The “God” Question

Almost everyone knows the "God" question; it is almost a cultural icon. Most already have an instinctive response to it. When this question is asked, the mind is propelled into a predictable, conditioned reaction. A ritual of rhetoric begins which excludes genuine, critical thought and meaningful discussion.

As has been observed, the "God" question is really about religion and religious doctrine; "God" has nothing to do with the question. When the rhetorical ritual is finished, we have learned about philosophical and religious positions. We have learned about the debating abilities of those involved. This ritual has provided a cloak of darkness for the participants to hide behind.

If you have not guessed by now, the iconic "God" question is, "Do you believe in God?". Here is a question that can be asked of all, which could prompt a more honest, thoughtful response: "Who or what do you worship?", or, "Who or what do you serve?" Without exception, everyone worships someone or something; everyone serves someone or something. Even the professing Christian serves someone or something. Even the professing atheist serves someone or something. Everyone has a personal god that they worship and serve. Usually it is multiple gods that are held in reverent, loving esteem. These are gods such as money, self, appetite, fame, and family. The pantheon of gods worshipped and served are too numerous to list.

Ultimately, whatever is the first love of your heart is what you will worship and serve. These hidden gods should be sought out, revealed and discussed.

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
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(C)2017 Keith S. Radcliffe 

Your Values

How well you develop as a human, as a man and as a father depends much upon your values – your integrity, your moral and ethical values. As a father, you can be assured that your values will be sorely tested; you will discover what is really valuable to you.

These values are the ones you actually live by, not the values you may aspire to. In the past, a man's integrity provided the foundation of his reputation. Reputation was part of his identity as a man, it was a component of masculinity.

Your moral and ethical values – what you believe and do – determine your value as a person, a man and a father. Your values determine the expression of your inherent value as a human being. In this manner, you determine whether you will be worthless or priceless, whether your life matters, or not.

A valuable long term self-discovery project is to find the answer to these questions – "Why do I have these beliefs? Why do I have these values? How do I determine what is good and what is evil?"

A useful book about a man who became very valuable to our country is "the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin". See a description of his book here. As a young man, Benjamin Franklin had to determine his values and build his reputation. His book provides a record of how one man labored at this task and the results of his labor.

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is available on Amazon
The paperback is available on Createspace
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(C)2017 Keith S. Radcliffe 

Question of Legitimacy

For centuries, societies have all been very concerned with the question of legitimacy. "Who has and who has not been born into a socially, religiously, and legally recognized marriage?" Ultimately, this question concerns who is and who is not spiritually acceptable. This question was applied to Jesus; some conclude that he is illegitimate. This conclusion can influence some ill advised spiritual decisions.

The question of legitimacy cannot really be settled by "facts", opinions and information that come to us from society and institutions in the physical realm. Spiritual questions require information from the spiritual realm. When dealing with such questions it is important to remember:

"What God respects and esteems is an abomination to the world. What the world respects and esteems is an abomination to God."

Many have been rejected, treated cruelly and shamefully by family and society at large because of this question of legitimacy. Even today, the consequences of being branded as "illegitimate" can lead to needless pain and suffering.

When dealing with this question, its' spiritual aspect is usually neglected. I have known several people who could be considered "illegitimate"; yet each one of these individuals have "Christ in them" and walk with God. This truth wreaks the very notion of "legitimacy". Consider that God knew each one of these people and called them before the beginning of the world! Consider also, that

"…what God has called 'clean', let no one call 'unclean'…"

When it comes to the question of legitimacy, begin with the spiritual aspects; seek what God has to say about the matter. His answer will often contradict what everyone else has to say. There may be social consequences for respecting what God respects, so be strong, be ready.

Finally, the world will use any excuse to inflict abuse. Legitimacy is just one of the many excuses. Social acceptance is not something to value or seek. The one thing we can depend upon is the acceptance of God; respect His acceptance above everything else, even above your own feelings about yourself.

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at Amazon
The paperback is available at Createspace
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2016 Keith S. Radcliffe 

Live A Godly Marriage

Couple starting their marriage

Couple starting their marriage

What is required in order to live a Godly marriage? Ephesians contains a section on living wisely. Wisdom is knowing what to do, how to behave, how to live. Within this context is a short section on marriage, the responsibilities of the wife and of the husband. It requires godly wisdom in order to fulfill these responsibilities.

The verse just before the section on marriage, Ephesians 5:21, states that all who are committed to God by way of Jesus Christ are to submit to one another out of respect for Christ. Given the context, it refers to people living in godly wisdom submitting to others who are also living in godly wisdom. The word "submit" here is the same word that is used in reference to the wife. This submitting is not to result in slavery, abuse or anything evil. It is not a thoughtless action but is done with great godly wisdom which results in godliness. In short, we work together to exhibit the will and love of God in the physical realm.
 
