Andy in Flight

I remember the first time I got to fly in a plane. I was traveling with my grandmother up to Little Rock and we were flying aboard a big jetliner, at least it was big to me. I wanted to sit next to the window so I could take in every bit of the flight. I don’t remember much about the flight, but I do remember that I was excited for days before the flight actually took place.

I imagine Andy’s excitement Saturday morning as we boarded my father’s Cherokee Piper for a short flight over the Texas countryside. Andy had to make a choice for Saturday morning. He could either ride Birthday Girl, Pop’s aging horse, or go up in Pop’s airplane. He chose the airplane after much deliberation. As he put it, he got to spend time with Birthday Girl on Friday evening when he helped Pops round her up and put her in the stall for the night. He had never been in Pop’s plan. He actually has, but he was about 4 at the time and just doesn’t remember it. In fact, while sitting in the back seat on that flight, he fell asleep.

Three years makes a difference. He couldn’t wait to go flying Saturday morning. Not that he was so excited that I had to peel him off the walls or anything like that. He was handling his excitement and the trip very well. He was listening to us and patient as Pops rolled the plane out of the hangar. He was amazed at Pops’ strength too. He waited to hop up on the wings, and then listened to the instructions once inside the plane. He even allowed me to put the ear plugs in his ears, which he didn’t like, but wore them nonetheless. He wanted to go flying.

Flying with my Dad is always a joy because I trust him as a safe pilot.  All my life he has been interested in boats, tractors and now planes. Since I was a small boy I have watched him handle such vehicles with the utmost of care. I grew up in Houston, and just about every other weekend we were down in Galveston where my Dad kept his boats. The first one that I remember was the Velda Rose. The next was the Roebuck, and after that, the Oleek. With each boat, safety was always a priority and making sure the boasts were sea-worthy was never far behind. He took safety seriously, especially given that we had seen so many boating accidents that could have been avoided with just a tad bit of safety. That is why he took the essentials courses from the Power Squadron and was a member for years. He was going to do everything he could to keep us safe.

My father applies the same principles to flying. He didn’t start flying until he was 72 years old, and got his license by the time he was 74. Safety is everything. He follows the pre-flight check list to the letter. He is going to do everything he can to make sure we have a safe flight and get back down on the ground.

That is one reason why I have no reservations about flying with my Dad. At 81 years old, he is still just as fit and safe flying as he was with his boats so many years ago.

We sat on the tarmac while he went through the check list. I listened into the radio chatter on the head phones and noted the increase in planes coming in for a landing. The tower attributed the increase to “lunch time.”

After things were ready, we taxied to the end of the run way and watched as plane after plane landed. It wasn’t bad, but enough that my Dad made a quip about not beting able to get off the ground until sundown. The tower quipped back “Gene you have to get earlier in the morning than this.”

No call sign. Just his first name. That’s how well the people at the airport know him. He’s Gene. I couldn’t help but chuckle. When my Dad throws himself into something, he does it with both feet and does it well. That means knowing as many people as he can at the airport, especially those in the tower. I should have expected that.

The last plane landed and we saw our window. He increased the throttle and we crept out onto the runway. Sitting in the front seat gave me direct view of the runway. I could hear him call into the tower stating his intentions. With all things clear, he gave the engine full throttle and we moved forward much quicker than I anticipated. Within seconds I expected the wheels to lift off the runway. A few more seconds and we popped up off the runway and were air borne. That is what I admire in Dad’s Cherokee. It doesn’t take much to get up to speed and to lift off.

I turned around to see Andy in the back. He was grinning and gave me the pilot’s thumbs up! He was loving it as much as I was.

Then the bottom dropped out. We hit an air pocked and dropped a few feet. Nothing serious, just enough to give me that roller coaster thrill. Those of you who know me, know I don’t like roller coasters or the thrill they produce. Since we were so late in getting up in the air, the afternoon thermals were upon us. Dad says no pilot likes the thermals. Thermals make for a bumpy ride and bumpy rides in airplanes are not a lot of fun. We climbed to 2,500 feet and settled in for the flight. We were going to head over to I-10 in the El Campo area, turn around and come back. Just a short 45 minute flight in all. But then there were those thermals.

After about 15 minutes, my Dad made the suggestion that we head back to the airport. The thermals would do nothing but get worse until later in the day. I quickly agreed. Not that he couldn’t handle the thermals. But if we got enough of them, I didn’t want to get motion sickness.

It is one thing to take off in an airplane. It’s quite another landing it. It’s actually a controlled fall. Dad made the huge arc to come in line with the runway. He was coming in a bit hot, a little too high and a bit fast. But the good thing about the Brenham airport, there is plenty of runway and the Cherokee Piper doesn’t need much.

The runway grew larger and larger and when I expect the wheels to touch down, I had to wait a few more seconds. The plane touched down and the tribulation of the tires catching up with the speed vibrated the plane. Dad did just fine. It was a short, uneventful flight, exactly what every pilot wants.

Andy loved it. Up until that point, it was his favorite event of our Father/Son weekend together in Texas. I’m glad he enjoyed it. I think he will remember it for the rest of his life, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Roundup That Matters 5/28

Obama Stands For Islam — but then, are we surprised about this? He is anti-First Amendment in his stance. People slander Jesus Christ all the time and yet, you don’t see Christians rioting and killing people over it. Only the religion of peace does that.

Divorce Rate Among Devoted Christians Much Lower Than National Average — For years we have been hearing that the divorce rate among Christians was just as bad as that among non-Christians… at 50 percent. That stat is erroneous and misleading in nature as well. But there is a new study out showing that those who are devoted Christians actually have a lower divorce rate than those non-believers. Here the key poing:

People who seriously practice a traditional religious faith—whether Christian or other—have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population.

What the study shows is that the more a couple is committed to their beliefs, the less likely they are to become divorced.

Gloria Jackson Show — I like the following video from the Gloria Jackson Show. She interviews Comedian Brad Stine about freedom of speech. The more I listened to it the more I like Brad Stine. Not only does he discuss the problem of Marxism and political correctness, but he goes on to talk about the true equality we have because of Christ and Christianity.

BTW, I actually started paying more attention to Gloria Jackson when I was listening to a debate between a Calvinist and Armenian recently and she was one of the people who asked a question during the Q&A.

Paganini Humor — Another video that I have found very humorous, and entertaining are those put out by PAgagNINI, a couple of violinist who put humor to playing music. The following is one of my favorites in which they cover U2’s With or Without You. It’s beautiful. (Hattip Andrew M.)

And there is this rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon in D


Tender Mercies

I love Paul’s words to the Colossians and our need to put on tender mercies:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

This is a clear reminder of who we are to be “in Christ.” We are to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and longsuffering. These do not come to us by nature, since our nature is contrary to the things of God. But they do come to us after we have become born again in Christ. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, but not a faith that is alone and these are fruits of the Spirit that we are to pursue as new creations in Christ.

Paul puts it to us in a way that reflects our responsibility as believers. We are “put on” these things. AS we grow in Christ and the knowledge of Him, the more we reflect these realities in our lives. This implies pursuing these things and chasing after them. When we read these words, we should not only desire them, but pursue them, putting them on as we put off the elements of the flesh that so ensnare us, just as Paul warned us in 3:8ff

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Only believers can put off these things. Only believers have been equipped to do so and only believers have been given the desire. All others are slaves to the flesh and to death. While a non-believer may desire the peace found in Christ, He does not desire Christ. Only true believers desire Him and the benefits of being in Him.

Andy on the Bridge

I took some time off last week so that I could spend some time with Andy, my 7-year-old son. I bought tickets to the Texas A&M -South Carolina State game in order to take him and give him a taste of being a part of Aggieland. Some might question my motives, but let’s just assume my motives are pristine and clean like the wind-driven maroon and white snow.

Before we could go to the game, we had to make the 12-hour trek across Texas to my father’s home in Brenham, Texas (see the photo in the banner of this blog). Since I wasn’t feeling well, I decided to break up the drive to my father’s abode. We stopped in Waco, TX for the night on Thursday, which gave us time to kill on Friday morning. My plan: take Andy to the Dr. Pepper Museum and the Texas Rangers Museum (which is dealing with the law enforcement agency, not the sports franchise.)

I also wanted to take Andy to the Waco Suspension Bridge. Driving through Waco for years, it has been a desire to stop and just walk across the bridge while taking a few pictures. Having Andy as my main subject helped. After looking at the pictures with Andy and the ones without Andy, I like the ones with Andy much better. He gives me a great excuse to take pictures. He also encourages me to take photos of the important things as well: like the turtles in the water, the ducks swimming in the Brazos River and the Geese sunning themselves along the bank. I’ve taken pictures of wildlife before, but only because I lacked a better subject.

As for the bridge itself, it was rather boring once we got there. Basically it was a hot structure that went across a green river and lacked anything really to offer in the way of interest, besides the turtles in the water. There were three homeless men sitting on a bench at the entrance to the bridge. I thought about taking a picture of them with the following caption in mind: “t.u. Grads.” But I really didn’t want to attract their attention.

After walking the bridge, we headed over to the Dr. Pepper Museum where we paid $12 for both of us to enter into a museum all about Dr. Pepper. In fact, one of Andy’s complaints was just that: “All they have in here is Dr. Pepper!” I was hoping that it would enhance his appreciation for the soft drink, but for the rest of the week, every time he saw an ad or a billboard about Dr. Pepper, he would lament “Not Dr. Pepper!”

I tried to tell him about how they made it, about the man who named it after the father of the girl he loved, about the artesian well found on the first floor, about growing up drinking Dr. Pepper, etc. but nothing worked. In fact, when we got into the soda shop where they mixed the sodas right in front of us, he didn’t want a Dr. Pepper, he wanted a Root Beer. I don’t think Andy will ever drink another Dr. Pepper again, much to my chagrin.

I won’t bore you with the details of our excursion to the Texas Rangers Museum. Let’s just say he was more interested in buying snow globe from the visitors shop than he was in anything the Texas Rangers Museum had to offer… unless, it was one of the $35 toy guns from the Rangers gift shop. I wasn’t going to buy him a gun from the gift shop. Not that I’m opposed to toy guns. But I bet I can get a better deal for a better toy gun on line.

True Grit

We watched the 1969 version of True Grit last night, starring John Wayne and Glenn Campbell. After watching the Jeff Bridges version earlier in the year, and then going back to watch the original, I have to ask: why did Jeff Bridges & Company even bother? The John Wayne version, even though it lacked our modern-day intensity, was still the better film. In fact it was one of Wayne’s best films, which is why he won the Oscar for Best Actor.

Given the other options that year, he was the absolute best actor in the best film as well. The only movie most will recognize is Midnight Cowboy in which Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight were both nominated for best actors.

This film still stands today as one that you should own, or at least watch. The lines are classic, well written, and memorable, unlike the tripe that is put forth in so many of our movies today. So much of the movies today are just spin offs of older films and lack any originality. Not so for the 1969 True Grit. Both Wayne and Kim Darby do excellent jobs in playing their characters, with Wayne rising to the occasion just for this movie. He shows why he was that actor that and movie star he was.

He plays the one-eyed fatman to a tee. He is grumpy when he needs to be, drunk when he needs to be, and a man of true grit when push comes to shove. Who can forget the scene when he takes the reins of the horse in his teeth, a rifle in one hand and a revolver in the other and heads off toward Ned Pepper’s Gang (Robert Duvall), guns a-blazing. Wayne was able to pull it off because the actor actually had true grit.

I also appreciate the performances of Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper. While they played the parts of the bad-men, they were not one-dimensional bad men like so many these days. I hate movies where those who portray the wicked, never have doubts about their wickedness, or regrets. Both Duvall and Hopper’s characters show regret even though they are the men who are evil. That adds to the depth of the film.

I don’t wish to detract from Jeff Bridges. Had the film not been made in 1969, he would have been the perfect Rooster Cogburn. But since the movie was so well done in 1969, there was really nothing for Bridges and company to add to the story.

After we watched the movie, we watched the special features which included a portion about John Wayne. One of the commentators mentioned that we need more men with true grit like John Wayne. I couldn’t agree more.

Ha! I’m Not Middle Aged for Another 4 Years!!!

There was a report out on ABC News Radio that says middle age doesn’t start until one reached the age of 55! This means I haven’t reached middle age yet.

Therefore, to all of my congregants, namely Dave and Marie, who gave me such a hard time when I turned 40, back years ago, I respond: Ha! I am NOT middle aged! I won’t be for another 4 years!!! (Does this sound like I have issues?)

