Saturday, June 02, 2018


What do we mean when we say "Kingdom Living?"

It might be good to know because it is clear from scripture [Luke 4:43] that Jesus came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. His life and message were all about what the Kingdom was like. So to be "Jesus followers," and more importantly, when we have Him as the very SOURCE of our very LIFE, we will have our feet firmly planted in “Kingdom living.”

So, what is the Kingdom of God? It is, in simple language, living life where what God wants done [His Will] is being done. That's what the simple phrase in the Lord's Prayer is addressing. "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." It will be a “future Kingdom, of course! But until He comes with that "Future Kingdom" the "Present Kingdom" is ANYONE’S life in which the King truly rules and reigns right now.

The "Present Kingdom" looks like your life, whatever that entails. 

Whether it is simply going to work, playing, or going on vacation. Whether it's being married or unmarried. 
Whether it's going to a gathered meeting with your part of the Church, whatever you call that group, or NOT going to a gathered meeting. 
Whether it's seeing a child born or family member or friend die. Whether it's being young, old, or somewhere in between. 
Whether it's being married, divorced or being abandoned. 
Whether it's being healthy or sick. 
Whether it's being wealthy or living from pay-check to pay-check. Whether it's seeing the beauty of God's creation or being blind and seeing darkness all of your life. 
Whether it's being handsome or homely, beautiful or plain, or being ordinary in the looks department.
Whether it's having a College degree, a Master's degree, or even a Doctorate, or NOT having finished high school. 
Whether it's having traveled extensively or NEVER leaving the neighborhood.

It's experiencing any and all of these things with OTHER things that could be listed. It’s being a person, right in the middle of all of it, in whom God is real and is being responded to, in faith, while living out our unique journey with our eyes on Him and His Word, trusting His Spirit for life and strength, knowing His Son intimately and knowing that what He accomplished in His Cross and empty tomb experience is the "SOURCE" for what makes life, in any of the afore mentioned circumstances, absolutely worth living and celebrating. 

Add to all that knowing some truths that are ABSOLUTE for us as well, and you have THE KINGDOM OF GOD!.

Those truths are these! As we live in His "Present Kingdom" He is available to us and we hunger to know Him better. [Matthew 6:13/Luke 16:16] We keep on trusting that GOOD will come out of all kinds of things happening, GOOD or BAD. [Romans 8:28] And that NOTHING can separate us from His unconditional love and effective care. [Romans 8:35-39] Then, finally, knowing that one day HE WILL RETURN and the "Future Kingdom" will come with Him. We then will be found living in a new dimension, involving a New Heaven and a New Earth, called "Eternity."

THAT'S what is meant by "Kingdom Living" IMHO.

Paul B.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


I did something the other day that I seldom ever do. I listened to one of my own tapes. It was an old one. Thirty-eight years old to be exact. It was one preached in 1980 when I was pastoring Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. I made reference in that sermon to another series of sermons I’d just finished. I remember that series too. It was on “Brokenness!” That old sermon got me to thinking about some truths that not much thought is given to today. One of those truths is about our “being broken.” 

No one is more grateful for the Grace of God and His ability to be our strength and life than am I. To exalt the finished Cross work of Christ and what His ensuing resurrection have accomplished on our behalf in my preaching, is what I LOVE to do. To know He not only died that we might live, but He has come to be our very life, is incredible as well. To live in light of all THAT is the point of faith and faith IS for us the victory as 1 John declares. HE is HIMSELF our life and our strength. It doesn’t get any better than that!

But the truth I’ve just set forth in words is NEVER experienced PERSONALLY, except in the experience of “brokenness,” and therein lies the problem. “Brokenness ” is a lost concept in our present day it seems to me. The beatitude found in Matthew 5:3 touches on this with the statement that says this, when properly translated, “Oh the blessedness of those who are poor [think broken or humbled] in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” 

Much is said today in our pulpits that could very well be glorifying the flesh instead of our Lord. “You are good, you are wonderful, you are capable, you can do anything you’ve a mind to when you are thinking correctly,” is being said with much enthusiasm. But such teaching may, in fact, be a stumbling block to the reality of Christ and his strength and life being real to us and in us. 

This is because “brokenness” PRECEDES genuine “faith” being exercised. Listen to a spiritually mature individual, [Paul] at the height of his journey with Jesus, cry out in brokenness, “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). 

Notice his “crying out” was because of his admitting his “weaknesses” in brokenness, [read wretchedness] and it’s THAT which catapulted him to the cry of faith, “But thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Someone said, “The greatest badge of honor for the Apostle Paul was NOT his giftedness, his intelligence, or his many accomplishments. His greatest badge of honor was his willingness to admit his own weaknesses! Nor did he merely endure them; he exulted in them so that the STRENGTH and LIFE of his LORD could and would be experienced and all that he gloried in.” 

He was so wise to be “Looking off unto Jesus” since that’s what true faith is, reflecting on the object of our trust, but that ONLY and ALWAYS follows an admission of a personal “CAN’T,” so one can really trust His “CAN” completely!

Being THAT broken over our weaknesses is, unfortunately, a thing of the past in many quarters today.

Paul B.

Friday, October 06, 2017


I realize that my posting on this blog has gotten sporadic at best. I've gone through some physical things that required some surgery and on top of all that, I've lost some of the MUSE necessary to do serious blog writing and posting. I'm NOT done with it all, but a hiatus is required for a little while.

Thanks for being a reader and commenter to it all.

Paul B.

Friday, July 28, 2017

ETERNAL SUBORDINATION? I DON'TTHINK SO! [This is a post worth repeating.]

Warning...heavy reading. Not for children or for those who like to read only children's stories. It is for those willing to put away childish things. For a moment anyway. :)

Does 1 Corinthians 11:3, which says, "But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." actually say and mean that Christ is eternally subordinate to God the Father because "head" means subordination? Is the Son's will to be OBEDIENT to the Father's will in eternity to come? Was it SUBORDINATE in eternity PAST? Is the Eternal Father over the Eternal Son in eternity future OR past in terms of authority? Some say yes, yes, yes, and yes.

But I don't think so! I believe to be TEXTUALLY true and correct about this verse you would have to SEE what the meaning of the word 'head' really had for the generation that received it and that is a different thing than for us today. The word "head" [Kephale] in 1 Cor. 11:3 really had for them the idea of referring to the origins or source of something and didn't refer to authority at all. If I'm correct on this, then it does NOT say what our present culture might think it says.

You see there are some perfectly good words in Greek [kuriotes, exousia, epitage] for authority but 'kephale' isn't one of them. I've examined every verse where Paul is speaking of "authority" or "rule" in scripture and a word other than 'kephale' is used. Add to that the Middle Eastern thought in the biblical culture of putting someone under your FEET as being a symbol of authority over another in value or position [Still present in the Middle East if you'll remember the people beating the fallen statue of Saddam Hussain with THEIR SHOES.] and you would have good reasons for believing the idea the Greek word for "head" [Kephale] does NOT mean authority here or other places in scripture.

Here is one of the BEST articles on "head' or "kephale" that you'll ever find.

In fact, the word 'head' [Kephale] in Greek culture was often times thought to be the souce of life. Just as the loins were thought of as the seat of emotions and the heart was the center or essence of being.  So what we have in this verse is a word used that might SEEMS to make perfect sense to those of us living in the American culture who think of it as meaning "boss,"but THAT wasn't the sense of the word in that day at all.

This is NOT to say that in the INCARNATION moment there was not a submission of Jesus to the express will of the Father. There was and He did. But always remember even then the word used for "obey" when referring to Christ to the Father is a Greek word "Hupo tasso" meaning one of equal value and voice choosing [middle voice] to serve another. That was, after all, the express PURPOSE of the incarnation [to live with perfect obedience to God as man] which culminated in the Cross where He became our substitute as the sinless Lamb of God.

That idea of submission is CERTAINLY not the natural flow of this passage at all. Source is the natural flow. And, by the way, do you realize that no where in scripture is a husband told to LEAD his wife? [He is told to serve her.] The words lead, leader, servant-leader, spiritual leader are NEVER used at all. Paul doesn't use them. Peter doesn't use them, and most of all Jesus never does. These words are only DERIVED logically from the word "head" used here and in Eph 5 when it is interpreted with the meaning our culture has for it. So what Paul wished to convey to that culture we will COMPLETELY miss when thinking of "head" the way we do in our culture.

Now, back to our word "kephale." [Head] My favorite illustration of the natural meaning of this word to that culture is, as many of you who have heard me teach know, that of a river. When we speak of the 'head' waters of a river, we mean its "source" with no idea of authority at all bearing in mind what they thought "head" meant. That's the intention of Paul here I believe.

So what is being said is that we have God's only begotten Son coming from God who is the "source" referring to the incarnation. This verse was never intended to be a statement of JESUS ontologically [nature] or functionally [subordination] to God the Father in either eternity past OR future. It was only speaking INCARNATIONALLY as the Son takes on a human nature in which He ASSUMES a subordinate relationship to God the Father as a fully human person. So 1 Cor. 11:3 is referring to God [ The Father] who is the SOURCE of Jesus coming incarnately to accomplish His purpose and not the One who is 'BOSS' over Jesus pre-incarnation or post-incarnation. [As if there were three wills and Jesus and the Holy Spirit had their will submitted to the Father. There was, in fact, ONE will in ONE God]

Phil. 2.5-11 helps clarify this when it shows that the pre-existent Son of God had the condition and status of being equal to God. This means Jesus WAS God in pre-time eternity one in nature or essence, mind, will, and purpose and being with the Father who is God and the Spirit who is God. One God----not three gods with three wills or three minds but One God with one will or one mind---- who is expressed in three unique persons.

Relationally, I suppose you could say, as did Erick Sauer: "Father-is the Lover, Son-is the Beloved, Spirit-is the Spirit of love" because God IS love. But there is no HIERARCHY here as to authority.
THAT has to be read INTO the text.

But God the Son CHOSE to not abide in that condition of equality, but rather humbled himself [REMEMBER..involving a choice, not an inherent condition or state being as the divine Son] and took upon Himself human nature with a human body. Doing this, while never less than God in His nature. He, thus, became the unique God-man and, while living as man, He was submitted to God the Father as the Second Man or Last Adam, all the way to the Cross.

Remember, He said he COULD have called for angels and be released. The question I ask is simply, COULD HE HAVE? As God He could have and NEVER been disobedient in doing so. As Man He DID NOT and obeyed God's will.

Now the rest of the verse makes sense as this whole idea of 'kephale' in 1 Cor. 11:3 continues to substantiate the 'source' of the woman being the man and Christ being the 'source' of the man?
The man as "head" [Kephale-source] of the woman can certainly be seen by going back to the Genesis story in which the woman is literally brought out of man. [The rib thing.]

But someone might ask "how does the 'man' have his source in Christ?" I'm glad you asked. I read one person who said it well when he said there are perhaps two possible answers to this.

One is when we remember that Paul stated that Christ pre-existed and was involved in the creation of the first human-kind [Adam] in the beginning. Col. 1.16 is quite clear about that as is John 1.

But also, we should remember that Paul is the one who articulated the Adam Christology as it applied to Jesus and that he said in a biblical reality Jesus is to be seen as comparable to the historical Adam and who, as such, is the founder/source of a whole new kind of human beings [redeemed] made up of all those who are in Christ, both men and also women out of every nation, tribe, and race on earth.

[Whew, long sentence read it again.]

Which one of these is correct? I lean toward the first but maybe both are true. Either one would cause the words in 1 Cor. 11:3 to make good sense. Verse 12 seems to pronounce a benediction on the source idea as well.

So I don't see how 1 Cor. 11.3 can be used as a proof at all for the idea that Christ is eternally subordinate to the Father. I don't see it as providing any proof for the idea that men are perpetually in authority over women either. That's not what "kephale" means in this verse from my understanding. I have the same view of the language when interpreting Eph. 5 as well.

My conclusion then, is that in eternity there are not three gods with three different wills and minds but one God Who has one will and one mind expressed in three persons of equal nature or essence. The INCARNATION had a purpose of its own to be sure. Beyond this I have little understanding of the Trinity which is FAR beyond understanding with our finite minds anyway. So much more could be said but I had promised to give my two-cents and I wanted to do just that.

Paul B.