theology

Shrouded Thinking

I came across this news item last week regarding the Shroud of Turin.  As we were sitting in Sunday School class yesterday with the youth at our church, we talked about it for a few minutes.  Of course, I realized that they had no idea what the Shroud of Turin even is, but that was pretty easy to explain.

The debate is still going as to the authenticity of the Shroud.  I am not firmly in either camp.  If it is genuine, that is certainly interesting and amazing, but it won’t make my faith any more firm than it already is.  I am completely convinced that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the strength of evidence that has nothing to do with the Shroud.  If it is shown to be fake or fabricated long after the fact, it will have no effect on me for the same reason.  But I did see this cockamamie new theory from an academic who is convinced that the Shroud is genuine, but who has taken that conclusion to a bizarre place.

Art historian Thomas de Wesselow is convinced the Shroud is real and did touch Christ’s body.

But the Cambridge academic insists that the image on the cloth fooled the Apostles into believing Christ had come back to life, and the Resurrection was in fact an optical illusion.

Please note that we are talking about an “art historian” so I am left to conclude that his biblical knowledge and scholarship is likely to be lacking.  The idea that the early disciples would be so amazed by an image on a cloth that they would treat it as if the man they had walked with was “living in the image” or whatever he wants to call it, is insulting to the intelligence of first century believers for one thing and insulting to the testimony of Scripture for another.

His theory is based on the worst kind of Bible “scholarship” and I put it in quotes because it isn’t very scholarly at all.  He takes one verse (ONE) as proof for his theory and apparently ignores the rest of the story.  He tries to assert that Paul claimed that the resurrection is “not about flesh and blood” in 1 Corinthians 15(verse 50 according to the article).  I am not sure what translation he is working from but he draws completely the wrong conclusion about what Paul is saying.  At the beginning of that very chapter, Paul asserts that the risen Jesus was seen by Cephas (Peter) and then the rest of the disciples, and then at least 500 others, and then James and the rest of the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:4-7).  These appearances are the parading of an image on a sheet.  These are appearances in person and in the flesh.  A different kind of flesh to be sure (he walked into locked and shut rooms), but flesh that ate and could be touched.  Read the Gospel accounts and picture a pair of disciples walking down the road when a giant bedsheet with a picture suddenly appears next to them and starts talking and you will see just how silly and ill read this “art historian” has to be.

Is the Shroud of Turin legitimate?  Maybe.  Is it possible that the disciples and the first century witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection were all looking at it and thinking that this was Jesus raised from the dead?  Not a chance.  Just picture one of them trying to give a piece of fish to a cloth and being fooled into thinking the sheet ate it.

 

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Misunderstandings, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, False Teachers, History, Messiah, Questions, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Getting Understanding

7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  – Proverbs 4:7

I have a funny post queued up for later in the day, but I wanted to get this up first.  I have been doing several messages in the last few months playing off of this realization that we frequently misunderstand or make up meanings for obscure or difficult things in Scripture.  It is based on something I heard from First Fruits of Zion a year or two ago.  I found a couple of video clips on youtube that give a fuller explanation of this concept that I highly recommend.  It will take about 15 minutes of your time to watch these two clips back to back.  It is time well spent.

I know the end of the second clip includes a promo for some of their study material, but I can say this. Their study material is some of the most in-depth and thorough stuff I have ever seen.  When I got my first copy of Torah Club Volume 4 several years ago, I went through it with a fine tooth comb to look for areas of questionable scholarship or theological issues.  These guys do a great job of providing information as well as the sources that go into their materials and conclusions.  I highly recommend their work to anyone I talk to these days and I always enjoy checking out their new materials.  I currently have a small wishlist going for stuff I haven’t yet managed to purchase.

Here is one last video that talks about some of the deeper Hebraic concepts in the Gospels.  Enjoy.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Misunderstandings, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, church, Discipleship, Faith, FFOZ, Giving, Gospel, Hebrew, Holy Spirit, Humor, Kingdom, Questions, theology, Truth, Yeshua | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Problem of All or Nothing

God is holy and perfect and commands us to be “perfect as He is perfect.”  Perfection: it is a standard that we all know we cannot keep.  Those who spend a great deal of time thinking about it are in real danger of driving themselves crazy.  It is this insistence of perfections that drives the “wretched urgency” that Michael Spencer, AKA the Internet Monk, used to opine about back in the day.

But we humans have a hard time with not taking this the other direction entirely.  Since we know we can’t be perfect, we have developed whole theological systems that essentially say, “why bother.”  Jesus paid it all, you can do nothing; so just fall on Him and do nothing.  What’s wrong with this?  You are saved by grace and that not of works lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8).  Right?!?  So just sit back and relax and quit.  Be still and know that I am God, if you will.

It is the problem of all or nothing.  If all isn’t enough, then why bother.  If nothing will get me there, then why not.

I saw an interesting quote from Dallas Willard posted by a friend of mine.

“In most churches we’re not only saved by grace, we’re paralyzed by it. We’re afraid to do anything that might be a “work.” The funny thing is we will preach to people for an hour that they can’t do anything to be saved, and then sing to them for a half an hour trying to get them to do something. This is confusing. People need to see that action is a receptacle for grace, not a substitute for it. Grace is God acting in our lives to do things we can’t do on our own. Grace is not opposed to effort; it’s opposed to earning.” -Dallas Willard

This is the problem of all or nothing boiled down into a couple of sentences.  That same Bible that tells you that there is nothing you can do to earn salvation, still calls you to a life of service and obedience once you have been saved.  Keep reading from that quote I earlier pulled from Ephesians:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  – Ephesians 2:8-10

The problem is that if you don’t take all of Scripture to place a single verse in good context, you may find that nothing you say makes good sense.

We don’t handle this dilemma well.  Might I suggest a solution with a little humor in it.

“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” – G.K. Chesterton

Stop making it all or nothing.  God takes care of it all, but not so that you can do nothing until eternity.  Rest period doesn’t start until then.  In the meantime, do all that you can, badly if you must.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, devotional, Discipleship, Faith, Fun, Grace, Humor, Love, Salvation, theology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

TULIPY: The Acronym for Hyper-Calvinists (i.e. 6-pointers)

I have had a flash of inspiration.  Perhaps someone, somewhere has already done this before, but I can’t say that I have seen it elsewhere so I thought I would give it a whirl.  I run in some blog circles where people complain about hyper-Calvinists.  I have a dear brother in the Lord who was burned so bad by a group of extreme hyper-Calvinists (we referred to them as 6.5 pointers in humorous love) that he would nearly froth at the mouth at the mere mention of Calvinism at all.  This post should not be taken as a diatribe against Calvinism as a whole or even all that seriously.  It is meant in a spirit of levity to encourage potential discussion.  I love my brothers and sisters who are serious Calvinists and who are passionate for the Lord and the Gospel.

Please further note that I am not a 5-point Calvinist.  I am probably more like a 2-3 pointer if anything, but I will try to describe the points with some accuracy up through my own addition.  These descriptions will be intermingled with my observations as well.  With all that said, here is the acronym spelled out for posterity.

T – Total Depravity

Ok, we all pretty much get that and know what it means I would think.  Man is totally depraved.  Scripture makes this point repeatedly, and one episode of Jerry Springer will drive this point home to even the most reluctant of individuals I would think.  The other point behind this however is that man is completely helpless regarding his salvation.  We don’t even look for salvation on our own.

U – Unconditional Election

We can not earn God’s grace and cannot merit salvation.  There is nothing within us that makes God love us, He just does.  All our righteousness is filthy rags type of things are the general point of this point.  From my perspective, the idea behind this is generally right, but I hesitate to do much explaining about how God does these things.  Even Paul was eventually rendered speechless in this regard (see the end of Romans 11).

L – Limited Atonement

Since not everyone is saved based on the words of Jesus, it follows that Jesus’ death must not be effective for all people in the end of all things.  This particular point is generally arrived at through logical means in my experience.  Both those who support it and those who argue against it can cite John 3:16 as it becomes a discussion/argument of who is covered by whosoever.

I – Irresistible Grace

This is the teaching that God’s grace is irresistible to those who are elected to salvation and they will respond to the call of God through the Spirit.  This is also a hotly debatable topic, mostly because simple observation yields plenty of examples of people who hear the clear Gospel message and don’t respond to it.  Frankly, I think it is more amazing that anyone can reject God at all.  This doctrine reflects that in some means, but I think any attempt to explain why some reject God’s call by placing them in a category of “unelected” or whatever is not correct.

P – Perseverance of the Saints

This doctrine simply states that those who are called, elected and chosen will remain in the faith without fail as God is capable of keeping them.  This sentiment is perfectly biblical and true as far as it goes.  I think the main problem in applying it stems from the fact that we never can know who is who from our limited perspective.  In fact, many of the problems of Calvinist theology and much of the rest of theology is our extremely limited understanding and perspective.

Y – You’re Irrelevant

This one is all mine, but you may have seen it coming.  Given all of the above as absolutely true, many have moved on to another very logical point.  It doesn’t matter what we do, since God has planned it all ahead of time.  This comes out in various ways.  I have seen a church that did no external evangelism.  They preached the Gospel in Sunday morning service and expected God to draw those who were called to their building.  I have seen others who assume that because everything is up to God, it absolutely doesn’t matter what you do about anything.  Ultimately you are either chosen or not chosen, so just live your life and trust God(I mean why not do it anyway right) and He will do everything.

Let me say it once again.  I love my Calvinist brothers and sisters.  I will work alongside you all day long to share the Gospel and make disciples for Jesus Christ.  I just wanted to write a post that points out the all too real end of taking this theology to its logical conclusions (I have seen it far too often for my liking).  The only thing that can keep us from going there is the reminder that while all of these points may be true from God’s perspective; we are not God and they don’t work from our limited perspective.

Categories: Apologetics, Christianity, church, Discipleship, Faith, Fun, Gospel, Grace, Humor, Questions, Salvation, Southern Baptist, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Harold Camping -Twice Bitten and Still Not Shy

As bad as the storm damage has been to witness this spring (and it has hit areas that I am very familiar with), I am just as concerned with the spiritual damage that folks like Harold Camping have caused with his false prophecies and predictions.  As I previously wrote, May 21, 2011, was not the date of the rapture or judgment or anything else specific in regard to God’s appointed times.  As for his now revised date of October 21, 2011, I will just tell you now that it also does not fall on any of God’s appointed times.  The only thing on the calendar for that date is Simchat Torah, which marks the beginning of a new Torah cycle.  It is hardly an ominous date in God’s previously revealed character.  I am confident to say that Camping’s latest grasp at another straw will prove to be fruitless indeed.

Word out now is that Camping has resorted to the JW’s defense.  He is trying to claim that the rapture did happen on May 21, but that it was “spiritual.”  This tactic isn’t new; it has been used by false prophets before Camping and it will probably be used by false prophets that are yet to come if the Lord tarries long enough.  I would instead call your attention once again to Scripture:

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you beforehand. 26So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.  – Matthew 24:23-28

I have already posted some of my own thoughts regarding the Rapture and you are welcome to peruse them if you like.  Suffice it to say that I am not going to buy in to the predictions of those like Harold Camping.  He has been proven false a second time (once was already enough for me to disregard him).  Don’t put your trust in men; instead you should search God’s Word for yourself and test and try these teachers against the Truth.  Camping has been measured and found wanting.

My prayer is that those who have been deceived by him to this point will awaken and seek the truth.  I noted that the site run by the believer of Camping’s prophecies has not been updated in over a month.  He has had nothing to say since the failure of the “prophet” he believed in has become evident.  I pray that his eyes would be opened now that his false prophet has been exposed.  I pray that for them all, so that the devastation will not continue.  It would seem that Harold Camping has no shame after being prove false.  I highly doubt that the third time in October will be the charm, either for him being right for once or for him admitting he has been wrong all along.

Categories: America, Apologetics, Bible Misunderstandings, Christianity, church, devotional, End Times, False Teachers, Heresy, Kingdom, Messiah, Prophecy, Signs of the Times, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mercy, Judgment, and All that Falls Between

Sunday night after we had arrived back home from a longer than expected return trip from the Black Hills, I pretty much just wanted to veg out and then head to bed a little early perhaps.  But that plan was interrupted by a text message from my sister that simply said:

R U watching the news?

It took a few seconds to switch on the TV and flip to Fox News, only to see Geraldo (who Rush jokingly refers to as “the grim reaper” for his ubiquitous presence in announcing celebrity deaths) and a crawl that announced that Bin Laden had been killed.

There are no words to convey what was going through my mind at that point.  I couldn’t have said much or typed anything.  In fact, I missed sending out a weekday devotional post completely on Monday from a complete inability to process or write anything useful (this blog has been on a slightly longer hiatus of the same sort).  The next day, I ended up writing a devotion for the Tuesday edition that addressed some of these feelings.  All of my friends on facebook seemed to have something to say about the matter and the opinions ran along a pretty varied continuum.  Blog posts were written and things were shared from every corner, but all I could put down at first was this post for Tuesday’s devotional.  While this could be a shameless plug for the devotional, I will just repost it here as well:

When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.  – Proverbs 11:10

After the news broke about the death of Bin Laden Sunday night, I had kind of a conflicted feeling about the scenes of celebration that I was witnessing.  I understand the sentiment to be sure; as this proverb indicates, this is a natural reaction to such an event.  I also noticed many people quoting various Bible verses both “pro” celebration and “con” celebration, which might lead some to think the Bible is a bit contradictory about this type of thing.  But that only comes from a failure to recognize the difference between commandments and observation.  The Bible observes the truth, we tend to celebrate when we feel someone gets “what’s coming to them” in whatever way that manifests.  That isn’t a commandment however.  We are encouraged to mourn the demise of the wicked and to seek their repentance and warn them of judgment if given an opportunity to do so.  God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked either and we are to take our cues from His standards and His perspective.  We shouldn’t rejoice in the death of the wicked and when we do it is another reminder of God’s perfect character juxtaposed against our own fleshly nature.

Take this time as a reminder of the fact that God loved each of us while we were still His enemy and wicked in His sight.

6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  – Romans 5:8

A few weeks back in Bible study at our church, we were talking about the passage in the book of James where he states that “mercy triumphs over judgment.”  There has been a lot of talk about this lately in fact with Rob Bell’s book proclaiming that “Love Wins” and seeming to say that judgment will never come.  But while we are commanded to love and forbidden to judge, God is perfect in love and in judgment and has the authority to administer both.  He will judge, both the living and the dead.  His judgment is sure, more sure than the CIA or the Navy Seals or a human court or any other judgment on this earth.

In that verse I mentioned from James, we are told that judgment is “without mercy to him who has shown no mercy” and Jesus taught this same principle in Matthew 18:23-35.  Why do I share it here?  As much as we are tempted to condemn Bin Laden or someone else that we feel “deserves it,” we should never imagine that we are any better or different.  Yet, God’s rich mercy has flowed to each of us through His Son, Jesus Christ.  If you have received mercy, you must give it as well.  Leave judgment and all that falls short of mercy to the only One who is qualified to mete it out.

Categories: America, Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, church, Culture, devotional, Discipleship, Gospel, Kingdom, Law, Messiah, politics, Questions, Salvation, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Truly Firm Foundation

Those who read here much will know that I have a fondness for highlighting things that affirm the biblical narrative or history of Scripture.  There are so many things out there that I would never dream of including them all, but I stumbled across this lecture about the accuracy of the historical details in the Gospels that was simply fascinating to me (hat tip: Rosh Pina Project).  This is great stuff and the guy giving the information is entertaining and engaging.  It is a little under and well worth the time.

