Monday, April 30, 2007

Words About Dr. Lewis S. Chafer Regarding Scofield

Dr. Couch, I appreciate so many things you have said about Dr. C. I Scofield. You have revived an interest in the man but also have fired up the flames of us younger men who want to be solid Bible teachers of the Word by sharing facts about him. Would you repeat some of the things Dr. Lewis S. Chafer said of Scofield? 
    Dr. Scofield died in July 1921. Before his death he had taught with, and known, some of the greatest giants among the Bible teachers at the turn of the century. He mentored Chafer as a Bible teacher and Chafer took over for a period Scofield’s church in Dallas. Chafer was most profoundly influenced by Scofield and went on and founded “old” Dallas Seminary because of his clear explanation of the plan of the Bible. Chafer said of Scofield:
Until I had heard Scofield teach I had never heard a “real” teacher of God’s Word. Scofield was a friend to the giants: James M. Gray, William Eerdman, Arthur Pierson, A. C. Gaebelein, and William Pettingill. Scofield did not study simply for himself but in order to impart to others the Bible and the skills to teach it. He was patient and had the teacher’s gift which was enriched by the power of the Spirit of God. Scofield knew personally God as his heavenly Father with more reality than any other person I have ever known.
    Scofield’s little book Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth became a classic and was read over time by millions. For the first time people could understand the Word of God and were set free from the domination of the false teachings of the allegorists, the amillennialists, and the Covenant theologians of the day who “made up” their theology and did not let the Bible speak in its normal sense. Rightly so, Scofield pointed out that Israel and the Church must always remain distinct. Almost one hundred years before other great Bible teachers had already arrived at that conclusion. Scofield only punctuated this great biblical fact that made the plan of Scripture blossom before many who thirsted for the right meaning of God’s plan of the ages! 

    I hope this helps, and thanks for asking,

    Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Why Do Reformed and Covenant Teachers Say God Is Through With The Jews?

Dr. Couch, the Reformed and Covenant Theology teachers often say God is through with the Jews, and that the church has replaced Israel forever. How can they do that? 
    The answer is simple. They come to the Bible, on this issue, with a philosophy of Replacement, and then conveniently excise the Jews as a restored theocratic people. They do this by their amillennialism and allegorical interpretation. I would love to hear what they do with several passages in the Old Testament that would refute them. 

    In 1 Kings 14:15-16 the Lord says He will uproot Israel from the land for their sins, and “He will give up Israel on account of the sins of Jeroboam … with which he made Israel to sin.” But comparing this with 2 Kings 14:27 we read: “And the Lord did not say that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.” By the way, this issue has to be kept in the context of what was happening at the time of Jeroboam, though the point is well made and can come down even to today! 

    Israel’s sinfulness, and the punishment that followed, does not mean God is through with the Jews! See my exegesis on this website on Romans 9-11. The Jews are still beloved at this present time in God’s eyes though they are for the most part in unbelief. They are beloved because He made a firm Covenant with their fathers and He will not go against His promises. “From the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (the Lord will not change His mind about making promises to the Jews)” (11:28-29). 

    Thanks for asking,

    Dr. Mal Couch

What About A Private Prayer Language?

Dr. Couch, I just read that a bunch of Southern Baptist pastors are very confused about the issue of speaking in tongues, and the subject of having a “private prayer language.” Have you heard about this? 
    Yes, the Washington Times reported a statistical study that showed 50% of Southern Baptist pastors believe one can have a closet or private prayer language. 7% were unsure on the issue. That is a total of 57% of Southern Baptist pastors who are in the dark and haven’t a clue as to how to study the Word of God and find definitive answers. They have been (1) listening too much to their “emotional” sheep (who have been watching too much charismatic TV), (2) watching too much hyper-charismatic TV themselves, (3) unable to exegete and study the Scriptures for themselves to find the right answers. 

    I am not surprised by this statistic mentioned above. I have never met many truly educated Southern Baptist ministers, especially those who have attended Southern Baptist seminaries or Bible schools. They are rarely taught the biblical languages and have only a smattering of exposure to biblical doctrine. The M.Div. program of one Southern Baptist school I know about gives only 9 hours in doctrinal survey courses, out of a total of 90 hours required. But they have about 9 hours the students must take in Baptist History! That M.Div does not require any biblical languages though some students may take a token amount, say, of 6 hours of Greek (which is useless for doing any exegetical work). 

    Southern Baptists push “fellowship,” increasing memberships, and baptisms, over and above doctrinal teaching of the Word of God, in order to strengthen and mature their sheep. No wonder the pastors do not know what they are doing when it comes to doctrinal clarity. 

    Thank the Lord there are a few who do indeed study their Bible and have answers, and, do not follow the crowd as to what is popular. But those numbers among Southern Baptist ministers are shrinking. Some Southern Baptist schools are so liberal they have turned green, as in green moldy cheese! But the blind Southern Baptist church members just keep on supporting these institutions. I really don’t understand that, and I wish someone would explain it to me! Probably the reason: loyalty to the denomination and to the “system” is more important than doctrinal integrity. 

    Thanks for asking,

    Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, April 27, 2007

What is Happening In Seminaries?

Dr. Couch, I appreciate your language work. It seems as if this is a dying art, to be able to firmly exegete the Bible from the Hebrew and Greek. What’s happening in seminaries? 
    Most have cut back and thrown in the towel as far as the biblical languages. While they may offer token courses, it takes a lost of formal classes to get the languages down and use this properly. My generation coming up in the 60s was “forced” to max out in language and grammar studies. I translate almost daily in the Hebrew and Greek texts, and, I love it! There is nothing more rich as to “feel” the Word of God in the original, and as David and Paul wrote it! 

    The sun is setting on this skill. Younger men are not committed to the discipline and therefore doctrinal error will seep in to our churches and Bible schools. 

    I have finally given up in trying to force students to take 20 hours or more of the languages. However I urge you to visit Bible Greek VideoPOD  put up by Dr. John Pappas. It is meant to entice students to get a taste of Greek in the hope that they will go on for more study. 

    Thanks for asking,

    Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thank You Dr Couch

Dr. Couch, thank you so much for your ministry. Your answers to Hank so far have been right on. He is not trained as an exegete but is at best a self-taught philosopher. I am surprised you have not had more response to your exegesis of Romans 9-11. Thank you for your commitment to the Scriptures. I am sending a donation to help Scofield Ministries. 
    And thank you for your kind comments and your offer of donations to help this work continue. We can use all the help we can get. Every penny goes into more exegetical work and the production of CDs. 

    Thanks for asking,

    Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Which Study Bible Is Better?

Dr. Couch, which is better, the Old Scofield Reference Bible or the Revised Scofield Reference Bible? Is there any difference?
   The Revised has some additional thoughts and clarifications but overall there is no difference. The Revised is just updated. The revisionists maintained the integrity and purpose of the original. 

    Dr. Scofield received an award from the Academy of Literature of France for his original Reference Bible. It profoundly influenced fundamentalism in the U. S. when it came out in 1910. It helped stave off liberalism to a degree in this country. And it made clear God’s future plans and promises to the Jewish people as to their Land and the coming messianic, Davidic Kingdom. 

    Thanks for asking,

    Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What About Feminism?

Dr. Couch, what do you think of Wayne Grudem’s book Evangelical Feminism published by Multnomah? 
    I believe it is the classic on the subject. It is a revision and expansion on an original work. The full title is Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth. It is almost impossible to challenge the 800+ page book that is full of exegesis and facts. But remember the blinded Evangelical women of America do not want the "facts"! They are brainwashed by secular education and our state run universities to believe what they want to believe. Feminism pampers their egos and makes them want to be like men! They think this gives them purpose and fulfillment. It just makes them weirdoes! Do you think little girls growing up say, "Oh, I can’t wait to be a jet fighter pilot when I get grown!" Of course not.

    This tells us that people (especially women) are emotionally driven, never mind the biblical facts and injunctions by the apostle Paul. And it tell us how little smarts these women have. They know little of what the Bible teaches by sound exegesis and full context!

    Remember, whoever controls the language of a nation controls the nation. They have changed the words of our culture to make us accept feminism! Here are some samples:

      Used to say
  • Waitress
  • Fireman
  • Policeman
  • Cockpit
  • Gunman/Gunwoman
  • Stewardess
      Now Say
  • Server
  • Fire fighter
  • Police officer
  • Flight deck
  • Shooter
  • Flight attendant
       The Facts
  • Waitress
  • Fire lady
  • Police lady
  • Cockpit
  • Gunman/Gunwoman
  • Woman stewardess
    We know why the language has been changed. Can you imagine calling the police when the bad guy is breaking into your house and the operator says, "Oh yes, we’ll send right out a police lady to your home!" Everyone hearing that would cringe!

   You get the point. Thanks for asking, 

    Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, April 23, 2007

What About the Social Gospel?

Dr. Couch, what do you think of the social gospel, the idea that the Church should primarily be concerned with the problems of poverty and injustice? Some blame capitalism for the oppression of the poor and say that socialism is more concerned for the disadvantaged. 
    History has proven just the opposite. When the social gospel becomes dominate, the true gospel disappears. In fact, just focusing on social concerns is the first sign that liberalism is taking root, both in the churches and in government. And quickly the heart concerns that should be behind charity dies, and that charity becomes a cold function of the government. And then such charity takes place based on authoritarianism and power, rather than based on a true concern for those in need. 

    The Old Testament speaks a lot about social justice and charity for the poor. However it was in the context of the theocracy of Israel. In the New Testament charity is first for the needs of the body of Christ, and then it can spill over to the needs of the lost. 

    What is happening in Africa and the cry for charity there, especially concerning AIDS, is a case in point. Billions of dollars are being spent there for a cure and for medicines when the problem could be solved almost overnight, and without cost, by a good dose of biblical morality. The liberal throws money at a problem and ignores the issues of morality. This does not mean that all who are in need are guilty of some sin. For example in Africa many wives and children have AIDS because of the sins of the fathers who are infecting their families. 

    I would never argue against charity but only Jesus the Messiah will finally solve the problem when He returns! And, presently, we should give in His name and for His sake to those in need. 

    Paul constantly writes about “doing good” which would certainly include charity work wherever it’s needed (1 Tim. 2:10; 5:10; Titus 2:14; 3:1, 8, 14). James writes about believers being full of mercy and good fruits (James 3:17), and Peter speaks of giving forth good deeds (1 Pet. 2:12). 

    Thanks for asking,

    Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What About Those Who Deny Or Disdain the Jewish People?

Dr. Couch, will there be a judgment against liberals, allegorists, amillennialists, and preterists, who deny or disdain Zion, the Jewish people, and Israel? 
    I personally think so. It is not a small matter to say that the church has replace Israel, and that God will go against all His promised to the nation of Israel. That is a major theological twist, turn, and departure from all that the Bible teaches! There is a spectrum of hatred against the Jews returning to the Land of Israel, and a disdain to the fact that there is coming an actual, historic millennial kingdom in which Christ rules and reigns in Zion, the Holy Land! Liberals seem to hate the most, and the Reformed guys just ignore the fact of God restoring the Jews to a place of favor again. 

    I could not help but think of Psalm 129 and especially verse 5. God says, “Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.” 

    The word hate is “sanah” and can be translated: “be unable or unwilling to put up with,” or “to slight and ignore.” Or, “to disdain.” (Holladay Hebrew Dictionary) The Reformed guys “disdain, ignore, and slight” the Jewish people. They think we dispensational and premillennial teachers are foolish. 

    By the way, Zion here in Psalm 129 is not the church, the new Israel. It is not an allegorical use of the word Zion. Zion here represents the Jewish people, their land, and their covenant promises. The nay-sayers will “be as the grass upon the housetops, which withers before it grows up” (v. 6). They also refuse to bless the Jewish people. Verse 8 closes the Psalm with these thoughts: Those who the Jews and go by Israel do not say: “The blessing of the Lord be upon you (the Jewish people); or, we bless you in the name of the Lord.” They just ignore God’s earthly people! 

    Thanks for asking,

    Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Who Are The Kings of the East?

Dr. Couch, who are the kings of the east in Revelation 16:12 who invade the Middle East in the second half of the tribulation? 
    This happens when the sixth bowl of wrath is poured out by the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven upon “the great river Euphrates.” The waters are dried up “that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east.” 

    Ellicott, the allegorist and amillennialist says the Euphrates is but symbolical. He is wrong of course! The literal Euphrates will play a key role in prophecy in the future. In the past it was a boundary that partly prevented the forces of the orient from coming into the Middle East. Ellicott does make an interesting statement: he points out that it was a kind of protective barrier for Israel in ancient times. 

    The kings of the east in Greek actually is: “the kings from the rising of the sun.” 

    More than likely the kings are the nations of the far east of Israel: Possibly China, India (the Rajs). Most people do not realize it but these nations were ruled by kings and emperors less than one hundred years ago! The June 4, 2007 edition of The Washington Times reports that China is on the move and has worldwide ambitions. They are gearing up their military forces “generating capabilities for other regional contingencies (the Middle East), such as conflict over resources or territory.” That means the Middle East because China is oil poor. She is gobbling up world natural resources and quickly becoming a world super power. Her philosophy presently is to offer support to the Arab nations in that region of the world. When the nations of the world collapse in the middle of the tribulation there will be an international rush by the most powerful nations left to secure the oil for themselves, that presently belongs to the Arab powers. 

    We are on the edge of prophecy being fulfilled! 

    Thanks for asking,

    Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sensus Plenior and Reference Plenior as Literary Devices

Dr. Couch, would you explain Sensus Plenior (fuller sense) and Reference Plenior (referencing more than one incident)? And how are these literary devices used in the NT referencing of the OT? 
    ANSWER: The NT generally, and for the most part, interprets OT passages using a literal, grammatical-historical sense. This would be the literal use or way of quoting OT passages, especially (but not always) concerning prophetic passages. 

    The other way would be what is called the nonliteral use of quoting OT passages in the NT. This is sometimes labeled the inspired sensus plenior application. This is where a NT writer quotes an OT passage in an illustrative way, i.e., as an illustration, or type. 

    There is now a war afoot among "coming-on" liberal scholars in our Evangelical camp who are trying to rewrite how we treat prophetic passages. They are playing free-wheeling with prophetic passages in order to take the prophetic edge off of them. They are fired-up by what I call "Academia," they want to sound and act so scholarly that they philosophize the Bible! They want to sound high and lofty, and they are into peer recognition and accreditations. 

    Some are forcing the issue and arguing that OT passages often had double or two meanings. By this the OT can be "re-enterpreted" in the way we look at how OT verses are quoted in NT passages. All of this is calculated to get away from one meaning when the Holy Spirit inspired a passage of Scripture. 

    While NT writers may sometimes find illustrations in OT passages, this does not take away from the single meaning in an OT passage when it was written. 

    Again, this discussion is coming about because there are so many Evangelicals moving into the liberal camp and are wanting to virtually re-write the Bible. They are influenced by liberalism. This is sweeping our Evangelical schools but it will not sweep into Scofield Prophecy Studies! 