We will begin with the responsibilities of the husband. The husband is to love his wife in the same manner as Christ loves all the believers, collectively, throughout all time. The husband is to love his wife in the same manner as Christ gave himself up for the believers. Jesus Christ first committed himself to God to do what God wanted. Jesus Christ communicated and illustrated God's love for each one of us, regardless of our response. Jesus Christ does not manipulate, coerce, nag or abuse anyone into doing what He wants. That is the manner of love that a husband is show towards his wife. That is the manner of love that he is committed to have for his wife. He must live with godly wisdom in order to fulfill his responsibilities.
 
The scripture about the responsibilities of a wife states that the wife is to submit to her husband in the same manner in which she submits to Jesus Christ. This does not mean that she is a puppet or a slave of a thoughtless man. Rather, as the couple both understand the will of God in each specific situation, she applies her godly wisdom in coordination with the husband in order to bring to pass the will of God.
 
The husband is to love his wife and the wife is to respect her husband. This love and respect is to continue throughout all stages of their life together. Emotions, good looks, health, and finances may change, but your commitment to God and each other should not change.
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HKJKXHE
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
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(C)2016 Keith S. Radcliffe 

Your Impact on the World

2 Corinthians 2 contains a cultural reference which is used as a metaphor to describe your impact on the world. The letters of the apostle Paul were written to a mixed audience in the 1st century. There were Judeans, Hellenized Judeans and a great variety of Gentiles. This audience lived in various sections of the Roman Empire. Needless to say, their culture is almost completely alien to us. Thus, some of the cultural references, Hebrew, Greek or Roman, can be a bit foggy to the reader in the 21st century!
 
So it is with II Corinthians 2:14 – 17. These three verses refer to a practice which was known in the Roman culture. Both the Hebrews and Gentiles would understand the cultural reference. 
 
2:14 But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place. 2:15 For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing – 2:16 to the latter an odor from death to death, but to the former a fragrance from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 2:17 For we are not like so many others, hucksters who peddle the word of God for profit, but we are speaking in Christ before God as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God. (NET Bible)
 
A Roman general who had a tremendous victory over the enemy could be granted a "triumph" by the Roman Senate to celebrate the victory. A great procession (parade) was organized. Participating in the procession was the military leader,  his soldiers, and their prisoners. Incense was burned along the parade route which produced a sweep aroma. To the Romans, the winners, this incense was a sweet smelling aroma of victory. To the enemy prisoners, this oder was the bitter smell of death, as they were led to be executed.
 

In 2 Corinthians, God is the focus of the triumphal procession, via Christ in us. By way of the disciples of Jesus Christ, living as His agents acting upon His will, the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Christ is manifested in every place. To those who are being saved, it is a sweet aroma of victory. To those who reject God and His son Jesus Christ, we are the rotten stink of death and decay. 

 
Yes, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, you have an impact on those around you. Some will befriend you, but many will absolutely hate you for no apparent reason. The cause is spiritual, not psychological or social. The manifestation of the sweet aroma of Christ does not originate from your strength or abilities, but from the power of God resident in your gift of holy spirit, the new you! Thought by thought, moment by moment, day by day, you participate in the celebration of the victory of Jesus Christ who has overcome the world!
 
Loving people according to the will of God in the manner that He desires will not bring you popularity. You may be kind to all, but rejected by many. Don't give in to sadness, but be very thankful that God works in you. Be thankful for the close friends that you do have and keep moving.

 

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
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(C)2015 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

Christian Antisemitism

apostle-paul-in-prison-editDoes your Christian religious institution officially sanction and approve antisemitism? Unless it has published documentation of an official policy against antisemitism, then the answer to this question is "yes". With few exceptions, Christian religious institutions are Roman in nature with a tradition and official policy of antisemitism.
 
Most all corporate Christian religious institutions retain the Roman influence in their theology, beliefs, policies and rituals. The influence of the Roman empire existed in the first 4 centuries of the Common Era. This predated the start of the Greek Orthodox religious institutions which retain such influences as well.
 
Antisemitism in the Roman empire predated the day of Pentecost in Acts. For a time, the disciples of Jesus Christ, both Jew and Gentile, were viewed as a sect of the Jewish religion. This view was one which could bring much trouble to the Gentile believers. If these Gentiles were viewed as Jewish converts, they would be subject to the antisemitic policies and practices of the Roman empire.  They could be forced to pay grievous taxes or even lose their lives. These practices provided the practical incentives for the Gentile believers to distance themselves from their Jewish origins.
 
