Effeminate Wineskins and Musical Worship

Kenneth Sublett, Piney.com, Hohenwald, Tennessee

Plato and Augustine warned that, " Rejecting the Pure Word of God, They sip the frothy must of juvenile wit over the difficulties of learning, and pour out the purified old wine with little concern. To some, the eyes, nose, and palate is sufficient means of testing the presence of the divine part in material objects."

A book noting the Feminization of the clergy and of the church is reviewed here.

Preaching and teaching the Words of Christ as they have delivered to us has failed for many. Those who insist upon cutting and splicing little tidbits to reconstruct old or new wineskins patterns brings the world to the border of hysteria trying to get their wine in their old wineskin to begin to bubble and churn as proof of renewed fermentation. The supernatural signs the "gods" will give them in this restoration of ancient worship schemes is feelings identical to that of being intoxicated or poisoned with new wine in the vat which moves itself aright or "walks around."

Because forcing a "drunk in the spirit" or wineskins worship stimulated by "musical worship facilitators" or manipulators acting as mediators between God and mankind is the foundation upon which Jubilee 2000 is built, we find it interesting that the scheme is as new as the Tower of Babel.

We do not point any fingers because people, often ignorantly, just naturally have sticky fingers and pick up any human plan to substitute for going into all the world. However, it is fact that singing, music and dance, hand waving and other things promoted by Jubilee 2000 are tainted with the practices of effeminate priests of ancient paganism. The wineskins was always a symbol of deeper problems. Emotional and sexual abnormality is noted by historians as a hallmark of early prophesying "prophets." Therefore, we will present the facts to warn that to get involved in these activities may say more than you want to say.

It is almost universal that the ancient scholars identified singing, dancing, wine from new wineskins and musical instruments as effeminate in connection with religious worship. We all envy anyone who has musical talent but our only goal for this article is to show that the ancients identified music as for fun, for getting drunk or for engaging in effeminate worship.

The concept of "new wine in new wineskins" is the motive force behind Jubilee 2000 and other denominational and even Catholic end-of-the-age scheme. A "drunk in the spirit" feeling is proof that the "audience" has been moved into the presence of the gods. First,look at a few fatal flaws in the new "fermenting wine gospel"?

Rubel Shelly: "Jesus said it would be dangerous to try to contain the new, fermenting wine of the gospel of the kingdom of God in the old wineskins of religious tradition." (Shelly - Harris, Second Incarnation, p. 11).

No. Jesus wasn't a fool! Even at age six he probably knew that you don't put fermenting wine in either old or new wineskins and seal it. Fermenting wine is normally done in the vat. If you put still-fermenting wine into even a steel-banded cask it might blow up. What chance would even new billy goat wineskins have?

You have heard the old joke about the deacon who hit sleepers with a little head knocker? Some bright person thought that perhaps he should hit the tired, uninspiring preacher over the head really hard to keep him from fatiquing the "audience." Endorphins (morphine-like) from music and hand-waving really arouses the customers but when the drug high wears off they will be more exhausted than before the performance.

Rubel Shelly: "The tired, uninspiring event called worship in our churches must give way to an exhilarating experience of God that simultaneously exhibits and nurtures life in the worshippers." (Rubel Shelly - Randy Harris, Second Incarnation, p. 12-13)

Dionysus "fashioned for himself a train of gods and goddesses, of spirits and elves, out of the shifting panorama of the seasons, and followed the annual fluctuations of their fortunes with alternate emotions of cheerfulness and dejection, of gladness and sorrow, which found their natural expression in alternate rites of rejoicing and lamentation, of revelry and mourning.

A consideration of some of the Greek divinities who thus died and rose again from the dead may furnish us with a series of companion pictures to set side by side with the sad figures of Adonis, Attis, and Osiris. We begin with Dionysus.

The god Dionysus or Bacchus is best known to us

as a personification of the vine and of

the exhilaration produced by the juice of the grape.

The new wineskin agents make a particular appeal to Romans 14 to prove that tolerance of "all things" means that we should tolerate instrumental music. In making a fierce, Dionysus-like attack upon those who do not use Dionysus' women and instruments, Rubel Shelly at ACU has some interested if disjointed observations.

We have posted an article on Romans 14-15 (to show that the "brothers" in Rome are identified as either Orphic, Pythagorean or Dionysic worshipers just making their way into Christianity.

To that end, the Jubilee - Zoe Group scheme associated with Jubilee 99 and Jubilee 2000 is to hire and train Musical Worship Facilitators to help "move the worshippers into the presence of God." This leads the foolish into forcing instruments even if it drives away the old they are pledged to protect. Like, Wow! I have that exhilarating experience of God every time I close my mouth and study His Word. To the contrary, when the musical worship begins I am smart enough to know that the "exhilaration" is a mild frenzy or ecstatic experience and I don't ever confuse that with God crawling under my skin.

All of the ancient accounts connect Eve or Sophia or Sophia-Zoe as the feminist beings who dominated the male "gods" and made them into musical worship teams. Zoe is defined much like Lucifer and is identified as the Beast.

To the ancient Jews, the fruit of the vine (wine as raisins or alcohol) was a major food crop. The goal was to preserve it except for sale and consumption by alcoholics. In the last century it was one observation that:

"In the Holy Land they do not commonly use fermented wines. The best wines are preserved sweet and unfermented."

In reference to their customs at their religious festivals, he repeatedly and emphatically said:

'The Jews do not, in their feasts for sacred purposes, including the marriage feast, ever use any kind of fermented drinks. In their oblations and libations, both private and public, they employ the fruit of the vine--that is, fresh grapes -- unfermented grape - juice, and raisins, as the symbol of benediction.

"Fermentation is to them a symbol of corruption, as in nature and science it is itself decay, rottenness'." (Dr. S. M. Issacs, a Jewish rabbi of the 18th century, quoted by Patton, p. 83). (Patton, William, Bible Wines or Laws of Fermentation and Wines of the Ancients, 1871, reprinted by the Sooner Alcohol-Narcotics Ed. Oklama City, Oklahoma)

If you put purified juice in new wineskins and seal it against air then it will not ferment. If you put it into the old wineskins the residual leaven will ferment it or rot it. Those who slander the Incarnate God of the Universe by claiming that he manufactured 160 gallons of intoxicants for a new, soon-to-be pregnant, bride will also slander Him -- and promote "drunk in the spirit" exhilaration -- by claiming that the gospel is God's substitute for wine drinking and drunkeness. Much of the rational for Jubilee 99 and Jubilee 2000 is that:

Rubel Shelly: "The wine is the bubbling, churning gospel. It is the ever-arriving-yet-never-fully-realized-on-Earth kingdom of God. It is the powerful presence of the Spirit of God among believers. The wineskins are the points of contact between the wine and culture. They are the forms and programs we maintain, the organizations and institutions, or the patterns and procedures... (Shelly - Harris, Second Incarnation, p. 11).

We will see later that many ancient, superstitious people believed that the feelings of exhilaration or intoxication from new wine was literally believed to be the presence of the spirit of the gods.

I would not fall for the recommendation of drinking new wine from a new wineskin even on the highways of Tennessee. How much less does common sense and decency recommend a drunk in the spirit condition on the Highway of Holiness?

Rubel Shelly: "Change and newness did not end with his arrival. The wine is still fermenting. Tired forms will not work with an exuberant message. The deep ruts of customary practice are not adequate to be a highway of holiness. The gospel he left to inform and empower his church is 'a new and living way'. (Rubel Shelly - Randy Harris, Second Incarnation, p. 11).

In the introduction to the Book of Jubilees it is noted:

Writing in the palmiest days of the Maccabean dominion, in the high-priesthood of John Hyrcanus, looked for the immediate advent of the Messianic kingdom.

This kingdom was to be ruled over by a Messiah sprung, not from Levi -that is, from the Maccabean family, as some of his contemporaries expected-but from Judah.

This kingdom would be gradually realized on earth, and the transformation of physical nature would go hand in hand with the ethical transformation of man till there was a new heaven and a new earth.

Thus, finally, all sin and pain would disappear and men would live to the age of 1,000 years in happiness and peace, and after death enjoy a blessed immortality in the spirit world.

And The Book of Jubilees speaks of the Idolatry introduced by Satan but not in great detail as the Bible does not fill in too many details about the fallen angels but acknowledges the fact. There are numerous other documents which fill in the deatails.

In the Gospel of Thomas contemporary with the gospel of Mark:

28 Jesus said, "I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them.

I found them all drunk,
and I did not find any of them thirsty.
My soul ached for the children of humanity,
because they are blind in their hearts and do not see,
for they came into the world empty,
and they also seek to depart from the world empty.

But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, then they will change their ways."

This link defines the "new wineskin parable"

Exhuberant means "over elaborate, luxuriant or uninhibited." Doesn't sound like the Jesus I know who wants to take a walk with you beside still waters. This "drunk in the spirit" or "later rain" urge had its counterpart in ancient history:

"Aeacus ascended the Hellenic mountain and stretching out pure hands to heaven he called on the common god, and prayed him to take pity on afflicted Greece. And even while he prayed a loud clap of thunder pealed, and all the surrounding sky was overcast, and furious and continuous showers of rain burst out and flooded the whole land. Thus was exuberant fertility procured for the fruits of the earth by the prayers of Aeacus" (Clement of Alexandria, Strom. vi.3.28, p. 753)

The race which is on to establish an effeminate (music and dance) wineskins worship to replace the masculine study of the Word may be to bow to the feminine urge to "stand over" and "rule over" men in sermons with a tune. However, when men get involved it is difficult to do it in a mixed worship system by calling upon ancient themes without bringing gender into question. For instance, a vase painted in about 480 B.C., as do many of this period, connects wine, music and exhuberant Dionysus revels. The only other legitimate place for effeminate men with wine, music and dance is the old fashioned secular tavern revel:

"Two figures walk toward the right, a bearded man playing a double flute (aulos) and a youth holding a drinking cup and a gnarled stick. The slender bodies have a light, elastic quality, and a sense of easy walking movement is suggested by the trailing foot on tiptoe. The aulist is in pure profile, but the youth turns back to face him, his upper body in three-quarter view. Both wear only a chlamys, the folds shown in straight, almost parallel lines and the edges in a sharp zigzag.

"The reveller on a cup in the Louvre has been thought female because there is a beard but no moustache: but the absence of a moustache would prove nothing; and in fact there is a moustache, although it is omitted in the reproduction. We take the figures, therefore, to be men. Are they disguised as women? Three elements in the costume might be considered feminine: the long chiton, the saccos, the parasol. Of these, long chiton and himation had been the regular full dress for men in earlier days: but by the time most of our vases were painted it was obsolescent or at least old-fashioned; the long chiton might still be worn on high occasions, but in ordinary circumstances may have counted as a feminine garment. The saccos is properly a woman's article: it might indeed be worn, by youths as well as men, at komos and symposion, either with nothing else or with himation or wrap: in these cases there can be no question of the wearer being disguised as a woman, but the saccos was no doubt thought of as borrowed from feminine costume.

"Another vase "shows a komos of three persons: a naked youth with a cithara: another, with a drinking-horn, who seems to be dancing; and a man with a short beard also holding a drinking-horn. He wears a long, sleeveless chiton, the skirt of which he lifts with one hand."

"Wine-drinking and music are a normal part of the komos or revel scenes frequently depicted on red-figure vases. The theme may be derived ultimately from the Dionysiac revels of satyrs and maenads, but probably most are merely human activities -- part of the trend toward scenes of daily life and away from the mythological emphasis of the black-figure style. Certainly the subject is appropriate for wine cups and pitchers. However, the komos scenes almost always show much more exuberant figures than this rather sedate pair. In view of the disparity in age, the vase might allude to the homosexual fondness of mature Greek men for young boys, yet the scene scarcely looks like a seduction."

"Flute-players in this pose in komos scenes by the painter are generally intent upon a neighbouring dancing figure whom they are stimulating with their music. The flute-case, of leopard-skin, with its mouthpiece-box, hangs in the field. The dancer ad too many trips to the new wineskin and the stick helps keep him going in his exhilaration."

Note: This is my sketch combining several partial views from a vase. The mystical flute case is to the right. The small projection from the case is the Judas Bag used to carry the mouthpieces of wind instruments. Revelation 41 prophesied that Judas would not get Jesus to dance to his tune with wind instruments.

