There was a time in our country when everyone accepted the Bible as the inerrant word of God. Doctrinal disagreements could be settled by simply supplying passages that supported or contradicted a particular teaching. Nearly all people (whether their lives reflected it or not) refused to question the simple teachings found without Scripture.
That much has changed drastically in America. I’m not simply referring to the increasing number of Atheists/Agnostics, I’m talking about within organized “Christianity.” Prominent Methodist scholar, Dr. Gregory Neal once said:
“While Methodists certainly affirm that God had an essential role in the writing of the Bible, we do the Scriptures an injustice when we fail to recognize that they are a collection of Divinely inspired, and yet still utterly human, reflections upon the human encounter with god, as well as human reflections and opinions upon what we, as a people of faith, should be doing in response to God’s offer of a relationship of grace and peace in Jesus Christ.”
Sadly Dr. Neal’s view of inspiration is actually the predominant view of most “pastors” today in every denomination today. Even within the Lord’s church, people are starting to view the Bible more along the lines of “wise sayings” or “divine suggestions.” This humanistic, subjective view of the Bible is not a new problem at all. In fact, the first century Christians dealt with a very similar attitude. It’s this false view of Scripture that prompts the prophet Jude to write his stern warning to the early church:
“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” (Jude 3)
“The Faith” here refers not to our personal faith in God, but the entire body of doctrine that makes up the Christian religion. The Christian faith was “once for all” handed down to us, and so there’s never going to be a “new” teaching that people need to know about in order to grow closer to God. Our job as Christians is not to sit idly by as people try to categorize clear Bible teachings as “Paul’s opinion” or “culturally out-dated.” If we want to remain true to the grace of God, it’s every Christian’s responsibility to “contend” (literally “fight hard”) to maintain the purity of Christian doctrine. Our only guide in this life is what we read in the Bible, we must be diligent to protect and preserve it’s holy, God-given nature. The alternative is bleak indeed. If we allow people in/outside the church to ignore or twist God’s original teachings we too will find ourselves “denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).
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Why are YOU living in where you are in 2012? Consider this:
“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. ” (Acts 17:24–26)
According to God, the reason you and I live where we do is because that’s the perfect time for us to seek (and help others seek) and find God. For those living in America, we are so blessed that the persecution Christians face is extremely light compared to our brethren in first century. How can we best use our situation for God’s glory? Here are some excellent thoughts on the matter at: http://alivewithchrist.com/christianitywithoutfear/
There are many excuses unbelievers offer as to why they don’t want to follow Christ. One argument I’ve heard dozens of times (I even argued this myself in the past) is “Just think about all the crimes in history done in the name of Christianity…” People attempt to cite numerous examples such as the Inquisition to support their case. This 12th and 13th century movement, led by the Catholic Church resulted in CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
It seems like the news is always reporting some story on corporate greed. Whether it involves insider trading on Wall Street, or CEO’s embezzling millions from their companies we are surrounded by tales of people who’ve become intoxicated with the love of more “stuff.”
We often talk about how materialistic and “worldly” our society is becoming, and rightly so. But did you know that materialism was just as big of a temptation for Jesus as it is for us today? In fact CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
Have you ever been in an important meeting or a big date where you didn’t make absolutely sure that your appearance and hygiene were just right? Of course not! We realize that when we want to make a good impression even something as small as a ketchup stain on a shirt can make a huge difference. This is why experts recommend against ordering a salad on important occasions where a meal is involved. Although one might think that a salad would communicate healthiness and maturity, it’s one of the worst options because of how messy they can be. Not only do the bites tend to be larger, but the chances of lettuce getting stuck in your teeth are very high. You may be saying all the right things, but you can rest assured that people are focusing on that piece of lettuce in your teeth.
Recently I was working out at our local gym here in Denver, CO. This is only about 30 minutes away from Aurora, where the tragic shooting during the premier of the new Batman movie took place just over a month ago. CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
We live in a world that glorifies the spotlight. It’s just our human nature. Who do we interview after a Super Bowl victory? It’s the quarterback. Who do we honor for a great military triumph? It’s the general. However history is replete with unsung heroes whose efforts go unrecognized. In the church, our tendency is to create a spotlight-effect on certain people as well. Week after week we see preachers, elders, teachers, and deacons serving as leaders to guide us in our effort to conform to Christ. Even though congregational leadership (as instituted by God) is essential for our spiritual growth, sometimes we can forget where the influence really comes from. It can discourage Christians who serve behind the scenes if we rank importance by the amount of time we spend in the spotlight. However, if we look at God’s pattern in Scripture, He does some of His most powerful work through humble, working-class people.
Take the prophet Amos for example. Amos wasn’t known for eloquent speeches or religious credentials; and he certainly wasn’t going to win any popularity contests! Amos was a true “country boy” with no interest in CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
No sporting contest boasts a richer history than the Olympics. Originally held in Olympia, Greece, our modern Olympic games offer over 200 countries the opportunity of claiming the coveted Olympic gold medal. The Olympic title serves as the holy grail of all athletics. Although athletes may compete for the world title in their sport annually, since the summer Olympics are held every four years a competitor may only receive one or two shots at Olympic glory in their lifetime.
Presently there are 30 sports for athletes to compete in, but that number changes as new sports are added and old sports are dropped. Recently the Olympic committee removed both baseball and softball from the Olympic docket. What can we expect to replace baseball in the future? Would it shock you to learn that the Olympic committee may soon replace reputable sports like baseball with… CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
This week we are showcasing a special guest article written by my brother Jack. In keeping with the theme “putting on the new self,” this topic is as timely as ever. Be sure to check out more of his blog posts at sparesometime.wordpress.com
Summer is a time for fun, sun and of course swimming. It is also a time when we see blog after blog after blog on modesty. I don’t have many problems with blogs on modesty aside from the fact that they all seem to talk to only one audience.
The basis of just about every blog post on modesty I’ve read this summer has dealt with women and how they ought to dress modestly. While I think those posts are good, today I’d like to look briefly at the other side of modesty. CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
As we gaze through the eyes of history, we find an interesting pattern. One generation strongly supports a certain set of values, and a later generation rebels by strongly supporting a polar-opposite system values. We can see this change in style of dress, choice in music, appreciation of art, political issues, etc… Neither generation is necessarily right or wrong; it’s just interesting to see the dramatic shift as the pendulum swings back and forth throughout the years.
Interestingly, we find this same pendulum swing over different biblical doctrines. For example, CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
It’s been over 11 years since the Twin Towers fell. Yet most of us can vividly remember where we were that September morning when we first witnessed that traumatic footage. For months our news agencies gave updates on the attack, as America mourned. American pride flourished. In fact, the sales of American flags skyrocketed by over 70% in those first few months. After a while, many determined that America should just move on and try to forget that day that shocked the world. This mentality inspired country music singer Darryl Worley to pen the hit song “Have You Forgotten?” His point was that remembering our past is the only way to maintain our identity and purpose in a confusing world.
We find the same phenomenon occurs with Christians. When they first obey the Gospel they’re on fire for God, and want to shout it from the rooftops. However, CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE