Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Got Ears?

Are you a good listener? Do you make a conscious effort to understand people with whom you interact? How about those with whom you find yourself in disagreement?

I have noticed that there are some folks who are so eager to prove their points that they will not wait until the other party has finished speaking. They lack a very important quality of a good leader or moderator; that of listening.

Listening requires more than simply hearing the words of the other person. It involves trying to understand where they are coming from, what motivates their words and attitudes, and what pressures may be causing them to act in the manner they do.

Do you hear what I'm saying?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Are You In The Light?

"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
John 3:19-21

Many people who reject the truth about God and the Bible try to make their argument an intellectual one. They "claim" there is not enough proof about the existence of God and therefore He is probably just a myth. This rationale seeks to find it's support in man made theories posing as science. They love to point out how science and the Bible are inconsistent and therefore one must be wrong. Of course science has been proving the Bible more and more over the last few hundred years.

No. The real reason men will not come to the light of God's word is because of their evil deeds. They love their sin too much and are afraid of coming out of the shadows where they can be exposed.

I have seen the same issues in Christians as well. They come to Christ and repent of their wicked ways. They know sin is wrong and therefore try to live a godly life, avoiding the external sins. Often however, this attitude is only skin deep. They have not made a full consecration in their heart. The desires of the flesh still long to be expressed and many find "acceptable" ways in which to satisfy these cravings.

Let me ask you. Are there deeds in your life that you rise up and defend when they are threatened? Do you tend to cry legalism whenever one of your beloved activities is mentioned as questionable? Are you willing to bring every thought and deed to the light in order to see if they have been done in God?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Those Polluted Piggies

For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
2 Peter 2:18-22

This is one of the classic Arminian texts used to dispel the notion of eternal security. They claim that those who do not remain faithful to Christ are in danger of being damned again and forfeiting the right to eternal life that was once their possession.

But trying to keep something I could not earn or deserve by my own faithfulness seems like nothing more than a disguised cloak of works-salvation; for if I can do anything to lose it, then I must ultimately do something to gain it.

The scriptures are abundantly clear that salvation is a free gift, neither earned or deserved and based in no way upon our own merit. That being said, why would the Lord promise something we must endeavour to keep? No this text must be dealing with something else.

Perhaps the key to understanding this passage is to know what Peter means by "escaping the pollution in the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". I doubt Peter was referring to some eco-friendly Jesus who could cleanse away the filth of carbon emissions and the like.

Let me ask you the reader these two questions:

a. What does it mean to escape the pollution in the world?

b. What does through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ mean?

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Price of Sin

Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”
Matt 9:2-6a (NKJV)

While we know that Jesus was indeed God in the flesh (incarnate) and therefore had all power as a member of the Godhead, was not the forgiveness of sins the reason He came to die on the cross? Which of the following options do you think is most applicable in this situation?

1. Since He was God He was able to forgive the sins of whomever He wished. That is His prerogative.

2. Jesus knew that this man was one of the elect for whom He was going to die anyway, and therefore gave him an advance on His forgiveness.

3. He did it just to spite the Pharisees and show them that forgiveness does not come by keeping the law or being self-righteous.

4. He wanted to reveal His oneness with the Father by doing miracles of power that could only be attributed to God.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Perseverance of False Professors

The Calvinistic doctrine of Perseverance teaches that all believers will endure to the end in good works and fruit bearing. The idea that they will persevere is because the Holy Spirit will enable or direct them to continued fruit in their lives. This teaching is coupled with the doctrine of election which states that God has chosen the individuals who will be saved from before the foundation of the world and none of them will be lost, neither will any others be added to their numbers.

Assuming this to be true, what does it matter whether or not someone professes Christ but is indeed a "false convert"? If they were meant to be elect their salvation will indeed be genuine while those who were predestined to be damned will remain in the delusion of a "spurious" profession.

Ray Comfort states that 90% of professions are false. That may be the case in California and other parts of the US, BUT is hardly the case in nations where the Church is severely persecuted and mocked. What possible reason would a person have to pretend to trust Christ if they would risk their life for doing so? Why would anyone give up the comforts of life and pleasure unless they realized that a greater threat than physical death was imminent?

IF these doctrines are indeed true as many affirm, then what is the issue with haggling over requirements for salvation? The elect will get saved - end of story.

IF the number of the elect is already fixed and unchangeable, how should we as Christians be living and what should be our priorities in life?

A Tale of Two Servants

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.


But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.' So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.


When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”


Matt 18:23-35 (ESV)


This parable gives the contrast between two servants and the debts they owed. The first one owed an enormous debt to the king while the second owed a minuscule amount in comparison to his fellow servant.


A few questions for consideration:


Does anyone dispute that both of these servants depicted here signify believers in Christ?


What does it mean to be delivered to the torturers?


Did the first servant "losing" his master's forgiveness imply a loss of salvation? How could he possibly remedy his grevious situation?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Concerning The Elect

The Bible has many verses in the New Testament that refer to the elect. My question to you dear reader is the following;

Does the elect refer to a corporate group of people or individuals? Or can it include both groups?

The Origin of Sin

Do you believe man was born with a sinful nature? Is the reason all men have sinned because all men were born in sin?

Is this what is referred to as Original Sin?

I am curious, can you think of any verses that would prove man is born with a sinful nature?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

This Is A Faithful Saying

"For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He will also deny us.
If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself."

2 Timothy 2:11-13

I will start with the premise that Paul is referring to believers again in this text. He starts off by stating that "if we die with Him, we shall also live with Him". I think we could all agree that baptism expressly typifies this relationship with the Lord Jesus in that we were crucified, buried, and raised to new life with Him through regeneration (not baptismal regeneration but being born again by the Holy Spirit).

The next verse states that "if we endure, we shall also reign with Him". The very presence of the word "if" obviously denotes a possibility of not enduring. Thus the reigning is contingent upon our endurance.

Now here is where we segway into the previous post about denying the Lord. What exactly this means is I think open to clarification but it does seem to infer that the Lord will deny in someway those who have denied Him.

And finally His faithfulness is not reliant upon our continued faithfulness for He cannot deny Himself. I find comfort in that statement as I know He upholds the promises of His word regardless of my failures and weakness.

Comments?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

False Teachers

"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction."

2 Peter 2:1

The ultimate sign of any false teacher is the denial of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. This is the capstone of heretical wickedness which God, according to this verse, will not tolerate for long.

Yet as I was reading this verse a certain portion caught my attention:

..."even denying the Lord who bought them"...

What does this mean to you? Does it not imply that these same false teachers were actually saved as they had been bought by the Lord? I know of only one way in which the Lord Jesus Christ has bought people, and that is through His shed blood as a ransom for our sins.

The following verse states that the way of truth will be blasphemed because many have followed their destructive ways. Is this not the case today? Yet I have heard repeatedly that these ones are the false sheep or goats and not actually true converts. They have made a profession but their faith was not genuine.

Now I am not denying the fact that their are doubtless multitudes who have been deceived into thinking they have eternal life simply because of some action on their part. However, this verse is dealing not with the followers but with the teachers.

So my dear reader; what does it mean to be bought by the Lord? Is it possible that a true child of God could teach damnable heresy even to the point of denying Christ?

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Guide To Calvinism

Have you ever wanted a concise guide to understanding the teachings and definitions behind Calvinism? Well Kevin Jackson over at Seekadoo has put together a fairly comprehensive list for us.

Calvinist Dictionary

If one laughs at this list does this ultimately mean he is not a true Calvinist?

On the flipside, the kind gentlemen at Triablogue have put together a dictionary to better understand Arminianism, albeit with much tongue involved.

Arminian Dictionary

Christian vs. Secular

Have you ever noticed that many christians will exercise great discernment when it comes to theological matters concerning doctrines. They are quick to dismiss preachers, teachers, and those who espouse certain doctrines they deem unbiblical or heretical and yet the same people seemingly lack the same care in the choice of their music.

