This may be a touchy subject but I feel it needs to be discussed because some people are under erroneous ideas about who is responsible for the act of marriage. I realize that many people may disagree with me on this and that is fine.
There was a time when I was considering marrying a woman and I was searching for a minister to perform the ceremony.
There was one who was willing to do it but he sad he required x number of counseling sessions because he was responsible. Well I gave him a funny look as to me, he wasn’t. He didn’t bring my friend and I together, he didn’t twist our arms to get married and he actually had nothing to do with the marriage save to perform the ceremony.
Nothing made him responsible yet for some reason he felt he was. It bothers me and so does this article by another pastor found at the above link. His letter seems to be very exclusive and unfriendly. Also it looks like he is using the act of marriage to evangelize and to me that just doesn’t sit right.
Ecc. 3 tells us that there is a time for this and a time for that which means that there is a time to evangelize and a time not to and a wedding is not the time to evangelize. There is more to Christianity than evangelizing yet that seems to be the only activity that gets the attention.
Please understand that I perform weddings for couples where both the man and woman are Christians. My role is that of a Christian minister. I am unable to be a part of a wedding where either the husband or the wife will not be fully committed to Christ. The most important foundation of a marriage is the faith commitment of the couple. Both the husband and wife must demonstrate when they meet with me that they profess Christ as their Lord and Savior; and they must share with me the specifics of their Christian testimony. If you are not certain about your faith, I would be happy to share with you what it means to be a Christian.
These words bother me and it makes me wonder what impressions the unbelieving couple have as they walk away from this guy’s office. Pastors and Christians do not own the institution of marriage, God does and he has left it open to all heterosexual couples no matter their religious belief or unbelief. The only people left out of the open invitation are same-sex couples.
The above attitude makes me think that the pastor is undermining his own work by such a hard stance and creating stumbling blocks where none should have been built. Now I am not going to say what others should do in this situation because those licensed to perform marriages need to consult with God and see what he wants them to do with the requests for wedding help.
I do know that the blanket attitude illustrated above certainly locks God out of giving direction and using the pastor to win souls or plant seeds. I am not against evangelizing but to evangelize seeds need to be planted first, they need to be watered and fed, then harvested.
Too often pastors and churches leave out the first two steps in their zeal to add another notch to their Bible. Even something as simple as a performing a wedding ceremony can work for the cause of Christ if the Christian participation is done correctly.
With my experience, if I do finally get married I, as a believer in Jesus, will look for a judge over a Christian pastor or some other alternative as I have no confidence in any Christian pastor and I do not want them thinking they are responsible for my and my fiance’s decision. They aren’t. The couple is responsible for their wedding and marriage and I do not agree with the trend to pass the buck to someone who is not part of the wedded life.
#2. Racism or Excuse for Ganging Up on Someone?—http://www.christianpost.com/news/donald-sterling-banned-for-life-from-nba-slapped-with-2-5m-fine-and-forced-sale-of-la-clippers-118793/
I am using Christian Post for the link only as this story is found everywhere and nothing said here reflects upon CP. I have heard some of the comments and I did not find them racist in intent or content. Given the context, he was having a normal discussion with a girl about her flaunting certain men in front of him and putting him in an embarrassing position.
BUT given this day and age, people do not look for the truth and opt to put their own interpretation on his words, then attack their own ideas while placing them in Sterling’s mouth. I also see a group of people who do not like Sterling taking advantage of a golden opportunity and are or have ganged up on him in hopes of creating the ‘perfect society’ in the NBA.
As a believer, I cannot take sides on this issue but have to look for the truth, not only in the context of the words spoke but also in the behavior of those making a mountain out of this molehill.
Believers cannot take the popular way if that is not the right, just, fair, honest way to go and in this case, all we see in this issue is a kangaroo court implemented against a man who is not liked. In situations lie this, the believer must stand for the right way to go even when the offender is not a popular person and is a slum lord among other offenses.
The reason for this is because to side with all the players and the NBA is to side with the removal of rights of privacy, the violation of free speech, the suppression of having frank private conversations and so on. These atrocities are completely ignored by those who have turned a blind eye to how the offending words were made public.
The believer cannot side with those who cry the loudest simply because the accused is a person of low character or integrity. Nor can they side with the popular crowd when the charge is the flavor of the month, in this case–racism. Justice has to be applied even when those making the accusation are a minority group of people and it has to be applied even when the majority disagrees.
Jesus went for what was right even though the law said otherwise for he knew the motivation behind the accusations. The verse, ‘ye who are without sin cast the first stone’ applies in these situations and those words should be taken seriously as Christian evaluate similar issues.
#3. Using The Correct Media— http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/jars-of-clay-fallout/
The owner of Formerly Fundie has written two posts on this topic and CP has one as the member of a singing group made the error of using the wrong media to voice his questions.
He used twitter and that social media option is far too limiting to discuss serious questions like same-sex marriage. If one has questions, it is usually best to go back to the old-fashioned ways of doing things and schedule a meeting with someone who you can discuss such things with, in person.
Nothing beats the old-fashioned ways. Not only do you avoid the immediate angry responses from those who disagree with you or do not understand what you are asking. You also get time to think through the answers before making a decision about your own point of view.
“I don’t particularly care about Scriptures stance on what is “wrong.” I care more about how it says we should treat people.”
This is one of the questions he posted and it is clear where he made his mistakes. One i s obvious. He said he ‘didn’t care about Scripture…’ and that is not a good way to start a discussion.
The second mistake is not so obvious. The words of tweet do not convey very clearly what he is trying to say but it does expose a little ignorance on the part of that person. In dealing with issues like same-sex marriage believers cannot stop their investigation with the few verses in the Bible that speak directly about homosexuality.
Once a person finds out that God calls it a sin, the believer then must search for and read all the verses on sin and what God says about it and how to treat it. The issue of searching for answers is not for twitter or most social media outlets. It is for person to person discussion, personal reading and research and for in-depth analysis with the help of Holy Spirit.
One of the things the church has lost in today’s age of technology is that time-consuming personal work and communion with God. We want everything right now and in 140 characters or less and that does not do any topic justice.
I am not talking about scholarly research work but biblical work where God leads the way and points the truth out to the searcher. A lot of problems can be avoided if one returns to the old-fashioned way of doing things.
#4. The Demand for Redundancy— http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2014/04/the-letter-of-james.html
The letter fascinates me. It has a couple of mentions of the Lord Jesus Christ, but none of the traditional theological elements one will expect if one is steeped in the letters of Paul. No mention of Jesus’ crucifixion, much less an interpretation thereof as an atoning sacrifice. No mention of an afterlife at all, much less of the resurrection of Jesus.
These are the words that draw my attention. I have seen this before where unbelievers demand that God repeat everything over and over to make a book of the Bible valid. They want God to keep everyone at square one where all we get is the initial message and are never given any other information in which to grow.
Here you see that McGrath wants James to repeat what Paul already taught, what the Gospel writers already recorded and more, in order for him to accept the book of James as a biblical book.
God doesn’t have to be redundant and he has more to teach than just the few items scholars want taught. James doesn’t have to mention Jesus’ crucifixion because we learned all about that by reading the gospels. Believers need more teaching in order to learn what God wants them to do and James covers territory not covered in the other books.
Because certain books of the Bible leave out mentioning of certain biblical events doesn’t mean they are not written by God or should be omitted from the Bible. It means that people need to sit up and pay attention for there is more God wants believers to learn.
But if this is an authentic letter by James the brother of Jesus, then it may take us far closer to the earliest form of Jewish Christianity than anything else in the New Testament.
James the brother of Jesus is not the only James in Jesus’ circle. According to the archaeological study Bible there was the James the son of Zebedee and James the son of Alphaeus so the candidates for authorship are a few.
One thing that is interesting in the biography on the book of James is the discounting of James the son of Zebedee because he died approx. before 50 AD but later in the same biography the editors state that the book could be dated to some time before 50 AD. So James the son of Zebedee cannot be removed from consideration for authorship.
The key to authorship of the books of the Bible is that the human author is not the important issue. We do not know exactly which human opened God’s word and if we did the opponents of the Bible would have more ammunition to support their accusations that the Bible is a human written book and not a divine one.
In other words, it doesn’t matter which James wrote the book of James, because in reality it was God who penned its words and all the words of the Bible.
The following comes to mind in light of some Internet theological smackdowns I’ve been reading lately, as well as my own working through the muddy fields of publicly criticizing and being criticized.
Peter Enns doesn’t like to be criticized or so it seems as we see from this article. But criticism comes with the territory. Even Jesus faced it from his own people and their religious leaders.
If one is going to be a professor, teacher, pastor or even publish on a blog on the internet one needs to be prepared to be criticized as there will always be someone who disagrees with your point of view.
Most bloggers that I encounter end up banning me because in reality, they only want to preach to their particular choir and do not want to have their views challenged. The Bible does provide instruction on how to deal with those who criticize– ‘turn the other cheek’; ‘do unto others…’; ‘gain wisdom…understanding…knowledge…’; and on it goes.
The Bible is filled with instructions on what to do, it just might not contain the exact words you want to see. There is another form of criticism that is popular out there and it comes from those who do not like fundamentalism
These people criticize and reject large parts of the Bible simply because they do not want to do what God wants but follow what they want to do. The books of Kings, Chronicles, Judges Samuel and others detail what happens to those people who take that road.
They want to do what is right in their own eyes and ignore what is right in God’s eyes. They distract believers by their pointless criticisms of God, Jesus and the Bible. They do not want to know the truth, they just want excuses to reject all three. They also want to take as many true believers away from Christ as possible, that way they do not have to feel guilty about their decision to side with evil.
In Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park, a large 1,000-year-old structure long thought to be an Ancestral Puebloan water reservoir may not have been built to store water after all, a new study suggests.Instead, the so-called Mummy Lake — which isn’t a lake and has never been associated with mummies — likely held ancient ritual ceremonies, researchers say.
This bugs me no end. It seems that modern archaeologists and researchers feel that ancient people had nothing to do except pray, doing religious ceremonies and sleep. Sorry but I disagree with this new assessment of this area and find it repulsive.
With no written material extant by this group of people, there is no way that modern archaeologists can turn a water reservoir into a ritual religious area. One of the things that distorts the past and the ancients are those modern archaeologists who mis-identify so many ancient remains.
Not every large building is an ancient temple nor is every ancient figurine a fertility goddess but that is all we get from those archaeologists who reject any form of religion and God. Kind of ironic as unbelieving archaeologists claim so much in the past is religious.
So I am on record as disagreeing with this updated conclusion and I disagree with so many ancient buildings and figurines are religious related.