Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Facts about Childhood Sexual Abuse

The statistics:

33% of girls are sexually abused before the age of 18

16% of boys are sexually abused before the age of 18

One in three sexaul assauult victims is under the age of 12.43% of those are 6 and younger

61% of females sexual assault victims are under 18

83% of sexually abused boys are under age 12: 26% are under age 6

In most cases,the child knew the sex offeneder.With girls ,29% were relatives and 60% were acquaintances.With boys,16% were relatives and 44% were acquaintances

Physicl force was not used in two-thirds of incestuous abuse
For 60% of "sexually active" girls under the age of 14,their only sexual experience has been a sexual assault

Childeren who grow up in a family where there is domestic violence are 8 times more likely to be sexual abused within that family

90-95% of all sexual abuse cases are never reported to the police

Sexual abuse accounts for 13% of substantiated cases reported to local Departments of Social Services

Fabricated sexual abuse reports constitute 1 to 4% of reported cases.Of this, 75% of reports are by adults and 25% are by children

Just a few of the consequences:

68% of incest survivors are adult victims of sexual assault or attempted
sexual assault by non-relative at some point in their lives
Women who reported childhood sexual assault were three times more
likely to become pregnant before 18
70 to 80% of sexual abuse surivors report excessive use of drugs and alcohol
27% of women suffering from bulimia were sexually assaulted at some
point in their lives


What is Depression: Depression is a prolonged emotional tone dominating an individual's outlook and mood. Normal moods of sadness, grief, and elation are typically short-lived and part of everyday life, but these can progress into a depressed mental state. Other symptoms often accompany depression but the most common symptoms of major depression are:1

• deep sadness or emptiness,

• apathy, loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities,

• agitation or restlessness, physical hyperactivity or inactivity,

• sleep disturbances,

• weight/appetite disturbances,

• diminished ability to think or concentrate,

• feelings of excessive guilt, self-reproach or worthlessness,

• feelings of fatigue or loss of energy, and

• morbid thoughts of death or suicide.

If a person experiences at least five of these symptoms for one month they have major depression. Mild depression would typically be defined as having two to four of these symptoms for over one month. Bipolar disorder (manic depression) includes swings from deeply depressive moods to wildly manic moods (elation, irritability, hostility, inflated thoughts of self, boasting)—with many intensities and variations.

When asked "what brings you pleasure in life" most unsaved, depressed people will look down and finally say something like "nothing." The saved are more guarded because they fear if they admit "nothing" they will be thought unspiritual, so they say something like "being saved" or "knowing Christ." The saved, depressed person generally knows about their eternal and heavenly blessings, for which they are thankful, but they feel trapped now by inexplicable emotional tones and moods. Consider this man trapped by depression's grip.

"I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would be not one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully (regretfully) forebode (foretell) I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die or be better it appears to me."—Abraham Lincoln

Biblical Occurrences: Depression is the ascendancy and tyranny of our emotions over our lives. Thus, Proverbs 15:13 says, "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." Often an initiating discouragement leads to sadness, which leads to prolonged grief, and then into a downhill spiral to depression. Depression is a universal problem, but no one really knows if Biblical characters had what we call depression, or if it would be more appropriate to say they suffered emotionally. However, Paul in I Corinthians 10:13 says, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able...". Temptation can mean trial, calamity, or affliction. Accordingly, we should understand that our present day afflictions were also common to the great Bible characters.

David was overwhelmed with grief and sadness, his heart was desolate, and his tears fell all night (Psa. 61:2, 77:2-3, 142:4, and 143:4). Jonah, Jeremiah (Jer. 15), Job, and Elijah (I Kings 19) are other examples. Whenever characters express rejection, loneliness, self-pity, hopelessness, overwhelming grief, and wish they had not been born, it seems they are expressing more than temporary sadness but classic symptoms of major depression. Paul had classic symptoms: his flesh had no rest, he was troubled on all sides, he was cast down, he had fears within, and he despaired of life (II Cor. 1:8 & 7:5-6). Hannah (I Samuel 1) had many of the symptoms of depression and her spiritual leader instantly and incorrectly accused her of a spiritual problem.

It seems there is a universal truth concerning depression, that is, the non-depressed rarely understand the unrelenting pain involved, the feelings of hopelessness (in this life, not once delivered from this body), and think the person should just pick themselves up and get over it. It is not that easy. In fact, when that part of the brain that mediates emotions is not functioning properly, medical help (not criticism) is often needed.

Depression Considerations: Each year depression strikes ten million people in the United States. Older Christians have more depression than younger; does this mean that spiritual maturity is of no avail? No, what this indicates is that older people have more biochemical and brain malfunctions as they age; depression is a natural consequence. Similarly, more women (two to three times) have depression than men. Women do not have more spiritual problems than men, but they do process adverse events differently than men, and, they have a complex body chemistry that can get out of balance, both leading to depression. Women tend to take adverse events and internalize them and take the blame—this is a thought-processing problem. Men tend to react to the same events with escapism (sports, TV, sexual obsessions, alcohol); which can later result in heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc.—again, a thought-processing problem but with different results. There is another difference: women tend to feel their depression (sadness/guilt) while men act it out in their behavior (rage, hostility and frustration).2

Causes: Understanding the causes of depression is very helpful to finding the solution. It is rare that there is only one causative agent, generally there are several at work. Listed below (no specific order) are some factors known to contribute to depression:3 4 5

• nutrient deficiency or excess

• drugs (prescription, illicit, caffeine)

• hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

• hormonal imbalances

• allergies

• heavy metals

• sexual abuse as a child

• microbial overgrowths/toxins

• medical conditions (stroke, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, diabetes, thyroid)

• natural light deprivation

• psychological factors (generally poor thought-processing)

• spiritual factors

Depression can have its source in our body, soul or spirit. Our body can affect our soul and spirit and vice versa. For example: if one has a low thyroid function it may affect the soul (for example the emotions) leading to depression which then affects one's spiritual life. Affecting our spiritual life does not mean it changes our standing or position in Christ, it means things like a less productive outreach/ministry and a more self-oriented prayer life.

Research since the 1990's has helped clarify this whole issue and there is now better understanding on the causes and solutions. The brain's frontal lobe (behind the forehead) is now known to be intimately involved in emotional well-being. It is recognized that one of the characteristics of virtually all depressed people is a significant decrease in the frontal lobe's blood flow and activity. The main cause of impaired frontal lobe function is a harmful lifestyle—the same cause of most of our physical diseases.3

There is now no question that reductions in frontal lobe function lie at the core of depression. Complimenting this research is the finding that depressed children have significantly smaller frontal lobes than non-depressed children. The evidence indicates that frontal lobe problems are the cause and not the effect. The frontal lobe's proper function requires adequate blood flow and nerve chemistry.

As fog veils a beautiful meadow, so depression clouds life itself; existence becomes dreary and dark. It has been described as darkness visible. One can go to bed feeling fine only to wake with an overwhelming gloom that cannot be explained or escaped. With proper nutrition, lifestyle changes and a renewed way of processing the events of our lives we can break through that fog into a sunny day.

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones" (Proverbs 17:21).

Consequences: Now that it is clear that depression is related to many factors, primarily to frontal lobe malfunction, let's consider the consequences of depression. Depression weakens the immune system's power to attack cancer cells, increases the risk of fatal stroke by 50%, increases the risk of sudden cardiac death in heart attack survivors by 250%, and increases the complications of pneumonia.3 It has been found that depression increase stress hormone levels, hypertension, and headaches; it complicates diabetes and is the leading cause of suicide (its close relative). The point is clear, depression should be addressed early or it may lead to fatal consequences. However, because of their illness depressed persons have diminished ability to combat their own disease, so help is often needed to lift them out of the pit of despair.

How the Brain Works: By God's design, all brain activity (every thought, feeling and emotion, every order the brain sends to the organs and cells) is the product of electrochemical signals. The brain's electrical signals require a chemical to carry the signal across a small opening (synapse) between cells. The chemicals used to do this are called neurotransmitters. To have a properly functioning system we need an adequate amount of neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitter most commonly associated with depression is serotonin.

Depressed people have low serotonin levels. Thus, they have impaired brain message sending, especially relating to emotions and mood. Serotonin is produced in the brain from tryptophan (a protein), which is converted into 5-HTP, and then into serotonin. Some serotonin is converted into melatonin, the hormone needed for proper sleep (thus the connection between depression and sleep disorders). One cause of low serotonin is the lack of an enzyme that converts tryptophan to 5-HTP.1 Before proceeding, just think how unfair it would be to tell a depressed person that is missing this needed enzyme that they have a spiritual problem. As a doctor told a dear sister in Christ who just could not understand why she could not get over her depression, "quit beating yourself up about it, your body just does not produce enough serotonin."

This article will consider botanical medicine, medications, proper lifestyle, nutrition, thought processing, and spiritual direction—the most common causes of depression. Some consider botanical or pharmaceutical medications for depression to be "mind-numbing" or "feel-good" drugs. This is unfortunate because such medications only help a depressed person feel more "normal" (a non-depressed person would feel worse or no change).

If depression were primarily spiritually induced, people should not get better from medications because medications do nothing about the spiritual problem. If the medications merely treat the symptoms and do not get to the root spiritual cause then the depression should always come back once the medications are stopped, which is not the case.

Botanical Medicines: The Scripture makes it clear that because of sin the earth today is not yielding its strength (Gen. 4:12). As a result of this Romans 8:22 says, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." Knowing this, the Lord has made special provisions for us. Psalms 104:14 says, "...and herb for the service of man:...", which means the botanical (herbal) kingdom was designed for the many services of humans, including medicine.

Often herbal products are slower acting than pharmaceutical medications, but the advantages of herbal supplements is that they can often affect a cure (rather than just address symptoms) and the side effects are minor compared to pharmaceutical drugs. Herbs can be considered the medicine from God's pharmacy. The most important and well tested herbs to consider in connection with depression are:1 4

• St. John's Wort (SJW): relieves depression, anxiety, apathy, sleep disturbance, anorexia, and feeling of worthlessness. All these symptoms are caused by low serotonin and SJW increases the level of serotonin in the brain.

• Ginkgo biloba: improves blood flow and function of the frontal lobe. Ginkgo increases the ability of serotonin to do its job in the brain.

• 5-HTP: a plant extract that is just one step from becoming serotonin—the brain readily makes this conversion. It raises the level of serotonin and other brain neurotransmitters. This product overcomes the genetic problem that does not allow for the conversion of tryptophan to 5-HTP.

Pharmaceutical Medications: There are times when medications can save a person's life. If botanical medicines do not work (in conjunction with the lifestyle, thought processing, and consideration of other causes) then medications are an option. A short-term use of antidepressant drugs may be needed in order to get the mind operating sufficiently well so that a person can function. Medications generally work by keeping serotonin (or other neurotransmitters) at adequate levels in the brain's synapses. They do not help create increased blood flow or frontal lobe function.

Nutrition: A deficiency of any single nutrient can alter brain function and lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. The most common deficiencies are folic acid, vitamin B12 and B6. An insufficiency of Omega 3 fatty acids (oils) has been linked to depression. Low Omega 3 oils result in cells throughout the body and brain that do not function correctly, and the mind suffers. The needed Omega 3 oils are found in fish oils and flaxseed oil.1 3 4 5 6

The diet for helping to prevent and correct depression is based upon Biblical insights:

• Increase the consumption of fiber-rich plant foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and raw nuts and seeds).

• Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants; also avoid foods that cause allergic symptoms.

• A good diet is: low protein, high fiber, low-moderate fat, and high complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates do not include simple carbohydrates (processed foods, snack foods, white bread, soda). Raw fruit has simple carbohydrates but is good because of the fiber, enzymes and antioxidants.

• Atkins type diets are poor; they actually lead to depression since carbohydrates are needed to get tryptophan into the brain.

• Foods high in tryptophan should be consumed regularly: soy flour, meats/poultry (turkey and chicken), tofu, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, raw nuts, eggs, lentils, and garbanzo beans.

• A good snack before going to bed would be a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread (there is tryptophan in the turkey and the whole grain bread will help keep sugar levels stable and help get the tryptophan get into the brain).

Rule to live by: Eat foods as close to the way God created them as possible: raw, whole, and unprocessed. He created vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, etc. He did not create processed foods or animal meat full of antibiotics and hormones. Humans cannot improve upon God's bounty!

Lifestyle: Regular exercise and sleep are essential to combat depression. Exercise at least 30 minutes four times a week. One does not have to jog: but walking, biking, tennis, swimming, gardening, active house/yard work are great. Regular exercise takes time for the effects to be felt, sometimes weeks.

We each have an internal clock that operates on a roughly 24-hour schedule (circadian rhythm). Even mentally healthy people can become depressed if the circadian rhythms are significantly disturbed. Seasonal Affective Disorder is common in the winter months in northern climates because the lack of natural sunlight disrupts these rhythms. Direct exposure to bright full spectrum light can help, or, the serotonin boosting botanical medicines.

A common factor leading to depression is hypoglycemia (low blood sugar); the brain requires a constant supply of blood sugar to function properly. Thyroid insufficiency also causes depression. Women with post-partum depression and those approaching menopause (symptoms often start by mid-30 age) are subject to hormonal disturbances that lead to depression.1 5 7

Biblical Thought-Processing: How we handle bad or disappointing news has a profound effect upon our mental well-being. As long as we believe we are victims, we are not able to achieve full mental health.9 Positive thinking is more important for overall health than almost anything else. Negative thinking, on the contrary, can destroy the good done by correct diet and lifestyle.10 Many depressed people have a tendency to look at the down side of life. It has been said that it is a positive duty to resist melancholy and discontented thoughts as much as it is our duty to pray. Certainly there will always be things in this imperfect world that give us cause to complain. Often we are helpless to personally do anything about many of these negative things. However, we can focus our mind on the enjoyable and wonderful things of life; this is scriptural, uplifting and therapeutic.

In our self-talk (how we silently talk and think to ourselves) we must replace the negative/compulsive thoughts with Philippians 4:8. But each person must search-out those things that are true, honest, just, pure, etc.—that is the purpose of meditating on God's Word. As soon as the conscious awareness of an unconstructive negative thought is realized, a positive thought must immediately replace it. This takes practice and preparation, but brings our thinking into captivity. The instruction of II Corinthians 10:5 & 6 is, "...and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." Applying these words to ourselves, we cannot allow ourselves to entertain negative thoughts, even if true, even if we have been wronged (Prov. 12:25, 15:13, 18:14). Nor can we entertain compulsive thoughts (thoughts that just keep running over and over again in our mind even though they may not be negative in nature).

In the world of secular counseling there has been a shift away from psychoanalysis which was aimed at uncovering "unconscious" reasons for depression. Time was spent on how the individual was raised as a child, and other past events that may have shaped a person's feelings and behavior. Going through the maze of a person's past life was thought helpful to present-day healing or identifying causative agents. This therapy has proven less successful than desired. So, a shift has been made toward cognitive behavioral therapy which focuses on the interpretation of life's events. This is mentioned because secular therapy has, over time, become more closely aligned with what Paul teaches about our thinking, that is:1

• erroneous interpretations of events and negative automatic thoughts may initiate or perpetuate the depressed mood and

• our focus should not be on the past (finding circumstances or others to blame) but on what one can do differently.

The essential basics of cognitive behavioral therapy are shown below; each person should provide their own verses to make them more personal and meaningful. Whether in the natural world or in the realm of the mind, science comes to the same conclusion as revealed in the Bible 2000 years ago.

1. Locate and identify the negative thoughts or misbelief in your self-talk. "I am no good because things are not like what I expect or want."

2. Argue against the negative thoughts. "I am not a failure just because I do not meet unrealistic expectations of myself or others."

3. Learn how to avoid rumination (the constant churning of thoughts in one's mind) by immediately changing your thoughts.

4. Replace the negative thoughts the very second they occur with the truth and with empowering positive thoughts and beliefs. "In spite of the sorrow, disappointments and feelings I experience the Lord will help me carry on."8

Most depression-causing negative thoughts or misbeliefs enter the flow of self-talk after some loss has occurred. Temporary disappointment or sadness at loss is natural, but it cannot continue long-term without consuming a person.

Don't get caught in the trap of thinking that God has promised us perfect peace at all times; that will come to those in the Kingdom (Isa. 26:1-3). The instruction and blessing of Philippians 4:6 & 7 are applicable for today. Always understand these verses in light of Paul, who had plenty of struggles and afflictions but God brought him through and kept his heart and mind in the process.

Finally, Philippians 3:13 & 14 says, "...but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Paul is using a runner's analogy to put the past and future in their proper perspective. He says that runners in a race cannot look back to see where the other runners are, for if they do they may stumble or get out of their lane and be disqualified. A runner can only look ahead and stretch forward, making the focus the finish line, not what may be behind.

We are on a track, running life's race. The most incredible thing is that each Christian is the only person on his/her track. One does not have to be all that fast, but steady. The only thing that is behind us on our track is our past (forgetting those things that are behind), with its failures, abuses, hurts, regrets, accomplishments, or fame. If you have your eye on the prize the past cannot hurt/catch you. The past contains the thoughts that Paul says to forget about, certainly do not ruminate about them, if you do you will stumble (have mental problems). He implies a Christian's greatest point of failure in running the race is letting the past keep him/her from running well. Look ahead, stretch forward toward a new day and thank God for all you have in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Spiritual Direction: Depression can have a spiritual source if we live in sin, harbor anger or resentment, etc. We have to be willing to forgive (make the unnatural decision to let someone "off the hook" even though they do not ask or deserve it) just as God for Christ's sake has forgiven us, Ephesians 4:32. (Note, we forgive because we already have been forgiven, not to be forgiven as is the case in the Gospels.)

Regular spiritual exercise (reading, studying, praying, meditation on the Word) requires use of the frontal lobe of the brain and emphasizes communion with God, thinking His thoughts, sensing His presence, and knowing His will. This is active worship and produces the type of brain waves in the frontal lobe that are very helpful for us all, including the depressed. Hypnosis and the trance-like state of Eastern religious meditation are very harmful; they produce the wrong type of brain waves and information bypasses the frontal lobe, leading to possible mind control.3

Sometimes a believer is living for the Lord, serving and honoring Him in all parts of his/her life. Over the years, the Lord blesses that person and they are happy, enjoy good health, etc. Certainly there is nothing wrong with enjoying the blessings of the Lord. But, it can all be taken in a moment, not because of spiritual problems, but because it may be that God is taking (or because of the situation He will take) that person to the next level of maturity—it is perplexing and it hurts. Often growth requires loss or brokenness.9 Paul says, "...I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things..." (Phil. 3:8).

Romans 12:2 says, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Transformed in Greek is metamorphosis and means a change in form; it implies a struggle like when a chrysalis morphs into a butterfly. If we do not become changed from the inside-out—if we do not morph—we will be tempted to find external things to satisfy our needs. Transformation is not an instantaneous act of God, it is a life-long process (journey). One does not get transformed by just praying, asking or believing; there is no "microwave" (quick and easy) way to spiritual maturity.

The passive voice in Romans 12:2 means the Holy Spirit will do the transforming for us if we cooperate with Him (listening, yielding, relying...). Expect spiritual advancement, you can always mature more, Philippians 3:15-16. Your imperfections will be revealed by the Holy Spirit so that you may continue to grow and become more complete (not sinless, but well-rounded). Maturity versus infancy is the issue. God loves you just the way you are, but refuses to leave you that way; He wants you to be made conformable to Christ, II Corinthians 3:18.

Our Lord stripped himself of His glory and "...made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men...and became obedient unto death..." (Phil. 2:7 & 8). His life reminds us of our spiritual growth which often imposes tough lessons, sometimes so tough we shrink back from learning them. It seems we have to learn from actual experience that whatever we depend upon in this life (for joy, comfort, acceptance, etc.), ends up controlling us. God allows and uses life's events to teach us about misplaced dependencies, so that we finally grasp the concept that Christ is our one true sufficiency.

1. Textbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd Edition, J. Pizzorno, ND & M. Murray, ND, Bastyr University.

2. Unmasking Male Depression, Archibald Hart, PhD, Word Publications.

3. Depression the Way Out, Neil Nedley, MD, Nedley Publishing.

4. 5-HTP The Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity & Insomnia, M. Murray, ND, Bantom Books.

5. Endocrinology and Naturopathic Therapies, 4th Edition, D. Powell, ND, Bastyr University.

6. Naturopathic Gastroenterology, E. Yarnell, ND, Naturopathic Medical Press.

7. What Your Doctor May NOT tell you About Premenopause, J. Lee, MD, & J. Hanley, MD, Time-Warner Publishing.

8. Telling Yourself the Truth, W. Backus, MD, & M. Chapian, Bethany House Publ.

9. The Blessings of Brokenness, Dr. C. Stanley, Zondervan Publishing House.

10. Your Health Your Choice, M. T. Morter, DC, Lifetime Books, Inc.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Continuing Education for Busy Clergy

New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies
Room 506
3 Cooper Plaza
Room 506
The Month of May every Friday @ 6PM
In the month of May we will offer individual classes on a variety of topics such as May 2nd Ministering to the Mentally Ill – May 9th Grief – May16th Helping Sexual Assault Victims – May 23rd and May 30th Biblical Counseling these classes can enhance your ministry and ability to help those in need. The classes are ONLY $25.00 each and materials are included.
POC – Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min
P.O. Box 342
Camden, NJ 08101

June 6, 2008 – July 18, 2008 (Every Friday)@6 PM

In June NJITS will be sponsoring a 6 week class taught by
Attn: Tiffany M. Jenkins, CADC
$100.00 for 6 weeks of training
This workshop is an innovative exploration of addiction from a biblical perspective. Participants will not only discover the biblical truth about addiction, but will emerge from the series better equipped to bridge the critical gap between the street and the church.

Post Office Box 2032
Camden, New Jersey 08101

What is "Spiritual Adultery"?

Eph 5:31-32 (NIV) "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.

God uses a strong human urge, sex, to describe His relationship with us. Israel is "the Wife" of Jehovah. We, the church, are called "the Bride" of Christ. Most Christians understand that Scripture uses sexual desire to represent the longing and excitement God feels for us, and we should feel for Him. But do we see how God also uses sexual imagery to describe how we "whore" after false religions, worldly "wisdom", and the idols of this world?
James 4:4-5 (Phi) You are like unfaithful wives... never realizing that to be the world's lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who deliberately chooses to be the world's friend is thereby making himself God's enemy. Or do you think what the Scriptures have to say about this is a mere formality?

Do we recognize how intense the desire is within us to chase after the latest religious fad, to believe comforting lies, to embrace the world? Scripture uses sexual imagery to show how strong our passions are for these things. God is a jealous God; we are His; and He takes a dim view of our "horneyness" to fellowship with lies, sophistries, and the world. The word of God, the truth--even if painful--will set us free. Brace yourself.
Eze 16:30 (NIV) "How weak-willed you are, declares the Sovereign Lord, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute!"

When adultery and prostitution are applied to Israel, Babylon, etc., clearly it is the symbolic / spiritual sense. But because the images are so shocking and descriptive, it may take some effort not to miss the point by getting caught up in the "lurid" aspect of these texts. Please keep in mind that except where referring to specific people, adultery is being used in the spiritual, figurative sense in these studies.
Jer 2:20 (NIV) "Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute."

While much of God's revelation is on this subject, the following verses should make the point that God is serious about us being loyal to Him with our affections, and Scripture uses the strongest, most graphic language to warn us not to "play the harlot".

The Truth About Us, Revealed By God
Jer 3:1-3 (NIV, all, except where noted) "If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers--would you now return to me?" declares the Lord. "Look up to the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness... Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame."

Jer 3:6-10 ..."Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense," declares the Lord.

Looking For Someone Who Loves The Truth
Jer 5:1-6 "Go up and down the streets... If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city..." O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?... You crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent. I thought, "These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God. So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God." But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds... their rebellion is great and their backslidings many.

Jer 5:7-13 "Why should I forgive you? Your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes. They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man's wife. Should I not punish them for this?" declares the Lord. "Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? Go through her vineyards and ravage them, but do not destroy them completely. Strip off her branches, for these people do not belong to the Lord. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me," declares the Lord. They have lied about the Lord; they said, "He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine." The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.

False Religion Is Worthless; Our Shame Will Be Exposed
Jer 7:8-11 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. "Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, 'We are safe'--safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord."

Jer 9:2-3 ...For they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people. "They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me," declares the Lord.

Jer 13:22-27 "And if you ask yourself, 'Why has this happened to me?'--it is because of your many sins that your skirts have been torn off and your body mistreated. Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. I will scatter you like chaff driven by the desert wind. This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you," declares the Lord, "because you have forgotten me and trusted in false gods. I will pull up your skirts over your face that your shame may be seen--your adulteries and lustful neighings, your shameless prostitution! I have seen your detestable acts on the hills and in the fields. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you be unclean?"

The following two "parables" should be as well known as any in Scripture, but few have even read them. They are the big-picture story of God's relationship to man in history.

Parable 1: The Adopted Prostitute
Eze 16:1-5 The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices and say, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem... On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.'"

Eze 16:6-8 "Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, 'Live!' I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels. Your breasts were formed and your hair grew, you who were naked and bare. Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine."

Eze 16:9-14 "I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord."

Eze 16:15-17 "But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. Such things should not happen, nor should they ever occur. You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them."

Eze 16:22,25-26,28-30 "In all your detestable practices and your prostitution you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, kicking about in your blood. Woe! Woe to you, declares the Sovereign Lord... At the head of every street you built your lofty shrines and degraded your beauty, offering your body with increasing promiscuity to anyone who passed by. You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, and provoked me to anger with your increasing promiscuity... You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians too, because you were insatiable; and even after that, you still were not satisfied. Then you increased your promiscuity to include Babylonia, a land of merchants, but even with this you were not satisfied. How weak-willed you are, declares the Sovereign Lord, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute!"

Eze 16:25 (NAS) " spread your legs to every passer-by to multiply your harlotry."

Worse Than A Prostitute, WE PAY For This Abuse!
Eze 16:31-34 "...You were unlike a prostitute, because you scorned payment. You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! Every prostitute receives a fee, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors. So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you."

Eze 16:35-41 "Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you poured out your wealth and exposed your nakedness in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols... therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see all your nakedness. I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery... I will bring upon you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger. Then I will hand you over to your lovers... They will strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry and leave you naked and bare. They will bring a mob against you, who will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. They will burn down your houses and inflict punishment on you in the sight of many women. I will put a stop to your prostitution, and you will no longer pay your lovers."

Eze 16:42-43,47 "Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry. Because you did not remember the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, I will surely bring down on your head what you have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. Did you not add lewdness to all your other detestable practices?... You not only walked in their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they."

Eze 16:58-60,62-63 "You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and your detestable practices, declares the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant. Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you... So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign Lord."

Parable 2: Oholah and Oholibah
Eze 23:1-7 The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed. The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem. Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians--warriors clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen. She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after."

Eze 23:8-13 "She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust upon her. Therefore I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she lusted. They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword. She became a byword among women, and punishment was inflicted on her. Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister. She too lusted after the Assyrians--governors and commanders, warriors in full dress, mounted horsemen, all handsome young men. I saw that she too defiled herself; both of them went the same way."

Eze 23:17-20 "Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her nakedness, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister. Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses."

Eze 23:21-23,25-27 "So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled. Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will stir up your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side... handsome young men, all of them governors and commanders, chariot officers and men of high rank, all mounted on horses... I will direct my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword... They will also strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry. So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt anymore."

Eze 23:28-31,34 "For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to hand you over to those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. They will deal with you in hatred and take away everything you have worked for. They will leave you naked and bare, and the shame of your prostitution will be exposed. Your lewdness and promiscuity have brought this upon you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. You have gone the way of your sister; so I will put her cup into your hand... You will drink it and drain it dry; you will dash it to pieces and tear your breasts. I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord."

Eze 23:35-37 "Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution." The Lord said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices, for they have committed adultery... They committed adultery with their idols..."

Eze 23:40-41,43-44 "They even sent messengers for men who came from far away, and when they arrived you bathed yourself for them, painted your eyes and put on your jewelry. You sat on an elegant couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed the incense and oil that belonged to me... Then I said about the one worn out by adultery, 'Now let them use her as a prostitute, for that is all she is.' And they slept with her. As men sleep with a prostitute, so they slept with those lewd women, Oholah and Oholibah."

Eze 23:46-49 "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder. The mob will stone them and cut them down with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses. So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you. You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord."

Hosea Lives Out The Painful Truth About Us
Hosea 1:2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord."

Hosea 3:1-3 The Lord said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods..." So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver... Then I told her, "You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you."

Hosea 7:11-13 "Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless--now calling to Egypt, now turning to Assyria. When they go, I will throw my net over them; I will pull them down like birds of the air. When I hear them flocking together, I will catch them. Woe to them, because they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, because they have rebelled against me! I long to redeem them but they speak lies against me."

Hosea 4:10-12 "...They will engage in prostitution but not increase, because they have deserted the Lord to give themselves to prostitution... They consult a wooden idol and are answered by a stick of wood. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God."

Hosea 7:4,6-7 "They are all adulterers, burning like an oven whose fire the baker need not stir from the kneading of the dough till it rises... Their hearts are like an oven; they approach him with intrigue. Their passion smolders all night; in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire. All of them are hot as an oven... and none of them calls on me.'"

Hosea 2:2-3,5-7 "...Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst... She said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water...' She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'"

Hosea 2:8-10,13 "She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold--which they used for Baal. Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness. So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands... I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot," declares the Lord.

Hosea 2:14-17,19-20,23 "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. In that day," declares the Lord, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.' I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked... I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord... I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one. ' I will say to those called 'Not my people, ' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.'"

See also Jer 3:11-4:4 for encouragement to repent from spiritual adultery.

Christ Is Returning For A Pure, Spotless Bride. Will You Be Part?
Mat 16:4 "A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.

Mark 8:38 "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

Rev 19:7 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What exactly is Witchcraft?

I Samuel 15:23 "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..."

I was stationed at Dover AFB in November 1978 when the dead bodies came to be placed in the largest mortuary on the East Coast. There were so many bodies the First Sergeants had to wake many of us up at 3 AM to help unload bodies off of the C-5/A aircrafts and move furniture to make room for the bodies. I will never forget the stench of death at Dover that week. I received a Commendation medal for helping move bodies and equipment. That was something I pray to God I never have to experience again. The real tragedy is that it COULD have been prevented if only somebody read their Bible. Before Jim Jones took those people to Guyana, it is recorded that he preached a sermon in Indiana where he uttered these chilling words, “You don’t need to read the Bible anymore, just listen to me”. I don’t know how many left the church after he said that but the church SHOULD have emptied out. How did over 900 people choose to drink cyanide laced Flavor-Aid (It really wasn’t Kool Aid) because their Pastor told them to? Jim Jones was able to take hundreds of lives in Guyana because someone refused to listen to their gut (spirit). I firmly believe in supporting the local church and helping pastors, I want to make that clear. However there is a real epidemic of spiritually stupid "saints" that don't study their Bibles and try every spirit by the Spirit. We were given the ability to discern so we WON'T end up giving our money to crooks and drinking poison Kool-Aid! Many of today's most prominent preachers would be labeled heretics hundreds of years ago because MOST clergymen were devout Theologians and serious students of scripture. Today ordination papers and licenses are given to anyone that say's they are called to preach. I agree that being Spirit-filled and called is the first priority of being a preacher, but ALSO there has to be training…SERIOUS TRAINING! A lack of understanding of just the basic Bible doctrines of the faith can lead to the types of abuses I am talking about. Martin Luther was able to stand up to the lies of Rome because he was filled with the knowledge of the truth. I am a Pentecostal preacher, I believe in the Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit, but that doesn't negate the fact that we must have a scholarly approach to the scriptures and its teachings.
In the summer of 1977, Jones and most of the 1000 members of the Peoples Temple moved to Guyana from San Francisco after an investigation into the church for tax evasion had begun. Jones named the closed settlement Jonestown after himself. His intention was to create an agricultural utopia in the jungle, free from racism and based on socialist principles.
People who had left the organization prior to its move to Guyana told the authorities of brutal beatings, murders and of a mass suicide plan, but were not believed. In spite of the tax evasion allegations, Jones was still widely respected for setting up a racially mixed church which helped the disadvantaged. Around 70% of the inhabitants of Jonestown were black and impoverished. The religious scholar Mary McCormick Maaga argued that Jones' authority waned after he moved to the isolated commune, because there he was not needed anymore for recruitment and he could not hide his drug addiction from rank and file members.[2] Consequently, he lost some of his power over inner-circle members. In November 1978, U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan led a fact-finding mission to the Jonestown settlement in Guyana after allegations by relatives in the U.S. of human rights abuses. Ryan's delegation arrived in Jonestown on November 15 and spent three days interviewing residents. They left hurriedly on the morning of Saturday November 18 after Ryan was shot and killed. They took with them roughly 15 Peoples Temple members who wished to leave. Delegation members later told police that, as they were boarding planes at the airstrip, a truckload of Jones' armed guards arrived and began to shoot at them. At the same time, one of the supposed defectors, Larry Layton, drew a weapon and began to fire on members of the party. When the gunmen left, six people were dead: Representative Ryan, Don Humphrey, a reporter from NBC, a cameraman from NBC, a newspaper photographer, and one defector from the Peoples Temple. The former California State Senator Jackie Speier, a staff member for Rep. Ryan in 1978, Richard Dwyer, the Deputy Chief of Mission from the U.S. Embassy at Georgetown and allegedly an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, and a producer for NBC News, Bob Flick, survived the attack.
Later that same day, 909 of the remaining inhabitants of Jonestown, 276 of them children, died in what has commonly been labeled a mass suicide. However, there is much ambiguity over whether many who died committed suicide or were in fact murdered. While some followers obeyed Jones' instructions to commit "revolutionary suicide" by drinking cyanide-laced grape flavored Flavor Aid[3] (often misidentified as Kool-aid)[4], others died by forced cyanide injection or by shooting. Jones was found dead sitting in a deck chair with a gunshot wound to the head, although it is unknown if he had been murdered or committed suicide. The autopsy on his body showed levels of the barbiturate pentobarbital that could have been lethal to humans who have not developed physiological tolerance. His drug usage (including various LSD and marijuana experimentations) was confirmed by his son, Stephan, and Jones's doctor in San Francisco.

When we think of witches we often get an image of the Wicked Witch of the West or some old crone with a broom and a big nose. Very rarely do we associate witchcraft with our mainstream Christian houses of worship. The verse in scripture that most accurately describes WHAT witchcraft is….is I Samuel 15:23. Saul had never given his heart completely over to God. He was a Follower of God {He knew of God}, but had never given the LORD all of his heart.

Unshakeable faith in the LORD comes from a heart stayed upon God. Rebellion comes from a heart stayed upon self. A self-willed person is actually worshipping himself. This self worship is the worship of an idol. The idol just happens to be self. You can see that to rebel against God, or to stubbornly try to have our way over God's way would bring complete destruction. Saul rejected the perfect will of the LORD, and the LORD in turn rejected Saul.

Saul had not listened intently to the instructions from the LORD before the battle, or he did not believe Samuel was speaking the will of the LORD. His disrespect for the message Samuel gave, was not disrespect for Samuel, but disrespect for God. Part of the statement above is true. He did destroy most of the Amalekites. Saul is like so many people. He tries to justify what he has done. He is like someone who is a Christian most of the time. That other time will keep a professing Christian out of heaven. The actions he takes, which are not 100% what God wants him to do, will cause displeasure from God, as well. He will not do exactly what God says for him to do. It is as if he thinks he has a better plan than God's plan.

There are leaders in Church today that lead not according to the perfect will of God, but according to their fleshly desires and personal aspirations. When a person seeks to guide or direct another human away from God’s will…they are practicing WITCHCRAFT! Yes in Christian churches there is witchcraft going on.

The Bible describes here witchcraft far more dangerous than the occult. It controls more pastors and congregations than any other kind of demonic influence. It is rebellion against the Word of God!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Outline and Chart on Elders and Offices

The following are some notes that I assembled for discussion on the Faith and Reason Radio show with a woman caller who claimed that women can be pastors and elders. She was on twice, Sept. 19 and 27 of 2007.

I prefer to use outline forms when "debating" because they are simpler and more efficient. I could convert the outline to a narrative but there really isn't any need.

Interspersed are Greek transliterations with partial declensions of nouns. A transliteration is a literal phonetic translation of words in one language to another. Declensions deal with the form that Greek nouns take. In Greek, a noun can take gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter) as well as number (singular and plural). It would be similar to the English actor, actors, actress, and actresses. I've omitted the cases of the nouns to avoid confusion for the reader.

New Testament elders were most probably modeled after Old Testament elders.

Elders in Old Testament were in authority
Num. 11:16-17, "The Lord therefore said to Moses, “Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 “Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you shall not bear it all alone."
Num. 11:27, "So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. Also, he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and stationed them around the tent."
Elders in the Church were male
Acts 14:23, "And when they had appointed elders (presbuterous - masc. plur.) for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed."
Acts 20:17, "And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders (presbuterous - masc. plur.) of the church."
Elders in authority
The elders shepherd the flock, exercise oversight, and are in charge of people.
1 Pet. 5:1-3, "Therefore, I exhort the elders (presbuterous - masc. plur. ) among you, as your fellow elder (sumpresbuteros - masc. sing.) and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight (episkopountes - masc. plur.) not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock."
The apostles and elders examined the doctrinal issue of circumcision in order to decide what to do. (the "laity" didn't decide)
Acts 15:26-7, "And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders (presbuterous - masc. plur.) concerning this issue...6 And the apostles and the elders (presbuteroi - masc. plur.) came together to look into this matter.7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe "
Note: In Greek verse 7 says, "Peter stood up and said to them, men (masc. plur.) brothers (masc. plur.) you understand that..."
The word "men" is there in the Greek when Peter refers to the brethren.
This demonstrates that in this case, "brethren" is not a generic reference that includes females. This is important because the issue of authority is specifically designated to rest with those who are called the brethren, and are specifically male.
The couplet of "men brothers" (andres adelphoi) in Greek occurs 14 times in the New Testament, all in the book of Acts (1:16; 2:29; 2:37; 7:2,26; 13:15,26,38; 15:7,13; 22:1; 23:1,6; 28:17). I leave it to you to research this further if interested.
Doctrinal decrees were decided on by the apostles and elders
Acts 16:4, "Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees (dogmata), which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders (presbuterone - gramcord says is masc. plur.) who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe."
Dogmata - Used five times in the N.T. Authoritative proclamation
Luke 2:1, "Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth."
Acts 16:4, "Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees, which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe."
Acts 17:7, "and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”
Eph. 2:15, "by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace."
Col. 2:14, "having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."
Elders ruled and worked at preaching and teaching.
1 Tim. 5:17-19, "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses."
We see a definite pattern where the authority structure rested with men, not with women. There are numerous verses that show that elders are male, worked with the apostles in deciding doctrinal truths, and were in positions of authority. We see no instance of this being accomplished by any women.
1 Tim. 2 1 Tim. 3 Titus 1
Elder 5, appoint elders (masc. plur. .)
6, (tis, "some", masc. sing. nom.) man above reproach who is the husband of one wife.
Deacon 8, Men of dignity
12, Husband of one wife. 12, one woman men (andres)
Bishop 2, above reproach
2, Husband of one wife.
4, Manage his house well. 7, the overseer (ton episkopon, masc, nom. sing.) must be above reproach
Women 9-10, adorn themselves modestly
11, receive instruction with entire submission
12, woman not to teach or exercise authority over a man 2:3-5, Older women are to teach other women, work at home, be subject to their husbands.

Elder Deacon Bishop
Man above reproach, of dignity Titus 1:6 1 Tim. 3:8 Titus 1:7
Husband of one wife Titus 1:6 1 Tim. 3:2 1 Tim. 3:2
Manage household well 1 Tim. 3:4

Can We Lose Our Salvation?

If you can lose your salvation,
then what must you do to keep it?
If it is possible to lose your salvation, then what must you do in order to keep it? I've asked this question many times of those who deny eternal security and have received different responses. But they all, essentially, can be categorized into two areas: "Remain faithful," and "Be obedient." Whichever position is taken, both are dependent upon man's faithfulness and ability.

Now, I am trying to be careful here in drawing conclusions because I do not want to be mistaken in how I represent the "other" side. But I cannot help but wonder that if our salvation depends upon us remaining faithful and or being obedient, then are we not keeping our salvation by being good? That's right, by being good and risking works righteousness?

Please understand that I am not saying this as an accusation. I am only asking the questions and expressing my concern. Again, if a person says he stays saved by remaining faithful and or being obedient to God, then isn't he saying that he is maintaining his salvation by being good? It is a good thing to be faithful to God. It is a good thing to obey God. But is this how we are saved or stay saved? Does our salvation rest in anyway on how good we are?

For me, this is dangerously close to works righteousness. Also, this "maintaining salvation" teaching is the same as that held by the Roman Catholic Church, the Mormon church, and the Jehovah's Witnesses churches (among others). Of course, I realize that just because false groups teach the same thing doesn't mean the teaching is wrong. Still, I can't help but wonder if something is amiss. And, there is another problem.

James 2:10 and Gal. 3:10
James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all."
Gal. 3:10, "For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.'”
A further concern I have is that if anyone were to try and maintain his salvation by being faithful/good, is he then required to keep the whole law?

I believe that those who seek to remain faithful and obedient to God in order to stay saved would say that they are not trying to maintain their salvation by their works, their faithfulness, thei obedience, etc. At least I hope not. But, isn't a law an instruction given by God that has a punishment for disobeying it? God commands everyone everywhere to repent, Acts 17:30. In Exodus 20, God commands that we believe in him. Can it be said that the command to believe and repent are laws since disobeying them has penalties? Do you see the problem?

A confession
I'm not a very good Christian. I know my treacherous and sinful heart. If my salvation were dependent in any way upon my faithfulness or obedience, then I'm in trouble. I would never claim that I was able to remain faithful enough or do enough good to maintain my position with God. I just can't go there. Instead, I rely totally on him to keep me, not me to keep myself.

All that I am and all I need is found in the work of Christ. Even my ability to believe is God's work (John 6:28-29). My believing has been granted to me by God (Phil. 1:29). And, I believe because I was appointed to eternal life (Acts 13:48). Should I then stand before God and man and say that I am keeping my position with God by my own faithfulness? This is something I can never claim.

That is why I ask people who believe they can lose their salvation and are seeking to maintain it by being faithful, if they take credit for their believing. If they say yes, they are boasting. If they say no, then I ask them what makes him think that if God who granted that they believe (Phil. 1:29), appointed them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), chose them before the foundation of the world for salvation (Eph. 1:4-5; 2 Thess. 2:13), predestined them (Rom. 8:29-30), and said he will lose none (John 6:39), we'll let you them slip through his fingers when he said it was his will that those who believe would not be lost and would be raised on the last day (John 6:37-40)?

So, how would you answer the question if you believed that you could lose your salvation? What must you do to maintain it?

Should One Man Run a Church?

One problem I have found in the modern church is that we have made the church a CLERGY run entity. God meant the church to be driven by ALL of the saints. We are a body of BELIEVERS and BELIEVERS are supposed to CAST OUT DEVILS, PREACH THE GOSPEL, and LAY HANDS on the sick. Unfortunately many of our churches have become cults of personality. The pastor has taken center stage, and this is not good for the pastor or the congregation.

(James 5:16 and Mark 16:20) Evangelism, Healing, and Deliverance were not just for the APOSTLES! This is a lie many Seminarians teach and advocate. I too am a college-educated preacher, however I know that the Word of God teaches that ordinary men and women participated in the work of the ministry. Ananias was not an APOSTLE, he was an ordinary Christian, just like you and I, yet he prayed for Paul’s HEALING and that he would receive the BAPTISM in the HOLY GHOST. Healing the sick is NOT just for the Apostles! The signs are designed to follow THEM THAT BELIEVE! Believers are supposed to BELIEVE that Jesus power is yet for today. I am a firm believer that we don’t see the miraculous because we don’t EXPECT the miraculous and we believe ONLY clergy can minister. (Mark 16:20, Luke 1:37, and Phil. 4:13)

We Protestants are just as guilty as the Roman Catholic Church (our sister) of having a church run by professional clergy. We don’t study hard because we depend on the Pastor to feed us. So many Christians are spiritual babies because they refuse to feed themselves. Catholics are not the only ones that just believe what clergy feeds them. I have heard so many Protestants (to include Pentecostal and Charismatic) quote their Pastor’s like it was the Bible. Often in the Bible Institute I teach in kick over “Sacred Cows” with the Word of God. Even after showing some people sound Bible doctrine they will still say, “But my church doesn’t teach that.” Or “My Pastor teaches different.” I don’t care if your pastor wears a gold robe and floats into the pulpit on wires, if he is teaching something contrary to scripture, HE IS WRONG! I hate to use this as an example but it is true, if Christians were as ministry minded as Jehovah Witnesses, imagine how much of an impact we would make in our communities? Unfortunately we are so clergy driven in our churches that we act like “It’s not my job man.” We forget that Jesus gave 5 types of ministry gifts for the church, not just Pastors! He gave Apostles, Teachers, Pastors, Prophets, and Evangelist for the edification of the local church as well as the body as a whole. We need to have all of those ministry gifts in operation in order for our churches to run effectively. Can you imagine a basketball team with only point guards? It wouldn’t win much because they need other skills and talents in order to be a good team. The local church in many instances functions like the basketball team with all point guards.

God gave FIVE types of ministry gifts for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of ministry, and for the edifying of the Body of Christ. Most people think the only type of minister God sends is Pastors! Thank God for Pastors! Pastors are the main instrument in feeding the new converts (Lambs), but pastors NEED HELP! If there are no evangelist out in the highways and hedges to compel people to believe on Jesus Christ, and no teachers to take people from milk to meat and defend Biblical doctrine, and no prophets to give words in season, and finally no apostles to GO and establish ministries, churches will NOT grow!

Chaplain Stevens

Monday, April 21, 2008

Do We Need a NEW Reformation?

I’ll get right to the point! Every since Martin Luther received the revelation from God that salvation was a free gift from God, that came through grace and faith…there has been a chasm between the Catholic and the Protestant. As an ordained Protestant minister I know all of the doctrinal problems involved in Catholicism. I have studied church history in college and on my spare time, I know about all of the church councils through the ages and the anti-biblical decisions they made, I know Peter wasn’t the first pope. I know praying to Mary is not scriptural or right. I know we can confess our sins to the Lord directly and not a priest. I know that a wafer and wine isn’t actually Jesus when I take communion.

I also know that if Martin Luther and some of the other reformers could see where the Protestant movement has gone, I think they would be ashamed and disgusted. If the Apostle Paul could see the confusion and apostasy in the church both Catholic and Protestant he would scream. Why? The Protestant church has become the very thing it despised. I have spent 23 years in the Air Force and have traveled all over the world. I have worshipped in nearly every church imaginable; (including Catholic) these are some reasons and observations as to why I feel there needs to be a second reformation. First the observations: While Catholicism has its problems let’s look at the history and flaws in Protestantism.

First Protestantism has many different groups: Fundamentalist, Evangelicals, Charismatic, Pentecostals, Holiness, Oneness (Jesus Only), and The Word Faith groups. This fragmenting of Protestantism is the first problem in itself. Fundamentalist say they believe in the Bible literally yet most reject the gifts of the Spirit, The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and healing for today. They trust Scofield’s teaching more than they trust the Bible itself. While in Bible College I heard teachers and students a like quote Scofield like he was The Apostle Paul. Evangelicals say they believe in fulfilling the Great Commission yet many Evangelical churches are selectively racist; America has driven segregation out of almost every place except their churches. Martin Luther King said Sunday morning is the most segregated time of the week. Both white and black churches are guilty of this. However I must say America’s history is silent concerning the Protestant churches silence through 300 years of slavery and annihilation of Native Americans. The Charismatic movement on a positive note brought praise and worship back to it’s rightful place in the Body of Christ, yet they also ushered in a propensity to place trust “new revelations” that don’t always line up with scripture. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit and the gift of prophecy, but these utterance gifts MUST line up with scripture! According to New Testament examples of prophecy, most prophecies are warnings or words of encouragement; NOT insight on how to be a millionaire. In many Charismatic churches, everyone has a “word from God”; this has caused many a problem in the lives of the saints of God.

I am from the category called Pentecostal, oh yeah we have problems as well. Pentecostals stress the need to be Spirit-filled, which I agree with, yet they over emphasize speaking in tongues; the key issue is the need to be Spirit-filled! I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, I pray in tongues myself…But! Speaking in tongues don’t confirm a person’s holiness or spirituality. (There are 8 other spiritual gifts!) Show me a Christian that shares Christ (Acts 1:8) and shares love (ICor.13) and I’ll show you a Spirit-filled saint. Holiness churches tell people they must dress a certain way to be saved, look sour and not have any fun, holiness is important and all believers must live separated lives, BUT! Holiness is a way of life that can only occur after the New Birth. Wearing long dresses and black suits in the summer DON”T MAKE YOU HOLY! The Word/Faith movement has done some positive things in encouraging people to study the Word, yet the enemy duped some of them into preaching prosperity as the Gospel and not salvation and a hunger for spiritual blessing versus the material. The other problem with the faith camp is the false teaching of believers never having problems and “divine healing” or the denial of sickness in the life of a believer.

I believe in healing and have received healing myself, but Christians are not exempt from getting sick. (Kenneth Hagin Sr.; Fred Price and his wife; and R.W. Shambach have all preached divine healing and have all been severely ill recently) Remember when Jesus encountered a man born blind, his disciples asked the question, “Who sinned him or his parents?” Jesus said, “Neither”. Paul’s dear friend Epaphroditis was sick nigh unto death, but Paul said God had mercy on him. Saved people can and do get sick! The Lord can also heal us as well. Our faith will be tested one way or another, why should we be any different than Abraham, Joseph, Job, or Daniel; their faith was tested greatly on many occasions. It was because of their faith they endured hard times and persecutions. The Oneness or Apostolic camp believes in Jesus only and denies the Trinity. They also over emphasize the act of baptism. Salvation comes through the avenue of GRACE through FAITH! They believe baptism saves yet the Bible is clear, belief MUST precede baptism or it is an empty act. (Read Philip and Eunuch in Book of Acts) What is my point? The bottom line is Jesus died for our sins and we must preach this to a lost and dying world. I went to a revival 5 years ago (A world famous evangelist was there); he preached before at least 3,000 people and talked about prosperity and healing for 2 hours. He called for a prayer line and never mentioned salvation through grace and faith. What does it profit a man to have prosperity and divine health and not eternal life and a close walk with Jesus.

There is a need for unity amongst believers; this is difficult because each of the groups I mentioned has its good points and strengths, yet they are all flawed in some way. The Word of God has no flaws, and this is where we must meet. I was raised in the Baptist church, I went to a Lutheran School (middle school), I have had fellowship with different groups within the military chapel system, and I worked with foreign missionaries in Korea for 2 years. I helped start the first Church of God in Christ in Korea. During Operation Desert Storm I lead 2 Muslims to Christ with an Assembly of God brother and an apostolic brother. (This was not easy…but it happened) I have preached in Honduras, Turkey, and Somalia. Now why am I sharing all of this? Everywhere I went God teamed me up with people from nearly every group I mentioned…AND IT WORKED! It worked because in the military we didn’t have the luxury of always finding Christians just like you. My first assignment overseas I was teamed up with a Southern Baptist Caucasian brother. He was from Forsythe County, Georgia. This is one of the most racist areas in America, yet we worked together like brothers.

The demonic walls of separation in the Protestant church MUST come down. How can we preach to the Catholic about the mote in his eye, while we the Protestants have a beam in our own? The saints of God must gather at the foot of the cross of Jesus. The Word of God must be all of our training manuals. Salvation by grace through faith is what caused Martin Luther to start the first reformation; we have departed from this in a great way. The doctrine of salvation through grace and faith has to be the preeminent prime directive for the church. Paul said it best in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and to the Gentile.” We must rally around the Gospel of Christ as our anthem and battle cry. Paul also said, “Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel.” What is the Gospel? It isn’t politics, it isn’t prosperity, and it isn’t divine healing or speaking in tongues. These things have their place but they cannot replace the simplicity of the Gospel. Jesus came to save the world! Salvation is a free gift that is for all that desire it. This is what Martin Luther nearly died to protect. Paul did die to protect this doctrine! All of the disciples died for this message of hope in Christ. Let us not stain their memory by dividing over things that don’t impact salvation.

Salvation of the soul is the main issue, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul. Eternity is a long time, Insuring people spend it with the Lord is more important than insuring they have wealth! What do you think can help usher in the Second Reformation?

Is Peter the rock on which the Church is built?

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it" (Matt. 16:18).
The Roman Catholic Church puts a great deal of emphasis on Peter and claims that Jesus said he would build his church on him.

Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve; Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Our Lord then declared to him: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it." Christ, the "living Stone," thus assures his Church, built on Peter, will have victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed, Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 552).

"By the word "rock" the Saviour cannot have meant Himself, but only Peter, as is so much more apparent in Aramaic in which the same word (Kipha) is used for "Peter" and "rock." His statement then admits of but one explanation, namely, that He wishes to make Peter the head of the whole community of those who believed in Him as the true Messias; that through this foundation (Peter) the Kingdom of Christ would be unconquerable; that the spiritual guidance of the faithful was placed in the hands of Peter, as the special representative of Christ." (

The scripture reference to which the Roman Catholic Church attempts to substantiate its position is found in Matt. 16:18. Here it is in context.

"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 15 He *said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. 19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ" (Matt. 16:15-20).

There are problems with the Roman Catholic position. First of all, when we look at the Greek of Matthew 16:18 we see something that is not obvious in the English. " are Peter (πέτρος, petros) and upon this rock (πέτρα, petra) I will build My church..." In Greek, nouns have gender. It is similar to the English words actor and actress. The first is masculine and the second is feminine. Likewise, the Greek word "petros" is masculine; "petra" is feminine. Peter, the man, is appropriately referred to as Petros. But Jesus said that the rock he would build his church on was not the masculine "petros" but the feminine "petra." Let me illustrate by using the words "actor" and "actress": "You are the actor and with this actress I will make my movie." Do see how the gender influences how a sentence is understood? Jesus was not saying that the church will be built upon Peter, but upon something else. What, then, does petra, the feminine noun, refer to?

The feminine "petra" occurs four times in the Greek New Testament:

Matt. 16:18, "And I also say to you that you are Peter (petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it."
Matt. 27:60, "and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock (petra); and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away."
1 Cor. 10:4, "and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock (petras) which followed them; and the rock (petra) was Christ."
1 Pet. 2:8, speaking of Jesus says that he is "A stone of stumbling and a rock (petra) of offense"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed."
We can clearly see that in the three other uses of the Greek word petra (nominative singular; "petras" in 1 Cor. 10:4 is genitive singular) we find it referred to as a large immovable mass of rock in which a tomb is carved out (Matt. 27:60) and in reference to Christ (1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:8). Note that Peter himself in the last verse referred to petra as being Jesus! If Peter uses the word as a reference to Jesus, then shouldn't we?

In addition, Greek dictionaries and lexicons give us further insight into the two Greek words under discussion.

Source: Liddell, H. (1996). A Lexicon : Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (636). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Petros: "πέτρος, a stone, distinguished from πέτρα
Petra: πέτρα , Ion. and Ep. πέτρη, , a rock, a ledge or shelf of rock, Od. 2. a rock, i.e. a rocky peak or ridge...Properly, πέτρα is a fixed rock, πέτρος a stone."
Source: Vine, W., & Bruce, F. (1981; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996). Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (2:302). Old Tappan NJ: Revell.
PETRA πέτρα , (4073)) denotes a mass of rock, as distinct from petros, a detached stone or boulder, or a stone that might be thrown or easily moved.
A stone is movable, unstable and this is exactly what we see with Peter who doubted when he walked on water, who denied Jesus, and who was rebuked by Paul at Antioch:

Matt. 14:29-30, "And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, 'Lord, save me!'"
Luke 22:57-58, "But he denied it, saying, 'Woman, I do not know Him.' 58 And a little later, another saw him and said, 'You are one of them too!' But Peter said, 'Man, I am not!'"
Gal. 2:11,14 "But when Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned...14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, 'If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?'"
Jesus, who knew the heart of Peter, was not saying that Peter, the movable stone, would be the immovable rock upon which the Church would be built. Rather, it would be built upon Jesus, and it was this truth that Peter had affirmed when he said to Jesus, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). This is consistent with Scripture elsewhere where the term rock is sometimes used in reference of God, but never of a man.

Deut. 32:3, "The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice."
1 Sam. 22:2, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; 3 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge."
Psalm 18:31, "And who is a rock, except our God?"
Isaiah 44:8, "Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none."
Rom. 9:33, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed."
It should be obvious from the Word of God that the rock Jesus was referring to was not Peter, but himself.

The Aramaic Kepha
In contrast to this, in paragraph #2 at the beginning of this article, the Roman Catholic Church says that the rock cannot refer to Jesus, "but only Peter, as is so much more apparent in Aramaic in which the same word (Kipha) is used for 'Peter' and 'rock'." The problem is that the text is not in Aramaic, but Greek. Since we do not have the Aramaic text, it is not proper to refer to it as proof of the Roman Catholic position.

Furthermore, in John 1:42 it says, "He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas," (which is translated Peter)." The word "Peter" here is petros, not petra. It is used to elucidate the Aramaic kephas, which is not a name in Aramaic.

"Except in Jn. 1:42, where it is used to elucidate Aramaic kēphás, Pétros is used in the NT only as a name for Simon Peter....The translation supports the view that Kēphás is not a proper name, since one does not usually translate proper names."1
Jesus is the rock on which the church is built
The truth is that the only foundation is Jesus. The only rock of truth is Jesus Christ and that we, as his redeemed, need to keep our eyes on him. We are to look to no one else as the foundation, the source, or the hope in which the church is built. The Church is built upon Jesus, not Peter.

"For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11).

1. Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1995, c1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Theologisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (835). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans.

What is the biblical purpose of sex?

The biblical purpose of sex is multifaceted. God has given sex to us as a means of glorifying Him as we fulfill its design for procreation, intimacy, comfort, and physical pleasure. It is a fulfillment of God's created order in marriage between a husband and wife.

Gen. 1:28, "And God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'"
Song 1:13, "My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh which lies all night between my breasts."
Song 2:3, "Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. In his shade I took great delight and sat down, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."
Song 2:6, "Let his left hand be under my head and his right hand embrace me.”
Song 4:5, "Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, which feed among the lilies."
Song 3:1, “On my bed night after night I sought him whom my soul loves..."
Physical Pleasure
Song 1:2, "May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine."
The sexual relation is only properly expressed in marriage between a husband and wife (1 Cor. 7:2-3). Any sexual contact between unmarried people is sinful since it violates God's design.
Sex is a wonderful blessing given to us by the Lord that serves to express intimacy to another. Some theologians believe that the sexual union is representative of the intimacy found in the Trinity. This is not to say that the members of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, have sexual relations. That is absurd. But there is an incredible intimacy and communion between them. The three persons in the Godhead are, after all, one God. This is why Jesus said that He and the Father were one (John 10:30). Remember, God says when a man and woman get married, they become one flesh (Gen. 2:24). This expression of physical union which has a spiritual aspect to it ("the two become one flesh") and is why some theologians see the sexual relation as a sacred experience.
We don't know if such speculations are accurate, but sexuality is to remain pure nonetheless. This means that the marriage bed must not violate the commandments of God in deed or thought -- no adultery, no pornography, no voyeurism, no bestiality, incest, etc. The sexual union is God ordained and God given and must be experienced in a godly way within marriage. In this, the sexual union can bring glory to God as it is experienced in fulfillment of God's design and purpose to provide pleasure, companionship, intimacy, and a means of fulfilling the command of God to fill the earth.
So the purpose of sex is to glorify God, bring forth children, express intimacy, provide comfort, and bless the spouse.