Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Homophobia, Does it Interfere with Evangelism?

Season's Greetings to all my Brothers and Sisters in the Faith
Grace and Peace to You in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

You may have heard it on the news, but for those of you who haven't I shall fill you in. The information I have was taken from an AP article, so I'm not sure how reliable it is, but all the same, according to them, a southern Cal. Lesbian couple is suing A Bed and Breakfast in Hawai'i Kai, because the owner denied them a room due to their orientation. They did find a room in a bed and breakfast in Waikiki, but the experience "Soured their trip." When the Hawai'i Civil Rights Commission investigated the report, they stated that the owner said that Homosexuality is "detestable," and that is "defiles our land," and promptly notified the couple of their right to sue. According to the people commenting on the article, mainstream Christian churches and the Mormon church are to blame for corrupting the Hawaiians' "laid back and tolerant culture."

What has been said deeply saddens me. No, I do not support homosexuality, it is a vile and detestable sin, but so is premarital sex, stealing, coveting, bearing false witness, having Gods before YHWH, and not honoring your father and mother. In fact, I would go so far as to say that all sin is just as vile and detestable as the others, and that all sins deserve the shunning and fear that we Christians seem to give to those of the Homosexual orientation. The apostle James tells us in James 2:10 "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails at one point has become accountable for all of it." Therefore, the answer to the question in the title of this post is, yes. Homophobia interferes with evangelism, and you know it! Instead of banning the homosexual couple from her bed and breakfast, perhaps the woman should have done as Gimli in the Two Towers film said when the Uruk-Hai began their attack on Helm's Deep and said, "Send them to me!" Settling into a battle stance and gripping her Bible with two hands, preparing to share the gospel with them and sow the seeds for the Holy Spirit to drive a cross-shaped wooden stake through the heart of their sin (how's that for mixing of metaphors?).  Perhaps we, as Christians, should overcome our homophobia and share the gospel with them at all cost and at every opportunity, knowing that they only have one life to be saved, and hoping that perhaps they will accept the all-sufficient sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved by the grace of God.

Of course, there are times when we need to take a hard stance against homosexuality and blatantly point out that it is wrong, instead of trying to share the gospel and let the words of Jesus Christ and the Apostles do the rest. Examples of these circumstances are the Gay Christian Network (with new tools to help you as a christian parent understand your homosexual children (not help them come to the realization and repentance of their sins)), or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (which ordains homosexual pastors). In these instances, the people in question should know better than to smile upon Christians who continue in their homosexual ways after they are saved. There are numerous plain, unambiguous texts that show us that continuing in the sin of homosexuality after being saved is wrong, dangerous, and proves that you probably weren't saved in the first place. The teaching of the apostle Paul in Romans 1:18-27 could be made no clearer when he says "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... 20b So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools... 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations with those that are contrary to nature; 27 and their men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error" (emphasis added by myself). With christian lesbians, we must do several things. First, open the Bible, and share with them this passage, and any others like it. Second, pray that they may come to the realization of their sins and repent. Begging God to forgive them for defiling the faith and spurning the Word of God with their beliefs that it was ok for them to continue in their sins after being saved. 

With any group of homosexuals, either Christian or non-Christian, we must remember that it is not the person that God hates, but the sin. God may hate all sin, but he loves all the people, and he sent his son to die for homosexuals just as much as the rest of this murderous, covetous, lying, stealing people who have accepted the gift of God and turned our back on our former ways, daily striving to put a stake through the heart of our sin. If we see a brother or sister who is struggling with homosexuality, we must come alongside them and help them to overcome their struggling by teaching them the true Word of God and reminding them that Christ died to forgive them of their sins and that he defeated sin once and for all on the cross, that we may be saved from our sins and daily bear fruit in keeping with this repentance. 

So, what would you do if A) you owned a bed and breakfast, and B) you had a homosexual couple asking you for a room. Post your thoughts in a comment.

Finally, what did you think of this post? I'd love to hear your feedback.

Your Brother in Christ,


John 8:7-11 "And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.' 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' 11 She said, 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said, 'Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.'"

"Christianity is not about doing, but being." Pastor John Danganan

Christianity is not a set of rules and regulations that you must follow, but is about striving to be more like Christ.

p.s. if you want to read the full article, you can find it here

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christ Wins @ Christmas

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Merry Christmas! I hope this post finds you safe and well. It's that time of year again, when a feeling of peace and tranquility permeates the air (except in shopping centers), and people take a break from what they are doing to visit friends and relatives. It is also at this time that Christians traditionally celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Although modern scholars are almost certain that he wasn't born this time of year, I will not be discussing that. Instead, I want to go with tradition, and talk a bit about the coming of the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world. 
In Genesis Chapter 3 God says an offspring of Eve will bruise the serpent's head, and the serpent will bruise his heel. While some modern scholars point to the natural hate of humans towards snakes, I will be going with the traditional view, which holds that this is the first announcement of the gospel, that one would come and defeat the serpent (Satan). Throughout the Old Testament there is an underlying expectation that this savior would come, and there are numerous prophesies, which the birth of Jesus fulfilled, and which I have no time to get into. The birth of Jesus Christ, the servant king, the Son of God, was what paved the way for his later death and subsequent resurrection. The first coming of Christ was lowly, in a manger, wrapped in swaddling cloths, with no servants to see to his every need and to announce his arrival, but with shepherds, summoned to the manger by angels.

Every Christmas I wonder how this holiday became greater than Easter. Because if the birth of Christ is important, the death and resurrection - as a penal substitution for us - is even more important. His birth did nothing for us, other than the fact that it fulfilled numerous prophesies and showed us how he came not to be served, but to serve. His death and resurrection, on the other hand, displayed for us the supreme love of God (that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us). Many have misinterpreted his death, such as Rob Bell in his recent book Love Wins, in which he holds that no God who would send people to Hell just for not believing in his son would not be worthy of worship. To which I would counter that God does not send people to Hell because they don't believe in his son, he sends people to Hell because he is perfectly just and holy, and cannot abide sin. Sin cannot enter heaven, because sin cannot endure the presence of God (Rom. 6:23a "for the wages of sin is death,") . But Love does win, because God is also all loving (2 Pet. 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in fulfilling his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."), and he sent his one and only son to die in the sinner's stead, taking the punishment of sin for us (John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he have his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life."). If we accept the gift of God (Rom. 6:23b "but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."), repenting of our sin and accepting the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, then we are no longer condemned of our sin, but Christ's blood washes us white as snow, and our sins are blotted out. We are then capable of getting to heaven, not through any work of our own, but by the grace of God. 

So yes, love wins, not in the way that Rob Bell sees it - where even those who died in rebellion to God go to heaven and live in his presence until they are eventually wooed to faith (technically that wouldn't be faith, it would be knowledge) - but through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, and Christ wins.

So, as you do your last minute Christmas shopping, make your rounds to deliver gifts, visit your family, or spend a relaxing day shoveling snow from your driveway, remember that the birth of Christ is just the beginning of the greatest story ever, how God's son died for us, while we were his enemies. 

Have a merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Your Brother in Christ,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Requirements of the Pastoral Office

Grace and peace be with you all in our Lord Jesus Christ,

In this post I will be going over the requirements of the pastoral office as listed in the Bible, I may or may not get through all of them, so if I miss one please post it in a comment with the Bible reference so I can look into it and everyone may grow in knowledge and understanding of God's word. Do to the fact that I am preparing for training to be a pastor I felt it would be good to go through this. Most of what I will be going over will be from 1st &2nd Timothy and Titus, the "Pastoral" epistles. The Apostle Paul didn't receive a get-out-of-jail-free card when it came to the word (Acts 17:10-12), therefore myself, or anyone else for that matter, shouldn't receive one either, so feel free to compare what I type here to what is put forward in the word of God.

First, and most important, a pastor must believe that the Bible is the one and only inspired word of God (2 Tim. 15-17), sharper than any double edged sword (Heb. 4:12&13), and adequate for teaching, correction, and training (Col. 3:15-17). He must be ready in season and out of season to preach the word (2 Tim. 4:1&2).

An aspiring pastor must be sober-minded, self-controlled, and hospitable. He must be the husband of one wife, his children must be obedient, and he must be able to manage his household well. Finally, he must be well thought of outside the Christian community. (1 Tim. 3:1-7).

A pastor must be able to rightly divide the word of God, that is, proper distinction between Law and gospel (1 Tim. 1:8-11). Usually how a good pastor will interpret this is to preach the law and then the gospel, the Law being used to shock people with the realization of their sins, shining light into the darkness (Eph. 5:11-13), and then follow up with the gospel, allowing non-believers (yes you, my unsaved friend) to hear that they can be saved from the wrath of our wholly righteous and perfectly just God (Gen. 18:25, Ezra 9:14&15, Job 8:3, Psa. 9:7&8, and many more), and assuring born again believers of their salvation (I don't know about you, but I find it a great relief when I hear the words "Christ died for you, brother, your sins have been forgiven.") (Gal. 2:15-21, 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Heb. 10:11-14, and so many more than I have room for). All too often I hear pastors (and Sunday school teachers), teaching and preaching Law, gospel, law, "To be saved, you have to do this that and the other thing, but don't worry, Christ did it for you! But guess what, now, in order to be fully justified, you need to do all these things! And just to make sure you're doing it, let's go check your tithing record, because your money is most important..." Ok, they don't say that exactly, but if you broke down some of the sermons I've listened to from various pastors, that is pretty much what you end up with. Friend, if you are in a church that preaches law-gospel-law, remember this. Christ died for your sins, they were totally, completely, unequivocally paid for on that Cross when he died, there is nothing you, or me, or anyone else on this Earth, can do to be worthy of his death or even add to it. We are not Roman Catholic, we are not Mormon, we are not Muslim, we are Christian. We have a God who died for all of our sins. Yes, we should bear fruit in keeping with repentance and that forgiveness of sins, but there is a big difference between not being able to stop ourselves from doing works because of the Spirit of God within us, and doing works because we feel that perhaps Christ's death wasn't enough (or because we must hold the Five Pillars to reach paradise). God is totally just, but he is also merciful, and he provided a way out (read any and every gospel [Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John]). Jesus Christ is the one and only son of God.

A pastor must be willing to feed and care for God's sheep (John 21:15-19). Many people may interpret this many different ways, but I believe this to mean that as a pastor, one must be willing to see to the needs of his portion of Christ's flock, not looking after only himself and his family, but all of the children of light in the congregation. Whether this means that a pastor should appoint deacons to care for the flock (Acts 6:1-7), or if they see to it themselves (a monumental task), I feel is up to the pastor, the size of the congregation, and the relative needs of those in the congregation. Either way is still Biblical.

Finally, a pastor must preach sound doctrine. If the congregation or the elders want the pastor to a sermon series on the moral underlines of Star Wars, it is up to him to tell them it is his duty to preach the Word and the Word only. Paul himself states in 1 Corinthians 9:16, "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" Therefore, if Paul, who was an expert in the Bible, and received training from Christ, and was shown a vision of heaven, didn't preach random things but preached the word only, then what right have I, who learned only from translations of Paul's writings, to preach other than the word?

It has been great doing this post, and if I missed anything, I am sorry, but I wrote this over the course of several days, and some things are bound to be skipped. I hope you found this post insightful, thought provoking, and will post your thoughts in the comments. Thank you for reading, and congratulations on reaching the end!

Until next I write, farewell.

Your Brother in Christ,


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Misused Verse #7

Yes, finally, the last one!

     I have been looking forward to this for a very long time, the final verse in the misused verse series. After this, I want to get into the requirements and purposes of the pastoral office. But first, the verse. It happens to be none other than Mark 16:17-18, which reads from the ESV as: "And these signs shall accompany those that believe: in my name they shall cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; (18) they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." This verse is often used by the Christians in snake handling denominations to justify their acts of snake handling and poison drinking. They believe that these acts evidence their faith in Jesus Christ, but I believe that while these acts could accompany Christians (and they did: Acts 2:1; 3:2; 5:15-16; 8:7; 19:12; 28:3; 28:8 and many many many more). While I do believe that healings and other miracles will accompany those who have a true faith in Jesus Christ, I do not believe that this verse condones the practices of the Snake handling churches, and I have numerous reasons.
     First and foremost the immediate context of the verse. This verse is in an extended ending of the gospel according to Mark, which does not appear in the two oldest texts. Think of it as an extended edition of a movie, that was added on by people who had no part in the production of the original*. The verses given in this text should be read with caution, and, according to the Wycliffe Bible Commentary, "could not reasonably be used as a basis for the deliberate and presumptuous handling of serpents and drinking of poison which are practiced by certain extreme religious sects." Also, I would highly advise not using any of the verses found in this extended version as a basis for any other doctrine, unless it is supported by other passages in the New Testament that are not as ambiguous, which leads me to my second point.
     The idea of handling serpents as a show of faith is not found in any other verse in the Bible. Hear me through: there is mention of power to "tread on serpents" as well as "scorpions," given in Luke 10:19, however, one must realize that this was said by Jesus Christ specifically to the seventy-two disciples that had been appointed by our Lord Jesus to go into the towns that he was about to enter as "lambs in the midst of wolves" (try picturing that!) and proclaim the nearness of the kingdom of God, as well as heal the sick in any of the towns that received them favorably. These verses, because they are directed specifically at the seventy-two, cannot in good conscience, be applied to all Christians today. The idea of being able to drink poison is also not found anywhere else in the New Testament. Sorry, but it isn't...
     The word translated "serpent" in this passage (ὄφις), can also be translated figuratively as an "artful malicious person." And in the passage from Luke, the Greek word translated as "Scorpion" is what Strong's dictionary describes as "an obsolete word, (perhaps strengthened from the base of σκοπός and meaning to pierce)." Due to the fact that I have not yet learned Greek (it's on the agenda, but haven't gotten that far yet) I will trust the scholars in their translation of the word scorpion, but I will speculate about the word serpent. Throughout the Bible, the serpent is the symbol of craftiness an cunning, and perhaps once again our Lord is speaking in a parable and alluding to Christian's ability to put down heretics and others who use divisive methods and attempt to divide the church. Another possible explanation is that Christ was alluding to the apostle Paul being bitten by a serpent on the island of Malta (see Acts 28:1-5).
     Finally, the Bible ultimately commands us not to put God to the test (see Deuteronomy 6:16; Matt 4:7, 22:8; Luke 4:12; 1 Cor 10:9 [very appropriate]), and every time they pick up a serpent they are putting God's mercy and protection to the test.
     If you have any comments, please post them, I would love to get more opinions on this very confusing verse. I hope you found this post thought-provoking, informative, and interesting to read. I look forward to writing on less troubling matters.

Until next we write, I hope that Christ will keep you and protect you.

Your brother in Christ,


"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn."
C. S. Lewis

The experience of watching numerous people die handling snakes, should logically lead a person to conclude it is an unethical and false practice, however, that seems to not be the case for those who live in snake handling communities...

*::NOTICE!:: This is kind of like a retraction, in that it is an edition of the actual post for better clarity and understanding, in an effort to prevent misunderstanding. When I refer to the passage in Mark as being like and extended version of a movie, I am not saying it was for sure written by humans, I'm saying that we don't know (we being myself and every other Biblical scholar to my knowledge) whether it was written by humans apart from or in the inspiration of God. Therefore, it should be read with caution... Carry on.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Misused Verse # 6

Hello All! I hope this blog post finds you safe and well.

    This misused verse was also brought to my attention by Mr. Rosebrough at Pirate Christian Radio. This misused verse can be very dangerous in the hands of the right (perhaps wrong would be better) pastor. The verse in question is Deuteronomy 15:10, which reads like this: "You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God shall bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake." First, you should notice that this is in the OLD Testament, and is part of the law, so therefore it does not directly apply to us, because we are no longer under the law, but in Christ. Second, you should notice that this is in verse 10, and therefore something was more than likely left off the front of this verse (context!). So, in order to get a good understanding of this verse, we need to back up to the start of the paragraph, to verse 7: "If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God has given you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. 9 Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in you heart and you say, 'the seventh year, the year of release is near,' and your heart look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the LORD against you and you be guilty of sin" (breaking the law by omission). This verse, in and of its self, is pretty harmless. But in the hands of a skilled Bible twister (wolf in sheep's clothing), it can be used to drastic effect. When I heard this verse, the pastor speaking said something along the lines of this: "If you want to sell your house and give the money, do it. If you want to cash in your 401(k) and give the money, do it. If you want to sell your car and give the money, do it." If your pastor is doing something along those lines with this verse or any other giving verse, one piece of advice: Run! Just run! If you want to try and point this problem out to your pastor, sure, maybe he'll repent, but correcting this heresy could result in a loss of income for the church, so I doubt he (or she [different topic for a different time]) will fix it.
    Most verses that are ripped out of context like this and used this way can be fixed simply by putting it back in context, and that is very good for those of you faced with problems like this, but the effects of not standing up and pointing out these mistakes can be devastating. Pray for the people who are stuck in churches like these, who convince their followers to give everything they have to the church in times as troubling as this. I trust that the LORD is powerful and can help those who are tricked into giving everything to these empty churches, but I believe the best way is for the pastor to repent of his wrong doings, or for the people to find a church where the word of God is rightly handled and preached.


Joe Anderson

"For a time is coming where people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to truth and wander off into myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4
My friends, that time is here, and has been here since the beginning of the church, but recently, it has been getting worse. The solution? Drive a stake through its vampric heart.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I would like to apologize to all my readers who left comments and did not see them published for a very long time. I am extremely new to Blogger, and I thought that I would be notified of comments awaiting moderation (yes, I have started reading comments before I approve them, just to be safe :D ) with an email. Alas, that is not the case. I did not notice the little phrase right below the manage blogs section telling me I had five comments waiting. Now that i know, your comments should be posted quite a bit quicker.

Your Brother in Christ,

Joe Anderson

"And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death." Rev 12:11
"Testimony is just a fancy word for heaven touched earth right where I'm standing and I am different as a result." Kristen Williams

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Misused Verse #5

    This verse really, really, really shouldn't have made it into this list, but anything is possible with liberal Bible Twisters, so I shouldn't be surprised. The verse I am referring too is Joshua 10:12-13 "At that time Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
"Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon."
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
until the nation took vengeance on their enemies."
    You may be thinking "What is so dangerous about misusing this verse, and how on Earth could this be misused?" I too, at one point, didn't think twice of this verse, and only thought of it as a very interesting story of how the LORD listened to Joshua's prayer. Unfortunately, some liberal tele-evangelists looked at this verse and applied it to themselves and to all of their audience. Paraphrasing, they said: "the weather world-wide has reached biblical proportions, and we believe that this is a result of our sins. Christians in every country must therefore pray a sun stand still prayer and take authority over the weather." I don't know about you, but I think if I went to Minnesota and tried to take authority over a tornado, I would probably get sucked up and thrown very far. The reason I believe Christians can't take "authority" over the weather is that Paul was shipwrecked three times, and if he prayed a "sun stand still prayer" then I'm guessing it didn't take much effect, or else he probably wouldn't have been shipwrecked. And if Paul couldn't take authority over the weather, I highly doubt I could, or any other Christian for that matter.

   You may be wondering why I even included this misused verse, and what the danger is in misusing that verse in such a way as this. The problem with this misuse of the verse is that it paints our God as totally powerless until we pray a special prayer, being sure to say all the correct words. And when the weather doesn't change the way we want it to (and we're sucked into the physical/metaphoric tornado), people can look at our failure and say: "Hmm, their God didn't help them like they thought he would, so he must either be powerless or non-existent." The result is Christianity being a laughing stock to all of the world (not that I care what the world thinks, but it's hard to be a light to the world when they view us as ridiculous).

    If there are any verses that apply to Christians and suggests that we can take authority over the weather, please let me know, so I can alert the guy who alerted me to this misuse, and so I could put forward a retraction. Or so we can debate possible interpretations to the verses and try and find out if this is possible (because if it is, we could get careers praying before football or rugby games so it doesn't rain... jk)

Hope this post was informative and thought-provoking. Let me know what you think.


Joe Anderson

All Authority in Heaven and on Earth was given to JESUS the CHRIST, not Joe Shmoe the common Christian

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's the End of the World as we Know It

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane -
Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn -
world serves its own needs, regardless of your own needs. Feed it up a knock,
speed, grunt no, strength no. Ladder structure clatter with fear of height,
down height. Wire in a fire, represent the seven games in a government for
hire and a combat site. Left her, wasn't coming in a hurry with the furies
breathing down your neck. Team by team reporters baffled, trump, tethered
crop. Look at that low plane! Fine then. Uh oh, overflow, population,
common group, but it'll do. Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its
own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the rapture and the
reverent in the right - right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright
light, feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Those are the lyrics to a very interesting song... But the fact of the matter is, TODAY IS THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At least, according to Harold Camping ::Cough:: HERETIC ::Cough::

Unless I am in extreme denial (ha!) and my brain is refusing to register what my eyes are telling me (Ha!) and so I am not seeing/feeling (my body is in denial too) the giant earthquake and the earth's crust breaking apart and sinking into it's own core of molten rock (HA!!!), then the world is not ending.

