No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: Christianity

Do you have to believe in God to be moral?


According to the Pew Research Center, a growing share of Americans say it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral. That is the headline, and I have to admit it grabbed my attention. So here is the data breakdown. From 2011 to 2017 there was a 7% (49% to 56%) increase in the percentage of people who say that belief in God is not necessary to be moral and have ethical values. During that same timeframe, there was a 6% drop in the percentage of people who say that belief in God is necessary to be moral and have good values.

Ahhhh, this has the makings of a great ethics, theological and philosophical debate all wrapped up in one.

So, let me start with the theological aspect, and there are two key parts. First, is the idea that we have all fallen from grace and need saving. A couple of verses just to show you how “good” and “moral” we all are. Isaiah 64:6: We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Romans 3:10-12: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.

If we were able to BE ethical and moral, even with an ardent belief in God, we wouldn’t need saving grace. There are two things to take from the scripture I quoted. 1. None of us are moral or have good values according to God’s standards. 2. God’s standard is perfection, and we are not perfect.

Since none of us can be good/moral, let’s tackle the ethic’s aspect of it. Can a person, who doesn’t believe in God do something good? I for one don’t think that Christians have the market cornered on doing good. There are many philanthropists out there who do good works with their money, and a number of them are atheists. In the business world, some atheists are far more ethical than some who claim to be Christians. Many Christians struggle with the concept that an atheist can do good things, demonstrate virtue, or follow some of the ten commandments without any faith. This isn’t to say that they are good people (see above), but they are capable of acting, behaving, and demonstrating behavior that is talked about by Christ. Nevertheless, many atheists struggle with what ethical means, which takes me to the philosophical point.

What is good? What is ethical? To a Christian, right/ethical/moral are values derived from the Bible given by an absolute lawgiver. Strike that. Most Christians know that…well, maybe a few. Anyway, the world has ebbed and flowed over the very definition of good, and the idea that there is an absolute idea of what good is seems to be believed by few comparatively speaking. So when Pew asks a question about morals and good values, are they reference virtue ethics? Are they referencing ethics based on the greater good? Are they referencing a humanistic ethic (relativism)? Because they don’t define morals, we have no idea as to what those that answered the survey believe good to be.

So, what do we know? 1. No one can BE good. It implies a constant state of being, and no one IS good. Scripture and common sense make that clear. 2. All people are capable of doing some good things, but that does not make them good. 3. The definition of good, ethical and moral have been obfuscated by modern philosophy. The further away we get from an absolute moral law giver, the more confused good becomes.

So what does all of this mean? Well, lets start with the questions of the survey. Is it me or does anyone else notice two different questions in the one? Certainly, someone at Pew understands that there is a difference between BEING good and HAVING good values. This tells me that someone who doesn’t understand philosophical ethics, or the fundamental tenants of the Christian faith wrote the question.

What is the point of the survey then? I think what Pew is attempting to do is shape opinion by showing the world that the United States continues to become post-Christian. The data collected here is not indicative of anything other than to show the lack of ignorance on ethics and religion by Pew. There is so much ambiguity wrapped up in the question that there is no discernable way anyone, atheist or Christian, could answer it in any meaningful way.

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THE lying liars and the lies they tell


Have you ever heard a lie that had small nuggets of truth associated with it?  It’s like a chocolate covered doughnut that has sprinkles on it.  The lie is the doughnut, and the sprinkles are the truth.  While the truth can be seen, it is barely noticeable when it is eaten.

Now that I have all of you salivating over this imaginary doughnut, I want to talk a little bit about our enemy.  So let me ask you an honest question, do you feel awkward bringing up his name in the midst of a conversation?  Do you find yourself looking for words like enemy, or our adversary?  I do.  It feels off to say the following sentence, Satan is influencing my thoughts today, please pray for me.  Or how about this sentence, You are under Satan’s influence, and you need to start praying for the Holy Spirit to guide you.

