Make It Sing | Part II

This is Part II of “Make It Sing,” a series about how to make your relationship with your sweetheart all that God designed it to be.

When an engine is running perfectly, you’ll hear it described as something that’s “running like a song.” We’re using that illustration to emphasize how you don’t want your relationship to merely “work,” rather you want it to “sing!”

In Part I we looked on how every aspect of the human experience stands to be significantly improved by applying whatever God has to say about it, given the fact that He’s the Author of everything to begin with (Col 1:16).

In Part II, we’re examining how to actually make that happen.

Get It Done

Everything that we contend with in life can be boiled down to a spiritual contest (Eph 6:12). Anger, disappointment, frustration, jealousy, fear, anxiety…Those are all emotional reactions to a spiritual tension.

Ephesians 6:12 says:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph 6:12)

You see where this is going?

You don’t read your Bible just to be able to defend your faith or be better prepared to smile and help when you want to scowl and fight.

Moral Courage

“Holiness,” from a purely practical standpoint, is doing the right thing at the right time in the right way for all the right reasons. It’s not just being “wise” or “moral,” it’s a perfect combination of the two.

That’s part of what makes God Who He is. (1 Sam 2:2; Is 48:17; Rev 4:8) and that’s the status we want to target in everything we say, think and do (Lev 11:44; Ps 19:14; Matt 5:48; 1 Pet 1:15-16). Not because we’re looking to simply be “nice,” but because we’re looking to secure the best possible outcome in every situation that we encounter.

And while the benefits are obvious, it nevertheless takes courage because much of the world is wired for compromise and what’s right and best is often exchanged for what’s easy and weak (Matt 7:24-27).

You want to be able to approach every aspect of your life from a Position of Strength (Is 41:10; Phil 4:13).

  • You don’t want to base your present disposition on just what’s apparent, you want to make sure it’s founded on what’s True (Rom 8:28; Phil 2:13)
  • You don’t want to just be “moral,” you want to be morally courageous (Ps 1:1-3; Phil 4:8 [see sidebar])
  • You don’t want to just be prosperous, you want to be both successful and prosperous (Josh 1:8; Prov 10:22; Matt 6:33)

You stay on top of your spiritual game in order to ensure that everything in your life is moving along briskly in the right direction, including your relationship with your sweetheart (Ps 19:7-9; 2 Cor 9:8)!

The Men’s Department

For Men, it looks like this:

Your job is to eliminate anything that gets in the way of your darlin’ girl’s relationship with Christ.

Again, this isn’t being overly “spiritual.” Her best life and the happiest relationship the two of you can enjoy is going to be facilitated by focusing on the foundation which everything in life is built upon.

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. (Heb 11:1-2 [The Message])

When you apply that Reality to relationships, you want to look at what it says in Ephesians.

Ephesians 5:25 says:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Eph 5:25)

If you refer to that graphic below, you’ll see that as the two of you grow closer to Christ, you inevitably grow closer together. And you’re not just “bonding” the way two people who are attracted to might gravitate to one another, you’re connecting at a level that’s deeply personal and goes beyond even the most transparent conversation.

That’s what happens when you pray together (Matt 18:20). When you’re both lining up the way you think about each other and life in general with the Truth of God’s Word, you’re not just “on the same page,” you’re completely in sync with each where the most important issues are concerned.

Click here to read “Make It Sing | Part III!”

The Finish Line

Finishing strong is often advocated as a solid approach to any endeavor. You want to do it right and end in a way that serves as a solid exclamation point to whatever “statement” you just made, be it a physical task, an academic standard, a work related goal or even a benchmark where a particular relationship is concerned.

Kathryn Kee has 15 years of experience coaching educators. In an article she wrote entitled, “Finishing Strong,” she makes this observation…

Throughout history there are many stories of athletic events lost because a player or team slowed before the line was crossed. It might have been loss of hope of winning, loss of focus, loss of energy, loss of confidence, or loss of commitment to the goal.

Emperor Nero of the Roman Empire, very obese and weak, wanted to run in an Olympic race. So he rode part way in his carriage, got out and ran a couple of minutes and then got back into the carriage to cross the finish line. As was his nature, he wanted to be crowned Olympic Champion. Out of fear his followers cheered and called him champion. Directed at Nero, Apostle Paul courageously wrote publicly that our work in life is to “finish the race.”

In some ways, the way you finish in some ways is even more important than the way you started.

It’s not that any part of the journey is incidental. Bad beginnings, unnecessary tangents and epic fails can make the race a lot harder than it needs to be.

But you can learn, you can heal and you can recover in a way where the final result is achieved and the victory is won.

From that perspective, the way you finish is what determines the final score and not the mistakes you made during the game.

But here’s one thing to keep in mind:

Apart from whatever errors you could possibly make, the one thing you want to be aware of is the way in which success can make you falter.

It’s Not a Guarantee

You can get lazy and even a little over confident. At that point, the threat of failure is just as present, but it’s concealed beneath what appears to be a guaranteed outcome.

And that can be a lethal attitude.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1 Cor 9:24)

Hebrews 12:1 says:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, (Heb 12:1 [see also Ecc 9:10])

If you’re familiar with the term, “Hardcharger,” that’s the kind of person these verses are pointing to and saying, “Be like that!”

Thing is, no matter how focused you may be or how certain you are that you’re on the right track, you always want to give your King the opportunity to weigh in and direct you according to the Perspective that encompasses so much more than what you can see or control (Prov 27:1).

This is where your spiritual disciplines become more than just noble chores (read “Why Bother?“).

Keeping Your Desk Clear

A great illustration of this is the way in which General George Washington and the Continental Congress were constantly encouraging those they served to be in a state of perpetual repentance and thanksgiving.

Take a look at the table below. You can click on the “page one | page two” links in the “Journals of the Continental Congress (1774 – 1875)” column to see the image of the text as it’s preserved in the Library of Congress and you can click on the “text” link to view a more “readable” version of the text.”

Date / Proclamation Journals of the Continental Congress (1774 – 1875) text
July 20, 1775 page one | page two text
March 16, 1776 page one | page two text
December 11, 1776 page one text
November 1, 1777 page one | page two text
March 7, 1778 page one | page two text
November 16, 1778 page one text
March 20, 1779 page one | page two text
October 14, 1779 page one | page two text
March 11, 1780 page one | page two text
October 18, 1780 page one | page two text
March 20, 1781 page one | page two text
October 26, 1781 (British Surrender) page one | page two text
March 19, 1782 page one | page two text
October 11, 1782 page one text
October 18, 1783 page one | page two text
August 3, 1784 page one | page two text


Fasting is generally viewed as something that’s reserved for moments of desperation when you deploy an intensely focused effort to position your appeal before God .

When you look at the way it’s referenced in Scripture, that’s obviously a part of it (Dt 9:18; 1 Kings 21:27; Ezra 8:23; Neh 1:4; Dan 9:3-5).

But there’s other times where you see people fasting, not so much because they’re desperate, as much as they’re simply resolved (Lk 2:37; Acts 13:3)

The fact that the Continental Army was able to enjoy any kind of success was completely unexpected. These were farmers and untrained civilians going up against one of the most powerful and well equipped armies in the world. When National Days of Fasting were prescribed, it wasn’t only to ask for God’s blessing and protection, but it was also to repent.

Here’s a part of the text from March 20, 1781:

December 11, 1776

Whereas, the war in which the United States are engaged with Great Britain, has not only been prolonged, but is likely to be carreid to the greatest extremity, and wereas, it becomes all public bodis, as well as private persons, to reverence the Providence of God, and look up to him as the supreme disposer of all events and the arbiter of the fate of nations; therefore, Resolved, That it be recommend to all the United States, as soon as possible, to appoint a day of solemn fasting and humilation; to implore Almighty God the forgiveness of the many sins prevailing all ranks, and to beg the countenance and assistance of his Providence in the prosecution of the present just and necessary war.

The Congress do also, in the most earnest manner, recommend to all the members of the Untied States, and particularly the officers civil and military under them, the exercise of repentance and reformation; and further, require them the strict observation of the articles of war, and particularly, that art of the said articles, which forbids profane swearing, and all immorality, which all such officers are desired to take notice.

(December 11, 1776: Third Congressional Day of Fasting)

The United States in Congress assembled, therefore do earnestly recommend, that Thursday the third of May next, may be observed as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer, that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and through the merits of our blessed Savior, obtain pardon and forgiveness:

The idea isn’t so much about rehearsing how utterly vile you as a sinner appear in the sight of a morally Perfect God as much as it’s clearing your mental desk of any distraction so you can hear the Voice and benefit from the Power of your King.

You can’t sin without thinking primarily of yourself. Fasting represents a great way to fix your eyes exclusively on the Goodness and the Absolute Authority of God.

The United States made a point of doing that frequently throughout the Revolution and into the nineteenth century in order to ensure a clear mind, a humble heart and…

…a strong finish.

The Best Example

The point is this: You want to finish what you start and you want to finish well. And while it’s tempting to think that the only things you need to be concerned about are the ways in which you might stumble as you run, one of the biggest challenges is to make sure you’re keeping up your “hardcharger” pace all the way up to and past the finish line.

That’s how you get things done, that’s how you win.

The best and greatest example is Christ Himself. It would’ve been so easy to walk away or to seek out some kind of shortcut, but He instead chose to endure every excrutiating moment in order to ensure that the Power of sin was forever defeated and death was no longer something to fear.

It wasn’t until the debt was completely paid and a new kind of transaction was now possible that He said, “It is finished.” (Jn 19:30)

In one sense, the cross is a dark and sobering picture that doesn’t seem appropriate when you’re talking about remaining motivated and focused.

But it’s actually a perfect example of how you want to keep things tight and consider yourself to be finished only when the job is completely done.

Only then have you crossed the finish line!


Peace is something that you don’t always think about until you’re having to function without it.

It’s like a random muscle that you’re not even aware until you pull it. Now it hurts in ways that you can’t ignore and it taxes your concentration sometimes to the point where it’s hard to think about anything else.

The absence of peace ranges from something that’s a mild irritant to something that can be paralyzing.

You can be “anxious…”

…you can be “afraid…”

Those dynamics certainly qualify as a situation where you’re not confident or “settled.”

But when you’re in pain…

That’s definitely a level of angst that makes you willing to do just about anything to recover that time when you were not feeling the hurt that can be overwhelming.

That’s one of the practical perks that I really value when it comes to one’s relationship with Christ.

Do Not Worry

Look at this:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Heb 4:15)

The writer of Hebrews is referring to Jesus – Someone Who, as a human being, experienced every temptation to “worry,” yet was able to somehow rise above it and maintain an even disposition.

Bear in mind, the command to not worry is, in fact, a command.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:28-34)

And you’ve got Him saying the same thing in John:

“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:32-33 [see also Jn 14:27])

Now, here’s the thing: If Jesus is saying, “Don’t worry,” then to be anxious represents a sin.

Hang on…

I know that sounds a little over the top.

If your heart is broken or you’re concerned about your child or you’re wondering about a grade, an interview, a relationship…

Your heart isn’t beating if those things don’t register as scenarios that either hurt or make you anxious.

How do you not “worry?” How can you be at peace?

There’s a lot of commentary that attempts to explain the words and actions of Christ leading up to the crucifixion and even just before He passed away.

Was He afraid? Was He worried?

Fact is, as human beings our anxiety is usually centered around what we cannot know for certain. Jesus didn’t have any such misgivings. He knew the outcome, He knew what was on the other side of the next several hours as He agonized over what was about to happen while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

But He also knew it was going to be excrutiating.

You can dread something without being afraid of it. Jesus wasn’t “worried” about what the flogging, the humilation and the torture. But that doesn’t mean He was looking forward to it. You can see that when He made one final appeal to His Father, asking if there might be another way.

He wasn’t violating His command to not worry, He was simply reflecting on the immense pain that He was going to have to endure and you can do that without being frightened or uncertain.

How Do You Get it Done?

There’s a medical anomaly called “Hemotohidrosis.” It’s a situation where you’re in such a state of duress that the condition that typically results in your face turning red when you blush, is now so intense that the blood that normally just rises to the surface is now actually oozing out your sweat glands.

That’s what was going on in Luke 22:44 when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and Scripture said that His sweat became “like drops of blood.”

Jesus was aware of every nuance of what was about to occur as far as Him being flogged, beaten and ultimately crucified. You don’t walk into a situation like that and not worry.

But was He not violating His own command to not worry by being upset?

Where’s that “peace” you were talking about a little bit ago, Jesus?

At one point, just before He passed away, He said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1)

That sounds like someone who feels abandoned, hurt and worried.


Here’s the thing: Go back to Matthew 6:32. What does Jesus say about the “pagans?” How do they respond to “worry?”

According the verse, they allow their anxiety to dictate their actions and their priorities – they “run after” the things they believe are unavailable apart from whatever they think they’re able to do.

And a lot of times, that kind of perspective gives bad ideas the ability to look good and suddenly you’re in a spot that’s worse than where you were before you attempted to solve the problem on your own.

Paul offers a great way to properly interpret this…

26 “In your anger do not sin : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. (Eph 4:26-27)

The verse doesn’t say, “Don’t get angry.” There’s plenty of legitimate reasons why you would get mad. Jesus was angry when He cleared the Temple (Jn 2:15).

The issue isn’t the emotion. The problem is the actions inspired by the worry, the fear and the anger that seemingly justifies the sin you would do in attempt to alleviate the pain and give full vent to your temper.

That’s what Jesus is referring to.

Jesus didn’t sin by agonizing over the pain and the humiliation that He was about to endure. He would’ve sinned, however, had He allowed what was a healthy reaction to what lie in store to justify walking away from the very thing that needed to be done.

When Jesus says, “Do not worry,” you need to hear that as “Look at Me.”

Don’t Be Afraid

When you were kids and your Daddy was in the pool encouraging you to jump into his arms, he probably said, “Don’t be afraid.” He wasn’t being critical of your hesitation as much as he was encouraging you to look past your fear and see him waiting to catch you.

In life, sometimes you have to jump. You have to depend on Him when it hurts. You have to trust Him when every emotion would have you focus on what’s inside your head versus the arms that are reaching out to catch you.

When Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” that was verse one of Psalm 22.

Look at what that same Psalm says beginning in verse 22:

I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. (Ps 22:22-24)

Jesus had every mental faculty available to Him when He said what He did. He wasn’t uncorking a mental bottle of doubt and fear, He was pointing to a Psalm authored by David that starts out with a heart wrenching cry for help that ends with a victory that leaves all of his enemies conceding the Ultimate Power and Greatness of God.

1 Peter says this:

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:7)

When you worry – and it will happen – you don’t need to chastise yourself from “feeling” the emotion triggered by the pain or the absence of a bottom line that characterizes your situation. Rather, you want to take that feeling that would otherwise wash all over you and redirect it to the One Who has vowed to provide the Power and the Perspective you need in order to do the right thing at the right time in the right way for all the right reasons (Is 26:3; 41:10; Phil 4:19).

Let Him Drive

There’s a story in 2 Kings that provides a great picture of the kind of mindset you want when you’re feeling like you’re hanging by a thread:

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:8-17)

Don’t evaluate your situation solely on what you can see. Your God has you (1 Jn 4:4) and your situation completely in Hand (Ps 139:16). Trust in Him (Prov 3:5-6) and don’t just give Him the wheel, give Him the keys and let Him drive.

THAT’s when you can “feel” a relief from either your pain or your anger – when you intentionally acknowledge Him and give over what it is that would otherwise weigh you down. It’s not so much that your situation has changed anymore than the cross was something that suddenly didn’t need to be faced, just because Jesus “prayed.” The challenge is still there, but now you’re seeing it in it’s proper context – as something that God knows and controls…

…and for that reason, you can rest assured that when you jump, you will be caught!


How to Win…

When you’re talking with somone who has something to hide more than they have something to say, one of the more common tactics they use to avoid that line of questioning that has the potential to reveal their argument as fundamentally flawed is to pose as a victim.

But it’s more than a mere agenda. It’s part of a philosophical paradigm that has to be engaged strategically in order to avoid a bogus perspective being given precedence over an objective evaluation of what’s true.

There is no “Right” or “Wrong”

A Liberal doesn’t believe in there being any sort of Absolute Standard by which their behavior is measured. Consequently, there is no “right” or “wrong” only preferences and perspectives. This is why when they’re having to contend with the consequences of their actions – because in their mind they have done nothing “wrong” – they can feel justifed in claiming the status of a victim. They’re either being limited by an oppressive society or they’re struggling beneath the weight of unfortunate circumstances, they’re never simply reaping what they have sown.

Even when you can successfully navigate the conversation to that place where they’re willing to concede they made a poor choice, they will defend that choice by saying they had no other option. By clinging to the notion that they had no alternative, they’re able to preserve the idea that they’ve done nothing inappropriate and whatever code or creed would otherwise result in an indictment is effectively circumvented and they remain a world unto themselves.

The Wrong Side of the Road

Imagine someone driving on the wrong side of the road.

If they position themselves as someone who’s under duress, it becomes very hard to be critical of their behavior without appearing indifferent and perhaps even cruel.

For example, if they’re trying to get their wife to hospital before she gives birth, that changes the way in which you evaluate their choice to risk a head on collision, even if it’s not a good idea.

But if on the other hand they’re just being reckless and irresponsible, then their behavior is rightly identified as such regardless of how they might try to justify it.


The challenge is to be able to figure out whether or not the person you’re speaking with is, in fact, someone having to deal with mitigating circumstances, or if they’re just trying to appear that way in order to avoid having to take responsibility for their actions.

You can do that by keeping the conversation focused on the problems created by your opponent’s behavior as opposed to their feelings.

For example…

You: “You’re driving on the wrong side of the road.”

Them: “You accusing me of driving on the wrong side of the road is a manifestion of an oppressive socieity and you’re making me feel uncomfortable.”

You: “I’m sorry that’s the way you feel, but we’re not talking about your emotions, we’re talking about the way you’re choosing to drive.”

Them: “I choose to drive that way because I’m naturally drawn to driving on the wrong side of the road. I have the right to be happy and you questioning my perspective constitutues an assault on my personal freedoms.”

You: “Your freedom to choose does not mean that every option you have available to you translates to the same outcome. In this instance, your choice translates to you being a threat to yourself and others. Neither your freedoms nor your feelings exempt you from having to take responsibility for your actions.”

The Way You Think + the Way You Act…
This isn’t about perspective, this is about math…
You want to shoot yourself in the foot and then insist it’s because someone told you not to do it that you’re in pain. The way you think plus the way you act equals the price you pay. You either make wise decisions that cost you very little or you make foolish choices that can be very expensive. Either way, it’s you that pays the bill and you don’t demand someone else pay the tab simply because you don’t like the amount.

Them: “I’m not hurting anyone.”

You: “You’re forcing everyone to adjust the way they drive in order to accommodate what amounts to a self serving resolve to ignore the law and a healthy flow of traffic. From that standpoint, you’re hurting everyone.”

Them: “I belive the law to be corrupt and can therefore be interpreted according to person’s individual preferences. Furthermore, whatever your opinion may be, while you are entitled to it, you cannot force your beliefs on me.”

You: “You cannot conceal or deny the problems your decisions produce by criticizing the very rules that were designed to prevent those problems to begin with. We’re not talking about what I believe. Rather, we’re talking about the natural consequences of your behavior.”

Them: “Fine. That’s the way you feel, but that’s not the way I see it.”

You: “This isn’t about perspective, this is about math. You want to shoot yourself in the foot and then insist it’s because someone told you not to do it that you’re in pain. The way you think plus the way you act equals the price you pay. You either make wise decisions that cost you very little or you make foolish choices that can be very expensive. Either way, it’s you that pays the bill and you don’t demand someone else pay the tab simply because you don’t like the amount.”

Them: “That’s your opinion.”

You: “No, that’s your responsibility. The validity of your perspective is ultimately gauged according to what happens when that perspective is put into practice. You can’t say your approach to a particular issue is credible simply because it’s yours. You have to demonstrate that it works and if it doesn’t, then you have to be willing to admit that you might be wrong. But if all you do is blame somone or something else, you’re not looking for the truth as much as you’re looking for an excuse.”

