Top 2015 Posts For the Year: Posts 5-1

Finally, the top 5 posts for the 2015 calendar year. Here they are:

5. Cremation or Burial: A Biblical Perspective. While not the best defense for burial, I still lean that way because as believers we look forward to the resurrection of the dead.

4. The Second Commandment, Sarah Young and Ann Voskamp. Probably my most controversial post in a while. This one takes on both Sarah Young and her heretical book Jesus Calling, along with Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. Both books should be condemned outright, but because Voskamp and Young are cute, most pastors don’t want to touch the issue.

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Top 2015 Posts For the Year: Posts 10-6

As the year wraps up, we are getting close to the end of my Top 25 posts for 2015. Here are posts 10-6:

10. 5 Things I wish Every Congregation Knew. This comes from my time as a pastor and in view of a fellow pastor being run off because he dared preach the full counsel of God’s word. I know. I listened to enough of his sermons to know he was a solid preacher who was being faithful to his calling. If more congregations would think deeply on these issues, we would have less turnover in the pulpit.

9. Top 5 Abused Bible Verses. This post focuses on those verses that are ripped out of context to mean just about everything for every situation.

8. 7 Celebrities Destined for Hell When They Die. What can you say? If someone denies Christ, then what are we to conclude? There is no hope for them outside of Christ, therefore, they are destined for hell if the LORD does not intervene and rescue them from their plight.

7. We Cry Abba/Father, Not Daddy! This covers a sickening trend I’ve noticed among some who address God the Father as “daddy.”

6. Ishmael, Blessed but Not Chosen. This one gets a lot of action because Muslims love to come to it and try and debate me over the issue. However…I have turned off the comments for this post! Ha ha!

Posts 1-5 are scheduled for tomorrow.

Top 2015 Posts For the Year: Posts 15-11

The year is quickly coming to an end and I am looking over the posts that made my Top 25 during 2015. As we close out the year, here are posts 15-11.

15. The Church Does Not Need Christian Radio. This was another one of those controversial ones because you either realize that Christian radio is superfluous to the ministry of the church, or  you are caught up in the emotions that you have for a particular radio station. People do not realize that the church was just fine without Christian radio for 1900 years.

14. Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve. Another post looking at the death of my brother, Stokely Hammons. It addresses the feelings many have in losing someone they love. We want to go back in time and change something so that our loved ones would still be with us. But we cannot, and must trust in God’s sovereign hand.

13. Top 10 Most Noble Jobs in the World. Ten jobs that no one wants to do, but are necessary for society to function.

12. The Offense of the Cross. The message of the gospel is offensive to those who have yet to believe, because they trust in their own perception of their goodness. The cross confronts people on their goodness and shows that no matter what they do, they are not good enough to merit God’s favor.

11. 7 Celebrities Who Don’t Believe in God. The surprising aspect of this post is that the list of celebrities was not surprising. They are boring atheists at best, not even worth quoting.

Top posts 10-6 will be posted tomorrow.

Top 2015 Posts For the Year: Posts 20-16

We are continuing our march to the end of the year by looking back at the Top 25 posts of the year on TimothyJHammons.com. We started yesterday with posts 25-21, and today we are looking at posts 20-16. Here they are:

20. IF:Gathering — Another Gospel…Again This is about another of the many ministries that sound really good on the surface but fail in their understanding of the gospel. You might say they are more Humanism 101 than the gospel of Jesus Christ.

19. The Meaning of Shibboleth. Written back in 2010, this post deals with the political nature of our society and the Shibboleths that are used to silence debate. For example, back then, if you mentioned you watched Fox News, that brought about a level of condemnation from the more liberal minions.

18. We Are to Stand Against Evil. This post was born out of the realization that far too many pastors never address the evil in our culture. They will refer to men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer all day long, but never stand against the tide of evil as he did.

17. In Memory of Stokely Hammons, October 25, 1969 – December 27, 2014. One of the most difficult posts I have written since I began blogging.

16. The Church is Called to Worship, Not Change the World. Far too many in Christian circles think the role of the church is to change the world. It is not. The role of the church is to worship God. Our Creator may use the church to change the world. That is His job. Not ours.

I will post 15-11 tomorrow.

Top 2015 Posts For the Year: Posts 25-21

It is that time again, when we look back over the past year to see our accomplishments. For me personally, this is truly a wonderful exercise given how the LORD has worked in my life in the past year. A year ago, I was single, barely employed, and living with family. Now, I’m married to a wonderful woman, teaching urchins in the public schools, and currently looking for a house to buy. God’s hand has really been evident.

I have also seen some major accomplishments with my blog. Two major milestones were reached, the first was that this year has been the most popular since moving to WordPress back in 2010. The site crested more that 70,000 hits for the year and is currently approaching  77,000 hits.

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A Response to Ru

Sometimes it is just easier to respond to someone’s comments in a post instead of in the comments thread. I felt like Ru needed a full response. Ru was commenting on my post Snow White and the Abortion Queen. This post will help us think through some of the issues.

Ru writes:

I just wanted to say that I was confused by this post. I’m not sure what’s being argued.

The idea behind the post was very simple: my 6th graders clearly saw the wickedness of a mother murdering her own child in order to remain the most beautiful woman in the land. My hope is that when they are introduced to the concept of abortion, a mother murdering her unborn child, they will find it just as repulsive since it is the same thing.

Women who get abortions because they’re afraid of losing their ‘beauty’? Or women who simply choose to do so because they cannot be ‘burdened’ by caring for them? Considering that you take several broad statements, without any thought of delving deeper into the situation, reflects a lack of a deeper investigation into our culture. And how this impacts christians in terms of what the bible/scripture says in response?

I’m not sure why you would be so concerned that I delve deeper into the situation of a woman killing her child and/or culture. The Bible is quite clear about murder, it’s a sin against God at all times. Finding out the reason for the sin does not lessen the sin nor make it OK. It’s still sin, regardless of the reasons.

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The Incarnation Sets Christianity Far and Above All Other Religions

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God (1 John 4:2).

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If there is one vast difference between true Christianity and all other religions in the world, it is the claim that our leader, Jesus Christ, was and is actually God incarnate (in the flesh). This is what sets Christianity far and above every other religion. All other religions start from the point of man at the center of all things, and then trying to erect Babel-like towers up to God.

Christianity is the only religion in which God reaches down to man by becoming a man. It is the doctrine of the incarnation which actually condemns all other religions because through the person and work of Jesus Christ, a way is actually forged for us by Christ to the Father.  When leaders of other religions shut the door on Christ by denying who He is, they shut the door of salvation. They are telling the Father that His provision of salvation through His Son is not good enough. In their pride and arrogance, they believe that they have a better way back to the Father, or to ethereal bliss. They are telling the Father they do not need His Son.

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“Test the spirits” Is Not a Suggestion

I was listening to my local pastor preach through 1 John 4, and he made a subtle statement that jumped out at me concerning verse 1, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits. The statement is a command.

It was at this point that the command really jumped out at me. As believers, we have been given the responsibility to “test the spirits.” In other words, we have to be on our guard against false prophets, false claims, and false religions.

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400,000 Variants in the Bible?

I started reading Craig L. Blomberg’s Can We Still Believe the Bible? just a few days ago and he quoted known agnostic/atheist Bart Erhman’s calculation of the number of variants in the Bible at around 400,000. That is what Erhman says, not Blomberg. Erhman admits that the number is actually unknown since there are new manuscripts added to the pile every few years and the task of counting the variants is next to impossible.

I remember in seminary being told the number was somewhere around 50,000 variants, so the actual number may never be known at all.

Where Erhman attacks the faith is to quote the number of variants, for him around 400,000, and then follow up with a question along these lines: with such a high number of variants, how can we know what the original manuscripts of the Bible actually said?

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Top 5 Bible Verses You Will Never Find on a Bumper Sticker, But Should

badquoteWe are getting close to that time of year when people will start posting Top 5 or Top 10 this, that, and the other thing posts. Some of these posts will be things like the Top 5 Bible versus of the year, according to BibleGateway.com. I did that a few years ago and it was quite predictable: John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 4:3, Proverbs 5:3-6, and Romans 8:28.

Usually these verses are ripped kicking and screaming out of context and used like a rabbit’s foot or a lucky charm. If the verse fits for our immediate concern, we are quick to rip it from the pages of Scripture to make us “feel” better in the moment. Never mind the deeper messages behind these verses, we want instant gratification. Not only do we want instant gratification now, we want it before we even know we want it.

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Snow White and the Abortion Queen

I took my class through the original Snow White by the Brothers Grimm a few weeks ago and it was amazing to see how they responded when they found out the original story was about a queen and her daughter, not a step-mother/daughter combination that we are given in the Disney presentation.

For those who do not know the story, the queen is very beautiful and in a moment of vanity, she wishes for a daughter as beautiful as she is. She gets her wish and gets a daughter that is far superior to her in the looks department. The magic mirror claims that the queen is quite fair, but doesn’t compare to the beauty of Snow White.

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Preacher From the Pew

Heidi and I have a lot of conversations about preaching because it is so near and dear to our hearts. We both have the desire to move into full-time ministry if the way be made clear by the LORD.

Where I struggle in the meantime is sitting under other pastors as they preach. Most preachers just make me want to enter back into the pulpit again. I think this is because I feel that preaching should be filled with Spirit-lead zeal and conviction. Every passage of Scripture is of the most importance and far too many preachers treat passages as if they are just something to talk about for a while.

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Leaders of Other Religions Need Christ for Salvation Just as Much as We Do

In a post I wrote several years ago called Ten Reasons Christianity is Superior to Other Religions, I noted that Christianity was superior because the leaders of other religions needed Christ for their salvation as well. Understanding this truth helps us dispel the notion that, somehow, leaders of other religions have found favor with the God who is, and therefore should be held on a reverent level.

For instance, the Dali Lama came to Dallas a few years back and I was surprised at the number of Christians who went to see him. Members of my family stood in line so they could listen to this supposedly spiritual guru give his wisdom about life. These people ended up pouring out praise and adoration on the man; they assumed that since he is the leader of another religion, he must be holy and must have found favor with God.

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