April 6, 2008
Commenting on this Survey in a copyrighted article entitled Christianitys death spiral dated March 3, 2008, Olivia St. John said:An extensive new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details the religious affiliation of the American public and explores the shifts taking place in the U.S. religious landscape. Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey finds that religious affiliation in the U.S. is both very diverse and extremely fluid. ...
The Landscape Survey confirms that the United States is on the verge of becoming a minority Protestant country; the number of Americans who report that they are members of Protestant denominations now stands at barely 51%. Moreover, the Protestant population is characterized by significant internal diversity and fragmentation, encompassing hundreds of different denominations loosely grouped around three fairly distinct religious traditions evangelical Protestant churches (26.3% of the overall adult population), mainline Protestant churches (18.1%) and historically black Protestant churches (6.9%).
Released Feb. 25, and questioning more than 35,000 citizens, the American Religious Landscape Survey 2007 indicates that the nations Protestant majority is in a death spiral. According to the Christian Examiner, the religious majority in place since the colonial era, has dropped to 51.3 percent and will soon become a minority. In addition, although Christianity is unique in embracing absolute truth, 91 percent of students from evangelical churches believe truth is what you make it.
1) firm, metaphorically, faithful.
2) verily, amen:
a) at the beginning of a discourse surely, truly, of a truth
b) at the end so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled. It was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues to the Christian assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed, had offered up solemn prayer to God, the others responded Amen! and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own.
The word amen is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best-known word in human speech. The word is directly related in fact, almost identical to the Hebrew word for believe (aman), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean sure or truly, an expression of absolute trust and confidence.
Amen (281) is transliterated from Hebrew into both Greek and English. Its meanings may be seen in such passages as (Deut. 7:9), the faithful (the Amen) God, (Isa. 49:7), Jehovah that is faithful. (65:16), the God of truth, marg., the God of Amen. And if God is faithful His testimonies and precepts are sure (amen), (Ps. 19:7; 111:7), as are also His warnings, (Hos. 5:9), and promises, (Isa. 33:16; 55:3). Amen is used of men also, e. g., (Prov. 25:13).
There are cases where the people used it to express their assent to a law and their willingness to submit to the penalty attached to the breach of it, (Deut. 27:15), cf. (Neh. 5:13). It is also used to express acquiescence in anothers prayer, (1 Kings 1:36), where it is defined as (let) God say so too, or in anothers thanksgiving, (1 Chr. 16:36), whether by an individual, (Jer. 11:5), or by the congregation, (Ps. 106:48).
Thus Amen said by God it is and shall be so, and by men, so let it be.
Once in the NT Amen is a title of Christ, (Rev. 3:14), because through Him the purposes of God are established, (2 Cor. 1:20).
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The early Christian churches followed the example of Israel in associating themselves audibly with the prayers and thanksgivings offered on their behalf, (1 Cor. 14:16), where the article the points to a common practice. Moreover this custom conforms to the pattern of things in the Heavens, see (Rev. 5:14), etc.
The individual also said Amen to express his let it be so in response to the Divine thus it shall be, (Rev. 22:20). Frequently the speaker adds Amen to his own prayers and doxologies, as is the case at (Eph. 3:21), e. g.
The Lord Jesus often used Amen, translated verily, to introduce new revelations of the mind of God. In Johns Gospel it is always repeated, Amen, Amen, but not elsewhere. Luke does not use it at all, but where (Matthew, 16:28), and (Mark, 9:1), have Amen, Luke has of a truth; thus by varying the translation of what the Lord said, Luke throws light on His meaning. See VERILY.
From Notes on Galatians, by Hobb and Vine, pp. 26, 27.
VERILY1. alethos (230), truly (akin to aletheia, truth), is translated verily in (1 John 2:5). ...
2. amen (281), the transliteration of a Heb. word truth, is usually translated verily in the four Gospels; in Johns gospel the Lord introduces a solemn pronouncement by the repeated word verily, verily twenty-five times. See AMEN.
New Ungers Bible Dictionary:Amen[A min] (so be it)a solemn word by which a person confirms a statement, an oath, or a covenant (Num. 5:22; Neh. 5:13). It is also used in worship to affirm an address, psalm, or prayer.
In Isaiah 65:16 the Lord is called the God of truth; the original Hebrew means, the God of Amen. This is Isaiahs way of saying that the Lord is the One who remains eternally true, the One who can always be relied on. In the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ is given the same title: the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness (Rev. 3:14). He, too, is eternally true and reliable.