How is it that so many who call themselves Calvinist can swallow the lyrics of secular and contemporary Christian music so easily? Much of this current music would be fairly Arminian in nature and yet it seems to pass through the doctrine filters rather effortlessly. Have you noticed this dichotomy as well?

Also, what is your opinion on the sensuality of christian singers? Do you think it is ok to sound exactly like the world in the praise of our Saviour?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Attention Publishers & Authors

McClay Design is looking to create some new book covers and as such is taking submissions. Do you have an idea for a book? Perhaps you are working on a manuscript and need a cover design, or maybe you know someone who is going to publish soon. Whatever the case Matt would appreciate any creative ideas you have.

McClay Design

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May Be More Posts This Month

My oldest boy starting playing soccer last week. First game (12-0) for other team. Second game (8-0) for the other team. My boy managed to find the positive in that and stated "we were getting better". After two games the team was dissolved for lack of players and my son was assigned to another team.

Third game (1-0) for the other team. But wow it was almost fun watching them play. Anyways it's amazing how much fun you can have chasing a round ball across the field for an hour.

If you haven't commented on my last post please be kind enough to leave a suggestion for future topics.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Token April Post

Just so y'all know I'm still alive.

Now, if any still reads this blog what sort of topics would you like to see from me? Which subjects should I engage and confront?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who Nailed Christ To The Cross?

One of the popular worship songs in the past 20 years called "Our God Reigns" states the following in the third verse.

It was our sin and guilt that bruised and wounded Him
It was our sin that brought Him down
When we like sheep had gone astray our Shepherd came
And on His shoulders bore our shame


According to the doctrine of Limited Atonement, Christ died only for the elect and only their sins were paid for on the cross. If that is the case would it not make sense that those who will go to hell are not guilty of Christ's death since their sins were not laid upon His shoulders? They cannot be held liable for His death since it was only the sins of the elect He bore? Does that make sense?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What About Israel?

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Thus says the Lord,
Who gives the sun for a light
by day,
The ordinances of the moon
and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The Lord of hosts is His name):

If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.”

If heaven above can be measured,
and the foundation of the
earth searched out beneath,
I will also cast off all the seed
of Israel
for all that they have done,
says the Lord.

Jeremiah 31:33-37

These verses were given to Israel by the prophet Jeremiah shortly before the Chaldean's overthrew Jerusalem, capturing king Zedekiah and his sons, and utterly pillaging the city.

Scripture makes it abundantly clear that God has not forsaken His people Israel forever, but through all their judgment and scattering, they would still one day be brought back to their land.

Many Christian theologians over the past centuries have tried to teach a doctrine whereby God was finished with Israel forever and had instead replaced them with the Church. In doing so they have tried to make the prophecies towards Israel fit with the Kingdom of heaven and the Church age of today. No doubt this has been responsible for much of Christendom's anti-semitic attitude. Jews have been labeled Christ killers, and slurred with other horrific epithets.

God is saving for Himself a remnant of national Israel who will one day be fully restored to Him and thereby fulfill the prophecies of Jeremiah and others who have spoken of Israel's future to come. How then should we as Christians respond to the Jewish race? I believe they are in as much need of a Saviour today as we the gentiles are and therefore we must be willing to pray for them and preach the gospel of Christ to them. In the kingdom of heaven there is only one category of constituent; those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and are walking in the robes of Christ's righteousness.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Authority of Theologians

When it comes to the matter of authority, there are as many opinions as there are people. In fact in the world we live in, absolute authority is often despised and scorned. We have been led to believe that as the general public we have the ability to choose our leaders and decide what laws we will make and adhere to. But when we begin to discuss Biblical authority and the role of leadership in the Church we soon realize that God has given specific instructions on how we are to relate to Him and and His Body, the Church.

First of all let me emphasize clearly that when we use the word Church we are primarily referring to the spiritual union of God with His called out ones, who have been washed and cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and are now indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. All persons that have been born again by the living and abiding word of God are members of the body of Christ which is His bride. The basis for this membership is a spiritual union with Christ. That being said, there is obviously a physical and earthly aspect to the Church. When God's people gather together to worship, pray, and fellowship, we define this as the Church getting together. We do not “go to church”, “meet at a church”, or “join a church”. Rather we meet with the Church and as the Church. Our corporate gatherings are the gatherings of the Church.

What The Church Is Not

Contrary to much of our popular terminology today, the Church is not a building. Neither is it a denomination, nor an institutionalized collection of localities or assemblies. Christ has one body, and members worldwide belong to that one body, His Church. In this aspect the word catholic (universal) is accurate. The expression of Christ's body is that of the local Church, or local assembly of God's people.

Now the question I want to ask you is this. How does the Church today determine who has authority to define doctrine, practice, and teaching? Is there a basis for hierarchal authority in the Church outside of a locality? What are the limits of the elders authority?


The answer seems fairly clear from scripture. Elders (pastors and teachers) have the charge over their local assembly and beyond that do not carry much authority. As an apostle Paul wrote to many churches with authority, but few in the Church today would admit to any apostolic ministry or office still in existence.

So how do we decide what a Church will belief, teach, and practice. From what I have seen many Christians choose to follow their favorite theologians over the elders and pastors of their local church. Do these theologians really have any grounds for the authority they presume? Of course many of them have been pastors and teachers in their respective churches and from those ministries have brought forth many writings that edify, encourage, and exhort the larger body of Christ. Still, do these theologians at large have the right to dictate doctrine for us today?

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you". Heb 13:17

From this verse we see the importance of understanding who it is we must submit to. Who is it that has the rule over us in the Church? I submit to you that there is no authority in the Church above the local rule of the elders, and this only in accordance with the truth of God's Word and the Spirit of God.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Similar but Not?

I have been asked to do a post on "how Catholics are the same as Protestants". While I agree there are similarities when you take the generic meaning of protestant into account, my premise is that the differences between the true child of God and Catholicism are so large as to mitigate any attempts at unity or cohesion.

Anyways here are some of the similarities I see between Protestants and Catholics.

- Both groups rely heavily on extra Biblical authority and interpretation.
- Both groups have persecuted opposers.
- Both groups have created un-Biblical levels of hierarchy and authority.
- Both groups have made heads of state the leaders of their institutions.
- Both groups deny the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice for sins on the cross.

Ok, those are just a few. What are your thoughts? Now don't be shy, but please remember to be civil.

Cultural Reformation

It seems one of the big thoughts amongst the Christian community today is that of affecting change in society. Everything from recycling and environmentalism to combating human traffickers and drug pushers has taken center stage.

But truth be told, America's efforts at creating a brave new world in other countries has left its own nation in social shambles. If one is honest, they will have to admit that rather that making progress against the evils of society, the church has consistently lost ground and influence for more than four decades now.

Rather than acknowledging this fact, churches and para-church organizations have doubled their efforts to appear hip, cool, and ultra relevant. They have made environmentalism, climate change, gay rights, and many other social issues the mandate of their ministry. No where is this more evident than in the mainline liberal denominations. All these endeavors are done in the name of love and for the unity and peace of civilization. But at what cost?

The sacrifice of truth is a huge price to pay in order to remain influential. This is precisely what has happened in much of today's Christianity. The humanistic notions of "tolerance", "diversity", and "relativism" have replaced the Biblical truths of inerrancy, justice, and divine authority. And rather than getting the change they have envisioned, we are seeing the opposite; eroding family values, lack of respect for authority, massive public immorality, decreased protection of the innocent by immoral laws, decreased fear of God and judgment, and many other similar things.

What is the remedy? Is it theology? Is it more education? Is it greater governmental regulations and control?

No!

The answers lies between the dusty covers of the Bible most Americans own. The truth of God's word is as relevant and effective in today's culture as the day it was penned under the inspiration of a divine and omniscient God. The gospel is the answer to our questions and problems today!

Nothing more and nothing less. To the degree we preach the truth and hold high the banner of Christ, to that degree we will see actual change; both temporal and eternal.

What are you compromising today for the sake of “unity” and “peace”? Is there something you need to repent of and come back to the Word of God as your sole authority and guide?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Are You in The Word?

The more I read in the blogosphere the more I am convinced that we as God's people are neglecting a profoundly simple practice. Let me explain.

I have come to realize that all of us are guided in our lives by something called presuppositions. We understand things to be a certain way and therefore act accordingly. What is more striking however is that many of our presuppositions have little to do with the Word of God directly and are more often than not filtered through either the writings or teachings of a pastor, theologian, or doctrinal statement.

It seems we are not placing ample weight on the pure word of God alone. Why do I say that?

Well first of all, many times our responses to a theological question contain philosophical tones that do not align with Biblical texts. We like to juxtapose Biblical clich├ęs with our notions and the lines become blurred.

I have found that many have not arrived at their conclusions solely based on scriptural study but have been "guided" to their answers from the influence of mentors and peers. This is probably most unavoidable as Bobby Grow likes to reiterate.

That being the case, are we willing to re-evaluate our positions when confronted with substantial Biblical proof that we may be incomplete in our answer? Are we open to correction? Do we have a teachable spirit?

I appreciate Daniel's posts over at Doulogos because he is a man that demonstrates this principle often and most humbly. Further, he is faithful to give detailed explanations of his views with excellent scriptural support allowing me to see how he arrived at his conclusions. While I have not always agreed with him 100%, his method of analysis allows me to understand why he believes what he does and causes me to better evaluate my own positions.

How much time do you spend in God's word seeking not only answers to your questions, but more importantly the person of Christ. I will confess that I fall short in this area.



Thursday, March 06, 2008

A New Addition

Two weeks ago my wife and I welcomed a new son into our family. His name is Bradley Daniel and he was a nice weight of 8lbs. 6ozs.

So as you can guess this makes us quite busy now. I am still hoping to keep this blog alive and kicking. It seems I am becoming more controversial in my comments and posts lately. Am I really that far from mainstream in my thinking? What do you guys think?

What topics should I engage in future posts?

If you would like to see a picture of the feller drop me a comment and I will send you an email.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Was it Vain?

I was reading in Isaiah this morning and came to this verse:

"For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is no other."
Isaiah 45:18

The phrase that stood out to me was "who did not create it in vain". What exactly does that mean? Well at first glance it seems like obviously God had a purpose in creating the earth, and the verse goes on to say the purpose is inhabitation. Case closed right. But why use the word vain? Was there a deeper explanation?

I checked up the Hebrew word for vain - tohuw (tohoo). This word literally means a waste or desolation as in the sense of destruction. So God did not create the earth to be a waste land. Ok fine, he created it for the purpose of being inhabited.

However, what is really interesting is that this same Hebrew word is used in Genesis 1:2.

"The earth was without form (tohuw), and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."

Here another word is also used to describe the earth; void. The Hebrew for void is Bohuw (bohoo) which carries the meaning of either vacuous or an undistinguishable ruin. So to paraphrase Gen 1:2, the earth was a desolate wasteland and beyond recognition.

So my question is; If God did not create the earth this way, how did it end up like this in the second verse of the Bible? Was there something that occurred after verse one?

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Republic

There is a common misconception today that America is a great democracy. This is really only a half truth. Democracy itself is only a small part of the picture in the overall fabric of how government functions.

More accurately, America is a functioning Republic in danger of becoming a democracy. Why do I say that? Precisely because if you understand the process of how a democracy works you begin to realize it is not a static condition. Rather democracy is a transitional stage between two other forms of government.

Self governance is in fact the most difficult of systems to maintain. Man is by his selfish and fearful nature given to seeking protection and ease. The result of this is an exchange of freedom and finances for security and provisions.

The danger of a purely democratic system is that it ultimately reduces to mob rule; 50 +1 % = majority.

The American Constitution was written to ensure that certain inalienable rights were granted to each of it's citizens. These rights were in fact stated to be given by God and therefore not subject to the whim of a fickle electorate. Furthermore, the signers of this constitution stated that this form of government would only work if the people themselves were of moral and upright character. It would be wholly unsuitable to any other.

