THIS “Please wake up. This man basically with one or two days or weeks of exceptions, hasn’t even attended church for 25 years and he’s trying to be your Christian spiritual guide. This man will lead you right into the abyss if you don’t smarten up and see the deception. Just read the mocking self-righteous tone he exhibits in all his writings. If any of you readers have actually stopped attending church because of the man’s writings, I strongly implore you to delete this man’s blog from your bookmarks immediately, and find yourself a good Christian church and join it and begin worshipping the Lord in a church setting and fellowshipping A.S.A.P!! As your final proof, just review the remarks he makes, both on this blog, and follow the link to Derek Leman’s blog at the top of this page and read the comments he made there. And finally, let this man’s final remarks to my comments here be your guide as to whether he is a real Christian or not. God be with you.



Serious inaccuracy:


It is claimed that I have not “attended church” for 25 years apart from “one or two days or weeks of exceptions”. Considering that for 15 of those years I was going through a “spiritual crisis” a time when I was struggling with extreme doubt, maybe we can reduce that to 10 years.


And could we please take into account the time when my faith was starting to be restored and I spent months checking out churches in my local area, visiting local ministers followed by months of attending home fellowship meetings? And then I moved to a new town and started the minister-meeting process again.


And what about the six months at the charismatic fellowship that ended when the fellowship’s devotion to the charismania of the TACF became prominent (TAFC is the church responsible for the “Toronto Blessing”)? And the year and a half at the traditional denominational church that ended when their Calvinist leanings were pushed more to the fore?


And where ought I have gone next? The Pentecostal church influenced by word of faith and the NAR? (NAR – Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation) Or the new group in town that my research indicates have a cult-like nature? Or maybe for appearance-sake I should just turn up at the High Anglican or Roman Catholic churches or one of the remaining denominational groups that meet for services for one hour a week? I suppose it all depends on what one considers to be a real church and what is actually Christian fellowship.


Yes, in recent years I have spent far more time away from institutional churches than I’ve spent in them, but FAR more than the claimed “one or two days or weeks”. And I’ve spent more time interacting with other believers outside of the bricks and mortar than I was able to while attending Sunday services.


If there was a suitable Christian group around here I’d be happy to join with them. If you are blessed to be part of a thriving and nurturing fellowship focused on Jesus – thank God for it.

My situation hasn’t been hidden from readers of this blog or the forums where I’ve contributed, but if my lack of “church” attendance offends any reader of this blog, they are free to shun me.


As for the rest of the claims made in the above warning, I invite you to read more of the comments section at the above link so you can make a more informed judgement of the accusations being made.


Then you can decide whether:

1)     I’m trying to be your spiritual guide.

2)     I’m leading anyone into the abyss,

3)     I’m a deceiver.

4)     I’ve exhibited a mocking self-righteous tone

5)     I’ve encouraged others to stop attending “church”.


And the countless other claims being made by “endtimedelusion”.

Don’t Study the Bible…

A few suggestions.

1) Don’t study the Bible until you’ve read it. Get a general overview of the overall picture given throughout scripture before trying to find deeper understanding of small parts of scripture.

2) Don’t study the Bible through commentaries and study-bible notes. Tackle scripture for yourself before you even think of looking for another person’s opinion. See what YOU can understand without referring to what others have to say. Trust the Holy Spirit to do the teaching job He came to do.

3) Don’t study the Bible with a predetermined agenda. Don’t use scripture as a tool to “prove” an opinion or a favoured doctrine. Let scripture speak with its own message, don’t try to speak your message through scripture.

4) Don’t study the Bible according to proof texts. Merely checking the verses quoted by a preacher isn’t bible study. Just because a verse is quoted in a sermon it doesn’t necessarily mean what the preacher says it means. Consider how each text relates to the whole chapter, the whole book and the overall message of the whole bible. (And that takes time and patience).

5) Don’t study the Bible in total isolation. Maintain fellowship with other believers, listen to sermons, read books – but NEVER make the word of others your primary authority on scripture and ALWAYS test everything with scripture. When hearing something new, if in doubt, DOUBT. And when something sounds right, doubt anyway. Be cautious. The Bible’s warnings about deceivers are there for a reason.
Accept nothing, no matter how appealing and right it may seem until your own study of scripture(refer again to point 2 above) gives YOU insight.

6) Don’t study the Bible expecting to know and understand everything NOW. Foundations need to be built. Basics need to be grasped.
Understanding of complex mathematics needs to start with a knowledge of basic arithmetic. Likewise some aspects of scripture will remain puzzling until the required background knowledge has been attained.

7) DO study the Bible with diligence and patience, knowing that the Holy Spirit will work with those who seek and trust His help.

Clearly Some Don’t Want To Understand

There are many who are so caught up in tradition and their reliance on men’s teaching that it can be discouraging to read some of the responses to what I’ve said about trusting the Holy Spirit.
Here is one example of a reply I received on another blog:

Prior to closing comments on a topic on his blog, Derek Leman said on 12 June, 2014 at 4:54 pm:

Can I email you to ask the Holy Spirit’s opinion on issues? It’s wonderful that I found you. Can’t wait for the greater clarity I will get now on issues. It’s like meeting Isaiah in person. Thanks for introducing yourself.

(See the full thread

As flippant as that comment was intended, it just shows how much he missed the point.
Despite what I said about the Holy Spirit being given to teach ALL believers and for ALL believers to trust the Spirit, he still expressed (albeit cynically) his desire to rely on other men to be a go-between, to seek and reveal God’s revelation for him.

Further examples of the above mindset can be found in the comments section associated with this post.

Spirit, Word and Brain Usage.

Elsewere I’ve been continuing discussions about the influences we allow into our Bible study. My view is that far too much reliance is placed up commentaries, study bibles and other “theological” writings. That understanding of scripture is being influenced by that reliance, leading to the acceptance and perpetuation of some questionable doctrines.

I suggest it’s important to start with scripture ALONE.
Don’t study scripture WITH other resources. Trust the Holy Spirit to give understanding of what we read. Don’t turn to a commentary to find “the meaning” of passage that isn’t immediately understood. Be prepared to accept that things may remain a “mystery” for the time being. We don’t need to understand everything NOW. We just learn and understand what we can. Other things will come later as understanding grows.

Sermons, discussion, history books and other teaching resources are useful AFTERWARDS and can help us process what we’ve been studying IN scripture. But they shouldn’t be used to shape the direction of our study before (or even during) that personal time with scripture.

In putting scripture first we will find that our study of the Bible will equip us to handle those resources (rather than vice versa). Our discernment will be enhanced and we’ll be able to differentiate between the good and the bad within those resources.

A very common and predictable response to what I’ve had to say about trusting the Holy Spirit has been a snide reference to “checking your brain in at the door”. I’m not sure what that says about attitudes towards the Holy Spirit if so many suggest that trusting the Spirit means that the brain isn’t needed.
The irony is that so little use of the brain is required when we turn to others to interpret things for us, wanting them to tell us what scripture “really” means, instead of making the effort to address scripture for ourselves.

Also see: