Hidden in the Past, Yet Now Revealed

The mystery of Christ, …in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
Ephesians 3:4-5

I [Jesus] will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.”
Matthew 13:35

The church is a new covenant body (Eph. 3:1-5). The glorious truths of Ephesians 2:11-22 were not known in the Old Testament. Specifically, universal access to God through Christ—the genius of the church—was at best a shadow in the OT. The purpose of this article is to list some of the similarities and differences between the two bodies along with some practical consequences and interpretive guidelines. Failing to think carefully about this, many preachers try a verse on their congregation simply because it has a positive ring to it.

Similarities between the church and the nation of Israel

  1. They both worshipped Jehovah.
  2. They both were saved by grace alone through faith alone.
  3. They both loved God’s Word.
  4. They both were saved from a state of total depravity.
  5. They both held to a Christian worldview which includes the philosophical basis for a Christian culture.

Between these groups are the vital similarities that will make analogy not only possible, but highly profitable.

Differences between the church and the nation of Israel

  1. Israel was not in Christ, but believers are united to Christ (Eph. 1:1, et. al. Around 30 times in Paul’s epistles).
  2. The church is part of a New Covenant of life that God made with man (2 Cor. 3:6); Israel was part of a ministry of death (2 Cor. 3:7).
  3. The law and prophets administrated Israel’s relationship with God (2 Cor. 3:7); the Holy Spirit administrates the church’s relationship with God (2 Cor. 3:8).
  4. Israel only had a shadow of the heavenly things (Heb. 8:5); but the church has a “more excellent ministry” and a “better covenant which has been enacted on better promises” (Heb. 8:6).
  5. Israel’s covenant was temporary because it became obsolete and grew old and disappeared (Heb. 8:13); the church however has a new, better Covenant (Heb. 8:6, 7, 8, 13).
  6. Israel had Moses and Aaron who served as the prophet and priest (Heb. 3:1-5; 7:11); but the church has Jesus Christ who serves these roles infinitely better (Heb. 7:24-27; 8:1-2)
  7. Israel did not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in each believer; but all true Christians have the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13).
  8. Israel had specific laws directing the society and government but very little emphasis on the thoughts of the individual; Christians have very little emphasis on the society and government but specific laws directing the thoughts of the individual.
  9. Israel was bound together by ethnicity including bloodlines, language, and culture (Ezra 9:1-5; 10:1-5); the church is bound together by faith in Christ (Gal. 3:28).
  10. Israel circumcised only male descendants whether they wanted it or not (Gen. 17:10); the church baptizes all true believers (Mark 16:16).
  11. Israel’s citizens were in the nation unless they did something to take them out; the church’s members are out of the family unless they do something to get in.
  12. Israel’s punishments were largely temporal and so were their blessings; the church’s punishments are largely spiritual and eternal and so are their blessings.

Dangers in emphasizing the similarities

  1. People will be accepted as Christians the same way a next-door neighbor is accepted as a citizen.
  2. The temporal blessings will be emphasized at the cost of emphasizing the spiritual blessings (See Eph. 1:3-14).
  3. Churches will begin to focus on societal change according to the laws of the OT rather than preaching the gospel according to the NT (the social gospel).
  4. Pastors will search the OT for a verse that they can easily twist for their purposes (eisegesis). This error can happen either way, but it is especially dangerous if we emphasize the similarities.
    • Deut. 28:13 The Lord will make you the head and not the tail,
    • Isa. 54:17 No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
    • Gen. 12:2-3 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse.

Rules for interpreting the OT

  1. Always search for the author’s original intent.
    • Who wrote this?
    • To whom did he write?
    • What was the specific issue being addressed?
    • What did the original readers think when they read it?
  2. Master the new covenant. Study the NT so well that you can immediately smell the wrong interpretations.
  3. Examine the context before and after that specific verse. Often the verses used by false teachers are clearly explained if the context were read.
  4. Preach fairly from all of God’s revelation. For example, Deut. 28:1-14 are the blessings, but the next 54 verses are terrifying judgments!
  5. Look for cross references in the NT that explain this verse.
  6. Remember that Scripture generally talks more about the differences between Israel and the church than the similarities.
  7. Find the Biblical analogy from OT Israel to the NT church.
    • Read the OT passage carefully in its context.
    • Pull out the major principles from the passage.
    • Apply that passage to the church in light of the NT teaching on that principle.

Pastors in poorer areas often gravitate around OT passages like planets around the sun. They are bees looking intently for the nectar of some earthly promise in the law or the prophets. Imitating their elder brothers from TV ministries, the people hear “no weapon formed against you shall prosper.” That supposedly means, witchcraft, failure, joblessness, and barrenness are about to be banished. “You shall be the head and not the tail” means that positions of comfort, power, and authority are coming to me. False teachers have an uncanny skill for discovering earthly comfort where no apostle ever saw it.

While these seven principles are a simple sketch of a solution, if pastors followed even them, whole trailers of sermonic rubbish would be stored safely in theological landfills. The discussion itself serves as proof that preachers should be instructed before they herald. They should be disciplined before they run. They need guidance lest ever more the blind lead the blind.

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Habitual Sin, Discernment, and the Use of Scripture

Jehoshaphat, the godly king, united with Ahab, the vile king of Israel. That same good king united with the next king after Ahab (Ahaziah), and then the next king after him (Jehoram). Each of the three kings of Israel were wicked, and the author of 1 and 2 Kings does tell us that. We should know then, that a good man should not make common cause with them. Yet only the author of 2 Chronicles explicitly records that Jehoshaphat’s unity was “wicked” (20:35), earlier we were told that God was angry because of his unity (19:2).

  1. Making common cause with sinners may raise God’s anger because it is wicked.
  2. Personality tends to make us susceptible to certain sins and blinded to them at the same time.
  3. Believers should have known without the explicit statement of Scripture in 2 Chronicles that Jehoshaphat sinned terribly.


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Mentally Lazy: The Fruit of African Charismaticism

African Pentecostalism Has Given Birth To A New Breed Of Mentally Lazy Christians Who See God As A Rewarder Of Mediocrity

Kay Musonda
1 April 2017 |


Interesting article if you are undecided about the bad fruits of charismaticism.

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35 Reasons Men Should Be Leaders

Male leadership in the Creation account

  1. Adam was formed first. 2:7
  2. Adam was employed by God, not Eve. 2:15
  3. Adam received God’s commandment. 2:17
  4. Adam received a helper; he was not the helper. 2:18
  5. Adam named Eve. 2:23
  6. Adam is mentioned as the active agent in the new home. 2:24
  7. Adam is always mentioned first or he alone is mentioned. 2:25; 3:8, 22, 24
  8. Adam receives a heavier punishment than Eve. 3:17-19
  9. Adam names his wife again. 3:20

Male leadership in the OT

  1. God speaks much more about men and to men than women. Fathers are referenced 517 times in Scripture; mothers 9 times; men 1,652; women 188 times. Son 4,863; daughter 567.
  2. Scripture calls Jehovah the God of the patriarchs 17 times, but never the God of the matriarchs.
  3. All the priests were men.
  4. All the judges except one were men.
  5. All the kings were men.
  6. All the writers of Scripture were men.

Male leadership in the NT

  1. God is the Father.
  2. Jesus is the Son.
  3. The Holy Spirit is masculine. John 16:13
  4. All the angels are referred to as men including Satan. Rev. 12:7
  5. All the apostles were men.
  6. All the deacons and evangelists in the church were men.
  7. God forbids women from being pastors. 1 Tim. 2:11-14; 3:2
  8. Women are forbidden from speaking in tongues in the church. 1 Cor. 14:34
  9. Men are expected to be able to teach their wives. 1 Cor. 14:35
  10. Men bear responsibility for raising their children. Eph. 6:4
  11. Sin is passed through men, not women. Rom. 5:12
  12. The leadership and submission within the Trinity illustrates the leadership and submission within society. 1 Cor. 11:3
  13. The man is specifically called the head. 1 Cor. 11:3
  14. The Holy Spirit instructs women repeatedly to submit which implies that men must lead. Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:1-6
  15. As men relate to their wives, they picture Christ’s relationship to the church. Eph. 5:32

Male leadership in history, biology, and psychology

  1. Men have usually been the leaders of society throughout all cultures and all time periods.
  2. Men have usually been the leaders of the church throughout all cultures over 2,000 years.
  3. Men are generally stronger physically.
  4. Motherhood usually discourages women from being leaders outside the influence they have on their children.
  5. Men usually have more ambition and willingness to take risks.


  • Both Scripture and nature reveal God created men to be the leaders in home, church, and society.

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50 Questions to Ask the Text

