Defence Strategy

Before You Accuse Me Posture

Before You Accuse Me Posture

Defence is defined as the action of shielding from or resisting attack. The concept of defence, when observed in every context, is an incredibly crucial part of creation. I mean, for instance, just imagine yourself without eyelids, apart from how horrifying you’d look, your eyes would be extremely vulnerable to harm and dangerously exposed to the elements which can cause all sorts of irreversible damages.

Or take a look into the history of any team sport, the most successful teams tend to have the sturdiest and most adaptable defences that are able to fend off the best attacking units, affording them opportunities to launch counteroffensives, especially when the opposition is left exposed.

When we consider, as the definition above explains, what the primary role of any form of defence is, we start to appreciate the true nature of this marvelous concept.

But then, in some instances, defences are often misused. Where defences are designed to primarily fend off attacks, we sometimes use defences as a form of attack. I’m pretty certain that many of us can playback a moment in time when someone has accused us of sin and almost immediately we get defensive and give reasons why we are innocent of all transgressions. We don’t want to be found guilty under any circumstance, which is understandable, so we start to resist what we have deemed an attack, and since attacks are geared to expose frailties, we do not want guilt-like frailties to be seen in us.

In a funny twist, we are quick to allow people to conclude their sentences of praise towards us as this makes us feel high and mighty, even when we know we aren’t fully deserving of the praise, we still make room for it in our hearts. But when it is a criticism that exposes the chink in our armour, we find ourselves quickly shutting the person down.

We are very adept at arguing our point, and showing the accuser their error. This comes at a cost to us because we sometimes lose sight of the benefit of listening to what is being conveyed to us. Agreed, some people are quite unpleasant in their confrontations and seek to harm rather than build, but for those who genuinely want to get to the bottom of the issue at hand, we risk the benefit of reconciliation every time we get defensive.

Take it like a man

Take it like a man

I understand that no one likes it when they are attacked in any way but unless we understand how and when to pull up defences, we may be preventing ourselves from the opportunity of working on a flaw or even restoring a broken relationship. Pride is at the root of every heart that chooses to deflect any loving criticism and unless we put ourselves in the other persons shoes, we will always see those approaches as a form of attack and automatically revert to shielding ourselves.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. – Matthew 18:15

How else can I tell someone that an action of theirs (or lack there of) has offended me without explaining their sin against me to them? After all, if they’re holding a knife and it cuts me, they can’t turn around and say, man up, the thing that makes knives dangerous has been removed. We have to learn to understand things from the viewpoint of the offended in order to prevent any future offenses. It is what we would expect from those who offend us.

Be slow to speak and be quick to listen – James 1:19

***

On This Day In 1822

James Strong

a.k.a. Uncle Funny Beard with the nice coat and cool pose. lol

Theologian, James Strong was born in New York City. He graduated in 1844, as valedictorian from Wesleyan University. Subsequently, he was mayor of his home town on Long Island. Later, having settled in Flushing, New York, he pursued biblical studies, held various local offices, and organized, built, and was the president of the Flushing railroad. In 1856 Wesleyan University granted him the degree of Doctor of Divinity (D.D.). From 1858 until 1861, Strong was both Acting President and Professor of Biblical Literature at Troy University (New York). In 1868 he became Professor of Exegetical Theology at Drew Theological Seminary, where he remained for twenty-seven years, during which he gave the church the widely used, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

It took James Strong thirty-five years to compile his concordance in which he assigned each Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek root a number which allowed its every use to be tracked through the Bible. This became invaluable to later scholars.

Unlike other Biblical reference books, the purpose of Strong’s Concordance is not to provide content or commentary about the Bible, but to provide an index to the Bible. This allows the reader to find words where they appear in the Bible. This index allows a student of the Bible to re-find a phrase or passage previously studied. It also lets the reader directly compare how the same word may be used elsewhere in the Bible. In this way Strong’s Notes provides an independent check against translations, and offers an opportunity for greater, and more technically accurate understanding of text.

Since Strong’s Concordance identifies the original words in Hebrew and Greek, Strong’s numbers are sometimes misinterpreted by those without adequate training to change the Bible from its accurate meaning simply by taking the words out of cultural context. The use of Strong’s numbers does not consider figures of speech, metaphors, idioms, common phrases, cultural references, references to historical events, or alternate meanings used by those of the time period to express their thoughts in their own language at the time. As such, professionals and amateurs alike must consult a number of contextual tools to reconstruct these cultural backgrounds. Since its very first published edition in 1890, this has been and still remains an invaluable tool to aid the study of God’s Holy word.strongs-concordance

So on this day, we remember a great servant to the church and say a big thank you for the depth of work he left behind.

Soli Deo Gloria

***

references taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong%27s_Concordance

Living In Denial.

denialLast night, I laid in bed meditating on the sermon I had heard in church earlier in the day. As I mused over the sermon, a heightened sense of my sin nature fettered  me for a while. After a moment it became necessary that I prayed to God to release my burdened heart. As I prayed, I started to watch through my minds eye as my lifestyle unveiled a pattern of sin denial. I realised that I had developed a nature that was ok with the things that our Lord Jesus wouldn’t approve of or partake in.

I’ll use a WW2 incident to help explain what I mean about the denial of sin in my life.

When the war in Europe was won by the Allies in 1945, one of the many actions taken to right the wrongs was to force ordinary German citizens to walk through the concentration camps and see for themselves what they had allowed to take place.

This was part of the larger process known as Entnazifizierung (Denazification) which the Allies undertook after the war to rid Germany and Austria of all things related to Nazi ideology. As part of this, numerous films showing the horrors of the concentration camps were made and shown to the German public.

Horror of the death camps

Horror of the death camps

German citizens were forced to actually see what was taking place all around them. Not only did they have to tour the camps, but often they had to bury rotting corpses and/or exhume mass graves. The sights and the stench were certainly powerful wake-up calls to many who claimed ignorance or denied any responsibility.
“But we didn’t know” was the common outcry but this excuse just wasn’t sufficient enough.

Reports on the massive genocide inflicted on Jews, Gypsies, political prisoners, homosexuals, dissidents, and other groups by the Schutzstaffel (SS) had been circulated among all the Allied leaders. So when elements of the 89th Infantry Division and 4th Armoured Division captured the Ohrdruf concentration camp on April 4, 1945, they saw first hand the unimaginable horrors of all that had been reported to them.

The scene was an indescribable horror even to the combat-hardened troops who captured the camp. Bodies were piled throughout the camp with ghastly images everywhere of systematic butchery.

During the camp inspections with his top commanders General Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied Forces, said that the atrocities were “beyond the American mind to comprehend.” He ordered that every citizen of the town of Gotha personally tour the camp. After witnessing the hideousness of the camp, the mayor and his wife went home and hung themselves.

The citizens of Gotha lived in abject denial, having grown so desensitised to the known inhumane atrocities going in Ohrdruf camp. They carried on living their lives as normal until General Eisenhower unveiled the dire nature of what they had ignored for so long.

Like the citizens of Gotha, we live our Christian lives ignoring the atrocities going on deep within our hearts and also the culture around us. We turn a blind eye towards sin so easily, only choosing to see the grey areas. “Oh! You don’t have to take life too seriously “, are the common words we utter regularly. We don’t get embarrassed any longer about sin and this is reflective of the culture around us.

We all need an Isaiah 6 moment, where God shines His holiness upon our unrighteousness. This will compel us to cry, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” – (Isaiah 6:5), and pursue a godly life.

May God cleanse our hearts with the beauty and power of His word. Amen

Grace & Peace.

 

some excerpts of the WW2 narrative taken from: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/08/25/make-them-watch/

Exegesis v Eisegesis. You Choose

wrongExegesis and Eisegesis are two conflicting approaches in Bible study. Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text. 

The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants. 

Obviously, only exegesis does justice to the text. Eisegesis is a mishandling of the text and often leads to a misinterpretation. Exegesis is concerned with discovering the true meaning of the text, respecting its grammar, syntax, and setting. Eisegesis is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of the meaning of words.  

Second Timothy 2:15 commands us to use exegetical methods: “Present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” An honest student of the Bible will be an exegete, allowing the text to speak for itself. Eisegesis easily lends itself to error, as the would-be interpreter attempts to align the text with his own preconceived notions. Exegesis allows us to agree with the Bible; eisegesis seeks to force the Bible to agree with us. 

The process of exegesis involves 1) observation: what does the passage say? 2) interpretation: what does the passage mean? 3) correlation: how does the passage relate to the rest of the Bible? and 4) application: how should this passage affect my life? 

Eisegesis, on the other hand, involves 1) imagination: what idea do I want to present? 2) exploration: what Scripture passage seems to fit with my idea? and 3) application: what does my idea mean? Notice that, in eisegesis, there is no examination of the words of the text or their relationship to each other, no cross-referencing with related passages, and no real desire to understand the actual meaning. Scripture serves only as a prop to the interpreter’s idea.eisegesis Exegesis takes more time than eisegesis. But if we are to be those unashamed workmen “who correctly handle the word of truth,” then we must take the time to truly understand the text. Exegesis is the only way. 

Grace & Peace 
post resource taken from – http://www.gotquestions.org/exegesis-eisegesis.html

Err! Em! What is Penal Substitution?

 Penal Substitution ( or Vicarious Atonement) is a theological doctrine within Christianity with the viewpoint that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross takes the place of the punishment that is due to sinners for their transgressions against God. As a result, God’s wrath is propitiated (fully satisfied), and those who accept Christ can be forgiven and reconciled to God.

It is “penal” in that Christ suffered the penalty of the Law, by taking the “punishment” for transgressions against the Law. It was substitutionary (or vicarious) in that Christ took our place on the cross when He bore our sins (1 Pet. 2:24) and became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21). So, penal substitution is the act of a person (Jesus Christ) taking the punishment for someone else’s (man) transgressions.

According to the doctrine of penal substitution, humanity is depraved to such an extent that it is spiritually dead (Eph 2:1) and it is incapable of atoning for sin in any way, as a result, humanity has been judged guilty and unrighteous (Rom 3:11) before the Judgment Seat of God, hereby receiving a verdict of eternal sentence in hell. Only Jesus’ sacrifice serves as a substitute for anyone who accepts it. In a very direct sense, Jesus is exchanged for us as the recipient of sin’s penalty. 

The work of atonement is carried through from start to finish by God Himself as the effective agent. It is above all a movement of God to man rather than a movement of man to God.

The word propitiation (Rom 3:25) appropriately signifies the removal of wrath by the offering of a sacrificial gift. The wrath of God is a punishment due upon the sinner as a legal requirement, since the sinner is someone who has broken the law of God. Jesus is our propitiation who turns away the lawful wrath of God since the law of God must be fulfilled and cannot be ignored. Jesus is the one who fulfilled the law and never sinned (1 Pet. 2:22). But, he bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21) thereby suffering the penalty of sin, which is death.

We can only pay the price of sin on our own by being punished and placed in hell for all eternity. But God’s Son, Jesus Christ, came to earth to pay for the price of our sins. Because He did this for us, we now have the opportunity to not only have our sins forgiven, but to spend eternity with Him. In order to do this we must place our faith in what Christ did on the cross. We cannot save ourselves; we need a substitute to take our place. The death of Jesus Christ is the substitutionary atonement.

Grace & PeacePierced

There are many great resources to read for further understanding on the wonderful and loving work that was done on the rugged Cross of Jesus Christ. My favourites so far are:

1. The Cross of Christ – John Stott (very big volume that has been a classic for 3 decades. I got the audiobook. Hehehehe)

2. Scandalous – D.A. Carson (small volume that won’t take long to read, recommend as a starter)

3. Pierced for Our Transgressions – Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey (currently reading this. Very rich in its exegesis of scripture)