“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”

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The Rain Falls on the Just and the Unjust

rainIt is a rainy morning in NW Georgia, just like it is in much of the South and just like it has been for many days. As a matter of fact it has rained every single day for the past week. That’s good for the water table and our farmers this summer but rain has never been my personal favorite. Continue reading

The Temptation of Jesus

Jesus tempted by SatanI have written on this subject before but certainly not recently. This post from 2009 focuses on the nature of sin as the easy way out. Stealing is easier than hard work, one night stands are easier than putting time and effort into a relationship, etc. Just about every example of sin that can be listed involves an easier or quicker way of getting something that would take time, effort, patience or involve suffering to obtain otherwise. Is also involves settling for less than what God has in mind for us were we to to do it his way instead.

I want to focus here on Jesus’ responses to each of Satan’s suggestions. Read the story in Matthew 4:1-11 and notice some things with me. Continue reading

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.

 

 

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

Christmas Scriptures

bibleThere are many well-known passages of scripture that make their way onto Christmas cards and into sermons this time of year. Prophesies of Isaiah and Micah foretelling the Messiah are common, and the birth of Jesus is recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. While Christmas celebrates the birth of the Christ child, there’s a lot more going on than just a birthday. The incarnation is about God robing himself in flesh. Emanuel is God with us, and the New Testament has much more to say about the incarnation than it does the night it happened.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20, ESV)

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