No Apologizing

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tag Archives: God

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.

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My first sermon


Here is a link to my first sermon.  It is on Ephesians 6:5-9.  Please let me know what you think.

 

 

 

Are we a nation of Sodom?


This week the Supreme Court will be hearing two cases regarding same sex marriage.  Now before the “equal rights” fan crowd goes crazy I just want to clarify.  This piece is not about the political game being played with the institution of marriage.  This piece isn’t interested in the benefits of civil union versus marriage.  Rather, I wanted to take a moment to reflect historically on how our current culture compares to others in history.  You see, this Supreme Court ruling may re-define marriage.  Regardless of the ruling, our nation has been moving away from traditional, biblical marriage under the guise of equality and justice for some time now.  Even Christians are in support of this move and sit off to the side clapping their hands as our society becomes more “evolved,” “caring” and “enlightened.”

That being said a comparison can be drawn between our society and others throughout history.  there is nothing unique about American society historically speaking.  To illustrate this point, I am going to throw some adjectives out and let’s see who they seem to describe…

Arrogant

 Overfed

 Unhelpful

 Haughty (acting superior and disdainful in case you were wondering)

Sexually permissive

 Indulgent

 Immoral

 Unconcerned

 Do the words above describe America?  I would think that on this point an Atheist and a Christian can agree.  America is often described globally as an arrogant nation full of haughty people.  Neither, is there any doubt about us being overfed – We are incredibly overweight and by and large a lazy nation.  We are more prone to not help someone in dire need than we are to help them.  We are a sexually permissive nation that was “freed” by the sexual revolution – to the point there are very few taboos any more. Homosexuality…well that is just part of the freedom that we allow here in America. We are indulgent, often act in immoral ways, and are generally unconcerned with anything that doesn’t directly affect our own bottom line unless it is so incredibly shocking that it basically jumps up and slaps us in the face.

Yep, that is the America that I am an adult in and the America that my children will grow up in.

But why does this matter – Why am I concerned?  Well, because these adjectives are the very words used to describe Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible.

Let that sink in for a while…..  Still sinking in?

The American society in which we live has now become a nation almost exactly like Sodom.  Don’t believe me?  Here is a sample scripture… you decide for yourself:

Ezekiel 16:49-50 “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me…”

Liberal theologians are quick to point out (or at least they try to point out) that homosexuality had nothing to do with the destruction of Sodom.  They go so far as to say that God has no problem with homosexuality at all.  This of course is absolute foolishness and Christians should own the fact that God has rejected homosexuality both through His Word, and in creation.  Read this BLOG POST

There is absolutely no doubt that the America we live in fits the biblical description of.  The Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage and DOMA may solidify that even more.

 So I say…Welcome to the United Sodoms of America.  The good ol’ US of A.

So what does this mean?  I don’t know but it’s not good.  A society that is going out of its way to rip itself from the God of the Bible under the pretense of equality and justice cannot be good.  A nation that is ever increasingly turning its back on its Judeo Christian ideals…cannot be good.  A nation that is now supporting the single religion of Humanistic Moral Relativism (Atheism) cannot be good.

If you believe that God doesn’t do judgment…you need to go read the Bible (more or again or for the first time).   I believe it is just a matter of time before this nation is judged, and it won’t be pretty.  The question is, what are we willing to do about it?  Are YOU willing to carry the message of the Gospel to your friends and family?

The Bible Review 2….The Incredible Hulk and Psycho Saul


bible-episode-2-saul-AWell I finally got done watching the second part of the Bible.  Again, there were a lot of shortcuts.  The trend that I am noticing in this series so far is that they are focusing on popular stories and developing them based on pre-conceived notions or misconceptions surrounding those.  We saw this in full display  for the episode  on Sunday.

So with Samson, we get to see a chopped down version (pardon the pun).  There was so much that they left out that it is hard for me to keep track of what they kept and what they didn’t.  I think it is probably better to focus on the inaccuracies of what they presented.

  • The men that Samson killed with the jawbone of the Donkey, wasn’t the mere 20 the movie saw…it was closer to 1,000.  That is quite a big difference.
  • Samson met Delilah in Gaza…not just after the battle with 1,000.
  • Samson, didn’t just hand over the secret to his strength.  As a matter of fact, Delilah badgers the poor man for a long while and Samson keeps deceiving her, until she lays a guilt trip on him and he finally caves.
  • Once his hair was cut (as in bald) his eyes were gouged, and he was sent to a prison.
  • The final shindig that Samson was at….Samson was there so that the Philistines could rub his nose in it.  They were celebrating Samson being handed over to them.  This was a huge party
  • So Samson breaks the pillars, and kills more people in that moment than he had killed in his entire lifetime.  That’s a lot of people.

The story of David in the Bible is epic.  However, they managed to get several key things wrong in regards to David, which frankly there was no need to get wrong.

  • David was anointed King…He was chosen by Samuel from 7 brothers.  This is a great picture.  If you can imagine Cinderella for men.  This is the closest thing one could use to describe this scene.  Only God had the glass slipper and only God knew who it would fit.  So all of David’s brothers get paraded in front of Samuel.  Samuel looks at Jesse and says this isn’t it,  where is your other son?.  David appears and is anointed by Samuel in front of his family.  At the time of the anointing…the Holy Spirit rushed upon David.  Once again…they really missed an opportunity here, and Honestly I would rather have them spent more time on David, than spending any time on Samson at all.
  • The battle between David and Goliath took place in a major valley (Elah).  The show portrayed it as being just a small stretch with an army on each side and of a couple of people on each side.  This was really horribly depicted. They also missed some key elements that would have been incredibly illustrating of this picture.  Like David putting on Saul’s armor and then taking it off.  What is most compelling that was missed…was the dialogue before the fight.  Here is how it really was, tell me if this isn’t more compelling…
  • Goliath: You think I am some sort of Dog coming at me with sticks?
  • Pause
  • Goliath: Well come on then…I’ll feed you to the birds and the dogs.
  • David:  You got a spear, a sword and a javelin.  Big deal.  I’ve got God.  And today, Goliath….not only is He going to deliver you to me, but after I kill you…I am going to cut off your head and then let the birds and dogs feed off of you.

So… Goliath goes charging, but his sword is sheathed, David goes charging and sets himself.  David draws a rock, and hits Goliath so hard that the rock sinks into his head (as opposed to bouncing off like a tennis ball).  David ran and stood over Goliath.  He drew Goliaths sword out of its sheath, and cut his head off.  The show was okay for this story from that point on.

But they also got another major component wrong or skipped other major components.  At the end of the show David was dancing around in his “kilt”.  The show infers that it is the ark, and indeed it was.  This is the famous scripture that Ren McCormick uses in Footloose where David sings and dance before the Lord with all his might.

The show then did a little fore shadowing as I think we see Bathsheba at the end ( shut it off with about 10 minutes left).  They somehow managed to skip his covenant with God…which is a pretty big deal, and all of his victories as king.

Again…I understand that David’s story is EPIC, but at the very least let’s get it right on what you decide to show.

The Bible….review #1


I am about half way through the first show.

I did find where the producers were interviewed on Bill O’Reilly.  They describe themselves as being devout Christians.  They talkedabout how they wanted to create a show that would depict the Bible as is… so how are they doing?

Well…The first major thing of note Lot and Sodom.

Okay so the show depicts this event as follows:  the two angels go to Sodom, and are apparently assaulted and wind up at Lots house.  Lot then allows the angels into the house where he holds off the crowd outside.  Lot tells the crowd that they (angels) are his guests and that he will not let them take them.  Well that didn’t please them so the angels (one of which was a Samurai master) went out and cut a pathway out of the city.

Ninja angel

 

What really happened?

Lot is sitting in the gateway to Sodom.  The two angels walk up, and apparently Lot recognizes them and refers to them as lords.  Lot invites them to his humble abode, but the angels refuse wanting to spend the night in the square.  Lot insists and finally the angels give way to Lot.  Now, while the conversation was going on someone or a group of people noticed the angels.  Lot leads the angels back to his house and cooks a meal.  Meanwhile a gang forms outside of Lots doors and they are demanding the two angels….to have sex with them.  Lot, protecting his guests offers his daughters to them.  That was unacceptable to this gang, and they threatened to hurt Lot and pressed forward to the door.  The angels pulled Lot back, struck the gang with blindness, and lead them out of the city.

I think the show really missed an opportunity with this.  Can you think of this scene where Lot chooses to protect the servants of God by giving his own daughters over to this gang of miscreants?  What a powerful message of sacrifice   This was the reason he was saved out of the city.   Also….what a way to cheapen everything that the show accomplished in a 2 minute segment.  A Samurai ..really?  Of everything that was in the show this will be the one thing remembered.  No one will be talking about the imagery of Noah’s arc or the faith of Abraham, or the depiction of Egypt (which was incredible)…but every is talking about ninja angels….

Faith, Reason or both?


Below is my submission to the field exam for my PhD application.  It is unaltered and unedited.  What you are about to read was produced in 2 hours and 20 minutes. All total it was 12 pages of content.  I will say up front if you have an ocd for grammar or punctuation…you may want to turn away as this is not my strength.  I tend to focus very heavily on content rather than grammar.  That is what editors are for…

What is the relationship between human knowledge gained through research in the social sciences (reason) and those truths gained through the study of the Word of God (Faith)?

Introduction

The debate between the integration of faith and reason has been going on for hundreds of years. By and large there existed a harmony between the two until the 19th and 20th century. During recent history a large divide has now separated both faith and reason and their individual pursuit of truth. This paper will take a look at the relationship between faith and reason. This includes a brief survey of the current positions, the author’s position on the relationship and the impact on ministry that integration of faith and reason would have.

Current Positions

In order to fully understand the relationship between faith and reason a brief survey will be conducted of the current positions. It should be noted that this specific topic has been discussed or debated for some significant time and most positions have not changed historically. Mankind has always struggled with the boundaries between faith and reason and the ability to strike a balance of sorts. The three dominant current positions can be defined as follows: faith and reason are compatible (compatiblism), faith and reason are incompatible (incompatiblism), and faith corrupts reason (post-modernistic incompatiblism).

Compatiblism

Compatiblism could be said to have its roots with Augustine. This view point has been slightly modified over time, and has had one or two deviations from its fundamental premise. The premise of compatiblism is that faith and reason are compatible. Compatiblism believes that there is a unique relationship between faith and reason that allows one to work with the other.

In this line of thought all truth is from God. Therefore, any truth that is discovered is of God whether it is discovered by science, or by faith. This also extends to the notion that an unbeliever, who seeks to discover a truth through reason and without faith, can indeed discover that truth. John Calvin stated “they are superstitious who dare not borrow anything from profane writers. For since all truth is from God, if anything has been aptly or truly said by those who have not piety, it ought not to be repudiated.”1 This view holds the position that man, though flawed is able to ascertain truth through human reason. However, that truth that he obtains is from and of God.

There are some fundamental assumptions with the position of compatiblism. Those who believe in compatiblism believe that there is an absolute truth that has been given by God. As a result, the search for that truth either through faith or reason will ultimately point to God. Thus, faith becomes a sounding board for reason.

Incompatiblism

The second position to be discussed is the position that faith and reason are simply incompatible. This line of thought can be dated back to Tertullian and can be seen as recently at Van Til. The premise behind incompatiblism is that man is fallen, and through a corrupt mind they are unable to reason truth for themselves. As a result, faith is required to be able to discover the truth.

In this sense the authority of scripture is more than enough and reason must be submitted to scripture, not vice versa. Van Til states “We cannot subject the authoritative pronouncement of scripture about reality to the scrutiny of reason because it is reason itself that learns of its proper function from Scripture.”2 This position views a humans ability to reason through the eyes of scripture only and that human knowledge cannot be obtained without the Bible.

The basic assumptions of this position are very similar to that of compatiblism. Incompatiblism believes that there is an absolute truth that has been delivered by God. However, incompatiblism places a heavy emphasis on the fact that man has a fallen mind and is thus unable to reason and discover God’s truth. This position no doubt comes from scripture similar to John 16 that states that Gods will lead us to all truth, and that His ways are beyond our ways.

Post-Modernistic Incompatiblism

The final position this paper will look at is the position where faith has corrupted reason. This can more adequately be described as a post-modernistic view of faith. This position holds that faith is a lack of, and requires no intellectual authority. As a result faith in anything is meaningless. They view faith as an impediment to discovering truth through the means a reason or human knowledge.

Richard Dawkins, a well-known critic of the Christian faith described faith as “the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.”3 This clearly demonstrates a combative view of faith from a humanistic stand point. In this sense there is only one side to the ability to discover truth, and that is the human’s ability to reason.

The assumptions for the post-modernistic incompatiblist are that God simply doesn’t exist. They come to this conclusion based under the assumption that science has already proven that God does not exist. Therefore, they are able to draw a conclusion that faith in a God, that doesn’t exist, is a waste of time.