The good news for Dave and Marie: you are not old age yet! That will not happen for years, since neither of you are in your 70s yet. Of course, Dave, it will hit you much sooner than it will for the lovely Marie. But the good news yet is that you have yet to hit it according to the new study.

Poet Jackie Hill and JIG-A-BOO

I have to admire Jackie Hill and what she said to her brothers and sisters at this church. It was truly a message every congregation needs to hear. She was addressing blacks and the tendency of some preachers to think they have been preaching because they can sound good. But the same message applies to the white church as well. If what the pastor is saying doesn’t align with what scripture says, then he should not be listened to and should be booted from the pulpit. Jackie is saying that those blacks who continue to listen to such preachers are nothing more than JIG-A -BOOs, but the same message applies to all of us. We are nothing but fakes if we are not looking at what Scripture says, believing in Christ for salvation and tasting true freedom.

Listen to Jackie:

14 Accusations Against Christianity

The following accusations come from Sasha, who was commenting on my Top Reasons Christianity Is Superior to Any other Religion post.  I wondered if she was hurt by a church in my comments there, and here is her response:

No, I wasn’t hurt by a church. I went to a Christian school until 5th grade and loved it. The people are amazing. Just because someone finds illogic in your faith, doesn’t mean they’ve been “hurt.” I’ve been hurt more trying to discover the religion I have now but through an intellectual approach and sincerity, I saw the beauty of it. Christianity doesn’t make sense whatsoever.

I appreciate your kindness and I really wish more Christians were like you. Take care.

So my prayers are that the Spirit will move in her life and she will see the sense of true Christianity over her current religions, which I wonder if she is not a Jehovah’s Witness given her propensity for logic and her copy of the “true word.”

For apologetic purposes, here are my response to her 14 claims (her claims are in bold):

1. Christianity is the only religion where 1=3 and 3=1. Logic? Don’t think so.

This attack is often used by the skeptics of the faith and shows a misunderstanding of what we are saying about the Trinity. It also exalts human reason above the authority of Scripture as the final authority about what is true and not true. When we do this, we are making ourselves out to be gods and sitting in judgment of His word and revelation to us. This is a danger we all fall into when we come to Scripture and assume that something is true or not true based upon our own understanding of that truth.

Is God three in One? Yes, but let’s clarify what we mean by that. The Trinity is God in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but One God. He is One is His essence, in that all three persons of the Godhead are equal in nature, and deity, yet separate in their personhood. Therefore we know that the Father is fully God, the Son is fully God and the Holy Spirit is fully God, but all three are individual in their personhood. All three share in the same attributes but differ in their roles.

Just because we cannot get our minds around this truth does not nullify the truth itself. God is beyond logic and beyond our comprehension. So to say that Christianity is wrong because we cannot understand the God who reveals Himself in Scripture is arrogant on our part. We need to come to Scripture, and God, with a sense of humility admitting that we will never understand that which is beyond our comprehension. Since He has revealed Himself to us as a Triune God, we must accept these truths even though we cannot fathom them. Some might say that this makes God illogical. I’m not saying that at all. He is completely logical, but our minds are unable to grasp Him in this way.

For clarity, let me quote the WCF Larger Catechism on the Trinity:

Q. 7. What is God?

A. God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible,  every where present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

 

Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?

A. There is but one only, the living and true God.

Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?

A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.

Q. 10. What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?

A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son, and to the Son to be begotten of the Father, and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.

Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?

A. The Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names, attributes, works, and worship, as are proper to God only.

2. Christianity is the only religion where their (G)od can be killed by human hands. 

This is true. The Second Person of the Trinity came and dwelt among us as our representative, In order for our debts to be paid, we needed someone who represented us, therefore the One to die on the cross had to be fully human in order to pay that debt for us. Under the Old Testament system the goats and bulls that were sacrificed could not represent us, since they were not human. They merely pointed to the coming of One who would do so.

Another way to understand this is that since we are the sinners, the ones made in the image of God, then the One making that sacrifice would also have to be made in the image of God. By being human, Jesus fully represented us on the cross.

He was also fully God as well. This was so that He could fully bear up under the wrath of God, and more importantly, pay the eternal debt that we owe to God for our sin. We owe an eternal debt to God because we have sinned against One who is an eternal being. This is why no mortal man can pay off that debt with enough good works. How does one pay an eternal debt? We can either pay that debt by serving out our sentence in eternal hell, or we can have an eternal being pay it for us. This is why Jesus was fully God, and fully man. He represented us as the Son of Man, and satisfied the wrath of the eternal Father by being the Son of God.