As recorded in Acts 20:29 – 35, even before the death of the apostle Paul, divisions among the believers occurred. Paul warned the elders at Ephesus about the divisions. Gentile elders and others of ability within the Christian assemblies began to pervert the gospel and the teachings of the apostles for their own personal gain. They began to draw away disciples to follow them instead of remaining disciples of Jesus Christ. The perverted doctrines and divisions resulted in the establishment of bishops as religious rulers. Religious power was concentrated in the Gentile bishops, due to the fact that the Gentiles outnumbered the Jewish believers.
 
Once the Gentile assemblies of the disciples of Jesus Christ were incorporated into the Roman Empire as an official religious institution, the antisemitism of the empire became the official policy of the Roman Church.
 
In order to promote, establish and enforce the practice of antisemitism, it was necessary to develop doctrines which were in agreement with antisemitism. This practice eliminated the influence of the Jewish believers and helped to consolidate the power of the Roman Gentile bishops. In the Roman church these doctrines established the tradition of institutional hatred, persecution and even murder of the Jews, including the Jewish believers.
 
One such class of doctrines have been produced by "replacement theology". Briefly, this theology attempts to use the Bible (written by Hebrews, Jews) to prove that the Gentile Roman church has replaced both the nation and religion of the Jews. Of course the apostle Paul and his writings are critical to this theology. Given the history of the early Roman church, and its' institutional requirement of antisemitism, it is easy to understand that Truth is not a priority when developing "replacement theology" or related doctrines. 
 
Antisemitism was not eliminated during the reformation, but was embraced and established in the Protestant religious institutions. The Protestant institutions did not  reject their Roman background or theology. The theology, doctrines and tradition of antisemitism is common throughout the corporate Roman religious institutions to this day.
 
It can be stated with great confidence that the apostle Paul, a "Hebrew of the Hebrews" (Philippians 3:5), was not a self hating antisemite! The writings of the apostle Paul cannot be correctly used to justify any form of antisemitism, any related theology or practice. Truthfully, the Bible cannot be used to justify antisemitism; it was written by "holy men of God" who were Jews!
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
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(C)2015 Keith S. Radcliffe 

Understand the Enemy

In order to eliminate confusion and uncertainty, it is helpful to understand the enemy that is working to destroy liberty. For years the political powers have been laboring to destroy America, but the motive behind this work has been unclear. The featured video explains the motives of one man, but understand that this man is a front, just a puppet for a larger team which is at work behind the curtain.

When secret, hidden evil is revealed, it can provoke emotions in us, such as anger, disappointment, and grief. Although these emotions may be appropriate human responses, they are not to dominate us. Manage the emotiions and get peacful.

Once there is greater clearity regarding the decline of America and liberty, it is appropriate to peacfully pursue a thoughtful, spiritual response. Those who live by the faith of Jesus Christ have a responsibility to endure these challenging times to perform God's will, not our own will. Start by praying for our country, and our local communities; seek the welfare of your local community. As you walk by the spirit, do whatever God inspires in you.

My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
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(C)2015 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

Obtain A Knowledge of the Scriptures

There is a question that is asked from time to time; “How does one obtain a knowledge of the scriptures?”. The question stated in this manner does not express what is really being asked, so I will restate it.
 
“How does one who is not a scholar, or an intellectual, effectively obtain a functional, accurate knowledge of the scriptures?”. I might add that the person seeking may have limited reading skills and a limited use of the English language.
 
All of us started out knowing absolutely nothing about the Bible, God, Jesus Christ, or the concepts of prayer and worship. Someone had to teach us about these things. I was blessed to be taught the Bible by my parents, starting at a very early age. As a young child I acquired some knowledge of the scriptures without any study, reading, or memorization. My parents taught me by informally telling stories, during the day or before bed time. In the years since, most of my time with the Bible could not be classified as “studying”, but reading, as one would read for enjoyment.
 
In a related note, I must state that there are men and women in the body of Christ who are quite adept at the art of storytelling. It has been my experience that these people and their calling are unappreciated; they seldom are permitted to serve. If they are permitted to serve, it is in the capacity of (almost invisible) baby-sitters. Identify these men and women and incorporate their service into the general activities of the body of Christ; the benefits will be amazing! 
 
There is basically only one prerequisite for acquiring a knowledge of the scriptures and that is a hunger to know The Truth. The hunger to know The Truth is a desire that is intense enough to be compared to physical hunger. This is a desire that is enough to motivate a person to act. If you have a ravenous hunger, you will be fed as much as you desire.
 
The first step in acquiring a knowledge of the scriptures is to make the time to become familiar with the numerous stories that are recorded in the Bible. One book my parents used to teach me the stories in the Bible was “Hurlburt's Story of the Bible”, which is available on the Internet.
 
The author of this book arranged the stories in their chronological order. Each story is expressed in simple, clear language. Each one is a complete story and can stand on its own. Yet, together these stories construct the narrative of the Bible, thus expressing “the story of the Bible”. The target audience of the book are those who do not have a Biblical background and may have a limited English vocabulary.
Artwork is included in the book to make it even more appealing. The artwork is not accurate so it can be ignored. Scriptural references are noted with each story, so it is easy to read each story from the Bible whenever you are ready.
 
