As my oldest boy gets into his teens, he thinks he has become an expert on are cars, especially those that are clearly out of my price range or interest. Since my auto aspirations and thoughts only involve a Ford F-150 Raptor, I have a hard time keeping him humble. Today, he asked me if I knew what a McLaren was. Apparently, it’s high-end, fast, and expensive. Which are three reasons I don’t know what it is.
Already, my mind is spinning. I got the idea to write this post because I was thinking how helpful it would be if each congregation had 25 songs that they knew so well, they could sing the songs a cappella if necessary. This would be truly helpful for smaller congregations, in the event that they lose their accompaniment. Larger churches could also do this and I imagine would greatly benefit from singing a few of these songs a cappella but alas, most larger churches have musicians itching to play as it is.
Well, since in posted my top 10 chick flicks of all time, I thought it only just and right to attempt to post my top 10 guy movies of all time. Please note that this is a real challenge since there are so many great guy movies out, compared to chick flicks. After all, once you have seen one chick flick, you get the idea. It’s only a variation between actors and supposed outcomes. Basic plot line: boy meets girl, conflict arise, conflict subsides, happily ever after.
Well, at least my top 10. No, I’m not finding my feminine side or any of that blather. There are just a few movies that I do enjoy that fall into the category of “chick flick.” This list was born out of a conversation on Facebook. Here is my list, not in any particular order.
Time for our year-end reviews of what has been hot over the past year as far as posts I’ve written. I already know the number post for the year without even looking at the stats. As I told Heath on his blog, it is Blue Bell Ice Cream: Top 10 Flavors. When I wrote it on July 5, 2011, I never imagined it would become my top post. Apparently, Blue Bell Ice Cream is extremely popular.
While I wasn’t surprised at that post, there were a few that did catch me off guard and had no idea they are slowly creeping up the charts. So starting with number 2, since I’ve given you number 1 already, here are the rest of the Top 10 Posts of 2013.
I was a bit surprised when I started looking through the archives to see that I have never posted on my top 10 favorite hymns of all time. I have posted on praise bands and the world’s dumbest hymn, but never those which are my favorite. This list is composed of my favorite hymns. I’m not saying that these hymns should be your favorite hymns, but you might agree that there are some good ones. I don’t include praise songs since there are only a few of them that I like and I believe they should stand the test of time before we move them into the “favorite hymn” list. A good hymn should be at least older than I am.
Also, I don’t include Christmas hymns. That is a list unto it’s self, coming to a blog site near you, around Christmas time.
In working on my sermon this week, I’ve come across one of the most abused verses in Scripture. It’s not as abused today as it was some 70 years ago, but it is still one of the most abused passages of Scripture. The passage is John 8:31-32 “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Only in it’s abuse, those using it only quote verse 32, without the first part of the conditional clause.
A conditional clause means that there is a condition to knowing the truth. Knowing the truth means that we are His disciples. Being His disciples mean that we follow Him and His word. Yet countless people use the old King James Version, Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, in a manner to indicate that the truth is just floating about for anyone to find it. It is not, for truth to be know, we must know it in the light of Christ.
I’m reminded of my childhood growing up in the cult of Christian Science and see that portion of the passage on the inside cover to Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Please note: she has no keys to Scripture. Her book is filled with senseless drivel. She doesn’t know Christ, God or the truth). The passage is used in such a way that it suggests that objective truth is just floating about and all we need to do is look for it. It’s not. The only true way to know real Truth is to know Christ and be known by Him (Matthew 7:21ff). Truth is not disconnected from Christ.
We also see this passage on the building of countless universities across the land. There too, it’s put forth as if truth is out there for anyone looking for it apart from Christ. I know the arch-rival of my own university, texas university, has the scripture emblazoned on one of the buildings. However I don’t think that school, or any other state-run school that has the passage emblazoned on campus is advocating their students become disciples and followers of Christ.
The point is that when Christ uttered those words, He was in a heated debate with the Jews about His identity and their need to be freed from sin. He wasn’t throwing up the idea that truth was to be known apart from Him. Knowing the truth means we must be “in Christ,” and by being “in Christ” we will know truth about who He is and who we are. We are sinners in need of a Savior, and the Truth is that He is that Savior. Being in Him means we are freed from one of our greatest foes: sin. We cannot be truly free unless sin is dealt with, and only through Christ is that sin dealt with. Otherwise we will die in our sins, as Jesus warned the Jews (John 8:21).
