Monthly Archives: December 2014

An Important Resolution

spoiltbrat1“Woe to you, O land, whose king is a lad and whose princes feast in the morning.” -Ecclesiastes 10:16

Many have used this verse to point a finger at Obama.  Although he may be inexperienced, impetuous, and narcissistic as some claim, this verse speaks more to the electorate that elected him.  We have no king in America.  The people are the sovereign.  But our land is ruled by an impetuous, lazy, entitled people who vote for politicians to give them “their fair share.” We are spoiled children, and we have the power to govern ourselves.  That is a bad combination.  Those who will not be governed by an internal moral restraint will be ruled by an external one.

We are narcissistic nation because we have a narcissistic Church.  We are a narcissistic Church because we have too many narcissistic Christians.  I am not blameless in this.  I am also somewhat lazy.  I too prefer a message of “What Has God Done for Me Lately” to a message of God’s righteousness and my duty to him. JoelOsteenBecause of lazy, spoiled

Christians, the Church is filled with the false teachings like Joel Osteen’s “Prosperity Gospel” that tickle itching ears.  Osteen wrote “If you are believing for your child to find God, go help somebody else’s child to develop a relationship with God. If you’re struggling financially, go out and help somebody who has less than you have….If you want to reap financial blessings, you must sow financial seeds in the lives of others….If you want to see healing and restoration come to your life, go out and help somebody else get well.” From Your Best Life Now, pages 224, 250-51.  The key to God’s goodness in your life is to do good for others?  Really?  If all of Jesus’ disciples suffered persecution, lived in poverty, and died martyrs’ deaths, why should we expect a life of ease merely because we did good?

His false doctrine has also affected his household.  Listen to how Victoria Osteen expresses Christian narcissism:

tdjakesThe Church suffers from subtle lies from the likes of T.D. Jakes whose false doctrine of Modalism (the heresy that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not distinct persons, but different modes of a single person) distorts our understanding of God.  Often Christians try to explain the Trinity to people by using water as an analogy because water can be a solid, liquid, and a gas.  But,

You can even wear the T-shirt

You can even wear the T-shirt

the water analogy leads to understanding the Trinity in a modalistic way because water cannot be a solid, liquid, and a gas at the same time.

The Church is plagued by the teachings of Joyce Meyer.  She preaches that Jesus ceased to be the Son of God and became sin.  She claims Jesus paid for our sins in Hell.  She even turns Christianity into what appears to be a pagan religion by the use of spells and incantationsSome of the things she says sounds right to lazy Christian ears.  But, we are not called to be lazy.  We are called to study.

jmeyerII Timothy 2:15 states “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  The Greek word translated in the King James Version as “study” is “spoudazo.”  It means to “do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavor, labor, study.”  The Greek word is often used with a sense of urgency or earnestness.  Paul urges Timothy and the rest of us to be earnest in our study of the truth so that we can pick out the lies.

Our study must consist of more than Sunday morning sermons.  All too often Sunday sermons are evangelistic in nature and geared toward the least common denominator.  We need more meat of the Word than hearing “Jesus wants to come into your heart” every Sunday.  A pastor should be equipping his congregation for evangelism instead of taking up every Sunday morning service trying to reach the lost.

I do not point out the false teachings of the Osteens, Jakes, or Meyer in order to condemn them.  I do not pass judgment on their relationship with God.  I am simply dividing the Word of Truth and encouraging you to do the same.  If the Christians in the Church did the hard work of an earnest study, we would not have a narcissistic nation.  We would not have narcissistic politicians making public policies.

As you look over the past year and ponder what resolutions to make for the new year, make a sincere study of God’s Word a top priority.  Only an earnest study will teach us how to rightly divide the truth from lies.  Then we will know the Truth and he will set us free. 

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Devastating Arguments Against Christianity (Courtesy of the Internet)

This is what apologetics looks like: a defense of the faith and a refutation of silly and vain arguments.

Well Spent Journey

I’m writing this post primarily for my own convenience. During my online journeys to r/atheism, “freethought” blogs, and beyond, I encounter the following arguments so frequently that it seems sensible to fact-check them all at once.

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The Claim: “Religion has been the primary cause of war and oppression throughout the history of mankind.”

photo source: http://radiomankc.blogspot.com/

The Truth: In their comprehensive Encyclopedia of Wars, Phillips and Axelrod document the recorded history of warfare. Of the 1,763 wars presented, a mere 7% involved a religious cause. When Islam is subtracted from the equation, that number drops to 3.2%.

In terms of casualties, religious wars account for only 2% of all people killed by warfare. This pales in comparison to the number of people who have been killed by secular dictators in the 20th century alone.

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The Claim: “Thanks to modern science, the days of religion are numbered. Humanity’s superstitious…

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Worship Therapy

worship

Church worship has largely become a mere therapy session.  We sing songs that are all about us–how much God loves us, how much God has done for us, how bad our problems were until God fixed them for us.  I am not saying we should never recognize what God has done for us.  But, we have turned God into our therapist to heal all our diseases and solve all our problems so we can live happy lives.  We have invented an idol.  We then fool ourselves into thinking we are worshiping the one true God.

So, then, how should we worship?  First, realize that we are more concerned about our happiness than God is.  Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.”  Paul wrote from a prison cell “All those who want to live godly in Christ will suffer persecution.”  We were not promised comfort.  We were promised the Comforter.  Worship should not be about solving our problems or making us happy.

boyfriend Jesus

“What a boyfriend I have in Jesus”

Secondly, those who worship God must worship him in spirit and in truth.  There is both an emotional and an intellectual component to worship.  Worship is often too emotional.  It is as if we are singing to Jesus as our “boyfriend.”  Where is the intellectual truth?  Like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert, church goers get excitable and revel in that emotional high of justinbieberthe worship service.  But when the emotional episode is gone, they are the same people they have always been: needy, intellectually lazy, and biblically illiterate.  They don’t even know what they are singing.  They might as well be singing show tunes.

The Preacher warns us to be careful when we enter the LORD’s house not to offer mindless worship.  “Do not be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God…Therefore, let your words be few…When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for He has no pleasure in fools.  Pay what you vow.”  Ecclesiastes 5:2, 4.  Words mean things.  When we sing “I surrender all” do we really mean it?  How many times have we made that vow and broken it?  “Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?”  Ecclesiastes 5:6.  Better to be silent before the Almighty God than to utter mindless words we have no intention on fulfilling.

Words carry more than just an intellectual meaning. They carry emotional meaning.  God created us with emotions.  Gratitude is conveyed with emotions.  Something is wrong if you are not emotionally moved by singing “Why should I gain from his reward. I cannot give an answer. But this I know with all my heart–His wounds have paid my ransom.”  Worship without emotion is inauthentic.  It is like giving a thoughtless “Thank you.”  I have seen pastors absent-mindedly offering a “hand clap of praise” while looking around at the congregation instead of focusing on the object of their praise.  Such absent-minded worship is offering lip service while hearts are far from him.  Jesus called people like that “Hypocrites.”

So, worship God intellectually. Know what you are singing. Make sure it is biblically accurate.  A lot of worship songs convey “soft” heresies that cause us to have a wrong understanding of God.  (This reminds me of the time when the worship leader had us sing “Where the Streets Have No Name” in service. 

I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I want to reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

What!?)

Where is this place with nameless streets? Is it heaven? Does God not want us to know where we are, or where we’re going?  Worship through song requires an intellectual assent to the words being sung.  Singing nonsense emotionally is still singing nonsense.

Once we know what we are singing we must worship God emotionally.  John Piper said “True worship comes only from spirits made alive and sensitive by the quickening of the Spirit of God.”  Therapeutic worship is not true worship.  Therapeutic worship is manipulative.  Therapeutic worship is about “us.”  True worship does not look for therapy.  True worship is a genuine, grateful response to the object of our worship.

If we want to worship God in spirit and in truth we will worship God for who he is, not just for what he can do for us.