Tag Archives: Jesu

Roundup

A brief history of sex ed: How we reached today’s madness — good summary.  Where will it end?

Speaking of sex ed, did you see where Planned Parenthood paid $1.4 for commiting Medicaid fraud?  Oddly enough, people who kill babies for all living seem to break all sorts of rules.

Never heard of this guy but liked this quote I saw on Facebook.

Because the gospel is not just salvation from sin but salvation from self-righteousness, we don’t need to worry about filling every spare second with unrestful duties, even ones we think are in service to God. God desires mercy, not sacrifice (Matt. 9:13). Christ made the sacrifice sufficient.   Jared C. Wilson

Obviously: White House meets with celebs on how they can help promote ObamaCare to young people

When it comes to persuading young people between the ages of eighteen and about thirty five that they should voluntarily shoulder the higher costs of the inherently riskier insurance pools being peddled to them through the auspices of ObamaCare — without whose participation the system’s already rising costs will skyrocket all the further — the usual dry, boring government stuff just isn’t going to cut it. . . .

New Documents Show NBA Player J. J. Redick Pressured Girlfriend to Have Abortion — He certainly had the “Bro-choice” philosophy.  The link has images of creepy emails where they hashed out the legal agreement requiring her to abort.  Note that the abortionist did the procedure even though she checked the “forced into it” box.  Tell me more about how abortion is good for women . . .

Science Shows New Atheists to be Mean and Closed-Minded — If the new atheists are so reason-based, why do they always resort to personal attacks?

Emergent Monday: Joel Osteen – Pantheist, Pagan, Agent of Satan — Osteen is so much worse than most people think.  He may wave a Bible around but he’s a fake.  It is bizarre that the people who made the recent movie about the Bible would have him as a consultant.  He has zero training!

John MacArthur put it best when talking about Osteen’s message:

You need to understand that he is a pagan religionist in every sense.  He’s a quasi-pantheist.  Jesus is a footnote that satisfies his critics and deceives his followers.  The idea of his whole thing is that men have the power in themselves to change their lives.  In his definitive book Your Best Life Now, he says, and that ought to be a dead giveaway since the only way this could be your best life is if you’re going to hell.  He says, “that anyone can create by faith and words the dreams he desires.  Health, wealth, happiness success”…the list is always the same…
MacArthur continues, “What is the source of this?  Where does this come from?  Answer…Satan. This is not just off-center.  This is satanic.  Why do I say that?  Because health, wealth, prosperity, the fulfillment of all your dreams and desires…that’s what Satan always offers.  That’s called temptation based on the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.  That’s exactly what corrupt, fallen, unregenerate people want.  That’s why it works so well, right.  You can go right into Satan’s system make everybody feel religious and turn their desires, their temptations into somehow honorable desires.

So where does being a bible college dropout with no biblical teaching and a satanic message of prosperity get you? If you’re Joel Osteen it gets you a position with the history channel as Biblical and Theology advisor to their production of The Bible. (Which explains why it was not so biblical)

New CDC report finds soaring rates of HIV among men who have sex with men — The CDC is obviously homophobic.  Seriously, if you really love people won’t you want to warn them of dangers like this?

What was he thinking?

Update: From the “this is awkward” category, the Vatican clarified that not only do they believe that atheists go to Hell, but so does anyone outside the Catholic church.

So the Pope is taking a Second look at letting atheists into heaven?

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

The Pope made one of two mistakes. The first is really bad, the second is off-the-charts bad.

1. He was very sloppy in his use of “redeemed.” If he didn’t mean it in terms of eternal salvation, then he mislead a lot of people.  He was basically channeling Major Burns from the M*A*S*H TV show and saying, “It’s nice to be nice to the nice.”  It could logically lead to a conversation like this:

Pope: You, my atheist friend, have been redeemed by God with the blood of Christ!  Let’s do good works together.

Atheist: Huh?  You mean that even though I don’t trust in Jesus and don’t even think God exists that I’ll spend eternity in Heaven with him with no punishment for my alleged sins?

Pope: Oh, no, my bad — you are still going to spend eternity in Hell as punishment for your sins.  But in the mean time we’ll do a few good deeds together and your torment in Hell will be slightly less unpleasant!  When I said “redeemed by the blood of Christ” I meant _________. [Sorry, this blogger can’t even think of a pretend way to finish that sentence.]