    I hope this helps, and thanks for asking.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Credit Card Debt Advice

Dr. Couch, what counsel would you give today about credit card debt that is so prevalent in our society? 
    ANSWER: Banks are having a field day now, hoping that people will default on their loans, particularly if they have taken out a mortgage on their home. The bank knows it will get the house! People, and banks, are terribly greedy. People are wanting more and more material things without the ability to pay for them. And banks are playing a numbers game, wanting to see people default: realizing that so many who go into debt, and who have to default on credit cards, will loose their homes, and whatever! Proverbs 22:7:"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." 

    We are into madness. What is discouraging is that many Christians today are spiritually brain dead by the philosophy of the culture! Debt puts a strain on a marriage, gives a sense of fear to the children, and is distinctly against the commandments of God. Christians then who max out credit cards are walking about in "fleshly carnality" (double definition) and are just downright stupid in the way they handle money. We are the instant-fulfillment-generation, and this will play a role in destroying America!

    Some also cite Luke 6:34-35 on this issue, but I don’t think this plays into this issue. In Luke 6 Christ is talking about lending to someone who may really be in need, but lending with no expectation of getting the funds returned. Christ goes on and says it is no merit to do so, for even the sinners can be magnanimous and do the same. Therefore, He says, "lend, hoping for nothing again" in return (v. 35). But this is an exception that must be agreed upon before hand, or certainly understood by the lender, that he may not get back what he has given. This is another issue altogether! 

    Thanks for asking.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What Are The Rules Of Biblical Interpretation?

Dr. Couch, to help me gain a more clear understanding of biblical interpretation, what are the rules which guide the interpreter? Are those rules systematic?
    ANSWER: Absolutely, and they are all about how one opens up an understanding of any language. If followed, one will come up with consistent interpretation from Genesis to Revelation. By this the Word of God flowers open and starts to make sense. Then the studying of Scripture becomes exciting and clear and one can see a clear plan of the ages from start to finish. The Bible is not left in a confusing smog that brings on darkness and not light! 

    I have almost all of the rules listed and laid out in chapter 5 of my book Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel). Rather than list all of these guidelines here I urge you to purchase my book. The book also challenges Covenant Theology and shows that men such as Berkhof even admit that Covenant Theology is assumed but not explicit in the Bible! (Most Covenant folks don't know that!) 

    Thanks for asking.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Principles of Hermeneutics

Dr. Couch, are you familiar with the four Jewish ways that the New Testament interprets the Old Testament? I just finished reading your excellent book An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics, and I was wondering why these principles were not included. Will they be included in a revised version?
    ANSWER: Thank you for your kind comments on my hermeneutics volume published by Kregel. I will probably not include the "four" ways the OT was interpreted in the NT, though that in itself is not a bad idea. To add to an existing book is very costly for the publishers, would be the main reason not to. The rabbinical ways of interpreting (that some think are partly used in the NT) are: 1. Allegorically, 2. Illustratively, 3. Metaphorically, and 4. Literally. 

    While I have Jewish/Christian friends that believe Peter in Acts 2 was quoting Joel 2 illustratively, I do not believe that is the case. They hold this because they think it solves a problem as to how to interprete Joel's prophecy as quoted in Acts 2. I believe Peter for the most part is quoting Joel 2 to show that the New Covenant had begun, as evidenced by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Everyone can see that, while he quoted the larger Joel context, verses 19-21, while quoted, are still yet future with the far-off tribulation from Peter's time-frame. I differentiate between the fact that Peter is saying the New Covenant was launced as over against saying the New Covenant is here in Acts 2 being fulfilled. "Launching" and "fulfilling" are two different things! 

    I am blessed by having the classic Soncino Jewish commentary on the entire OT. I also own the rare book I purchased in Israel entitled: "Jewish Society and Religion in the Second Temple Period" published by outstanding Israeli scholars. The book deals with the interpretation of the orthodox Jews. The Soncino set, and the Jewish Society volume shows that, far more often, the rabbis interpreted the OT, and surprisingly even the NT, in a literal fashion. The Jewish rabbi Hillel (70 B.C. - 10 A.D.) interpreted the OT with about seven different guidelines, not simply four. They are (1) Inference from the least to the greatest, and vice versa, (2) Inference by analogy, (3) construcing a family of "like" passages (something like systematic theology), (4) is the same as the third, except it is confined to only two passages, (5) the relation to the general to the specific, (6) exposition by means of another similar passage, (7) and finally, deduction from the context. 

    In my opinion, while some of my friends may disagree, the only allegory in the NT is found in Galatians 4:21-28 where the apostle Paul "makes" an allegory, and tells us he is doing so, in order to make a point. He takes the historical and literal story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, to make a point about "the Jerusalem that is above that is free" and that is not bound by the law (v. 26). Paul plainly writes: "This is allegorically speaking" (v. 24). In my opinion the Jews listening to Peter in Acts 2 would have taken what he said in quoting Joel 2 in a very "actual" or literal way. Otherwise Peter would have had to say to this great big crowd of Jews he was speaking to: "I am only quoting Joel 2 as a great big illustration!" There are no signs whatsoever in the Acts 2 context that Peter is quoting Joel 2 as an "illustration" only of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Another reason I would probably not add the "four" ways the OT is interpreted in the NT is that in my book I deal with the various ways passages ARE indeed interpreted, whether quoting OT sources or not. 

