Tag Archives: spirituality

Yet another reason to like Tim Tebow

He even does prison ministry, including talking one-on-one to literally hundreds of death row inmates.

A funny bit via Doctors Recommended that Tim Tebow Be Aborted – Blog – Eternal Perspective Ministries.

He started the season as the third-stringer, and everyone freaked out. Then he got a start and won, and everyone freaked out. Then in his second start, he played horribly and got crushed, and everyone freaked out. Then he went on a winning streak, and everyone freaked out. Then he went on a losing streak, and everyone freaked out. Then he won a playoff game, and everyone freaked out.

Victim count: football scouts, football media, Tebow haters, Tebow supporters, John Fox, John Elway, his teammates, me, you. At some point along the way, he’s made everyone look stupid…

Brett Favre used to be the go-to name for members of the sports media in need of a column or segment topic. But he went away, and the collective football media panicked. Fortunately, in stepped Tebow. This alone could turn thousands of grateful sports media members to religion. And I’m as guilty as anyone else. In the past two months, I’ve written approximately 127 Tebow columns. But I’ve also started tithing. Thanks Tim!

…Will a wholesome, handsome ex-football star who can draw the religious vote and appeal to the tens of millions of Oprah-loving pop psychologists win 51 percent of the vote in the 2024 presidential election? No, he will win 91 percent of the vote in the 2024 presidential election. The 9 percent who don’t vote for him will just be hard-core Raiders, Chargers, Chiefs, Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Ron Paul fans.

…He can’t be stopped. He can’t be killed. He just keeps coming for you. Coming for us all. He doesn’t want to kill you. He doesn’t want to eat your flesh. He just wants to win. He’s the world’s first wholesome, positive zombie. The only screams you’ll hear are his … celebrating another touchdown.

Pro-choicers tend to hate Tebow because of his faith and because his life shows one of the many errors of their philosophy.  His mother was encouraged to abort him because he might have medical problems — as if we would kill human beings outside the womb for those reasons!

Having said that, it is creepy when some Christians seem to worship him.  He’s a great guy and an amazing role model, but still not Jesus.  Yes, God is sovereign, but it isn’t like He is going to make sure that Tebow completes every pass he throws.  I’m glad that they are rooting for Tebow, but I hope they use his example to get out and impact the lives around them for Christ.

It is sadly ironic that pro-choice women would oppose him.  Why wouldn’t they want to hold him up as a role model?  He wouldn’t try to have sex with them outside of marriage and take their innocence and purity.  He wouldn’t use them for his pleasure and not commit to them.  He wouldn’t encourage them to have an abortion if they got pregnant.  And on and on.

I’ve been a Steelers fan for 40 years and rooted for them last Sunday, but I have to admit that I was by far the least disappointed I’ve ever been at one of their losses.

Grudges

John MacArthur noted in a Podcast this morning how we are most like God when we forgive.  Someone once said that unforgiveness is like taking a little poison every day and hoping that it hurts your enemy.

I once held a grudge against my boss’s boss, who I felt had done some serious wrongs to a good friend (among other things).  He was like the pig character in the comic strip and I was like the rat.  He was also a bully to nearly everyone in various meetings, including my team.  I knew how to stand up to him, but others didn’t.  Then one day I realized that I had to let the personal stuff go and just forgive him.  That was liberating.

But with respect to how he treated my team I realized I had a different obligation.  I let him know that his bullying, swearing and yelling were counter-productive to the results we both wanted to achieve because they were stifling discussions.  People were afraid to speak up and solve problems because of his shoot-the-messenger approach. The appeal to his self-interest worked, and he made a surprisingly rapid change in his approach.  And I didn’t get fired!  (I wasn’t a Kamikaze; I let Human Resources and my boss know ahead of time that I was going to confront him.)

Things don’t always work out that well but parsing the issue into the personal (forgive and let it go!) and the professional/ethical (turning the other cheek on behalf of those getting injured isn’t noble) made a huge difference.  God’s approach really works.  Go figure.

This is a sobering passage about unforgiveness:

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Matthew 18: 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servantfell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

The longer you live the more things you’ll have to forgive.  If you hold grudges you’ll just become more and more weighed down with bitterness.  Really, let it go.

As MacArthur noted, the sins of others offend God way more than they offend you — just as your sins offend God way more than they offend others.  Let him deal with it.  You’ll love the freedom that comes with forgiving others, and your relationships will improve.

Two of my favorite role models

Last week I wrote about the importance of retirement plans — not the financial part, but the activity part.  We should never retire from Christian activities, though they may change over time.  We should finish strong, just like Moses, Joshua, Paul and so many others.  Don’t succumb to temptations.  Don’t destroy what you’ve worked so hard for.  Don’t sit back in self-indulgence.

Then on Saturday I was reminded of two of my favorite ministry role models.  I was doing a monthly visit as part of Kairos Prison Ministry and got to see Mike and Vic (pictures below).

You might think that white guys in their 80’s wouldn’t be able to connect with much younger guys (roughly 50% black, 25% Hispanic, 25% white), but you’d be wrong.  The prisoners seem to instantly bond with them and develop meaningful relationships over the course of the weekend and the follow-up sessions.  They have an authenticity and a genuine love that you just can’t miss.

They are as humble as can be, even though they are the most popular volunteers in the unit.  The prisoners go nuts whenever either one is introduced.

Neither are in perfect health, so they could just stay home on Saturday morning.  But month after month they get up early to come out and serve.  And when they work the Kairos weekends they work very long days, often getting to the prison at 6:30 a.m. and not leaving until 8:30 p.m.  But they do it with a smile and never complain.

They are both quick-witted and fun to listen to, having lived full and exciting lives.  Mike has been married for over 60 years (to the same woman, as he likes to add!), and I think Vic has been as well. I’ve seen Vic’s wife working on the outside teams during the weekends, and I’ve seen Mike’s wife come to the closing ceremonies.

These men never fail to encourage me.  If they can keep marriages intact for 60+ years and still love and serve in the name of Christ into their 80’s, so can I (God willing!).   This is how it is supposed to work.

Mike & Vic, I pray that God blesses you with the strength to serve many more years!


The original Bible texts turned out exactly as God and the writers desired

The arguments about biblical inerrancy, infallibility and inspiration can get very detailed, so I like to summarize the basic Christian — and biblical — claim as I did in the title.

Many Christians (the confused kind) and “Christians” (the fake kind) think the Bible is partly inspired — that is, that some of what God wanted ended up there but at least some of it was man-made and contrary to what God wanted.  Consider the claims that Paul was a misogynistic “homophobe,” for example, and that he was wrong about women and homosexual behavior.

But think about who is making the bigger claim.  It may appear that those claiming complete inspiration for the Bible have a greater burden.  But when you carefully consider the theologically Liberal claims, it becomes clear that their view is much more difficult to support.  They need to show which of the 31,173 verses are inspired and which are not.  That requires a verse-by-verse case for what does and does not belong.  That is a wildly bold claim, much more so than mine.

And it is no small matter when it comes to theology.  After all, if Paul was so wrong about basic human sexuality, how can you be sure he got the saved-by-grace part right?

Obviously, the original texts contained what the writers wanted to write, but those who don’t think they all turned out as God desired have to demonstrate how they know what God “really” wanted and where.  But they have no standard but their worldly views.  They make themselves god in trying to adapt what He said to fit their belief system.  Bad idea.

Those who don’t believe the title display some form of Dalmatian Theology, where they claim that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Dalmatian Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

Again, the original texts of the Bible turned out exactly as God and the writers desired.  Now go read and enjoy the timeless truths God gave to you in his word!

P.S. The claim is for the original writings and not the translations.  The translation process was very robust and defensible, but not inerrant.  Also note that the case for Christianity does not rest on the inerrancy of scripture.  Even if the Gospels had minor errors from the witnesses (they don’t, but work with me here), it wouldn’t mean Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.  The evidence strongly points to that truth.  We can defend inerrancy, but I don’t think we have to do that before sharing the Gospel.

What Jesus didn’t say?

I’ve been hearing the “Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexual behavior, so it must be OK” argument a lot lately — and as usual, it is from people who should know better.  It is used to rationalize abortion to the child’s first breath as well.

Here’s an overview, though I encourage you to read it all.  Feel free to copy or link all you like.

  • Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy
  • Jesus is God, so He inspired all scripture — not just the “red letters” (the direct quotes of Jesus in the New Testament)
  • He supported the Old Testament 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 a devout Jew and upholder of the law, so the burden is on the pro-gay theology side: Where is that verse when Jesus condones homosexuality?
  • He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.)
  • Abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews
  • He did mention Sodom and Gomorrah

For self-proclaimed Christians to (mis)quote the red letters and to commit the logical fallacy of arguing from silence is negligent and foolish.  They are distorting the Bible and hurting the church and its witness.

—–

cross3.jpgLifeSite News reported that Dr. Bob Edgar, former general secretary of the National Council of Churches, said “Jesus never said one word about homosexuality, never said one word about civil marriage or abortion.” He said this to CBS News at a gathering of liberal Christian leaders in Washington.

Sadly, this is a common sound bite from people who should know better. Their reasoning goes like this:

  • Whatever Jesus did not specifically condemn in the Bible is morally permissible or unimportant.
  • In the Bible, Jesus did not specifically condemn abortion or homosexual behavior.
  • Therefore, abortion and homosexual behavior are morally permissible or unimportant.

There are many problems with this reasoning.

1. As you may have noticed, their logic goes off track in the first bullet.  Direct quotes of Jesus also didn’t specifically mention gay-bashing, slavery, drunk driving, child sacrifice, and many other sins, but they are still sins.  They are arguing from silence, and that is a logical fallacy.

Some insist that since Jesus didn’t specifically condemn oxymoronic “same sex marriages” that they must be permissible.  Jesus also never talked about square circles, partly because they don’t exist either.

2. Jesus is God (and anyone such as Edgar should know that), so He authored all the moral laws in the Bible – including the crystal-clear ones against homosexual behavior and murder. And He created the institution of marriage and desribed what parents should do, of which 100% of the verses refer to the ideal as a one man/one woman union.

3. Many of the “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus) referred to the “black letters” (the rest of the Bible).  Jesus noted in Matthew 5:17-19 that He supported all the law.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

4. He may not have specifically mentioned abortion and homosexual behavior because they weren’t hot topics for his primarily Jewish audience.  Homosexuals were a tiny minority then just as they are now (less than 3% of the U.S. population) and the Jews had strict laws against such behavior.  Regarding abortion, Jews actually saw children as a blessing and not a curse, so they had no desire to destroy them.  I am not aware of any Jewish movements at the time advancing these behaviors as not being sinful.  Under no circumstances were these issues dividing the followers as they are today.

Having said that, Jesus was not silent on oxymoronic “same sex marriage.” He clearly stated what marriage was in Mark 10:6-9 and elsewhere, to the exclusion of other scenarios:

But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

He describes exactly what the plan was, and doesn’t even hint at other possibilities. He didn’t say you couldn’t marry animals either, but I don’t see anyone saying bestiality must be acceptable because He didn’t specifically prohibit it.  So there was no silence.

Regarding abortion, He reiterated that we shouldn’t murder and noted that the real meaning of the command was deeper than the physical act.

Think about this: It took almost 2,000 years and a several decades long perverted sexual revolution that repeatedly denies and mocks the Biblical worldview of human sexuality plus a massive, well funded pro-gay public relations campaign to convince some liberals that oxymoronic “same sex marriages” should have government recognition and that abortion should be legal.  Yet liberal theologians think that it is something Jesus should have addressed in more detail back then?  Even the pagan Hippocratic oath had prohibitions against abortions until just recently.

Most people would concede that U.S.-style slavery was a moral evil, but since it is now illegal you won’t hear about it as a campaign issue in the presidential election.  But does that mean it isn’t important?  Does that mean the candidates wouldn’t address it if large parts of the population were seeking to legalize it?  Of course not.

Simply put, they were non-issues for the Jews.

5. If these liberal theologians are so keen on the direct quotes of Jesus and assume that they trump the rest of the Bible, why don’t they take them all as seriously as they do their pet verses or arguments from silence?

Jesus claimed to be the only way to salvation, but they not only ignore that but they teach the opposite.  He claimed to be God, but they tend to ignore that.  He spoke with a physically resurrected body but they often deny that.  He said his primary purpose was to save lost sinners and He taught about Hell a lot.  When was the last time you heard them preach on that truth?  And so on.

6. Those who use these arguments from silence don’t apply them to the rest of their pet topics.  Jesus said nothing about universal health care, for example.  Jesus advocated caring for the poor, but he never brought government into it (apparently Jesus’ alleged silence only counts when it comes to abortion and homosexuality.  Jesus also never said not to stone gays.  Of course, those who know the Bible realize that was a law just for the Israelites, but if you want to use the argument from silence rationale, you’d have to support that for this culture.

7. He was a devout Jew and upholder of the law, so the burden is on the pro-gay theology side: Where is that verse when Jesus condones homosexuality?

So to summarize: Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus 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.), abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews, He was a devout Jew who upheld the Law so the pro-gay theology people have the burden to show where he condones homosexual behavior and He did mention Sodom and Gomorrah.  Oh, and Jesus never said anything about the “sin” of criticizing homosexual behavior, so it must be OK!

For leaders like this to (mis)quote the red letters and to commit the logical fallacy of arguing from silence is negligent and foolish.  They are distorting the Bible and hurting the church and its witness.

Free jpg to use as you like!

silence