He graciously chose to lay down His life on our behalf.  The beauty is that He was raised from the dead on the third day as He told us He would be. This shows God’s good pleasure in His Son. In doing so, we know that we have a true and real Savior that can truly save us from our sins.

However Sasha’s statement is also false. While Christ laid down His life on our behalf, the Father did not lay down His life, nor did the Holy Spirit. Did the God-Man die on the cross? Yes He did. Did God die that day? No He did not. We put to death the Savior, but killing the Triune God is an impossibility since we cannot kill that which is eternal.

3. Christianity is the only religion where your sin is automatically forgiven without effort.

Absolutely! We are saved by faith in Christ’s atoning works and not in ourselves, so that we cannot boast, even our faith is a gift from Him (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The problem with the assumption behind Sasha’s statement is that anyone can be forgiven for their sins with effort. This is what sets true Christianity apart from the rest of the religions of the world. All those in other religions are trying to “save” themselves through their own efforts. But our works are considered as filthy rags before the Father because they are tainted with our sin. This is why the unbeliever’s works are unacceptable.

In the Old Testament, the Jews had to offer up sacrifices that were unblemished and perfect. This wasn’t so they could be forgiven. Their sacrifices did not save them, but the sacrifices did point to the One who would save them, and was offered on their behalf without spot or blemish. The requirement that the sacrifice be without spot or blemish was to show the Israelites the necessity of a sinless sacrifice. The sacrifices had to be perfect in order to be acceptable to God. They were intended to paint a picture for the Jews so they could see the sinfulness of sin. Just one spot, or one tiny blemished, rendered the lamb unacceptable.

If our works, given to God, are tainted by sin in the least, they are unacceptable. Since we are all sinful and fallen, we have no works in and of ourselves to give to God to pay the eternal debt of sin we owe to Him.

This is why the Scriptures make it clear that Jesus was without sin. He is the acceptable sacrifice for those who would be saved.

By putting our faith in Him for salvation and forgiveness, His works and righteousness are imputed to us, and our sins are imputed to Him. He pays for our sins, and gives us His righteous works.

No other religion can compare because those in the other religions are sinful and fallen. Every so called “good work” they perform are done in sin, apart from Christ and are unacceptable to the Father. They cannot pay the eternal debt that they owe.

4.Christianity is the only religion where another person (oops sorry. GOD) takes the blame for everyone else’s sins. 

True, but not worded the way I would word it. Christ takes the wrath of God on for the sins of His children. He pays the debt for our sins because He is the only that can do so. (See question 2 above).

No other religion can satisfy God’s wrath. This is why the gospel is the love of God before mankind. He shows us that we are helpless, and then His Son voluntarily comes to earth to do what we cannot do. No other religion can come close to dealing with our sins, or reflecting God’s rich love toward His people.

5. Christianity is the only religion where their prophets were drunkards, adulterous, and incestuous (Noah, David, Lot, respectively).

Yup! The Bible is full of sinners, of which, Jesus came to save. As I like to point out, a majority of the Bible has been written by murderers (Moses, David and Paul). We fully admit that all those in the Scripture are sinful, fallen humans in need of a Savior.

The premise behind Sasha’s statement is wrong. She is presupposing that other religions have sinless leaders, therefore, they are authentic leaders and their religions are more pure. This is a false assumption because no one is sinless, except Christ alone. The men she mentions, Noah, David and Lot, are not in the Bible for us to follow. They were there pointing us to the sinless One to come.

Moses looked forward to Christ’s day, because he knew he needed a Savior. David wrote about THE LORD speaking to HIS LORD and setting up HIS LORD on the throne (Psalm 110). Paul called himself the chief among sinners, and counted all his life as dung, except the reality of knowing Jesus Christ.

Why does the Bible do this? It does this to show that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All are in need of a Savior. All fail to measure up to God’s holy standards, except Jesus HIMSELF, and He willingly laid down His life on the believer’s behalf. He said so Himself. He came to save sinners, not those who thought themselves well.