When Benjamin Frankin emerged from the signing of the constitution he was asked by a lady, "what have you given us?". His reply was, "A Republic, if you can keep it".

As I mentioned earlier a democracy is simply a transititional stage between two forms of government. If we simply resort to becoming "democratic" in our laws and actions rather than realizing that there are certain laws given by God and not subject to man's alteration we can maintain the equilibrium.

However, the end of all runaway democracies is an oligarchy; rule by a few. Be careful you are not exchanging your freedom and privacy for your security.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Our Sovereign God

It seems the sovereignty of God is used to explain much of what happens in the world today. I do not doubt that God is sovereign. Being sovereign denotes having ultimate power and authority. Rulers of empires were said to be sovereign and indeed they do represent a picture of God's infinite worth as the true King of kings and Lord of lords.

So my question for you today is this: If God is truly sovereign why do so many godly men disagree on so many issues? Why are there so many differing views from the leading theologians and scholars of our day and history?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fair Tax?

Does that sound like an oxymoron? Maybe not, after all don't we all need to pay taxes in order to keep our societies functioning properly? What do you make of the new Fair Tax iniative and would it be a practical plan to deal with the current loopholes used by predominantly wealthy individuals and corporations?

Fair Tax

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And The Nomination Is...

After much deliberation and thought, Faith Classics has chosen to throw its support and endorsement behind presidential contender Mike Huckabee.

MikeHuckabee.com - I Like Mike!

How Do You Study Scripture?

How we arrive at a theological conclusion can be the most amusing and intriguing study. I have noticed that there are several well used and typical ways in which folks will come to a conclusion on Biblical matters.

So I am going to give you what I think are some of the most common methods currently in use. These would be ways in which the laymen and theologian (serious Biblical scholar) arrive at an answer to the Bible's most challenging subjects.

1. Pastor Said So it Must be True

Their motto would be, "Pastor said it so that settles it". This is probably the most common reason given by those who are the laziest of Bible readers. Rather than give any effort to become a Berean they simply take whatever the pastors says as gospel truth. Of course this is also one reason there is so much church shopping today.

2. The Historical Approach

Another way to arrive at answers to Biblical questions is to take the theologians from history and lump them into groups. The largest group must be right so therefore their conclusions are adopted. Another name for this approach is called the traditional view.

3. My Favorite Expositor View

This approach is similar to #1 except that the pastor of preference is usually found on television or the radio. There can be a number of favorites and they usually teach similar things. You will find an advocate of this view constantly referring to their hero by saying, "This is what so and so believes and teaches", or "I believe what ______ believes".

4. God Spoke to Me

This is probably the most dangerous method of Biblical interpretation because it relies on an emotional feeling rather than scriptural fact. This excuse has been used to rationalize everything from murder and divorce to church splits and cultist heresy. Adherents to this view typically place extreme emphasis upon the spoken and written teaching of a man or woman while using the Bible to justify their behavior.

5. Square Peg in Round Hole

This view sees the reader attempt to make the Bible agree with his or her presuppositions and established beliefs. Often they will go to great lengths to stretch the meaning of certain passages or read into a text a totally different interpretation. This is probably the most common method of Biblical interpretation and many unknowingly are guilty. We could also label this as the Blind Spot Doctrine or as some like to say, legalism.

6. Intellectual Rationalism

Man is a clever creature and it seems the more learning we accumulate the less we esteem the inspired word of God. Proverbs tells us that knowledge can puff up, and pride prohibits us from looking at the Bible in a humble and honest way. This view attempts to make scripture fit with science and rationalism rather than the reverse. Wisdom is using knowledge in its God intended role to properly interpret and apply scripture. God's Word will always agree with true empirical science. This view also attempts to reduce God to a formula. They like to say if A + B = C, then D must be____. This attempt at making logic trump faith reduces doctrine and theology to an intellectual pursuit and is primarily the reason so many seminaries have gone liberal.

7. I Studied the Bible and This is What I Saw

This last method is where we should all start. Simply reading and praying are crucial to our receiving of revelation from God. God is light and as we abide in His presence He grants us insights into His character and person.

