Doing Shots

Surviving Sophistry

Sophistry– the use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.

Anyone who knows me or my testimony has heard my trademark response anytime a person asks me to drink with them.

“Sure, just as as long as you understand that when I do, you and I are both going to jail!

Its been near a quarter century since I’ve been to jail.

Tell me if you notice anything strange about the GIF below.

Viral Sophistry
Click on the image to read.

You can read this blog for the sake of the biblical message and conclusion at the end. Those who appreciate sarcasm might read between lines and enjoy the humor. Or you can simply view it as my personal note pad and evaluate the linked sources on your own.

Don’t worry. Peter had a hard time thinking outside of the box.

Recently a missionary friend observed that 2020 seemed marked by a growing challenge in discovering the truth about anything. In that respect 2021 is 2020 on steroids. While my current prophetic outlook remains the same as what I highlighted in “God Chose Joe Biden”, I am absolutely willing if not desirous of being proven wrong. A willingness to be wrong is the best defense against sophistry and fallacious conclusions rooted in normalcy bias, anecdotal evidence, and “appeals to authority”

Given that I have been vaccinated for just about everything with zero side effects, you’d think I’d be biting at the bit to get this one too. I was all in when the “_?_demic” began. In fact some of my conservative friends blocked me on FB when I praised Hondurans for being so compliant with Government mandates. However, I have always believed that one key in overcoming normalcy bias is to defend the opposing argument and see if it holds water.

Let’s see what holds water.

As for appeals to authority, these are most easily seen in fact-checker claims that such and such is untrue because

“Scientists or some government agency says.”

Keep in mind that the primary issue is that these arguments require faith in a source rather than our understanding of concrete evidence and data.  The sophistic mainstream media counts on this.

2 minute video.

If I were to take today’s headlines and FB discussions at face value I would believe the human race is on the verge of extinction. Of course human extinction is not biblical. Meanwhile, we have had one or two cases of the alleged extinction catalyst in our village with zero hospitalizations or deaths. Given new data emerging out of Israel regarding young adult mortality, it will be interesting to see what happens now that people in our community have access to vaccines. 

A fair number of Doctors have expressed concern about this.

From my perspective, the current narrative is the latest and greatest example of the orchestrated division generated by fallacious arguments and “slothfully induced” conclusions. Jesus said that a divided house can not stand. That said, all I have at this point are questions about the extinction catalyst and the unapproved miracle vaccines. For example,

  1. Dr. Fauci disagrees with people like Former Pfizer VP Dr. Mike Yeadon (You should listen to this one) and Dr. Robert Malone. Dr. Malone is the inventor of the mRNA vaccine. On what basis should I side with one argument over the other?
  2. What happened to the flu?
  3. It is true there are zero clinical samples of the viral culprit?
  4. Why are the total yearly deaths for all causes virtually unchanged between 2018-2020? 
  5. Is the spike protein benign or is it the primary cause of COVID related complications? If so, then why are we turning human bodies into spike protein factories?
  6. Isn’t it an oxymoron to declare an FDA unapproved vaccine safe? Won’t the FDA have to violate its own standards if it declares them safe before at least two years of human trials are completed?
  7. Given that correlation alone is never proof of cause, how many possible vaccine-related deaths are acceptable before we halt vaccinations pending a full investigation?

I am told anti-vaxxers are dumb and or evil. Anyone questioning the safety of vaccines is just uneducated and unsophisticated evil, right-wing rednecks. If that is the case as so many snobby snowflake leftists assert, then how do we explain this?

While I am open to non-fallacious arguments that support my taking a vaccine the only evidentially based arguments not rooted in appeals to authority that I can find support concerns about their safety. Many of these arguments are linked here. Meanwhile fear, mockery, censorship, and threats seem to be the most popular pro-vaccine selling points.

By the way, you may want to open the hyperlinks before you can’t.

A PATHOLOGIST SUMMARY OF WHAT THESE JABS DO TO THE BRAIN AND OTHER ORGANS
I downloaded this before it was removed by Youtube. Bad arguments can and should be disputed with logic and data not censorship.

Lots of people dispute the concerns that I’ve sourced here. That’s fine, especially since I haven’t reached any conclusions yet. My issue is that almost none have done so logically. Clown emojis and hominem-type attacks only prove immaturity and abject stupidity on the part of commenters. Also, it is my opinion that trusting media sources owned and controlled by now two corporations strikes me as the antithesis of logic. You are free to call that a conspiracy theory after you explain this.

1.5 minute video

I think it’s important to point out that none of the sources cited here are anti-vaxxers. Still, it has become utterly pointless to even try to have a reasoned discussion with passionate pro-Covid vaxxers because people are terrified of losing their lives.  Terror has a way of invoking stupidity even in the smart making them easy to indoctrinate. I’m not exactly sure when Americans became so cowardly. But then, cowardice is courage in an Orwellian Isaiah 5:20 world. In any case it seems the words of God to Jeremiah will soon apply.

“If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” Jer 12:5

While I could obsess over all the nastiness, and ridiculous ad hominem arguments that come my way, become bitter and frustrated and fire back in return, I am asking God to help me to walk in gentleness, kindness and self control and simply see the growing division as confirmation of the times.

Unfortunately not everyone sees it that way.

One thing seems certain, things are going to get harder. The good news is that there is a blessed hope at the end for those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.  Still, if you want to understand the dynamics of what happened to the Jews in Germany beginning around 1938 just watch the public comments on social media today and then project the future of our current trajectory.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 2 Tim 3

2 Tim 3 is deeper dive into some of the things about which Jesus warned in Mat 24.  Again the point here is that we are on a trajectory not just a passing point in history. If this were only happening in the USA I might believe we are in another Fourth Turning and that what is coming can be stopped. But it’s happening globally. Lots of people are wishing and hoping and believing that things are going to get better. I hope it does but I rather doubt it. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” There are moral and religious people among us, several of whom read this blog. Yet as a nation, we are anything but that. Globally speaking we are in many ways worse off because of our original covenantal roots. As a nation we are subject to God’s judgment.  Paul’s warning to the Corinthians applies to us today just as it did to Israel.

“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” 1Cor 10:11

I suppose there could be some supernatural move of God that brings heaven to earth as some believe. I’d be ok with that. I’d also be ok with being taken up in a cloud before the tribulation. I just don’t see any of that happening before Mat 24:29-31. The sooner the body of Christ realizes that we are not returning to the previous, prosperous status quo, and instead focus on enduring that we might become a spotless bride, the better off we will be. Mat 25:1-13

Meanwhile…

“Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.” Dan 12

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess 2:11

I don’t know what the right course of action is regarding the current crisis. I only know that being wise a serpent and gentle as a dove is more important than ever, as is Jesus’s first warning in the oliviet discourse Mat 24.

See that no one deceives you.

The sophistry is only going to increase.

Now I realize that almost no one wants to hear any of this least of all those with a preterist, postmillennial view of eschatology. If you believe the church will Christianize the proverbial 7 Mountains of society then I suspect your error will become clear soon enough. If a pretribulation rapture represents your eschatological view, please don’t freak out if it looks like you have been left behind. You are not rejected and the wrath of God is not upon you. Just endure as Jesus instructed with the understanding that Rev 12:11 and Rev 13:10 are there for a reason. Understand that your true survival may not include surviving in this life.

In the meantime,

Sidestep the sophistry.

Repent and preach repentance with  Rev 21:8 in mind.

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all LIARS, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Maranatha

Postscript: Here is an addendum to the original publication regarding pregnancy risks.

Begin With The End In Mind

“A church that is not eschatologically focused is a negligent culture.” 

Nick Franks

I just finished reading 1 Samuel and all the corresponding Psalms. I find this to be one of the most fascinating stories in the Bible with mentorship being just one underlying theme beginning with that between Samuel and Eli. God used Eli to teach Samuel to discern His voice. Yet Eli’s life was a disaster. Ironically the first message Samuel received from God and was told to proclaim was that Eli and his family would be cut off and that no sacrifice could be offered for forgiveness.

When was the last time you heard a prophetic word like that?

Samuel went on to anoint and mentor Saul and finally David both of whom committed the most abominable sins.  Saul disobeyed God then made excuses to justify his actions. So God rejected him as King. Amazingly, Saul was more concerned with how people viewed him than he was about his status in the eyes of God. 1 Sam 15:30  He had zero interest in God’s ultimate plan beyond his own role in it.

David committed adultery with his friend’s wife then had him killed. His actions were not without consequences but God forgave him because he repented. Even so, a gentle displacement story did not work and David only repented when Nathan confronted him directly. 2 Samuel 12. Later David is mentioned by Paul in Acts 13 as “a man after God’s own heart.” and his faith is acknowledged in the Heb 11 Hall of Faith.

Eli and Saul not so much.

It occurs to me that I have had one or two Eli’s, a couple three David’s, and a whole slew of Saul’s for mentors since I first surrendered to Jesus. All of the Saul’s were gifted and charismatic men who exert tremendous influence over people in Jesus’s name. My immaturity magnetized me to become attached to them. Some were tremendous teachers. Others were gifted in prophecy and healing.  Still, others could raise financial support in ways reminiscent of Moses bringing forth water from a rock. A few of these men behaved in ways that would result in an immediate loss of following and financial support were people to witness what lay just behind the Man of God façade. As is so often case they fell into the trap where their purpose and livelihood became contingent upon their being honored by men rather than God.

That’s a lot of pressure.

More than one of these men was prone to dishonesty, childish, and even violent outbursts when things didn’t go their way. Still, the issue was not the improprieties that can always be forgiven but the prideful refusal to acknowledge the sin and repent. Each time we parted ways. I haven’t heard from any of them since. Though I am told one of them is still periodically asks if I am saying anything bad about him.

David is the model.

I will admit that having my belief and trust violated has at times tempted me to believe that God delivered these men into my hands by exposing them like He delivered  Saul onto David twice. Still, responding like David is my goal and it is not my right let alone my responsibility to expose them to the world. Hence, I will not be naming names. The relevant point that I am working toward is that Saul and all of these contemporary typological Saul’s had zero interest in eschatology. One of them loudly declared,

“Let me tell you something! I don’t give a rip about eschatology!!”

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. 1 Cor 16:22

I’ve written about Maranatha before, the Aramaic word that depending on how it is pronounced means Jesus has come – Jesus is coming. It brackets the Christian life and history as a whole.  All that occurs in the space between is ancillary to the truth maranatha represents. Furthermore, It is utterly impossible to comprehend the Bible and especially the the New Testament apart from an eschatological Maranatha focus.

This past Sunday I gave a message to the children and staff from our alma mater, the City of Refuge. I began with the question, “If you don’t know where you are going how will you get there?” It was a very brief, shoot from the hip outline of history beginning in Gen 3:15 with an emphasis on the origin, meaning and significance of Jesus’s reference to Himself as the Son of man and the culmination of human history in a wedding and the final declaration of victory in Rev 22:17.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

That said, it wasn’t teaching as much as a taste that hopefully inspired some to Acts 17:11 “Bereanhood”. The point that I hope everyone got is that Jesus’s declaration “It is finished!” does not mean everything is fulfilled.  The gospel of the kingdom will only be fulfilled in its entirety upon His return in accordance with Dan 7:13-14, Mat 24:30, Acts 1:11, 1Cor 15:50-58, etc. Until then the primary task at hand is the preparation of a spotless bride, otherwise known as the church. Those with an exclusive focus on “Jesus has come” are usually just selling cheap grace, fire insurance, and the false promise of “your best life now”. The true gospel is at its core future-oriented. Therefore all Christians are called to a solid eschatological orientation.

How do we do that?

We can start by resolving to not reinvent the wheel by repeating all of King Solomon’s lessons in the book of Ecclesiastes.  If you’ve never heard of King Solomon, he was the richest and wisest man in history. He experienced and possessed all the worldly things that a human being possibly could. Not because he was a hedonist. But because he sought the ultimate meaning and purpose of life. His conclusion? Nothing is new. Anything you think is new has already been done. Everything is meaningless including wisdom. But wisdom can save your life. Our only hope, meaning and purpose is to remember our Creator in the days of our youth, love God and keep His commandments.  This is the whole duty of man. 

“If you love me keep my commandments.”

– Jesus –

So what does that look like?

It certainly doesn’t mean a perfect adherence to 613 rules. If you are confused about this stop reading now and go to Eph 2 and Rom 7and 8. The Old Testament proves that fulfilling the law by ourselves is impossible. Jesus’s triumph on the cross frees us from that burden. That said, I submit that

the most concise daily plan for living in preparation for the wedding is outlined in Prov 3:5-8.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

As I explained to the kids, trusting in the Lord with all your heart rather than our own understanding means believing what God’s word says. It is our map. Of course, a map is useless if you don’t know how to read it. Believing means that regardless of how external circumstances look, Jesus not Satan has all authority in heaven and earth.  “It is finished!” means Satan is defeated. Whatever happens today is according to the will of God.  I explained that the devil did not shut the world down last year. God did. I said I believe it was a call to repentance that for the most part went unheeded. Trusting Him with all one’s heart means believing that everything that happens is advancing His kingdom toward its ultimate fulfillment in the eschaton. Rom 8:28 That final destination appears at the coordinates Rev 22:17. Hence Paul said we are to keep our eyes fixed on things above, not below. Col 3 Things above involve God’s plans.

Things below involve ours.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths means not just giving lip service to His majesty but making the pursuit of an intimate relationship with Him our primary focus in every moment.  Intimacy “with” begins with knowledge “of”. This has been our aim in Honduras and we have testimony after testimony of Him guiding our steps and making our paths straight. It’s not that we don’t ever wrestle in our minds. Only that the repetition of this principle over time increasingly overrides our natural thinking especially in a life or death moment of truth. We used the landslide that destroyed our home as an example and explained how it has yielded so much spiritual and relational fruit in our community. I told them how people siphoning gas from our ministry vehicle had caused us to move it down the mountain less than 24 hours before the landslide.  That we have a ministry vehicle at all today is the fruit of stolen gas.

In case you didn’t know “All things” means all things. Rom 8:28

Be not wise in your own eyes; means we should avoid casting ourselves in the role of what Oswald Chambers called an “amateur providence”.  We are never to assume we have it all figured out, that we or anyone else is exclusively anointed to hear from God or that any spiritual gift overrides human frailty. Any ability we may have is contingent on our weakness and total dependence on Jesus apart from whom we can do NO-THING. The gifts may be without repentance. But our constant need for repentance remains.

But that is not a popular message to preach if for no other reason than it would require preachers to forfeit their dreams of pulpit stardom and repent in the presence of their followers. One of the most prophetic moments for me last year was when the previous Vice President sugar-coated 2 Chron 7:14  and omitted “from their wicked ways” during a MAGA rally prayer. That so many leaders fail or refuse to acknowledge the wickedness of our nation and instead declare our supreme righteousness before God is an assurance that we are a nation under God’s judgment.  That so many fail to understand how that could be, is a direct result of negligent church culture. There would be no fake prosperity gospel, CRT, or Qanon Christians if the church was eschatologically focused. If that were the case fear the LORD and turn away from evil” would apply and dominantly so. The fruit of an eschatological focus is always the fear of God. The fear of God births repentance and repentance, a further conformation to the image of Christ.

Acknowledging God means loving God. Loving God begins with learning everything we can about His character, history, ways, and plans to align our lives with Him and His end game.  Not loving God means being obsessed with MY self, MY history, MY opinions, MY ways, and especially MY goals and plans such that I imagine MY goals are his goals instead of making HIS goals mine. While the most blame will be assigned to those who teach, it does not absolve us as individuals of the responsibility to search the scriptures and studying ourselves approved. But don’t take my word for it. Be a Berean and check my work.

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. 1 Cor 16:22

Anathema means accursed. Accursed means going to hell

Begin with the end in mind.

Maranatha!