Tag Archives: Apostle Paul

What would the Apostle Paul say about the Social Gospel?

This:

Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Any gospel with an adjective in front of it would merit that response.

Why do people claiming the name of Christ preach other gospels?  Paul answers it in the next verse.

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Just stick to the real Gospel.  If that isn’t enough for someone, he doesn’t understand it.

1 Corinthians 15:3–5 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

 

Advertisements

A commonly misinterpreted verse: Philippians 4:13

Hello visitors!  I hope you enjoy this post and come back regularly.  If you go to the main page you can subscribe via email in the upper right hand corner.  Also see another commonly misinterpreted verse, Jeremiah 29:11.

phil413

Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through him who strengthens me”) is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible. I used to misuse it. I can’t remember the last time I heard it used correctly. It is one of the top 10 searched verses on biblestudytools.com, along with another frequently misused verse, Jeremiah 29:11.

We can’t ignore 2 Timothy 2:15 (Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.).  Getting Bible verses wrong isn’t a felony, but if we love God and our neighbors we’ll want to be careful with his word and humbly change our views once we realize we’ve been mistaken.

I enjoy the Pyromaniacs blog and agreed with the basic premise of Self-esteem, Possibility Thinking, and Philippians 4:13 .

That verse is not a manifesto for self-esteem and possibility thinking —although it is often used that way. People quote the verse as if it meant “With Jesus’ help you can achieve whatever dream you have for yourself.” That’s not the idea at all. Paul is speaking as a man who wants to do the will of God and knows he is too weak and sinful to do it, but he is laying hold of Christ’s power to do in him what he knows he cannot do on his own.

I agreed with the first part but not as much with the last part. Yes, people misuse the verse to mean that they can accomplish all sorts of things through Jesus. It is technically true that we could accomplish great things with Jesus, of course, but that isn’t what Philippians 4:13 means. The verse refers to Christ’s power doing something very specific in the believer, not some sort of general power.

I love using Phil 4:13 as an example of how to read in context. You don’t need to be a Greek scholar.  You don’t need to read the entire Bible, or all of Philippians, or chapter 4 or even a paragraph to get the real meaning. Just go back one verse!

Philippians 4:12-13 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Verse 13 is Paul’s secret for being content in all situations. That’s it. Do every thing through Jesus and you can be content in everything. It isn’t about what you accomplish, it is about how you do whatever you do.

For starters, remember that Paul wrote this letter from prison.  Having done prison ministry for years I assure you that if the believers there could do “all things” in the context most people us it, they would start by getting out of prison immediately.

I would never actually say this to someone because it would come across too snarky, but when people quote Philippians 4:13 I’m tempted to ask, “Really? You can do all things through Christ? Does that include reading scripture in context?”

Instead, I say something like, “Oh, yes, Paul’s secret for being content in all situations. I love that verse.” I usually get a slightly puzzled look in return, but I hope they re-read it themselves and see what I meant.

Some people may think they’ve lost something special when they realize they’ve misinterpreted the verse. But did they really think that Jesus was going to help them win every race, get every job, get A’s on every test, leap tall buildings, etc.?

This theme of contentment and being strengthened by Christ is found in other passages as well.

Being content sounds bland compared to our worldly desires, but what a phenomenal blessing the real interpretation of Philippians 4:13 is! How wonderful would it be to have contentment in every situation in life? That’s the true promise of scripture that we seek and rejoice in.

As often happens, the real meaning of the verse is better than what we wanted it to mean.

Also see Reading the Bible in Context for a very important lesson and other examples.

The Episcopals’ interesting strategy: Hire non-Christians as leaders

Diversity, not Jesus, saves says Presiding Bishop.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has denounced the Apostle Paul as mean-spirited and bigoted for having released a slave girl from demonic bondage as reported in Acts 16:16-34 .

In her sermon delivered at All Saints Church in Curaçao in the diocese of Venezuela, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori condemned those who did not share her views as enemies of the Holy Spirit.

. . . She continued stating: “Human beings have a long history of discounting and devaluing difference, finding it offensive or even evil.  That kind of blindness is what leads to oppression, slavery, and often, war.  Yet there remains a holier impulse in human life toward freedom, dignity, and the full flourishing of those who have been kept apart or on the margins of human communities.”

That’s an odd thing for a pro-abort like Schori to say.  She denies the humanity of the unborn to rationalize their legal and taxpayer-funded destruction.

Just as the forces of historical inevitability led to the ending of industrial slavery, so too would the march of progress lead to a change in attitude towards homosexuality, she argued.

“We live with the continuing tension between holier impulses that encourage us to see the image of God in all human beings and the reality that some of us choose not to see that glimpse of the divine, and instead use other people as means to an end.  We’re seeing something similar right now in the changing attitudes and laws about same-sex relationships, as many people come to recognize that different is not the same thing as wrong.  For many people, it can be difficult to see God at work in the world around us, particularly if God is doing something unexpected.”

Anything Schori says that agrees with God is purely coincidental.  The Bible teaches the value of each human being made in God’s image.  It also teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin.

And, uh, isn’t she offended by those who disagree with her?  Seems kinda hypocritical.

To illustrate her point presiding bishop turned to the book of Acts, noting “There are some remarkable examples of that kind of blindness in the readings we heard this morning, and slavery is wrapped up in a lot of it.  Paul is annoyed at the slave girl who keeps pursuing him, telling the world that he and his companions are slaves of God.  She is quite right.  She’s telling the same truth Paul and others claim for themselves,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said, referencing the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.

“But Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness.

The poor girl was demon possessed.

Paul can’t abide something he won’t see as beautiful or holy, so he tries to destroy it.  It gets him thrown in prison.  That’s pretty much where he’s put himself by his own refusal to recognize that she, too, shares in God’s nature, just as much as he does – maybe more so!,” the presiding bishop said.

She was demon possessed, and Schori puts her on par — or above — the Apostle Paul?!

The New Testament passage goes on to say that Paul and Silas were imprisoned for freeing the girl of her demonic possession. Presiding Bishop noted “an earthquake opens the doors and sets them free, and now Paul and his friends most definitely discern the presence of God.  The jailer doesn’t – he thinks his end is at hand.”

However, Paul now repents of his mistake in casting out the spirit of divination, she argues.  “

This time, Paul remembers who he is and that all his neighbors are reflections of God, and he reaches out to his frightened captor.  This time Paul acts with compassion rather than annoyance, and as a result the company of Jesus’ friends expands to include a whole new household.  It makes me wonder what would have happened to that slave girl if Paul had seen the spirit of God in her.”

It is fascinating how she makes it up as she goes along.  It was an evil spirit in the slave girl, not the spirit of God.

And note that the text specifically says she was a slave.  Schori wished she would have stayed that way!  It is fascinating how wolves in sheep’s clothing can’t even get the simplest passages right.

In support her argument for radical inclusion and diversity over doctrine Bishop Jefferts Schori adds that the day’s reading “from Revelation pushes us in the same direction, outward and away from our own self-righteousness, inviting us to look harder for God’s gift and presence all around us.  Jesus says he’s looking for everybody, anyone who’s looking for good news, anybody who is thirsty.  There are no obstacles or barriers – just come.  God is at work everywhere, even if we can’t or won’t see it immediately.”

Yes, just come, but on his terms: Repent and believe.

. . .

Responses posted on the Episcopal Church’s website to the Presiding Bishop’s sermon have been uniformly harsh, noting her interpretation was at odds with traditional Christian teaching, grammar, and logic. “This is quite possibly some if the most delusional exegesis I’ve ever read in my life,” one critic charged. “I’m sorry, but this sermon is not a Christian sermon.”

The reception by bloggers has been equally unkind. The Rev Timothy Fountain observed the presiding bishop had up ended the plain meaning of the text. “Instead of liberation” in freeing the slave girl from exploitation, presiding bishop finds “confinement.  Instead of Christ’s glory, there’s just squalor.”

The Rev. Bryan Owen argued “What’s happening here is the exploitation of a biblical text in service to a theopolitical agenda.  Given what she says in the first paragraph I’ve quoted from her sermon, the Presiding Bishop suggests that anyone who doesn’t buy into that agenda – anyone who holds to the traditional, orthodox understanding of such matters – is likewise afflicted with the same narrow-minded bigotry as Paul, and thus in need of enlightenment.”

That’s good news!  There is some hope for people there.

Typical comments of Sojourners’ followers

I noticed the following comments left at Top 4 Reasons Jesus Is My Favorite Feminist from the blog of Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis:

Liberal guy: But then you have Paul aka Saul of Tarsus in 2 Timothy going on his anti-female screed.

Liberal woman 1: Paul is not Jesus. Paul seems to be a split personality in his writings. He says a number of things that I suspect Jesus would not have agreed with

Liberal woman 2: Thank you! Finally, someone who gets it: Paul was not divine, nor was he anything other than a man who seemed to be quite conflicted in many ways. Personally, I have little use for most of his misguided and inconsistent writings. I’ve never really understood the church’s seemingly endless fascination with Paul–it’s almost as if he’s right up there next to Jesus, and that’s a ludicrous premise. Paul is waaaaaay overrated.

It is odd to me how someone can claim to be a Christian yet be so dismissive of huge parts of the Bible.  Here was my response:

No one claimed that Paul or any other Bible writers were divine. But everything Paul wrote in the Bible turned out exactly as God wanted it to, and Jesus, as part of the Trinity, agrees with it. If you say otherwise you are creating a god in your own image. You are sitting in judgment of the Bible and only accepting as inspired the parts that agree with your sensibilities (see 2 Tim 4:3, among others). Have you gone through all 31,173 verses to tell us which are “really” from God and which aren’t, and why should we trust your interpretation — which just happens to agree with the world’s perspective?

Having said that, I have yet to find a “Paul was a misogynist!!!” person who actually studied all of the Bible carefully.

Remember, Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.” If you think about that you’ll realize it is the highest possible standard.

Paul was surely perceived just as radically and politically incorrect in his day as he is in ours, but for the opposite reasons. Take off the modern blinders that equate feminism with the right to have your unborn children killed, then read all of what He wrote and consider how God’s word elevated women relative to their treatment at that time.

 

A commonly misinterpreted verse: Philippians 4:13

Hello visitors!  I hope you enjoy this post and come back regularly.  If you go to the main page you can subscribe via email in the upper right hand corner.  Also see another commonly misinterpreted verse, Jeremiah 29:11.

Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through him who strengthens me”) is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible. I used to misuse it. I can’t remember the last time I heard it used correctly. It is one of the top 10 searched verses on biblestudytools.com, along with another frequently misused verse, Jeremiah 29:11.

We can’t ignore 2 Timothy 2:15 (Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.).  Getting Bible verses wrong isn’t a felony, but if we love God and our neighbors we’ll want to be careful with his word and humbly change our views once we realize we’ve been mistaken.

I enjoy the Pyromaniacs blog and agreed with the basic premise of Self-esteem, Possibility Thinking, and Philippians 4:13 .

That verse is not a manifesto for self-esteem and possibility thinking —although it is often used that way. People quote the verse as if it meant “With Jesus’ help you can achieve whatever dream you have for yourself.” That’s not the idea at all. Paul is speaking as a man who wants to do the will of God and knows he is too weak and sinful to do it, but he is laying hold of Christ’s power to do in him what he knows he cannot do on his own.

I agreed with the first part but not as much with the last part. Yes, people misuse the verse to mean that they can accomplish all sorts of things through Jesus. It is technically true that we could accomplish great things with Jesus, of course, but that isn’t what Philippians 4:13 means. The verse refers to Christ’s power doing something very specific in the believer, not some sort of general power.

I love using Phil 4:13 as an example of how to read in context. You don’t need to be a Greek scholar.  You don’t need to read the entire Bible, or all of Philippians, or chapter 4 or even a paragraph to get the real meaning. Just go back one verse!

Philippians 4:12-13 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Verse 13 is Paul’s secret for being content in all situations. That’s it. Do every thing through Jesus and you can be content in everything. It isn’t about what you accomplish, it is about how you do whatever you do.

For starters, remember that Paul wrote this letter from prison.  Having done prison ministry for years I assure you that if the believers there could do “all things” in the context most people us it, they would start by getting out of prison immediately.

I would never actually say this to someone because it would come across too snarky, but when people quote Philippians 4:13 I’m tempted to ask, “Really? You can do all things through Christ? Does that include reading scripture in context?”

Instead, I say something like, “Oh, yes, Paul’s secret for being content in all situations. I love that verse.” I usually get a slightly puzzled look in return, but I hope they re-read it themselves and see what I meant.

Some people may think they’ve lost something special when they realize they’ve misinterpreted the verse. But did they really think that Jesus was going to help them win every race, get every job, get A’s on every test, leap tall buildings, etc.?

This theme of contentment and being strengthened by Christ is found in other passages as well.

Being content sounds bland compared to our worldly desires, but what a phenomenal blessing the real interpretation of Philippians 4:13 is! How wonderful would it be to have contentment in every situation in life? That’s the true promise of scripture that we seek and rejoice in.

As often happens, the real meaning of the verse is better than what we wanted it to mean.

Also see Reading the Bible in Context for a very important lesson and other examples.

False teacher hates gays, blasphemes Holy Spirit

Leave it to race-baiting false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie to say something like this:

Please repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  A vote to end discrimination is a vote in favor of a more moral America.

via Repeal DADT Now: Send Your Message Today.

Chuck plays the race card, as usual, ignoring the obvious fact that skin color is morally neutral while sexual behavior is not:

Sadly, there were many religious voices in America that openly opposed the integration of the races in public life – including the integration of the military.

The Bible could not be more clear that homosexual behavior is a sin.  Therefore, to encourage people in that sin, as Chuck & Co. do, is hateful.  They also blaspheme the Holy Spirit by claiming that He told them the opposite of what He did in the word of God.  They obviously don’t fear God, which is more proof of their being fakes.

What is most sickening is implying that the Apostle Paul is on their side.

We know, with Paul, that as Christians, we are many members, but are one body in Christ—members of one another, and that we all have different gifts. With Jesus, we affirm that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, that we are called to act as agents of reconciliation and wholeness within the world and within the church itself, ” the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has declared.

Paul would never stop throwing up if he heard Chuck claim they were on the same side.  Chuck & Co. don’t even understand the term “agents of reconciliation.”  Christians help reconcile men with God through Jesus.  That’s the Good News!  Chuck is the fake teaching that you don’t need Jesus to be reconciled with God.  Here’s the passage in question.  Note how badly Chuck has distorted it:

2 Corinthians 5:18–21 (ESV)  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Chuck and the Apostle Paul both claim that their message was from God.  One of them is lying.  Since I know for a fact that Chuck is a serial, unrepentant liar I’m going to stick with Paul as the truth-teller her (uh, that and about 100 other reasons).