There are obviously problems that can arise from using this method only. Even the apostle Paul after 14 years of personal study wanted to make sure his doctrine and beliefs were correct. He went to Jerusalem to seek out the fellowship of the top apostles but found that they added nothing to what He had already received. Furthermore he had to rebuke them on occasion for their return to law keeping.

I have seen many sincere readers begin their search in God's word but end up adopting method #3 - the favorite expositor. There is a lot of pressure to fit into a group and be affirmed by man. This often leads to us compromising our convictions for the sake of acceptance. Those who are extreme in their use of method #3 ultimately become parrots. They can speak wonderful truths and doctrines but do not have the reality of actually experiencing it for themselves. Their knowledge is second hand and this becomes evident in the dryness of their words and actions.

Summary

There is nothing wrong with confirming what we believe by checking with wise teachers, pastors, theologians, etc. In fact we should be doing that to make sure we are not holding some strange heretical view. However, be careful that you do not quench the Spirit by putting man's teaching above God's inspired and operative Word. Become like the Bereans who examine the scriptures daily to see if these things be so.

Alright, your turn. Do you have another method of interpretation that I missed? Do you agree? Disagree? How do you study the Bible and arrive at answers to the tough questions?




Repentance - not turning from your sins

If the title leaves you intrigued I encourage you to read the article Terry Rayburn has written over at Grace for Life. I think he did an excellent job of explaining Repentance and it's ramifications.

Let me know what you thought...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Link

I would like to introduce a friend who has recently starting blogging. Matt McClay is a graphic designer and writer with ideas that simply ooze out of his cranium. His take on life is fresh and unique (part of being a creative I guess).

Anyways please stop by and leave him a welcoming comment.

http://mattmcclay.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Powerful Testimony

Is this not a picture of NT forgiveness? Read the article.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A New Religion

I couldn't say it much better myself. Ron Gray of the Christian Heritage Party explains this week why secularism is more than the absence of religion.

BC MLAs, rewriting the School Act in 1986, mandated that public education should be Secular. Why? Apparently they didn’t understand that Secularism is a religion—arguably one of the most bigoted of all faiths, exceeded in virulence only by Taliban/Wahabbi Islam. These share with Secularism the goal of extirpating every other religion—the radical Islamists by roadside and suicide bombs, the militant Secularists by legislation and substituting indoctrination for education.

So far, militant Secularists seem to be having even more success than militant Muslims, at least in the West; however, both are re-shaping our world—for the worse.

BC’s legislative blunder didn’t really take effect until two decades later, when a Provincial Supreme Court judge decreed that—according to the statute written in 1986—moral preferences of parents cannot be considered by the local school board when choosing textbooks for students, if those preferences were influenced by the parents’ faith.

It didn’t matter which religion—Sikh, Christian, Muslim, Jewish—all were beyond the pale... except, of course, Secularism—that was mandated by law!

These three factors define Secularism as a religion:
• Secularism has a world-view: it is Naturalism, which declares that there is nothing beyond what can be seen and measured. According to Secularism and Naturalism (like Buddhism) there is no God; or if there is, He/she/it is irrelevant to humanity—we have “outgrown” any consideration of the spiritual dimension of life, they say.
• Secularism has a Scripture: Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection; or the survival of the most-favoured races. This has recently been supplemented by a spate of demonstrably un-scientific books written by radical anti-God “scientists” and science writers, like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Richard Lewontin.
• Secularism has a priesthood: university professors train public-school teachers in a philosophy rooted in Naturalism, and teach them to be “change agents” in the classroom, working to overturn custom and tradition.

And now, Secularism has its own temples: the publicly-funded schools where our children are systematically indoctrinated in the dogmas of Canada’s new ‘official religion’. How ironic that so many “believing Christians”—MPs, MPPs, MNAs and MLAs, mis-educated in the tax-funded ‘public’ education system so that they don’t understand the difference between ‘non-sectarian’ and ‘secular’—now have a primary role in dedicating and supporting these temples!

You can find more information about the CHP on their website.