Showing posts from May, 2012

Being offended at God

I've known so many people who are offended at God.
They've never said it like that before, but that's what they are. Offended. I know what it's like. I've been offended by Him too.
Remember the time John the Baptizer (not "the Baptist," John didn't commence the first denomination) was put in prison for denouncing Herod's marriage? John is stuck in prison, apart from his family and friends, with plenty of time to reflect on his life. Sitting there in silence, smelling the refuse around his feet, John probably began to ponder: "Is Jesus the Messiah or not? If he is, what in the world am I doing in here? Are we not cousins? Is he not talking about God's reign of deliverance? Didn't I baptize that guy? Why am I still in here? What's he waiting on?!"
Of course, I don't know exactly what John was thinking. Yet, I bet he thought something close to this because of what happened. In Matthew 11, we hear:
"Now when John heard i…

Some questions from an atheist to a former student of mine

Hey Cullen,
I thank you much for your questions. I was elated and surprised to learn that you’re reading other literature (e.g., On Guard). I think it’s great!
I’ll respond to each one below. Of course, speaking in person might be more fruitful, but I’ll still give some comments in case they help.
*(Atheist) How do we prove that in addition to being historically correct, the Bible also entails sound and "the right" doctrine? These issues go together. Since Jesus did exist, did teach the things He taught, was killed and resurrected, then we have every reason to assume that deity-in-flesh taught us “right” doctrine. If He was a liar, mistaken, or lunatic, then of course, it’s not “right” doctrine at all. Now, it’s crucial to remember that the Church has never, ever believed that every word in the Old Testament is to be applied in the Christian’s life. This was debated within the first few years of the church’s life (see Acts 11). As we spoke about this in Biblical ethics, they br…

The role of pastors and music leaders

I was listening to a well-respected preacher on the radio the other day. He sounded very "Baptist" -- long, slow vowels when saying "G-o-d," raising and lowering his voice frequently to sound dramatic, and other such tricks. He is dead now, but at the time, he was the leader of a large congregation. He would wear nice, expensive suits. His messages were based, in general, upon the Bible.

I must have seen a hundred similar preachers in my lifetime. I know that there are people who are very well-known for their preaching ability. When I was in my Masters, I remember several professors speaking of people like Tom Long as almost superhuman (Tom Long is a respected preacher and has written books on the subject).

I was raised hearing all my life that the reason we dress up on Sundays is because we are giving God our very best. I remember when a former Pastor of mine called for a "casual Sunday" once a year. I always wanted to ask him, "What gives you the aut…

The Truth of the Matter

There’s a Reba McEntire song called, “What Do You Say?” that has a line that is repeated several times:  “Just close your eyes and let your heart lead the way.” She’s talking about knowing what to say in difficult situations, but that line really stood out to me. It reminded of nearly every person I’ve met in my life.

Part of the major attractions of Post-modernism is that fact that deconstructionalism (i.e., the attempt to dismantle any sense of “absolutes” in reality, truth, etc.) attempts to make everything relative. Therefore, if truth is not the standard, but a preference, then I get to decide what I consider truth to be. Isn’t this great? We no longer have to say things like, “we all know that’s wrong or right,” or “that’s not fair.” We can only say, “that does not keep the societal preferences.” There is no “true religion,” there is only what you do and what I do, and that’s all about personal preference.  Truth is gone; now we have preferences. It’s like we’ve handed in Truth …

Struggling with suffering and pain: Paul's response

I have always been struck by Saul’s testimony of what he endured as a God-sent apostle of Jesus. In an effort to defend his apostleship in the face of certain persons at Corinth who claimed otherwise, Saul retorted that he was just as Jewish and Christian as any other leader.

“22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one- I am talking like a madman- with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through ma…