Study to Show Thyself Approved

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Start Studying, from the article So You Want to Be a Pastor by Dave Bruskas of Mars Hill Church. I particularly enjoyed this take on importance of scripture, just thought I’d share. His next piece of advice is to start evangelizing. There are many pastors but evangelistic pastors are few and far between.

 

 

Opinion: Is This a Good Lie?

365 times This statement made the Facebook rounds a year or two ago and seems to be recirculating again. Have you seen this or shared it already on social media? Here’s the thing: it isn’t true. 

The born-again believer certainly has nothing to fear. If the Bible said “Do not be afraid” even once then it would be a statement of ultimate truth that we can all believe in. The ESV contains the phrase 33 times, the NIV 70 times, the most occurrences I have found in any translation. (The KJV by contrast does not contain that exact phrase even once.) Is it true that we should not be afraid? Yes. Is sharing this image a way to encourage and inspire believers? Perhaps yes. My wife thinks I’m trolling if I see this on Facebook and comment to the poster it’s not accurate.

Question: should we continue sharing this image in order to encourage one another even though it makes a false statement about the scripture? 

I believe telling lies about the truth is still lying. I don’t believe we can “rightly divide the Word of Truth” by making false statements about what it says. I’m not calling every person who has ever posed this a liar. Like so many other things people smile a little when they this image and click “share” without checking to see is the claim has any truth to or it not. I for one happen to think sharing a false statement about biblical truth is a greater offense than reposting urban legends about Coca-cola being used to clean toilets or the current president taking more vacation days than any other.

 

 

In Real Life

I have made blog friends over the years in some far and distant places. The information age makes the world a smaller place. Every now and then I meet a person in real life who blogs.

The same freelance writer who created this piece recently started a local writers group. Check out The Golden Rule of Writing at Amber Nagle’s self-named blog and then consider reading other offerings as well. At our most recent meeting we discussed strategies for platform building so here’s a head nod at a fellow writer and new friend IRL. (I presented on the topic of building one’s online platform, imagine that.)

 

 

 

The Opposite of Fighting the Culture War

Sturgis The other day we looked at what happens when Christians choose to fight the culture war. Be careful, the culture may fight back. I saw this story and thought “That’s exactly the opposite of fighting the culture war.” See what you think.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally takes place each August near the small town (pop. < 7,000) of Sturgis, South Dakota. The very first “Black Hills Classic” held in 1938 featured 9 racers and a small audience. Today it one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world and provides a significant source of income to the town. I ride a motorcycle but would stop short of calling myself a biker. On the one hand I’d like to go at least once, and of course ride the whole trip up (as opposed to driving a rig with my bike in a trailer, setting up camp somewhere and riding the last few miles). On the other hand, once you get to Sturgis there is really nothing going on but sin and debauchery. It is also known as the Devil’s Playground.

So the way to fight the culture war would be to set up booths, tents and signs on the major routes just outside of town and shout names, wave Bibles, tell bikers they were riding two wheels to Hell, and hope they pull over, find Jesus, then turn around and ride back home. But what if we saw the Devil’s Playground as a mission field? What if we offered the chance to win a new Harley Davidson motorcycle in exchange for listening to a 3 minute testimony? And what if the result was 513 people making professions of faith?

Enter the Dakota Baptist Convention. Please read this full story via Baptist Press. We can fight the culture war or we can share the Gospel and lead people to Jesus. The choice is ours.. the choice is yours to make.

This is What Happens When You Fight the Culture War

Way back when in 2008 I posted Should Christians Fight the Culture War? Perhaps that’s a good place to start. This is an example of what happens when we do try to wrestle with flesh and blood rather than powers and principalities.

Video via CNN, no explicit language or images

In Warsaw, Ohio a strip club owner staged a protest outside of a local church during service on Sunday morning, complete with topless protesters carrying signs. Apparently New Beginnings Ministries has been protesting outside of the local strip club for years, taking pictures of customers license plates and calling the girls that work there things like tramps and whores. Church Pastor Bill Dunfee says it is the responsibility of the church to spread the Gospel, uplift the name of Jesus and confront evil. The confrontation of evil has resulted in a small crowd of strippers, employees and friends of the Foxhole Club to assembling a protest of their own. Be careful when you fight the culture war, the culture may just fight back. Continue reading

Who Were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

bible, scrollAs books were chosen to represent a New Testament of the Bible, conveying the biography of Jesus and the formation of the Christian Church, a few were chosen and many others passed over. The writings that were chosen by the early church leaders become Bible canon, but there are many gnostic Gospels and falsely ascribed (pseudepigraphal) epistles that still exist today. There is even some disagreement between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians about what is considered scripture.

Michael Patton, author of the Parchment & Pen Blog published by Creedo House, finds it interesting that while some Gospels with recognizable names, i.e. Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Mary, were passed over we have four Gospels included in the Bible that are essentially anonymous. Each book is named for the person believed to be the author – namely Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – but none of the writers identify themselves as such. Patton further believes this anonymity adds to rather than detracts from the works credibility.

Please read 4 Gospels or 4 Forgeries and see for yourself. I found the post engaging and his reasoning sound but you’re entitled to agree or disagree.