This is why this verse makes my Top 5 list of the most abused passages in history. People have abused it in an attempt to make themselves seem erudite in the pursuit of truth. Yet, truth pursued apart from Christ does us no good at all.
4. Number 4 on the list is Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. The reason this one makes the list is that far too many people use it as a quick fix to someone else’s problems. Your cousin just died in a car wreck? Romans 8:28. You have cancer? Romans 8:28. You just lost your home to foreclosure? Romans 8:28. Your cat had puppies? Romans 8:28.
It is abused because of the way that it is used in Christian circles. People use it in an attempt to belittle the struggles of others and this is unconscionable. It is thoughtless, and mean. Paul writes that we are to weep with those who weep in Romans 12:15, not throw Romans 8:28 in their faces.
To abuse this passage is to ignore the fact that Christians have been called to suffer just as Christ suffered. I know, suffering is one of those things that polite Christians do not talk about. But it is a reality of the Christian life. To deny it, is to deny the calling every Christian has in life. So when someone suffers, don’t throw up a quick passage so you can sooth your conscience and be on your way. Sit down with them, and be with them and weep with them.
3. Number 3 on the list is Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This verse is abused because it is ripped out of context. The context is that Paul is saying he has learned to be content whether he has plenty or he is abased, both to abound and suffer need. He does not say that he can conquer the world because he has Philippians 4:13.
This verse should not be the foundation of every motivational speaker to come down the pike. That is not what Paul is saying. In fact, he would probably be aghast at the idea that so many are using this passage in such a manner, given that Jesus Christ conquers the world and our worlds, we do not. We are mere servants, not tiny gods out to conquer all that is before us.
2. Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.” This passage is abused among the haters of Christianity. It’s not used to teach us to guard against being hypocritical, as Jesus intended it to be used, but used to silence anyone who would espouse any godly standard above that of being a dog. Jesus isn’t giving a blanket statement for not judging, but given a lesson on how to judge rightly.
I like what Paul Washer is reported to have said concerning this verse: “People always tell me, ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged.’ I reply, ‘Twist not Scripture, lest ye be like Satan.'”
1. John 3:16 For God so loved the world… You know my hatred of the abuse of this passage. Far too many use it to justify their ungodly behavior and lack of holiness because of God’s love. In other words, “For God so love the world, I can live and believe as I please, and Jesus is there to take care of everything for me.”
This passage is also the foundation of so much bad theology that I think we should stop quoting it, and quote all of John 3 to bring it back into light. Anything less than this is to abuse the fulness of what Christ was saying in John 3.
There you have it, my Top-5 abused passages of Scripture. What are yours?
It is that time again, the time that we look back and reflect upon our accomplishments. It’s a time when we go the stats page and see what people have been reading. It’s a time to think about how I’m making an impact for the Kingdom of God. So, without further wordiness, here are the Top 10 Posts of 2012. Please note, some of these posts may not have been posted in 2012, but were the most read in 2012.
Number One — Blue Bell Ice Cream: Top 10 Flavors — Yes, coming in at number one, making an impact for the Kingdom of God, is this little ditty that I posted back on July 5, 2011, and comes it an number one with 9,394 hits. Apparently the post got snatched up by Google and every time someone Googles Blue Bell Ice Cream, my post come up. It’s amazing how many people are interested in Blue Bell Ice Cream. This is a good way to increase stats. Take something very popular, and write about it. I did the same thing with Oreo Cookies, but it didn’t make the Top 10 list for the year.
Number Two — Mike Sherman Shows His True Character — This one was simply a repost of Mike Sherman’s letter to high school coaches in several newspapers across the state of Texas. It comes in at number two with with 6,352 hits, but is remarkable because it holds the number one post of all time hits in a single day. I got 2,610 hits the day I posted it, showing that what he wrote at the time was really of interest to people. I posted it because it showed that Sherman truly is a man of character. I was completely surprised by how many read it.
Number Three — The Dreaded Brown Recluse Widow Tarantula — A humorous piece that pokes fun and our fear of spiders, this one actually started gaining traction long after I posted it on April 29, 2011. It falls into this position with 1,119 hits for the year.
Number Four — Cremation or Burial: A Biblical Perspective — Finally, we get to something of significance, something that deals with our views of life, something that has eternal ramifications. However… this is one of the pieces that I wish were NOT in the Top 10. After reading it over and giving it some thought, I feel the piece is full of holes and leaps in logic and therefore, really not well argued. So please, don’t read it.
Number Five — Top 10 Most Noble Jobs in the World — The premise is that since these are jobs that no one longs to do, they are noble because they are so necessary to our lives. It comes in at number five with 995 hits, and is the first one that drops below 1,000 hits.
Number Six — Top 10 Reasons I Love Christmas — This one came on with a surge as the year came to a close and finished with 978 hits.
Number Seven — Neil Boortz: Excellent Commencement Speech — This is a speech that was never given, but what Neil would say if given the opportunity. This post received 909 hits.
Number Eight — We Cry Abba/Father, Not Daddy — Finally, one that is theological that I actually like. I’m making the point that Abba does not equate to Daddy as some have tried to say. It makes the list with 873 hits.
Number Nine — Top 10 Reasons Christianity is Far Superior to Any Other Religion — This one is getting a lot of play because of those opposed to the faith more than those who are for it. Those of us “in Christ” know the real reason Christianity is superior is because of Christ and all that comes with being “in Christ.”
Number Ten — The About Page — guess people were trying to figure out who I am. The next was the page on Calvinism, followed by Against the Cults page.
BTW, the overall readership of my page is up over the past year. For instance, the number one post for 2011 was The Godfather which had 4,292 hits for 2011, while this year’s number one post more than doubles that hit count. This shows that if you just stay at it, you will build up readership.
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?
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?
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.
BibleGateway.com, which has the Bible on line with multiple translations, has compiled a list of the Top 5 Bible verses that were searched on their site for 2011. The list is not that surprising when you look at it. Here it is:
In descending order of popularity, here are the top five Bible passages of 2011:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
2. John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (ESV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
don’t rely on your own intelligence.
Know him in all your paths,
and he will keep your ways straight. (CEB)
5. Romans 8:28
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. (HCSB)
They do have a post from the previous year about what is missing from the list. Collin Hansen wrote that the most popular verse that year was John 3:16 and was probably due to Tim Tebow’s use of the verse under his eyes during football games. But what is missing from the Top 25, or almost completely missing are verses about man’s sin. Hansen writes:
Let me mention an omission. Maybe you caught it, too. Knowing the whole Bible and not just the most-searched passages, you realize that the absence is glaring. You won’t learn from this list why God needs to redeem the world he created. You won’t learn why his love is so significant. You won’t find any warning of what’s to come if you don’t believe. In short, you won’t read about our sin and God’s wrath. Actually, you need to follow the list all the way down to #19 and #20 to find sin. At #19, 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” And #20 reads, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
If we neglect sin and the Lord’s righteous wrath, then we haven’t understood even the basics of Scripture and God’s true character. D. A. Carson writes in The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism:
The point that cannot be escaped is that God’s wrath is not some minor and easily dismissed peripheral element to the Bible’s plot-line. Theologically, God’s wrath is not inseparable from what it means to be God. Rather, his wrath is a function of his holiness as he confronts sin. But insofar as holiness is an attribute of God, and sin is the endemic condition of this world, this side of the Fall divine wrath cannot be ignored or evaded. It is not going too far to say that the Bible would not have a plot-line at all if there were no wrath.
The danger of popping into Scripture from Google is that we miss the story for the verses. Each one of these top 10 most-searched Bible verses is a beautiful, moving testament to God’s loving faithfulness. We should memorize them, sing them, copy them, and remind one another of them. But without knowing the whole story, we don’t know why we should care that God loved the world enough to give his one and only Son. Unless we know about our sin, we will surely perish in it.
It seems that people are looking for the comfort found in Scripture, without looking for the cause of the discomfort that is in their lives. We will only know true comfort when we face our sin and repent.
Happy New Year to all my readers. I do hope and pray that you are blessed in 2012 in more ways than you were in 2012. However, may those blessings be more of the spiritual nature in Christ than the material blessings we often hope for. In other words, the spiritual blessings which are found in Christ are far more precious than the gold that perishes.
However, this post has things that are not necessarily of the spiritual nature simply because this is what I’m think of right now. Here are my hopes for 2012:
- I hope that we elect a truly conservative president, house and senate that will return this country to the Constitution of our country and move us away from the entitlement mentality. This is what is best for the country and will lead to more jobs for those who desire to work.
