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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Velda Rose, Manipulation and Christian Science

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It has been 10 years since my mother died. Had she still been alive today, she would have 80 years old.

She was called to meet her Maker while undergoing an MRI in a hospital in Lufkin. You can read more about that day here.

You may think this is one of those posts where I state how much I miss my mother. It is not and I don’t. I never really have missed her. Some have thought that it was because my heart is cold and unloving, but I don’t think that was it. It seems as though there is this unwritten rule that when your mother dies, you immediately deify her, give her angels’ wings, and spend the rest of your life praising her. The truth is, I don’t think many will praise her who really knew her.

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“But The Bible Was Written By Men!”

Often times we hear objections from non-believers that we cannot trust the Bible because it was written by men. The implication is that the Bible is fallible because men wrote it, men who were simply giving their opinion, or worse, conspiring to say something that God never said. It is the quickest way to stifle conversation or thought among non-believers. Never mind the fact that men are making this judgment that we cannot trust the Bible. Which means if men are so fallible that we cannot trust the Bible, then how can we trust their opinion that we cannot trust the Bible because men made it, and they are men, and men are making opinion statements… wow, that was confusing. But you get the idea.

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Roundup That Matters

Mormons in Transition — I really appreciate the Institute for Religious Research’s article on why Mormonism is not Christian, nor just another denomination of Protestantism. This article not only points out the problems with Mormonism, but also gives links to other articles supporting the claims as well. The only area I caution is that while Joseph Smith was a real dirt back (sleeping with teenage girls and other men’s wives), this is not a good argument to use against Mormonism, since so many of those who wrote scripture lacked moral character at times in their lives as well. Yet, the article is very helpful and helps us see that in the end, Mormons only sure fire means of justification of their faith is based on feelings, not cold hard facts. We have seen this to be true here on this blog, when dialoging with Mormons. In my last foray in the fight, in the end, the Mormon based his argument on reading the Book of Mormon and it feeling just right to him. We don’t base our faith on feelings, but on spiritual truth found in Scripture.

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Top 3 Reasons Cults of Christianity Thrive

There have always been cults of Christianity, from the early days of the Gnostics, to the early Middle Ages with Islam, to our current days with Mormonism, Christian Scientist and Jehovah Witnesses. These religions take portions of true Christianity, and craft their own brand of religion. The Apostles warned us of such, as well as Jesus when they spoke of savage wolves (Acts 20:28-31), and wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15-23). Since my conversion back in 1990, part of my focus as a Christian has been to expose them for what they are. Given that I was raised in a cult, you can understand why.

The question that I have asked myself and I’m trying to answer today is, “Why do the cults surviveWhat is it about them that keeps them going and causes them to thrive?”

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German Woman Rebukes Islam

This video is making the rounds and I wanted to share it with my readers. This woman shouted down an Islamic iman who was giving a call to worship at the historic Memorial Church of the Reformation, built in honor of Martin Luther. She proclaimed that Jesus Christ is Lord over the church and Germany. During an interview afterwards, she says what so few understand about Islam, that they worship another god all together. They do not worship the same God as true Christians do. Here is the video:

We need to strive to be a bold as she was. She is following in the footsteps of the apostles who went from town to town proclaiming the truth. We need more Christians like her, and more pastors with her courage to stand up and proclaim the truth of Christ. This really is an inspiration.

Hattip: Diana.

Top 5 Abused Bible Verses

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?