    Your suggestion is well taken but I am afraid it is too late for this volume. 

    Thanks for asking, and for your kind comments.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, April 16, 2007

What Is The Difference Between These Greek Words - Thelema, Thelo, and Thelesis?

Dr. Couch, what is the difference between the Greek words thelema, thelo, and thelesis? Are the differences simply that some are nouns and others verbs, or is there more to it? 
    ANSWER: All three words are from the same family root word and idea: will. As with English, sometimes the idea is to wish, to intend, to desire, to want. For example, in 1 Timothy 2:4 the Lord says that He desires (thelo) that all men be saved. We know that He has not willed that all are saved! Again, as in English, the word will can be part of a verb, such as: "I will go to town." I know that your question is prompted by wanting to understand the issue of man’s will vs. God’s will! Does man have a will or not? I can argue two ways: (1) He does not have a will, because of the fact that he is so influenced by sin, the world, circumstances, his own genetics, etc. He is dead in sin and in trespasses, and is by nature a child of wrath! (2) He has a will but it is God who directs that will to do what He wishes. Take your choice. It all comes out the same, either way! 

    Paul writes that "God ‘willed’ to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery [the church]" (Col. 1:27). In other words we would not know of grace apart from His "willing" such knowledge. 

    Two most interesting passages on the subject: John 1:12-13; Phil. 2:13. In John 1:12 the cause of belief is found in verse 13: "who were born not of blood (blood line), nor of the will (determined plan) of the flesh, nor of the will (the act of willing) of man, but who are born of God." If one believes it is because he is born again by the sovereign work of the Lord. 

    The great old scholar E. W. Hengstenberg says of John 1:13: "Because of the fall and its influence upon the flesh, man does not come to God by natural generation. He is incapable of the higher life unless he is regenerated of God." 

    From the Greek text of Philippians 2:13 we read: "For it is God who is the one working in you even to the Willing/Desiring and to the performing [doing] concerning [in regard to] [His] good plans." He makes us willing and willing to do what He directs to be done! 

    Thanks for asking.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Which is More Difficult and Why—OT Exegesis or NT Exegesis?

Dr. Couch, which is more difficult and why—OT exegesis or NT exegesis? 
    ANSWER: They are both equal. In other words, to do honest exegesis, in either the OT or NT, one must work from the language. Hermeneutics is the science that unlocks any language. There are principles that must be used in order to get the message. Those principles are common to translating and comprehending the Bible, whether OT or NT. 

    Exegesis is the art (and science) of pulling out the meaning of a given text. The word means "to lead out." Since I translate weekly in both languages I do much of this automatically. I force my students to look hard at a passage and discover the keys that give the meaning. Before we were through, they were able to pick up speed in finding the most important points in the verses. 

    When we finished they were able to spot the blatant errors of amillennialism, preterism, and progressive dispensationalism. More than one student said it was the best class they ever had. I suggest several books: Ramm’s Protestant Biblical Interpretation, and my Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics. 

    Thanks for asking.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Will You Come To Poverty by Giving a Gift to a Wealthy Person?

Dr. Couch, I read in Proverbs 22:16 that you will come to poverty if you give a gift to a wealthy person. I have a brother who is wealthy and I intend to give him a birthday gift soon, but here is the larger question. Is a passage like this symbolic or does it have another meaning? As a layman must I ask a "scholar" what it means? How do I get the meaning and how do I know someone else’s interpretation is right? Or, do I simply depend on the Holy Spirit? 
    The Holy Spirit does not give us contextual or grammatical answers. We have to dig for that, but He does aid us in comprehending the spiritual meaning of Scripture. The Bible is full of reminders that we have to study the Word of God in order to know the Word of God! The Bereans searched the Word of God for answers (Acts 17:11); Paul told Timothy to study the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15), and he added that we need teachers to help us understand the Bible: "The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also" (2:2). 

    Teachers are guides, and commentaries and theologies are but teachers on paper. While there are no perfect teachers it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out which ones to listen to. (1) Do they hold the Scriptures as inspired? (2) Are they in an Evangelical, dispensational, and premillennial camp? (This means they interpret Scripture consistently from Genesis to Revelation and are not in the mindless allegorical frame of mind.) (3) Are they somewhat well trained? (4) Do they study the Word themselves in order to arm their hearts and minds with the Scriptures? (5) Do they know the biblical languages? (6) Have they attended some of the most Godly institutions for their training? (7) Are they into the "excitement" camp and are yellers and screamers? (This means they are into "delivery" and not into substance!) 

    Avoid those who have nutty and way-out views on the Bible. Listen to those who walk in a solid manner, and who come from that broad main stream of Evangelicalism of the past. My book on Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics is being used in many schools across the country and covers most of the guidelines that will help you understand the Word of God. 

    Thanks for asking.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, April 13, 2007

What is 'The Lord’s Day' in Revelation 1:10

Dr. Couch, what is “The Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10. John said he “was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” Is this Sunday? 
   ANSWER: The word Lord (kuriake) is used as an adjective. John is writing something like: “I was with (under the influence) of the Spirit in a Lordy kind of day.” He is not saying this is Sunday or Sabbath. His point is that it was a very special day because in it, he received very specific and direct revelation from the Spirit of God! The Lord was addressing him with the final book of the Bible! 

    Thanks for asking.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Are Those Who Hear the 144,000's Message Also Sealed?

Dr. Couch, in Revelation 7:3 and in 9:4 it is mentioned that the servants of the Lord are sealed with a seal on their foreheads. My question, if the 144,000 Jewish witnesses are sealed, what about those who hear and believe their message? Are they sealed also? What’s your answer? 
    ANSWER: The sealing of the 144,000 mentioned in chapter 7 were to be protected during their period of witnessing to the earth. But the protection over them is but temporary. In 14:1 we see the 144,000 in glory standing together in the heavenly Mt. Zion with the Lord Jesus. They had a special protection (v.3) but were finally “purchased” from the earth, probably martyred, as mentioned in vs. 3-4. There were considered special “first fruits” (the first crops) of the tribulation and were especially dedicated to God the Father and Christ the Lamb. 

    Chapter 9 is about the release of the demonic horde from the “shaft of the abyss.” For a period the demons were permitted to harm all men except those who had received “the seal of God on their foreheads” (v. 4). Since the passage does not refer to the 144,000 I take it that “the men” referred to would be new believers coming to Christ during the witness of the blessed 144,000 Jewish evangelists. Many, many who are saved during the tribulation, i.e. the tribulation (not church) saints, will towards the end by martyred. The martyred are vividly pictured in chapter 15 and in 16:4-7. 

    I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What is the Difference Between a Christian Fundamentalist and an Evangelical?

Dr. Couch, what is the difference between a Christian fundamentalist and an evangelical? 
    ANSWER: The term "evangelical" began to be used in the 1940s to describe Christians who believed in the basics of the faith and practiced giving out the gospel, i.e., "evangelism." While some may disagree with my answer, I believe there is no difference except in the area of temperament. By this I mean that there can be some who claim to be "fundamentalists" who are very, very narrow and legalistic in living out their Christian walk. 

    I generally call myself an evangelical. I hold to all of the "fundamentals" of the faith, but I am not a "fighting fundy" who is all stressed out about dress, the KJV Bible only view, and other pretty narrow and uneducated issues. The news media uses the word "fundamentalists" as if we are religious Nazis who would enslave everyone to our views. This is of course a smear tactic to wrongly label what we believe. We are vitally concerned about social and personal morality, as all Christians were some generations back. Christianity influenced the culture and Christian morality was in place in the society. 

    Generally too, those who pride themselves on being called fundamental pretty much hold to an isolationist position. We should be "separate" spiritually from the world but not "isolate" from the society. Christ ate and drank with Publicans (crooked tax-collectors) and sinners (prostitutes) and banqueted with them for days, reclining on couches conversing about spiritual matters. 

    A fundamentalist often believes that the only church is the local church and that one must be baptized in that church alone. Communion also is only for the members of that church. They may have some other views that they hold tightly, that cannot be defended by Scripture. 

    I generally do not trouble myself much about this issue. I have too much to do just trying to teach the "full counsel of God." 

    Great question, and thanks for asking.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What About the Theology of C.S. Lewis?

Dr. Couch, what do you think of the "theology" of C. S. Lewis? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was skeptical. 
   ANSWER:  It amazes me how some people gravitate to Lewis who really had many theological problems and who certainly was not a Bible teacher. I agree with Lloyd-Jones! 

    By the way, I have always been curious as to why some Christians always travel the poorly paved, rutted back roads! They seem to gravitate to the obscure and strange! They are not soundly grounded and do not seem to know how to travel the high road, with solid and godly Bible teachers! I can list a hundred Bible teachers in print that many never know about and miss. I do not know why that happens! Amazing! 

    Thanks for asking!

    Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, April 9, 2007

What About Freemasonry?

Dr. Couch, what is your view of Freemasonry? 
    ANSWER: Freemasonry, while claiming not to be a religion, really is of sorts! Though most Masons would deny this it is a fact. They have lodges specific to various religions, i.e., all religions lead to God. Masonry is based on works-salvation. I have read much of their material (which they say is secret, but is not) and find it based on works. Many Masons have used Masonry for their "religion" and for "church." (My father did before he was saved.) They consider themselves pious for belonging to the organization. While the Masons have done many good social works (such as hospitals, etc.), this can be deceiving in that they think this will lead them to God and personal salvation. 

    Some have described Masonry as a fraternity of grown men acting out like little boys, with swords, helmets and secret oaths. I know a lot about Freemasonry because my dad, before he became a Christian, was a Mason. After he received Christ as his Savior, the Masons died in importance in his life. They wanted to have a ceremony at his funeral but I refused, because some of the ritual claims that the dead go to heaven by their works, and because they are Masons. 

    It is difficult today to find books in Christian bookstores that reveal the inner workings and the errors of Masonry. Nobody wants to "offend" so an honest biblical evaluation is hard to come by. 

    Thanks for asking!

    Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Legacy of Dr. Jerry Falwell

Dr. Couch, what will be the legacy of Dr. Jerry Falwell? 
    ANSWER: I think it will be great. Of course he was not perfect, as is true of all spiritual leaders. He felt starting the Moral Majority organization would get Christians active in politics for the moral good. However that did not last. We will never win the world by Christian activism, though I do not fault believers for attempting to be light and salt in the public arena. Unless hearts are changed, there will be no change! 

    I am concerned about Liberty University, from which my wife graduated with her MA. A monster school will overwhelm good leadership. And the tug will always be to conform, to a degree, to follow the world in the field of sports and academics. The Bible departments then shrink and the school will carry the name Christian for a period but then apostate away from its biblical roots. 

    I am not wishing that on Liberty but this is the way almost all Christian universities have gone in the past. This can take years and decades to happen. 

    Dr. Falwell had his day, his generation to serve. Pray that good leadership comes behind him. 

    Thanks for asking!

    Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Back-biting, Lying, Legalism, and Hate

Dr. Couch, what is going on in churches? I have never seen so much back-biting, lying, legalism, and hate. It seems to be getting worse. What do you say? 
    ANSWER:  I have noticed the same. I’ve been in the ministry almost fifty years and I believe it truly is getting worse. I do not know which is worse: “Fundamental legalism or liberalism.” They both are extremely destructive. 

    Let me explain Fundamental legalism. I am not addressing the issue of believing in the fundamentals of the faith—which I do to the extreme! I am talking about narrow-minded, bigoted people, who are cowards, live in fear, judge everyone, and too often are biblically ignorant. Liberals are easy to spot—they just deny the Scriptures. The super fundies lay low and then attack with their narrow legalism. They can harm a church before you know it because they are always in the “judgment” mode. However, I have found that most people in the congregation sense something is wrong with these people. Their noses are in the air and they give off an attitude that they are better than the rest. Generally, when they leave the church, the atmosphere improves! 

    In the Homiletic Commentary, on 1 & 2 Samuel, there is a classic statement that fits such legalists perfectly. It reads:
We often make great mistakes in judging of the characters of others, because we ignore all certain subtle considerations; and many well-conducted persons among us get great credit for their good moral character, while the truth is that they are blameless not so much because they have higher-toned principles than others (which they think they have), as because they have feeble, timid, and legalistic natures, that are too cautious or too weak to let them go very far either into holiness or into sin.
    The Lord Jesus always forgave erring sinners but He really detested the legalistic Pharisees. They thought they were holy but they really were not! These folks are snakes in the grass! Avoid them at all cost. They are not teachable nor do they want the truth if it contradicts what they believe! 

    Thanks for asking!

    Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, April 6, 2007

Cultural Apostasy

Dr. Couch, should Evangelicals join hands with Roman Catholics and Mormons, etc., in combating such problems as abortion and homosexuality in our culture? 
    My answer has a two-pronged approach! If I somehow align myself with such groups in a "religious" front, then the lost will see no difference between true believers and other denominations. But if I take it upon myself to fight such things as a private citizen, even along with a coalition of people (even who are not Christians), then I am seen as simply doing my duty as a voting citizen of the state. I could also join a group of Evangelicals to fight such issues. Then my spiritual beliefs are united with others of like faith and would be understood as an effort of a specific spiritual group—of Evangelicals! 

    Christians may be called to social action as individuals. This is the calling of some who are very committed. They may be activist Christian lawyers who are on the frontlines, or a believer who wants to go into politics to try to make a difference. We must not be misled however to think we really will turn our culture around without folks truly changed by becoming believers in Christ. We will not! We are deep into the apostasy of the church and into cultural apostasy. We are not going to turn it around, though some may be called to do what they can. 

    Thanks for asking!

    Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, April 5, 2007

What Do You Think of the Amish?

Dr. Couch, what do you think of the Amish? 
    ANSWER:  Years ago I lived in Amish country. There are several levels or fellowships of the Amish, with varying degrees of legalism. They had a lot of moral problems that they tried to hide, and were very deep in problems. Many were nice folks, and all whom I knew I felt were born again. But some have moved so far from the gospel it is doubtful if they are saved. The way they live (trying to deny the world by dress and funny little hats) is excessive. We are to be separate from sin but not isolate from sinners. They claim to be rejecting modernity, but they are not. They are selective in what they give up. Some give up cars for horse and buggies but then wear glasses! Contradiction! 

    Thanks for asking!

    Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Is The Church the Promised Kingdom Found in the OT?

Dr. Couch, Revelation 1:6 says God "made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father." Is this not saying that the church is the promised kingdom found in the OT? 
    ANSWER:  About 90% of the references in Scripture to a kingdom would be referring to the Messianic reign of Christ at the end of history known as the Millennium in the book of Revelation. Other references may speak of God's reign over His creation "kingdom," or as in the case of this passage, "a" kingdom of priests, but not "the" (definite article) Messianic reign! 

    There is nothing wrong with calling the church in this dispensation a collection of priests who represent man to God and God to man! CONTEXT is most important when dealing with such issues. The Messianic kingdom is not in view here. But there is more to consider in Revelation 1:6: 

    1. The definite article "the" is not in the passage. If "the" was used some may think that it might point to the Messianic kingdom reign but it is not in the text.
    2. While there is good manuscript evidence for the word "kingdom" (basileian) here in this verse, there are some texts that do not have the word. In those texts it simply reads, "He made us priests to His God."
    3. Notice the word "made." Church believers are created to be priests during this church era. In the Millennial kingdom, the Levitical priests of the house of Zadok will come to fore and will minister in the Millennial temple as mentioned in Ezekiel 40:46; 43:19; 44:15; 48:11. They will not have "to be made" priests! The priests of Zadok certainly do not mean the church!
    4. In no way can Revelation 1:6 be speaking of the 1000 year Millennial temple by any stretch of the imagination!
    Thomas says:
Basileia is the word used most often in the LXX, and the NT to speak of the messianic rule and kingdom, an emphasis that most vividly carries over into John' Revelation. It reaches a climax in chapter 20 where the future share of the saints in Christ's earthly rule is expressly stated (20:4; cf. 5:10; 11:15).
    Even old amillennial scholars such as Justin Smith do not try to make the connection that this passage is now saying the church has replaced Israel as the kingdom! 

    Thanks for asking!

    Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Doctrine of Election

Dr. Couch, I saw on your website you believe in the doctrine of election, which is typically a Reformed view. Most of the Reformed and Covenant teachers, of what I can read, are amillennialists, but you do not hold to amillennialism. How do you combine [or answer] this issue, that is, being a millennial dispensationalist and holding to divine election? I am confused! 
    ANSWSER:  I appreciate your question because it blows my mind how the general public can so miss what solid biblical doctrine is all about—specifically, how we arrive at certain, absolute certain, biblical truth! The way you put your question it seems as if the Reformed guys got together and said, “I tell you what, let’s all believe in divine election, but we’re sure the poor slob dispensationalists will not hold to this view!” 

    You clearly do not know how doctrine comes about. It’s what the Scriptures say that counts. And the Bible is clear about God’s absolute sovereignty, divine election, total depravity, eternal security, etc. 

    These views are not held because the Reformed guys say that are true; they are held because the Bible says they are true. They are defensible exegetically. However the Bible with equal clarity teaches the coming literal millennial reign of Christ. The Bible is millennial not amillennial. And, this doctrine of the coming millennial kingdom of Christ on earth, with Israel as the core people, is certainly defensible too! 

    The Reformed guys say, “But the millennium is a Jewish doctrine and Christ repudiated Jewish teachings!” WRONG! Christ never chided the Jews for their belief in the coming reign of the Messiah. He chided them for their legalism and their hypocrisy, and for denying that He was that promised earthly King! 

    Most people do not realize it but all early dispensationalists were “Calvinistic” but they denied the “manufactured” Reformed Covenants of Works and of Grace! The Reformer guys even admit they are not in the Bible! Our strongest Evangelical schools in this country have been “Calvinistic” and dispensational, though now so many of them are turning just plain old liberal! I know. I used to teach at these schools which were the best Bible schools in the nation! 

    When you bring up the issues of Reformed theology, the sovereignty of God, and then try to make some kind of comparison between amillennialism vs. dispensationalism, you are mixing apples and oranges, and, you have been given a dose of wrong teaching as to how doctrine, solid biblical doctrine, is developed! 

    Thanks for asking!

    Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, April 2, 2007

Dual Covenant?

Dr. Couch, do you hold to the “dual covenant” idea promoted by John Hagee, where he states that Israel is now hardened by God and we do not need to witness to the Jewish people? 
    ANSWER:  Of course I do not hold to that position! I appreciate so much of what Hagee often says but on this point he is dead wrong. Read Romans 10:12-21. While the apostle Paul mentions the hardening of the Jewish heart in this section of verses he still refers to the fact that individual Jews should call upon the Lord to be saved (v. 13), and they need to hear the “glad tidings” of the gospel, and believe (vv. 15-16). Hagee is teaching an extreme view though someone told me he said publicly that he had been misunderstood!

    I have done a verse-by-verse exegesis from the Greek on Romans 9-11. Paul in this Romans section would destroy Hagee’s views but also the false teachings about Israel, the church, and replacement theology, promoted by the Covenant guys, the allegorists and the preterists. Be looking forward to my ongoing exegesis and commentary on these chapters. 

    Thanks for asking!

    Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Where Does The Media Get The Idea That Jesus Was Married?

Dr. Couch, I have heard recently in the secular media that Christ was married. Where do they get such ideas? 
    ANSWER:   In the early centuries of the church there were spurious and cultish writings by heretics who created fiction about Christ and the apostles, with absolutely no credibility or historical authority. Most of those writings have been buried in the grave of the absurd but only recently revived with the attack against Christianity increasing. My book entitled God Has Spoken (AMG Publications) deals with the issue of the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture, and the issue of canonicity of the Bible. We can see historically how the church recognized what was Scripture and what was not. That battle has long ago been fought. But of course the liberal media likes to revive such strange stories because it makes for such good press, peppered with sensationalism! 

    I cannot tell you right now all of the sources for this material, but I can assure you that they are bogus. Check with a large bookstore or library. But be careful. Some people just seem to gravitate to the bizarre and the silly beliefs that are out in the hinterland. Do not be sucked in! 

    Thanks for asking!

    Dr. Mal Couch