Category Archives: Theology
These comments were made on an MSNBC show by the pastor and NAACP leader much to the surprise of many that saw the photo as something to be encouraged by. After all, many presidents in history have asked for prayer for wisdom and courage during their time as president. Apparently Barber is not one of those that is encouraged.
I’m trying to figure out why a “pastor” is so vocally opposed to the world’s most powerful leader being prayed over by faith leaders. What could possibly be so offensive to a “pastor” about our president seeking and receiving spiritual direction? What am I missing about this image of the President of the United States and his Vice President seeking prayer and wisdom from God that is so problematic?
I have a friend that moved his family to Belize for the purpose of sharing the Gospel with the people there. One of the reasons he felt called to be there was that the people did not have a Bible in their native language. My friend wanted to go and help translate a Bible and use it to share the Gospel. People often comment about how incredible it is that my friend would make this decision.
But is it really a good thing?
R.C. Sproul is one of the world’s leading theologians, pastors, apologists, and evangelical authors. His podcast is listened to daily by people across the globe. His books are in house all over the world. He is a respected Christian that ahs dedicated his life to addressing the tough questions we often ask. Recently I was listening to one of his podcasts in which he was addressing the question of whether innocent people that have never heard the Gospel go to hell. Sproul says the question is loaded with presumptions, but the answer is very simple:
The lost world often takes Scripture out of context in order to make it mean what they want it to mean. Verses are twisted and little to no exegesis is ever used in the effort to justify sin. This is completely understandable, as lost people do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them in understanding the Bible.
What about Christians that seem to do the same thing? How do we make sense of a professing Christian that holds to an unbiblical view or takes verses out of context? That’s a big conversation reserved for another day. For today, let’s focus on some of the most abused verses in the Bible and see if we can gain some clarity on their proper, contextual and biblical meaning.
Here’s a short list of some of the most misused, abused, and taken out of context verses in the Bible.
The preacher would end his sermon by saying “every head bowed and every eye closed.” I knew that the next few minutes would be spent listening to the pianist play “Just As I Am” on the piano while the preacher encouraged people to come down front and pray. At some point the preacher would inevitably say “if you want to be saved, repeat this simple prayer after me,” after which he would recite the “sinners prayer” from memory. Then, with every head bowed and every eye closed, the preacher would ask if anyone said that prayer. He would ask people that said the prayer to raise their hand while assuring them that “no one will see and no one will approach you.”
That might be a familiar routine to you. You also might be wondering what it is and why some churches do it.
First, let’s talk about the history of the altar call and how it came to be a sacred ritual in many churches today. An article at Christianity Today shares some of the history of the altar call:
My first thought was, “how can Christians think biblically about this issue?”
As I conversed with Christians about this topic it was clear that many are in the same boat I am. We want to be biblical, we want to prioritize the Gospel, and we want to be loving to foreigners coming to America. But, we also want to protect our families and the lives of those around us from people that would seek to do harm.
Let’s establish some basic thoughts and then we can discuss the issue and hopefully come to some conclusions.
In a recent podcast I heard the speaker reference “the gospel of acceptance” and explain that some people are simply seeking a gospel in which they feel accepted. With so much division in our culture it’s easy to see how people could long for acceptance and place acceptance so high on their priority list that it becomes, essentially, a gospel.
As I listened to this podcast I realized that not only does every person alive live under some sort of religious ideology, but everyone is a champion for their own brand of gospel.
Lets be clear. No amount of feelings will change your biological gender. You can really want to be the opposite sex all you want, but there is nothing you can do about it. The surgeries are like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. It doesn’t really change what’s going on inside.
The question that arose in conversation is whether taxes are appropriate or whether they are theft. Some subsequent conversation is whether Christians should stand against taxes and oppose any form of taxation or dutifully pay our taxes.
There’s one perspective that says: the Bible says theft is sin, taxes are theft, and therefore taxes are sinful.
Though this is a simplification of the position, it is a good summary and starting point for the discussion. This position says that God never ordains taxes and never gives the government authority to impose taxes. Because all authority is derived from God and God never gives explicit authority to impose taxes, taxation is theft. And since theft is a violation of God’s moral law (10 Commandments), any government imposition of taxes is theft and should be opposed.
While we may have good intentions for our efforts to comfort grieving parents, Christians must make sure that their intentions, efforts, and words are based solely on Scripture. There is no real comfort in telling someone what cannot be supported by Scripture. So before we tell parents that their child is now in Heaven, we need to examine Scripture to determine whether that is true or not.
The traditional, somewhat historical position can be summed up in a statement by Sam Storms, writing at The Gospel Coalition, when he says:
The view concerning man’s will is one of debate among Arminians and Reformed theologians. Arminians believe that man has the ability, the free will, to choose Christ. Reformed theologians believe that due to the bondage of the will to sin, man does not have the ability to choose Christ without the regenerating work and effectual calling of the Holy Spirit. This distinction has been the source of much debate between these two theological groups.
Before moving forward, it is important to understand that it is a universally agreed upon fact that man has a will and can make choices based upon that will. However, what is not true is that man has the ability to freely choose Christ based solely upon his own free will. Let me explain the difference.