- I hope the new president and Congress will truly free us from foreign oil and start drilling here in the United States. NO, I don’t believe hybrid vehicles are the answer and believer it is foolish to think so. You have to generate that electricity somewhere and most of our electricity comes from coal-powered plants, so you are achieving nothing by driving such vehicles except believing in the lie that you are helping the environment. This too will help the economy by providing more jobs for those who desire to work.
- I hope that Texas A&M has a wonderful football season with their new coach Kevin Sumlin. This won’t necessarily help the economy but will be more fun for me. In this, I hope that Coach Sumlin becomes the winningest coach in A&M’s history and the longest tenured coach in A&M’s history, with lots and lots of championships.
- I hope and pray that the LORD will truly grow FCC Roswell and help us continue to move towards being a healthy congregation.
- I hope that President Obama truly enjoys retirement and takes up playing golf full time. I also hopes that he finds personal peace and can put behind that social bitterness that drives him so much in the way he governs and sees our world.
- I hope that the Pro-Life movement continues to make strides in reducing the number of abortions and closing down the murder clinics that are open now. Read how they may strides this year here.
- I hope the Texas Rangers return to the World Series again and win it all.
- I hope and pray that the drought here in the Southwest, Texas and elsewhere would come to a end.
- I hope that liberals in our country would begin to question their own positions and would become more conservative, since this is what is best for the country. Conservatism is not easy, but it is what is best. It’s easy to take other peoples money and create a dependent class as liberals like to do.
- I hope that moderates… get a clue, get off the fence and see why Conservatism is much better than trying to be popular.
There they are. What are your hopes for the year?
Time to take a look at the year in blogging. Since I like to do Top 10 posts, this one is focusing on the Top 10 posts for 2011. The post may not have been written in 2011, but still garnered a lot of attention, as was the case for my post on the Godfather. It is my all-time most read post, with a total views well above 7,000. Since moving from my wordpress url to timothyjhammons.com url, that views have stopped. Somewhere there was a link to this particular post that was generating a lot of views and when I made the change, that link ceased to function.
Yet, here are the Top 10 posts for 2011:
I probably shouldn’t post something like this, but the reality is that I hate to shop for Christmas. It’s a fun holiday and the implications of what the incarnation actually mean for us are vital to the Christian walk. But shopping for Christmas??? I see nothing in Scripture to support such an activity… yet, here we are. So without further adieu…, from the Department of Bah-humbug… I give you my Top 10 reasons I hate shopping for Christmas.
- I can’t stand the thought of getting the wrong gift and wasting money.
- I can’t stand the thought of having the “right” gift sell out moments before I arrive on the scene.
- I can’t stand wondering if I have spent enough on those I love.
- I can’t stand the nervous feeling in my stomach that makes me want to throw up while doing all this shopping.
- I can’t stand wondering if I have enough money to make this happen, and worse, the feeling of helplessness when for some odd reason, my ATM card doesn’t work. Yes, it happened. No, my account wasn’t empty. Not sure why.
- I can’t stand having to wrap those gifts which I do purchase.
- I can’t stand knowing that a lot of the gifts I buy this year… are some future garage sale bargain… or worse… fodder for the dumpster.
- I can’t stand the crowds, malls, parking lots or traffic associated with it all.
- I can’t stand not finding those things which I know I need to buy for my loved ones.
- I can’t stand spending x amount of dollars, knowing that we will be tight financially because of it.
- UPDATE: BEING SO WORRIED ABOUT GETTING THAT RIGHT TOY, THAT I FAIL TO NOTICE THE WORDS “Includes 375 Parts!” My goodness, what was I thinking? Every toy I get the boys that has more than 3 parts ends up being… scattered hither and fro for the next umpteen years. I bought the boys a marble maze from Sam’s Club and the next thing I’m going to buy is some Gorilla Glue, and glue it all together, so the 375 parts become ONE!
OK, I know that all sounds negative, but that is how I feel about Christmas shopping.
Some of the most powerful movies ever done are some of the movies I have no desire to ever see again. So once again, here is at Top 10 list, this time, of the movies I have seen once and have no desire to see again.
- Schindler’s List — I know, powerful, critically acclaimed and moving. But I have no desire to ever see this movie. Why? Because it was powerful, critically acclaimed and moving… but moving me in the wrong direction. Sometimes too much is just too much and this movie falls into that category. As one critic put it: “It is the saddest movie of all time.” Once is enough.