We live in a weird world today.  Paganism, and Satanism is on the rise, and getting its own monuments outside of public buildings.  There is a growing trend of Christians who believe that  Satan is not a real entity.  Many preachers teach that hell is not real.  And Bible believing Christians feel embarrassed to talk about the influence of Satan on theirs and others lives.

And it is all about influence, NOT demonic possession.  Everything in the current media is focused on exorcising demons and the increase of exorcisms.  Nothing focuses on the day to day influence that a demon, or Satan can have on you.  What kind of influence?  Anything that could change or alter your behavior towards God, or towards sin.

So when I say THE lying liars and the lies they tell, I am referring to Satan and his demons working overtime to give you the doughnut, with enough sprinkles on it to get past your truth meter, or to trick you.

To use myself as an example.  I have been in the process of writing several books over the last year, and just completed my first one.  All of these books are related to being a Christian.  Throughout the process I have had a nagging feeling that no one will read the book, and at times I have had to force myself to continue work on them.  This became so regular that I wrote on the potential influences that our adversary can have on our lives, through influence alone.

The name of the book is The Interview and it is now available for purchase through Amazon on the Kindle, and through paperback.  If you want to see numerous examples of how THE lying liars and the lies they tell can impact your life, read this book.

Interview Book Cover

Buy it now for the Kindle for $3.99 or in Paperback for $6.99

Are Christians Sociopaths?


Are Christians, particularly Christians in America, sociopathic?

What started as an off the cuff remark I made during a recent sermon at my Church (Legacy Church, in Kansas City, MO) has begun to legitimately haunt me (you can hear the sermon here)…

Christian… Sociopath… These are two words that on the surface seem completely incompatible.  Acts 11:26 tells us that the term “Christian” was first used of disciples in the Antioch church.  This was initially used as an insult in that people were saying they were “little Christs”.  In other words, they were just like Jesus, who because of His great love for people, voluntarily died to pay for the sins of the world. On the other hand – the dictionary defines sociopath as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” Another says that “Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.”

How can someone who is living a life that is reminiscent of a man whose critics admit was at least a good person and moral teacher exhibit behavior or attitudes that are patently selfish and apathetic to others? However, in spite of the apparent contradiction, I think if we are truly honest with ourselves, the answer is closer to “yes” than any of us who call ourselves a Christian would like to admit… And it tears me up inside… Let me allow this clip from Atheist Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette to begin to explain what I mean:

“How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” There is the rub… Way too many “Christians” fall in a daily routine and are comfortable to coast through life without a broken heart for their friends and family who, if what we believe is really true, are destined for an eternity without God… Well… to be honest that is the essence of selfishly living life “without concern for the effects of their behavior [or lack thereof] on others”, isn’t it???

We certainly shouldn’t be comfortable with it… But sadly I think that may just be the problem… our comfort.  Because we are relatively comfortable, especially in comparison to most of the rest of the world, we just get into auto pilot and unintentionally slip into apathy.  It’s not a conscious thing, but it occurs anyway… and it’s tragic.

Penn said “There comes a point where I tackle you… and this is more important than that.” Because people’s eternities are so important, our “social conscience” should remind us that we have a “moral responsibility” to love those around us enough to take the risk of offending them or losing a friendship to in a sense “tackle” them by sharing the truth about Jesus

Let’s pray to God for forgiveness for our sociopathic tendencies and begin to live a life that actually reflects our name-sake, Jesus… and refuse to scoot through life uncaring and unaffected by the many people we know who do not yet have a relationship with Him.

A religion on trial


Careful gang….that is not our cross.

Every once in a while I stumble across something that I feel is important enough to talk about that may not be involved explicitly with apologetics. This is one of those things. Last week I started to look into writing a post about scientology. I wanted to do this primarily because it is commonly described as the fastest growing religion in the world (this has been proven to be a lie). Thinking that this could be a future apologetic opportunity I figured I would get a head start.
So I started watching a few documentaries last week when the whole thing with Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise broke. Why is this relevant? Tom Cruise is VERY high up the food chain in Scientology. The story goes that Katie split and is divorcing Tom because Suri is now of age to join the Sea Org or get more involved with Scientology. Katie is asking for sole custody. This is critical, because if Tom Cruise fights back for joint custody we could very well see the religion (or cult) of Scientology on trial.
This is a fascinating prospect as Scientology has fallen under intense scrutiny for the way that it handles those who leave Scientology. Basically, they have a practice of forcing relatives to disavow other relatives that leave the church. There are stories of emotional abuse, physical abuse, and the worship of an alien named Xenu. Rather than spending my time talking about Scientology (the cult) I would rather focus on the implications of this upcoming trial.

– A religion on trial is not a very promising prospect but in order for Katie Holmes to prove the point that she is protecting her daughter from Scientology she will have to prove why she is wanting to protect her daughter from Scientology. This means that Scientology goes on trial. Some people may cringe at the notion of a religion being on trial in an actual court of law. I am not sure that this is a bad thing. Besides…when was the last time you saw a mother stripping her kids from a bible believing Christian father who wanted to get them more involved with Church?
– Scientology as a cult will be completely exposed by this. While most people would say that it already is, this will be the kind of exposure the average person will see because it will be all over public news.
Christianity has been on public trial since about 30 A.D. Really, God has constantly been on trial before a disbelieving human race since the fall of man. The odd thing is that Christianity gets lumped into a broader category of religion when things like this happen. Statements like “all religion is garbage” generate from public spectacles like this, which is unfortunate. Scientology shares nothing in common with Biblical Christianity. As a matter of fact Christianity stands alone in several aspects when compared to different religions.
So what do you think? Is it a bad thing that Scientology is about to go on trial?

The hurt of suicide


This week was the first time that my life directly intersected with the hurt of suicide.  It will not be soon forgotten.  At first I wasn’t sure how to process what had actually happened.  As I slowly started to digest these events I came to the most inevitable question that those close to a suicide (or even who spectate from afar): Why?

Most will typically commit suicide because they feel there are no other solutions and no hope.  I found one description online saying that the reason could stem from either financial or personal (relational, low self-esteem) difficulties.  I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of hopelessness that one would have to feel to wake up one morning with the desire to end it all  – much less follow through with that desire (especially one that has a loving family).

Adding to the hurt of the act itself, is a frequent religious response to the act.  It is my understanding that the particular family impacted by this was Catholic.  This compounds the hurt because according to that religious tradition is the teaching that they are damned to Hell solely because of this decision.

There are two questions that need to be answered when discussing suicide, particularly of one who has claimed to be a Christian.

First, is suicide is a damnable (i.e. unforgiveable) sin in and of itself?  In other words, will a true Christian who commits suicide be barred from Heaven.  Second, is what does the Bible offer to those who are so hopeless and feel so helpless before the suicide ever happens?

Can suicide alone automatically condemn someone to Hell?

This is an issue that must be addressed due to the religious doctrine of the Catholic Church.  For hundreds of years they have created a stigma around suicide that it is a sin that will not be forgiven and thus anyone (Christian or not) who commits suicide will be sent to Hell.  There is no biblical support for this opinion.  To the contrary, there is ample evidence to support that once a Christian possess salvation, they have been absolved of all sin!  This would include the sins you have committed in the past, the sins you are committing now, and the sins you will commit in the future.  There are many scriptures that support this doctrine (Eternal Security/Perseverance of the Saints) let me briefly call out three:

Colossian 2:13-14:  When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 

Notice the use of the word “all.”  It does not say that God forgave us of the sins we did commit only, but ALL sin that we have and will commit.  There is a finality to this verse that indicates that the sin we have and will commit was nailed to the cross.  As Jesus said…IT IS FINISHED!

Romans 8:38-39:  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If the Colossians verse does not do it for you then perhaps Romans 8 will.  Could Paul have been any more explicit?  Nothing can separate a Christian from God, NEITHER PRESENT NOR THE FUTURE!  Notice the Paul specifically mentions death.  Not even death is powerful enough to separate us from the Father and the Son.

Romans 8:1-2:  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Again Paul could not have been clearer.  As Christians we face no condemnation and are free from the law of sin (and death).  The outworking of the law Paul references here is the condemnation that we all would face from God were we not in Christ Jesus.  This ultimately results in spiritual death- eternal separation from God.

The final picture that is painted… Once we have accepted Jesus’ payment for our sin (which places us “in Christ”, we have been forgiven for them ALL, past present or future, we will not be condemned.  At the moment one is joined to Jesus in this way, there is nothing they can do to separate them from God.  Suicide, being a sin, cannot separate a Christian who commits that sin from God.

There is something else that needs to be discussed here and that is the stigma associated with Christians who commit suicide.  There are many would make the argument that “true” Christians cannot commit suicide.  The premise of this argument is that “true” Christians find their hope in Jesus.  1 Peter 1:13 tells us explicitly to set your hope on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  If a Christian has lost hope then it would appear that the only way it could be rationalized is that they never had hope, and were never really saved.

This thought process is a fundamental breakdown of the basic understanding of sin and the role it plays in our life.  If you conclude that suicide is a sin, then it must be considered in the same light as all sin.  We as Christians will still struggle with sin until we reach Heaven.

We are to strive to become more and more Christlike, but we will fail at different points in our life.  With that in mind one must conclude that there is NO difference between a Christian who lies, and a Christian who commits suicide, or a Christian who commits adultery in their heart and one who commits suicide.  In the eyes of God there is no difference.  James 2:10 states this as directly as possible “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”  In the eyes of God there is no difference between the one who commits suicide, and the one who lies about why they were late to work.  Many may scoff at this notion because in their eyes it may represent an extreme.  However, God does not  think like us  He deals in perfect judgment.  There is no difference in His perfect judgment between the two.

I believe the reason for this stigma is the finality of the sin.  In suicide we see the ultimate in finality.  It’s a permanent “solution” to a temporary problem.  We see the hurt caused to the family of someone who commits suicide.  The emotions involved, both anger and grief over the action are on full display.   The Bible states that there is only one sin that is unforgivable and that is the denial of the Holy Spirit (i.e. never believing in Christ – cf. John 3:18).  Nowhere does it mention that suicide is an unforgiveable sin.

What hope does the Bible offer?

Suicidal thoughts can end up enveloping someone just as quickly as adulterous thoughts do.  The Word of God is designed to offer instruction for life and comfort in our time of need, no matter the circumstances of that need.  Without exception, we all hit a time where we are depressed.  We hit a point where we believe nobody gets it.  We hit a point where we feel like we are alone on this planet.  As I write this I am reminded of the footprints in the sand poem.  What a simple but powerful demonstration of how God works in our lives.

Psalms is truly an incredible book in the Bible.  In it we get a candid look at the prayer life of David and others.  It includes bouts with depression.  Take for example Psalm 31:9-13: Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.  My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction,  and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends— those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear many whispering ,  “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life.

This is the reason that I love Psalms.  It is David being completely honest and open with God.  WHO HASN’T FELT THIS WAY?!  What we see in the book of Psalms is that David wasn’t afraid to say out loud everything that he was thinking:  All of the pain, all of the anguish, all of the anxiety, and all of the hurt.  But David always had one more thing to say with each passing moment that he was in aguish… he knew that God would sustain him.  Verse 14 of Psalm 31… “But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ’You are my God.’”

1 Peter 5:6-7 sums up the Psalmists’ experiences in two verses:  “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may Exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”

There are a number of verses that can help you in your time of need.

Psalm 9:9, 22:24, 27:4-5, 46:1, 56:8, 116:1-2

This is a great sampling from the direct and honest prayer of David.  These come from the depth of his soul as he cries out in anguish to God.

Finally, if you are reading this and you are thinking about suicide, or know someone that is, please call for help.  Call a pastor of a local Bible-believing church and speak with them. www.iamsecond.com can point you to one.  You should know that God loves you.  We are not talking about the kind of love that is fleeting, or abusive, or anything like that which may have exacerbated your present circumstances.  His love is perfect.  He will never abandon you.  He will always love you.  If you don’t have a relationship with God, know that He wants one with you.  Hebrews 13:5  – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

We are not talking religion, we are talking a personal one on one relationship with the creator-God of all of the universe.

Another Movie…that distorts Christianity


Last night my 6 month pregnant wife goes blazing past me saying “there is a movie

Easy Distortion of Christianity?

I want to DVR!”  When she makes it back upstairs I inquire about the movie.  She tells me it is a movie that her friends on face book had recommended called “Easy A”.  I kind of blew her off because it didn’t sound like a good movie (this coming from the guy who will sit and watch those horrible movies on Sci-fi…).  Well lucky for me Easy A was on this morning when I got up, so instead of watching the news…I figured I would check it out. 

If you are interested in watching this movie, (and I’d suggest you probably shouldn’t) and haven’t seen it…you need to stop reading right about now…

 I picked this movie up about half way through.  The main character was accepting bribes from the boys in her school to say that shehad sex with them in order to improve their social standing.  The protagonist in the movie was a group of “Bible-thumping Christians,” portrayed as a holier than thou group.  The “Christians” in this movie are judgmental, hateful, spiteful, and above all hypocritical.  There was one point in the movie where Lisa Kudrow dropped the “G-D” bomb 5 – 7 times in a one minute time span.  In the end everything is fixed, except for the fact thatthe Christians remained the same judgmental, holier than thou group that they were portrayed as throughout the movie.

I think that pretty much sums it up…

What’s really bad about this movie is that it wasclearly made to influence high schoolers’ world-view.  Then the message it sends is that things like pre-marital sex and other immoralities are not that big of a deal and that Christians are just know-it-all self-righteous kill-joys. 

Have we really become so judgmental as a group that a caricature of the church has been formed?  I’ve got to be honest….this isn’t the first time I have seen this, but it the first time that I have given pause to the caricature.   Are we really as we are portrayed in the movies? My guess:  In some cases….yes-  and in some cases…no.  That isn’t a good thing.  Perhaps someone reading this blog post would look at me saying “oh look Mr. holier than thou…don’t be so judgmental.”  Maybe…it is the interpretation of the world ofhow we respond to certain circumstances?  I don’t know.

What is clear is that there is a perception in America that Christianity suffers from a finger pointing epidemic that lacks compassion for those in need.  It’s no wonder why this viewpoint is seen, since we often seem to be known more for what we stand against than for what we stand for.

Don’t get me wrong.  This movie is offensive and probably should be avoided by someone who is trying to guard their heart and mind (cf. Philippians 4:8) simply because of the language and the immoral world-views  it seems to encourage (i.e. pre-marital sex and homosexuality, cf. Romans 1:32).  I realize that movie protagonists are often over dramatized for effect, but the fact that Christians were the protagonists especially in the way they were portrayed really gets under my skin…Shortly after God tells us to not conform to the pattern of this world and to renew our mind (in Romans 12:1-2), He tell us in Romans 12:9, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” But that’s just it… we need to demonstrate Christ’s love without hypocrisy!!!

On second thought, this really shouldn’t be a surpriseconsidering the Bible told us we should expect it (cf. 1 Peter 4:12-16).But this is a good opportunity for self-examination… Are you making this characterization valid by being one of “those people?”Are you one with your nose in the air, looking down at those who struggle, and are in need?  Are you one of those people who, rather than helping would rather spread rumors and lies about someone (and maybe even disguise the gossip as a “prayer request”)?  Are you the one talking in back corners while on your phone about someone you know?  Are you the one sending the texts around saying “I heard from so and so that….”  Are you that person?

If so…welcome to the movies.  Don’t be offended, you are representing Christ and… this movie is about you.

The Nihilist, The Atheist, and The Christian


I am sure that everyone has been paying attention to the shooting in Arizona.  Jarod Loughner, went to an event hosted by Representative Giffords.  9 people died, including a 9 year old child.  There is news out now that Loughner is a nihilist.  Now I have heard of nihilism before from movies, or jokes but was never sure as to what it actually was.  Today being a snow day here in Kansas City…I figured I would take a look.

I did a Google search on the word nihilism and landed on an Encyclopedia article which talks about nihilism.  Here are a couple of excerpts:

“While nihilism is often discussed in terms of extreme skepticism and relativism, for most of the 20th century it has been associated with the belief that life is meaningless. Existential nihilism begins with the notion that the world is without meaning or purpose. Given this circumstance, existence itself–all action, suffering, and feeling–is ultimately senseless and empty.”

“In his study of meaninglessness, Donald Crosby writes that the source of modern nihilism paradoxically stems from a commitment to honest intellectual openness. “Once set in motion, the process of questioning could come to but one end, the erosion of conviction and certitude and collapse into despair” (The Specter of the Absurd, 1988).”

It would appear that nihilism is the conclusion to atheism.  Everywhere I go atheists are always talking about one thing…skepticism.  Atheists are always talking about a lack of evidence for God.  At some point they must come to a conclusion.  If they conclude that there is in fact no God, there is only one logical conclusion…life is meaningless, there is no purpose, and that it all is senseless and empty. 

If in fact this is the conclusion that one draws;  life, your actions, your family, everything has no meaning.  There are no moral rules.  Nothing to govern you or society.  Nothing that would prevent you from gunning down 9 people because there are no consequences.  If that seems a little harsh then I would advise that you think this all the way to conclusion.  The thought process for a nihilist would be as follows: “I question the existence of God.  There is not enough evidence to demonstrate that he exists (atheism).  Well if God doesn’t exist, and there is no afterlife, then what is the point.  Life is meaningless, my actions are meaningless.  Why bother with anything (nihilism).”  Here I would agree with Donald Crosby in the quote above when he says that this belief, or this thought process can only lead to depression and despair.

With all of that said…

God exists.  The primary evidence for Gods existence is his creation (Romans 1:20).  God loves you.  If you are sitting in despair or are thinking that life has no meaning…think about this, God sacrificed his son for YOU! (John 3:16).  He sacrificed his son for those who continue to deny his existence.  Who continue to deny the existence of his son.  How powerful is this love?  So powerful that God will forgive ALL of the things that you have done, and will do.  That is so important that it should be said again…  God loves you so much, that despite denying his existence, that he will forgive you for everything that you have done.  Call on God, ask for his forgiveness, accept Christ as your savior in your heart and you can inherit the Kingdom!  You should know that you are not meaningless in God’s eyes (Matthew 6:25-33).   Each one of us is precious to God.  He knows you.  I am not meaning the proverbial you as in everyone…HE KNOWS YOU! (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:16).  This is the good news that Christian’s talk about!

Do not despair!  The God of the universe knows your name, and loves you unconditionally!

If you need prayer or are ready to give yourself to God PLEASE CONTACT US!

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That’s it….I QUIT!


My wife was perusing the internet tonight and found an interesting article.  Anne Rice has quit her religion, and is moving on, on her own.  To quote the LA times article… “she announced she had quit Christianity “in the name of Christ” because she’d seen too much hypocrisy”.  The article goes on to talk about religion in a  generic sense, and how people are leaving church because they have become disillusioned with the religion in general.  Now, if you know me…you know that I am not a big fan of the LA Times, but I have to admit, with this article…they have hit the nail on the head.  There are a number of great points to take from this article.

