If you have spent any time under good Bible teaching or have spent your own time studying the Bible deeply, you may have come to the belief that Prayer is always appropriate. Contrary to the title of this article, I would agree with that sentiment, however, that sentiment is broader than you think, and I am going much more narrow and specific with this article than you probably first assumed.
While Prayer is always appropriate, this doesn’t mean it is always sufficiently appropriate. Something can be appropriate, like calling 911 when your house is on fire and you wish to have a chance at putting it out; yet calling 911 isn’t sufficient to save your house. Meaning, that if you simply called 911, your house doesn’t magically stop burning, but instead it takes other actions to put out the fire. In the same kind of way Prayer can be appropriate, but not sufficient. Please note that I am not saying that God isn’t sufficient, however, He has orchestrated life in a way that we are to pray to Him, but He doesn’t always directly act in response and most often uses other humans to answer our prayers. My point is, Prayer doesn’t move all the responsibility off of us onto God so that we may simply sit back and consider our duty fulfilled. Consider the following examples to help illustrate what I mean: Continue reading
In the following essay I will attempt to argue that alcohol was created by God as something good to be enjoyed by His people. A good that has been perverted by the human heart, and abused by sin. Many Christians have alcohol in the “evil” category, or at “worst” in the neutral category, and I believe this is unbiblical, so let us begin.
Why does God create anything? Ultimately we do not know fully, but we do know that part of it is to bring God Himself Glory. How did God create everything? Genesis tells us that God created everything good (inferred is when it is used for the correct purpose in the correct relationship), Gen 1:31. Everything includes natural things like hemlock. Everything includes things able to be created by man, like alcohol. Everything includes things done by man, like sex. So, the question I am posing today is simply: how does God view alcohol and namely its use by Christians? The answer might surprise you (to the American Christian): as something ultimately good.
The following article was mostly written before America’s largest lottery prize (to date) was won, but its publishing does come after the event, although its content remains unchanged.
No one cares to ask anymore why we have gotten to where we are and if that is a good thing. In simple terms we all seem to confuse change with progress, and wrongly assume all progress is good, and thus we conclude that all change is good. According to this logic, if something was once wrong, illegal, or considered immoral, but today it is considered legal and moral, then the thing must really be a good thing because we have “progressed”. Case in point: the lottery.
Perhaps you have heard the argument by Stephen F Roberts, “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” He started using this argument back in the mid nineties, and of course its use and meaning has changed from time to time as different people used it and modified it from his original intention. Today my goal isn’t to go into detail why this quote is flawed from the beginning, there are no atheists who believe in one god, but to point out another flaw that often is over looked. Don’t worry I also am aware of the other major flaw in his argument, the mischaracterization of Christian belief, that he assumes all gods are equal in both definition and in the evidence for their existence and that Christians don’t dismiss all other gods for the same reasons he does. One last word to the positive of this error, Christians don’t believe in a God like any other. Christianity believes in a God who is the God of all gods, infinite, perfect in holiness, power, justice, and who is the only true and living God. All other gods in this world throughout history have been finite, imperfect, capricious, at times mean, and at other times indifferent and unreachable; all things that Christianity’s God is not.
Did you catch the other flaw in his argument? I am talking about the one that actually should make him the one pausing and asking the Christian for more information. Allow me the chance to help you see what I am talking about here. For this part please place yourself in the atheist’s chair and I am going to tell you a story that will show you what I am getting at.
Have you ever recommitted your life to Christ? Did you raise your hand or go forward again at an alter-call after already trusting in Christ? You are not alone, or should I say, we are not alone for it seems many if not most Christians recommit their lives to Christ at least once in their life and if you are in the alter-call tradition, have gone forward to more than one alter-call.
Before you blast me for being against recommitting one’s life to Christ, which I am not against per-say, allow me to explain a little further what I am attempting to point out. Every Christian’s walk goes through peaks and valleys. Sometimes we feel very close to God, and trust Him so much that we just see His providence and care so clearly. Other times we feel very far from God, and doubt His love for us, or even often forget God and live like He doesn’t exist. Such a ping-pong of emotions is normal and to be expected in the Christian faith. When one realizes they are not walking close to God, it also is a good response to “recommit” their lives back to God. My problem with “recommitment” is that often it is something done wrongly with the right attitude. Continue reading
Throughout history Biblical understanding seems to ebb and flow. The doctrines of grace seem to be lost then found again. We are in one of those days where the Gospel is being rediscovered anew, so I too would like to throw my hat into the ring if only to add to the growing swell.
Rom 10:9-13 “ because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
What we so often hear today, and this is not something new, is the age old heresy that God loves everyone so much that He will end up saving everyone. Of course there are many versions of this, but I observe the one about how God is love, people are basically good, so how could a loving God send basically good people to hell?
There is a theological and Biblical response to this that asks the petitioner to consider God’s Holiness, Justice, and the true nature of sin. This argument makes sense, and is true, but I do think goes over some people’s heads (and I don’t mean this to demean these people). If you are one of these people, to whom the idea of God’s Holiness, Justice, and the nature of sin just doesn’t seem to satisfy you, allow me the opportunity to present two additional considerations for you to mull over.
A man came to me and asked me a very probing question, “Would you give up everything for an hour with Jesus, all your possessions, friends, family, hopes and dreams, and at the end your life?” Pondering deeply, almost without thinking, for thoughts were distracting to my current feelings, I considered deep in my soul both the pro’s and cons. Ashamed I was to not immediately have answered “Yes!”, but I have many idols to give up for Jesus, and considering their loss always gives me pause. Croaking, I tried to speak, but the wheeze swallowed my first words, so I tried again after a large gulp.
“Sir, would you be patient with me and grant me one request, that I might see a man at the end of his time with Jesus?”, I carefully stuttered now in trembling fear for offending the God whose servant this surely was. An eternity separated my shameful question and his accommodating reply. Slowly, or so it seemed, we strolled to the end of one man’s walk with Jesus and just before he died I looked at his face. No earthly comedian could engender such a smile, and no sun could shine so brightly as to mire his countenance nor contentment. Surely, this was a man about to die, and yet he couldn’t be more happy, content, joyful, and ready to meet God and any loss he might have suffered to be with Jesus didn’t seem to play any part in his final demeanor.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum of the interpretations on God’s Sovereignty, one thing is certain, sin cost God more than it costs all the fallen angels and sinners in hell. Without going into great detail, I do believe that this side of heaven we will not be able to fully comprehend the mystery of how a Holy and Sovereign God can allow evil into His universe. I know many people question how God could create Adam and Eve very good and yet they still fell into sin. An answer to that question seems a little easier than the question of how did Satan fall into sin, since they at least had a fallen Angel to tempt them, Satan had only himself. But I digress from pursuing the deeper philosophical and theological implications and questions surrounding sin, the fall, and God’s Holiness, and will simply follow the Bible’s lead: God is sinless, Holy and Sovereign, man was created good and morally culpable and became a sinner deserving God’s wrath.
It is probably a certitude that every human who has thought about these things has intuited that the punishment for sin, Hell, really, really sucks; it’s a huge bummer man! If one ponders for just a minute the idea of everlasting punishment in Hell for sin, one quickly decides for themselves that surely this punishment is too great to fit any crime (let alone the smallest of sins), committed in the universe, but the Holy Creator doesn’t think so and before you think God just stands back and enjoys the slow burning of those who violate His Will and Commands, let me tell you something: the price God paid for sin is greater, by infinite measure, than all the sinners and fallen angels in Hell and the resultant human suffering on earth!
A young child sat on his fathers lap and asked him, “Daddy where do babies come from?” His father pondered the question a moment, deciding how much detail his son needed to know at eight years old, and replied, “They come from loving mommies and daddies”. Most of us can relate to this scenario. All of us have probably been that child, and many of us have been that parent. Do any of us remember, at this young age, our parent sitting down with us and pulling out a medical reference book and going through all the scientific detail of how babies are created, complete with pictures? Were we then asked to ponder and think through all the reasons and evidence first before making our own opinion on the subject?
Now considering our experience with how our parents explained things like this to us in the past, would we now look back and consider our parent a liar? Should a good parent have pulled out the medical reference book? Should we have been given the chance to ponder all the evidence before coming to our own belief about the subject? Did our parents love us less because they didn’t give us all the details and time to answer our question for ourselves and completely?