While the Jubilee 99 and Jubilee 2000 theme is borrowed from Judaism even though the final Jubilee was accomplished by Jesus, it is not possible to borry the wineskins and exhilarated "drunk in the spirit" with music and dance from the spiritually minded Jews. For instance, a Jewish source notes:

"The restrictions on grape products derive from the laws against using products of idolatry. Wine was commonly used in the rituals of all ancient religions, and wine was routinely sanctified for pagan purposes while it was being processed. For this reason, use of wines and other grape products made by non-Jews was prohibited. (Whole grapes are not a problem, nor are whole grapes in fruit cocktail).

Note: there is even a remedy for a priest who ate grape seed!

"For the most part, this rule only affects wine and grape juice. This becomes a concern with many fruit drinks or fruit-flavored drinks, which are often sweetened with grape juice. You may also notice that it is virtually impossible to find kosher baking powder, because baking powder is made with cream of tartar, a by-product of wine making."

Wine Dilution: See Shabbos 77a

Strong Date Liquor is delicious at first, but painful in digestion: Pesachim 107a

Drinking Liquor instead of Wine is Wasteful: Shabbos 140b

Wine of a place named "Perogaisa" is of extra-fine quality; its addictive power helped seduce the Exiled Ten Tribes from the Mitzvos (Law): Shabbos 147b

"Many Jewish writers say that the word here translated strong drink was meant nothing more than old wine, which probably had the power of producing intoxication" (Albert Barnes, Commentary on Luke 1:15).

And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of a hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the Lord for a drink offering. Nu.28:7

Shekar (h7941) shay-kawr'; from 7937; an intoxicant, i. e. intensely alcoholic liquor: - strong drink, / drunkard, strong wine.

The universal religious practice using wine was to "pour it out." One did not "drink" the drink offering. This is why people like John the Baptist seems like a Nazarite. But even as a priest he would not drink any product of the vine for fear that it had leaven.

If you pour young wine into an old skin which contains leaven, it will begin to ferment and will blow up the billy goat skin or a steel-banded cask.

Commenting on the surge of new movements looking for something exciting, MacArthur wrote:

"But perhaps nothing was more characteristic of the mystery religions than what they called ecstasy. Believers in the mystery religions sought to cultivate a magical, sensuous communion with the divine. They would do almost anything to get themselves into a semiconscious, hallucinatory, hypnotic, or orgiastic spell in which they believed they were sensually in contact with deity.

Some used wine to assist in the euphoric experience, as Paul implied in Ephesians 5:18. Whether from literal intoxication or emotional exhilaration, when worshipers fell into a state of euphoria, it was as if they had been drugged. They assumed they were in contact with God. (MacArthur, John, Charismatic Chaos, p. 164. Zondervan)

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Ephesians 5:18

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,

singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19

Is the Jubilee - Wineskin "drunk in the spirit" theme the disputation of lads who are just rejecting the Old "wine" of the Word and replacing it with the dangerous, new wine of intoxication?

Well, Plato in the Republic 539b notes that "one chief safeguard not to suffer them to taste of it while young? For I fancy you have not failed to observe that lads, when they first get a taste of disputation, misuse it as a form of sport, always employing it contentiously, and, imitating confuters, they themselves confute others. They delight like spies in pulling about and tearing with words all who approach them." "Exceedingly so," he said. "And when they have themselves confuted many and been confuted by many.

Note. "But the contemporaries of our age negligently apply a few years of ardent youth,

burning by turns with the fire of vice;

and when they have attained the acumen of discerning a doubtful truth

they immediately become involved in extraneous business, retire, and say farewell to the schools of philosophy; (i.e. Bible study)

they sip the frothy must of juvenile wit over the difficulties of philosophy,

and pour out the purified old wine with economical care."


The Manichaeans believed that wine fresh from the vat was holy wine because drunkeness was caused by the presence of the gods in the new wine. This made them sick and drunk and could kill you. Yet, old wine which had lost its intoxicating power was held to be evil even when everyone knew that it was more healthful than new wine. Their test using exhilaration as the sign of the presence of the gods made no sense to Augustine.

They accompanied their new wineskins worship with flutes and harps and believed that the gods spoke to them from the musical instruments (as with the familiar spirit or wineskin of the witch of Endor.) However, Augustine pointed out the common knowledge that musical instruments were often made from animals which died of themselves and were therefore polluted and this should prove that the "gods" had fled from old age and rottenness.

He reminded them that the instruments, to make melody, had to be abraded (Psallo), twisted and othewise worked upon and this should have driven the gods out of them. Again, the wineskin and musical instrument worship made no sense to Augustine.

It remained that the Manichaeans tested the "presence of the gods" by the exhilaration of new wine and music which was just plain being "drunk in the flesh" as well as "drunk in the spirit."

Augustine notes that:

43. What then remains, but that you should cease saying that you have in your eyes, nose, and palate sufficient means of testing the presence of the divine part in material objects?

And, without these means, how can you tell not only that there is a greater part of God in plants than in flesh, but that there is any part in plants at all?

Are you led to think this by their beauty-not the beauty of agreeable color, but that of agreement of parts? An excellent reason, in my opinion.

For you will never be so bold as to compare twisted pieces of wood with the bodies of animals, which are formed of members answering to one another.

But if you choose the testimony of the senses, as those must do who cannot see with their mind the full force of existence,

how do you prove that the substance of good escapes from bodies in course of time, and by some kind of attrition, but because God has gone out of it, according to your view,

and has left one place for another? The whole is absurd. But, as far as I can judge, there are no marks or appearances to give rise to this opinion.

"For many things plucked (melody in Hebrew) from trees, or pulled out of the ground, are the better of some interval of time before we use them for food, as leeks and endive, lettuce, grapes, apples, figs, and some pears;

and there are many other things which get a better color when they are not used immediately after being plucked,

besides being more wholesome for the body, and having a finer flavor to the palate.

"But these things should not possess all these excellent and agreeable qualities, if, as you say, they become more destitute of good the longer they are kept after separation from their mother earth.

Animal food itself is better and more fit for use the day after the animal is killed; but this should not be, if, as you hold, it possessed more good immediately after the slaughter than next day, when more of the divine substance had escaped.

The Manichaeans believed that the intoxicating quality in fermented new wine was divine substance. Therefore, they enjoyed their wine from the vat when it was "sparkling and moving around."

However, Proverbs asks:

Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? Proverbs 23:29

They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Proverbs 23:30

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. Proverbs 23:31

the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Proverbs 23:32 At

Thine eyes shall behold strange (prostitutes) women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Proverbs 23:33

New wine is more than intoxicating: Because of the many forms of yeast, actual poisons can develop. For this reason, greedy for new wine, they often mixed other elements.

Augustine continues to show that the Manichaeans hated the old, pure wine in the old wineskins. They demanded new wine from a new wineskins. Why? Because the gods are in the new wine because it bites and stings and causes me to fall into a frenzy, babble with foreign tongues and surely God lives in new wine. However, Augustine asks:

44. Who does not know that wine becomes purer and better by age?

Nor is it, as you think, more tempting to the destruction of the senses,

but more useful for invigorating the body,--only let there be moderation, which ought to control everything.

The senses are sooner destroyed by new wine. When the must has been only a short time in the vat, and has begun to ferment, it makes those who look down into it fall headlong, affecting their brain, so that without assistance they would perish.

And as regards health, every one knows that bodies are swollen up and injuriously distended by new wine? Has it these bad properties because there is more good in it?

Old wine, even when fermented, was often boiled and allowed to oxidize and became less destructive. The Manachaeans didn't like the old, mild wine because the gods had left it!

"Are they not found in wine when old because a good deal of the divine substance has gone? An absurd thing to say, especially for you, who prove the divine presence by the pleasing effect produced on your eyes, nose, and palate!

And what a contradiction it is to make wine the poison of the princes of darkness, and yet to eat grapes! Has it more of the poison when in the cup than when in the cluster?

Or if the evil remains unmixed after the good is gone, and that by the process of time, how is it that the same grapes, when hung up for awhile, become milder, sweeter, and more wholesome?

or how does the wine itself, as already mentioned, become purer and brighter when the light has gone, and more wholesome by the loss of the beneficial substance?

45. What are we to say of wood and leaves, which in course of time become dry, but cannot be the worse on that account in your estimation? For while they lose that which produces smoke, they retain that from which a bright flame arises; and, to judge by the clearness, which you think so much of, there is more good in the dry than in the green. Hence you must either deny that there is more of God in the pure light than in the smoky one, which will upset all your evidences; or you must allow it to be possible that, when plants are plucked up, or branches plucked off, and kept for a time, more of the nature of evil may escape from them than of the nature of good. And, on the strength of this, we shall hold that more evil may go off from plucked fruits; and so more good may remain in animal food. So much on the subject of time.

46. As for motion, and tossing, and rubbing, if these give the divine nature the opportunity of escaping from these substances, many things of the same kind are against you, which are improved by motion.

In some grains the juice resembles wine, and is excellent when moved about.

Indeed, as must not be overlooked, this kind of drink produces intoxication rapidly; and yet you never called the juice of grain the poison of the princes of darkness. There is a preparation of water, thickened with a little meal, which is the better of being shaken, and, strange to say, is lighter in color when the light is gone. The pastry cook stirs honey for a long time to give it this light color, and to make its sweetness milder and less unwholesome: you must explain how this can come from the loss of good.

Again, if you prefer to test the presence of God by the agreeable effects on the hearing, and not sight, or smell, or taste, harps get their strings and pipes their bones from animals;

and these become musical by being dried, and rubbed, and twisted.

So the pleasures of music, which you hold to have come from the divine kingdom,

are obtained from the refuse of dead animals, and that, too, when they are dried by time, and lessened by rubbing, and stretched by twisting. Such rough treatment, according to you, drives the divine substance from living objects; even cooking them, you say, does this. Why then are boiled thistles not unwholesome? Is it because God, or part of God, leaves them when they are cooked?

Paul speaks of "lifeless instruments" and "carnal weapons." The weapons are used against intellectual arguments. And the word for instrument and weapon is the same in both Greek and Hebrew. Ancient pagans often made their


"West Africans reconstructed their native drums in the New World, preponderantly as cult instruments. Small sets of two or, more often, three drums of graded sizes form an integral part of Afro-American rituals and, in the Caribbean, also of voodoo dances.

Only the skins of sacrificial animals may be used for membranes among Afro-Bahians in Brazil, who baptize their new drums, preferably with "holy" water obtained from a Roman Catholic church.

Drums in Haiti are sacred objects and may even represent the deity itself: as such they receive libations. One type of bongo drum--there exist at least four of these--has been adopted by Western rhythm bands, as has the conga.

The "gods" lived inside musical instrument

In many places in the world the demons or spirits of dead ancestors lived inside of the musical instruments:

"Music, like the word, also may have symbolic meaning. The basic elements out of which musical symbolism is built are sounds, tones, melodies, harmonies,

and the various musical instruments,
among which is the human voice.

Sound effects can have a numinous (spiritual) character and may be used to bring about contact with the realm of the holy.

A specific tone may call one to an awareness of the holy, make the holy present, and produce an experience of the holy.

This may be done by means of drums, gongs, bells, or other instruments. The ritual instruments can, through their shape or the materials from which they are made, have symbolic meaning. The Uitoto in Colombia, for example, believe that all the souls of their ancestors are contained in the ritual drums. (See liturgical music BM members.)

Joseph Campbell noted that when an institution gets old and runs out of food, it cracks away and falls back into archaic forms of worship using music, dance, wine and Peyote. These mind-altering drugs are used to try to put "spirit" back into the institution but they are often the signs that the institution is lost and beyond redemption. Because it lacks the love of the Word, they are, in the Biblical sense, sent strong delusions:

"based on the concept of an organic pattern in the life course of civilization, a morphology of history: the idea that every culture has its period of youth, its period of culmination, its years then of beginning to totter with age and

of striving to hold itself together by means of rational planning, projects, and organization,

only finally to terminate in decrepitude, petrification... and no more life.

Moreover, in this view of Spengler's, we were at present on the point of passing from what he called the period of Culture to Civilization, which is to say, from our periods of youthful, spontaneous, and wonderful creativity

to those of uncertainty and anxiety, contrived programs, and the beginning of the end." (Campbell, Joseph, Myths to Live By, p. 84)

It is interesting that Rubel Shelly and all of the wineskin or Vineyard-influenced speak of our times as Post-Modern or Post-Denominational. This eleminates the Word as authority in commands, examples and inferences and naturally results in human and humanistic programs including music and, yes, even errected "Asherah poles."

Rubel Shelly: "Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent."

But hold on! Where did that dictum come from? It's not a Bible verse. It's a well-worn religious slogan that I think has some very positive value.

That is a huge concession since the slogan comes from God! The Post-Modern "hermeneutic" of the Latter Rain (or Latter Reign) asks:

In another sermon Dr. Rubel Shelly stated:

Here is what God wants churches passionate about:

(1) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, (2) that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

(3) "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).

(4) "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: (5) While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (6) Since we have now been justified by his blood, (7) how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" (Rom. 5:8-9).

These are the essentials of Christian faith. It is this core message about Jesus that we share in common with other

Bible-believing, cross-proclaiming, resurrection-confessing, born-again persons that constitutes us a church.

Outside the essence of the gospel,

there are other features that reflect our history and consensus interpretations of the larger biblical message.

Rubel Shelly: They had to strain the story of Jesus through philosophical sieves. They had to create and clarify special terms. They made entrance into their circles a matter of "enlightenment" as reflected in peculiar vocabulary and interpretations.

In the meanwhile, the core gospel has survived two millennia now in its narrative form of telling the big story through collections of little ones about Jesus.

Dr. Shelly defines the narrative form as writers taking the literature and constructing a narrative for their own time, place, theological agenda and by sifting in Greek philosophy.

This is the old Leroy Garret teaching as it is enhanced by the Vineyard:

Leroy Garrett stated an earlier pattern:

"This is to say that the gospel is not the whole of the New Testament scriptures,

for the gospel was a reality long before the scriptures were written.

Strictly speaking,

the teachings of the apostles are not facts, as the gospel is,

but interpretations, implications, and edification based on the gospel.

In this area, that of the didache (teaching) even the apostles differed in their ideas and emphases.

The churches for whom these documents were written were likewise different from each other.

Garrett goes on to define the "gospel" as something revealed but not subject to debate but:

The doctrine allows for debate and dialogue, for intellectual stimulation and the stretching of the mind. It nurtures us in Christ,

but in such a way that each man develops according to his own uniqueness. The pragmatic mind as well as the speculative mind finds food for thought. Its design is (not) to make us all alike in our thinking, but to make us mature in Christ.

So, we have the "oral gospel" which was in effect before the "graphe," and the seven ones defined above are the only things which we can use to accept or reject fellowship.

All of the rest of the Bible is just pre-post-modern understandings of the apostle-prophets opinions or interpretations. That means "uninspired" to this writer.

by Dennis Downing

"For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2 RSV)

In the world in which we live, a lot of people are interested in what feels relevant, seems "politically correct" or has a valid ring to it. Few are interested in the truth. But a lot of those same people are desperately seeking truth in a relationship. They want someone, at least one person to whom they can turn who will not turn away.

That is why the Gospel points not to an idea but to a person, not to a truth but to The Truth. Jesus proved he was true to me when he died in my place.

Jesus proved he was the true way when he came back from the dead.

When you really come to know Jesus and him crucified --you know all you need to know.

You have come to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but that truth will satisfy.

Key Quote: "Paul was not given a message or a doctrine to proclaim, he was brought into a vivid, personal, overmastering relationship to Jesus Christ. Verse 16 [Acts 26:16] is immensely commanding--"o make thee a minister and a witness."

But: Till I come, give attendance to (public) reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Tim 4:13

See that an elder is involved with the Word and Doctrine or he isn't an elder.

Of course, we miss the point that Paul stopped there because the Corinthians were still carnal confirmed by their composing their own songs and speeches.

In Narrative Theology, John York and Rubel Shelly would take the musical idolatry at Mount Sinai which lost Israel God's Covenant of Grace and had Him turn them over to worship the starry host (Acts 7), have its second incarnation as a pattern for Christian worship and community.

Perhaps, as Rubel Shelly and Randy Harris recommend, it is time to take a page from the Aztec 52 year and yearly "jubilee" and having sacrificed up to 20,000 captive slaves, just burn down the old institutions and begin all over again.

For this writer, the most exhilarating experience in the world is to quench hunger and thirst by drinking deeply from the Word which Jesus identified as WATER and not a dangerous drug.

Kenneth Sublett

Rubel Shelly Sermon Review Index

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