Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Abortuary Deathscorts: How Do Their Families Justify This?

*Editorial Note: Pulpit & Pen continues in unrepentant sin and enabling of the ongoing sin of Jordan Hall. While it is my understanding that P&P does not plan to take down the content I contributed, any role I can play in reducing their traffic until they repent, I will. Thus I migrate this article here. 

The Gestapo furnace escorts had families, too…and I’m sure their families were proud of the men (and women) they became. I can hear it now: “Just got mixed up with the wrong crowd. It was all their superiors’ faults that they ended up, you know, facilitating the murder of thousands of Jews. Little Heinrich was such a good boy. Everyone loved him. And besides, you know, those Jews, I mean, of course they didn’t all deserve to die, but they sorta had it coming anyway…”
We at Pulpit & Pen brought you the continuing story last week of police officers in Norman, OK working as deathscorts at the child sacrifice center run by Baby-Murderer-In-Chief Larry Burns, not only taking blood money to help secure the premises from violent incursion, but indeed offering moral aid and comfort to the murderous parents, boyfriends and husbands, and grandparents that partronise this altar to Molech, and doing so in official police regalia and using official police cruisers.

The plot thickened when the Abolitionist Society of Norman coordinated exposure efforts with Pulpit & Pen to call attention to the police support of this ongoing atrocity, specifically Lt. Jeff Robertson of Norman PD. One Cynde Robertson, a resident of Noble, OK, just to the south of Norman, happened across the post and jumped in of her own free volition to defend her deathscort rent-a-cop brother Jeff Robertson.

I wish I were in a position to say that the churchianity lingo that flowed forth so liberally from her keyboard is unusual, almost unique. Sadly, it is all too common, whether online or in an evangelistic/apologetic/polemic context on the street or at the abortion mill. Churchgoing people say these things all the time. Just expect it.


So, what do we have here?
-The deathscort rent-a-cop is a Christian and serves an Awesome God
-We will all be judged
-It is slander and hatred to reveal the truth about what this officer does while off-duty and wearing badge, uniform, equipment, and full paraphernalia and driving a marked police cruiser
-Nobody will be judged for killing babies
-If we were really repentant of our sins, we would not judge others
-God is the only judge that matters


This guy gets it. But alas, the level of biblical literacy required even to make a snappy and accurate meme is lacking in the vast majority of American churchianity settings, whether a pew-sitter or an employee of the religious service provider church.

Cynde was not content to let it rest there. No, this was no drive-by discomfiture, no mock walk.

Cynde4Cynde6Cynde7 Cynde8

Of course, what we encounter with a biblical neophyte wouldn’t be complete without a citation of Matthew 7 (though to her credit and surprisingly enough, she didn’t end the citation with verse 2), some statements judging us for judging others because she judged that judging others is bad so we are placed under her judgment for placing someone under our judgment, a gripe that nobody’s perfect so we shouldn’t care about holiness or obedience, a reminder that God is bigger than things that are smaller than God, and an admonition not to stone anyone to death unless we ourselves have achieved sinless perfection. I suppose we can all stand amazed that the word “Pharisee” never appeared in that thread and that “pharisaical” showed its pretty little face only once.


So, you see, the real bad guys here are those abolitionists who give up much to stand in freezing temperatures for hours so as to try to turn people back from the slaughter, proclaim the law of God and the good news of Jesus Christ, and rescue those being taken away to death. The baby killer himself, his staff, the murderous parents, the pressuring boyfriends and grandparents, the complicit friends, the rent-a-cops paid in blood money? They’re all good people. You don’t know their story. You don’t know where they’ve been. Who are you to judge them?

Take a time machine back 70 years and make the same defense of a Gestapo guard who killed Jews. Hey, it’s not like Jews were human beings. Why are you so mean and judgmental? He was just following orders. He didn’t actually gas Jews himself. All of the same arguments work perfectly. That should bother you.
Pulpit & Pen has been given information that indicates that Cynde Robertson and her brother Jeff Robertson, spiritual descendant of the Gestapo furnace escorts, attend religious services performed by, and Cynde let us know in the thread she attends those services every Sunday as does Jeff. Cynde was also kind enough to reveal to the world that she is a Level / Thrive brand promoter, so if anyone would like to do business with someone who defends modern-day Gestapo because don’t judge other people, feel free to give her a call.

One might also ask Pastor Clark Mitchell of what he thinks about these sorts of people taking up seats at his light-and-fog worship experience weekend rigmaroles. Does he care? Does he even know who they are? (We all know the answer to those questions. They’re just rhetorical.)

At some point, you sort of run out of words to say. Maranatha.

Monday, December 21, 2015

These Bible Belt Police Ignore Their Oaths and Oppress the Innocent

*Editorial Note: Pulpit & Pen continues in unrepentant sin and enabling of the ongoing sin of Jordan Hall. While it is my understanding that P&P does not plan to take down the content I contributed, any role I can play in reducing their traffic until they repent, I will. Thus I migrate this article here. 

Pulpit & Pen called your attention last week to the situation at the child sacrifice center in Norman, OK, where the city’s police department has, in a very real de facto sense, renounced the oaths they have taken to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law and to protect and serve the innocent.

Multiple readers contacted Norman PD to complain that the department allows their officers to accept off-duty assignments to provide security services at the baby-murder mill, paid for in blood money from the hand of the serial murderer himself, Larry Burns. We reproduce here a written response from Norman PD about that blog article:
Forward: Here Is a Statement from the Norman Police Dept. about your Blog:
We do have officers who have secondary employment at the business spotlighted in this article. This business is operating in accordance with state and federal law. Our job and the oath all officers take does not allow us the freedom to pick and choose which lives we protect. Whether individuals share the same beliefs or not, we are obligated to protect those who feel threatened. Our role in this case is to protect lives and property and keep the peace as provided by law. This obligation, under the law, is neutral and objective. Please let us know if you have any further questions.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the situation has actually worsened. Later in the week, abolitionist sidewalk counselors observed police officers
  • warmly welcoming and shaking hands with the abortionist and his wife (who assists him in his serial murder)
  • holding a visible police presence in official (taxpayer-provided) police vehicles with standard markings
  • escorting abortive customers from their car to the doors of the abortion mill and then
  • escorting them from the door of the mill back to their car
Obviously, these official claims to neutrality and objectivity are bogus and false. But wait! There’s more!

You see, a police officer’s secondary employment has absolutely nothing to do with obligations under the law. Contrary to the implication of the department’s communiqué, no officer is obligated to moonlight in his police uniform. Of course, some law enforcement officers take second jobs directing traffic during rush hour at office buildings or church buildings or run security at movie theaters, yet here they are acting like it is their official sworn duty to moonlight for the child sacrifice center. Further, they are acting as if they have no right to exercise discretion when it comes to where their marked police cruisers are driven and what their officers actually do while driving those cruisers and wearing the uniform though off-duty.

This author inquired about this matter to the Norman PD. Their principal answer was that if they approve officers’ requests to run security at private businesses like movie theaters when they are off-duty, they cannot discriminate against other legal businesses when they request an off-duty police presence. This attitude seems to be shared by the Tulsa Police Department, where no less than a captain frequently provides visible security and assuages consciences with the best of the deathscorts in front of the Tulsa child sacrifice center. Yet in a previous phone call to Norman PD, which this author tried and failed to record, an exception was stated – an officer would not be allowed to work security at a place like a bar, where a conflict of interest could easily arise, in the case for example where a minor attempted to buy alcohol.

Conflict of interest, eh? You mean like when the police are supposed to protect and serve the innocent and uphold the Constitution, and yet are held under lesser laws to NOT protect the innocent when those innocents are still in the wombs of their mothers?

But no, that’s not a conflict of interest, because the lesser magistrates are violating the Constitution and worse, the law of God, by declaring it legal to murder children. It is not a conflict of interest because Norman PD hath declared, defined, and proclaimed thus.

Around timestamp 3:50, the police lieutenant on the phone says, “They try not to get into issues such as this one way or the other.” We have news for them – they have indeed taken a side, and that side is against the God of the universe and against the precious tiny humans who are dying in their city every week. They ARE picking and choosing what lives they protect. This official Norman PD statement asserts that the unborn ARE NOT lives that should be protected. These men and women have not learned from the lessons of history. Law enforcement agents used to take money from slaveholders to infiltrate the North, re-kidnap escaped slaves, and forcefully return them to their slavemasters, where their subsequent fate was usually worse than the first. Law enforcement agents complying with the law and often pretending neutrality stood guard at the gates of and inside Auschwitz and Buchenwald. They were “just doing their jobs”. They were “just obeying orders”. History has judged them. God has judged them.

Psalm 1:1-2 – How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 2:1-6 – Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

We are not critiquing them for responding to reports of break-ins or armed incursions at the death mill. Those are illegal and indeed wicked activities, and if we observed them in progress or saw evidence of it after the fact, we would alert the authorities. But this goes further than that they are not obligated to do what they do outside the mill during off-duty hours. They are obligated not to do it, and the department should not support the serial murderer Larry Burns or his enterprise, and should not pretend neutrality. The authorities should be actively hostile to this wicked business operating under the auspices of legality. Let the chips fall where they may. This rebuke certainly goes for Officer Neelon Greenwood.

But the developing situation with Lieutenant Jeff Robertson is more complex and more obviously objectionable.

Last week, this author was pleading for lives on the sidewalk in front of the death mill and trying to live Christianly in a culture that murders babies. Lt. Robertson was busily working against the witness of the Gospel under color of law. Here you can see how that all went down, and how “neutral” and “objective” he is.

Yep, that’s right. Because this author sacrifices sleep, time, comfort, and resources to plead for lives, offer assistance out of my own pocket, proclaim the Gospel, and beseech people to walk with me in repentance, I am “more self-righteous than anybody (he’s) ever met”, “a jerk”, and “out there shaming people”. This from a “neutral” and “objective” uniformed police officer, driving a marked, official police cruiser, serving as the equivalent of an SS guard at a Nazi death camp, berating and slandering a taxpaying citizen under color of law, behind the badge, in an officially approved capacity.

May we all, like this author, beg the God of mercy to cleanse us from all self-righteousness and evil speech and behavior toward others. May it not be true. May we examine ourselves. I invite you to examine me. Here is a long conversation from only two days before at the same child sacrifice center.

Here’s another from two months ago. Many more at my YouTube page. Judge for yourselves whether Lt. Robertson’s accusations ring true.

The Norman Police Department, rather than repenting when proven in sin, is doubling down. May the Lord bring them to repentance and, if not, may He destroy them to His glory in His time.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Kill The Infidels?

A friend asked my thoughts on this article by one Chuck Baldwin. Its beginning and middle are of pretty poor quality, but toward the end it starts to improve.

--Muslims aren't "a people".  Islam is a religion. Its adherents could be any ethnicity.
What binds Muslims together (to the extent that they are indeed bound together, which is not a whole lot when you think about all their wars between Muslims throughout history and the present day) is Islam, which styles itself as a complete system of LIFE and RELIGION and (get this) GOVERNMENT.
Thus I'd actually argue that Islam is very plausibly an inherently anti-Constitutional force, intrinsically devoted to the destruction of the American republic.

--Why is it bigotry or hatred to say that we need to control immigration better or close it off, as Trump says? Such Baldwin asserts, but doesn't argue for. I think that sort of language is at best sloppy and at worst really biased.

--He claims people are in a frenzy. Where are the resultant shootings of Muslims in the USA? Come now. That's just hysterical language. Sounds to me like the one in a frenzy is him.

--I watched the footage of Cruz's heckling, and while I wouldn't say he "stormed off stage" (the dude is a politician. Come on), it still wouldn't surprise me if he held a poor understanding of how the USA ought to relate to Israel. But I don't see how that connects to the previous paragraphs in the article or why I should care all that much.
(Note I'm not saying I agree with all that Cruz said in the video. The heckling seems to have begun with "Christians have no greater ally than the Jewish state." The hecklers were right to object to that sort of statement.)

--Baldwin seems upset about Cruz's action, contending that "These were Christians who are being persecuted by Muslims and Jews".
1) What makes Baldwin think that THESE particular Christians were persecuted by Jews? Is there some sort of mass Christian refugee exodus from Israel of which I am unaware?
2) If I were a Christian in the Middle East I'd much prefer Israel's "persecution" to the mass rapes and massacres that ISIS is perpetrating. It is disappointing that Baldwin would equate the two situations.

--Baldwin asks "Mr. Cruz, are you standing with Israel when it stoned Stephen to death in Acts 7?" What an amazing statement.
1) That wasn't Israel. It was the Sanhedrin.
2) Lots of Jews became followers of Messiah. Why aren't they the ones Baldwin calls "Israel"?
3) Stephen was part of "Israel", being himself Jewish. (In fact, since he had faith in Messiah, he was part of the true Israel as well as being Jewish by blood.)
4) There is an enormous difference between the Jewish people of the 1st century and modern Israel.

--Baldwin claims "As justification for their bigotry and hatred, Christians love to quote passages from the Koran that speak of jihad against “infidels.” But, it never ceases to amaze me that these same Christians seem to have never read the Jewish Talmud."
It is very difficult to know how the Talmud is at all pertinent.
The quotations he provides are not even analogous to the usual citations from the Qur'an, which seem to a great many people to be prima facie, unqualified incitements to violence against unbelievers. These Talmudic quotations are not anything similar.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Police in Uniform Paid as Abortion Mill’s Jackboot Thugs

The badge. The thin blue line. The good guys. The city’s finest.

This is what often comes to mind when one thinks of law enforcement, police officers. One thinks of those who took an oath to protect the innocent from criminals and to uphold the rule of law. Of those who show up to help when you dial 911 (with apologies to our friends in Canada or overseas). Of the Constitution and justice.

What do we make of it when law enforcement officers violate their oaths in the most egregious and disgusting way?

Enter Lieutenant Jeff Robertson and Officer Neelon Greenwood of the Police Department of Norman, OK.

These officers of the law have accepted the offer from the career baby-killer, Larry Burns, at 2453 Wilcox Drive, Norman, OK, to work security for his child sacrifice center when they are off-duty. While they are doing so, they serve as deathscorts, walking abortive mothers from their cars to the back door of the death mill so as to avoid the abolitionists trying to hold them back from the slaughter who are stuck on the sidewalk, on public property.


They took an oath to protect. They protect murderers.

They took an oath to serve. They serve the rich assassin who tears tiny children to pieces or poisons them to death with chemical weaponry.

They took an oath to uphold the Constitution. They uphold the perversion that 7 lawyers in Washington DC foisted upon it, as well as the myriad lower laws that ignorant, biased, and wicked legislators have since created in the same vein.
They are supposed to deal justice to the innocent. They help deal death to the innocent.

And to add insult to injury, they wear their full police uniforms (which are, of course, taxpayer property) to fulfill this wicked capacity.
To add irony to insult to injury, Pulpit & Pen has reason to believe that Officer Greenwood also provides security for
Campbellitesa Church of Christ in the Norman area on Sundays.

These men are government officials, agents of the God-ordained authority to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil. Instead, let a single sidewalk counselor set foot on the property of this altar to Molech, and doubtless the “officer” on “duty” will cite or arrest that doer of good. Thus the government magistrate becomes a terror unto those who do good, rather than unto those who do evil. While they should stand against the destruction of preborn bearers of the image of their Creator, they misappropriate their badge and uniform for the purposes of standing against righteousness.

Let’s be clear. Any government official has the responsibility to stand firmly against violations of the Law of God. “It’s the law” is no excuse. “Law enforcement” agents once set dogs and fire hoses against marchers for civil rights. “Law enforcement” agents once guarded death camps that exterminated Jews, Gypsies, and handicapped people. “Law enforcement” agents once infiltrated states in the North to find and re-kidnap runaway slaves to force them back to their former servitude.

Today, “law enforcement” agents protect modern-day death camps, where one million of your preborn neighbors have been poisoned and dismembered this past year. They’ll say “it’s a woman’s choice” and “it’s the law of the land”. By their words they stand condemned.

Please contact the Norman Police Department and demand that they discipline Lt. Jeff Robertson and Officer Neelon Greenwood for impersonating police officers as they play guard dog for Larry Burns the baby killer. Please demand further that they renounce any protection for that “business” that murders citizens of the United States, tiny human beings created in the image of God. And, it should go without saying, do no harm to the baby killers, the abortive customers, the police in general, or these officers. “‘Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

And lest you misunderstand your role vis-à-vis the government, please check out

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ben Carson Thinks You Should Tone It Down

*Editorial Note: Pulpit & Pen continues in unrepentant sin and enabling of the ongoing sin of Jordan Hall. While it is my understanding that P&P does not plan to take down the content I contributed, any role I can play in reducing their traffic until they repent, I will. Thus I migrate this article here. 

[[WARNING: This post contains graphic images of violence against human beings.]]

Because, you know, obviously when a guy who lives in the woods by himself, self-identifies as a woman despite sporting a neck beard that would put JD Hall to shame, and goes to some random location to shoot up an abortion facility and yet somehow doesn’t specifically hunt down the people who actually commit legalised murder every single day, it’s the fault of “pro-life rhetoric” in the USA:
Talk about media mismanagement on Dr Carson’s part. The man is being fed high lobs down the middle by this talking head, and all he can say is that there is “hateful rhetoric” on both sides? Has Dr Carson forgotten that the race to the middle is supposed to happen after one has nailed down his party’s nomination?
So let’s talk about that “rhetoric”, otherwise known as stating the facts of the matter. Planned Parenthood and other child sacrifice centers rip tiny human beings limb from limb.

They dismember them. They crush their skulls and then suck out their brain tissue so as to pull their bodies forcefully from their mothers’ wombs. They suction them out with hoses into jars, and then they piece their bodies back together in a steel tray to make sure no body parts have been left within. The ones they don’t murder with physical trauma, they poison to death with chemical weaponry like this. This happens thousands of times, every single day in our country. It is sin. It is not a stretch to say that it is our national sin, the evil of our age. It is a desecration of the image of God in humanity, and it is a direct attack on the image of God in the place of the Incarnation of the Son of God.

Credit: The Grantham Collection

Dr Carson believes that this sort of rhetoric exacerbates the situation. What situation? If I’m not mistaken, opponents of child sacrifice have been using language like this to a greater or lesser degree for 42+ years. To take one example, how many aborticians have died at the hands of “pro-life zealots” in those 42 years? Eight. Out of hundreds and hundreds of murderers-for-hire, who live by the sword; eight of them have died by the sword in this country so far. I’d say they’ve lived on the edge and largely gotten away with it, so far in American history (of course, it goes without saying that they will drink the full cup of God’s wrath when they stand before Him with hands drenched in the blood of babies). Of course there have been other acts of violence here and there against abortion facilities and whatnot. Yet most of them operate, most of the time, completely unmolested by any violent opposition*. The degree of violence they have sustained is nothing compared to the violence they deal out every day.

So we are left asking: To what situation does Dr Carson refer, that this rhetoric exacerbates?

Moreover, the claim was made: Dr Carson, the pro-aborts say that anti-abortion rhetoric has made this all worse. What does he think?

It would not be fitting for national TV to guffaw in contempt, I admit, though that’s my first reaction. My second reaction is: Prove it. Where is the evidence? Of course they have little to none. Meanwhile, all this focus on violence done against abortion providers overshadows the infinitely greater legalised violence they continually perpetrate, day after day. Where is Dr Carson’s retort that upholds the image of God? Would not a man who loves the truth and the image of God call attention to the real problem, without ceasing and over and over again?

Why in the world are you people talking about violence done against those who lie in wait to shed innocent blood? Where was your concern for human life the day before this woman discharged her his own abortion tools against post-birth fetuses?

From the ludicrous to the ridiculous, Dr Carson disguises his obvious discomfort with and inability to answer the question: The strength of our country is in its unity. The founders of the country certainly didn’t think so, which is why the federal government was much smaller when they were in charge than it is today when generations of compromisers like Dr Carson have upheld the oligarchy. And what is the virtue of unity anyway, when the country’s unity comes in its widespread support for iniquitous decrees?

Credit: The Grantham Collection

Dr Carson thinks we are hateful to each other in our rhetoric. That’s nothing compared to the hate that takes physical form in the violent oppression carried out against 3000 children per day. Dr Carson is worried about words when right in front of his face, child sacrifice is openly carried out by people who don’t even bother to hide it. He is worried about divisiveness, as if we should all just carry on and say “Peace, peace” where there is no peace, when the country is not under the lordship of Jesus Christ, when the churches, to say nothing of the government skuuls, nightclubs, brothels, and crack houses, are filled with people who have paid an assassin to scrape their offspring to pieces so they could continue to live their sinful lifestyle with no disruption.

The Bible has news for Dr Carson – the Gospel is divisive.

Matthew 10:24-28
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!
Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

John 15:24-28
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, “THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.”

Wake up, Christian!

Abortion is sin. The answer for sin is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not toning down rhetoric, not neglecting to call sin what it is – sin. Woe to those who do that, says the prophet Isaiah. Of course, if Dr Carson or anyone else is looking for intelligent and civil discussion, are not biblical Christians more than able to provide answers to every single objection, to refute their evil, irrational, and sin-stained “reasoning”, and to destroy speculations and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ? Of course. Just give us the chance. The pro-aborts don’t want that, for every time the debate is raised, the pro-death people either retreat into suppression of speech or name-calling or they lose the debate badly.
Dr Carson is dead wrong. The intelligent and civil discussion is there, but only one side wants it. The other side wants to avoid it and keep murdering babies and blowing smokescreens. Sadly, those smokescreens have had their desired effect on national- and state-level politicians all over the nation, and Dr Ben Carson is no exception.

*OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: Yes, of course, vigilante violence is bad and wrong. See here for more. It is possible for someone to respond to evil in an evil fashion.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Using your language

So there's this:

Then there's this:

And then there's this:
Facebook search for #bethedocumentary

Twitter search for #bethedocumentary

Yet it's Shane Dodson and Marcus Pittman who are changing the conversation? Some movie that 30,000 people, most of whom apparently ignored or forgot what it was trying to communicate, have seen?

But Pittman's main point probably isn't wrong. It's just funny who he thinks is winning.

Friday, November 13, 2015

15 defenses of open air preaching

One Daniel Courney wrote the following on Facebook. I heartily endorse almost all of this defense of that which needs no defense and so reproduce it here.

Though there are many more reasons, here are 15 defenses of street/open-air preaching I wrote out this morning in response to a brother's request:
1. Street preaching is the foremost method God has used throughout the Bible to communicate His Word (our Lord and all the apostles and prophets were street/OA preachers; probably all five of our Lord's sermons recorded in Matthew were in the open-air (at very least the Sermon on the Mount in 5-7, the Sermon on the Parables of the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven in 13, and the Sermon on the Mount of Olives, 23-25, which are explicitly said to have occurred in the open air), most of the recorded sermons of the prophets and apostles were open-air sermons.

2. Street preaching turns the world upside down; it makes the church's presence felt by the world and demands a response. It is the most controversial form of evangelism and thus cannot be simply ignored by the world. It is, by its very nature, a publicity stunt.

3. Street preaching is one of the greatest antidotes to lukewarmness; it challenges our faith like no other spiritual exercise.

4. Street preaching is the form of evangelism most consistent with the definitions of the Hebrew and Greek words for "preach" (קרא; κηρύσσω), "evangelize" (בּשׂר; εὐαγγελίζω) and "boldness" (παῤῥησία) in the Bible.

5. Street preaching, because it is the bravest, boldest, and most intrepid form of glorifying the Lord and spreading His Word, is thus the greatest antidote to being ashamed of the Gospel or confessing His Name before men. It literally glorifies the Name of the Lord the most, in the most rigid sense of this concept -- God's glories and Name being trumpeted on the rooftops.

6. Street preaching invites the opportunity for faith-refining persecution like no other form of ministry.

7. Street preaching is the most aggressive, most militant, and fastest method of world evangelism and thus hastens the return of our Lord; whereas preaching in a church house can reach a 100 in a year, street preaching travels a 100 souls per hour.
I will add to this that, biblically speaking, when you are talking inside a "church house" (or a house church), that's not preaching, no matter how loud you talk or how much "authority" you project. Preaching is, biblically speaking, what is done out in the culture to lost people. So I would edit Point #7 to "whereas teaching in a church house" or "whereas lecturing", as well as fleshing out the very real differences between "reaching" someone with a lecture among Christians vs reaching someone with the Gospel in an open air preaching context.

8. Street preaching is more authoritative than one-on-one evangelism; its sermonic and rhetorical nature ensures that those who refuse to listen the gospel in a dialogue must hear it from the monologue of street preacher.

This is not a great point, as it trades on a dubious definition of the word "authoritative". Take that way, though, and it's a good point.
9. Street preaching is the form of evangelism most complementary to the doctrines of grace; only a true Calvinist with a high view of God recognizes the win-win scenario of God being glorified in the salvation of the elect and in the hardening of the reprobate to the vindication of His justice.

10. Street preaching makes the presence and power of the church known in the community like no other form of outreach, as it is most literally fulfilling the commands to set our light upon a lampstand, being a city set on a hill, and proclaiming from the rooftops what He has whispered in our ear.

11. Street preaching is the most inspirational form of evangelism; it is a double-edged sword in that it not only saves the elect outside the fold but greatly motivates and inflames the esprit de corps and morale of the army of God, the church. Many a lukewarm Laodicean Christian has been motivated to commit themselves to Christ, personal holiness, and world evangelism more seriously due to a street sermon more directly intended for the lost.

12. Street preaching is the most superabundantly fruitful form of evangelism. Ask any veteran field preacher.

13. Street preaching is the most manly form of evangelism; it takes most literally the command to "take dominion". Western culture has been emasculated, and sadly it seems as if the church has not been spared the effects of this neutering it seems. Now is the time for men of God to arise and to fulfill the command "Stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13).

14. Street preaching is the most angelic form of evangelism (the root word of evangelism being aggelos or angel); see Rev. 14:6.

15. Street preaching is safeguard against the erosion of freedom of speech; the day may soon come when America becomes a totalitarian state when the luxury of the constitutional right of freedom of speech is overturned by the SCOTUS. While you have the freedom to preach openly without the possibility of criminal prosecution or any life-threatening violent persecution may you seize the initiative!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

By the authority vested in me by the State...

The ceremony of my marriage was carried out inside a building that most people refer to as a "church".
The ceremony mostly occurred on the same platform from which the pastor man usually lectures the same people every Sunday morning and evening.
The ceremony was officiated by a clergyman who had also performed premarital counseling for my fiancée and me, who had told us early on that if were engaging in any hanky-panky beforehand, he would not officiate our wedding.

At the end of our ceremony, our covenant of marriage made and vows expressed, this officiating clergyman pronounced us married by the authority vested in him by God and by the State of Oklahoma. Then he signed his name to a document that my wife and I had obtained from the governmental office that manages such affairs, affirming in the eyes of the State that we were legally married.

What did these various words, spoken and written, spoken by the various participants, accomplish?

Did not the vows spoken in the sight of God (and, in our case, other witnesses) actually bring the marriage covenant into being? Given that, what role did the "officiating" clergyman play in the true substance of that day, which was to join two people in marriage? None that I can see.

When the clergyman "pronounce(d)" us husband and wife, who would argue that his pronouncement was anything more than a recognition of the covenant already brought into being? (Not that he said anything wrong or false that day other than that.) This raises some questions, though, as to why he prefaced his not-pronouncement pronouncement with the statement "by the authority vested in me by God and the state of Oklahoma":
-Where did God grant this authority to this man or this class of man, to create marriage covenants? (Obviously, if he simply meant that he had authority to understand and acknowledge a covenant of marriage, it barely merits saying such a thing; anyone can understand and acknowledge a marriage exists.)
-Does this not implicate the clergyman in any sin that may surround the couple (as in a recent incident involving Doug Wilson)?
-Does this not give all concerned the wrong idea of what marriage is - something to be conferred and (if we were to take it to the logical conclusion) which can be dissolved by a man?
-Does this not give all concerned the wrong idea of what marriage is - something to be conferred and (if we were to take it to the logical conclusion) which can be dissolved by the State?
-Why did he, an ostensible servant of Jesus, take onto himself the power of creating marriages in the eyes of the State? (And on what biblical reasoning would this sort of arrangement be based?)

It seems to me that this clergyman, like all others who take on the role of State-marriage-makers, is opening himself up to a significant danger from that State. If he opens his church and his clergy role to creating marriage relationships that the State also recognises as legally binding, does this not mean that he must create marriages in accord with the State's commands?

Thus, what if he were told by the State to marry whomever the State says should be able to marry? Would this man not be obviously exposed to charges of discrimination for marrying the people he deems fit to marry inside "his" church (though the church is not his, but rather belongs to God, and a church is not a building but rather a gathering of people who belong to God, and the building does not really belong to him ultimately but rather to the State if his church organisation is legally a 501c3 entity)?

Given all of these considerations, and given that the Bible specifically and repeatedly says things like "What God has joined together, let no man separate" of marriage covenants, would it not be by far the best course of action for clergy all over the country to stop officiating weddings, or at least to cease any cooperation with the State in creating legally binding marriage arrangements?

Would this not push responsibility back to the husband and wife?
Would this not remind all what a real covenant is? Who creates them? Who joins people together in marriage?
Would this not also allow clergy to more plausibly escape certain Statist ramifications when they push other definitions of marriage? If the clergyman were to renounce his licenses as an agent of the State, he would be under no obligation to marry people whom he does not want to marry, for he does not marry anyone!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pulpit & Pen blog - Caught in Ashley Madison Leak? Do Not Despair.

Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. -Matthew 27:3-5
So much Scripture could be cited to discuss the sad aftermath of the Ashley Madison affair. Reports are being published that men caught red-handed by the personal information upload are attempting to escape the guilt and shame by ending their earthly lives, thus bringing upon themselves the immediate judgment that Hebrews 9:27 describes (and very probably, the judgment that Revelation 21:8 describes for the cowardly and murderers).

You may find that, in God’s providence, this article appears before your eyes mere days after your own adulterous activities were laid bare for anyone to find. Perhaps you’ve been discovered already and your heart is full of fear, shame, and bitter poison today. Perhaps you are pretty sure it’s only a matter of time before someone peruses the data and finds your information. Perhaps you fear losing everything.

That is all part of the way God created and administers the universe and human affairs. We human beings think so much of our own cleverness and discretion. We deceive ourselves and move forward with the anticipation that we can hold it down, we can keep good secrets, we choose our friends carefully and portion out information according to great shrewdness… until the day when we find that our idolatry was part of a greater web of lies we tell ourselves and others.

Numbers 32:23
But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.
Matthew 10:26
Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
Matthew 12:35-37
The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Sooner or later, your sin will be brought to light. You might hold that light at bay for 80 years, the length of your very mortal life. If so, let me offer you a word of sarcastic congratulations; your standing command is to glorify your Creator and spread His Word, and instead you elected to store up power for and exalt yourself (Luke 12:13-21). “You had one job”, as it were, and you discarded it for the sake of that which will crumble into dust (Matthew 6:19-21), relationships that will be forgotten, achievements that will burn up (2 Peter 3:10-13), and voices that will serve as witnesses against you on that great and terrible day when you stand before your Creator to be judged (Revelation 20:11-15).
If your name is on that Ashley Madison list (as well as if it isn’t), here is what your Creator and Judge is commanding you to do:

1) Grieve, mourn, and wail.

James 4:4-10
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God…Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

2) Repent.

Mark 1:14-15Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Acts 3:19 – Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

3) Check your repentance and examine yourself, for there is more than one kind of repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:8-11For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while— I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

4) By *NO* means think that suicide is an answer that holds any good, any promise of escape, or any possible relief.
To think such a thing is to ignore the whole Word of God and to engage in the worst kind of self-destructive self-deception, and to give the devil as much victory in your life as it is possible for him to have. We saw earlier that Judas’ remorse did not lead him to tears and to redemption. It led to his suicide.
And what happened after Judas killed himself? He, like all other cowardly murderers, went to Hell. Forever. There is no relief, ever, from anything in Hell. Lay aside for a moment all the harm that the self-murderer inflicts through his action on anyone who loves him. Just being in Hell is worse in every way than even the most horrific sufferings that anyone can imagine on Earth, which is why Jesus cautions us that it profits a man nothing to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul (Matthew 16:26). How much less a good thing is it to lose everything and in response to that, lose one’s soul, as Judas did?

5) Fall on the mercy of Jesus. Fall down at the Cross. Beg Jesus to save you and make you new.
The life of Peter, which we’ll look at in a moment, is instructive in this. Look at King David for now, though. He and God were tight. Had everything going for him. Then he did the Ashley Madison subscribers one better – he was king and saw a woman he lusted after, and she was married, but he was the king and so what? and so he took her, pure and simple.
Then he murdered her husband to simplify the matter.
Then he delayed months.
Then he was caught.
Then he repented.
He mourned and wept. He fasted. He prayed. He humbled himself. He confessed.
The Lord disciplined him.
Then the Lord restored him.
David wrote Psalm 51. Go read it. But that’s not the end of the story.
Some years passed and David sinned again. See above.
Then he did it again. And then again.

Lamentations 3:39-40Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins? Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the LORD.

And there’s the answer. Return to the Lord. Your ugliest sin demands the ugliest death imaginable, and yet there too God has provided. Jesus, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God without blemish or stain, was tortured, abused, and messily murdered to set the vilest sinner free.
Jesus cleans.
Jesus redeems.
Jesus restores.
Jesus can make your life into something worth living, because He Himself is the only One worth living for. He has eternal life in His hands, and He has defeated the most humiliating and undeserved death conceivable, through His victorious resurrection from the dead. He is able to make you clean and to restore you.
Jesus’ close friend Peter found that out.

Matthew 26:69-75Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

But did Peter kill himself? No! Read on…

John 21:15-19
Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”… When He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!”

This is the testimony that same Peter gave near the end of his life, looking back on the indescribable mercy of the Son of God. You have sinned, as Peter did. Let this be your testimony too. Cling to it. Repent. Let go of your pride. Confess your sin fully. Be set free. Walk in the light. Follow Him.

1 Peter 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Relationship evangelism

Jason Engwer made the following excellent observation:
I recently heard somebody commenting on how Christians often use Facebook, Twitter, and other media to do things like post photographs of their children and discuss sporting events, yet say nothing about subjects like God and the Bible. I've been astonished by how many people's Facebook accounts are a form of evangelization for secularism... They have so much to say about their children and grandchildren, friends, music, movies, television, sports, their jobs, politics, travel, food, etc., but so little to say, if anything, about matters like God, theology, and apologetics. When people see something like your Facebook account, blog, or Twitter page, do they see a secular, or nearly secular, lifestyle?
I'd disclaim that there are very important matters we should be discussing, and a lot, other than theology and apologetics, such as national sin, Christian obligation in response, and how we are confronting the culture with the Gospel. But a charitable reading of Engwer's remark could subsume those things under his having mentioned God, so let's let that go.

A friend responded on my Facebook wall:
It is called relationship evangelism. I see Facebook as a tool to build relationships. When you build a relationship with someone and get a deep look into their everyday lives, then people feel comfortable coming to you and talking to you about other things including religious beliefs. Why would anyone want to come to you for support if they feel you are going to judge them?

We let others know we are sinners too and our hope for a better tomorrow doesn't come from what we do but instead because of what Christ did for us.

I am not a better person because I go to church, abstain from certain things, or preach more than someone else. I am a better person because my heart is right with God because of what He did, not because of what I do.

"In the last days many will come to Me saying, didn't we preach in your name, heal the sick, raise the dead, and I will say to them, depart from me I never knew you" Jesus said.

We have to be careful that we do not preach to be seen by men but only speak to people as led by God. If a person's motive for posting is so others see you as a "good Christian" they will have their reward with men. If their motive for posting is because the Holy Spirit put it on their heart, the reward will be from God.

I have serious, serious reservations about this notion of "relationship evangelism". A few reasons why:
1) By aiming not to offend with too much overt Jesus, you show that you are willing to not be all about Jesus pretty much all the time. And that provides an example for others to follow. They can justify also not being all about Jesus because you aren't.
2) Most of the time, "relationship evangelism" is used an excuse NOT to share the Gospel. People never get around to it.
3) When/if you do get around to it, how credible will your profession to love Jesus be since you rarely talk about His being the King of your life?
4) Relating to people is not exclusive to being overtly all about Jesus. What you're actually doing is relating to people who are not convicted of their sin, while those who just might be convicted of their sin don't know that you are all about Jesus because you don't act or talk like you're all about Jesus. You're dealing with swine, in that case, and not even finding out that they're swine.
5) How can you avoid talking about Jesus all the time if you belong to Him? Where is your heart?
6) Where in the Bible do we ever see anything that looks like the relationship "evangelism" you propose?
7) When *do* you preach the Gospel? When you said "preach", did you mean "talk to someone one on one"? Did you (God forbid) mean something that a "pastor" does on Sunday mornings within the walls of a church building?
8) How is it the act of a friend to withhold the most important message that you have ever heard from them, the only news that can save them from Hell and eternally suffering the wrath of God?

You said:
\\I am a better person because my heart is right with God because of what He did not because of what I do.\\

I'd be really careful with that sort of language. You're not better. Anything good that you have or are you received from God by pure grace. It would be far better to say "I am better off". Saying "I am a better person" calls attention to yourself rather than Jesus.

You said:
\\We have to be careful that we do not preach to be seen by men\\

True, but ironically, your notion of relationship "evangelism" *AVOIDS* preaching so as to be seen (and esteemed) by men.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The negligible danger of making evangelism one's mistress

UPDATE: Tony Miano is on a downward slide into a very dangerous spiritual position and is leading his family down that path as well. As I said in my review of his book, "I sometimes honestly fear for him at the time when (not if) the elder(s) of his church fail him."
Well, now I fear for him even more. See here and then more importantly here. Lord have mercy. He who has presumed to lecture so many, block them on social media, and sow division between them and other believers on the basis of ecclesiology, "pastoral authority", "the authority of the local church", and whether one has been "sent" to do evangelism has shown himself to be an immature nomad, tossed about by winds and waves of doctrine.
Psalm 9:15 - The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made; In the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught.
Proverbs 29:6 - By transgression an evil man is ensnared, But the righteous sings and rejoices.

And yet...
Proverbs 24:17-18 - Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; or the LORD will see it and be displeased, and turn His anger away from him.

Pray for the man. Pray he will repent of all his bombastic rhetoric and realise the massive piles of hypocrisy in which he has engaged the last few years.

Certain street preachers of some popularity take every opportunity they can, it seems, to warn their readers/listeners against making evangelism and open-air preaching a "mistress" (here for example) and thus neglecting family, marriage, and the more "mundane" (as it were) aspects of church membership.
Yes, that happens, here and there. Yes, nobody should neglect their family or other responsibilities while they do other good things. Yes, it is a warning well taken. Yes, it should be stated here and there.
But is that a relevant warning to the vast, vast majority of professing Christians in America? Are we in the middle of a huge movement of men spending forty hours per week at work and then another forty out on the street or at the abortion mill preaching and evangelising while their families languish at home? No.
So, forget a "huge movement" - are we witnessing even a significant minority of the professing Christians of America doing so or anything close to it? No.
As conceded above, of course to do such a thing would be bad and sinful. But there's something else that is bad and sinful, which *is* in fact a vice shared by the vast, vast majority of professing Christians in America - a profound and vast complacency vis-à-vis the fact that people, BY THE THOUSANDS, are dying and going to Hell and murdering their babies, every single day, and that same vast, vast majority is doing nothing about it while they pursue their leisure, vacations, book studies, sports and fantasy sports, and potlucks.
These men are like doctors who during your annual checkup make a big deal out of your chronically stuffy nose while not even mentioning the fact that your aorta is 99% blocked and that your blood pressure and cholesterol are way too high. Upon coming to one's senses and a full realisation of the actual situation and its dangers, one would abandon that physician and warn others about his neglect and/or incompetence.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Church Fathers

(This is intended as a companion piece to Dustin Germain's excellent article.)

People everywhere within Christendom want to claim the "Church Fathers" as supporters of their own position. Eastern Orthodox cite Chrysostom against Rome, which counter-cites (sometimes-imaginary quotes from) Augustine, whom Protestants then cite against Rome, who then counter-cites Irenæus, who then gets claimed by the Eastern Orthodox... on and on it goes.

For the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, it's understandable that they do this, for a few reasons. One is that their concept of spiritual authority is pretty murky and leaves room for "Church Fathers" to hold sway in persuading people. If Basil of Cæsarea believed it, well, who am I to question such a Great Man? Another is that for a great deal of the distinctive doctrines of Rome and the East, there is no legitimate or remotely convincing biblical proof, so really all they have are quotes from church history and naked appeals to their own authority.

But for the adherent to Sola Scriptura, the usage of the appellation "Church Father" is puzzling and unnecessary and should be jettisoned. Further, Sola Scripturists ought to take great care in how they cite "Church Fathers", for what reason, and in which context. Let's explore this more.

First of all, the word "Father" has to do with generation and origin, parenthood. In no way are any of the men usually referred to as "Church Fathers" actually fathers of The Church. The Father of The Church is God the Father. The Founder of The Church is Jesus Christ. He who inducts people into The Church is the Holy Spirit.
Jesus handpicked men who would be the first preachers of His Church. Their names are recorded in the Gospel accounts and Acts. There are twelve of them, give or take one.
"And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons. And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder”); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot..."
--Mark 3:13-18

Throw in Paul and maybe Matthias, subtract Judas, and you have your human Church Fathers.

Second, there is no reason for confidence that we in modern times, so far removed from the context in which these "Church Fathers" lived, taught, and wrote, have sufficient understanding of their writings. Here are some challenges to hubristic overestimation of what can be gleaned for our use today from their extant writings:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Greek, and the imaginary biblical support for the office of deacon

Translator bias is a very real possibility when we evaluate Bible versions, and that bias can have very substantial and practical implications for how we live and do church, who believe the Bible to be the Word of God.

Consider the case of perhaps the grossest bias I have yet discovered in my years of reading the Bible among Bible translations that are usually considered to be reliable, conservative texts, leaning much more toward formal equivalency than dynamic - that of the inconsistent treatment of the word διάκονος (diakonos) (a noun) and its verb form διακονέω (diakoneō) in the major English versions.

The English word "deacon" is usually explained as a transliteration of the noun diakonos from Greek into English. I lack the resources to dig into the etymological history of the word "deacon", but suffice it to say for our purposes that it appears as early as the Wycliffe Bible, and that probably means it had been part of regular ecclesiastical English usage for quite some time before. I would not be surprised at all to find that it is a holdover from Roman Catholic language, thoughtlessly brought over into the Reformation tradition by men who got much right but also left much unreformed.

I will argue that this traditional language has slipped past the guard not only of pastors and religious service providers, lecturers, and theologians of the past 500 years or so, but even worse, past the guard of Bible translators. I can see no sound reason why either of these Greek words ought ever to be translated with the word "deacon" in any English text of the Bible. To claim "deacon" belongs there is to hold to this translating tradition that is actually at odds with consistent translation and contextual practice. The conclusion that it is translated this way in all these Bibles because of the tradition-colored bias of the translators is very hard to escape.

The Data

In the Greek NT, there are 27 occurrences of διάκονος. The NASB renders those as "minister" or "servant" every single time except Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:8 and 3:12. The ESV similarly says "deacon" only those three times and "minister" or "servant" every other time except Matt 22:13, where it reads "attendants".

In the Greek NT, διακονέω (which is the verb form, you'll recall) appears 32 times. The NASB and ESV render those as "administer", "minister", "wait on", "serve", "take care of", and suchlike. They read "serve as deacon" only twice, in 1 Timothy 3:10 and 3:13.

Thus we find that the NASB and ESV translators continued an established tradition, whose backing we will go on to question, that led them to render 11% of the occurrences of διάκονος as "deacon" and 6% of the occurrences of διακονέω as "serve as deacon". That's a very small amount; when the majority of the translations of a given word are a more general word like "servant" or "minister", but in certain situations one wants to change it to something more specific, one needs a good argument to do so, whether etymological, contextual, whatever.

All the New Testament occurrences of each word can be found at Blue Letter Bible, which is a wonderfully helpful resource:

Thus you can review each text in context. It will probably also be helpful to take a look at διακονία, "ministry", which has the same root, a very close relationship to the other two, and note how many times (out of 34 occurrences) it is translated with anything like "office" or "deacon" (never).

Now, let's take a look at some specifics.

The Epistles to Timothy

Of some note is the fact that neither render διάκονος as "deacon" in 2 Tim 1:18, despite the fact that it's the same author as 1 Timothy, Paul, writing to the same recipient, Timothy. Why the different translation?

Even more noteworthy is the same phenomenon in 1 Timothy 4:6. Note the way the  NASB translates the three verses in 1 Timothy that employ διάκονος:
--1 Timothy 3:8 - Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain...
--1 Timothy 3:12 - Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.
--1 Timothy 4:6 - In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.

Here in the very same letter, just a few sentences down from the other two appearances of διάκονος, the NASB translators use a different English word. One may object that the context calls for that different word. Fine; I invite anyone to show me how the context is appreciably different such that one could know that Paul is referring to some sort of specialised office or something that demands the creation of a new English word in the third chapter, but just a little later when identifying what Timothy will be if he does these things, suddenly it's a different meaning entirely. I don't think that argument is sustainable. The only reason one would say this is if he had a pre-existing commitment to the existence of a thing called "the office of deacon". The Greek text certainly doesn't lead anyone to that conclusion, taken by itself, which is pretty much what we're supposed to do if we want to go ad fontes as good Sola Scripturists.

Just Who Is A διάκονος?

I don't see a reason not to render διάκονος consistently across the board. To whom is διάκονος applied in the New Testament?

--Phoebe (Rom 16:1)
--Tychicus (Eph 6:21; Col 4:7)
--Epaphras (Col 1:7)
--Apollos (1 Cor 3:5)

Interestingly, I think most people would think of Apollos as more of a teacher or something, and that doesn't fit the traditional "deacon" role.

But it gets better.
--Old Testament prophets (1 Peter 1:12)
--Paul (1 Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 3:6, 6:4, 11:23; Col 1:23-25)
--Jesus (Rom 15:8)

So, does the word mean "deacon" or doesn't it? If you're going to go to the trouble of creating a new English word (back 600+ years ago when it was created, I mean), why wouldn't you apply it to every occurrence? Are these people deacons or not? I can't think of anyone who would contend that they are, with the possible exception of Phoebe. Phoebe is often the center of "can women be deaconesses?" debates, and of course the reasoning behind those debates is that there is an office called "deacon" in the New Testament.

But wait, there's more!

Not only are these individuals referred to with διάκονος; other individuals such as Onesimus (Philemon 13), as well as all believers, are said to engage in διακονέω (the verb), in Hebrews 6:10 and 1 Peter 4:10-11! If Phoebe is possibly a deacon, then so are Jesus, Paul, Apollos, Amos, Jeremiah, Daniel, and everyone else who believes in Jesus.

Also, don't forget that Jesus Himself said that the greatest among His disciples shall be διάκονος (Matthew 23:11). One wonders, then, why deacons don't occupy such a lofty position in modern churches, as usually it's the pastor who's the greatest among the disciples.

A Third Church Office

Now that we mention 1 Peter 4:10-11, it would appear we have approximately equal biblical support for saying that "steward" is an office in the church.
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves (διακονέω) is to do so as one who is serving (διακονέω) by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
If we're going to go around willy-nilly creating church offices out of thin air based on isolated passages in which we translate words in a way that is inconsistent with the way we translate it everywhere else, why not do that with "steward" (οἰκονόμος), given the way Peter uses it here in 1 Peter 4, in the context of local church life?

What's the difference? It is that "steward", in the course of medieval Roman Catholic and proto-Protestant history, never came to be thought of as an office. If it had, I have no doubt the modern pastoral zeitgeist would ensure we're all teaching and seeking men to fill the three church offices of which the New Testament speaks, and there would be whole sermons where the Scripture is butchered to "support" the establishment of the office of steward as we now see for the office of deacon.

You see, holding a church office allows men to feel important and achieve recognition, which is a basic (and usually sinful) human desire. It also allows for people to, when convenient, parry questions about their behavior and teaching, since they have a Badge of Ecclesiastical Approval, to which the hypothetical inquiring "layperson" has not attained. It's the "Touch Not God's Anointed" syndrome, which is common, many claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

Deacons and Women

Further evidence that the Apostle Paul meant something other than to be setting out "qualifications" for "church offices" in 1 Timothy 3 appears in verse 11.

The claim is that Paul is saying "if a man has the following qualities, he can be a candidate for the office of 'overseer/elder/pastor/bishop/presbyter/whatever else' or of 'deacon'." While this is less a question of translation proper, it raises questions with reference to the backing tradition that brought the translation about that included "deacon". If these are indeed qualifications for offices, why do we see parallel sentence structures in verses 2, 8, and 11?

Verse 2 - An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach

Verse 8 - Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,

Verse 11 - Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

Is "woman" a church office? I know of no one who thinks so, but one of the most significant arguments in favor of these church offices is the language in 1 Timothy 3, and if "overseer" and "deacon" are offices, then "woman" would seem to be one as well.

A Better Suggestion

Bible translations ought to communicate as clearly and faithfully as possible the meaning of the original language text. I'll just say it like it is - inserting the word "deacon" in 1 Timothy 3 and Philippians 1, instead of sticking with what διάκονος actually means, which is "minister" or "servant", is an unhelpful and false translation that stems from the traditions of man rather than properly passing on the meaning of the Greek text.

The inconsistencies we have seen already. Of course it is preposterous that Jesus be a deacon. Of course it is preposterous that all women hold a "church office", leaving churches that are majority "clergy" and minority "laypeople". That's the point. Whoever it was who thought of the word "deacon" should have cared about these points, enough to not transliterate διάκονος into English. Later translators should have corrected that error - such a thing has been done numerous times, but not in this case. Rather, translators and theologians and the like have, up to this very day, perpetuated and promulgated this mistaken notion and thus led churches into error.

My proposal is simple - remove "deacon" from the English text and replace it with "minister" or "servant", like the word is translated in pretty much every other occurrence. Let us rejoice that the Lord has given us yet another opportunity to be semper reformanda and throwing off the false practices, structures, and teachings that Rome bequeathed to us.

Then, let's consider what 1 Timothy 3 actually means, since it doesn't mean "holder of a church office called 'deacon'", bear fruit in keeping with repentance, walk in the truth in all things, and reform our churches to match true biblical teaching.