25% of people between the ages of 18-29 do not associate with any particular faith. 

This is a startling statistic.  Having seen firsthand the impact of what a secular college can do to a kid with a mind full of mush…I would have thought this number to be much higher.  And perhaps, in reality, it is.  Especially taking into consideration the second point…

Every day, the church is becoming more like the world it allegedly seeks to change.

It is hard being a Christian, isn’t it?  You have to stand out in the crowd, you are an alien in this world, and as a result an outcast.  Just for believing in Christ.  Now take this into combination with the fact that everyone has a natural desire to be liked (well not me, but I love being the alien) and you have a recipe for disaster.  It is easier to blend in, to follow the crowd, and to do what feels good than it is to be ridiculed for your actions, and mocked for your faith.  So what do people do who are not grounded in their faith… go with the flow.  Which leads me to the more controversial point…

Many people who call themselves Christian don’t really believe, deep down, in the tenets of their faith. In other words, their actions reveal their true beliefs.

This I believe is closer to the truth.  It gets to a really tough question…can a Christian truly backslide…or are they (were they) ever truly a Christian?  I do have a personal example to draw from in this sense.  Someone I know, attended church until the age of 18.  Went to college, and began to live a life that was contrary to the Word of God.  So the question becomes… was this person ever a Christian?  This topic alone deserves it’s own post, and possibly it’s own debate.  What is clear is that all three of these points are a call for concern to church leadership from all denominations.

The primary question for me…are we preparing our youth to enter a world bent on getting them to deviate from the Word of God?  The statistics will tell you no!  The world will tell you no, and the actions of these “Christian” youths will tell you no! 

I have decided to throw my hat into the ring of education by helping out with the Sunday School at my church.  I am not sure if I can make a difference with these kids, but if I can help prevent one or two kids from following this path….wouldn’t it be worth it? (BTW…my wife hates this cliché)  I think so.  So then the question becomes…what are you doing to help?

Were the founding fathers Christians?


Were these men Christians?

So I was setting out to write something for the 4th.  I thought to myself…. ”Self, why not write a post that talks about the faith of the founding fathers.  It should be pretty easy to do.  Common knowledge is that the founding fathers were religious.  Piece of cake.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  What I discovered is that there are some misconceptions surrounding the faith of our founding fathers.  To be honest, I understand the misconception.  The word “God”, is used in the Declaration of Independence.  The manner in which it is used lends it’s self to this misconception.   There are letters written by the founding fathers calling on a Supreme Being, or God.  But does that mean what we think it means?

Before we go forward it is important to define the word deism.  Deism is a religious and philosophical belief that a supreme being created the universe, and that this can be determined using reason and observation of the natural world alone, without the need for either faith or organized religion.  Deists do not believe in miracles.  They do not believe in the Trinity.  They do not believe that Christ is the Son of God.  They do not believe in atonement or the resurrection.  I look at deism as the intellectual’s view of Christianity – It’s agnosticism in that it believes there is a god, but that god cannot be known. 

Why is this important?  Because, MANY of our founding fathers identified themselves as or communicated in a manner that was deistic. 

Take a look at the following charts I found on THIS WEBSITE

  Communion Confirmation Attendance Vocabulary
Washington No No Yes Mostly Deist
Adams, John not applicable not applicable Yes Both
Jefferson No No Yes Deist
Madison No No Yes Deist
Monroe No No Yes Mostly Deist
Franklin No No Yes Deist
Paine, Thomas No No No Deist
Adams, Samuel not applicable not applicable Yes Orthodox

 

Beliefs: Resurrection, Christ-Divinity, Trinity, Miracles

  Resurrection Christ-Divinity Trinity Miracles
Washington ? ? ? ?
Adams, John Yes Yes No Yes
Jefferson No No No No
Madison ? ? No ?
Monroe ? ? ? ?
Franklin No No No ?
Paine, Thomas No No No No
Adams, Samuel Yes Yes Yes Yes

 

As you review this chart think about the definition of deism.  Of the 8 listed founding fathers (some of the most popular) 6 were deist…not Christian.  3 do not believe in the resurrection or the divinity of Christ.

