Shut Up, I Can’t Hear God!

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.

Polygamy and the Bible

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.

How I (currently) view the Holy Spirit

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).

The Word became flesh and we call him Jesus. Recognizing Jesus as a person in the trinity is even easier for me since Jesus lived here on earth as a human. (Of course discussing his prehuman existence complicates the discussion, so I’ll leave that for later.)

Now we’re to the third member of the trinity and this is where things really get confusing for me. I can understand God’s spirit, or breath, as the active power of God: God breathed on the clay form and it became a living man. God breathed on Mary and she became pregnant. God breathed on the disciples at Pentecost and they received power to do things they couldn’t previously do. But when I try to think of the Holy Spirit as a person who indwells me, I can’t figure out how he can simultaneously indwell millions of other individuals. (At this point, I believe the indwelling is literal and therefore, in some sense, spatial.)

Well, it just occurred to me that if I think of Yahweh’s spirit as a Hebrew or first-century Jew would have, it all seems to make sense. In the same way that God created all things through the Word in the beginning, God now pours out his breath on all of humanity (Joel 2:28) through the Word, i.e. his resurrected son.

God breathed out his spirit on his son when Jesus was baptized and this empowered and equipped him for his ministry. And it appears the Father withdrew his spirit after Jesus accomplished his mission on the cross (Matt 27:47). On the third day, Yahweh breathed life into Jesus (the second Adam), just as he had breathed life into the first Adam so many years earlier, resurrecting his son and giving him all authority in heaven and on earth. And after he ascended, Jesus asked his father to send the Spirit. The Father then sent his spirit in Jesus’ name.

So the Spirit that empowered God’s only begotten son during his ministry is the same Spirit that indwells God’s adopted children. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God in me. God’s breath marks me as his child, just as Jesus was marked and therefore resurrected. God’s breath marks me as a member of Christ’s Holy Church and empowers me to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Am I settling for an Old Testament view of God’s spirit and missing out on a fuller view that came from Jesus? Maybe. But to be clear, I’m not denying the doctrine of the trinity. I’m just admitting that I don’t know what to do with the personhood of the Holy Spirit. And until I figure it out, this ancient view makes sense to my little mind. And my little mind likes that. :)

Dealing with tricky biblical texts…

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?

They typically do one of four things:

  1. Call them mysteries that we will never understand this side of heaven
  2. Use exegetical gymnastics to prove that these portions of scripture do not mean what they say
  3. Claim that they were not a part of the original manuscripts but were added later
  4. Claim that the authors were simply wrong when they wrote them

I’ll demonstrate with this text:

“A woman should learn in silence with full submission. I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent. For Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. But she will be saved through childbearing, if she continues in faith, love, and holiness, with good judgment.” (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

Peter said Paul’s teachings were sometimes hard to understand and this one ranks up there near the top.

The rationale seems illogical:

  • Women should learn about spiritual matters in silence and not teach because Eve was created after Adam.
  • Women should learn about spiritual matters in silence and not teach because Eve was deceived by the serpent, not Adam.
  • Women must learn in silence and not teach, but they will be saved through childbearing.

So which strategy is most effective in dealing with this?

Strategy #1 is viewed as the least risky and is the most popular among Christians: Call it a mystery and just accept it. This may get you labeled a “fundamentalist” by some but it’s doubtful you’ll be called a heretic.
Strategy #2 is viewed as acceptable in most Christian circles as long as you use words like “exegesis” and “hermeneutics” and look very scholarly as you elucidate by pointing out that the root words in Greek or Hebrew can have various meanings and because of the plural past pluperfect usage, it actually means the opposite of what you might think.
Strategy #3 will probably cause you to be labeled a heretic by many, but if you can prove that some ancient manuscripts do not include these portions, you may not get kicked out of your church. (But don’t hold your breath about joining the Elder board.)
Strategy #4 will cause you to be labeled a heretic and will probably get you kicked out of the church (unless you belong to a more liberal denomination such as Episcopal or Presbyterian).

So when you run into passages like 1 Timothy 2:11-15, which strategy should you use?

Definitely not #2! I HATE that strategy! (It’s ok; it’s righteous hatred.)
Strategy #3 might work in some cases but use it honestly and use it sparingly.
Use #4 at your own risk! People have been burned at the stake for less…
Strategy #1 is always your safest bet! :)

I can still get a divorce…right?

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?

I think Jesus’ answer was that once the marriage has been consummated with the first act of sexual intercourse, it is never permissible. And if a person whose marriage has been consummated does get a divorce and remarries, they have not only sinned in getting a divorce, they have also committed adultery by getting remarried.

If you’re thinking, Who the heck would get married if adultery isn’t even permissible grounds for divorce and if remarriage would be considered adultery? you’re in good company. Here’s what Jesus’ disciples said: “If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this, it’s better not to marry!” (Matt 19:10)

Now if you’re thumbing through your Bible right now looking for the “adultery clause,” let me help you out; go to Matthew 19:9. You’ll notice it says “except for sexual immorality” (porneia); it does not say “except for adultery” (moichao).

Now of course adultery is a form of sexual immorality, but if Matthew had wanted to write “adultery,” why didn’t he? He obviously knew the word since he used it later in the same sentence.

Keep in mind that God had already declared in the Old Testament that the penalty for adultery was death, and Jesus said earlier in the book of Matthew, “For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.” (Matt 5:18)

So if Jesus wasn’t referring to adultery in Matthew 19:9, what kind of sexual immorality was he referring to? I believe he was referring to sexual immorality in a marriage that had not yet been consummated, i.e. betrothal. Remember that when Joseph learned his betrothed was pregnant, he naturally assumed it was the result of sexual immorality and decided to divorce Mary secretly so as to shield her from public disgrace.

So if you’re a Christian thinking about getting married, think long and hard before saying “I do.” And if you have gotten a divorce and if you have remarried, remember that all have sinned but “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, emphasis added)

_________________________________________________
To read more about Jesus’ exception clause in the book of Matthew, check out John Piper’s link here: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/on-divorce-remarriage-in-the-event-of-adultery

Please teach the whole truth…

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 are some examples:

In some Bibles, Matthew 27:7 reads “Jesus, Barabbas, or Jesus…”; however, the oldest manuscripts do not repeat the name “Jesus.”

In some Bibles, 1 Chronicles 3:4 says the width of the porch was 120 cubits (180 feet); however, the discovery of older manuscripts lets us know that it was actually 20 cubits (30 feet).

1 Kings 4:26 says Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses. In 2 Chronicles 9:25 (a parallel passage) we are told that he had 4,000.

2 Chronicles 22:2 says “42 years,” but the parallel passage in 2 Kings 8:26 says “22 years.”

In 1 Samuel 13:1 some manuscripts say Saul was 30 while others omit his age.

Ephesians 5:9 says “fruit of the light” in the oldest manuscripts, but later textual variants contained “fruit of the Spirit.”

The two words “of sins” appeared in later manuscripts at the end of Hebrews 9:22, so it shows up in some translations (like ESV) but is absent from others.

In John 5 after the 3rd verse, some manuscripts insert “…waiting for the moving of the water, because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had”; however, most Bible scholars are in agreement that this was added later and therefore some translations omit it and others bracket it to show that it was likely not included in the original.

John 7:53-8:11 doesn’t show up in the oldest and best Greek manuscripts and when it does show up in later manuscripts it is sometimes placed at the end of Luke’s 21st chapter or at the end of Luke’s letter. Furthermore, none of the early church fathers mentioned it.

In 2 Corinthians 8:7 some Bibles say “in our love for you” and others say “in your love for us,” which makes much more sense in this context.

There are many more including 1 John 5:7-8, which made its first appearance in a Greek manuscript in the 15th century and the last 12 verses in the book of Mark, which differ significantly from the rest of that book.

Why didn’t my youth group leaders address this when I was a teen?

I suspect most laypeople are either ignorant of these facts or they are afraid to talk about them for fear of being labeled a “progressive” or “liberal” by Christians fundamentalists. (People say this is especially true in the south where Southern Baptists have a bit of a reputation for going after those who don’t tow the party line, but I’m certain this kind of intimidation happens everywhere.)

But why didn’t the pastors of the churches I attended address these matters? Were they also afraid? Afraid their flock might not be able to handle the truth? Afraid of offending and maybe losing members whose support made their salaries possible? Afraid of being run out of the church as heretics?

When I was a kid, it was popular for churches to teach that the Bible was inerrant. Then sometime in the 80’s, churches started modifying their Statements of Faith by tacking the words “in the original manuscripts” to the statement on inerrancy. This kind of intellectual honesty was long overdue, but it still wasn’t taught from the pulpit. And 30 years later I still don’t hear it being taught!

Why does this matter?

It matters because churches are dying as the youth stop attending after having their faith shipwrecked when they learn that what they were taught in church isn’t all true.

It matters because laypeople are unable to answer the questions raised by Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” or Bart Ehrman’s New York Times bestseller “Misquoting Jesus.”

As we move toward a post-church culture, I believe pastors and youth leaders have an even greater obligation to prepare those under their influence. Address the truth head on: Yes, there are some mistakes in the manuscripts we have and these mistakes do show up in the Bibles we use, but so what?

Why should the width of a porch, the number of horse stalls, a repeated name, or the insertion of a few words on the part of scribes who were trying to make the text more readable shake a Christian’s faith?

We don’t believe in the Bible, we believe in the one the Bible points us to. But we can believe the Bible is trustworthy when it comes to the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. We can believe Jesus’ teachings because we have copies of every book in the New Testament that date back to either the first or second century. We can believe Jesus’ teaching because we have some 5,700 Greek manuscripts (plus another 10,000 manuscripts of the early Latin versions of the NT). We also have the writing of the early church fathers which contain thousands of quoted verses.

Remember what the apostle Paul said, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:14, 17).

Our faith must be based on the resurrection of Christ, not on whether or not trivial errors have crept into the text of the Bible.

____________________________________________________________
For more on this topic, see “From God To Us Revised and Expanded: How We Got Our Bible” by Norman Geisler & William Nix: http://www.amazon.com/From-God-To-Revised-Expanded/dp/0802428827

What about ancient Gentiles?

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

Free Grace vs. Lordship 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.”

Proponents of Lordship Salvation fall into two categories: those who believe that our obedience keeps us in a covenant relationship with Christ and those who say that our obedience merely demonstrates whether or not we ever entered into a covenant relationship with Christ. (Catholics, many Reformed Christians, and proponents of the New Perspective on Paul [NPP] and Federal Vision fall into this first category while most evangelical Protestants fall into this second category.)

Advocates of Free Grace and advocates of Lordship Salvation both affirm the reformed doctrine of sola fide, but those who teach the latter say that while we are saved by faith alone, the Bible is clear that saving faith is never alone.

Some well-known teachers of Lordship Salvation include John MacArthur, John Piper, J.I. Packer, John Stott, Rick Warren, N.T. Wright, Ben Witherington III, A.W. Tozer, and H.A. Ironside.

Some well-known teachers of Free Grace include Charles Stanley, Tony Evans, Chuck Swindoll, Bill Bright, J. Dwight Pentecost, Bob Wilkin, Charles Ryrie, L.S. Chafer, and Zane Hodges.

Who created the laws within the Law of Moses?

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…

Unlike male Hebrew slaves who were to be treated as hired hands and set free after 6 years of service, a female Hebrew sold into slavery by her father was a slave for life and was typically purchased to be a wife for the owner or for the owner’s son. If the owner was displeased with her, he could sell her to other Hebrews (her parents, for example, could redeem her), but he could not sell her to foreigners. (Ex 21:8)

There’s a law that lays out conditions for how to treat multiple wives. A slave purchased to be a wife or concubine must be treated as well as other wives or released. But if she is released, she is not entitled to leave with any money. (Ex 21:7-11)

Beating a male or female slave to death was punishable, but if they survived one or two days after the beating, there would be no punishment.(Ex 21:20-21)

There’s a law that says a man can devote what he owns to God with the intention that it be destroyed/sacrificed. This includes his animals, slaves, and even his daughters. And once it is devoted, it can not be redeemed but must die. (Lev 27:28-29; Jud 11:30-40)

If a wife tries to help her husband who is being beat up by grabbing the testicles of the attacker, the wife’s hand must be cut off. (Deut 25:11-12)

If a husband thinks his wife has been unfaithful, he is to take her to the priest. The priest will mix dust from the floor with holy water and then the woman must take an oath with a sworn curse. After that she must drink the water. If she truly was unfaithful, she will suffer terrible consequences. (Num 5:12-31)

After giving birth, a mother was declared unclean (for 7 days if she gave birth to a boy and for 2 weeks if she gave birth to a girl). (Lev 12:2-8)

If your brother, son, daughter, wife or close friend tries to secretly get you to worship another god, you are to kill them (all the others will help but you are to strike the first blow). (Deut 13:6-9)

The usual explanation (sometimes called Divine Accommodation) is that God gave the Hebrew people laws that were meant to regulate existing customs and behaviors and we should not view them as characteristic of God’s moral will. And this may be true, but I see three problems with this view:

1. Yahweh doesn’t come across as one who is interested in regulating sinful behavior.
2. For thousands of years God’s commands defined morality and God’s character. For thousands of years slavery, misogyny, polygamy, and a legal system that left little room for compassion and mercy could fit within a godly, holy, and righteous life. It’s hard for me to accept that an omniscient, personal, righteous and jealous God would desire this kind of harmful ambiguity.
3. When the Pharisees pointed out to Jesus that Moses permitted a man to divorce his wife if he found something offensive in her, Jesus’ response was quite interesting. He said that going all the way back to the garden of Eden it was not that way and it should not be permitted (unless one’s partner is unfaithful). Then Jesus said that Moses permitted it to appease hard-hearted people (Mat 19:3-12).

Now maybe saying “Moses permitted you to divorce…” was synonymous with “God permitted you to divorce…” but it seems like Jesus is disagreeing with Moses and reaffirming God’s hatred of divorce.

What do you think? Did Moses ever interject his opinions (like Paul, 1 Cor. 7:12), or did all of the laws in the Torah come directly from God?

__________________________________________________________
Notes:
As I researched this topic I discovered that Marcion of Sinope (85-160 AD) was so bothered by how the Old Testament depicted God that he completely rejected the Old Testament.

Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose and Augustine all taught that the passages in the Old Testament that ascribed sinful behavior to God and holy men were not meant to be taken literally; instead they were to be read as allegorical.

Referring to the book of Joshua, C.S. Lewis said that when the goodness of God conflicts with the doctrine of inerrancy, the goodness of God must prevail.

How is faith a gift?

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).

I like the way William Burt Pope, a 19th century theologian, says it:

“Faith, viewed first more comprehensively as the condition of salvation, is a state or an act of the human spirit as under the influence of the Divine Spirit. The Divine and the human cannot be so clearly defined and separated as in the case of repentance. They may be united in relation to the belief, generally; the passive and active trust that enter into saving faith, and the assurance of acceptance and salvation which follow it in the regenerate life.
I. BELIEF, or the principle of faith generally, belongs to human nature: the faculty of perceiving the force of evidence and admitting as knowledge what is received on evidence or authority internal or external.
1. Man lives by faith, in this sense also. Belief is a primary condition of all reasoning; and all our knowledge rests on faith. Hence the propriety of Anselm’s CREDE UT INTELLIGAS, in opposition to Abelard’s INTELLIGE UT CREDAS: the two watchwords of Christian Faith and Rationalism respectively. All faith has in it an element of trust. The being of God, the guilt and punishment of sin, the mission of Christ for redemption, the Christian revelation as a whole, must be accepted by faith before the Person of Christ is trusted in for personal salvation. But the object of this faith, not yet a personal Saviour, is only generally apprehended: the compass of the Christian Faith is often embraced only after the experience of salvation. To whatever extent the truths of religion are known and embraced, faith in them is the healthy and legitimate exercise of the human mind, receiving the evidence, internal and external, which authenticates revelation.
2. On the other hand, this belief is Divine. A merely intel
lectual assent, such as rests upon tradition and education, is not enough: The devils also believe, and tremble. Seldom does this belief withstand the assault of skeptical attack. No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. A firm belief in the Christian revelation, and in Him whom it reveals as God and man, is the very precious gift of the Spirit, and is often made perfect in the exercise of personal trust. Sometimes the personal trust and the assurance of faith bring in also the full assurance of understanding as to the outward revelation: speculative or historical faith thus, through Divine grace, deepens into that spiritual faith, which in its last exercise is the gift of God” (A Compendium of Christian Theology, 461-2).

I think Rudolf Bultmann nicely sums it up:

“A faith brought about by God outside of [human] decision would obviously not be genuine [faith]. Faith is God-wrought to the extent that prevenient grace first made the human decision possible, with the result that he who has made the decision can only understand it as God’s gift” (Theology of the New Testament, 1:330).

God’s Hiddenness

“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.”

~Paul Copan

Is it OK to “go to church”?

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.

Why I don’t tithe…


http://searchingforgrace.com/webcomic/heresy/

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/

We are not born spiritually blind

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.

“Permit” does not mean “cause”

In his book Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, John Calvin wrote, “[I]t is easy to conclude how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice by the suggestion that evils come to be not by His will, but merely by His permission. Of course, so far as they are evils…I admit they are not pleasing to God. But it is quite a frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them.”

Continue reading