We do not look to the men of the Bible to be our guide. We look to Christ alone. Only He can save. Only He is worthy of worship. Only Christ is worthy of praise. The men of the Bible, just like we are, have feet of clay, are fallen, and in need of the perfect Savior.

6. Christianity is a religion where the people don’t even know their own scripture because it’s been altered thousands of times to fit their needs.

TRUE and FALSE.

Actually there are two accusations in this one. The first is that Christians don’t know their own Bible. There is truth to that on one hand. Many church goers do not know Scripture. However, those who are truly saved, truly trust in Christ, know God’s word because we know it leads to our spiritual well being. We cannot survive without God’s word…

As for the Bible being altered, this is a false charge. See this post here with Dan Wallace clarifying that the more ancient Greek manuscripts we find, the more certainty we have in the Bible given to us through history. Or as Bruce Metzger puts it, there are some 20,000 lines in the New Testament, and considering all the manuscripts we have, only 40 of those lines are up for debate as to their meaning. Of those 40 lines, none of them affect any major doctrine of Christianity. No other ancient manuscript has such an accuracy rating.

7. Christianity is a religion where the people cherry-pick the parts they want to follow and conveniently disregard the rest. (Did you know that pork, wine, and wearing white for men are prohibited in the Bible? Oh and women have to cover their heads or else shave off their hair.) 

This is one of those charges that not only Sasha makes, but those in the Gay community make as well. Please Sasha, stop making this claim. You are siding with company I don’t think you want to side with.

There are several charges. First, pork was forbidden under the Mosaic Covenant so that the Israelites were never to eat it nor keep pigs. They were seen as unclean animals. This is the same argument as the shellfish argument that many make. The problem is that the Mosaic Covenant has been set aside because is was the lesser covenant and replaced by the New Covenant (see the book of Hebrews). The dietary and ceremonial laws were all set aside with the coming of Christ and the institution of the New Covenant. Those who still hold to them are legalistic in their nature. This does not mean we are laying aside the moral laws found in the Ten Commandments. Those are still binding today, but the ceremonial and dietary laws have been laid aside.

As for wine, not sure what Sasha is referring to since our LORD instituted the LORD’s Supper using wine and Paul even recommends it for Timothy. I know in the Old Testament in Isaiah, that those who set their hearts on it for their being (making it idolatry) are condemned by the prophet for drunkenness, but no where is the use of wine forbidden.

As for the hair, it is true that if a woman has shaved her head, as the temple prostitutes of Paul’s day were known for doing, then they were to cover their heads. Otherwise, they were to grow their hair long for their covering.

8. Christianity is a religion where their god has to come in HUMAN FORM to mediate. Like he can’t do it from the heavens.

He could have done it from heaven, but chose to do otherwise in His wise and holy counsel. Jesus is our Mediator and was qualified to be so because of His earthly ministry and death on the cross. In fact, that was part of His mediation and the reason we have access to the Father. This charge is really against God’s plan for salvation. I agree that God could have done it in some other manner, but He chose to do it this way because it brings Him the most glory. This is really a charge against the mind of God and His decisions and we should not go there. Our ways are not His ways, and our thoughts are not His thoughts. To try and peer into the mind of God is exceedingly arrogant.

But also see above. Christ came in human form to represent us and fulfill all the Old Testament Law, as well as the whole of Scripture. He was the Second Adam. Whereby the first Adam brought sin into the world, thereby death, Christ is the Second Adam bringing righteousness and life.

Whereby Adam was given the charge to subdue the world, and failed, Jesus came to subdue it, the spiritual world, and the devil. This is why we have the miracles, showing Christ’s dominion over sickness, death, evil spirits, and Satan. He truly does what Adam was charged to do, but failed in his sinfulness.

9. Christianity is the only religion where there are two testaments that completely contradict each other.

To the untrained mind, I can see why this charge is made. But the two testaments affirm one another, especially in the prophecies given about Christ, the types of Christ’s portrayed there and fulfillment of all the promises in Christ.

The Bible is one plan of redemption from beginning to end, which is depicted in man’s fall, and God’s promise to redeem His people. You see the beginning of that in Genesis 3, the development of that covenant of grace through the people of God and it’s fulfillment in Christ. So to say that there is complete contradiction is a misunderstanding of God’s purposes, His covenants and His plan of redemption.