Faith and Reason

Prior to looking at the relationship between reason and faith it is important to set the appropriate definitions for each. The definition of faith can be found in Hebrews 11:1 where the author states “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”4 This definition matches and perhaps is more refined than definitions that can be offered by secular scholars and dictionaries. Reason, can be defined as the discovery of truth through human means. Reason can be best described as a process to ascertain truth, with the conclusion being the discovery of irrefutable truth. Aquinas defines faith and reason as being two truths, “one to which the inquiry of reason can reach, the other surpasses the whole ability of human reason.”5 This notes the clear difference between the two from a basic definition perspective. Wilhoit comments on this further by stating that truth is “a question of origins – with faith representing the sphere of understanding as revealed by God in His Word, and learning representing the sphere of understanding as discovered and recorded by man.”6

There is a clear distinction between faith and reason in that one is obtained through human understanding, and the other is revealed by God.

Faith and reason most certainly have a relationship. The post modernistic view fails on the simple point that no matter what their own faith is, people will continue to have faith. The position of this paper is that faith and reason have three primary relationships: first, faith is dependent on reason; second, reason is not dependent on faith; and finally, faith can only exist in the absence of reason.

Faith is Dependent on Reason

When one looks at the very nature of faith it is belief in something that has not been seen. That being said there is a point in time where all faith will be revealed as either truth or not truth. In this sense we see that reason will ultimately provide a validation or invalidation of faith. Reason can serve in judgment of faith as long as the truth discovered by reason is absolute and without flaw.

John Locke concluded “reason is given the task of determining whether an alleged revelation is genuinely from God. Though it is certain that whatever God has revealed is true, reason must judge whether any particular revelation comes from God and a revelation should only be accepted if it has the backing of reason in this way.”7 This conclusion, while taken to an extreme can produce negative consequences, illustrates the point that reason will ultimately, in one day sit in judgment of faith. This is an unavoidable reality that ends with the second coming of Christ which at that point all will be revealed.

Faith can only exist without reason

This second point illustrates the reality that if a verifiable truth has been gained through reason, then there is no need for faith. To illustrate this point one need only look at the advancements in biblical archaeology and history. History now demonstrates to us that there was in fact a man named Jesus who walked around during the early first century. This requires no faith because human knowledge and reason has demonstrated this to be irrefutably true. This required an amount of faith on the part of those who lived in the 17th century (and others). In the 21st century it requires no faith to know that Jesus existed. However, it still requires faith that Jesus was the son of God, and that he arose from the grave 3 days after his crucifixion.

In this sense the need for faith will and always has been continuing to diminish as more and more truth is revealed by God. In Romans 1:18-23 Paul notes that God has made it clear to all so that none are without excuse. Aquinas stated in Questiones Disputatae de Veritate that truth discovered by both faith and reason are superfluous.8The truth of God has been available for us to find since creation. As we continue to find it through reason, it diminishes the need for faith and faith is replaced by God’s truth being revealed.

Reason is not dependent on faith

Scripture provides a clear picture that we all contain the faculty to reason and discover truth, and that it is not reliant on our faith in Jesus Christ. Looking at Matthew 16 we see Jesus talking to Pharisees about the red sky at night. The Pharisees are looking for a sign, and Jesus points out that their ability to reason is intact and working. They know that red sky at night is a sailors delight and that red sky at morning is a sailors warning. Jesus is able to rebuke them because they have the ability to reason and discern the truth, even without faith, yet they choose not to.

Those who argue that non-believers are unable to discover truth through reason are in denial as it contradicts the history of humanity. Mankind was given the ability to reason from God. Thus truth can, and has been discovered independently of faith. This demonstrates the nature of origins for the discovery of truth and the reliance of faith on reason for verification of that truth. Reason has the unique position of being able to validate faith, or theory. Faith is a belief that something is true, and reason is the process to ascertain the truth that one has faith in. As a result we see that reason is not dependent on faith, faith is dependent on reason and that faith can only exist in the absence of reason.

Fundamental Premise of Impact on Ministry

The integration of faith and reason is critical to the impact of ministry. It is important to note the author’s fundamental premise and presuppositions before discussing the impact on ministry.

The church should never lose sight of the fact that all truth is God’s truth, and that all truth that has been discovered whether through faith or reason will ultimately point to God. Holmes stated “if all truth is God’s truth and truth is one, then God does not contradict himself and in the final analysis there will be no conflict between the truth taught in scripture and truth available from other sources.”9 Additionally, one should take note that truth revealed by special revelation can only be attained by faith, and not through human reason. In this sense there are two truths, one discoverable by faith, and one discoverable through human knowledge.

