The Meaning of “repent” and God

In my devotional readings today, there is a passage in 1 Samuel where the phrase “It repented the Lord that He had made Saul king over Israel.” A short while later, and Samuel tells Saul that God is not a man, that He should repent. A short while later, it says… it repented the Lord He had made Saul King.

So… what does this mean? repentance with man is a huge word, one bearing a great deal of Bible study. Many people who claim to be Christians today would relinquish that claim if they really made a study of repentance a priority.

For man, there is an implication of a descent into sin, or walking away from God. And repentance is going the other way.

God cannot go away from God. God cannot sin.

So, what WE consider repentance cannot possibly apply to God.

Indeed, since God is perfect Holiness, righteousness and Truth… God cannot repent.

So, what does it mean that God repented?

The closest God can come to repentance, because He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent… is to be sorry. God was sorrowed that He had to make Saul King, and it grieved Him.

Nothing Saul did surprised God. God had reasons why He chose Saul to be King – the main one being that the people had to learn it is not by flesh or by power. David was smaller than Saul, and probably not very inspiring to look at. God perhaps understood that if God brought David into the picture, that Israel would not accept him.

But Saul was big. He was quite tall and physically impressive. The people thought of him as a warrior. They wanted a King who would go out there and single handedly fight the enemy for them. Saul most certainly wasn’t the solo champion they assumed he’d be.

Once the people saw that mere physical power did not a King make, they were ready to accept David. Saul was a mess, and certainly mismanaged Israel.

So it repented God that He made Saul king over Israel.

The gist of it is – think “Sorrowful”.


More Logos Search Terms

{Section <PreachingTheme = Faith>}

If you’re looking to write a sermon on faith, etc… copy the above and paste into a search window in Logos. Modify the preaching theme to suit what you’re trying to preach on. The results are every passage in the Bible that the Logos programmers think are related to that theme.

If you’re trying to preach on the themes of the Bible… here you go.

More on Rampant Theological Liberalism

The other day, I commented on something to my wife about, “The swirling down of Christianity.” By this, I’m referring to the little whirlpool in your sink as the water goes down the drain.

Many Christians agree the big problem with Christianity in the times of Martin Luther was the tendency to use allegorical Biblical interpretation. “Well, when the Bible talks about moving the stone, it means one’s cares and troubles.”

Today, the word “allegory” has been replaced with “spiritual”, but it’s the same thing. You see, spiritually, when the Bible talks about moving the stone, it means one’s cares and troubles.

And everyone bats their eyes and sighs, pleased with the allegorical interpretation.

When the Bible says the stone was moved, it really means there was a big, big round carved stone that was in front of the tomb in the Garden. And it means the stone was moved… out of the way. Jesus Christ didn’t need it moved – we needed it moved so that we could see this.

The Bible means what it says. The Bible means what it says. The Bible means what it says.

I’ve got quote upon quote upon quote from well meaning Christian authors who constantly are engaging in Neo-Barthianism (see yesterday). What astounds me is that although Charles Ryrie decries Neo-Barthianism – he has been affected GREATLY by them due to his unconscious refusal to obey Biblical mandates of separationism. Paul tells us don’t even LISTEN to a heretic – and Neo-Barthianism is most definitely a damnable heresy – lest their words eat as does a canker.

It’s terrible, I tell you.

Barthians charge evangelicals with holding a dictation view of inspiration. The biblical writers were typewriters on which God typed His message.” Charles Ryrie

Ryrie tries unsuccessfully to refute this charge, which he does not believe in. Strange, because this is exactly what I and MANY fundamentalists exactly DO believe in! It’s a doctrine called “mechanical inspiration.” And many great Biblical teachers have taught exactly this.

Yet Ryrie, to my surprise, tries to foster the Barthian belief that the writers of the Bible had some choice in the tone of the Scriptures.. but not the words.

I don’t think Mr. Ryrie has stopped to consider how contradictory that is? If every letter of the Bible is inspired, then this means that the very words are inspired. I mean, if the letters are inspired – and he has good arguments to contend this – then this means God had a direct hand in choosing the letters. You can’t take Theta epsilon omicron Sigma and have it mean anything other than Theos, or God. If God chose the letters, then God chose the words.

We’ve had “bible teachers” who try to tell us that praying is a work, fasting is a work, reading your Bible is a work – so don’t do any of that. We’ve had “Bible teachers” try to tell us that since we’re living in this world, to be effective at spreading the gospel, we should live like the world but smile all the time, and people will think we’re really happy, and they’ll ask us why we’re so happy, and we can etc.

Listen, if you walk around living like everyone else and smiling all the time, people are going to think you need medication.

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Ryrie, but he’s been affected by the liberalism he correctly fights, because he will not separate from error.

Now, to make demands on you. Separate from error. Don’t even listen to their teachers, because their words will eat as does a canker.

More on Trends in Christianity

One of the current trends in Christianity is a combination of New Calvinism with a style of liberal theology of Barthianism, the writings of Karl Barth.

Why you would want to get involved in liberal theology, I don’t know.

The proponents of this swear by inerrancy – but they modify the meanings of inerrancy to suit themselves.

Interpretation of the Bible is almost always allegorical when the Bible seems to suggest a pre-trib rapture, the inerrancy of Scripture, a literal thousand year millennium, a literal bodily return of Christ, Israel being the Jewish people, or even the deity of Christ.

The sad part is, the Logos world is filled with these Neo-Barthians. Here’s a Neo-Barthian quote from a VERY popular course in Logos… “every book has an editor, and the Bible is no exception…”

What? Did you really just say that?

What does that mean? For those who’ve never encountered it, you just ran smack dab into Wellhausen-ism. julius Wellhausen was a German Theologian who popularized something called “documentary hypothesis”, that the Bible was written by multiple men at multiple times. Sounds correct, right? Until you discover he split Isaiah into two different men (one during Intertestamental times – this theory was exploded with the Isaiah Scroll at Qumran, but they STILL keep pushing it!), that four different men wrote the five books of Moses (JEPD), etc.

You’re not going to find Julius Wellhausen in heaven, i’m afraid. He was a rationalist, a funny word which means “unbeliever”.

Most Neo-Barthians are unbelievers. They LOVE Jesus Christ, but to them He’s a wise man, somehow mysteriously favored by God. They try not to get too worked up about the miracles – they may just be folk tales – and the majority of them may indeed believe the miracles happened. But essentially Neo-Barthians reject the deity of Christ, the inerrancy of the Bible, and other major topics. If you challenge them on it, they’ll be offended and deny it – unless you carefully question them on their beliefs. Talking to a Neo-Barthian is like talking to a Messianic – it all sounds good until you begin to pin them down: “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is eternally existent, God in the flesh, eternally the son of God?” Then suddenly they begin to make excuses and explanations.

Saying “I believe Jesus Christ is God in Human flesh, eternally co-existent with God the Father” is like saying “I went to the bank.” It’s a statement of fact. If you have to quantify that in any way, that’s major warning signs you’re not saved. Jesus Christ specifically warned His FOLLOWERS of this in John 8-9. Many of His FOLLOWERS became offended at His condemnation and left Him.

What would the Lord say to a Neo-Barthian? Well, for many of them, it’s going to be “away from me – I never knew ye.”

Ministry of Helps

“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:28, KJV)

What is the ministry of helps? Quite simply, the ministry of helps is pretty basic. You’re helping out. how many church functions require someone to move tables and folding chairs? It seems like almost every one. So… jump in and move chairs and tables.

The people who have the God-given need to organize a food pantry for the needy… they need help. Volunteer and help them. Sometimes it’s just someone to help on the feeding or distribution days. If you’re one of the churches that actually makes lunches for the homeless, then… help! Ask what the person in charge wants done. Open a can of soup for them and get in on the stove. Or, more often, what they want is for you to get it OFF the stove before it burns!

Missionary helpsers? Believe it or not, one of the things missions needs is… someone to email them from time to time. When a missionary comes to the church to speak once a year (and eat some American food – some of the countries they go to, food is scarce, and often requires picking bugs out of it…), get their email address and try to dedicate one week a month to write to the missionary. Just one email a month! It helps.

THere’s always something to be done. And believe it or not, those “We have to move on Saturday, could somebody help” announcements… very often gets crickets, and a stressed out family stuck trying to move out in one day by themselves. Actually say “Yes” to that! Even just showing up for an hour helps a lot!

Warnings About John Piper

There is a free course tool in Logos, where John Piper takes you through a study of the Bible. All you see is the Bible text, and Piper scribbling all over it in varied colors. I’m very wary of Piper, and stay firmly away from him – but what little I’ve watched of that course is fairly good at learning how to study a Bible text.

Piper has so many theological flaws that I hesitate to even mention his name. So… why am I mentioning it? Because I recommend Logos, and this tool is free.

But I feel a pastor’s burden to warn all my readers, because Piper is so popular. He is profoundly influenced by a heretic (C. S. Lewis) and is so staunch a Calvinist, that he describes himself as “Seven point” instead of five.

Piper urgently desires to speak in tongues, but claims sadness that the LOrd has not granted him that gift.

Um… yeah. The Lord has granted NOBODY that permanent gift in the 20th or 21st century. That gift passed before the New Testament was even completed.

When you put CS Lewis, Evangelicalism, Five point Calvinism, and the strong emotional leanings that Pentecostalism causes, you have a bizarre hodge podge of doctrinal sour mash.

Christianity went ballistic when Victoria Osteen commented a few years ago that “we should worship God because it makes us feel good.” Yet, nobody went crazy when Desiring God was published. Why do I mention that? Because the essence of Desiring God is exactly the same thing!

Yes, the free course in Logos by John Piper may well teach you good insights into studying scripture. But – there’s death in the pot. I hear all the time, “Chew the meat, spit out the bones.” Yet just a few days ago, I showed how Charles Ryrie – an otherwise VERY GOOD Bible teacher and defender – has been subtly influenced by the very Neo-Barthianism he rejects, simply because he accepts Textual Criticism and will not practice separationism.

Should you take that course? I’m very split on this because what I saw of it was very good – but there’s death in the pot. I am so very wary of Piper that I can’t recommend him.

The tendency of Logos’s people is to choose New Evangelical materials and much of Neo-Barthian materials as stock add-ons for Logos. The siren call to become an Evangelical is STRONG, to abandon the King James Bible and walk around with a leather-bound ESV autographed by John MacArthur, to accept everyone who names the name of Christ as a Christian.

“Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;” (2 Timothy 2:14–17, KJV)

SHUN profane and vain babblings!

Do a Bible study on “Vain”. You’ll see it means “Useless”. The teachings of any man who has corrupt theology is dangerous.

Logos is an amazing tool, VERY powerful. No kidding, I have learned FAR more about the Bible using it than in 20 years of Quickverse, E-Sword,, theWord, Wordsearch, Bible Analyzer, Davar, or any of the other Bible programs I own or have used – and even with hardcover book study of the Bible I don’t think I could uncover a tenth of what I can learn in 15 seconds with Logos.

But you have to be VERY wary of some of the books they bundle into the software. And that of course goes for EVERY bible software. The risk is even FAR GREATER with E-Sword and theWord, because there are hundreds of thousands of add-on modules for both programs, and there’s (for instance) a very dedicated Church of Christ member on the forums of both programs who is dedicated to putting out Campbellite books for free – and labeling them “Baptist”, when they are not.

Should you get Logos? Absolutely, if you have the money to spend. I didn’t, but one year I got a couple of unexpected bonuses, and my wife convinced me to do it, because I’d never get another chance. Then Logos gave me one free opportunity to upgrade, because the transition from Logos 6 to 7 happened the day after my birthday.

If you can get up to the Bronze package, do so. But go no farther. Start buying the add-ons you WANT – good dictionaries and commentaries. And make sure you rate all the New Evangelical materials one star – this will cause the Logos engine to give those resources MUCH lower priority.

And it’ll send a message to Logos to start adding materials by Fundamentalists, which is sadly lacking in their massive offerings.

To Be Effective In Ministry

To be effective in ministry, there’s a couple of things the man of God needs. Let’s examine this, because every believer has a ministry of some kind or another. Certainly, not all are called to preach and teach. But there’s ministry of helps, of hospitality, charity, etc.

To be effective, means to manage time. The average person seems to have 24 hours a day alloted to them. I haven’t researched this theory, since I lack the time, but it seems logical. Figure 8 hours of sleep, 8.5 hours of work (I’m adding commute time too). The remaining 7.5 hours you have needs to be portioned out well. I’ve tried a lot of different personal information managers, schedulers, and note taking programs. I really haven’t found a satisfactory PIM/Scheduler. I’m using Pimero right now, and I used to use Agenda at Once, but AAO suddenly got very buggy, right about the time the creators abandoned it. My Microsoft Office is VERY old (Win XP), and the Outlook interface then was horrible. Find what works for you. Most people find that using an app on their phone works best, but for me, it would have to be (a) Free, and (b) synchronized with the program on my laptop. Years ago, someone gave me one of those little mini-computers you used with a stylus, and eventually asked for it back. Outlook actually synchronized with the Palmpilot, but… mostly was the right word. I’m rambling.

Notetaking programs… I used to use a really great program called Notebrowser, and Cintanotes before that. Last year, I discovered OneNote, and it was great. The only thing I really hated was how it took over the full screen, and you couldn’t work on other programs at the same time. So I made the move to Evernote recently, and that was a WOW moment. Right now Evernote and OneNote are neck and neck on devotees. I’ll leave it up to you which one you like best. Just get the free versions.

To be effective means time in prayer. If you’re not dedicated to having a prayer life, you’re going to be an ineffective Christian, no matter what. LEARN to pray. PICK a Psalm, and study how the sons of Korah or David talk to God. Tim LaHeye used to use the acronym ACTS – adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. That’s one way. Or the Lord’s Prayer is another way… break each section down and pray in that manner. I wrote an article in the past on that.

To be Effective means knowing the word of God. To be an effective Christian, you have to know what the Lord wants you to do, what you should do, what you should not do, etc. There are many Christians who are ineffective because the world tears them apart, and that happens because we neglect the safety measures that are written in the word of God. You need to READ and STUDY your Bible. Clippings are really important functions – hopefully, you’re using Logos (Logos Basic is free, and you only need $9.95 to add the KIng James). If you’re using Logos and Evernote, try setting up a notebook in Evernote called “Bible clippings”, highlight something in Logos, drag it and drop into the Evernote notebook you created. This way you’ll have important clippings from Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, Bible quotations, notes on things to study and research.

To be effective sometimes means one word… It’s hard, I know. Most pastors are ineffective because they seem to feel the need to be present for every Bible study someone else teaches. Look, train up your people right, and trust them to do it. My ex-pastor used to wear himself down making sure he was there for the retired ladies luncheon, where they’d read a little Bible and pray. He made every meeting. The men’s breakfast? He was there too. He attended everything except the youth meetings, because that’s what the associate pastor did.

But you need to learn the word “No”. Find nice ways to say it, because the average pastor seems to find themselves volunteering for WAY TOO MUCH. The average churchgoer doesn’t realize that the Pastor of their church probably has a 70 hour work week. First, don’t volunteer for everything. SEcond, find nice ways to say “No”. Third, consider putting your schedule on the church blog or website so people see you have dedicated time to Bible study, dedicated time to prayer, dedicated time to visitation, etc. BLOCK OFF those times. Many pastors enter the ministry, thinking how GREAT it’s going to be that you’re getting paid to study the Bible! After a few months, you’re resigned to the dream of someday retiring, so you finally have time to… study the Bible!

For the average churchgoer, many of you have mastered the saying “no” to ministry things. Try learning a new word… “Yes.” Find polite ways to say it!