10. Christianity is a religion used to justify imperialism in the past.

Yes, this charge can be true. But so is every other religion if given the power, including atheism. Just because the adherents of a faith do not act in accordance to that faith does not negate the faith. We fully admit that the church is a mixed bag of both believers and non-believers (see wheat and tares/sheep and goat examples in the gospels). The more non-believers in the church lead to periods of unholiness and wickedness. The more true believers lead to more grace and liberty.

While this charge is true, it also must be pointed out that Sasha has freedom of religion because of Christianity and the liberties found in our religion. We have charitable organizations because of Christianity. We have freedom to worship whom we please because of Christianity and the liberty found there.

So while you may make this charge, remember the freedom you do have because of Christianity. Islam, as we are seeing, offers no such liberty.

11. Christianity is a religion where women are property.

This is false. Women were liberated because of Christianity. Jesus brought worth, value and dignity to women through His ministry and women are seen as having souls in Christianity. I would have to have more clarity to answer more fully. What do you mean by this?

12. Christianity is the only religion where unbaptized babies go to hell.

Several issues are wrapped up in this charge. First, being baptized does not guarantee someone entrance into heaven. We are saved by faith and faith alone in Christ alone for salvation.

Secondly, only God’s elect will go to heaven. This means only those who believe in Christ for salvation will be saved by Him. This includes those dying in infancy who are of the elect, will be saved. Baptism is not the saving mechanism. Faith is the saving mechanism and the Spirit moves when and where and how He pleases in a person’s life.

We know that the Spirit can move in an infant’s life at an early age because John the Baptist knew when His Savior entered the room even though both were still in the womb. The knowledge was based upon what the Spirit was doing in John, not in John’s ability to understand or reason out the truth. This is an example of God’s grace and what it takes to be saved. The Spirit must move in a person in order to change their hearts from one of stone to flesh in order for them to believe and be saved. It is all God’s grace, not our ability to reason or logically discern something. Even the most intelligent people in the world cannot save themselves through logic and reasoning. Salvation is all be God’s grace. Therefore if He chooses to save the elect who die in infancy, that is HIS choice, not ours.

Baptism has nothing to do with our election or faith. It is a sign that points to the greater reality of salvation in our lives. A sign merely points to something greater. It doesn’t do the saving itself.

13. Christianity is the only religion where they fool their children into being faithful through games, dancing, camps, and never actually really reading the scripture or letting them think for themselves. No intellectual approach whatsoever.

Depending on the church itself, this could be true. But the “no intellectual approach whatsoever” is a straw man. We are to love the LORD our God with our heart, soul, strength and minds, and we do when we teach the truths of Scripture to our children. This is why we catechize our children, so that they grow up knowing the truths of God’s word.

I would also ask that you spend some time reading the great minds of the faith, like Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, and a host of others, including John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Some of the greatest thinkers in Western Civilization have been Christians. It is sad that you are too closed minded and ignorant of their works to know this.

14. And last but not least, Christianity is a flawed religion that is “perfected by faith.

Not sure what she means by this one. We are perfected by faith, but I see no flaws in our religion. I see flaws in Christians, myself included. All that does is drive me back to my Savior, in whom there are no flaws.

I believe in the original words of the one true God and his book, not the current Bible that was written by man.

This statement leads me to believe that Sasha is a Jehovah Witness, but I could be wrong.

I hope the Spirit moves in her as she reads this to help her see the truthfulness of Christ and His religion for His people. But I know from experience that when a JW or Mormon come to your door, they are not truly open for debate. They seek merely to persuade and get you to sign their dotted lines. As Christians, we truly must wait on the Holy Spirit to move in the life of a person for them to be saved. This is both an advantage and disadvantage. It’s a disadvantage because we can only present the truth and trust in the Spirit to convince the lost of their need of Christ. If a person is truly to be saved, we must wait on the Spirit.

But it is an advantage because when the Spirit moves, the person in question truly is saved for all eternity. It is through God’s work and not ours that they are saved. May the Holy Spirit move in Sasha’s life and others who read this article.

Balloon Boy

 

I took this picture back in September 2008, and it is still one of my favorites. This is Joey and one of his many balloons. At 17 months old, he loved balloons and he still loves them today at 5 years old. We can’t make a trip to Albertson’s without him asking for a bag of balloons. There are times when I give into his request!