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).
Learn more at Alive with Christ
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/
How do we know anything in this world? How do we know whether a defendant in court is guilty or innocent if we didn’t see the crime with our own eyes? Well we simply compile the evidence, analyze it and make the proper judgment based on the evidence. We use reason, logic and scientific evidence to determine how we know anything in this life. The same is true with God. Many atheists mock the existence of God saying that since we can’t “test” Him with the scientific method, there’s no evidence of His existence. Are they right? The problem with their line of reasoning is that they never reason that way in other matters of life (e.g. court cases). We can, through logic, reason and the available scientific evidence know for certain that God exists. Here’s a very concise, simple explanation of this issue at http://alivewithchrist.com/proofgodexists/ we can also learn the answer to how can I get saved there as well.
A very popular doctrine taught by religious leaders today is that when you become a Christian your physical life will immediately improve. Typically, these teachers will also tell that you’ll be even more blessed if you send them a hefty check! Is this what the Bible teaches?
We know that the apostles were beaten and persecuted around every corner (cf. 2 Cor. 11:23-33)
We know that Jesus Himself was hated by the religious leaders, His physical relatives, and was even rejected by His closest disciples in His hours of physical agony.
The Bible certainly DOES NOT teach that Christianity eases all of our physical burdens. A relationship with God is meant for one thing; eternal, spiritual healing.
So why does God allow His Christians to suffer? Find out at http://alivewithchrist.com/whydochristianssuffer/
In 1986, Shirley MacLaine wrote her acclaimed work Dancing in the Light, describing her personal spiritual journey. In her book she made one very interesting claim that sparked new thinking throughout a variety of Western Religious groups:
“I am God, because all energy is plugged in to the same source. We are each aspects of that source. We are all part of God. We are individualized reflections of the God source. God is us and we are God.” (p. 339)
Maclaine’s conclusion is descriptive of the New Age religious movement which combines both Western and Eastern spiritual traditions. It tries to mold Christianity with Eastern Mysticism. Many professed Christians are starting to embrace various elements of the New Age movement saying that it grants them a deeper, more experiential spiritual connection. So we need to ask ourselves; is Christianity compatible with these New Age beliefs? God Himself posed this question to His people long ago:
“To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?” (Isaiah 46:5)
The Jews in Isaiah’s time have polluted themselves to the point that God has no choice but to send them into Babylonian captivity. But this punishment will only be temporary, and God foretells Babylon’s ultimate collapse (46:1-2). God wants to remind His children of His supremacy over the so-called “gods” of the Babylonians and so He asked them if there was anyone who even compared to Him. This was more of a rhetorical question, and God answers for them:
“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.” (Isaiah 46:9)
God doesn’t simply reject Shirley Maclaine’s belief that she “is God,” He goes one step further to say that there is nobody who is even close to being “like” Him. According to God Himself, there is no way to combine Christianity and the New Age movement. We have a simple choice: we can forsake God to dabble in this man-invented false spirituality that claims that “God is in everything, and everything is a part of God”, or we can submit ourselves to the One Maker, Sustainer, Giver of Life and Judge. The New Age movement tries to degrade God to a sub-human level, worshiping the created rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25). If we want to know the one true God, we must first know our place in the grand scheme of things.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9)
In 1996, more Americans supported the death penalty than at any other point in our nation’s history, with 78% of our population favoring capital punishment. However since that time the American public has shifted their views. A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center reveals that today only a slim majority (62%) favors capital punishment. Of those who oppose the death penalty, the primary reason is that they believe nobody has to right to end another person’s life. Did you know that it’s impossible to be a Christian if you don’t support the death penalty? In fact Jesus bluntly taught that unless we regularly carry out capital punishment, we can never follow Him. You might be saying right now, “Whoa, that’s blasphemy! Jesus never required capital punishment!” Well of course Jesus never required capital punishment in the sense we typically think of…but Jesus does require that we put one particular criminal to death every day. CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
Many people in America find themselves living under a double-standard. They love the tremendous freedoms and privileges American citizenship offers, and yet they protest the very laws that govern them. They fail to realize that in order to receive the benefits, it’s imperative that they submit to the laws this country stands for. Much of the same attitude permeates the world of denominational “Christianity.” Many well-intentioned people have argued that the only requirement of the Christian is belief that Jesus is the risen Christ. They preach that rules and regulations have no part in their religion, often citing the apostle Paul who wrote, “…for you are not under law but under grace,” (Rom. 6:14). It is certainly true that that we are no longer under the Mosaic Law as a requirement for salvation (Rom. 7:6). However, does that mean there are no laws that govern the Christian walk? Does our New Testament advocate a “belief-only” Christianity? CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
Have you ever received a courtesy from someone who didn’t really mean it? Maybe someone complimented you on your appearance, when you knew you really looked like you just got out of bed. Perhaps someone told you they loved you, but it sounded more like a pre-programmed response than a genuine expression. How did that make you feel? Sometimes it hurts us more when someone pays us a phony gesture than if they hadn’t said anything at all. It’s definitely good to give compliments because it builds up a person’s spirit. However people can tell when we’re just going through the motions.
Did you know that God feels the same way? CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
No person striving to serve Jesus as their Master believes that Christians can engage in what God considers sinful behavior. We understand that God won’t tolerate His children lying, stealing, slandering, becoming intoxicated with alcohol, engaging in sexual immorality, and numerous other activities that oppose God’s nature. We know it’s these types of activities that killed us spiritually in the first place (cf. Eph. 2:1-3). Although we’re not perfect, and we slip up in sin from time to time, as Christians we repent and keep striving to imitate Christ (cf. Eph. 5:1).
Even though we understand that we must purge the personal sin from our lives, what are we to do about all the sin surrounding us from day to day? 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