Tag Archives: Paul
The first order says that a person, of their own volition (though through the preaching of the Gospel), decides to have faith in Christ. This faith that a person decides to exercise is the catalyst for the entire salvation process. Once a person decides for him/herself to exercise this faith, repentance and regeneration follow and the salvation process commences and is completed.
The problem with this view is…
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.
One of the biggest advantages of understanding the doctrine of election is that it makes sense of some of the most difficult passages in the Bible. Romans chapter 9 is no exception.
Romans chapter 9 is one of the most difficult passages in the Bible concerning election, salvation, and God’s purpose in it all. In this chapter we have a very difficult verse: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (v. 13). Making sense out of this verse is very difficult. How do we properly reconcile the God that loves all with a verse in the Bible that says God hated someone?
When taken as a stand-alone verse it doesn’t make much sense. That is proven by some of the terrible interpretations of the verse. Interpretations such as, “God loves the Jews but hates the Arabs.” Or, “God loved all the descendants of Jacob but hates all the descendants of Esau.” Or even, “God will bless the line of Jacob but will not bless the line of Esau.” All of these interpretations are wrong and do terrible violence to the text and its proper understanding.
When this verse is understood in proper context of the larger passage discussing God’s will, election, and salvation, it makes sense.
One of the biggest challenges in defending traditional marriage in our current culture doesn’t come from the Supreme Court, LGBT activists, or political agendas. Instead, this challenge comes from self-described “gay-affirming Christians.”
This group believes the Bible has been misinterpreted for hundreds of years and now wants to “set the record straight” on the biblical teaching regarding sexuality. For gay-affirming Christians the issue is understanding the cultural context of passages like Romans 1 in order to properly translate them for our current culture.
One standard talking point for gay-affirming Christians is that Romans chapter 1 is not a prohibition of homosexuality or same-sex “marriage,” but only a prohibition of homosexual fornication and abuse. In other words, Paul is simply saying that as long as homosexuals are given the opportunity to marry, as are heterosexuals, their lifestyle as homosexuals will be as pleasing before God as anyone else.
Not only is this “interpretation” of Romans 1 dangerous, it violates any sensible hermeneutic in studying Scripture. First, it goes against the plain text understanding of the Scripture. There is absolutely no way for any reasonable person to read Romans 1 and walk away with that understanding. The only logical conclusion after reading Romans 1 is that homosexuality is a sin. But even if we study the passage’s meaning from a cultural perspective, or look at the original Greek to get the meaning, we see a consistent message.
The distraction of keeping everyone happy comes from a fear that if people aren’t happy they will leave our church and go elsewhere. Because many churches are struggling to grow and having financial issues the task of keeping everyone happy (and tithing) takes precedence. Though they might not say it out loud, many pastors are afraid that someone might leave their church, not realizing that having people leave their church might be the best thing for the church.
Wait a minute. Did I just say it might be good for someone to leave the church? As a pastor that seems like an odd thing to say. Even more odd would be the statement that not only is it a good thing for people to leave, it might be what is best for that person and the church as a whole.