Christians and Food Laws

Sometimes I see images like this on Facebook or wander into discussions/arguments and can’t believe we are still at odds over food laws. The early Christians in the first century couldn’t come to a consensus so it should surprise no one that all of us do not agree today.

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Critical Thinking: Why Does Evil Exist?

I don’t want to explore the problem of evil. I want to use that question and the arguments made by atheists and agnostics to discuss how we use our resources to analyze and respond to such questions. 1 Peter 3:15 is the basis for Christian apologetics: always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…

When I was college I took an honors level class simply titled Critical Thinking. I think it should have been required of all entering freshmen; definitely wished our debate team in high school could have spent a few weeks each year in that course. I didn’t go to a large state funded university that spent four years trying educate the faith out of us or teach me that everything my parents ever believed was wrong. At a private liberal arts college, affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention, the professor wanted us to think things through, use logic and empirical data, in order to defend whatever position we claimed. He was not an atheist trying to turn us against the Christian faith, as some have claimed when I share this story. He posed us this dilemma so that, like iron sharpens iron, we could work through a proper response: God is either all powerful or all good but cannot be both. If he is all good then evil exists because is unable to eliminate it. Conversely if God is all powerful then he must be evil as he chooses not to do away with it. Discussion ensued.

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Deep Dive: God’s Judgement

First things first: The image above is a tweet. The current limit on characters is 280 and while that can be useful one cannot fully express the balance of a lifetime of study in a couple of sentences. Benjamin Cremer is a Wesleyan pastor with multiple degrees including a Master’s in Theological Studies. To learn more about Rev. Cremer and his views read more tweets; and he also writes books. I want to use the tweet as a launching point to make a deep dive into what we understand from scripture about God’s judgement. My post of 600 to 800 words will still fall short of everything the Bible has to say.

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Time and Sin

The post Time and Eternity was my attempt at concisely putting together some ideas that kind of spiraled out of control when I preached them from the pulpit. I wanted to outline the main points, support with scripture, and come as immediately as I could to a conclusion. I am pleased with the way it turned out, except for later realizing I had left out what could be an important consideration.

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In Defense of Paul

I was accused a few years ago of being in a cult of Paul. The assertion was that myself and others made too much of the Apostle Paul, his writings and his particular brand of New Testament theology. We needed to be less Paul-focused and more Christ-focused. I argued that Paul was Christ focused and studying Paul should bring Christ into focus. Paul pushed back on some of those same accusations during his ministry stating the Christ is not divided and there are not Paul Christians, Apollos Christians, etc. Here is a link to my first Defense of the Apostle Paul from eight years ago. The comment thread was very involved, and might be longer than the actual post.

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Let’s Talk About Eternity

The Heritage Singers once said “Forever is a long, long time.” That’s the way many of us probably think about eternity; a very, very long time. A verse of Amazing Grace starts out “When we’ve been there 10,000 years…” The truth is that eternity takes place outside of time. It’s not made up all time but is rather the exact opposite of time.

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Application for Jeremiah 29:11

The Bible is God’s Word. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness... but the proper application of scripture to our lives requires discernment. Some verses speak directly to us while others require historical or cultural context. The United States is not Israel. The people of Israel in the Old Testament is often an allegory for the Christian Church but promises made to the nation of Israel do not apply verbatim to Americans. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is often taken out of context wrongly applied. If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land was a promise made to the nation of Israel. There’s a lot of truth in that verse that does apply to people everywhere. We should humble ourselves. We should pray, seek God’s face and turn from wicked ways. But the United States of America is not going to be healed as a whole as a Christian nation. The Kingdom of God is being built from people of every nation.

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What Christians Really Believe

I recently saw a question online asking if Christians really believe Jesus came back from the dead. It was obvious that the question comes from the point of view that people don’t do that; come back to life that is. Jesus was a man, he died, and it seems unreasonable to think that he came back to life three days later. Maybe he was a wise teacher with many followers, maybe it is not crazy that we study his sermons and emulate his behavior but do we really believe he rose from the dead and appeared again alive to his disciples and others? Fasten your seatbelts.

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Peace on Earth?

When a multitude of the heavenly host appeared to a group of shepherds out in the field, they proclaimed “Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.” Someone may take a critical look at the world today and ask “Where is it? I don’t see peace on Earth.” The first thing we need to do is examine what this group of messengers were really saying. The full text of Luke 2:14 is “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Your translation of choice may not include among those with whom he is pleased so let’s not even go there. These angels are worshipping. They proclaim Glory to God in the highest which we do not see everywhere in the world today. The creation points to God’s glory but the majority of people walking the face of the earth do not acknowledge God. The angels were announcing the birth of the Messiah/Christ so peace on earth could be similar to Jesus himself saying “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” He certainly was. So the angels did not prophesy in so many words “There is going to be peace on earth” or “from now on there will be peace on earth and goodwill everywhere you look.” But I still want to address these two questions: Is there or can there be peace on earth? Will there ever be peace over the whole earth?

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A Biblical Perspective

bibleIf you are a follower of The Master’s Table, or a former student, or have ever listened to me preach, teach Sunday School or lead a small group of any kind, you know by now that I do not pick up a recent newspaper and use the headlines for talking points about Bible prophesy. During Advent I talk about prophecies of the Messiah being fulfilled by Jesus’s birth and the events surrounding it. During Easter and Pentecost I talk about prophesies Jesus fulfilled during his earthly ministry, his death, burial and resurrection, and the promise we have of his future return. What I have never done is point to earthquakes, volcanoes, war in the Middle East or any other current event while quoting snippets of scripture and saying “See, the Bible says so.” I’ve seen preachers and other church leaders look foolish when Mikhail Gorbachev did not turn out to be the antichrist, Saddam Hussein was not the Beast described in Revelation and the world did not end in 1988 despite the list of 88 reasons that it was going to. Continue reading