- Cast Away — Tom Hanks at his best. Just think about it, he spent 90 percent of the movie talking to himself and a volleyball, which really showed his ability to act. But alas, the pay off for the movie wasn’t worth watching him take out that tooth with an ice skate. I still cringe over that scene.
- The Passion of Christ — I’ve only actually seen about 20 minutes of this movie. The Jesus in that movie was not the Christ of the Bible. It was far too bloody, etc… plus, I have Second Commandment issues.
- Me, Myself and Irene — can we be debased for the sake of being debased and make it funny too? Nope. The producers failed on those two accounts and I haven’t seen a Jim Carrey movie since. I should have walked out on this one.
- Scarface — watched this movie as a non-believer and found the foul-mouthed drug dealer way too much. Can’t imagine finding anything redeemable about this movie now that I have been redeemed.
- Clockwork Orange — again… watched as a non-believer and was repulsed by it. I know, it’s critically acclaimed, but so is dung on a portrait of the Virgin Mary. Not worth watching or listening to critics.
- Training Day — let’s see how far we can take a Denzel Washington character… OK, this is it. No sense in watching it again.
- I Am Sam — Sean Penn trying to make a serious movie by making a movie very similar to Rain Man. Don’t waste your time watching this movie. Just watch Rain Man instead.
- Moulin Rouge! — drop some bad acid, watch a bad musical, add a depressing ending and you get Moulin Rouge!
- The Story of Us — Rob Reiner at his worst as a director. I walked out.
There you have it. I’m sure there are a few more, but those seem to come to mind the quickest, which is good since this is a Top 10 list, and not a Top 13 list.
What movies come to mind that you have no desire to ever see again?
Part of my sermon this past week was on serving the Lord. Many often ask “how is it that we can serve the Lord?” A lot of serving the Lord is done with the mindset of doing those things that we are called to do as though we are doing them for the King of kings Himself. In other words, we are called by Him in our every day lives to serve Him with our every day lives. Christians often times get caught up on the idea that you can only serve the Lord if you are in a vocation directly related to the church. This isn’t true. We are actually called to serve Him where we are, whether we are husbands, father’s, mother’s, wives, friends, or in the world as a banker, carpenter, plumber, etc. It is not as though we have to have the church lay hands on us in order to serve the Lord.
The other aspect that I like to focus on in this line of thinking is the fact that all we do is noble in sight of the Lord, when we do those tasks in view of the Lord. If the King of kings was willing to wash feet, then no task is beneath the nobility of the calling placed upon us. In view of that, here is my list of jobs that I find noble because no one wants to do them, yet God calls us to do these tasks.
- Garbage collectors — these men and women do want no one aspires to do. Think of the smell each of us would endure without the work they do. They actually have to live with that smell. Therefore this position is noble because they are willing to help out their fellow man in dealing with garbage. I hope that they realize the nobility in this position.
- Nurses in nursing homes — especially poorly funded nursing homes. There have been times I have wanted to take these nurses aside and share with them the nobility of their work. They are working with those that are cast aside by society and cannot help themselves. It’s a tough and hard job that goes unnoticed by society unless something really wrong happens. The nurse who does this job needs to realize that there is One who notices her work. It is a noble task.
- Chicken pickers — those who slaughter and clean the chickens we eat. Just the smell alone would drive most of us to a vegetarian lifestyle. Yet there are people who do it so we can eat. Thank God for their willingness to do so.
- Stay-at-home moms — we tend to forget the importance of our wives staying at home with their children. While liberalism and feminism put this task down, it is the most noble calling a woman can have. She is not just raising children, but raising the next generation of citizens. We need to encourage mothers who do their work well, and correct those who do not do their work well.
- Anyone who works at McDonald’s — come on, you’ve seen how miserable these people are! Someone needs to encourage them.
Telemarketers — OK, probably not. They serve no useful purpose to humanity. Plumbers — especially the guys that have to deal with septic tanks and port a potties! (The telemarketer comment was just meant to be funny).
- The sweat jockey — the guy who wipes up sweat off the basketball court during NBA games.
- Janitors — let’s face it, these guys get very little glory for keeping our malls, banks, movie theaters, etc., clean of the filth we leave behind. We need more good janitors.
- Dental Hygienist — same gross job as a dentist, but without the respect and title of a dentist.
- Proctologist and GI doctors — crappie no matter how you look at it.