A Christian Response to Racism

biblePerhaps a better title would be A Scriptural Response to Racism but this is copied and pasted directly from a Facebook post I put up yesterday. There is so much upheaval in the world today and we are bombarded with information from traditional media to social media 24/7. When it gets to be too much, the Christian believer needs to step back, take a breath, and remember that we are in the world but not of the world. 

I don’t mean an official resolution passed by any group of representatives from any church denomination; my congregation will tell you that we read a lot of scripture. Every sermon, every Wednesday night Bible study, every Sunday school lesson begins with reading scripture and keeps going back to it. So this is not any particular Christian leader’s response to racism, this should be “our” response to hate and racism anywhere based on the inspired Word we live by. Continue reading

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Academic Discussion: Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh

It’s been almost two years since we had a series of academic discussions. You can see all of those titles by clicking here. What do I mean by academic discussion? We can present evidence, share our logic and reasoning, but the position we take can be neither proven nor disproven. Such an exercise can hone our analytic or linguistic skills, but at a practical level there is little value if that’s the only type of discussion we are having. I will continue to spend most of my time and energy sharing the Gospel, offering apologetics and encouraging others, but occasionally…

Screenshot 2015-10-30 at 9.36.29 AMThe Apostle Paul refers to a thorn in his flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:7 that he credits with keeping him humble. There has been much debate and discussion as to what this particular thorn was, and even if we are capable of knowing. In the Tyndale New Testament Commentary on Galatians, R. Alan Cole states that there is “no real evidence” that Paul’s trouble had anything to do with his eyes. While there may be no real evidence I think that clues left by Paul combined with modern medical understanding point very convincingly to just such a conclusion. Continue reading

Josh Duggar: Biggest Hypocrite Ever?

Screenshot 2015-08-21 at 10.44.16 AMJosh Duggar has confessed to being “the biggest hypocrite ever.” Is he really the biggest hypocrite ever, or is this just his first honest assessment in a long time and admission that he, like all of us, will always fall short?

David was a man after God’s own heart that committed lust, adultery, murder and conspiracy. The Apostle Paul lamented that he did the thing he wanted not to do but left undone those things he should. When they brought Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8, he suggested the one without sin should cast the first stone. One at a time they each walked away. A hypocrite in the Greek language of the New Testament was an actor. Is that not what we all do every day? From drinking coffee before work so we can act like we are not tired to smiling at others when we are not truly happy, we put on a public show every day. As Christians we should be the first to admit; confess; proclaim that we are not better than anybody else. We need to be honest with ourselves, before God and before others.

Perhaps admitting that we fall short – and we all all short compared to the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the perfection which God requires – perhaps admitting that we are not perfect and do not have to be will allow us to deal with issues instead of covering them up and keep us from getting to the point that Duggar and others sometimes come to. None is righteous, no not one. Acting like we are or can be leads lies, secrets and cover ups.

A Defense of The Apostle Paul

PaulSaul of Tarsus developed quite a reputation in the world of the early Christian church, zealously hunting down those who taught and preached in the name of Christ. He was on his way to Damascus, with arrest letters from the Jerusalem Sanhedrin in hand, when he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul he became one of the most prolific church planters and writers of the first century; 14 of the 26 New Testament books are his letters (epistles) to various individuals and churches.

But here’s the rub: Do we today make too much of Paul? Does our attention become Paul-centered rather than Christ centered? Just because he wrote many epistles that become a major component of the New Testament, is everything Paul wrote the Word of God? Which is why I propose a defense of Paul to consider and respond to these criticisms. Continue reading

Yes I Am Southern Baptist

sbcIn lieu of yesterday’s post I wish to clarify a couple of issues (before anyone asks).

1. I am Southern Baptist. While I did not grow up in the SBC I have been a member of SBC churches since 2000. I was ordained as a deacon in 2002 and as a minister in 2004. My wife and I served full time on the mission field (stateside) for nine years, 2003 to 2012. I graduated from a Baptist college, attended BSU as a student, taught in a private Baptist school, and led BCM for seven years. The Master’s Table is listed in SBC Voices, a directory of Southern Baptist blogs. This very week my wife and I are teaching 5th and 6th graders during Colossal Coaster World and I’m driving the church bus to VBS. While I may not always agree with everything the organization does as a whole, I am certainly still a part of it. The reason I can say so much about the SBC’s response to the Boy Scouts issue is that’s the denomination I know the most about. Continue reading

Does That Mean Denominations?

Screenshot 2013-04-08 at 8.41.09 AMBear with me for a moment. I have not consulted the biblical commentaries nor even my ESV Study Bible notes, and I haven’t searched the Christian blogosphere for other opinions. I’m going to toss this out there and see what comes back. In John 9 Jesus was talking about the least and greatest, and then…

John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49-50, ESV) Continue reading

Child of Two Worlds

Moses before PharaohMoses was born during the time the Hebrews were enslaved to Egypt, and male children were being thrown into the Nile.  Because Pharaoh’s daughter had found Moses floating in a basket and raised him as her own, he grew up in the house of Pharaoh.  Moses became the product of two cultures; his adoptive mother immediately identified him as Hebrew and found a Hebrew women to nurse him.  (Which just happened to be, if you believe in that sort of thing, his real mother.)  But he was raised as a prince of Egypt.  He had a crisis of identity when he saw a Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian, one of his own people (Ex 2:11) and he struck and killed the Egyptian.  The very next day he tried to resolve a conflict between two Hebrews and was asked who appointed him as judge.  “Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”  The Hebrews rejected his leadership because they identified him as a member of Pharaoh’s house, and after learning of the Egyptian’s death at his hand Pharaoh sought to kill him.  This is when he fled Egypt for Midian, where he laid low for the next 40 years. Continue reading