Impact on Ministry

In reviewing the impact of the integration of faith and reason into ministry the author read through proposed methods to integrate faith and reason into ministry from Robert Harris. Harris concludes that in order to integrate the two we would need to bounce new knowledge off of the old verified knowledge. This would be to validate both faith against faith and reason against faith and reason. Harris also noted that it is important that truth and knowledge must transfer from one area to another. This is important in that there is one truth and that truth should be transferred from one area to another.

These two approaches offered by Harris provide a brief way to integrate both faith and reason in a way that will allow faith to be reasonably validated by reason and in a way that will trust that all truth that has been discovered will ultimately point to God and give Him glory.

Conclusion

The debate over faith and reason has heated up as of late with the New – Atheist movement. Their argument being that faith is a ridiculous notion that can never be compatible with reason. Hitchens stated “all attempts to reconcile faith with science and reason are consigned to failure and ridicule.”10 This author believes that Hitchens, and Dawkins statements must be taken with some validity and explored.

How does one draw a conclusion that so belittles the notion of faith? The author believes that it is because more times than not, these men have seen Christians express blind faith rather that reasonable faith. In fact, one could more than likely draw a comparison to Post-Modernism and New-Atheism to the downfall of intellectual Christianity. Atheists are able to draw the conclusions that Hitchens or Dawkins draw due to the fact that when challenged a number of Christians cannot express their faith from the perspective of reason, rather “you just gotta have a faith”.

Additionally, with tele-evangislm and a heavy emphasis placed on faith and spiritual revelation most Christians today do not feel the need to understand the historical background of Philippians or the arguments for law of first beginnings. This has lead to a dumbing down of Christianity and has validated the response from Atheists when Christians follow blindly.

Faith and reason do inevitably have a relationship that is organic and fluid. However both are dependent upon the one truth that has been delivered by God. This truth then should be extrapolated and applied where useful to benefit His kingdom. John 16 tells us that He will lead us to all truth. He will lead us with through special revelation or through His general revelation.

Reference List

Alexander Miller, Faith and Learning: Christian Faith and Higher Education in Twentieth Century America (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1977), p. 195 quoting John Calvin’s Commentary on Titus, Opera III

Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Contra Gentiles (Translated by Anton C Pegis) New York: Hanover House 1955-1957 (Book 1 Chapter 4)

________________ Questiones Disputatae de Veritate (Translated by James V. McGlynn, S.J. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1953.

Barth, Karl, The knowledge of God and the Service of God According to the Teaching of the Reformation. New York: Charles Schribers Sons, 1939.

Dawkins, Richard.  Untitled Lecture, Edinburgh Science Festival (1992)

_________________ The God Delusion, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company 2006 p. 346

Evans, C. Stephen Faith Beyond Reason Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998.

Harris, Sam, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005 p. 65

Harris, Robert J. Defining the integration of faith and learning. Virtual Salt 9/20/2003 http://www.virtualsalt.com/int/intdef.pdf

Hitchens, Christopher. God is not Great, New York: Hachette Book Group, 2007.

Holmes, Arthur The Idea of a Christian College Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975

______________ All Truth is God’s Truth (Downers Grove:

InterVarsity Press, 1977), pp. 53, 8, 14.

Jensen, Steven. 2009. “Faith integration and the irreducible metaphors of disciplinary discourse.” Christian Scholar’s Review39, no. 1: 37-55. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed February 14, 2013).

Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding er. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975 Book IV.

Paul II, John. “Encyclical Letter Fides Et Ratio”, 1998. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html

Sproul, R. C. Defending your Faith an Introduction to Apologetics. Wheaton: Illinois, 2003.

Wilhoit, Mel. “Faith and Learning Reconsidered, the Unity of Truth.” http://www.iclnet.org/pub/facdialogue/9/wilhoit

Stott, John. Your Mind Matters. Leicester, England Intervarsity Press.

Van Til, Corenelius, The Defense of the Faith. Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Presbyterian and reformed publishing CO, 1955

1 Alexander Miller, Faith and Learning: Christian Faith and Higher Education in Twentieth Century America (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1977), p. 195 quoting John Calvin’s Commentary on Titus, Opera III

2 Van Til, Corenelius. The Defense of the Faith. Phillipsburg, 212. New Jersey, Presbyterian and reformed publishing CO, 1955.

3 Dawkins, Richard.  Untitled Lecture, Edinburgh Science Festival (1992)

4 All scripture quoted in the paper will be from the ESV version.

5 Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Contra Gentiles (Translated by Anton C Pegis) New York: Hanover House 1955-1957 (Book 1 Chapter 4)

6 Mel Wilhoit. “Faith and Learning Reconsidered, the Unity of Truth.” http://www.iclnet.org/pub/facdialogue/9/wilhoit

7 Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding er. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975 Book IV.

8 Thomas Aquinas. Questiones Disputatae de Veritate (Translated by James V. McGlynn, S.J. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1953.

9 Holmes, Arthur The Idea of a Christian College Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975

10 Hitchens, Christopher. God is not Great, 64. New York: Hachette Book Group, 2007.

God is no longer an influence on the Democrat Party


What an interesting 48 hours from the Democrat Convention.  First we have the platform being approved with/without the following items:

–          God being completely removed from their platform

–          Jerusalem not recognized as the capital of Israel.

–          Total support of Gay Marriage

–          Total support of Abortion

Then comes the incredible events of yesterday.    Words can’t even describe this.  Just watch by clicking here.

You have probably one of the most revealing and awkward moments in recent political history.  A party denying God, and then…after push back from the people…leadership attempts to put Him back in, but the delegates apparently thought differently than the leaders.  Politico reports that President Obama knew that God and Jerusalem had been removed from the platform and did nothing until republicans started to question why speakers were mentioning God…something the party did not recognize, and the heat they received for turning their back on Israel.  Thus the vote on Wednesday.

The voting results now appears to be predetermined based on this photo:

 

It would appear that the outcome was…pre-ordained

 

This would explain the chairman’s reaction when the “No’s” were as numerous as the “Yay’s”.  Needless to say this whole thing is a mess.

So what of all of this?  I would argue the following.  The original platform that was adopted that removed God and officially did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is the true heart of the Democrat Party.  Not only does the first vote demonstrate that, but also the fact that they were willing to have a second vote due only to political pressure.  This should not be a surprise to anyone that God has been removed.  The removal presents a more consistent view from the Democratic Party which maintains that God must be removed from politics at all costs.  Additionally, the platform supports two very big issues that the Bible does not, in any way condone (gay marriage and abortion).

Regardless of what the platform says (or doesn’t say) this is what the Democrat Party has become.  As Christian’s we must weigh this heavily as we begin to vote.  Sides have been chosen and we now have a party in America which officially does not recognize God, but rather a generic faith in anything.  In 48 hours this election has had yet another layer added to it…the election of the party which recognizes God, and the party that does not.

It’s Chick-Fila Day!


Okay gang…It is August 1st.  Make sure you have plans to get out to your nearest Chick-Fil-A to support them.  Chick-Fil-A is a very pro Christian organization.  In case you have been in a cave:  Chick-Fil-A story.

Word

Baptist Church in Mississippi…


Folks, this comes right out of the…”what were they thinking” file.  A church in Jackson, Mississippi told a couple that they could not marry in their church because…hold your breath folks….they were black.  I wish I could say that I was kidding.  I wish that this was some sarcastic play on modern times and politics, but alas…it is not.  This is a true story.  Here is a quick rundown of the story.

Charles Wilson and Te’Andrea were set to be married in the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs.  Shortly after the rehearsal, Rev. Stan Weatherford moved the wedding to another sanctuary.  The reason that it was moved is that a small group within the church did not want the couple to marry there because of their race.

According to the Reverend the venue was changed to avoid conflict within the church.  Additionally, Rev. Weatherford indicated to the Wilson’s that the congregation would fire him if he married them at his church.  The Pastor did not confirm or deny this accusation.

My Pastor warns of not jumping to conclusions and to be weary where only one side of the story is told.  However there are 4 sides to this story.

Side 1 – The Wilsons – They were scheduled to be wedded in the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs.  They were asked to change venues one or two days prior to the wedding by the Reverend of the Church.

Side 2 – Reverend Stan Weatherford – Asked the Wilsons to change venues of the wedding.  He does not say the reason for the change. However, he does state that he was trying to maintain the peace in the church and to avoid conflict with the church.

Side 3 – the Elect few – These are the people that asked or told the Reverend to change the venue.

Side 4 – The Congregation – These are the people who found out that something happened through the news.