Holman Bible Dictionary:
AMEN (Heb. amen; Gk. amen, true, faithful). A word used to affirm and confirm a statement. Strictly an adjective, meaning firm, metaphorically faithful, it came to be used as an adverb by which something is asserted or confirmed. Used at the beginning of a sentence, it emphasizes what is about to be said. It is frequently so employed by our Lord and is translated truly. It is often used to confirm the words of another and adds the wish for success to anothers vows and predictions. The repetition of the word employed by John alone in his gospel (twenty-five times) has the force of a superlative, most assuredly (Grimm, Gk. Lex., s.v.).
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Among the Jews the liturgical use of the word is illustrated by the response of the woman in the trial by the water of jealousy (Num. 5:22), by that of the people at Mt. Ebal ((Deut. 27:15-26; cf. Neh 5:13); see also (1 Chr. 16:36)). It was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues into the Christian assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed had offered up a solemn prayer to God the others in attendance responded Amen, and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own (1 Cor. 14:16). Several of the church Fathers refer to this custom, and Jerome says that at the conclusion of public prayer the united voice of the people sounded like the fall of water or the noise of thunder.
Eastons Bible Dictionary:
Amen is a transliteration of a Hebrew word signifying something as certain, sure and valid, truthful and faithful. It is sometimes translated, so be it. In the Old Testament it is used to show the acceptance of the validity of a curse or an oath (Num. 5:22; Deut. 27:15-26; Jer. 11:5), to indicate acceptance of a good message (Jer. 28:6), and to join in a doxology in a worship setting to affirm what has been said or prayed (1 Chron. 16:36; Neh. 8:6; Ps. 106:48). Amen may confirm what already is, or it may indicate a hope for something desired. In Jewish prayer, amen comes at the end as an affirmative response to a statement or wish made by others, and is so used in the New Testament epistles (Rom. 1:25; 11:36; 15:33; 1 Cor. 16:24; Gal. 1:5; Eph. 3:21; Phil. 4:20). Paul ended some of his letters with amen (1 Thess. 5:28; 2 Thess. 3:18).
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In the gospels, Jesus used amen to affirm the truth of His own statements. English translations often use verily, truly, I tell you the truth to translate Jesus amen. He never said it at the end of a statement, but always at the beginning: Amen, I say to you (Matt. 5:18; 16:28; Mark 8:12; 11:23; Luke 4:24; 21:32; John 1:51; 5:19). In Johns Gospel, Jesus said Amen, amen. That Jesus prefaced His own words with amen is especially important, for He affirmed that the kingdom of God is bound up with His own person and emphasized the authority of what He said.
Jesus is called The Amen in Revelation 3:14, meaning that He Himself is the reliable and true witness of God. Perhaps the writer had in mind Isaiah 65:16 where the Hebrew says God of Amen.
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The meaning of the New Testament word truth, excerpted from Vines Expository Dictionary:Amen This Hebrew word means firm, and hence also faithful (Rev. 3:14). In Isa. 65:16, the Authorized Version has the God of truth, which in Hebrew is the God of Amen. It is frequently used by our Saviour to give emphasis to his words, where it is translated verily. Sometimes, only, however, in Johns Gospel, it is repeated, Verily, verily. It is used as an epithet of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 3:14).
It is found singly and sometimes doubly at the end of prayers (Ps. 41:13; 72:19; 89:52), to confirm the words and invoke the fulfilment of them.
It is used in token of being bound by an oath (Num. 5:22; Deut. 27:15-26; Neh. 5:13; 8:6; 1 Chr. 16:36). In the primitive churches it was common for the general audience to say Amen at the close of the prayer (1 Cor. 14:16).
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The promises of God are Amen; i.e., they are all true and sure (2 Cor. 1:20).
Nelsons Bible Dictionary:... TRUTHC. Noun.aletheia (225), truth, is used (a) objectively, signifying the reality lying at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter (Cremer), e. g., (Rom. 9:1; 2 Cor. 11:10); especially of Christian doctrine, e. g., (Gal. 2:5), where the truth of the Gospel denotes the true teaching of the Gospel, in contrast to perversions of it; (Rom. 1:25), where the truth of God may be the truth concerning God or God whose existence is a verity; but in (Rom. 15:8) the truth of God is indicative of His faithfulness in the fulfillment of His promises as exhibited in Christ; the word has an absolute force in (John 14:6; 17:17; 18:37,38); in (Eph. 4:21), where the RV, even as truth is in Jesus, gives the correct rendering, the meaning is not merely ethical truth, but truth in all its fullness and scope, as embodied in Him; He was the perfect expression of the truth; this is virtually equivalent to His statement in (John 14:6); (b) subjectively, truthfulness, truth, not merely verbal, but sincerity and integrity of character, (John 8:44; 3 John 3), RV; (C) in phrases, e. g., in truth (epi, on the basis of), (Mark 12:14; Luke 20:21); with en, in, (2 Cor. 6:7; Col. 1:6; 1 Tim. 2:7), RV (KJV, in... verity), (1 John 3:18; 2 John 1,3, 4).
Eastons Bible Dictionary:TRUTHConformity to fact or actuality; faithfulness to an original or to a standard.
In the Old and New Testaments, truth is a fundamental moral and personal quality of God. God proclaimed that He is merciful and
gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth (Ex. 34:6). He is a God of truth... without injustice (Deut. 32:4). Furthermore, all of His paths are mercy and truth (Ps. 25:10). Frequently in the psalms, Gods mercy and His truth are joined together (Ps. 57:3; 89:14; 115:1). All of Gods works, precepts, and judgments are done in righteousness and truth (Ps. 96:13; 111:8).
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Truth is a moral and personal characteristic of God: He is the God of truth (Is. 65:16). The psalmist declared, Your law is truth (119:142), all Your commandments are truth (119:151), and the entirety of Your word is truth (119:160). Because of His perfect nature and will, God has to speak and act in truth; He cannot lie (1 Sam. 15:29; Heb. 6:18; James 1:17-18).
Jesus is the Word of God who became flesh, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). All Jesus said was true, because He told the truth which He heard from God (John 8:40). He promised His disciples that He would send the Spirit of truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13) a Helper who would abide in Christians forever (John 14:16), testify about Jesus (John 15:26), guide Christians into all truth (John 16:13), and glorify Jesus (John 16:14).
God is truth; the Spirit is truth; and Jesus is truth. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). Jesus and the revelation which the Spirit of truth gave through His apostles are the final, ultimate revelation and definition of truth about God, man, redemption, history, and the world. The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
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Holman Bible Dictionary:TruthUsed in various senses in Scripture. In Prov. 12:17, 19, it denotes that which is opposed to falsehood. In Isa. 59:14, 15, Jer. 7:28, it means fidelity or truthfulness. The doctrine of Christ is called the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2:5), the truth (2 Tim. 3:7; 4:4). Our Lord says of himself, I am the way, and the truth (John 14:6).
TRUTH That which is reliable and can be trusted. The Bible uses truth in the general factual sense. Truth may designate
the actual fact over against appearance, pretense, or assertion. In Zechariah 8:16 (NRSV) the Lord of hosts declared: These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace. When Jesus asked, Who touched my garments? the woman who had been healed through touching Jesus garments fell down before him, and told him all the truth (Mark 5:32-33). In 1 and 2 Timothy, truth is correct knowledge or doctrine. Certain individuals had departed from proper doctrine. Some forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth (1 Tim. 4:3 NRSV.) Some have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place (2 Tim. 2:18 NRSV.)
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God and the Biblical Use of Truth The essential idea of truth in the Bible is not conformity to some external standard but faithfulness or reliability. In the case of God, of course, faithfulness or reliability is not measured by any external standard. God is the standard. Gods truth (faithfulness or reliability) is the truth that is basic for all other truth, (Deut. 7:9-10). He maintains covenant and steadfast love. When God is spoken of as the true God or the God of truth (Deut. 32:4; 2 Chron. 15:3; Isa. 65:16; Jer. 10:10) the idea is that God is reliable. God keepeth truth for ever (Ps. 146:6).
The truth of Gods commandments grows out of the fact of God and His truth (faithfulness or reliability). The Word of God and His law are not true simply in the sense that they are in accord with science, human nature, or some abstract ethical principle. The great confession given by Ezra after the Jews returned from bondage in Babylon emphasized Gods nature as truth (faithfulness) in what He did in creation, election, redemption, and the giving of the law: You came down also upon Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and you made known your holy sabbath to them and gave them commandments and statutes and a law through your servant Moses (Neh. 9:13-14 NRSV).
The truth of God is reflected not only in His commandments; it is to be reflected in human life generally. Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you (1 Sam. 12:24).
Important New Testament Concepts of Truth The most important uses of the word truth are to be found in Paul and writings of John. Pauls acceptance of the Old Testament concept of truth is seen in Romans 3:1-7. The truth of God is described in the words faithfulness (3:3) and justice (3:5). In 3:4, Paul declared, Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true (NRSV).
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In Pauls discussion of the relationship of Christians to truth, we find the same Old Testament emphasis: Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Cor. 5:8 NRSV). Truth and sincerity are associated, and both are opposed to malice and evil. Truth is not simply a matter of propositional accuracy. Paul spoke of truth as something that is to be obeyed (Rom. 2:8; Gal. 5:7). Paul spoke of the truth of God as being revealed not so much in the law as in Christ (Rom. 15:8-9). In Christ, Gods kingdom has become manifested (Rom. 1:1-6; 16:25-26; 2 Cor. 4:6). The truth and the gospel are related in the phrase the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2:5,14). One hears and believes the truth and is in Christ (Eph. 1:13).
The Johannine writings identify Christ with the truth: The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Fathers heart, who has made him known (John 1:17-18 NRSV). In testimony before Pilate, Jesus declared: For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice (John 18:37 NRSV). God is the truth; and since Christ shares in the truth of God, He is full of grace and truth. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6); He is the true Light and the true Vine (John 1:9; 15:1). In the Gospel of John, the activity of the Holy Spirit is associated with the activity of Jesus in so far as truth is concerned. When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning (John 15:26-27 NRSV).
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John emphasized the appropriation of the truth by disciples. In Jesus high priestly prayer, He prayed: Sanctify them in the truth;
your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth (John 17:17-19 NRSV). Followers of Christ are of the truth (John 18:37 NRSV). This knowledge of truth is not simply head knowledge. It is a matter of receiving Christ (John 1:11-13). This acceptance of Jesus and receiving of the truth is accompanied by walking in the truth or in the light (2 John 4; 3 John 3-4; 1 John 1:7). It is in light of this understanding of truth that John can speak of doing the truth (John 3:21; 1 John 1:6).
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31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Those who believe in Jesus are to continue in His word (word in the three texts is logos, Greek.)
31-33. Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, &c.--The impression produced by the last words of our Lord may have become visible by some decisive movement, and here He takes advantage of it to press on them continuance in the faith, since then only were they His real disciples (compare Joh 15:3-8), and then should they experimentally know the truth, and by the truth be made (spiritually) free.
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14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
2 Corinthians 4:1-7:
1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every mans conscience in the sight of God.
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
LIEAny statement or act designed to deceive another person. The motivation for most lying is a desire either to hurt the one against whom the lie is directed (Gen. 3:1-13; Rom. 3:13) or to protect oneself, usually out of fear or pride (Matt. 26:69-75; Acts 5:1-11).
Lying is emphatically condemned in the Bible (Ex. 20:16; Eph. 4:25). It is wrong because it is contrary to the nature of God (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18) and because it shows a person is not in touch with reality (Rom. 1:25; 1 John 1:6).
On the other hand, it is possible to be truthful with the intention of hurting another person. The Bible teaches believers to be truthful in love (Eph. 4:25).
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12:
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Jesus, the way, the truth and the life, told us:DELUSIONB. Noun.plane (4106), lit., a wandering, whereby those who are led astray roam hither and thither, is always used in the NT, of mental straying, wrong opinion, error in morals or religion. In (2 Thes. 2:11), KJV, it is translated delusion, RV, error.
ERROR1. plane (4106), akin to planao (see ERR, No. 1), a wandering, a forsaking of the right path, see (Jas. 5:20), whether in doctrine, (2 Pet. 3:17; 1 John 4:6), or in morals, Rom. 1:27; 2 Pet. 2:18; Jude 11), though, in Scripture, doctrine and morals are never divided by any sharp line. See also (Matt. 27:64), where it is equivalent to fraud. Errors in doctrine are not infrequently the effect of relaxed morality, and vice versa.
From Notes on Thesslonians, by Hogg and Vine p. 53.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
FEARA feeling of reverence, awe, and respect, or an unpleasant emotion caused by a sense of danger. Fear may be directed toward God or man, and it may be either healthy or harmful.
A healthy fear is reverence or respect. The Bible teaches that children are to respect their parents (Lev. 19:3), wives are to respect their husbands (Eph. 5:33), and slaves are to respect their masters (Eph. 6:5). The Scriptures also declare that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7) as well as the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 16:16).
A harmful fear is a sense of terror or dread. Believers are instructed not to fear human beings (Matt. 10:28; Phil. 1:28), because they cannot ultimately harm us. Wicked men, however, are constantly fearing other people, especially the righteous (Prov. 28:1; Matt. 14:5; Rom. 13:3-4). Such fear causes them to act deceitfully in an attempt to hide their sins (2 Sam. 11; Matt. 28:4-15).
On the other hand, the unbeliever has every reason to be panic-stricken at thoughts of God, for he stands condemned before Him (Matt. 10:28; John 3:18). And yet, this kind of fear of God does not often lead to repentance. It normally leads to a feeble attempt to hide from God (Gen. 3:8; Rev. 6:15-17) or worse, to a denial of Gods existence and His claim on a persons life (Ps. 14:1; Rom. 1:18-28).
What do you really want for yourself, your family and your children when the collapse occurs?Ron Gleason, church pastor and chairman of California Exodus, urges churches to support parents in providing Christian education for their own children. He encourages pastors everywhere to do their duty when he says, Our children ... are entrusted to us by God. Hes entrusting them into our hands.
Take them back. For Gods sake, do your duty and bring the children back to the Lord.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.