2. He ignores that the New Testament has over 100 passages noting that Jesus is the only way to salvation (it isn’t just John 14:6). That isn’t what makes it true, of course. His resurrection does that. But it does mean to claim to be a Christian means that you should hold that view. Anything else would be silly.

I don’t expect good theology from him (OK, more specifically, I expect bad theology from him), but I do like his pro-life and pro-family views.  But once again he fails on the salvation issue.

The Reformation happened for a reason. Actually, 95 of them. And they haven’t changed.

—-

Update: More from the Pope’s speech.

“They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of ​​possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation”

He appears to be twisting the passage about people casting out demons in Jesus’ name (Luke 9). But that wasn’t some random good deed that atheists might do (even though it wouldn’t be truly good if done out of self-interest). They were <em>casting out demons in Jesus’ name</em>. He implies that atheists are regularly doing that!  I shouldn’t be surprised when people like him can’t get the simplest passages right.

And then there is this:

Today is [the feast of] Santa Rita, Patron Saint of impossible things – but this seems impossible: let us ask of her this grace, this grace that all, all, all people would do good and that we would encounter one another in this work, which is a work of creation, like the creation of the Father. A work of the family, because we are all children of God, all of us, all of us! And God loves us, all of us! May Santa Rita grant us this grace, which seems almost impossible.

We are not all “children of God.” John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

And the article wraps up with him praying to a dead person.  In an odd way, I appreciate that the guy who is allegedly God’s #1 man here on earth is so clearly and profoundly anti-biblical.  It removes any doubt about core Catholic doctrines being false — at least for those who actually read the Bible.

An exhaustive list of the verses telling us to listen for messages from God (when praying or otherwise)

[Beginning of list]

  •  

[End of list]

Yep, there aren’t any.  Be cautious of leaders who claim otherwise.  Ask for verses, in context.  That doesn’t mean that God couldn’t speak to you that way, just that it isn’t normative or biblical and that the burden of proof is on the one claiming they did hear from God.  If they quote what He allegedly said to them then they are putting their words on par with the inspired Bible.  It is possible, but that’s quite a claim.

And it means you shouldn’t teach others that they must be doing something wrong if they aren’t “hearing” from God in personalized ways.  Don’t harm the faith of others with non-biblical teachings.  It isn’t loving.

If you want to hear from God, read the Bible.  If you want to hear from him audibly, then read the Bible out loud.  I suggest a deep study of the 31,173 verses He definitely gave us before insisting on a personal bonus revelation.

P.S. Please note that I am not discounting the Holy Spirit in any way.  I love him as I love the Father and the Son and He has unique roles outlined in scripture.  But again, please offer specific verses, in context, if your claim is that the Bible says it is normative to get specific communications from him when praying.

A really, really easy way to spot false teachers

If they say Jesus was wrong about anything then you know you have a wolf.  Via Pastor: Jesus Was Wrong About Marriage.

This exchange in particular was the most glaringly infuriating as White, a proponent of same-sex marriage who angered his own congregation recently because of his adamant belief that Christianity supports such a practice, went so far as to agree that Jesus Christ was wrong about His position on marriage being defined as one man and one woman, and if Jesus were alive today he would, in fact, support gay marriage.

It is very common for the fakes to sit in judgment of God, but rarely do they take off the sheepskin so completely and say it outright.  In a weird way I appreciate people who are so transparently fake.

The other good thing is that he conceded that what the Bible really says!  Even non-Christians and two out of the three types of pro-gay theologians* can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

* 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

Uh, thanks but no thanks

In an obvious sp*m email to random bloggers, a man named Joseph invited me to link to a list of the top 100 “marriage equality” blogs on his gay dating site.  Here is my response.  It also goes out to the people on Facebook with the red equal sign pictures and anyone else who abuses words like equality.  Remember, the warnings in Romans 1 aren’t just for those who commit the sins listed there, but for those that give approval to those who practice them.

And remember to point out that even if their lobby wasn’t wrong on both “marriage equality” and adoption by homosexuals, they can’t put forth both arguments.  If gender is absolutely paramount for sexual relationships, how can it be completely irrelevant for parenting?

And here’s a list of things to mention to people who insist that “same-sex marriage” won’t hurt you.

—–

Joseph,

I’ll be glad to link to your site if you’ll make my blog (www.4simpsons.wordpress.com) one of your top 100 blogs. But I don’t think you’ll want to do that, because I respectfully disagree with your premise.

I know many gays and lesbians and am friendly and kind to them all. I would never condone harm to LGBTQ people. I am against bullying of all kinds. And if you have issues such as hospital visitation or estate planning I would support separate solutions for those (i.e., you should be able to have anyone you like visit you in the hospital, and estate taxes are ghoulish — the government should never profit from your death).

Having said all that, “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron (“the same-sex union of a man and a woman”).

That isn’t unkind or hateful to say, it is the truth. Words mean things. The notion of “marriage equality” it is false because it implies that any union of two people is equal to real marriage. Or that the number of people in the marriage isn’t important.

But there are two very important things that same-sex unions can’t do.

1. By nature and design, 100% of children are produced by one man and one woman.

2. Only male/female relationships can provide a mother and father to a child — the intuitive ideal supported by countless studies.

Those are the reasons the government has traditionally been involved in marriages.

I realize the underlying desire of LGBTQ to feel affirmed and to silence any criticism of their lifestyles, but that is not a mature reaction.

Again, you are welcome to your relationships. You can get “married” in all sorts of false-teaching, anti-biblical “churches.” You can set up house together. I will never bother to get in the way of your lives.

But there is simply no reason for the government to get involved in your relationships. And government recognition of same-sex unions inevitably — and by design — leads to a loss of free speech and religious freedom and results in young children being taught things that are wrong.

You probably noted that the response above was free of religious views, which was by design. We don’t need religious arguments to explain why the government need not sanction same-sex unions. But out of kindness I should point out that there is a God who clearly and thoroughly revealed himself in the Bible. He is sovereign over all. He designed marriage and the ideal is one man and one woman, for life. Yes, heterosexuals break those rules too, but that doesn’t mean we should abandon all the rules. Everyone has rebelled against God and his created order but they can be forgiven if they repent and trust in Jesus. I highly encourage you to consider that. You don’t want to spend an eternity in Hell regretting that you spent this life in active rebellion against your creator. There is a better way.

The “social gospel” vs. the real Gospel

False teachers must not read the Bible, or they are so jaded that they pretend that they can be Leopard Theologians and just pick the spots they like.  Those who preach a “social gospel” should know that by definition they are now accursed:

Galatians 1:8–10 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 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. 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.

That seems pretty clear.  Preaching a gospel of one’s choosing isn’t just a little different, it is the opposite and a profoundly bad thing.  People like Jim Wallis who say that “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” are mocking this passage.

Yes, the real Gospel will lead to all sorts of good deeds.  But the good deeds aren’t the Gospel.  If you tell people that they must be good to be saved, that’s the bad news, not the good news, because we will always fail.  Without Christ, our good deeds are like polluted garments to God (Isaiah 64:6).

The real Gospel is Jesus dying for our sins and rising from the dead.  If we focus on sharing that, then transformed lives and cultures will follow and you’ll get all sorts of authentically good deeds.

1 Corinthians 15:1–11 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 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. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

So if you really want to improve the world, share the real Gospel.

Traits of false teachers

Via 7 Traits of False Teachers – read it all for more details.  False teachers aren’t that hard to identify.  The Bible is full of warnings about them.  Some of the fakes that used to visit my blogs (before being banned) would scoff at the notion that the Bible warns against false teachers.  I think that was trait #8.

1. Different Source—Where does the message come from?

2. Different Message—What is the substance of the message?

3. Different Position—In what position will the message leave you?

4. Different Character—What kind of people does the message produce?

5. Different Appeal—Why should you listen to the message?

6. Different Fruit—What result does the message have in people’s lives?

7. Different End—Where does the message ultimately lead you?

More than 100!

I’m fond of pointing out that there are 100 passages teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  In other words, they are far, far more passages than just John 14:6 (Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.) — although that alone is clear enough.

The number of passages isn’t what makes it true, of course.  His resurrection does that.  But it does mean that anyone claiming the name of Christ must hold to that explicit and supremely important teaching, among other essentials of the faith.  Anyone who disagrees isn’t teaching something a little different from Christianity, they are teaching the opposite.  We have a very specific term for people like them: Non-Christians.  I have seen false teachers try to rationalize away John 14:6 when they thought that was the only verse they had to get rid of, but that is just more evidence of their being wolves.

But there are actually more than 100 passages.  Just read through Ephesians or Colossians, for example, and note how nothing makes sense if Jesus isn’t the exclusive way to salvation.

Consider this as one example.  There is no room for Vishnu, Mohammad, Buddha or anyone else here:

Ephesians 1:1–14 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Some things in the Bible may be difficult to understand, but this isn’t one of them.  Jesus is the only way.  People shouldn’t sit in judgment of God’s gracious rescue plan and insist that there be other paths.  They should rejoice that there is a path for us sinners at all!

Here are 10 to start with:

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:11-12 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 16:30-31 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Luke 10:16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Luke 12:8-9 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”

John 10:7-8 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.

Spotting fake denominations

When churches write gibberish like this to justify anti-biblical and oxymoronic “same-sex marriage,” it is another major sign that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

In the United Church of Christ’s endorsement of fake marriage in in 2005 they noted:

The message of the Gospel is the lens through which the whole of scripture is to be interpreted. Love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. It is a message that always bends toward inclusion. The Biblical story recounts the ways in which inclusion and welcome to God’s community is ever expanding — from the story of Abraham and Sarah, to the inclusive ministry of Jesus, to the baptism of Cornelius, to the missionary journeys of Paul throughout the Greco-Roman world. The liberating work of the Spirit as witnessed in the activities of Jesus’ ministry has been to address the situations and structures of exclusion, injustice and oppression that diminish God’s people and keep them from realizing the full gift of human personhood in the context of human communion.

Sadly, those radical pro-abortion moral freaks deny the full gift of human personhood  to the unborn.  But they make up nonsense about the Bible being “inclusive” of those who continue to rebel Romans 1-style.  Christianity is inclusive in the sense that God will take anyone — that is, anyone who repents and believes.

Run, don’t walk, from fake Christian churches.

Quick responses to a new Facebook meme

I saw this on Facebook and thought I’d share some quick responses to it. It is a train wreck of bad reasoning made worse because they are trying to use religious arguments.

This fails on so many levels. The first about Jesus ignores that He is God and is in agreement with 100% of scripture. As noted in What Jesus didn’t say – Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus is God and part of the Trinity that inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were, He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.), He didn’t specifically mention child abuse and other obvious sins though that wouldn’t justify them, and abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews. And Jesus never said anything about the “sin” of criticizing homosexual behavior, so it must be OK!

The NT part is wrong as well. Romans 1 could not be more clear: It references lesbian and gay relationships that were not associated with prostitution or pederasty. Being “committed” to a sinful relationship doesn’t sanitize it.

You don’t even need the Bible to refute this case. For the government to get involved in relationships there has to be an important reason. They have been involved in real marriages because by nature and design children are created by those units and they are the only relationships that can provide a mother and a father to children. Countless studies show this as the ideal, so the government has good reasons to encourage their stability.

Please note that I didn’t say that they must produce children, only that children are always produced by one man and one woman. And again, only those relationships can provide a mother and a father.

The Bible does show that God’s ideal for marriage is one man and one woman, and Jesus reiterated that.

The world is not over-populated, and even if it was that has nothing to do with the morality of homosexual behavior.

The shrimp / shellfish argument is full of holes but is appealing to many because so few bother to study the passages. I address five serious problems with it in flaws of the shellfish argument.

And gay sex is “icky.” We should not be afraid to use that argument. The rate HIV and Syphilis is over 40 times higher for gay men. If it wasn’t politically incorrect to criticize the behavior you’d hear those stats all the time. And the rectum is still not a sex organ. There is a reason people spend so much on toilet paper. Most people like to avoid getting feces on themselves.

Don’t miss the section where they tell you that if you disagree with them that you are judgmental, and judging is bad! Except when they do it! Hypocrites.

Also see:

 

Wolves gather to celebrate fake marriage

Perverted false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie took a break from taking little girls to gay pride parades to describe how a group of fake Christians are advocating for oxymoronic “same-sex marriage.” Via People Of Faith Stand Up For Marriage Equality:

Some religious leaders in Oregon will obviously oppose marriage equality.  But they can no longer claim to speak for God or for the church universal.

“Marriage equality” is one of those language-abusing euphemisms that Liberals love, sort of like when they couch their Satanic hatred of the unborn in “choice” language.  Fact: Same-sex unions can never provide a mother and a father to a child and can’t produce children, so they aren’t equal in any meaningful way to heterosexual unions.

