Let’s start with a definition:
Adj: not capable of being wrong or making mistakes : not fallible
Was Jesus incapable of being wrong or making a mistake?
Did Jesus miraculously know the skills of carpentry or did Joseph teach him? Did he ever miss the nail head when he swung the hammer? Did he ever cut a plank too short?
Would you kill a baby if God asked you to?
Before dismissing this as a stupid question, remember that the Bible records several instances where God commanded entire city populations to be slaughtered and 1 Samuel 15:3 even specifies “nursing infants.”
King David said the man who grabs enemy babies and smashes them against the rocks is blessed. (Psalms 137:9) Continue reading
You don’t have to send the kids outside, take the battery out of the ticking clock, and hold your breath to hear God speak.There is no noise on earth that can prevent you from hearing the voice of God if God decides to talk to you.
Yahweh has never suffered from laryngitis!
The idea that you have to “empty your mind,” “quiet your soul,” or “become spiritually mature enough to tune into God’s frequency,” comes from Eastern religions and medieval mysticism.
Christians need to be like the Bereans who examined the scriptures so that they could reject false teachings.
According to the Pentateuch, God declared that a man should marry his sister-in-law and have children with her if the man’s brother died. He also said that a man may have slave wives, either purchased or captured in battle, and if he found one of his wives displeasing, he could sell her. (If she were Hebrew, he could not sell her to foreigners). Concubines (slave-girls or prisoners who were taken as sexual partners) were often referred to as wives.* The Bible says that a man was obligated to respect the marriage rights of each of his wives.
Some of the better known figures in the Bible with multiple wives were Abraham, Jacob, Esau, Saul, David, Solomon, Gideon, and probably Moses (Numbers 12:1).
Debates over gay marriage often lead to the following statement: “If gay marriage is legalized, what’s to keep polygamy from being legalized. The biblical definition of marriage is the best definition!”
While I agree with the logic behind the first sentence, I’ll be slow to agree with the second sentence. Are we talking Adam & Eve or David & Michal, Ahinoam, Abigail, Maacah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, Bathsheba…?
*Saul’s wife’s name was Ahinoam (1 Samuel 14:50) and his concubine was named Rizpah (2 Samuel 3:7), but the prophet Nathan said God gave Saul’s wives to David (2 Samuel 12:8).
Keturah was referred to as one of Abraham’s concubine in Genesis 25:6 but as his wife in Genesis 25:1.
The Hebrews were a peculiar people who believed in only one god. And Yahweh, unlike pagan gods, didn’t have any children. Now the Hebrew people did speak of God’s spirit, but they thought of this Holy Spirit as the active power of Yahweh, not as a member of a trinity. So when Jesus came on the scene in the first century, it wasn’t easy for Jews to transition from their conception of God to God in 3 persons. And two thousand years later people are still trying to wrap their minds around it!
I can somewhat understand God the Father as a person in the trinity. I view him as an unembodied, omniscient mind. And it seems that from the Father proceed the Word (logos) and the Breath (pneuma).
Marcion of Sinope (85-160) rejected the Old Testament because he believed the God it portrayed lacked the moral goodness of Jesus and therefore could not have been Jesus’ father.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) used a pen knife to cut verses from his Bible that he thought portrayed Jesus inaccurately.
Nowadays, doing what Marcion or Thomas Jefferson did will get you labeled a heretic faster than you can say jumping jack flash. So what do Christians do with those portions of scripture that seem to contradict the majority of scripture? Continue reading
Before going to the Bible to see what Jesus had to say about divorce, let me just say that I realize this is a sensitive topic. My goal in writing this blog is to address what I believe is a false teaching that is common within the church. I have no desire to offend you if you have gone through divorce or add to the suffering you have experienced. My desire is to correctly teach the word of truth and perhaps influence others to do the same.
So here’s the question: When is it permissible for a Christian to get a divorce? Continue reading
I grew up believing the Bible we have today was translated from the original manuscripts. I believed not a jot nor tittle were added or omitted; I believed God’s sovereignty ensured this.
It wasn’t until I became an adult that I learned none of the original manuscripts exist and that over the centuries scribes who copied scripture sometimes changed words and often added words or phrases. Textual variants in the New Testament involve 10% of the whole text of the New Testament, and because there are many less surviving complete manuscripts of the Old Testament and the copying process was probably done more carefully, textual variants involve only 6% of the whole text of the Old Testament.
Here’s an excerpt from an article by Wayne Jackson entitled “Did the Ancient Gentiles Have the Hope of Salvation?”:
The Bible student is aware of the fact that the law of Moses was given to the nation of Israel. It was intended to regulate the Jews’ conduct and to provide a mode of forgiveness (through the Levitical sacrificial system) when they transgressed the law.
Where does this leave the Gentiles who lived before the coming of Christ? Were they excluded from Jehovah’s magnificent plan of human salvation? Why was so much attention given to the Jews over the Gentiles?
The primary theme of Old Testament history had to do with the Hebrew nation in view of their role in preparing the world for the coming of the Messiah (John 4:22). Nonetheless, Heaven’s interest in non-Hebrews is underscored many times in the body of Old Testament literature.
To read the article in its entirety, click here: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1475-did-the-ancient-gentiles-have-the-hope-of-salvation
Christians believe that one enters into a covenant relationship with Christ when the Holy Spirit enables them to recognize the truth of the gospel and accept it. Those who advocate “Free Grace” or “Non-Lordship Salvation” (derogatorily referred to as “Easy-Believism”) teach that a person remains in this covenant relationship forever because of this one-time event in their life.
Proponents of Free Grace say that a believer should produce the fruit of obedience but a lack of fruit cannot strip them of their status as God’s children; it would simply result in fewer heavenly rewards.
Those who object to this view hold to a position often referred to as “Lordship Salvation.” They argue that faith without works is dead and that there is no such thing as a “carnal Christian.” They further argue that good works done in obedience to our Lord are required and not just something we should do. They refer to the doctrine of salvation without repentance and obedience as “Cheap Grace.”
Are all the laws in the Torah directly from God, or did Moses create some?
I’ve always believed they were all from God, but there are some that I just can’t see God saying because they seem to clash so violently with Jesus’ teaching. For example…
Since all humans, naturally, have the ability to exercise faith, in what respect is faith (pistis) a gift from God to believers (Philippians 1:29)?
In a general sense, faith is a gift simply because all good things are gifts from God (James 1:17). But when we are talking about saving faith, the kind that unites us with Christ, we recognize that if it were not for God’s prevenient grace, we would remain in the darkness. Through various means God has revealed himself to all people. Not only has he shown favor (grace) by providing evidence of his existence through creation (Romans 1:20), he also works in situations and circumstances to draw people to himself (providence).
“The relating triune God desires that we earnestly seek Him and His wisdom as “for hidden treasures” (Prov. 2:4)—with all our heart. All around us there are indicators of His presence and echoes of His voice, which are available to all people—whether of great intelligence or not. However, God honors human responsibility so greatly that He has configured His self-revelation to be accessible but non-coercive: He doesn’t compel or force belief—and love and worship—upon us. For whole-hearted seekers, God gives ample signposts of His grace and presence, but sufficient ambiguity for the half-hearted or the hard-hearted. He grants us breathing room to allow us to distance ourselves from God and resist His grace if we choose.”
When we hear the word “church,” we usually think of a building that often has a steeple on it. But the Bible uses the word “church” (ekklesia) to refer to something very different. In the New Testament, the word “church” always refers to the whole body of Christian believers. It is used synonymously with “the body of Christ,” and “a spiritual house” made up of “living stones.”
Is it a big deal that we use the word “church” in a way that is so disconnected from the Bible’s usage?
Maybe, maybe not…
Some claim that it causes Christianity to be compartmentalized and causes a dualistic thinking. We “go to church” on Sunday for a few hours and live our own lives when we leave the building.
I tend to think it’s not a big deal. Word meanings often change over time and since the Bible gives God’s family many different names, the fact that one has changed its meaning makes little difference in my opinion.
Now if I hear people start saying, “I go to the First Baptist Body of Christ,” or “Do you know of a good living house in the area?” then I’ll get worried.
Have you heard of The Federal Vision (also called Auburn Avenue Theology)?
Federal Vision theology is a Reformed Evangelical theological conversation that focuses on covenant theology. I see it as a correction that was long overdue.
To learn more, click here to download “A Joint Federal Vision Profession”: www.federal-vision.com/resources/joint_FV_Statement.pdf
Point to Ponder:
If the tithe were still in effect, followers of Christ would be designated to receive it, not give it since followers of Christ are now the temple of God and members of a royal priesthood! (Eph 2:19-21, 1 Peter 2:9)
Although the tithe is no longer in effect, Christians are to be generous givers! To read my post on New Covenant giving, click here: here: http://www.simmondsfam.com/blog/faith/2014/08/31/how-much-money-should-christians-give/
People are not born spiritually blind; it’s a choice.
While the Bible and our own experience confirm that people are born with a bias toward sin, we are not born spiritually blind. In fact, the faith of children and youth is often superior to that of adults (Luke 18:17). In Romans 1 we are told that God has made himself known to all people and that his power and divine nature have been visible since the beginning of time so that people are without excuse. Spiritual blindness is not congenital! Instead, sin causes the eyes of the heart to grow dark, and over time, a lifestyle of continual, unrepentant sin leads to spiritual blindness (Rom 1:21, Eph 4:18). So repent now and walk in the light as God is in the light.
The third Commandment says, “Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God, because the LORD will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.” (Ex 20:7)
In his book The 10 Greatest Struggles of Your Life, Colin Smith describes the common misuse of God’s name among Christians:
One of the most common metaphors in the New Testament portrays people as fruit trees. We are told that the trees that produce good fruit will be saved but the trees that do not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Initial justification happens when we place our faith in Christ and all sins we’ve committed are forgiven (with the promise of forgiveness for future sins). We become one with Christ in covenant, and as a result, God regards us as righteous (in the right) and no longer deserving of condemnation.