Wow–what a weekend! Counselings and baptisms and services and Bible studies and a new workshop yesterday. And then, this morning, I keep hearing about this “bowl” thing. What’s up with that?
OK, seriously, I know what it is: the Super Bowl. So, who won, anyway? The Texas Rangers? The Vancouver Canucks? The Ealing Trailfinders?
OK, I continue to jest. I just like to pretend to be more enlightened and erudite than others by claiming ignorance about the Super Bowl. It’s a thing I do. 🙂 Though we didn’t watch it ourselves (I think at that time I was watching my kids play a LEGO-based video game), the news is hard to avoid this morning that it was apparently a bit of a runaway game. James Taranto of the WSJ posted on Twitter last night, “Now I understand the expression ‘beating a dead horse.'” And, sure enough, I see that the final score wasn’t pretty.
Someone at services yesterday asked me if I had ever heard of a particular internet denizen’s feeling that watching football is inherently sinful, and I had. (If I recall, that fellow likes to claim Mr. Armstrong as an “authority” for his fatwa on the matter. Hopefully, he will one day, for his own sake, rediscover some of the truths Mr. Armstrong taught that he has cast aside for his own self-aggrandizement and treat them half as seriously.) I’ve heard other, similar arguments before. All of them seem to suffer the same mistakes, and none of them prove their intended point: that somehow watching a sport with tackling is inherently sinful and that, without sufficient justification, every verse in the Bible about violence must apply to it. Frankly, it’s the same sort of poor reasoning that anti-alcohol “Christians” use to attack using wine on Passover by applying all verses related to drunkenness to even sober-minded alcohol consumption. Like the “tackling is always violence” reasoning, such arguments represent poor logic and examples of failing to rightly divide the Word of Truth. I’ve written several posts that mention football, some prompted by a question from one of the widows in a congregation of mine and by a fun discussion we had in Spokesman Club sometime back. In the spirit of the season (ha ha), here are some links in the event anyone is interested:
- Warning: Nerd Throwing Footballs
- “The Super Bowl: To Watch or Not To Watch?”
- “Will There Be Football in the Millennium?”
- “Football & Sin, Part 2: ‘New Orleans’ ‘Bounties'”
- “Sure, Parades & Football — but hopefully Thanks most of all”
- “Apparently, the Super Bowl cometh…”
In other news, many thanks to the many of you who took the time to tell me that you appreciated my recent post on “Christians and Heathen Prophecy”! That was very kind of you!
It was really my work on the 2012 goofiness that got me onto the topic. While most everyone I spoke with appreciated the 2012-related material, there were a few rare exceptions. For instance, one fellow took great displeasure at what I wrote about 2012 and frequently let Dr. Meredith and the evangelists (who have the patience of Job!) know his displeasure. (FWIW: His issue seemed to be not a matter of doctrine, but more of an anger that we published the conclusions of actual Maya scholars on the subject, when he had his own personal, pet theories he was going to publish. Thankfully, for the sake of our credibility, we stuck with reality. The fellow in question has sadly left the Church since then over other personal ideas, though I pray he will one day come to himself.) However, as my writings on 2012-ism continued to show up, I began to see more and more interesting things (for the record: always from folks outside of the Church). Once, for instance, one of our TW viewers wrote to the other presenters to explain to them that I was “a very great apostate” for using the television to slander Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, astrology, and what he called “the 2012 prophets.” He seemed to care very much about our program (enough to write the other presenters and warn them about me), yet here he was all caught up in trying to use these heathen sources to learn about the future–the very sort of thing we condemn fairly regularly on the program. I also had someone, surely very well-meaning and certainly respectful, send me an e-mail (actually, more than one, I think) explaining that he loved the Churches of God (he shopped around amongst them, apparently) but that I was wrong in my 2012 article when I said people should avoid astrology and such heathen sources. He actually tried to argue that God approves of astrological divination to some extent.
There were a few other incidents–again, always, I believe, with folks outside of LCG, though one DVD advertisement about the St. “Malarkey” prophecy may have been an exception–all of which began coming to my attention when I began writing about the 2012 hoopla. So I suppose I have 2012 to thank for it. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving! 🙂
By the way, in the event that anyone doesn’t see the distinction: Writing about the 2012 garbage and debunking it, pointing out the St. “Malarkey” pope “prophecy”, showing how the private Catholic writings of Hippolytus are twists of the truth, etc. are not sin. I can’t find a single passage that could reasonably understood to condemn such–in fact, prophets and preachers in the Bible do similar work in places. But to wallow in such heathen sources in order to divine new information about the future in the hopes that some of the demons may have provided dark insights is sin. The Bible is terribly clear on that, as the verses I referenced make plain. A innocent confusion between the two would certainly be understandable, but any who would allow their personal pride and addiction to the occult to cause them to equate the two are in a dark place, indeed. (Saying that I am simply condemning “referring to” such prophecies and then attacking that idea is a straw man argument and the sign of a desperate person who knows the Bible isn’t on his side.)
Some of you who thanked me also expressed the hope that someone they knew, here or there, who were caught up in such demonic folly might be directed to read the post and wake up. I have to say that I’m not sure you should get your hopes up. Pride was a big enough snare to take down the devil (1 Timothy 3:6). It seems to be working on those who are big fans of the devil’s writings, as well. Anyone who is devoted to “improving” God’s prophecies with demon-inspired writings, for instance, and comes out of it convinced that he is a Prophet and one of the Two Witnesses–concluding that the demons are writing about him, personally–is someone who will need a two-by-four much larger than a single blog post is likely to provide.
Yet, I don’t mean to be negative, and perhaps you would rightly tell me “shame on you” for saying that you shouldn’t get your hopes up. And, honestly, I do have hope. Not that a blog post of mine out here on the back forty and the back waters of the Internet would make “the difference,” necessarily, for someone so caught up in demonic iniquity. But I do have hope in God’s two-by-fours. 🙂 And I have hope in His love. He loves that fellow who was a fan of Edgar Cayce and Nostradamus. He loves the fellow who wrote me and felt that Christianity and astrological divination were not at odds. He loves the self-appointed prophet out there who is busy sinfully divining things from Catholic prophecies about the color of clothes he should wear as one of the Two Witnesses, what the devil’s plans are, etc. And His love is a big deal. Really, when you look at it, it is the big deal.
So, while I don’t have much hope that my blog post would make “the difference” for many who are deeply addicted to such things, I do have hope.
Anyway–I’ve gotten off track! 🙂 The whole point here at the end was to thank many of you for your positive comments and your kind encouragement. So, thanks!