Those who oppose “marriage equality” speak for true Christianity, not for whatever Chuck & Co. are peddling.

 A generation ago many churches used the Bible to oppose interacial marriage.  They were wrong then.  

Yes, they were wrong.  They taught the opposite of the Bible, just like Chuck & Co. are doing now.

Many Christians today believe it is wrong to use to Bible and the teachings of Jesus, which call for inclusion and justice – to oppose marriage equality today.  

In is typical Liberal gibberish he says words like inclusion and justice as if they have anything to do with this topic.

This issue matters.  See things like Christian Arrested for Speaking Against Homosexuality.  That’s what we get and deserve for not exposing fakes like Currie for what they are.

Our worldview can explain their worldview, but not vice verse

Christianity can explain all worldviews: The true view of Christianity (from God) and the false views of other religions and atheism (from Satan and human rebellion).

The atheistic worldview has a humorous explanation for my Christian worldview: The universe arose from nothing without a cause.  Then these materials just happened to combine in spectacularly complex ways and generated huge amounts of complex information (see “Signature in the Cell” by Stephen Meyer, for example).  Life came from non-life and evolved to us being able to “think” we are reasoning about these things.  (Side note: Since Darwinian evolution prizes survival over truth, we have no real way to determine if what we are reasoning is accurate, but that’s a separate topic).

And this blind, mechanistic process evolved human beings to a state where I abandoned skepticism and trusted in what I see as the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  So that would mean Christians are products of their beloved evolutionary processes and that the pride that some atheists feel for being “brights” is completely irrational.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Should Christians seek to share the Gospel with Jewish people?

Of course they should, right?  What could be more obvious to believers?

Apparently it isn’t obvious to false teachers who write things like Can We Stop Trying To Evangelize Jews Now? (And make no mistake, most theological Liberals rationalize that we shouldn’t share the Good News with Jews.)

“I would argue that it inappropriate and deeply offensive for Christians to attempt to convert Jews or to misuse the Hebrew Scriptures and claim them as Christian writings.

– Rev. Chuck Currie

That’s odd, because Jesus tried to convert Jews, as did all the early Christians, including Paul. Should we listen to Chuck or to the early church and the Bible?

Does the apostate UCC and UMC, both served by Chuck, not include the Old Testament in their Bible? That’s what Chuck appears to be saying, but it is news to me. And I’ve seen Chuck (mis)quote the OT many times. I’m not sure why he is abandoning it now.

Paul was even willing to sacrifice his own salvation if it would save all the Jews:

Romans 9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ–I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit– 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”

Romans 10: 1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Chuck and other false teachers go wrong when they let fallacious illustrations like this trump the Bible:

Could you honestly tell a Jewish child being forced into the fires of a concentration camp that they are doomed to the fires of hell because they don’t accept Jesus as their savior?

They stack the deck by using the vague term child.  If we take that out so that we don’t muddy the waters with age-of-accountability questions, the answer is simple: Yes, I could honestly tell a Jew that they are doomed to Hell if they don’t repent and believe.  What was so hard about that? That is what the Bible teaches over and over, such as John 8:24 (“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”).  I realize that Chuck and the other false teachers sit in judgment of God and don’t like that truth, but it is still the truth.  Just because you die a tragic and unjust death doesn’t mean you weren’t a sinner in need of a Savior.  Only a non-believer could think that (allegedly) sparing someone a little angst about Hell right before they go there for eternity is some kind of good deed.

It is only in the perverse, God-hating world of theological Liberals that it is unkind to tell people how to avoid an eternity in Hell.

It is only the truly hateful, self-loving false teachers who would consciously deny the truth to people who desperately need it — Jews included.

Bait & switch = bad idea. Forgetting to switch = really bad idea.

Worldly thinking has led countless churches to avoid many truths of scripture lest they offend non-believing visitors.  And when the churches grow to serve the larger numbers they get caught in a trap of their own making.  If they shift to focus on the entire Bible, they will lose members.  Then they won’t be able to keep the doors open.  That forces them to rationalize continued diluted or false messages.

The Bible teaches that we should not use trickery to share the Gospel.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-6 You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.

Sadly, many churches water down the Gospel to avoid offending people.  They just want to get them in the door and plan to get around to the whole truth later.

Of course, we don’t want to add to the offense of the Gospel, but we shouldn’t distort it to avoid the legitimate offense.

But as bad as the bait & switch strategy is, the bigger problem is that the churches using this strategy forgot to make the switch.  And they used the bait for so long that they now think that is all they need to do.  They never get around to sharing the whole Gospel.  If your message never offends (in the appropriate Biblical sense) then you are preaching the wrong message (Hello, is Joel there?).

We shouldn’t dilute the message just to grow the numbers.  Hey, if youth groups offered free beer & p*rnography that would probably increase attendance, but are those the numbers that count?

And consider the mainline churches that continue to see declining figures.  The more “inclusive” they are the smaller they get.  They offend the world less, I suppose, but they have nothing left to offer the world, either.

I think it exhibits a lack of faith when we don’t trust God enough to preach his word in an undiluted fashion.  Does He really need us to edit it for him?

Consider this from a friend’s Facebook page:

‎The greatest revival in history took place among the most wicked people in history- the Ninevites. The message they heard was destruction was coming in forty days. Jonah impacted the whole city with this message and they responded by repenting. He had mega growth (in less than 40 days) without using mega growth methods. Here is a biblical model that worked with no problems -100% response. Jonah didn’t want to see these results but God did. Unless we learn the principle that God has not called us to be a success, but to be faithful to his message we will never learn the real meaning of our being God’s servants.

That can’t be right. What the people need is theater-style seating, entertainment and to be told how swell they are.

It is sad that people just think of the great fish when they think of Jonah, but there is so much more to that book. A reluctant preacher saying the real words of God means infinitely more than man’s “wisdom” in how to reach people.  No props, no gimmicks, no pandering, no appealing to people’s “felt needs” (unless that it is the felt need to be forgiven of one’s sins against a perfect and holy God).

Don’t distort the Gospel in an attempt to gain the whole world yet forfeit your soul.

The Life of Pi and religious pluralism

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I just finished reading the Life of Pi, an enjoyable, well written book that will be coming out as a movie this week.  One of the sub-themes was how Pi, the main character, tried to simultaneously follow Hinduism, Christianity and Islam.  One humorous scene was when he is walking with his family and his mentors from each religion just happen to converge on them and his secret of religious pluralism is revealed.

The book doesn’t dig deeply into the contradictions of the religions, but I think that the movie will give believers a good opportunity to address the notion of religious pluralism and use it as a springboard to point out the following:

  • why these religions can’t all be true
  • why your preferred religion doesn’t become the one by which the real God will judge you just because you like it the best
  • why the evidence of history points to Christianity.

Do a little prep work and this may be your easiest evangelism of the year!

There are two main kinds of religious pluralism.  One is good and one is intellectually bankrupt.

Good pluralism: Numerous distinct ethnic, religious, or cultural groups are present and tolerated within a society.

Bad pluralism: All religions are true and equally valid paths to God.

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Pluralism can be a good thing if it means we should tolerate the beliefs of others.  Jesus, who was God in flesh, didn’t force anyone to convert.  So why should we think that we can?

Christianity should flourish in a society with good pluralism, as the Gospel can be shared freely and there isn’t pressure to fake one’s beliefs.  Sadly, we often get complacent in such atmospheres and Christianity spreads just as well or better in times of persecution.  It tends to weed out false believers and teachers more effectively.

Of course, there are some truths in each religion, but there are irreconcilable differences in their essential truth claims regarding the nature of God, the path to salvation, their view of Jesus, etc.

Here are some examples:

One of the following is possible when we die, but under no circumstance could more than one be possible:

  1. Reincarnation (Hinduism, New Age)
  2. Complete nothingness (Atheism)
  3. One death then judgment by God (Christianity, Islam, others)

Jesus was either the Messiah (Christianity) or He was not the Messiah (Judaism and others), but He cannot be both the Messiah and not the Messiah.

God either doesn’t exist (Atheism), He exists and is personal (Christianity) or He exists and is impersonal (Hinduism, Buddhism).

Jesus either died on the cross (Christianity) or He didn’t (Islam).  The Koran repeatedly claims that Jesus did not die on the cross (Sura 4:157-158). What evidence does Islam offer? One guy with a vision over 500 years after the fact. That is not what we base history upon, especially when scholars of the first century — whether Christians or not — agree that a real person named Jesus died on a Roman cross.

God either revealed himself to us (many religions) or he didn’t (Atheism, Agnosticism).

Jesus is the eternally existent God (Christianity) or He isn’t (everything else, including the Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness). In fact, in Islam it is an unforgivable sin to claim that Jesus is God, so there is no way to reconcile Christianity and Islam.

Some people hold the view that God will be whatever you conceive him to be in this life.  That is one of the most bizarre religious views I have heard.  I’m not sure how they came to the conclusion that every human gets a designer god and that at death it would be just as one wished.  That fantasy doesn’t work for 10 seconds in this life, so why would it work for eternity?

Consider the view of Mahatma Gandhi and Hinduism in general:

After long study and experience, I have come to the conclusion that [1] all religions are true; [2] all religions have some error in them; [3] all religions are almost as dear to me as my own Hinduism, in as much as all human beings should be as dear to one as one’s own close relatives. My own veneration for other faiths is the same as that for my own faith; therefore no thought of conversion is possible. (Mahatma Gandhi, All Men Are Brothers: Life and Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi as told in his own words, Paris, UNESCO 1958, p 60.)

Yet the exclusive claims of Christianity prove Gandhi’s worldview (that of Hinduism) to be false.  Among other things, the Bible claims at least one hundred times that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  It also commands us not to worship idols and that we die once and then face judgment (it does not hold to reincarnation).  Those are key elements of the Hindu faith.  So if Hinduism is true then Christianity cannot be true.  But if Hinduism is correct in stating that all religions are true, then Christianity must be true.  But Christianity claims to be the one true path, so if it is true then Hinduism is not.

Also, Hinduism claims that Christianity is true, so if Christianity is false then so is Hinduism.  Either way, the logic of Gandhi and Hinduism collapses on itself.

When I share the Gospel with people I do so as respectfully as possible.  But I always try to work in examples like the above to highlight that under no circumstances can we both be right about the nature of God and salvation.

I must confess that I used to hold the position of religious pluralism.  We studied world religions over 20 years ago in an Adult Sunday School class and, sadly, didn’t dig very deep.  I was attending a theologically liberal church but was not really a believer yet.  At best I was “saved and confused” and became a believer despite the work of that church.   (What changed?  I read the Bible on my own and listened to lots of Christian radio and studied apologetics.)  Most of us walked away thinking the religions were “all pretty much the same” and with no incentive to go out and make a case for Christianity.  How convenient for us!

So why did I – and so many people today, including Christians – embrace bad pluralism? I think it is typically out of a lack of clear thinking on the topic.  When you examine the essentials of these faiths it is not that hard to show how they are irreconcilable.

Political correctness and fear contribute as well.  It is easy to deny the exclusivity of Jesus (or the truth claims of whatever faith one follows) if one wants to avoid controversy.  But as unpopular as it is to make truth claims, it is really a rather logical thing to do.  The one claiming all religions are true needs to back up that claim with their evidence and logic.  Just rattle off a list of religions, sects and cults and ask why they are all true.  Just be careful saying things like, “Hinduism has a lot of sects.”  If you say it too quickly people will have surprised looks on their faces.

Sheer laziness is another factor.  Knowing enough about one’s faith to defend it in the marketplace of ideas is hard work.  Religious pluralism is a great excuse not to evangelize.

I expect many non-Christians to say that all paths lead to God, but it really bothers me when Christians do so.  They should meditate on this passage, among others:

Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

Again, the Bible claims over 100 times directly and indirectly that Jesus is the only way to salvation and there are countless warnings not to worship false gods.  That isn’t what makes it true (his resurrection does that), but it does mean that anyone claiming the name of Christ should hold that view.  Run, don’t walk, from any church or “Christian” leader who doesn’t have the knowledge or the guts to make that simple claim.

Please be prepared to engage people on this important topic.  You don’t have to jump in with a direct assault on why their views are false.  For example, if I’m talking to a Muslim I may start by describing the views of a third religion, such as Hinduism, and point out that Hinduism and Islam can’t both be true.  Typically you’ll get quick agreement.  Then you can shift to the Koran’s claims about who died on the cross and how the Koran teaches that the Bible is the word of God and that God’s word can’t be corrupted.  Therefore, they should study the Bible.

That’s just one example.  Get the conversation going then point them to the Bible as quickly and thoroughly as you can.  Religious pluralism is demonstrably false and we can all be equipped to point it out in simple ways and to steer people to the truth.