The odd thing here is that there is no denial from the Church that race played a role in the change of venue.  Instead we get a hindsight is 20/20 statement from the Reverend.

We also have the Mississippi Baptist Convention praying for the church, and allowing the church to work through difficulties and disagreements of the church while making a statement that they reject racial discrimination.

I have no idea what really happened, but where there is smoke, there is fire, and gang there is a lot of smoke here.  Now, we have national headlines about the Southern Baptist Convention being racists.

Baptists have a severe perception battle they are fighting on numerous fronts.  I can attest to this first hand that people cringe when they hear the word Baptist.  MANY will choose not to go to a great church simply because of the word BAPTIST!  Which is a shame.    I would be willing to bet that 90%-95% of the Baptist churches are God fearing bible believing churches.  Every belief system has it’s extreme weirdo’s, Christianity is no exception.

The Church leadership seems to have forgotten that they are representative of Christ on earth!  As a result, their actions directly reflect on Christ.  Instead of putting Christ first they put their own personal hatred and ignorance ahead of the word of God.  There is not one thing that is biblical about racism.

What is also pitiful here is that (assuming this is what happened) a Reverend WILLINGLY did something grossly wrong to protect his job and keep the peace.  Rather than honoring the word of God he feared the condemnation of man.

All I can do is shake my head at this non-sense and pray that there is some side of this that is missing.  That all of this is somehow wrong.  However…I don’t think that will be the case.

Well…it took no time at all


I was reading through the news today about the tragedy in Aurora.  I saw a few comments on a story that talked about James Holmes and religion.  I guess it was only a matter of time before this was tied to Christianity.  So lets look at some of the comments and titles we are seeing online:

“My heart goes out to victims of Christian Terrorist James Holmes”

“James Holmes, Colorado shooter, described as ‘normal’ Christian”

“Meet James Holmes: A Presbyterian Christian”

“Shooter James Holmes – a WHITE and a Christian – mass murderer”

These are all on page one or two of a Google search that yields nearly 123 million hits.

These titles don’t include comments on these stories which range from passive aggressive to downright nasty regarding the forgiveness of James Holmes.  There are some Christians who, despite what the Bible says, argue the Holmes is going to hell no matter what.

All I can do is shake my head.  How do we get to a point in history that a heinous act is associated with Christ?

This goes back to the whole discussion of Christian or not Christian.  Someone who professes salvation, or possess salvation.  The argument being used here is so logically flawed it is ridiculous.  The logic being, James Holmes attended church, therefore he is a Christian.  It would be the equivalent of saying, Robert attended a football game, and therefore he is a professional football player.  Another analogy, Robert attended an atheist conference, and is therefore an atheist.

While attendance to events CAN BE an indicator to something you are interested in, it in no way makes you.  Bible scripture is clear that this is the case.  Matthew 7:23 demonstrates that there will be people who cry to the Lord claiming that they knew Him, and he will say depart from me, I never knew you.  These are people who clearly attended church, but it did not make them.

The other attack is focused on the forgiveness of God.  They are using this as some sort of argument against God.  Can you imagine?  The audacity of God to forgive someone who has sinned.  I for one am thankful that He does and that He will.  Lets say that at some point in the future that James Holmes is lead to Christ.  He is truly repentant of his sin, and has faith that Jesus died on the cross for his sin’s.  Would James be saved?  Would James go to heaven?  YES HE IS AND YES HE WOULD!  There are two points that speak to this:

Remember the thief repented and had faith just before he died on the cross with Jesus.  He joined Jesus in paradise on that day.

Remember that Paul (Saul) was VERY active in the persecution and murder of Christians before being converted.  We can, for example, place Saul as the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts. He went on to become the Apostle of the Gentiles.

Remember Nineveh, and how God spared them when they repented after Jonah preached to them.

The Ten Commandments do not give favor to any one sin.  So in God’s eyes a lie is as evil as murder.  What does this mean?  That, in God’ eyes, our sins against God are as evil as that of James Holmes. It means that WE ALL need salvation because of those sins, or stand condemned before God on judgment day.  On that day there will be no difference between some one who has spent their life helping children but did not possess salvation and James Holmes.  We ALL need that salvation.  That includes James Holmes.

Don’t get me wrong, I am as outraged at this as everyone else is.  However, I am thankful that I am forgiven.  Let’s not forget the parable of the lost sheep and remember that “there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent.”  James Holmes is a very lost sheep.

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