Then find a version of the Bible that is easy and enjoyable for you to read. When I just want to read, I use the Revised English Bible. When I want to read in preparation for studying or for teaching, I use the English Standard Version. Once you have become familiar with the stories of the Bible, you can begin using your reading Bible. Read as if you are reading a novel. Just read for enjoyment. If you come across a section that you don't enjoy reading, such as a family tree or genealogy, skip that section. Don't attempt to retain and understand every little detail. Read to capture the narrative, the story. Memorization of individual scriptures at this point is not needed. It is much easier to remember a story than the individual scriptures that make up the story. Even young children can remember stories.
 
Once you have learned the general narrative of the Bible, you can begin to perceive the different contexts that make up that narrative. Now you can begin to read the contexts and see how they fit together. All the while you are reading for enjoyment.
 
“How much time will this take?” you might ask. It depends upon how hungry and persistent you are. Everyone grows at their own pace.
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
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(C)2015 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

 

 

 

“Christian” Religion and Culture

Having lived in a missionary family, I can provide first hand testimony to the typical actions of the missionaries from America in the 20th century. There are books written of missionaries from other countries and denominations which give similar testimonies. One such book is "The Small Woman" by Alan Burgess, ISBN 1-56849-184-0.
 
The typical work of an American missionary is to westernize the culture of the people they are sent to. This culture change is not done in addition to preaching the gospel, the western culture is held forth as the gospel. This issue was often the topic of conversation at the dinner table. The western (American) culture is viewed as how one is to live the gospel. It is sad that this belief has resulted in the rejection of the gospel in so many countries. Christianity is held in great disrepute in the world because of the attempt to denigrate and change the culture of people in other countries.
 
American Christian religious organizations typically view their culture and country as a Christian culture and country. This religious culture, its norms and ethical values are viewed as the manner in which one is to live if one is a Christian. The government is viewed as originally established as a Christian government, founded on Christian principles. There is the belief that it exists to promote and protect the Christian religious organizations and culture. This is one reason why the religious public is so obsessed with politics and the protection of religious behavior in the public spaces of this country. Many religious Christians fear that if the government does not behave according to their religious cultural norms and ethics, that their God will punish the country.
 
Christianity, as established and delivered to us in the 1st century, began as a strictly Hebrew sect. It rapidly spread to the Gentiles of that day. It is noteworthy that the beliefs of this new sect were incorporated into the Gentile culture, which did not change significantly. In both the Hebrew culture and the Gentile culture, this sect was virtually invisible. It did not establish any type of institution, leadership hierarchy, or any other trappings typical of religion. This is the genius of the mature body of Christ that was established in the first century.
 
As is typical of most Christian religions, the Bible is used to legitimize their organizations, policies, procedures and beliefs. However, the vast majority of these beliefs cannot be justified by the Bible. So it is with the Christian religious culture.
 
As it is well documented in Acts 15, there was a push by some Hebrews to force the Gentile believers to become observant Jews. There was an insistence that these Gentiles change their culture. This issue was dealt with, once and for all, by all the Hebrew believers assembled in Jerusalem. The decision was made that the Gentiles would not be required to change their culture. A change in culture would not be Godly or scriptural. A letter was written to the Gentiles to comfort and strengthen them in this regard.
 
Acts 15:23 – 29 (NET Bible)
15:23 From the apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greetings! 15:24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said, 15:25 we have unanimously decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 15:26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person. 15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell. 

Note the language and what it does not say. It does not use the word "obligation" or "salvation". It does not threaten them with hellfire or anything of the sort.

Paul follows through with this decision in his work, declaring by revelation that in Christ there is no race, gender or social status. These things have no spiritual significance! This does not mean that we ignore our Hebrew roots. In Romans Paul is careful to teach that the "root" (the Hebrews) support the "branches" (the Gentiles). We must be cognizant of our Hebrew roots if we are to begin to understand our new relationship with God and each other.
 
The American Christian religious culture is NOT and has NEVER been a Christian culture. The Christian religious beliefs and organizations have more in common with the ancient Greek and Roman pagans than they do with the believers of the first century!
 
We never had a Christian government. Our government has no obligation to protect or promote religious expression in public. It was never formed for that purpose. Just as it would be inappropriate for our government to enforce sharia law, it is inappropriate for it to enforce the laws and obligations of any other religion; that includes any current "Christian" religion.
 
As it has always done, religion continues to be one of the vicious, negative influences in the world, stirring up trouble where there is none. 
 
Christianity was never meant to be a religion; in truth it is a faith without religion. This faith is to set people free from fear so that they can live as never before; they can love as never before. 
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe