Much To Talk About- 113

05 Apr

#1. Food For Thought

Recently I have been given a lot of supposed contradictions that are claimed to reside in the Bible but as you can see by the example below, certain verses are not contradictions but display the two natures of the examples used in scripture.

Christianity is not to be like candy– a temptress to lure men to do evil; a satisfier of evil or sinful desires; nor is it to be misused, where one becomes fat, unhealthy and impotent.

Christianity is to be like candy– something sweet, satisfying & fulfilling; something that is enjoyed where its fragrance and taste last for a long time, bringing pleasure, enjoyment to both the soul and body. ; correctly used it can provide energy keeping the person healthy, fit  and able to work well.

When we come across proverbs that seem to contradict each other, look for the dual nature of the topic so you can get the most out of what God is saying.

#2. The Hole In The Gospel-–  by Richard Stearns

I have stopped reading his book because it began to feel like a long commercial for World Vision instead of an autobiography but there were a couple of points of interest I will address.

What I have discovered in my travels to more than forty countries with World Vision is that all poverty is fundamentally the result of lack of options. It is not that the poor are lazier, less intelligent or unwilling to make efforts to change their condition. Rather, it is that they are trapped by circumstances beyond their power to change (pg. 118)

Sadly, he does not go into the real reasons why there are a lack of options. It isn’t just because of nature which has turned off the water supply, or allowed the animals to die off but because of the greed of other humans who think everything is for their taking. This attitude is found from the cruelest of dictators to law enforcement to military to local officials to corrupt foreign corporations who abuse the oppressed nationals to those who poach without care.

It is the sin of man that keeps these people without options and make them powerless to change the situation.

I can still remember , shortly after my own commitment to follow Christ at age twenty-three, eagerly speaking to my mother about my new found faith and asking whether she too considered herself a Christian. “Doesn’t everybody?’ She asked. In her view, of course everyone was a Christian; America was Christian. Christian, after all, was a synonym for ‘good people’ and Americans are good people. Everyone wanted to be a ‘Christian’ in bygone days…

In the last thirty or so years, the word Christian, and even more so  the word evangelical, has become associated with an ideological battle raging in our country, sometimes called the culture war. (pgs. 226-7)

One of the things I have found in reading this book is that Mr. Stearns doesn’t like the hard side of Christianity. He likes the feel good side, which doesn’t deal with sin, false teaching and so on; instead he prefers to have everyone think well of him. He is the type of person that only looks upon one side of Jesus– the side that healed the sick, fed the hungry, ate with sinners and so on. These type of people do not like it when it is pointed out that Jesus did not accept sin, called others to repent and get on the narrow path to salvation.

Yes Jesus gave good things liberally but he told them not to sin no more, to change their ways and he did not alter God’s word to appease those who refuse to change from their sinful lifestyles. He did not change God’s rule for men only as priests of the temple and allowed women in because ‘they had gifts’ or were ‘dedicated’ to his purpose; nor did he alter God’s definition of marriage because someone wanted more civil rights or equality.

If you look at who was allowed to minister in his church you will find that Jesus’ requirements were and are as strict as God’s were and are. If people are going to chastise Christians for their ‘image’ then they should really look at the whole picture and not just the side that favors their perspective

However, I will say that the Christian ‘brand’ as perceived by those on the outside who do not consider themselves to be Christian, has taken a beating. (pg. 227)

I hate the word ‘brand’ as it is a misrepresentation of who Christians are and what they do. We are not a corporation vying for business against other more successful corporations. We are in a spiritual war where the line between victory and defeat rests upon a simple decision made by an individual who is influenced by an enemy filled with hatred and distracted by all the pleasures the world offers.

Yes Christians are not always doing what Jesus taught and can be tightwads when there is a need but no one ever said Christians are perfect and opt for the right thing to do. They can be tempted, influenced by evil as well as distracted by the offerings of the world thus they do not respond in the correct spiritual manner all the time. Or they just may be pretend Christians who like the association and respect that comes with that title yet remain in the clutches of evil or they can be alternative believers who distort the scriptures in order to feel good about their disobedience to God’s word.

To generalize, like the world does, does not present a true picture of the situation and unfairly accuses those who actually do what Jesus said all the time. The generalization also ignores the ignorance of the secular world who do not take the time to properly categorize believers and lumps them into one group where the bad apples are cited as examples while pushing the good to the bottom of the barrel.

We do not talk about ‘brand’ or ‘worldview’ in Christianity. We talk about being Christ-like and saving and developing a lost world for Jesus.

Most people I meet assume that Christian means very conservative, entrenched  in their thinking, antigay, antichoice, angry, violent, illogical, empire builders; they want to convert everyone, and they cannot live peacefully with anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe. (pg. 227)

Talk about being unfair and not looking at the whole picture. Or I could just say– so? Christians are against sin and almost everything on that list points to that fact. The list is just naive and Mr. Stearns is as naive as the list builders because he turns around and misapplies the accusations.  We do not change the word of God or our behavior simply because someone doesn’t like them.

We change because God leads us to change while keeping intact his word, his commands, his declaration of what is actually sin. We know that some people misapply scripture to life but those people have the right of free choice and even if we warn them, counsel them, advise them to do what is right, they still choose to do wrong. There is only so much we can do to stop people who are bent on sinning and seeking sinful pleasure. But we do not throw the whole baby out with the bath water and attempt to reinvent Christianity because the bad apples choose to follow their own paths instead of God’s.

Mr. Stearn is also naive because he doesn’t realize that Christians will always get a bad reputation no matter what they do because what they do is different from the world’s ways.

The data suggests that we have become defined by those things we are against rather than those we are for. .. Can you see why people get the feeling that we are judging them and looking down on them with a sense of moral superiority? (pg. 229)

Someone has to be against sin.  It is obvious that World Vision prefers to follow secular culture rather than God’s word, exampled by their bad attempt last year to include same-sex couples in their organization. Then, Christians need to learn the correct biblical definition for the word ‘judge’ for telling someone they are sinning and wrong is NOT judging them. If the unbeliever feels judged it is because their sins condemn them not because Christians have a ‘moral superiority.

No, today’s Christianity is infiltrated by those who cannot be man enough to deliver God’s word correctly to those who are lost in sin and headed for eternal destruction. They want others to feel good instead of exposing their unrighteousness and telling them they need to repent and change. While we are to do this, believers are also supposed to heal the sick, feed the poor, and treat others as they would like to be treated. We do this by not compromising or making one more superior than the other. Jesus was able to do it so should we.

#3. The Younger Evangelicals— by Robert Webber

This is a book I bought yesterday hoping it would be an honest assessment of those who are calling themselves members of the ’emerging church’ or of those who are coming up in the ranks of leadership in the evangelical denominations. It wasn’t. Rather it was a very biased work in favor of those who seek alternatives to biblical belief yet want to remain identified as ‘Christian’.

One of the sad aspects of this book was the author  calling these people with ‘new strategies’, new ‘ideas’, new ‘beliefs’ Christian when in reality they are far from true biblical faith. This is one of the major problems in the Christian church today, many inside just do not have the courage to tell these people that they are wrong and outside of God’s kingdom. Rather, they do not want to lose membership so they turn a blind eye to the false teaching that arises in these people or they do not want to reprimand them for fear of seeing them walk away from the faith.

There is so much wrong with this book that there is not enough space in this format to deal with them all. I will just skip to one question asked by the author on page 240

But what kind of leadership will the younger evangelicals offer to the church?

If they do not follow Jesus and the Bible, then their leadership will take the church to destruction. We can see this in the Presbyterian church that recently adopted a change to the definition of marriage. If the younger believers cannot side with God, the Bible and Jesus then they have no business leading the church or even teaching youth or Sunday school.

True leadership means being a faithful and good steward of God’s, fulfilling his duties as God wants without being influenced by secular culture, popularity of fads and so on.

#4. People Who Do Not Want To Obey Say…–

The Bible is not the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God. We go to the Bible because of the testimony of the saints that the Word of God can be encountered there through faithful reading which is an active process of interpretation not passive reception. Readings of the Bible which hurt people and diminish love are not of God because they are not consistent with the character of Jesus who is the Word of God.

…things just like that. They want their own way so they attack God’s word and try to render it null and void. They have a false idea about what ‘love’ is and seek to be inclusive when they need to stand firm and omit sin from their lives and the church. They also say things like:

The Bible is not a text book…The Bible is not an oracle or any other kind of “magic” book. …The Bible is not a self-help book….The Bible is not written to you.

These are the words from those who cannot side with God and think they are better than him. They want to listen to the secular world, be part of the crowd and love the things of this world not God or what he offers. That author is very wrong , of course, and it is very doubtful he would listen to the truth for that would mean he would have to acknowledge that he was or is being deceived by evil.

The Bible is written to and for everyone, it is God’s word,  and it is a textbook for truth as well as being a place to learn the answers to your questions and how to live right.

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Posted by on April 5, 2015 in academics, church, faith, General Life, leadership, theology


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