  1. Who is speaking?
  2. To whom is this verse written? (e.g. believers, pastors, Jews, etc.)
  3. Is this verse a question, answer, argument, or proposition?
  4. Is this verse part of a narrative, a poem, an epistle, a parable, or a prophecy?
  5. What ideas are being discussed in the verses just before this verse?
  6. What ideas are being discussed in the verses just after this verse?
  7. Does this verse start with a conjunction? How is it linked to the previous verses?
  8. What is happening in this book when this verse was written?
  9. What was happening in the Bible when this verse was written?
  10. How does this verse point toward the cross of Christ?
  11. How many people are mentioned in the verse?
  12. What are they doing?
  13. How many clauses are there?
  14. What are the subject and verb of each clause?
  15. What is the tense of the verbs?
  16. Are the verbs active or passive?
  17. Are there other verses that use the same or a similar verb?
  18. Are there any negatives? Are they universal or particular negatives?
  19. Are there any commands?
  20. Are there any good examples or bad examples?
  21. Who is doing the action?
  22. What are the adjectives and adverbs? What is being modified and how?
  23. Are there any pronouns? What are the antecedents?
  24. Are there any prepositional phrases? (e.g. of the man; in Christ; by grace)
  25. Are there any pictures or metaphors in the verse?
  26. Is this a common verse? Why or why not?
  27. What doctrines does this verse teach?
  28. Does this verse have any repeated words?
  29. What are the main words? Why did the author choose them rather than other words?
  30. Are there any difficult or disputed theological terms or concepts?
  31. Does this verse list results, consequences, reasons, attributes, or activities?
  32. Are there any contrasts or comparisons?
  33. Is this verse used anywhere else in the Bible?
  34. Is this verse quoting any other part of the Bible?
  35. Are there other verses that talk about this same thing or similar ideas?
  36. What did the original audience think when they heard this verse?
  37. Why did God put this verse in the Bible?
  38. What does this verse teach about man?
  39. What does this verse teach about God?
  40. What does this verse teach about salvation?
  41. What does this verse say about Jesus Christ?
  42. Are there good or bad examples that should remind us of Christ’s life and work?
  43. How does this verse divide into natural parts?
  44. How can this verse be summarized in one sentence?
  45. How can I use this verse to help myself or other people spiritually?
  46. What does this verse say to unbelievers?
  47. What does this verse say to believers?
  48. What does God want me to believe when I read this verse?
  49. What does God want me to do when I read this verse?
  50. What does God want me to feel when I read this verse?

Having practiced with these questions for some time, they have proved to be a helpful guide especially for those who do not know the original languages, do not have large libraries, and find time for ministry only after hours.

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“A Christian Feminist Manifesto”

Image result for picture feminist hillary clintonIn hopes of seeing the greatest success, human prosperity, and spiritual blessedness among the women of the world, while at the same time refuting and guarding ourselves against those practices that have most uniformly degraded the female sex, we commit ourselves to the following principles.

  1. As a Christian feminist, we oppose abortion since by this practice millions of women are murdered and since it turns women into objects that males can consume without the most obvious natural consequence.
  2. As a Christian feminist, I reject all government and institutional quotas since it implies women are incapable of merit without help.
  3. As a Christian feminist, I promote motherhood since it is too difficult and too important to be handed over to the state or a daycare.
  4. As a Christian feminist, I rejoice when I hear that a woman is able to stay at home full time (Tit. 2:5) to serve her husband and children since her greatest happiness will usually flourish in the home.
  5. As a Christian feminist, I raise my daughters to be quiet and submissive since that which pleases God (1 Pet. 3:1-4) benefits her in every way and no other path can lay so many benefits at her feet as that which is given by divine revelation.
  6. As a Christian feminist, I ordain only men to be leaders or to teach in the church since no woman was ever helped by directly contradicting the words of God (1 Tim. 3:2; 2:11-14) and since femininity is too important and beautiful to throw away.
  7. As a Christian feminist, I glory in Biblical femininity since God designed women to enjoy the greatest comforts by following the pattern He made for them.
  8. As a Christian feminist, I teach abstinence to all unmarried people since women have been devastated by the sexual revolution and only the boundary of monogamy protects women.
  9. As a Christian feminist, I endorse the strongest penalties for domestic violence since women should never be subject to physical pain by the men in their lives.
  10. As a Christian feminist, I promote the death penalty for the majority of cases of murder and rape since a society that fears such crimes will be much more peaceful for women to live in.
  11. As a Christian feminist, I support capitalism since it alone brings to society the everyday blessings women enjoy such as appliances, clothing, superior homes, and computers.
  12. As a Christian feminist, I despise the politically correct mood which bars us from speaking the truth since no woman has ever really been helped by lies, and all are helped by the truth.
  13. As a Christian feminist, I protect free speech since women are not only capable of discerning and responding to logical errors in arguments with which they may disagree, but they are strengthened by that process.
  14. As a Christian feminist, I speak against Islam since by it polygamy and wife-beating goes unnoticed in the general public and since all female Muslims will be finally lost.
  15. As a Christian feminist, I encourage young men to marry and young girls to plan for marriage since a lifestyle of “dating” robs women of stability, hope, and purity and since marriage is the best plan for the great majority of women.
  16. As a Christian feminist, I dedicate myself to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ since no one loves women if she allows them to go to Hell without laboring for their conversion.
  17. As a Christian feminist, I interpret the Bible according to the normal rules of language since this approach unleashes the truth for the benefit of all women who have ears to hear.

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In short, as a Christian feminist, I am a conservative Christian since that is the best way to help women.


Why don’t those who call themselves feminists support the proposals that would most tend to the happiness of women?

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ATR is Uniquely Used by Satan~ ATR 5

Bad fruits should be expected from a bad tree. If our hearts are naturally inclined to sin, what kind of religion do you think we will invent?

“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matt. 7:17

“Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted.” Matt. 15:13

ATR produces poverty.
“The Limited Good” is the economic theory of animism. Should we think about wealth as a bag of apples or as an apple tree? ATR commonly approaches wealth as if the apples were all taken out of the bag or violently taken from their hands. Now they have no hope, except some form of stealing such as political revolution, socialism, or crime in order to enjoy prosperity. This is the default—not explicit—worldview of ATR. Why are people so quick to be jealous of others who have more? Why are they so hopeless about their own poverty? The religion does not have moral laws about planning and work because it does not have a God who planned the world and governs it providentially.

In fact, a Tsonga proverb illustrates ATR’s contribution to poverty: “Vusiwana i vuloyi.” (Poverty is witchcraft.) The religion has a direct tie to the economic status of the people. As Christians, should we not expect false religions to produce poverty? Does not the book of Proverbs promise wealth in accordance to Christian virtues such as hard work, planning, and patience? Yes, criminals or greedy politicians may hinder someone who is obeying the commands of Proverbs, but as long as it is not hindered by other people’s sins, the religion of Jesus Christ does eventually produce wealth.

ATR promotes ignorance.
As an adherent to the traditions, life’s goals are entirely focused on this world, so there is “no impulse for any higher life” from this religion. (Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism, delivered in 1898, reprint 1931, page 35.) The religion cannot answer the main questions of humanity.

  • Where did we come from?
  • Where are we going?
  • Why do bad things happen?
  • What is our purpose?

These philosophical inquiries cause men to write and think and advance, yet ATR has no mechanism to even treat with the great ideas.

ATR has has no texts so it is inherently non-intellectual. Why were there no schools, writing, books, or science 300 years ago? Why are there no bookstores today in areas influenced primarily by ATR in the past? As someone who works with language with more than a passing interest, the orthography of Tsonga, Venda, or Shona are amazing accomplishments. Those first missionaries took sounds out of the air and produced an alphabet and phonics so that African thoughts could be recorded. They labored for years at this task producing dictionaries and textbooks so that the people could read the Christian Bible and be saved from the impoverishing demons of ATR.

ATR prohibits discernment.
Discernment is a spiritual virtue, so we should expect Satan to discourage this work (1 Cor. 2:15). ATR transfers to all knowledge a changeful, fickle character because the religion has no final authority above all others. Science is impossible because no single, great Spirit made the world by laws that reflect His character. Philosophy and theology are impossible because contradictions are not necessarily wrong. It is only wrong to steal if you get caught. Logically this means: It is wrong to steal, and it is not wrong to steal. It is only wrong to lie if you hurt someone that you did not want to hurt. History is not important because the nature of mankind can change and the future may not be like the past anyway. It is a way of viewing life and the world that sinks the soul over centuries into a dank mental prison. This is what we would expect from a false religion since the job of a missionary is to “turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God (Acts 26:18).”

ATR propagates dictators.
Those who write historical accounts of African states often blame the problems on leadership. When the country breathes easily after one dictator is deposed, the man who brought them freedom from the last tyranny commonly turns out the same or worse. It is superficial to finger the leaders as if an epidemic of bad leaders caused itself. As Christianity produces all goodness, truth, and beauty in society, so we should expect that false religion will produce all badness, falsehood, and ugliness.

ATR promotes power as a virtue irrespective of moral safeguards. Who is the quintessential Zulu still remembered with airports and public attractions named in his honor? The same man who waged brutal wars against the Ndebele and Shangaan (Tsonga) people, Shaka (to say nothing of his aggression against the Afrikaaners and Englishmen). Since the religion has no recorded teachings, it has no unchanging moral restraints. Once grown in this garden, kings naturally strive for all the power they can achieve. By lack of religious prohibition, ATR fertilizes and waters the latent lust for control in the heart of men.

Africa’s problems come largely from their false religion.
What then should our attitude be toward ATR?

  1. Thorough understanding of ATR so that we will see where its teachings and customs are different from Christianity.
  2. Willingness to discern and think carefully about the complicated issues ATR has produced today.
  3. Pity and love for those still confused and experiencing the pain that this demonic system has caused.
  4. Doubt, uncertainty, and skepticism toward mysterious traditions.
  5. Hatred of the false doctrines and Satanic power that have bound us in lies for so many years.

This cycle has already happened in Europe. Evidence of superstitions and polytheism come from most countries including England when Julius Caesar arrived and Germany after Boniface. ATR has been a tool working against the people who follow it—a vicious circle. As the “futile way of life inherited from your forefathers” ATR bears the responsibility for most of the poverty, ignorance, and failure of this continent. If we would all fight African poverty, we must fight this false religion, and for this task, our weapons are not carnal. Churchplanting, evangelistic, prayerful, discerning missionaries are the great enemies of African Traditional Religion and the only enduring hope—in God’s usual means of grace—for Africa.

Other articles in the series on African Traditional Religion:
African Traditional Religion 1: Africa’s God

African Traditional Religion 2: The Gods Never Sleep
African Traditional Religion 3: Similarities with World Religions
African Traditional Religion 4: African Christianity has the Same Theology as ATR.
African Traditional Religion 5: ATR is Uniquely Used by Satan


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African Christianity has the Same Theology as ATR~ ATR 4

As a general category, southern Africa calls itself Christian. In Jason Mandryk’s 2010 edition of Operation World here are the numbers of people who claim to be Christian in southern African countries.

  • Angola 94%Christian
  • Botswana 66% Christian
  • Namibia 91% Christian
  • Malawi 76% Christian
  • Mozambique 47% Christian
  • Swaziland 85% Christian
  • South Africa 75% Christian
  • Zimbabwe 78% Christian
  • Zambia 87% Christian

Yet overwhelmingly this “Christianity” is a strain of the theological disease from the Prosperity family. After many years of evangelism, I have found it much easier to find an African “Christian” who believes he must “speak prosperity over his job” than to find one who speaks of the Son of God dying for his sins. I have heard numerous preachers on TV, books, and rural crusades tell their audiences that they have power to create reality like a god, but I have never heard even one speak merely about the themes around God giving righteousness to wicked men by faith in Christ. I have heard a “pastor” say that “It’s boring in Heaven.”

African Christianity is a fatal mixture of ATR with Christian terms. It is not like mixing a bowl of mashed potatoes with a sprinkling of cyanide—potentially deadly to some. Rather think of it as offering an ice-cold glass of bleach or drain cleaner with a half-teaspoon of sugar to improve the taste.

This kind of dilution between two religions is called syncretism. History and Scripture offers many examples. God’s chosen people were often syncretistic.

He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. 5 Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” Exodus 32:4-5

So while these nations feared the Lord, they also served their idols; their children likewise and their grandchildren, as their fathers did, so they do to this day. 2 Kings 17:41

In the NT, Simon the Sorcerer tried to mix his traditional voodoo beliefs with Christianity. He “believed” and was baptized, and yet he loved power and thought God was for sale (Acts 8:12-22).

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Syncretism is common in Brazil where they mix traditional animism and Catholicisim. In North Africa, Islam is commonly blended with ATR creating “folk Islam.” The ancient Romans did not mind adding gods to their religion as long as the Emperor maintained the highest authority.

Syncretism fits with ATR. Like many false religions, ATR can absorb other religious ideas without changing much because they have no absolute standard. There is no law in ATR requiring men to speak the truth because they have no Christ who says, “I am the Truth.” The earliest Venda kings who had contact with Christianity eventually acquiesced to allow the new religion as long as they could keep their own customs and religions. The earliest missionary efforts among the Vendas were constantly met with syncretism (See Kirkaldy’s first chapter). Today, many men are pastors, but they still share a fear of spirits, and their ministries are often dominated by discussions of what the spirits have done, and how to get around the spirits. (The majority of books by African pastors that I have seen all are dominated by discussions of spirits.) Their public teaching centers on freedom from the spirits and their efforts to impoverish the common man. Just turn on a religious TV show from this continent and you won’t have to listen very long.

Prosperity theology is largely syncretistic. As ATR deals with issues affecting this life, so too does prosperity theology.

  1. The goal of ATR is Sola Comfort contra Soli Deo Gloria, the same as the prosperity religion: health, wealth, and comfort.
  2. The authority of ATR is Sola Experience contra Sola Scriptura, the same as the prosperity religion: traditions, visions, personal impressions.
  3. The means of ATR is Sola Speaking contra Sola Fide, the same as the prosperity religion: certain rituals and words.
  4. The mediator of ATR is Sola Pastor contra Solus Christus, the same as the prosperity religion: powerful men who have a special connection with the spirits.
  5. The power of ATR is contra Sola Gratia, the same as the prosperity religion: good works.

Prosperity preachers shot out Christian words, but they have changed the sum and substance of the religion in order to fit it with the useless way of life they received from their forefathers (1 Pet. 1:18). This is the most common kind of Christianity in southern Africa today, but it is really just ATR with new clothes. The glasses have not been changed. The worldview is largely left untouched. The same fears of witchcraft, voodoo, and evil spirits still dominate daily experience. Now the witchdoctors simply wear suits, carry Bibles, and shout “Hallelujah.”

Syncretism is not Christian. In Bunyan’s Holy War Mr. Loath-to-Stoop comes out to negotiate with Emmanuel offering 8 different compromises, yet the Golden Prince rejects them all. He will have all or none.

“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” Luke 14:33

Peter said that Simon was bound in sin, needed forgiveness, and would die because of his syncretism (Acts 8:20-23). Mark Minnick captures the heart of Isaiah’s message with this syncretism-damning summary of the book of Isaiah: “Trust only in the Holy One of Israel, for He alone is salvation.” Syncretism has no more saving faith than fornication has of true love.

Africa’s Christianity is not Christian because it is largely syncretistic.

Other articles in the series on African Traditional Religion:
African Traditional Religion 1: Africa’s God

African Traditional Religion 2: The Gods Never Sleep
African Traditional Religion 3: Similarities with World Religions
African Traditional Religion 4: African Christianity has the Same Theology as ATR.
African Traditional Religion 5: ATR is Uniquely Used by Satan

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Myanmar, known in the past as Burma, has about as many people as South Africa (around 55 million), though the country is half the size. The majority, 80-90%, of the people are Buddhist. Only about 8% have any Christian conviction. Yet over 1 million are Baptists. Where did they come from? They all trace their roots back to a 23-year old man and his 22-year old wife who arrived 204 years ago. (July 1813) We should know these people, these fellow travellers because they deserve to be imitated. “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7

The two books I used the most for this biography are Courtney Anderson’s To the Golden Shore and Arabella Stuart’s The Lives of the Three Mrs. Judsons, the edition published by PBP since it has nearly 150 pages of extra material. This manuscript was intended for the ear not the eye, thus, the choppy sentences.

The Life of Adoniram Judson

  1. 1788 Born into a Congregationalist home 9 August 1788.
  2. As a boy, he was gifted in answering math and logic puzzles. He once won a contest by solving a problem posed in the newspaper.
  3. 1799 By 10, he was already advanced in Latin and Greek.
  4. 1804 At 16, he entered college—studying Latin, Greek, math, geography, astronomy, logic, rhetoric, and philosophy.
  5. During his three years at college he gave up Christianity under the influence of a “brilliant” young man named Jacob Eames, yet he hid this from his parents.
  6. 1807 He opens a school to teach young children, publishing two textbooks on English and math within the first two years.
  7. After telling his parents about his apostasy, he left to be a stage entertainer.
  8. A few months into this wild life, he stayed at an inn where he heard the person in the next room dying.
  9. Eames died during the night and led Judson to great fear.
  10. Five weeks after telling his parents that he had left the faith, he told them that he was in dread over his own soul.
  11. While at his father’s home, he read The Fourfould State by Thomas Boston.
  12. 1808 3 weeks later, he had enrolled at a Seminary even though he was not yet a Christian!
  13. There were only two main professors and both of them were young, yet they guided Judson to faith.
  14. 1808 2 Dec. Conversion! 20 years old.
  15. Though he didn’t know it, he had 42 years left to live writing, “How shall I so order my future being as best to please God?”
  16. He immediately devoted his life to full-time service.
  17. Up to this point, no American had ever left North America to reach the unreached.
  18. 1810 13 months after conversion, he dedicated his life to being a missionary.
  19. “It was during a solitary walk in the woods behind the college, while meditating and praying on the subject, and feeling half inclined to give it up, that the command of Christ, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,’ was presented to my mind with such clearness and power, that I came to a full decision, and though great difficulties appeared in my way, resolved to obey the command at all events.”
  20. Over the next year, Adoniram and 6 other young men, stirred up missions’ zeal all around the seminary and the surrounding towns.
  21. He often preached and it was said he “had that rarest of attributes, a commanding stage presence” and powerful voice.
  22. The young men met with the leaders of the churches and asked for their support.
  23. That afternoon, at 22 years of age, Judson fell in love with Ann Hasseltine.
  24. She was 21 and the daughter of a deacon converted at 17 by reading godly books.
  25. Ann: “I felt resolved to give up everything, and seek to be reconciled to God. That fear, which I had ever felt, that others would know I was serious, now vanished away, and I was willing that the whole universe should know that I felt myself to be a lost and perishing sinner.”
  26. 1806 Ann also opened a school though only 17 in order to teach the basics to children.
  27. 1810 Four years later, she met Judson while he was visiting in their home asking the pastors for financial support.
  28. Ranking among the greatest letters in history, here is the request Judson sent to her father asking for permission to marry her.

“I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world ? Whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall resound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”

  1. Ann’s sister wrote about Adoniram, “he was a man of one idea, and that was, love, to Jesus, and a desire to manifest it in all its varied forms.”
  2. One of Ann’s friends, Harriet–only 17–was also courted by one of Adoniram’s friends, Samuel Newell. They would go to Burma together.
  3. What these girls were contemplating was terrifying considering the times and technology.
  4. 1811 Judson rushed to London to try to find support.
  5. While on the sea he was captured by a French war ship and only escaped by sneaking out of the prison.
  6. Eventually, the Congregationalists decided to pay the missionaries $666.66 per year. A low salary at that time.
  7. Four young men and their wives were accepted as the first missionaries from America, but only one of them would actually serve as a missionary.
  8. 1812 Two weeks before they left on the boat, Judson and Ann were married as well as Samuel and Harriet.
  9. 1812 While on the boat, he accepts the Bible’s teaching on baptism.
  10. 1812 At 19, Harriet and her baby die before she reaches Burma.
  11. 1813 While on the boat, the nurse falls over dead, and Ann’s first baby is stillborn.
  12. 1813 After 1 ½ years of traveling they finally arrive in Burma. Nancy is so sick that she has to be carried on shore.
  13. 1813 Language difficulty: They struggled to learn with no English anywhere in the culture.
  14. Hardness of the people: Ann writes, “Lying is so common and universal among them, that they say, ‘We cannot live without telling lies.’”
  15. “The Burmans are subtle, thievish, mercenary, addicted to robbery and fraud; truth and honesty are not known among them as virtues.”
  16. Rangoon: The country had no banks, bread, butter, or cheese. The children begin smoking as babies and don’t wear clothes until 7.
  17. Corruption: All officials demanded bribes. Criminals went in bands.
  18. Government: Conversion to Christianity is illegal. One convert was beaten with a hammer inch by inch from feet to breast.
  19. Burmese language lacked abstract words needed to preach. No cause / effect categories in their thinking.
  20. The Judson received no communication from America for nearly 3 years.
  21. 1816 Death of baby Roger. Ann’s second baby died at 8 months old.

“God saw it was necessary… to strip us of our only little all. O may it not be vain that he has done it. May we so improve it, that he will stay his hand say, ‘It is enough.’”

  1. 1817 They were often sick and would take a sea voyage in hopes of recovery. Both husband and wife nearly died from sickness multiple times.
  2. 1819 Death of the new missionary, Wheelock a few months after his arrival. His 21 year old wife, Eliza, full of bitterness.
  3. 1819 6 June First convert, Maung Nau, after 6 years of work.
  4. 1819 Judson asks the king for religious freedom. It is denied.
  5. 1820 One year later, they had a church of 10 adults.
  6. Nancy, about to die, leaves for a sea voyage.
  7. Judson spends most of his time in translation.
  8. 1824 6 months after Nancy returns healthy, Judson is 35 years old. He is arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for 17 months.
  9. The cause was the British war with Burma.
  10. Tortures at this time: He was bound with “the cord”, overcrowded prison, no news, no food, no cleanliness, lice, feet raised at night, housed in a low hut.
  11. Ann visits officials every day desperate for his relief.
  12. She smuggles his NT manuscript to him in a pillow.
  13. 1825 After 6 months of prison, Nancy gives birth to Maria.
  14. Adoniram gets deathly sick in prison.
  15. Forced to march 12 kilometers in 40 degree weather (Celsius).
  16. Feet were so painful, he ponders suicide.
  17. In the new jail, they are bound and the mosquitoes torture them.
  18. Ann is frantic in her search for Adoniram with two adopted Burmese children and her own daughter.
  19. She moves to a hut near the new prison.
  20. The children catch smallpox including baby Maria.
  21. Ann gets deathly sick trying to help Adoniram and the girls.
  22. The prison keeper lets Judson out to take Maria house to house looking for a wet nurse.
  23. Then after 17 months he is released to translate for the British government.
  24. He lost the pillow with his manuscript in the first prison, but amazingly, it is found with the Burmese NT inside!
  25. When he returns to Ann, he finds her at home nearly dead.
  26. 1826 Ann dies 10 months after they come out of prison. Married 14 years.
  27. 1827 6 months later, Maria dies.
  28. 1827-1829 Judson withdraws in depression.
  29. 1830 Suddenly, people begin to inquire. At this time he wrote:

“Some come from two or three months’ journey, from the borders of Siam and China—‘Sir, we hear that there is an eternal hell. We are afraid of it. Do give us a writing that will tell us how to escape it.’ Others come from the frontiers of Kathay, a hundred miles north of Ava. … Others come from the interior of the country, where the name of Jesus Christ is a little known—‘Are you Jesus Christ’s man? Give us a writing that tells us about Jesus Christ.’”

  1. 1834 Burmese Bible complete! After 20 years of work. 45 years old.
  2. 1834 Married Sarah Boardman, 30 years old.
  3. She was a gifted poet and linguist.
  4. She served in Burma with her gifted husband George for 4 years until his death.
  5. The Boardman’s had taken great risks by moving into dangerous areas.
  6. Adoniram met her on 6 April and they were married four days later.
  7. She was entirely devoted to evangelism—walked with her baby boy into the jungles.
  8. She bore Judson 8 children.
  9. 1845 They returned to America while trying to save Sarah’s life, but it is no use–she dies after 11 years of marriage.
  10. While there he met a 28 year old named Emily Chubbock.
  11. Four weeks later he gave her the “watch” he had given to Ann and to Sarah in their turns as engagement presents.
  12. They returned to Burma together for less than four years.
  13. 1849 He finished the English-Burmese dictionary.
  14. She bore his 12th child. Only 6 lived; 2 became pastors.
  15. 1850 Though he had been sick many times before, this last sickness was so painful that he wrote, “How few there are who suffer such torment–who die so hard!”
  16. 1850 Terribly sick for weeks, Adoniram Judson died at 61 and was buried at sea. 12 April 1850.

Eight Lessons From the Lives of the Judson’s

  1. Truth is more important than money.
    • When he became a Baptist Ann was “terrified” because they would lose their support, teammates, and friends.
    • It was a hard, difficult life full of suffering, misunderstandings, and self-denial.
  1. Planting churches among the least-reached people groups costs lives, money, and comfort.
    • Throughout his life, I counted 17 children, wives, and teammates who died.
    • His own life was cut short.
    • Several missionaries died before doing any work.
    • It was a hard, difficult life full of suffering, misunderstandings, and self-denial.
  2. We must not mind a little suffering.
    • Loss of family and comforts of America.
    • The terrible episode in the prison.
    • Numerous sicknesses for himself, his wife, and his children. They seemed to be either recovering or about to be sick.
    • Death of family members.
    • Low salary.
    • Very much like our Savior.
  3. Without fluency in native languages, the Great Commission cannot be fulfilled.
    • Let us study language so that we may be some good as missionaries.
    • Short term trips cannot do much good for missions.
  4. The grace and labor of a godly wife makes a merely good man great.
    • The doctor who attended Ann said that she eventually died from the pain she bore keeping her husband alive in prison.
    • Sarah and Emily served him so that the Bible and the dictionary could be completed.
  5. The task of missions demands the brightest and most able minds.
    • Judson was gifted.
    • Learning languages, adjusting to culture, communicating in a land darkened by false religion all require the best gifts.
  6. Without the influence of the gospel of Jesus Christ, men suffer through a degraded, difficult life.
    • The religion of the Burmese kept them poor.
    • The Burmese hide their wealth rather than building beautiful homes because they know officials look for bribes.
    • This religion blocked their societal advance, education, peace, and political stability.
    • Ann told the Americans when she returned: “To be born a female [in Burma] is universally considered a peculiar misfortune.”
  7. Fitting love for Jesus Christ may cause our love for our wives and children to be questioned.
    • Judson loved his wife and children dearly.
    • Ann and Sarah both wrote in letters that Adoniram was the most loving husband.
    • And yet the world would say that he hated them because he put them at risk.


  • Adoniram Judson and his wives sacrificed, hoped, and died for unreached people.
  • God has given us their lives as examples for our own love and devotion to God.

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Similarities Between ATR and World Religions~ ATR 3

Similarities between ATR and all other false religions.
ATR has many gods like Hinduism or the spiritism of South America. (Some sources do claim that ATR reveres one god at the top of all the other gods. However, all the sources agree that ATR promotes the fear of many spirits with god-like powers. Contrast that with the Christian duty to fear only Jehovah. Luke 12:4-5; Proverbs 1:7)

Like Buddhism and all forms of animism, ATR searches the spiritual world for causes of phenomena in the physical world.

Like the prosperity religion, ATR emphasizes health, comfort, and wealth.

Like all other religions, ATR attempts to take into account the broad scope of everything in the world. Unfortunately, the theological structure of ATR can only stutter out a unity based on mutable, fickle spirits for treating birth, growth, life with others, work, and death.

Similarities between ATR and the one true religion of Jesus Christ.
The gods of ATR affect all areas of life as Jesus Christ places His feet over all of life. 1 Cor. 10:31

The gods of ATR are personal like the one true God, not like the impersonal “deity” in Buddhism.

The gods of ATR make certain demands, and they require a sacrifice when their demands are not met.

The gods of ATR must be feared and respected like the One who said, “Fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in Hell.”

All religions share important similarities. And aren’t short chapters a breath of fresh air?

Other articles in the series on African Traditional Religion:
African Traditional Religion 1: Africa’s God

African Traditional Religion 2: The Gods Never Sleep
African Traditional Religion 3: Similarities with World Religions
African Traditional Religion 4: African Christianity has the Same Theology as ATR.
African Traditional Religion 5: ATR is Uniquely Used by Satan


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