To avoid diving too far into this rabbit whole let me just say this.  We have to be careful in how we characterize our founding fathers.  In looking at the above charts the statement that “The founding fathers were Christians” might not hold as much water as you think.  Of those mentioned here Samuel Adams was the only one who identified himself as a Christian (as we identify with today).

Now, is it fair to say that America was founded on Christian ideals?  Sure I believe it to be.  The Nation may have been founded on Christian Ideals, but not by Christians… However, this is not reason to despair! The religious underpinnings of our country’s foundation matters very little in comparison to our present circumstances.  Remember this… what makes America great (or not) is you.  What can make America better?  You living in and living out the Word of God.  What can destroy America? A continued moral decline and turning away from the God of the Bible. Will you stand up for THE CAUSE of Christ? Our nation depends on it.

Funny Thing About History… It Repeats


Have you ever wondered why Israel failed at their job to evangelize the world (Scripture calls it being a priest nation) and why they missed Jesus as their Messiah? And, are we falling into the same trappings in the US, now?!?!?! I think so…

I posed these questions to one of my classmates and this is what she said (I think she’s right):

I believe Israel looked inward partially because they were an “obstinate people”, as God declared through Isaiah (Isaiah 65:2), but also because they walked the fine line of not mingling with the Canaanites and other peoples they encountered during the Exodus and as they conquered the Holy Land, yet living life as the apple of God’s eye and slated to be a kingdom of priests. It can be hard to understand how to follow God without becoming legalistic. The same holds true today in the US today. One need not look far to find Christian groups that have separated so far from the rest of the world that they cannot possibly be a witness to those around them that don’t know Christ. Even just by spending almost exclusively time in our Christian circles, we can easily get caught up in a separate world.

Personally, I think that they focused in on the tangible aspect of the covenant – the land – without thinking about the purpose of the covenant (or rather they mistook the purpose of the covenant). I think they thought that they were so cool with God that He just loved blessing them for their own prosperity and enjoyment rather than the prosperity being a sign/proof to glorify God and make it possible for Israel to engage in the ministry of reconciliation.

I think we do the same here and now… We get so caught up in the tangible (the physical/material prosperity God has allowed this nation to have) and we get so comfortable in our own exclusive Christian circles that we become useless for the Kingdom (I say “we” on purpose, because I’m including me). I heard a quote somewhere that, “money (blessings) is (are) like manuer… it’s no good unless you spread it all around (like fertalizer)”… What God blessed Israel with and what He has blessed us with (corporately and individually) wasn’t just for our enjoyment and ease (why would there be so much about suffering in the NT if that were the case)… Instead it is for us to be a blessing to others in order to share God’s message of Love, forgiveness, righteousness, etc… You know, the ministry of reconciliation (spoken of in 2 Corinthians 5).

Like I said, I’ve been thining about ancient Israel’s failures for several years and somewhat paralelling that to the US. But, the stats Dr. Wheeler shared in my personal evangelism class were so shocking (i.e. some 90% + of Christians don’t actively share their faith AT ALL) that it shook me out of my stupor… I think now way more than ever that personal evangelism and world missions is not just an important aspect of the Christian life, but it is THE most important aspect of it… Greg Stier of Dare2Share ministries calls it “THE Cause.” I just hope we, as the Body of Christ, take our calling in Matthew 28 and 2 Corinthians 5 so much more seriously and that we get on board with God’s program so that we do not continue to flounder away in the same old rut that ancient Israel did.

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