Them: “You can’t make me think like you.”

You: “No, I can’t. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a car coming and you’re in the wrong lane. Regardless of how you feel or what I believe, there are consequences to your actions and you are responsible for the decisions you make.”

“You might want to get over.”

Choices and Results

That’s how you win.

Your opponent may not yield to your line of reasoning, but…

…by keeping the conversation focused on choices and results, you can avoid the concessions that are often made when the dialogue focuses more on opinions and complaints.

A Biblical Approach to Politics | Part IV

I) Intro –  A Conflict of Visions

“A Conflict of Visions” is a book by Dr Thomas Sowell. In it, he distills the various political philosophies and worldviews into one of two “visions…”

The Constrained Vision…
“…sees the evils of the world as deriving from the limited and unhappy choices available, given the inherent moral and intellectual limitations of human beings.”
“For the amelioration (improvement) of these evils and the promotion of progress, they rely on the systemic characteristics of certain social processes such as moral traditions, the marketplace, or families.”1


The Unconstrained Vision…
When Rousseau said that ‘man is born free’ but ‘is everywhere in chains,’ he expressed the essence of the unconstrained vision, in which the fundamental problem is not nature or man but institutions.”2

Sowell is an Economist. He is not a theologian nor does he attempt to position one “vision” over the other in his book. Rather, it’s a dispassionate overview of the two visions and how they capture much of the angst and tension that exists in today’s cultural and political arenas because of the way The Constrained Vision sees life as something that is hard by nature and requires individual resolve and moral courage to succeed…

…and not government.

The Unconstrained Vision, however, sees life as a place where good things happen automatically and the only barrier to individual and corporate utopia are institutions.

By implementing different laws or instituting different systemic paradigms, suddenly life becomes better.

This is what we’re looking at as a society: Two approaches that are defined exclusively by what it is that makes the difference in terms of prosperity and fulfillment both from an individual and a national perspective.

The Constrained Version says that you look to morality, industry and healthy family structures.

The Unconstrained Version says that you depend on institutions and legislative systems for your happiness and satisfaction.

While the practical advantages of the Constrained Version can be validated using objective economic realities, there’s more to this discussion than what can be calculated on an Excel spreadsheet.

While Sowell makes no mention of the spiritual realities inherent in both Versions, because The Constrained Version incorporates morality into its perspective, the definition of what is moral has to be addressed and that will be determined by one’s view on Moral Absolutes.

And it’s because the Unconstrained Version doesn’t acknowledge one’s morality as a contributing factor to your economic success, either Moral Absolutes don’t matter or they don’t exist. Either way, there’s a perspective that goes beyond dollar signs and spills over into personal convictions pertaining to Who it is that makes the rules.

It’s here that one’s definition of God becomes the defining issue and this is why we need to be talking about, not just Economics, but the Politics and the Theology those Politics are based on that allow those economies to exist in the first place.

In this series, we’ve looked at how God is intimately engaged in Politics and He expects us to be aware and involved (Dan 2:21; 1 Chron 12:32; 1 Tim 2:2). We also discussed how the best candidate for office is the one who’s platform is most consistent with the foundation laid by our Founding Fathers who conceived a form of government based on Biblical Absolutes.

In Part II, we looked at the importance of being wise in the way you process what you hear and what you see in the media. In Part III we looked at two of the five tactics that are often used by people who have something to hide more than they have something to say.

Today we conclude our series by looking at the last three of the five tactics referenced in Part III and looking at the importance of evaluating a tree according to its fruit more so than its appearance.

Here we go!

II) The Progressive Pentagon (Part II)

They spend more time pretending to be hurt than they do proving that they’re right.

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt…10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses… (Ex 3:11; 4:10-14 [see also Matt 7:21-22])

When you’re on the bench, you can’t be expected to be putting points on the board because you’re not on the field. It’s a reasonable sounding excuse for the person who’s looking to avoid having to function and perform.

However you may be inclined to say: “I’m not, I don’t, I can’t and I won’t” remember, you are, you do, you can and you will…because He does, He can, He will and He is.

An unwilling mind will take up with a sorry excuse rather than none. (Matthew Henry Commentary on Exodus 4)3

They spend more time trying to sound honest rather than actually telling the truth.

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:4-5)

All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (Prov 16:2-3)

The judgment of God concerning us, we are sure, is according to truth: He weighs the spirits in a just and unerring balance, knows what is in us, and passes a judgment upon us accordingly, writing Tekel (TEE-cale [to weigh]) upon that which passed our scale with approbation—weighed in the balance and found wanting; and by his judgment we must stand or fall. He not only sees men’s ways but tries their spirits, and we are as our spirits are… (Matthew Henry Commentary on Proverbs 16:2-3)

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matt 7:21-22) You can’t drown out the crash of a bad decision with the sound of a good intention.
I’m not that bad…


The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Gen 3:12) “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Benjamin Franklin
It’s not my fault…


Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve. (Prov 24:12 [NLT])

Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”


An easy way to remember the five tactics that we’ve looked at is by using the acrostic, “Mickey Hood.”

Mickey Hood
M Mobs They spend more time talking about Labels, Mobs and Crowds than they do a Name, a Person and a Choice.
C Characters They spend more time assaulting their opponent’s character than they do discussing their opponent’s content.
H Hurt They spend more time pretending to be hurt than they do proving that they’re right.
H Honest They spend more time trying to sound honest rather than actually telling the truth.
D Decisions They spend more time defending bad decisions than they do applauding good choices.

All of this can be boiled down to one central Truth and that’s the fact that you can know a tree by its fruit…

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. (Matt 12:33)

However a person looks on paper or in person, however they speak – while all of that is something to be considered, Christ makes it clear that in the end, it’s a person’s actions that reveal their true colors (see Matt 15:18-19).

III) Real World Examples

Attempting to distract from a person’s actions by using one of the aforementioned tactics so as to better justify what amounts to a bogus mindset is a practice frequently used and is hard to miss once you know what to look for.

A) Illegal Immigration

Prager University recently published a video that details our nation’s immigration policies and describes them as generous and fair (see QR code to the right).

There are those, however, who insist that America is a racist enterprise and any kind of legislation that seeks to limit the ability of a particular people group into the country is unjust and a manifestation of its resolve to promote white supremacy.

One argument that’s presented as a way to prove the theory that America is a racist nation and has a history of preventing specific ethnicities from entering the country is the Page Act of 1875.

1) Page Act of 1875

Beginning in 1845, Chinese looking to escape the sufferings of the Taiping Rebellion were easily convinced to sign contracts offered by recruiters featuring the promise of a better life in the US in exchange for an extended period of time as an indentured servant. For all intents and purposes, these “contracts” weren’t designed for the sake of providing opportunities to Chinese foreigners as much as it was an attempt to circumvent the abolition of slavery and secure cheap labor provided by a nationality that was easy to exploit.

This was the “Coolie Trade.”

Many of the Chinese that signed these contracts had no idea what they were actually signing up for. Some were actually forced to sign and the conditions that they had to contend with included being congregated at Hong Cong in Barracoons before they were loaded into ships and then transported to any one of a number of foreign destinations that included America, Britain, France Spain and Portugal. While some died of disease or suicide in the Barracoons, the average mortality rate was 12% during the journey overseas which was the same mortality rate as the African Slave Trade.

And while Chinese men were obviously preferred for the sake of physical labor, Chinese women were also being enslaved…

…as prostitutes.

In 1860, upwards of 85% of Chinese women in San Francisco were prostitutes. An 1870 census reported that 61% of the 3536 Chinese women in California were employed as sexual appliances. Some of these girls had been kidnapped, many of them had been sold into slavery by their families.

It was a terrible life in many ways…

Conditions in the California brothels, concentrated primarily in San Francisco and Los Angeles, were terrible. Often mistreated by customers, the indentured girls received little care and no medical attention. Homesick and left untreated for venereal disease or other illnesses, most women were broken within a few years and rarely lasted more than five or six years in bondage. Some who started when they were 14 years old were dead before they reached 20, according to Chinese academics Yung and Lucie Cheng and the reportage of Gary Kamiya based on stories in the “San Francisco Chronicle” archives.4

In 1862, the Republican party submitted a piece of legislation designed to put an end to the way in which the Chinese people were being abused and exploited. It proved almost impossible to enforce, however, because there was no way to systemically identify a “coolie” from a legitimate Chinese immigrant – an unfortunate circumstance that was enthusiastically embraced by those who profited from the, “Coolie Trade.”

The point of the legislation was not to restrict Chinese people, but to protect them from being exploited.

It was called the “Page Act” because of it’s sponsor, Horace Page. When you look him up on Wikipedia, you find this:

Horace Francis Page (October 20, 1833 – August 23, 1890) was an American lawyer and politician who represented California in the United States House of Representatives for five terms between 1873 and 1883. He is perhaps best known for the Page Act of 1875 which began the racial prohibitions against Asian, primarily Chinese, immigration. Page was among a faction of congressmen who openly used racist ideas to defend their positions. Page introduced the Chinese Exclusion Act to the House. When arguing for a ban on the immigration of Chinese laborers, he sought to win support from those who believed in white racial superiority, telling his fellow members that “there is not a member upon this floor… who believes that the coming of the African race… was a blessing to us or to the African himself.5

The comment “…there is not a member upon this floor…who believes that the coming of the African race…was a blessing to us or to the African himself” makes it apparent that this man is a racist.

But note the ellipsis (…). Anytime you see those three dots, you may want to roll up your sleeves and do some digging because there’s at least a chance that some crucial context is being omitted.

Here’s the actual comment he made as recorded in the Congressional Record dated March 15, 1882:

I believe, Mr Speaker, that there is not a member upon this floor, of either party, who believes that the coming of the African race to this country originally was a blessing to us or to the African himself. Their condition has long been a subject of careful and earnest consideration among thoughtful people.

The time was, Mr Speaker, when the United States Government undertook to suppress African slavery, or when it entered into an agreement in a treaty with other governments that they would suppress African slavery. It also provided by law that when any vessel having slaves on board was captured upon the high seas by any of our cruisers those Africans found on board and held as slaves, if brought to the United States, should only remain her six months and then be returned back to their native country.6

The point Page was making is that Africans were not brought here voluntarily. As slaves they were subjected to all kinds of inhumane treatment and the result was a horrific existence for the slave and ultimately a war that would wipe out over a quarter of a million people.

While he doesn’t reference the Civil War in his comments, Page was a Major in the California Militia– a unit that was active during the conflict.7

In addition, later on in his comments, he speaks specifically to the Chinese people in general. He says:

The other sections of the bill provide that any native of China who comes here for the purpose of trade or travel or of engaging in legitimate commerce may do so unrestricted and shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges accorded to citizens of the most favored nation.8

When you take the context of his comments into consideration as well as his military record, you find yourself viewing Page not so much as a Racist, but as someone who was concerned about a specific situation more so than a general people group.

If Page was alive today, I can’t help but think he wouldn’t be extremely offended to be labeled, not only a Racist in the context of African Americans, but also in the way he was maligned for supposedly targeting Chinese people in general as opposed to those who were here either against their will or brought here under false pretenses. It’s not that he was looking to limit their opportunities as much as he was trying to destroy the trade of their oppressors.

But did you see how Mickey Hood was used to make Page and his legislation appear malicious?

B) Christopher Columbus

For centuries, Christopher Columbus has been respected as a brave and virtuous explorer credited for having discovered the New World.

Recently, however, historians such as Howard Zinn have depicted Columbus as a greedy racist intent on enslaving the natives he encountered and ushered in a wave of disease and abuse that qualifies him as a true villain.

He quotes from Columbus’ journals with things like this:

(describing the natives) They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane…The would make fine servants…With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.9

Again, you see the ellipsis and the “mystery” suggested by those three dots does not disappoint, as far as the way it hides the context that Zinn obviously wants to conceal.

Columbus’ actual log entry was this (the highlighted section is what Zinn omits):

Thursday, October 11: They neither carry nor know anything of arms, for I showed them swords, and they took them by the blade and cut themselves through ignorance. They have no iron, their darts being wands without iron, some of them having a fish’s tooth at the end, and others being pointed in various ways. They are all of fair stature and size, with good faces, and well made. I saw some with marks of wounds on their bodies, and I made signs to ask what it was, and they gave me to understand that people for other adjacent islands came with the intention of seizing them, and that they defended themselves. I believed, and still believe, that they come here from the mainland to take them prisoners. They should be good servants and intelligent, for I observed that they quickly too in what was said to them, and I believe that they would easily be made Christians, as it appeared to me that they had no religion.10

Columbus wasn’t saying they would make good servants because he had in mind to expand the slave trade to include the natives he had just discovered. Rather, he was observing why this particular people would be potentially victimized by neighboring tribes because they were so submissive.

In his translation of Columbus’s log, Robert Fuson discusses the context that Zinn deliberately left out: “The cultural unity of the Taino [the name for this particular tribe, which Zinn labels “Arawaks”] greatly impressed Columbus…Those who see Columbus as the founder of slavery in the New World are grossly in error. This thought occurred to [Samuel Eliot] Morison (and many others) who misinterpreted a statement made by Columbus on the first day in America, when he said, ‘They (the Indians) ought to be good servants.’ In fact, Columbus offered this observation in explanation of an earlier comment he had made, theorizing that people from the mainland came to the islands to capture these Indians as slaves because there were so docile and obliging.”11

Notice Columbus’ statement: “They should be good servants” and how that one phrase is quoted by Zinn, but then nothing after that is cited until the next section of Columbus’ log which is…

three days later!

It’s here where he mentions how the natives could easily be subjugated.

Sunday, October 14: I went to view all this this morning, in order to give an account to your Majesties and to decide where a fort could be built. I saw a piece of land which is much like an island, though it is not one, on which there were six huts. It could be made into an island in two days, though I see no necessity to do so since these people are very unskilled in arms, as your Majesties will discover from seven whom I caused to be taken and brought aboard so that they may learn our language and return. However, should your Highnesses command it all the inhabitants could be taken away to Castile or held as slaves on the island, for with fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we wish.12

It’s hard not to suspect Columbus of something sinister when you hear him assure his sovereigns that they could enslave all of the natives on the island with no problem because, after all, they don’t know anything about modern weaponry and, “…with fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we wish.”

If Columbus’ actions had mirrored his comments, there would be good reason to believe that he was scheming to enslave and exploit the Arawaks. But Columbus’ first priority was to be an effective witness:

…welcomed as a “deliverer”
According to Professor Felipe Fernadndez-Armesto – a specialist in Latin American History and the author of Columbus, Columbus was actually, “welcomed as a deliverer” by the Arawaks because they were “already doomed by the fierce imperialism of the neighboring Caribs.16

“I,” he says, ” that we might form great friendship, for I knew that they were a people who could be more easily freed and converted to our holy faith by love than by force, gave to some of them red caps, and glass beads to put round their necks, and many other things of little value, which gave them great pleasure, and made them so much our friends that it was a marvel to see.13

Columbus wanted to convert them to the Christian faith. To do that, in his mind, required genuine friendship and compassion and you can see this if you read his journal entries in their appropriate context.

Beyond that, however, you have the reality of a world that is not acknowledged at all by Zinn.

First off, while the natives that Columbus interacted with directly were docile enough, there were other tribes that he could confidently categorize as possible threats given the way in which they had demonstrated their willingness to attack the locals he had met.

The natives make war on each other, although these are very simple-minded and handsomely-formed people14

The Actions of Christopher Columbus…

In their book, “The Worlds of Christopher Columbus…”

…William and Carla Phillips point out, “One prime motive for European expansion, reiterated by nearly all of the early explorers, was a desire to spread Christianity. To the current cynical age, religious motivation is difficult to understand; it is much easier to assume that missionary zeal merely served to justify a lust for gold and glory. Christian faith in early modern Europe touched “virtually every aspect of human life.”18

 On his first return trip, Dr. Carol Delaney, author of “Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem,” writes…

“…Columbus did bring six natives back with him to Spain where they were “baptized with the king (Ferdinand), queen (Isabella), and Columbus standing as godparents. . . . One became Columbus’s godson who accompanied him on many of his later explorations. . . .”19

In addition to the civil unrest among the neighboring islands, it should also be noted that Columbus left some of his sailors behind when he made his way back to Europe only to return and find his men had been murdered to a man.15

So, there was ample reason to be precautious and tactical in the way one planned ahead for any kind of enduring outpost.

To evangelize would require, not only a place to inhabit, but also the means by which to protect oneself from the obvious presence of local violence. And while that perspective may require some conjecture, one aspect of Columbus’ journey which is not open to debate is the condition of Spain in 1492.

The Crusades had resulted in Spain being conquered in 711 A.D. From then until January 1492 when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabelle reclaimed Grenada from the Muslims, Spanish Christendom had endured almost eight centuries of jihad ravages including massacres, pillages and mass enslavements. Columbus was looking for an alternative route to East Asia in order to secure alliances and resources that could be used to reclaim the Holy Land from militant Muslims as well as eliminate the oppressive presence of Islam in the Iberian Peninsula.17

There was more to this trip than a mere curiosity in global sea routes or even the possible discovery of mythical stores of gold.

Columbus’ homeland was occupied, the Holy Land was still under Muslim control and there was a New World filled with souls that needed to hear the gospel. Taken together, Columbus’ journey had the potential to right several wrongs, not by supplementing the slave trade with more human resources, but by strengthening the Presence of Christ both at home and abroad.

There were matters far more pressing in Columbus’ mind than his bank statement. While his words can be taken out of context and used to characterize him as a fiend, his actions say otherwise as do the historians and eyewitnesses that are willing to take an objective view of history rather than one poisoned by a political agenda and determined to make use of the Progressive Pentagon.

Which of the tactics represented by the Mickey Hood acrostic are used by Zinn and his likeminded activists?

Seriously. Take a minute and see if you can’t name a few…

IV) A Ready Response

In May of 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. Initially, Corrie Ten Boom and her family perceived any effort to protect a Jewish person as a political action and therefore something that didn’t necessarily coincide with a believer’s mandate to focus on matters of the soul as opposed to affairs of state.

But one night, a Jewish infant was brought to the Ten Boom home. A local pastor, unwilling to take any personal risk, had brought the child to the Ten Boom’s. Appalled, Casper Ten Boom, Corrie’s father, took the child in and thus began an underground campaign that would successfully hide several Jewish persons, but would cost the lives of several in the Ten Boom family (see “Corrie Ten Boom: A Faith Undefeated”).

What the Ten Boom’s discovered is that Politics is ultimately the collection of laws that define the way a person is to be treated and perceived.

Politics is about people and to that end a believer cannot ignore the impact a godly foundation  – or the lack thereof – can have on a government and ultimately the citizens who live beneath its legislative umbrella (Prov 29:2).

The purpose of this series is to reveal the spiritual aspect of Politics and to recognize the role that we must play as believers in order to preserve and promote the Truth that defines us as a nation and benefits us as a people.

This is why you need to know our nation’s true history and our spiritual heritage. This is why you need to be aware of what’s going on and familiar with the tactics that we’ve discussed so that when it’s time to pray, you know what and who to pray for.

13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron 7:13-14)

At the beginning of our discussion we looked at Dr Thomas Sowell’s brilliant approach to summarizing the various political and sociological schools of thought into two main “visions.”

But his approach can be boiled down into an even more rudimentary collection of categories.

Either God is God or man is god.

When you hear someone say, “You can’t make me believe the same things that you do!” they’re not wrong.

You can’t “make” them drive on the right side of the road let alone believe in the God of the Bible.

But that’s not the point.

The question is whether you’re going to formulate your convictions according to what God says or someone else’s opinion.

The challenge, however, is that regardless of how bulletproof your logic may be, the proper processing of God as the Absolute against which all things moral and political are measured is not possible apart from having a relationship with Christ (1 Cor 2:12).

This is how a conversation about Christ can occur – by being able to trace the foundation upon which you build your political convictions on the Word of God.

And the thing is, you need to be able to do that because more and more our world is becoming a place where there is no bottom line, only different broadcasts.

You go to the “Today Show,” and hear one perspective on the President’s State of the Union speech and you can go out and listen to Ben Shapiro offer a completely different viewpoint.

Without a definitive Standard to compare things to, the only thing that qualifies something as being  “right” is however you as an individual want to process it.

If you perceive credibility as represented by academic degrees or by popular vote, than there is no “right” or “wrong,” there’s just consensus.

We are who we are as a nation because we had more than a group dynamic to base our convictions upon and we are that same nation today, but only to the extent that godly men are willing to take their place at God’s Throne on their knees, pray, seek His Face, turn from the wicked ways and ask Him to heal out land (2 Chron 7:14).

God cares about Politics because God cares about people and it’s prayer that resulted in the Declaration of Independence, it’s prayer that produced the Constitution, it’s prayer that has seen us through multiple wars and crises and it’s prayer that will make the difference now.

To read “A Biblical Approach to Politics | Part I,” click here

  1. “The Independent Whig”, “sowell: the unconstrained vision”,, accessed February 22, 2022
  2. Ibid
  3. Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible, Matthew Henry, “Commentary on Exodus 4”,, accessed February 20, 2022
  4. “China’s Lost Women in the Far West”, Historynet,, accessed February 27, 2022
  5. Wikipedia, “Horace F. Page”,, accessed February 23, 2022
  6. Congressional Record Containing The Proceedings and Debates of the 47th Congress, First Session, p1932,, accessed February 23, 2022
  7. Page was attached to the unit based out of Placerville, which was the county seat of El Dorado County. You can visit to see which units were active during the Civil War
  8. Congressional Record Containing The Proceedings and Debates of the 47th Congress, First Session, p1932,, accessed February 23, 2022
  9. “A People’s History of the United States”, Howard Zinn, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, originally published in 1980, p1
  10. “Journal of Christopher Columbus (During his First Voyage, 1492-93): And Documents Relating the Voyages of John Cabot and Gaspar Corte Real (Cambridge Library Collection – Hakluyt First Series)”, John Cabot and Gaspar Corte Real, p38
  11. “Debunking Howard Zinn”, Mary Grabar, Regnery History, Washington, D.C., 2019, p12
  12. “Christopher Columbus: The Four Voyages”, Being his own log book, letters and dispatches with connecting narrative drawn from the Life of the Admiral by his son Hernando Colon and other contemporary historians, edited by J.M. Cohen, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1969, p58
  13. “Journal of Christopher Columbus (During his First Voyage, 1492-93): And Documents Relating the Voyages of John Cabot and Gaspar Corte Real (Cambridge Library Collection – Hakluyt First Series)”, p101,, accessed February 23, 2022
  14. Ibid, p42
  15. In “Debunking Howard Zinn,” author Mary Grabar explains how Columbus lost one of his ships and had to leave some sailors behind in that there wasn’t room for everyone on the return voyage. When he returned, every one of his men had been killed. “Debunking Howard Zinn”, Mary Grabar, Regency History, Washington D.C, 2019, p16
  16. “Debunking Howard Zinn”, Mary Grabar, Regnery History, Washington, D.C., 2019, p10
  17. “Muslim Spain”, BBC,,1492%20when%20Granada%20was%20conquered, accessed February 27, 2022
  18. “Debunking Howard Zinn”, Mary Grabar, Regnery History, Washington, D.C., 2019, p14
  19. “Scholar disputes source of criticism of Columbus (Commentary)”, Mary Grabar, Ph.D.,,, accessed March 1, 2022

Loose Cannon Fitness = Hip Replacement -> Marine Corps Drummer -> Fitness Program

bruce_flex_gradientJust prior to undergoing hip replacement surgery you’re required to attend a class that walks you through the things you need to be sensitive to as you recover: Being diligent with your physical therapy; being mindful of not lifting your leg up above the plane of your hip – simple but important things that you’ll want to keep in mind.

I hated it.

I didn’t want to be there. Everyone in the class was either old or very overweight. At the time, I was in my early thirties. I had been dealing with a lot of discomfort in my hips and knees but it wasn’t until a friend of mine took some x-rays and confirmed that I had arthritis that I was now obligated to embrace the fact that I didn’t have a mere chronic case of tendonitis. Rather, I was going to have to get my hips replaced at some point and here I was now, a few days away from going under the knife and listening to people a full generation older than me lament their difficulties and limitations.

My surgeon, on the other hand, was awesome.

I even broke down and cried in front of him at one point – I was that concerned that this procedure was going to eliminate any semblance of an active lifestyle. While I had some individuals like Bo Jackson to consider, for the most part it looked like a very risky surgery, as far as being able to resume any kind of an aggressive workout program. I had spent nine years in the USMC. I boxed some, I had taken some martial arts classes, I ran…

Now, I was walking like a duck and having to sit down on the floor and get up against a wall in order to put my socks on. Anytime I held my infant daughter – if I was standing – I was looking for a chair almost immediately. I had tried some holistic options, but they didn’t result in anything substantial. I was scared, I was frustrated and now, confronted with an undeniable need to accept a titanium prosthesis, I was despairing, not sure how things would look in the aftermath and I was bawling.

“I’ll take care of you.”

That’s what my surgeon said as I was trying to wipe the tears from my eyes and get it together. Thing is,  I don’t know if he could’ve said anything more perfect. Nothing patronizing or overly compassionate, just a solid articulation of a resolve to get me on my feet.

And that’s exactly what happened.

With the go ahead from both my surgeon and my physical therapist, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon six weeks after I had my second hip replaced. I had a new lease on life and I couldn’t have been more thrilled as I ran across the finish line!

With the Marathon behind me, I pondered the whole realm of “fitness.” In the military it’s about performance and endurance. As a national recording artist with the band, “Western Flyer,” you had a professional appearance to be mindful of. But now, it was about being a good steward of what God had accomplished through a skilled surgeon. If I was going to enjoy any length of time as a fully engaged and altogether active human being, then I needed to be more than just consistent in the way I exercised, I needed to be wise in the way I trained.

In the Marines, especially in boot camp, you’re constantly being held to a standard when you exercised. With the exception of timed runs or specific training regimens, you were almost always training as a unit with someone up in front of the platoon dictating the exercise, the number of reps and – most importantly – the pace of those repetitions.

In the past, regardless of what might’ve been my focus – even when I was training for a marital arts competition– it was the accountability provided by an objective standard that translated to a truly productive workout. But how could that be duplicated without a workout partner or someone to spar with?

Most of the more popular apps and workout programs will have you glued to a DVD or a computer device while you follow along. But, again, without someone or something “insisting” on a rhythm and a regimen, there were gaps that could be subconsciously exploited and you could you find yourself perspiring but not really sweating  – even with the image of a fitness guru modeling the recommended routines.

It can be especially challenging when you’re on the road. Most hotels, while they have a fitness “facility,” rarely do you find one that is fully equipped with the kind of gear you might be accustomed to. So, you might go for a run or do 30 minutes on the treadmill, but, inevitably, you’re having to really labor to come up with something that keeps yourself challenged and improving in the absence of the equipment you typically depend on.

Normally, I don’t even know if this would’ve registered as anything other than just a mild inconvenience and a nominal topic of discussion. But, again, “fitness” was no longer just about being able to feel comfortable when I pulled my trousers on. There was a different kind of urgency driving me to establish something consistent, something adaptable and something that mimicked the kind of accountability and intensity I had experienced in the military.

I was vacationing with my family on the beach. One morning, I went out by the pool and started doing some calisthenics when I had an epiphany: Rather than just doing a predetermined number of repetitions, I broke out a metronome and allowed that pulse to function as the equivalent to a Drill Instructor barking out a cadence.

It was awesome!

I grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and started documenting tempos to go with different exercises. By this point, I had become certified as a Group Fitness Instructor at the county Rec Center, so I had whole routines that I was now going through and assigning tempos to each exercise.

I was stoked!loose_cannon_fitness

Not long after, I went into the studio and performed various grooves at specific tempos and then recorded a voice-over each rhythm that guided the listener in what exercise was being done, the number of reps and the pace of those repetitions. I then assembled those tracks into different workout packages and imported them as unique playlists into my iTunes. Now when I workout, I’ve got some legitimately challenging exercises lined up that I’m hearing in my ear buds. I don’t need a gym, a computer monitor or a DVD player. And I don’t have the option of just going through the motions because I’ve got an objective standard being imposed with each audio track. Plus, I can mix and match those tracks however I want to so I can, not only keep things varied, I can also focus on specific muscle groups.

I have since built a website and a book around this program but however it might be engaged by the masses, it’s proven to be a truly effective resource for me in my quest for a regimen that requires a “best effort” every time. If I choose to “cheat,” there’s no denying that I’ve fallen short because there’s still four more reps to do unless I just hit the “stop” button. In other words, my butt is getting slayed every time, and that’s a good thing!

I ran my second Marine Corps Marathon this past October and I earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do not too long ago. I teach two exercise classes during the week and I’m just as engaged athletically as I was when I was serving.

One of my daughter’s High School teachers recently got his hips replaced and I was gratified to know that it was my example and my having recommended the surgeon that operated on me that gave him the courage and the resolve he needed to get it done. His situation was similar. Early thirties, active lifestyle and scared to death that he was poised on the threshold of something as dramatic as it was limiting. Being able to see my situation and my recovery was a huge encouragement to him.

But it’s “Loose Cannon Fitness” that has me truly fired up! Here’s where I want my experience to result in people seeing a clear path to that place where their fitness goals are being realized and not merely pursued.henderson

Whether the priority you place on fitness is inspired by a prosthesis or just a desire to look and feel your best, head out to and experience a program that will change the way you train. It did that for me. Whether you’re travelling or you’re working from home, whether you’re a member of a gym or not, whether you’re getting ready to undergo hip replacement surgery or you’re on the short list for a football scholarship, this is a gamechanger, a butt-kicker and a serious gut-burner!

Head out to, and download a free sample of the “Burpees” exercise and get a taste of just how deliciously miserable this program can be. Give it a try, buckle up and experience the workout that comes from a Marine Corps drummer with two titanium hips and a passion for showing others the difference between getting through it and getting to it!