I am reminded of Peter’s words in 2 Peter 1:16-21:

16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, Discipleship, Faith, Gospel, Questions, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thomas Jefferson – Heretic? Yes. Atheist? Think Again.

Interesting story from over the weekend that fits within the stream of recent posts on this blog.  One of Thomas Jefferson’s self made “bibles” is going on display in the Smithsonian soon.  In many ways this is hardly unique.  A lot of people do their own “cut and paste” version of Scripture, but very few go to the extreme that Jefferson did with his.  Most people are content to simply ignore vast portions of Scripture on the belief that they have been “done away with” or are obsolete or something like that.

Jefferson’s “bible” is an attempt to discern what he thought were the real teachings of Jesus.  You see, while atheists like to proclaim Jefferson as one of their own and thus try to dismiss his use of Christian terminology and thought, it turns out that Jefferson was far more interested in the words and work of Christ than they might like to admit:

During the election of 1800, Jefferson was denounced as a “howling atheist” and “a confirmed infidel” known for “vilifying the divine word, and preaching insurrection against God.” But the Virginian also revered Jesus as “the first of human Sages” and was, according to one biographer, “the most self-consciously theological of all American presidents.”

Let me be quick to point out that Jefferson’s theology and view of Christ was nowhere near orthodoxy.  Jefferson was actively engaged in remaking God to suit himself and his own views.  That is why he produced a cut and paste scripture of his very own.  Jefferson generally downplayed the miracle stories about Jesus and didn’t believe in the resurrection either based on these accounts, but atheists might want to take a pause before declaring him one of their own:

After completing this second micro-testament, Jefferson claimed in a letter to a friend that it demonstrated his bona fides as a Christian. “It is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”

This is not your typical atheist speech pattern.  Jefferson claims about himself is that he was a “true disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”  I would dispute this point vigorously as the things that he denies aren’t just the work of a couple of overzealous followers of Christ, they are bedrock beliefs that are rooted in the Old Testament long before Christ even lived.  Jesus’ disciples didn’t “make up a bunch of stuff,” they testified to what they saw firsthand and proclaimed how this was all shown beforehand in the Law and the Prophets.

16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

– 2 Peter 1:16-21

Jefferson was apparently unable to recognize this and was content to create his own “cleverly devised myths” in their stead.  That makes him a heretic, not an atheist.

Categories: Agnostics, America, Apologetics, Atheists, Christianity, church, Culture, Discipleship, Faith, False Teachers, Kingdom, Law, politics, Questions, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When the Queen Kills the King – Check Please

From the title you might be guessing that this is a post about chess.  Sorry, but no.  It is a title about bad sermons with an attempt at a witty headline, but it got you this far so you might as well keep reading.

It is said that theology is the “Queen of the sciences,” and indeed that is so, but it is dangerous when someone mistakes the “queen” for the King.  I recently heard a sermon where the preacher didn’t bother to quote from Scripture, aside from a couple of “glancing” mentions of two verses without citing what they even were.  The sermon was based on the work of three theologians and their pontification on the death of Christ.  I hesitate to give a great number of details about the sermon, firstly because it made no real significant point and secondly, because details might more readily identify the subject and I don’t wish to make this a personal issue.

I am certain that I will never desire to hear this person preach again, but it isn’t because I have any animosity toward the preacher.  I just don’t see any point in “preaching” that doesn’t start, abide and end within the Word of God itself.

1And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.   – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

There is nothing wrong with theology.  It certainly is the “queen of the sciences.”  It was so named because of the assertion that it is “the first among pursuits of knowledge, since it was believed that all other pursuits were vitally linked to its dictates.”  But it is beyond credible to place the pontifications of theologians above the very Scripture that should be under-girding the arguments they make.  Don’t base a sermon on the words of a few theologians who gave their opinions on why Christ had to die while asking the question “why did Christ have to die?”  Go to Scripture and find the answer there!

1Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  – 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

Paul didn’t beat around the bush about this.  He said that Christ died “for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.”  This means that the reason Christ had to die is in Scripture.  In fact, it is all over the place in the Old Testament since that is the Scriptures that Paul is referring to; but in the New Testament, you find the writers working again and again to explain these things, just as Jesus had taught them Himself.  It may not be easy to follow or understand for everyone, but it is there.  Read the book of Hebrews for a blow by blow discussion or look at other epistles like 1 John or 1 Peter for smaller explanations or statements.

This comes back to my original point.  Don’t spend so much time talking about the queen, that you take the King from His throne.  Theology is wonderful and can give us interesting conversations and loads of speculation, but she can never replace the King of Kings and she certainly doesn’t belong in His place.  When some well meaning preacher allows the “queen” to kill the King, I am going to check out every time.  I may not be able to get up and walk out (although don’t put it past me), but I won’t be there anymore mentally.  Actually, in this case, I picked up the Bible in the pew in front of me and started to read a little bit.  I figured if the guy delivering the sermon wasn’t going to read from the Bible in church at least I would. Suddenly, I found myself wishing that the guy had heard of this place before.

Here is a small piece of advice for young preachers or even old preachers who feel the need to awe others with your seminary knowledge and the ability to name-drop an obscure 12th century theologian for effect; DON’T.  I don’t use caps lightly here.  Listen.  Stick to God’s Word.  It has and will stand the test of time and it is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”(2 Timothy 3:16b-17)  People don’t need the “doctors of theology,” as much as they need the Great Physician.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, church, Culture, devotional, Discipleship, Faith, Gospel, Kingdom, Messiah, ministry, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holding Fast to the Truth

I have gone back and forth on whether or not to even say anything about this story in the news, but I think I will share a little something.  With all the flap out there about Rob Bell’s new book, this is almost a side issue, but I think it is an important one.  Many of the “mainline” denominations have been struggling in recent years to hold onto a biblical orthodoxy.  Various denominations have caved on issues like homosexuality and even the “exclusivity” of Christ as the only Way of salvation.  For that reason, I am actually a little surprised to hear that a Methodist church fired their pastor for echoing Bell’s universalism.

It was just a couple of years ago that we had a Methodist campus “pastor” come and speak at a baccalaureate, put together by the ministerial association here in town, and essentially espouse a similar type of message.  She asserted that various faiths like Hindu, Baha’i, Buddhism, Islam and so forth all espoused some variation of the “golden rule” and believed in “god.”  Of course, she wasn’t much for mentioning Jesus Christ and hedgingly referred to a Creator a few times.   It is the Methodist church that has been running the “open doors, open hearts, open minds” ad campaign for several years now as well.  I have been worried about my brothers and sisters in the Methodist church from recent experiences.

The pastor in question mentioned in the story that he had expressed some other “controversial views” recently:

Church members had also been unhappy with Internet posts about subjects like gay marriage and the mix of religion and patriotism, Holtz said, and the hell post was probably the “last straw.” Holtz and his family plan to move back to Tennessee, where he’ll start a job and maybe plant a church.

“So long as we believe there’s a dividing point in eternity, we’re going to think in terms of us and them,” he said. “But when you believe God has saved everyone, the point is, you’re saved. Live like it.”

When someone makes a statement like this and declares to be a follower of Christ, I have to ask myself what Bible they are reading.  Are they reading the Gospels?  If they are, they don’t believe them.  Jesus made exactly this distinction over and over again.  Sheep and goats, wheat and tares, and others are exactly and precisely about a dividing line and a demarcation.  To declare otherwise is nothing short of an attempt to gut the teachings of Christ.

We cannot compromise the truth and we can’t rewrite the words of Jesus to make them more comfortable for our generation.  We are not “new” or special.  There is nothing new under the sun.  Those who reject the God who is will always seek to make a god to suit themselves of their own design.  It’s called idolatry and it still happens today.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, church, Culture, Faith, False Teachers, Gospel, Grace, Heresy, Love, Messiah, ministry, Salvation, theology, Truth, Yeshua | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: