A Voice in the
Wilderness

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" No Greeting? "
    "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor speak a blessing to him;" (2Jn10)
In the neighborhood where I live, I go for walks regularly, to clear my head, to get the heart and lungs pumping, to generally try to stay in health. In the neighborhood is also a retired person many call "father". Sometimes our paths cross as he also goes for walks; sometimes he is out mowing his lawn as I walk by his house. Occasionally also the mormon missionaries troll through the neighborhood on their bicycles, or I pass by them as they are walking up to someone's front door.

For whatever reason when the 'father' goes past my house when I am in the yard, he does not turn to look, greet or acknowledge me. But when I go past his turf and I am purposely ignoring him, he has sometimes bellered out, pontificating in a booming voice (to where they probably hear it clear up to Shadle Shopping Center!) "HI THERE!!!!"

The mormons also will typically look my way and utter greetings. I ignore them and keep walking, face pointed straight ahead. Typically, they will then snicker between themselves, and/or utter some private comments to themselves.

Recently at the beginning of my walk the mormons were riding their bikes and I ignored their greeting. By the time I had gone around the block/s and was on the last leg of my walk, they had parked their bikes and were walking up to a door, and greeted me again. And again, I ignored them. They, of course, snorted and snickered between themselves. (When I have refused to talk to them at the store, asking them to leave, they usually also direct little words of profanity towards me.)

After several years of this sort of thing it dawned on me, after this recent mormon encounter, that I should perhaps give them a succinct -reason- 'why' I was ignoring them. After all, isn't it 'rude' to not be friendly?

What's wrong with being friendly with a retired catholic priest? It's wrong when he is 'pontificating' his friendliness, as if to say: I'm a priest, and I'm trying to befriend you!!! (Perhaps: in the name of the church!?) Is it friendliness with the -person-; or the -office- of the 'priest'? What's wrong with a simple friendly greeting with a couple of mormons? It's wrong when they are attired in black and white, wearing their ties, riding their trademark bicycles; trolling as 'missionaries' spreading a false gospel. Friendliness with a -person-; or a false prophet 'missionary'?

It dawned on me that I could simply recite the Scripture -reference- to the verse quoted at the top; and let them look it up when they get home. I knew it was in 2John, but not sure the verse, looked it up when I got home, and put it into firm memory. For the 'father' I also looked up Mt23:9; you know, "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in Heaven"; and planted that reference in memory.

The 'father' and I have, since, crossed paths again. I gave him the two references. He said, "Oh, OK" and resumed walking. It will be interesting to see if he will attempt some sort of come-back next time.

But now we get to the reason for this article. While thinking about 2Jn10, I also got to wondering what sort of translations people might read the verse in, and what they say. So I looked it up in the versions I can reference in my Online Bible configuration, and then also pulled out the books from the shelf that I don't have in OLB: Living, Message, NRSV, TEV (good news for modern man), Phillips.

There are many who take from the KJV, which is terribly non-literal right there, and say: We don't want to bestow God's blessing on false prophets, but it's OK to greet them and be friendly. KJV says, "neither bid him God's speed" See? The 'divine' blessing? Thus, social friendliness is OK... they presume.

But, thing is, the word "God" is not in that sentence. The word actually carries the notions of: rejoice, be glad, be well, thrive, salutations, hail, etc; what we today would typically say: Hi, hello, yo, greetings, how are you, etc. Nothing about deity, but rather a generic expression of salutations and well-wishes to the hearer. Certainly, when the KJV was translated, a common cultural greeting of that day probably was "God speed", just as the artist Bob Ross would always close his painting demonstrations with a little waving wiggle of his fingers towards the camera while saying, "God bless, my friend" People making speeches, who likely don't pledge any allegiance to Deity, will close with, "God bless you-all, and God bless America!" Things such as that. It is ingrained into American culture, so -anybody- can utter the salutation, "god bless". Our money proclaims, "In god we trust". Depending on who might be reading it, -which- 'god' does it refer to? But 2Jn10 does not even reference God...-any- god. It is, simply, greetings...salutations. Even the 1384 Wycliffe says, "nether seie ye to hym, Heil" (be well) As the Japanese might say, "Genki desuka?" (Are you well? Are you in health?)

Thus we see the VW-edition using "blessing". Alt, MKJV, LITV, NASB and NKJV use "greet". NIV and NRSV say "welcome". TEV says "peace be with you". Living: "don't encourage him in any way".

And then there's the Message: "don't...give him run of the place"

See the Scriptural principle that is being watered down with the modern works?

    "Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not go in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn from it and pass on." (Pr4:14-15)

    "I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked." (Ps26:5)

    "Do not be led astray: Evil company corrupts good character." (1Co15:33)

We are to witness to the world, but we are not commanded to be intimately friendly with the world.
    "...Whoever therefore purposes to be a friend of the world is shown to be opposing God." (Ja4:4)
How many people will have conversations with false prophets, and then as they are turning to leave will call after them, "God bless you" Why did they do that? Because they broke the rules, to NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THEM.

If a person is even in a position to "encourage" the false prophet (living), they are engaging them and giving positive feed-back and reinforcement. If they are anywhere near to where they might have "run of the place" (message), you have let them get closer than you should; you already let them -in-. Even if the communication is to the point of choosing whether or not to "welcome" (niv/nrsv) them, it is way past the initial point of mere greeting. "Welcome" is the step -just- preceding "receiving them into your house".

Today's apostasy and emerging church engages in "dialogue" and "conversation". Why are those claiming to be Christian conversing with apostates? Because they first "greeted" them. They got your attention. Then they started arguing, and reasoning from their apostate perspective, expecting that your 'love' will not be so 'rude' as to turn them away. What's the order of events? The opposite of the one who is blessed...

    "Blessed is the man who HAS NOT WALKED in the counsel of the wicked, NOR HAS STOOD in the way of sinners, NOR HAS SAT in the seat of the scornful." (Ps1:1)
When Gehazi was sent on the mission, the man of God tells him, "If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the boy." (2Ki4:29b)

B'but...aren't we supposed to "preach the Gospel to every creature"? (Mk16:15) Can't even mormon missionaries and catholic priests be saved? Yes they can. But if they are in the stance pontificating to you, or are at your door to preach at you...their hearts are raised up for -their- mission. They are not of the humble and contrite heart of repentance to even hear what might come out of your mouth. I am finding, more and more, as I observe people: When somebody has something that they are on a mission to say, they are not in the mood for listening. Their heart is not calmed down to hear and listen to that "whisper of a small voice" of God knocking on their heart's door. (1Ki19:12) They are primed to blow, set a raging inferno and shake the place with earthquakes of their self-presumed authority, as given to them from their cults and paganism. Elijah did not hear God's voice in the turmoil. It was the "whisper of a small voice". If you try to "greet" the false prophet, and even manage to get some words in edgewise, it will be like facing a snarling dog:

    "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." (Mt7:6)
The exhortation is to: Let the sleeping dog lie.

As we say often around here: Is it now clearer why we often speak of translation issues? How it is important to stay away from perversions, and stick to God's 'literal' Word. If one has allowed the false prophet entrance to where they can even consider having the "run of the place", that is where compromise has already happened. One is having fellowship with the "unfruitful works of darkness" (Eph5:11) One is ecumenizing. Paul exhorts to "avoid unlearned and foolish questions" (2Ti2:23); to avoid "profane and empty babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge" because in doing so "some have strayed concerning the faith" (1Ti6:20-21)

Ecumenism says to everybody to get along, gather all faiths and denominations together and dialogue, have conversations, and "learn from each other". Christians should learn from eastern mysticism, and others from everybody else; but mostly, that Christians should learn from all the other pagan ways and 'stop being so rigid'; and 'our way is the only one true way'. God warned Israel...

    "take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them... that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods?" because what is the result? "I also will do likewise." (De12:30)
Jesus said...
    "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (Jn14:6)
And Peter affirms...
    "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name [Jesus Christ of Nazareth vs10] under Heaven given among men that is required for us to be saved." (Ac4:12)
Do not go to "unity" conferences! Do not participate in the huge region-wide meetings where "all the churches" are participating, like in the days of Billy Graham where he would not agree to speak in a place unless such compromise had been pre-arranged. The "weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God.." (2Co10:4) We do not 'win' the lost to the Lord by engaging -in- apostasy's false doctrine. One does not 'win' the lost in the dialectic of concensus where it is not allowed to correct the error the unbelievers proclaim, for fear they will be offended and leave; and your attendance numbers dwindle as a result. As Paul says...
    "in humility -CORRECTING- those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance unto a full true knowledge of the truth," (2Ti2:25)
Don't worry if your numbers are "few". That's what Jesus promised would be the case. (Mt7:14)

Where do dialectic, concensus, unity-in-diversity, dialogue begin? The camel's nose sneaks into the Arab's tent with the greeting. And eventually the camel has the "run of the place". If he's got the run of the place, it's too late. That's why a correct translation speaks of the greeting. The -initial- sounds of communication. Nip it in the bud.

Do not greet them. Do not be cordial with blessings. It is not just about not imparting -God's- 'blessing' upon something that is from satan. It is about NOT HAVING ANYTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH them in their doctrines and works of unrighteousness. Do not engage them. Do not say "Hi!" to them. Do not talk/listen to them.

Do not, thus, "[share] in [their] evil deeds" (2Jn11)

Be holy (separate) unto God.

Amen!


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