Bruce Gust served for nine years in the USMC, the last five years of his enlistment were spent as a Drum Instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, Virginia. Upon his discharge, he moved to Nashville and became a part of the band “Western Flyer” that would go on to score several charting singles on the Billboard Country Music charts.

He’s a Certified Group Fitness Instructor and author of the book, “Muscular Christianity: 90 Day Fitness Plan” that features the “Loose Cannon Fitness” audio workout system.

The Black Robe Regiment

theres-a-time-to-pray-and-a-time-to-fightThe question on the table is: “Does being a patriot equate to being a Christian and vice versa?”

Let’s start by asking that question.

The answer is, “No!”

My definition of a sound government and the extent I go to defend and champion my convictions do not translate to a relationship with Christ. Nor does the way I vote  change my status before God, in terms of the grace He offers and the grace I need.


God makes very clear that I’m to be engaged in the political process. It is not just a matter of being “interested” as much as it’s about being obedient.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 says that I’m to pray for those in positions of authority. 1 Chronicles 12:32 references the men of Issachar as being the smallest contingent of those who joined King David as able bodied servicemen, but they’re described as “men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” In that way, they’re were just as helpful to David as those tribes who were greater in number, if not more so because they understood the current political climate and recognized David as a godly element that needed to be served and supported.

Today, the political lines that have been drawn are vivid and to be either indifferent or ignorant is not just irresponsible, it’s disobedient.

Beneath the flag of the Democrat party you have abortion, same sex marriage, the elimination of any sort of Christian presence in the marketplace and a doctrine of entitlement that is neither financially sustainable let alone Biblical.

Abortion is touted as something that falls under the heading of a “woman’s right to choose.”


A woman does have the right to choose. She has the right to choose whether or not she’s intimate with a man and risk conceiving a child that she’s not willing to raise. That is the choice she’s entitled to make –  not whether or not she chooses to end the life of the human being that’s growing inside of her simply because she doesn’t want to take responsibility for her actions.

Are there exceptions? Perhaps. But the vast majority of abortions that are done have nothing to do with the health of the mother as much as it is the desire to avoid raising her baby. And of course, the father of said infant is rarely discussed in these conversations which further reinforces the point that this topic is not about “family planning” or “pro choice” or whatever noble sounding verbiage is used to disguise the true nature of what abortion is really all about.

The homosexual agenda has morphed into more than just the lawful practice of same sex marriage. Now we’re got the transgender issue where we’re being forced to accept their decadence as a legally endorsed behavior. It is now to the point where you can be arrested if you don’t refer to a transgender individual by their preferred sexual moniker.

The doctrine of entitlement says that my ethnicity translates to a collection of financial and legislative subsidies. My work ethic, my morality and anything else that might be considered to qualify whether or not I merit any assistance is dismissed as irrelevant and I am left alone to demand money and exemptions based on the notion that I am being unfairly treated both legally and economically.

In 1955, 25% of Black Americans were born out of wedlock. The number today is 73%. A child raised without a father is five times more likely to be poor and commit crime. Nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in jail. Over 40% of black kids drop out of High School. When you combine all those statistics, it’s not difficult at all to see that the reason many minorities struggle economically is not because of a prejudiced system, but because of an immoral mindset.

The Black Robe Regiment” was the name that the British placed on the courageous and patriotic American clergy during the Founding Era. Men like Peter Muhlenberg zealously labored to connect the practical dots that existed between the Word of God and America’s quest for freedom not only in their sermons, but also on the battlefield. 

The British were highly critical of Muhlenberg and his like minded associates within the “Black Robe Regiment” to the point where it was said that, “If Christian ministers had not preached and prayed, there might have been no revolution as yet – or had it broken out, it might have been crushed.1

While you’re never going to gauge the Biblical substance or accuracy of a person’s relationship with Christ based on political convictions alone, you can access their regard for Scripture in the way they either apply or ignore God’s Truth in the way it applies to moral issues. And if the political party you align yourself with champions legislative favors for behaviors that are identified specifically in the Bible as being wrong, then you’ve got an inconsistency that can only be explained by either a limited understanding of – or a fundamental disagreement with – God’s Word. However you might want to explain that to your human critics might be perceived as credible, but any attempts to refute the Substance of God’s Word directed towards its Author are bound to, not only fall short, but be revealed as prideful, perverse and totally unacceptable (Prov 1:7).

But here’s the thing:

Love in the absence of Truth is nothing more than lust. However noble or intense your desire may be for someone, it if’s rooted in something the Bible defines as selfish and perverse, it’s not love. It’s lust and it will prove to be lethal (see Ps 101:3; Jas 1:14-15; 1 Jn 2:15-16).

Compassion in the absence of Truth is nothing more than favoritism. Compassion, by definition, is the practice of extending mercy where justice would otherwise be exacted. But in order for compassion to resonate as such, the Character of its Source has to be noble and just. When Christ extends mercy, He does so having both honored and fulfilled the Law (Matt 5:17). When a politician makes an exception for someone’s illegal behavior in order to secure votes, that’s not compassion. That’s favoritism and a perversion of the Truth as opposed to an expression of it.

Charity is the absence of Truth is nothing more than a subsidy. There’s a difference between someone asking for help who wants to improve their situation and someone who’s asking for the resources they need in order to make it worse. Subsidizing someone’s moral and practical failures contributes to their pain and suffering and is the antithesis of charity (see Prov 10:23).

However political charlatans and their base may want to parade noble sounding verbiage before their constitutens and those they want to impress, the true nature of their platform is obvious. But you’re not going to change their minds or the minds of those that are drawn to them by simply arguing with them.

You have to become a part of the “Black Robe Regiment” and, like those that fought for our nation’s independence, fight now for her dependence on the One Who gave her the the freedom she sought to begin with.

This is a Christian nation, first in name, and secondly because of the many and mighty elements of a pure Christianity which have given it character and shaped its destiny from the beginning. It is pre-eminently the land of the Bible, of the Christian Church and the Christian Sabbath. It is the land of great and extensive and of-repeated revivals of a spiritual religion, – the land of a free conscience and of free speech, – the land of noble charities and of manifold and earnest efforts for the elevation and welfare of the human race. The chief security and glory of the United States of America has been, is now, and will be forever, the prevalence and domination of the Christian Faith.2

It’s no longer enough to win an argument or even a court case. The fight that needs to be both fought and won is the fight that is waged in a person’s heart and only God can win that contest.

Be ready to explain what you believe and why and be able to do it without sounding lame. Know enough about what’s going on in the world to know both how to converse and how to pray. But pray! Be like those in the “Black Robe Regiment” who fought both on their knees and on their feet knowing that while their courage was important, it was their faith that was absolutely necessary and it was the way in which God honored their prayers that qualified their sacrifice and their struggle as both noble and victorious.


1. Alpheus Packard, “Nationality,” Bibliotheca Sacra and American Biblical Repository (London: Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1856), Vol. XIII p.193, Article VI. See also Benjamin Franklin Morris, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States (Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864), pp. 334-335

2. “Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States (1864)” by Benjamin Franklin Morris, Google Books, accessed February 1, 2022

Bruce Gust

bruce_flex_gradientBruce is originally from a small town in upstate New York called Hilton. Two weeks after graduating High School, he was at Parris Island, South Carolina engaging the rigorous process one goes through in order to earn the right to wear the uniform of a United States Marine. He would serve for nine years, five of which were spent as a Drum Instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music  before being honorably discharged and moving to Nashville, Tennessee.

The move was inspired in part by a great opportunity to be the drummer on the first, “Young Messiah Tour” in 1990 which featured a “who’s who” of Contemporary Christian Music performers. After the tour concluded, Bruce would experience first hand the term, “starving artist” as he labored to keep his dream of being a full time musician alive with various playing opportunities leading Praise and Worship for Youth Groups from behind a drumset and supplementing his “proud but incremental” income with a job at the greatest fast food restaurant on the planet: Chick Fil A.

During this time he was rehearsing with a quality group of individuals he had met through various church affiliations that would go on to form the group, “Western Flyer.” It’s here where Bruce would be able to enjoy the rare and special experience of having a record deal and hear his band on the radio and see it listed on the Country Music charts.

somAfter “Western Flyer” came off the road, Bruce secured a position with a local Christian publishing company. It wasn’t long after beginning his career with LifeWay that he was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in his hips and underwent bilateral hip replacement surgery.

While fitness had always been a priority, with the sense of urgency that came with the need to take care of his new prostheses, diet and exercise took on a whole new look. Thus began a passionate pursuit of dietary and training solutions that would find their ultimate expression in “Muscular Christianity.”

Beyond fitness, the need to be spiritually ripped and being able to answer the question “Why you would want to be spiritually ripped,” is Bruce’s passion. As a father, as a Youth Pastor, as a Small Group teacher – the central theme is to present Christ as a comprehensive Game Changer and not just a Divine Emergency Kit. He makes opportunities obvious (Ps 139:16; Lk 2:27-32; Rom 12:1-2), victories achievable (1 Sam 17:45-47; Ps 44:3; Neh 2:8; Acts 12:6-7) , the trivial becomes significant (Zec 4:10; Matt 16:9-10; 1 Cor 1:28-30) and defeats are now mere stepping stones (Rom 8:28; Acts 16:7). “All things at all times having all that you need…(2 Cor 9:6-7)!”

Do you smell that? That’s the aroma of excellence and THAT’s “Muscular Christianity!”

Bruce is a certified Group Fitness Instructor, a licensed pastor and a published writer. He and his wife Michelle have three children and live in Thompsons Station, Tennessee

various accolades and accomplishments

  • nine year veteran USMC
  • NCO of the Quarter, First Marine Brigade
  • Honor Graduate, Intermediate Course, Armed Forces School of Music
  • attended night school for six of the nine years he served in the Corps and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration
  • Navy Achievement Medal awarded for five year tour of duty as Drum Instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music
  • drummer on the inaugural “Young Messiah Tour” which was the most successful and well attended Contemporary Christian Music tour up to that point
  • national recording artist with the band, “Western Flyer”
  • endorsed by Taye Drums, Pintech Percussion and Peavey Sound Systems
  • ordained pastor
  • Youth Pastor and Music Minister at New Hope Baptist Church
  • Music Minister at The Bridge
  • authored the official Bible Study that was released with the movie, “Left Behind” starring Nicholas Cage
  • Certified Group Fitness Instructor
  • Black Belt, Tae Kwon Do

The Accuracy of Scripture | Part II – The New Testament

I) Introduction


We looked at prophecies that were fulfilled to the letter, the scientifically accurate observations being made by inspired individuals that were way ahead of their time and also the way in which contemporary archaeological finds have validated the claims of Scripture.

The conclusions that can be drawn from the evidence that is readily available are as certain as they are substantive. Bottom line: The Old Testament can be embraced as, literally, the Word of God.

This week we look at the New Testament using the same approach. We’ll look at its content, we’ll consider the way it was assembled and finally, examine its consistency – the way in which the manuscripts we have available to us today match up with each other thus resulting in a text we can revere as truly Inspired.

II) The New Testament

     A) Content

It’s appropriate to rehearse what it is that we’re actually trying to deduce from the evidence that is available to us, as far as, not only the accuracy of Scripture, but the reasonableness of the Bible’s claim about itself to be the Word of God:

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Num 23:19)

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. (2 Sam 22:31)

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. (Ps 19:7)

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (Prov 30:5)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet 1:20-21 [2 Sam 23:2] )

Given Scripture’s Divine Audacity, as far as it refusing to accept the label of “accurate,” but instead insists on it being Inerrant, let’s start with the content of the New Testament and look at it in terms of being historically accurate.

heel       1) Archaeology

Pontius Pilate Inscription

In 1961 the archaeological world was taken back to the first century Roman province of Judea. A group of archaeologists, led by Dr. Antonio Frova were excavating an ancient Roman theater near Caesarea Maritima. Caesarea was a leading city in the first century located on the Mediterranean Sea. A limestone block was found there with a surprising inscription. The inscription, on three lines, reads:


The inscription is believed to be part of a larger inscription dedicating a temple in Caesarea to the emperor Tiberius. The inscription clearly states, “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.”1

Heel of Yehohanan

The practice of crucifixion in antiquity was brought to life as never before when the heel bones of a young man named Yehohanan were found in a Jerusalem tomb, pierced by an iron nail. The discovery shed new light on Roman crucifixion methods and began to rewrite the history of crucifixion in antiquity.2

“In the plaster of this pool were found coins that establish the date of the pool to the years before and after Jesus. There is little question that this is in fact the pool of Siloam, to which Jesus sent the blind man in John 9.”3

Pool of Siloam

In 2004, some repairs were being done on a large pipe in Jerusalem when engineers stumbled upon a series of steps that led to a first century pool. By the end of 2005, archaeologists were able to confirm that this was the Pool of Siloam referenced in John 9.

Destruction of the Temple in 70 AD

In the book of Matthew, not long before He was put to death, Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed:

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” (Matt 24:1-2)

Today you can look at an area in Jerusalem that was originally unearthed in the 1838. As the area was further excavated, you could see the massive stones that had at one point been part of the Temple’s structure that had been pushed over by the Romans when they destroyed in 70 AD.

To summarize, Nelson Glueck, the renowned Jewish archaeologist, wrote: “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has every controverted a biblical reference.” He continued his assertion of “the almost incredibly accurate historical memory of the Bible, and particular so when it is fortified by archaeological fact.”4

What makes the New Testament such a standout, however, is not so much the way in which it can be validated from an archaeological standpoint, as much as it’s the narrative of Christ’s death and resurrection.

          2) The Resurrection

While the Resurrection can’t be proven via footage and voice recordings of eyewitnesses, the Biblical record can be substantiated by using other historically credible resources.

Josephus was a Jewish historian that lived from 37 to 100 A.D. He was employed by the Romans and he mentions this about Jesus in his “Antiquities of the Jews”:

Site of “Robinson’s Arch,” originally discovered in 1838 where you can now see the massive stones amidst the rubble left over from the Romans’ destruction of the Temple in 70 AD

At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive.5

Another example that demonstrates the historical reality of Christ’s resurrection that comes from a secular source would be the account of Ignatius who lived from 50-115 A.D. He was the Bishop of Antioch, a native of Syria and a pupil of the apostle John. Enroute to a martyr’s death, he wrote his “Epistles,” and this is what he said of Christ:

He was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate. He really, and not merely in appearance, was crucified, and died, in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. He also rose again in three days…”6

Something else that’s interesting about the historicity of Christ’s death and resurrection is the eclipse and the earthquake that’s referenced in Luke 23:44 and Matthew 27:54.

Greek historian Phlegon wrote: “In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad, there was an eclipse of the Sun which was greater than any known before and in the sixth hour of the day it became night; so that stars appeared in the heaven; and a great Earthquake that broke out in Bithynia destroyed the greatest part of Nicaea.”7

These accounts don’t necessarily prove that the Resurrection did occur, but what they do provide is an objective and historical reinforcement of the Biblical record.

     B) Construction

          1) Apostolic Origin

Thallus is perhaps the earliest secular writer to mention Jesus and he is so ancient his writings don’t even exist anymore. But Julius Africanus, writing around 221AD does quote Thallus who previously tried to explain away the darkness occurring at Jesus’ crucifixion:
“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.” (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1)

In the last session, we showed how some doubt the content of Scripture, believing it to be a patchwork of judiciously selected writings that happened to corroborate a message that could be used to manipulate the masses. But when you look at the criteria that was used to identify the books of the Bible, the end result is a very, very short list because of the required prophetic credential as well as the necessary fulfillment of any prophecy that was articulated. The Old Testament is what it is, not because of preferences or subjective rulings, but because of the substance of the content and the proven credibility of the human author.

The New Testament is no different. The criteria used to determine what book qualified as Scriptural was whether or not it was “apostolic” in origin. So, if the book in question was either written by an apostle or with the endorsement of an apostle, it was considered Authoritative. Otherwise, it was discarded.

An “apostle,” in the broadest sense of the word, is someone who had seen Christ alive after He had been crucified. That included more than the original Twelve. Paul had his encounter on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19) and James, the brother of Jesus, saw Him alive according to 1 Corinthians 15:7. Luke, John Mark and Barnabas were close associates of Paul and Jude, being the brother of Christ, while they weren’t apostles, because of their association with those who were, were recognized as credible representations of apostolic credibility.

Given that dynamic, consider the books of the New Testament:

Book(s) / Author Bio
Matthew One of the original 12 disciples (Lk 6:15)
John Mark Close associate of Peter and Paul (2 Tim 4:11)
Luke Paul’s associate & physician (Col 4:14; Phil 1:24)
John; 1-3 John; Revelation
John One of the original 12 disciples (Matt 10:2)
Luke Paul’s associate & physician (Col 4:14; Phil 1:24)
Romans; 1-2 Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; 1-2 Thessalonians; 1-2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon
Paul Paul encountered the risen Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19)
Barnabas Associate of Paul and cousin to John Mark (Acts 12:25; Col 4:10)3
James Brother of Christ and referred to as an apostle by Paul (Gal 1:19).
1-2 Peter
Peter One of the original 12 disciples (Matt 10:2)
 Jude Brother of Christ (Jude 1:7 [describes himself as a brother of James, which is most likely the author of the book of James)

In A.D. 393, a Church Council was convened called the “Synod of Hippo.” “Synod,” (pronounced “SIN-ed”) comes from a Greek word that means, “assembly.” Hippo is the city of Hippo Regius, which is the ancient name of the modern city of Annaba, in Algeria. Their purpose for meeting was to officially define the books of the New Testament. You can see how most of their work had already been done simply by filtering everything through the qualifier of “apostolic origin.”

When we read the New Testament, we’re reading the Inspired words of God written by people who had either seen the risen Christ personally or were close associates of those who had. Bear in mind, too, that most gave their lives in defense of what they believed and what had been written through them.

That’s strong!

          2) Textual Criticism

The evidence to support the authenticity of the Scriptures, as far as them being an accurate rendering of what was originally written, is more than adequate.

When evaluating works of antiquity from a textual perspective, you’re looking at two things:

  • How many original manuscripts (MSS) do we have today?
  • How long was it before the first copy and the initial writing of the text in question?

The Iliad, by Homer is considered to be classic and was a standard in intellectual circles for centuries. Look at how the two works compare with one another in terms of textual integrity:

Textual Integrity of the New Testament
work when written earliest copy time span # of copies
Homer (Iliad) 900 B.C. 400 B.C. 500 years 1,757
New Testament 40-100 A.D. 125 A.D. 25 years 23,769
originally quoted from “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” and since updated according to “The Bibliographical Test Updated


Dr F.F Bruce was the Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism at Manchester University after having served in various posts where he taught Greek after having served as head of the Department of Biblical History and Literature at the University of Sheffield in 1947.He says:

 “Scholars are satisfied that they possess substantially the true text of the principal Greek and Roman writers whose works have come down to us, of Sophocles, of Thucydides, of Cicero, of Virgil; yet our knowledge of their writings depends on a mere handful of manuscripts, whereas the manuscripts of the New Testament are counted by hundreds, and even thousands.8

 Dr. Dan Wallace is Senior Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has written, co-authored, edited, or contributed to more than two dozen books and is internationally known as a Greek New Testament scholar. He says:

The wealth of material that is available for determining the wording of the original New Testament is staggering: more than fifty-seven hundred Greek New Testament manuscripts, as many as twenty thousand versions, and more than one million quotations by patristic writers. In comparison with the average ancient Greek author, the New Testament copies are well over a thousand times more plentiful. If the average-sized manuscript were two and one-half inches thick, all the copies of the works of an average Greek author would stack up four feet high, while the copies of the New Testament would stack up to over a mile high! This is indeed an embarrassment of riches.9

     C) Consistency

Dr. John MacArthur is a pastor as well as a prolific author and renowned theologian. He’s authored more the 150 books including the “MacArthur Study Bible.” He’s been the pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969 and is the current president of the Master’s University in Newhall, California as well as the Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles, California.

In one of his sermons, he said this:

What you hold in your hand right now, your Bible, I can tell you is an accurate, English translation of the original manuscripts written by the authors of the Bible. It is accurate. If I didn’t believe that we had an accurate translation of the original text of Holy Scripture, why would I endeavor to explain it verse-by-verse and word-by word? It’s very, very essential and very foundational to understand that what you have in your hand in a twentieth century, if you had the NAS, or twenty-first century if you have the ESV, English translation is an accurate translation of texts that originated thousands of years ago. And the reason that I can say that is true is because I understand the science and the history of manuscripts and the passing down of Holy Scripture. That is one of the most important things you learn in seminary because if you have any wavering in your confidence about the integrity of your translation of the Bible, it will suck the conviction right out of your heart. That is why those who attack the truth, attack first the veracity of Scripture. Because if the Bible can be shown to be inaccurate, or an inadequate translation, or wrong, then we have no assurance of anything.10

He goes on to say that there are errors were made in the copying of Scripture…

One of the scholars that I’ve studied in years past, is a man named A.T. Robertson. You’ll see his name connected to matters regarding biblical scholarship. A.T. Robertson says, “The vast array of manuscripts has enabled textual scholars to accurately reconstruct the original text with…listen to this…more than 99.9 percent accuracy.” That’s pretty good. More than 99.9 percent accuracy.

What’s so amazing about this, these are all hand copies…hand copies. Now you say, “You mean, in all of that there are no errors?” Oh, I didn’t say that. They made errors. They put in a wrong word, put in a wrong spelling, left something out, occasionally they even tried to clarify something, some of these scribes. But guess what, we have so many manuscripts, we know when they’re doing that. We know when we’re doing that. Plus, if something shows up in a later manuscript, and it’s not in any of the earlier ones, we know it was added later. It isn’t brain surgery.11

God is not only the Author of Scripture, He’s also the “preserver.” Because we have access to so many hand written manuscripts, we can easily identify where there are differences and stay on course with what represents the obvious text.

Bear in mind, we’re not talking about passages that serve as foundational Truths upon which our creed is based. You won’t find any discrepancies when it comes to the virgin birth or the Resurrection of Christ. But passages such as verses 9-20 in the last chapter of Mark are speculative. The content isn’t inconsistent with the whole of Scripture, but there are some manuscripts that don’t have those verses.

Another example is the number 666. Revelation 13:18, in the more reliable manuscripts documents it as 666, but a papyrus about the size of a postage stamp discovered recently had the number written as 616.

In the second century, Iranaeus, an early church father, wrote a commentary acknowledging his awareness of the number, but went on to say that the more reliable manuscripts had the number written as 666. That’s significant because Iraneus mentor was Polycarp who was a disciple of John.

The bottom line is: God works through seemingly commonplace processes to accomplish His Purpose. In the instance of a manuscript that documents something distinct.

III) Conclusion

The following quotes were referenced in Part I of this discussion, but they’re worth repeating:

You have searched the holy scriptures, which are true, which were given by the Holy Spirit; you know that nothing unrighteous or counterfeit is written in them. (Clement of Rome)12

The Scriptures are indeed perfect. (Iraneus)13

The Scriptures have never erred…The Scriptures cannot err. (Martin Luther)14

The statements of holy Scripture will never be discordant with truth. (Tertullian)15

The Scriptures are holy, they are truthful, they are blameless. (Augustine)16

If anyone preaches either concerning Christ or concerning his church or concerning any other matter which pertains to our faith and life; I will not say, if we, but what Paul adds, if an angel from heaven should preach to you anything besides what you have received in the Scriptures of the Law and of the Gospels, let him be anathema. (Augustine) 17

For I am sure that if I say anything which is undoubtedly contradictory to holy Scripture, it is wrong; and if I become aware of such a contradiction, I do not wish to hold that opinion. (Anselm of Canterbury)18

When one insists that the Bible is flawed, they don’t merely undermine contemporary scholarship, they refute the assertions of the early church fathers – some of whom gave their lives rather than recant their convictions.

There is no good reason to doubt the authenticity of God’s Word – specifically in the way it presents itself as the inerrant Word of God.

Some will try to dismiss the testimony of Scripture when it comes to the way some will try to use the Bible as way to certify itself. They label it as a circular argument and therefore inadmissible in the court of public opinion.

But the Bible is not merely one book, nor is it one voice. Yes, it is the Word of God, but it’s expressed through over 40 different authors writing over a 1,500 year time span and distributed over three different continents. The Bible doesn’t represent one witness, but many witnesses scattered over several centuries.

Dr. MacArthur highlights the importance of a healthy regard for Scripture by saying:

It was A.W. Tozer who famously stated, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” The reason for this, Tozer went on to explain, is that deficient vies of God are idolatrous and ultimately damning: “Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them.” And again, “Perverse notions about God soon rot the religion in which they appear…the first step down for any church is taken when it surrenders its opinion of God.” As Tozer insightfully observed, the abandonment of a right view of God inevitably results in theological collapse and moral ruin.

Because God has made himself known in his Word, a commitment to a high view of Scripture is of paramount importance. The Bible both reflects and reveals the character of its Author. Consequently, those who deny its veracity do so at their peril. If the most important thing about us is how we think about God, then what we think about his self-revelation in Scripture is of the utmost consequence. Those who have a high view of Scripture will have a high view of God. And vice versa – those who treat the Word of God with disdain and contempt possess no real appreciation for the God of the Word. Put simply, it is impossible to accurately understand who God is while simultaneously rejecting the truthfulness of the Bible.19

Archeology, Science, Textual Attestation – it’s all there. There is no good reason to doubt the authenticity of the Old Testament.

Still, to accept the Bible as Divine requires more than just what can be gauged by the senses. To embrace something as supernatural, you have to deploy the same kind of intellectual extrapolation that scientists do when confronted with things such as the boundary of the cosmos or the origin of gravity. Some things we are just not capable of quantifying simply because it lies beyond the human capacity to measure or observe. That’s not to say we can’t make intelligent assessments, but there is, in some instances, an empirical certainty that exists beyond the limitations of the human paradigm. The empirical dots that can be connected are those that exist in terms of that which happened in the past. Our perspective is that of a rear view mirror. We can’t stop the car and witness those events in the present and build our convictions on having personally witnessed the parting of the Red Sea or the Resurrection. It’s in those moments when we have to place our trust in something we cannot see. The Bible calls this faith.

The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith, it’s impossible to please God. Not because He expects you to disengage your intellect when surmising the evidence that validates His Identity and His Word, but because there are historical realities that cannot be observed today, only accepted as fact based on the evidence those events have left in their wake. In other words, we have to be willing to go forward in our convictions based on what we cannot see.

To embrace the Bible as nothing more than a fascinating text is to strip it of the Role it asserts as the Word of God. And it’s not just for the sake of information as much as it’s about the supernatural transformation that occurs when you realize that His Word is His Message to you personally (1 Cor 13:12; Jas 1:23).

God, through the Scriptures, requires a response beyond a positive intellectual endorsement. It asks for the kind of obedience that God Himself facilitates through you by His Spirit (Phil 2:13). You become the permanent home for His Holy Spirit by accepting the Message He proclaims in His Word (Rom 10:17) and that ultimately requires faith.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Rom 10:17)

Not a blind faith, but faith nonetheless. Faith in Him, what He can do and…

…the Integrity, the Substance and the Truth of His Inerrant Word.

Click  here  to go to “The Accuracy of Scripture: Part I – The Old Testament”

1. Credo House,–-6-pontius-pilate-inscription/, accessed April 23, 2017
2. Bible History Daily, “A Tomb in Jerusalem Reveals the History of Crucifixion and Roman Crucifixion Methods”,, accessed April 23, 2017
3. Premier Christianity, “9 Archaeology Finds that Confirm the New Testament”,, accessed April 23, 2017
4. “Evidence That Demands a Verdict”, Josh McDowell, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1979, p65
5. Ibid, p82
6. Ibid, p185
7. Astronomy Today, “Eclipses from Ancient Times – Part Three,, accessed April 23, 2017
8. “Evidence That Demands a Verdict”, Josh McDowell, Here’s Life Publishers, San Bernardino, CA, 1972, p45
9. “Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead Popular Culture”, J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, Daniel B. Wallace, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 2006 p82
10. “Grace To You”, “The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel”,, accessed April 23, 2017
11. Ibid
12. “Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith?”, James K. Hoffmeier and Dennis R. Magary, Crossway, Wheaton, IL, 2007, p140
13. Christian Theology, Millard J. Erickson, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, p252
14. “Evangelical Lutheran Synod”, “Luther and the Word of God’,, accessed April 25, 2017
15. “The Inerrant Word: Biblical, Historical, Theological and Pastoral Perspectives”, John MacArthur, Crossway, Wheaton, IL, 2016, p124
16. Ibid, p125
17. Ibid, p126
18. Ibid, p125
19. Ibid, p12

Muscular Christianity: The Blog

book_title_pageStaying on top of your spiritual disciplines is easier when you’ve got a perspective that’s intentionally filters everything through a Biblically based paradigm. In other words, social issues are processed according to the Biblical Absolutes that apply. Politics, your profession, relationships – everything! And not for the sake of being rigid or legalistic, but in order to be wise.

When you catch the vision of how your relationship with Christ is designed to be an integral part of the way in which you process yourself and the word around you, suddenly Scripture comes alive. Whereas before it might’ve been a little dry, now you’re seeing the advantages of approaching the whole of life from that viewpoint that maintains Christ as the Filing Cabinet and not just one file folder among many.

The Muscular Christianity Blog is broken down into several categories:

Bear in mind, apart from those instances where Scripture is being quoted in the context of a Bible Study, the things that are being published here aren’t necessarily meant to be Authoritative. The point is to help put in motion those habits and thought processes that seek to “correctly handle the Word of Truth (2 Tim 3:16-17)” and, like the men of Issachar who “…understood the times and knew what Israel should do” be able to apply the Word of God in the context of everyday living and current events.

Comments are welcome! The idea, however, isn’t to vent one’s opinions as much as it is to apply God’s Word in a way that translates to a wise bottom line and a course of action that reeks of Truth and not just prudence (1 Cor 11:19).

Bring it!