"AS I SEE IT"
Volume 15, Number 7, July 2012
“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.
For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;
Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.
I will show partiality to no one. Nor will I flatter any man.”
“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”
Shakespeare’s King Lear
Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34
[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address. Back issues sent on request. All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given upon request.]
The Folly of Disarming the Victims of Crime
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms
. . . disarm only those who are neither
inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . . Such laws make things worse for
the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage
than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater
confidence than an armed man."
--Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794)
On Crimes and Punishment,
Proskartereo in the New Testament
sermon delivered at
Tonight, I want us to study a single word in the NT: proskartereo. It looks and sounds like a perfect candidate for use in a Jeopardy category: “12-letter Greek words that are difficult to pronounce”!
This word caught my attention as I ran across it at various times over the years in my studies of the NT in Greek, and I thought its various occurrences and uses rather interesting.
It is a compound word, composed of the preposition pros, which means, “to, toward, in the direction of” and kartereo, a verb with the root idea of “to be strong, firm.” So it literally means “to be strong toward something or someone.” As used in the NT, the word carries the sense and meaning “to be devoted to, to be dedicated to, to focus on, to be committed to, to persist in” some purpose, object or person.
This word is used ten times in the Greek NT, six of which occur in Acts. I want to briefly note each of these uses.
Mark 3:9--of a boat being held at the ready for Jesus’ use
*Acts 1:14--of the disciples in the upper room, devoted to prayer
*Acts 2:42, 46--of converts’ close adherence to the apostles following Pentecost in a whole range of Christian activities--instruction, fellowship, eating together and prayer
*Acts 6:4--of the apostles commitment to prayer and Bible teaching
Acts 8:13--of Simon’s close following of Philip
Acts 10:7--of soldiers who stood ready to met every wish or command of Cornelius
*Romans 12:12--an admonition from Paul to the Roman Christians to persevere in prayer
Romans 13:6--of government officials’ life focus on their duties
*Colossians 4:2--another admonition from Paul for believers to give particular attention to prayer
Note that five--fully half--of these deal directly with persistent prayer [starred * in the notes]
--It has been well-said that, “prayer is the most important thing we do as believers, and the easiest thing to neglect.”
--And it can be said with absolute certainty that every great believer inside the NT and out was a person of great prayer.
Of course, there is Jesus, who though He was perfect, sinless, and always obedient to the Father’s will, nevertheless saw the necessity of constant communion with God in prayer. He set the standard for prayer. If HE needed to pray that much, how much more do you and I! A most valuable thematic Bible study for each of us would be to read the Gospels and note everything that Jesus did and said with regard to prayer. Just as an example--in the Gospels, God the Father spoke in an audible voice three times, and in each case, it was in response to Jesus praying. And the Gospels record that in the last 24 hours of His life, He prayed at least eleven times.
Peter and Paul were notable men of prayer, and gave us much instruction about the importance of prayer in our relationship with God. Have you made a study of the prayer life and prayer instruction of these Apostles?
A multitude of great people of prayer could be mentioned from the two millennia of Christian history. Those that come immediately to mind include Martin Luther, the German Reformer, who said that he was so busy that he had to pray at least three hours a day in order to get everything done he had to do. Our notion would be: “Stop praying so much and just get busy!” He of course was wiser, knowing that prayer was the essential foundation for all that he sought to accomplish for God.
A couple of centuries later in Herrnhut, German, there were the Moravians, led by their
founder Count Zinzendorf. Though few in
numbers, they accomplished great things, sending missionaries to Greenland, the
islands of the Caribbean, and to even
I mentioned John and Charles Wesley. They and their associates transformed 18th
And then there was David Brainerd, missionary to the native Americans in the English colonies. Engaged in a great spiritual warfare against paganism, superstition, idolatry, and spiritual blindness, he resorted of necessity to prayer and pleadings with God. So intense was his focus in prayer that even in cold weather, as he knelt alone in the woods, when he concluded his prayers after an hour or two, he would be soaked with sweat, from the intensity of his prayers for his Indians. Every time I read some of Brainerd’s journals, I feel so ashamed of myself because of the coldness and feebleness of my own prayers. Though Brainerd died at 29, he accomplished great things in his few years--and in the years afterward. His published journal had a large influence on William Carey, the “father of Baptist missions,” and on Jim Eliot, too, and many others.
And what can we say of William Carey? A few years ago I was privileged to
stand--and pray--in the little workshop in
I don’t have enough time to speak in detail
of the prayers Adoniram Judson, missionary to
We admire and commend these great people of prayer, and are deeply impressed by what God did through them. But for all of our professed admiration, we fail to follow their worthy example as people of much prayer.
Such is the “devotion to prayer” that we discover in this NT word proskartereo.
But not only in prayer but in all things, our service to God demands dedication, commitment, devotion, persistence, our focused attention. In Mark 3, a boat was held at the ready for Jesus’ use, much as the soldiers stood ready in Acts 10 to respond immediately to Cornelius’ beck and call. Whatever his wish or command, it was their duty, and I dare say privilege, to fulfill that command. That is how we are to be in our service to God--always at the ready to do his bidding.
And in our service to God, we should always give God our best. Sad to say, too many Christians think “good enough” is good enough in service for God (and for their bosses, or theirs customers, too). There is far too much half-hearted Bible study, slipshod lesson preparation, negligent service, and hit-and-miss Christian effort.
Some months ago, I taught a two-week course
in a Bible college in
There are several Biblical examples of conscientious
devotion to task. I think first of
Another man of strong devotion to his
God-appointed responsibilities was Ezra, a spiritual leader of the Jews in the
period after the exile. We are told,
significantly, that he had the fixed purpose of heart to first know, then to
practice, and finally to teach God’s commands to the people of
And I think of Apollos. Among the few details we are told about him In the New Testament is that he was “mighty in the Scriptures.” As a preacher, his chief task was to know and teach the Bible to others. As with the Apostles, Apollos devoted himself to the ministry of the word, much as John Wesley did, who expressed the desire to be “a man of one Book.” People will excuse a preacher for not knowing many things, but he must not be ignorant of the Book of God. He must be an expert in that.
Even in the so-called “secular” world, very
few achieve greatness or notoriety in any field of endeavor without whole-hearted
Paul speaks of the devotion to training and preparation by the athletes of his day (I Corinthians 9:24-27). The same kind of commitment is required today, even more so, for those who wish to finish first. Among the greatest professional football running backs of all time--I think the greatest of all--was Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears. He was smaller than the ideal, and certainly not the fastest man on the field, but his training regimen, year round, was intense, and he prepared himself to be truly the best he could possibly be. He was often in the Sunday night sports highlight films, shown making yet another of his remarkable runs breaking three, four, five tackles, and slamming hard into the man who finally took him down. Absolute focused purpose, that is what made him great.
One of my heroes is George Washington
Carver. If there was ever a man who
could have excused a life without achievement, it was Carver. Born into slavery on a farm near
In 1896, he was invited by Booker T.
Washington to teach at the Tuskegee Institute in
Someone once asked Dr. Carver how he decided what to do each day. He replied that there was a little grove of trees near his apartment at the Institute. One of the trees had been cut down, leaving a stump. Rising early each day, Carver went out and sat on that stump, communing with God. He asked God what He wanted him to do that day, and then he simply did it.
Besides his research and teaching at the Institute, and his traveling farming demonstration work, he taught a weekly Sunday afternoon Bible class, and though student attendance was strictly voluntary, some 300 regularly came to hear him teach about the God of the Bible.
He told a student the secret to success in life: “Learn to do the common things uncommonly well.” Or to couch that in Biblical language, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your strength,” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Most of what we must do in life is just ordinary, routine things. We should do those ordinary things extraordinarily well.
Paul spoke of his own “devotion to task” in Philippians 3:12-14. If I may summarize his remarks:
“I haven’t ‘arrived’; I’m still pressing on to accomplish in life what God has placed in my hands to do. I don’t let myself get distracted by the past, with either its failures or it successes. No, I am focused forward; there’s the goal, the finish line. And I am intent on reaching it.”
And he advised Timothy to do the same in I Timothy 4:12-13, 15:
“Give no one cause to have contempt for your youth, but be an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith (or, faithfulness), in purity. Until I come, give your attention to the public reading [of Scripture], to exhorting, and to teaching. . . . Practice these things; be committed to them, so that everyone can see your [spiritual] progress.”
This, then is the New Testament word proskartereo. It means “to be dedicated, committed, devoted, persistent, focused.” Especially in prayer, but not only in prayer, but also in all other aspects of our lives as Christians. Give God your best, your “last full measure of devotion.”
That is what God expects of us; and that is what He deserves. Amen.
Patriots and the American Revolution by William Cathcart.
This is one of those books I acquired ages
ago (in fact, exactly thirty years ago this month), for reading
“sometime.” Well, “sometime” came
recently when I was seeking information on the views of Baptists in the
American colonies regarding the war for separation from
The author William Cathcart (1826-1908), a native of Northern Ireland but an immigrant to the States when in his late 20s, was noted as a pastor but especially as a writer, his most famous work being The Baptist Encyclopedia (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1881), a very informative work (though not without its flaws), which was most recently reprinted in facsimile by The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., of Paris, Arkansas in 1988.
In 1875, with a view to the approaching
centennial of the American Revolution, Cathcart was
asked by a conference of
Baptist pastors in American (and in
From Cathcart’s presentation (and a much larger book, perhaps a doctoral dissertation, citing more primary sources, could easily be written, and perhaps has been written), it seems that political considerations--the “long train of abuses” that are delineated in the Declaration of Independence--were of relatively minor importance in this regard. And as far as the evidence presented goes, none of the Baptist leaders saw any conflict between armed revolt against the government of George III and the admonition of Paul in Romans 13:1-7 to be subject to the governmental powers that be. I suspect, though Cathcart doesn’t say so, that these pastors, as with those who revolted on political grounds (Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, et al.), would have denied that the British government was in fact the legitimate governing power over them, since it had systematically denied them their rights as Englishmen (breaking the social contract between the governors and the governed), had taxed them without the consent of their representatives, and had essentially invaded them as a foreign power by sending troops here to enforce the royal mandates, killing colonial citizens in the process. The Baptists, as with the political revolutionaries, were not anarchists, but accepted the right to govern them vested in their colonial governments, where they were represented by duly elected officials.
I fear that we in America may soon be directly and unavoidably faced with such issues again--what is the proper Biblical response to a repressive government that systematically encroaches upon rights guaranteed in the Constitution to the governed by repeated arbitrary governmental usurpations of powers and denial of freedoms. It is imperative that we consider these issues seriously so that we may see clearly and act rightly in such circumstances.
The Notes: Ronald Reagan’s
Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom, edited by
President Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004) is known as “the Great Communicator,” not merely because he had the polished delivery of an accomplished actor, but because he actually had something substantial to say and often said it very well (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”).
Among the tools of effective communication
is the employment of suitable quotes, aphorisms and stories to illustrate or
drive home a point or to clarify an idea.
Mr. Reagan had a sizeable private stash of quotes and quips and jokes
that he had accumulated over the decades, all written out by hand on 4” x 6”
cards, ready to be accessed as needed.
This stack of cards was kept close at hand in his personal desk draw for
easy reference. At his death, the
contents of his desk were boxed up and deposited in the Reagan Presidential
The quotes, stories and jokes are divided up into nine sections, viz., “On the Nation,” “On Liberty,” “On War,” “On the People,” “On Religion,” “The World,” “On Character,” “On Political Theater,” and “Humor.” These are followed by a “glossary”--really a brief description of named authors quoted--and a topical index.
Many of the quotations are outstanding--I quote a few of the crème de la crème below (having to leave out many very good ones), but unfortunately, none is documented in the book beyond naming the original author. Reagan’s cards did not provide chapter and page references, but the editor should have, as far as he was able, provide the requisite documentation. Occasionally, a quote is unascribed when the author is in fact known--and famous (in particular, I have reference to an excerpt from Emma Lazarus’ Statue of Liberty poem, “The New Colossus”). Again, a good editor would have added this information. There are also some quotes mis-ascribed. And it should be noted that a number of the quotes do not express Reagan’s sentiments, but are illustrative of an erroneous point of view that he was seeking to expose. And some few of the quotes seemed rather obscure (that is, I couldn’t grasp the point they were intended to make). And, surprisingly, several of the quotations were repeated in the book (more poor editorial work).
It seems that the quotes are reproduced just as originally written by Reagan, which is sometimes unfortunate, since he used a series of abbreviations which are not always readily obvious to the reader (several I had to ponder for a minute or two before I deciphered them); the editor should have spelled these out in full, for the reader’s sake. And I found about a dozen and a half cases of misspellings or misquotes, which if on Reagan’s original cards should have been corrected, or marked [sic] by the editor; otherwise, they are evidence of poor proof-reading on the editorial staff’s part. Some of them completely ruined the intent of the quote. Many of the humorous stories are presented in skeletal form, rather than written out in full. Again, while Mr. Reagan may have written them that way on the cards, the editor should have put the meat on the bones.
The 22-page “glossary” of quoted authors is a meager production. Some of the descriptions achieve triteness; others are a bit odd and unbalanced: e.g., regarding Mao Zedong [Tse-tung], the entry ends: “Because his social and political programs also cost millions of Chinese lives, his legacy is controversial.” Controversial?! His slaughter of an estimated 60 million or so Chinese makes him the greatest mass murderer in history, and the best the editor can come up with is to call him “controversial”!!!! And then there is the blameworthy practice of dating ancient authors with dates “BCE” [“before the common era”], rather than “BC” [“before Christ”]. Why avoid the reference to Christ, especially in light of the fact that Reagan was an outspoken committed Christian? Any competent writer with average research and writing skills could have done a significantly better job on this “glossary” without even breaking a sweat.
The “Humor” chapter, while having some good stuff, also has some old stale tales that could have been left out of this selection of Reagan stories and quotes.
While the book, as compiled and edited, has some not insignificant defects, it still has many worthwhile quotes not to be missed.
Some notable quotes from The Notes (with author named, if given)--
Unnamed former Australian Prime Minister:
“I wonder if anybody has thought what the situation of the comparatively small
nations of the world would be if there were not in
Thomas Jefferson: “The germ of the dissolution of our Federal government is in the Federal judiciary, an irresponsible body working like gravity, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction until all shall be usurped from the states and the government of all be consolidated into one.” p. 11
Winston Churchill: “Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse pulling a sturdy wagon.” p. 15
FDR: “The Federal government must and shall quit this business of relief. Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.” p. 16 [Entirely true, as we now are experiencing; on this point, FDR was better in theory than in actual practice]
John Kennedy: “Our true choice is not between tax reduction on the one hand and the avoidance of large Federal deficits on the other. Our economy stifled by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget. Just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.” p. 17
Frederick Bastiat: “The government offers a cure for the ills of mankind. It promises to restore commerce, make agriculture prosperous, expand industry, encourage arts and letters, wipe out poverty, etc., etc. All that is needed [they claim] is to create some new government agencies and to pay a few more bureaucrats.” p. 19 [spoken in 1849!]
Bastiat: “The state is the fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.” p. 20
Leonard Hand: “Inflation is a device for siphoning government [sic, read “private”] property into the coffers of government. Successful hedging would require finding a form of property that cannot be confiscated. It does not exist. Pare government back to size; that is the only way to protect private property.” p. 21
“When the courts substitute their will for that of the legislature, appealing to what ought to be law when they can find no law and what ought to be the Constitution when that document itself gives not the slightest justification for asserting the new principle then we have reached the end of the road.” p. 26
Thomas Jefferson: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and what never will be.” p. 35
“The real American idea is not that every man shall be on a level with every other, but that every man shall have the liberty without hindrance to be what God made him. The office of government is not to confer happiness but to give men the opportunity to work out happiness for themselves.” p. 38
Winston Churchill: “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” p. 39
Woodrow Wilson: “
Bastiat: “Heavy government expenditures and liberty are incompatible. Woe to the people that cannot limit the sphere of action of the state. Freedom, private enterprise, wealth, happiness, independence, personal dignity--all vanish.” p. 43
Calvin Coolidge: “Of all the forms of government, those administered by bureaus are about the least satisfactory for an enlightened and progressive people. Being irresponsible, they become autocratic and being autocratic, they resist all development. Unless bureaucracy is constantly resisted, it breaks down representative government and overwhelms democracy. It is one element in our institutions that sets up a pretense of having authority over everybody and being responsible to nobody.” p. 44
Nikita Khrushchev: “Despite the difference between the stages of communism and socialism, no wall of any kind exists between them; . . . communism grows from socialism and [is] its direct continuation.” p. 49
“Freedom rests and always will on individual responsibility, individual integrity, individual effort, individual courage, and individual religious faith.” p. 52
“We must pay a price for freedom but whatever the price, it’s only half the cost of doing without it.” p. 52
Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Strike for the jugular. Reduce taxes and spending. Keep government poor and remain free.” p. 59
Churchill: “Still if you will not fight for the right when you can win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you’ll have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” p. 69
John Kennedy: “There can be only one possible defense policy for the U. S. It can be expressed in one word--the word is ‘first.’ I do not mean ‘first when’; I do not mean ‘first if’; I mean ‘first,’ period.” p. 70
Sydney Harris: “One way to distinguish truth from all its counterfeits is by its modesty: truth demands only to be heard among others while its counterfeits demand that others be silenced.” p. 150
“Anyone who thinks he’s going to be happy and prosperous by letting government take care of him should take a good look at the American Indian.” p. 223
“Prosperity is something created by businessmen for politicians to take credit for.” p. 227
“Inflation--that’s the price we pay for those government benefits everybody thought were free.” p. 228
“The best substitute for experience is being seventeen years old.” p. 239
“Politics has gotten so expensive that it now takes a lot of money just to get beaten.” p. 244
“Adam and Eve must have been Russian--they had no roof over their heads, nothing to wear, only one apple between them and they called it ‘paradise’.”
Note: I think everyone should compile his own treasury of notable quotes and stories, with proper documentation as well, either kept in a notebook, computer file or card file (one of my preacher friends has a notebook for quotes that is now well past 100 pages long). I didn’t begin to do this until in my late 30s or early 40s, after searching in vain, literally for years, for some quotes that I remembered from my college and seminary reading, but never was able to locate or document, at least not until decades after I first began to search for them. Most of the quotes I find particularly notable make their way into the pages of AISI--Editor.