According to the LORD Jesus Christ, NO MAN may know the day or the hour of the second coming of Christ (or the end of the world) (not even Christ himself), see Matt. 24:36.

Well, see you tomorrow!

Sincerely, Joe Anderson

"And many false prophets shall arise and lead many people away." Matt. 24:11 See that no one leads YOU astray.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Misused Verse #4

     This verse is misused/misquoted so often it's not even funny. Just like the last verse, the misuse of this verse isn't extremely dangerous, but when overused it posts an obstacle to our understanding of prayer and the presence of God. The verse that i am referring to is Matthew 18:20. If you have your Bible, open it and take a look, if not, here is the verse: "Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." My friends from New Zealand, my church (the one in Oregon AND the one in Hawai'i), and myself, have all misused this verse at some point in our lifetimes. You may be wondering how this verse could be misused, it is a wonderful picture of how the LORD is present in all of our church gatherings. No, it is not. Remember the first rule of Biblical interpretation?
     ::cough:: context ::cough:: You guessed it, context!
     Starting at verse 15: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.19Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven."
     As you can see here, this chapter of Matthew is not about prayer, but about church discipline. If the misused version of this verse WERE true, we would have to hunt down one or two people just to feel the presence of God during our prayers. We know this is not true (I used to feel more of the presence of God while riding the lawn mower and singing worship songs at the top of my lungs than most any other time). On top of our own personal experiences, there are several verses that tell us the same thing. See: Matthew 28:20.
     In essence, God is with us ALWAYS, even when there are less than two or three.
     If this verse is misused, it could provide ammunition for those who argue against the unanimity of the gospel, and it could have drastic affects against young Christians who do not quite know how to defend themselves against the lies of the Enemy. If it takes two or three to summon the presence of the LORD, then why would Christ say he is with us ALWAYS?


Joe Anderson
"Jesus isn't cool. He's God. Cool changes, God doesn't" ~ Kristen Williams

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Brief Respite

I am taking a brief break from critiquing misused verses, just for this post that I felt I had to share with you. I just got back home from Approaching Thunder at Victorious Faith Church. I felt the Lord as I never had before! And I just thought I should share one quote from the conference with y'all.

"If you think Christianity is boring, you're doing it wrong!" Kristen Williams.

If Christianity is boring to you, you're probably treating it like a religion, not a relationship.

Christianity is not the most popular religion in the world, it is the only true relationship that exists. Unfortunately, too many people treat it as a religion, and churches are empty places where people go and wish they were at home watching football. Well, not everyone, and not all the churches.

We NEED a revival.

Sincerely, Joe Anderson

"Too many people got to church."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Misused Verse #3

     This misused verse is not a bad misuse, as long as it is used within limits, but I expect it could be a little controversial to discuss, due to the fact that so many pastors (mine included) use it. Generally, this verse is ok to use, as long as it is used within a spiritual context. But, if it is applied to every aspect of our lives, then it can be very misleading to non-believers. The verse that I am referring to is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." [a] Also peace.
     Like I said previously, this verse is often interpreted to mean Christians will be prosperous in every thing they do in this life. I believe this is an incorrect assumption. First, because of context.
     Most passages in the Bible, including this one, have an address label. Jeremiah 29:1-2 outlines this "1These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem." This not only gives us an address, but also a time. Not to be rude, but unless you can trace you ancestry back to the exiles who were taken from Jerusalem after King Jeconiah and the others listed there, then this verse doesn't really apply to you, sorry.

     Secondly, there are other verses that we Christians can look to that apply specifically to us, that promise better things than a good life now. See: Matthew 25:14-30, 25:31-40; Mark 9:35-37; 1 Cor. 15:50-58; 2 Cor. 4:14 & 16-18; and 1 Pet. 5:4. Among countless others. Note that these verses almost all warn that this body is temporary, and that our reward is eternal glory, not riches in this life.

     Finally, I want to reinstate that I am not condemning the use of this verse, as long as it is used as applying to our spiritual peace and prosperity. That being said, It should still be used with caution, even while it is being used in a spiritual context.

      I am extremely sorry for the long wait for this new blog post, and I will try to be a little better about posting in the next few months, but no guarantees, college started for me. Although the Word of God takes priority over college, blogging about it does not.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Misused Verse #2

Hello Reader!

    Today we will be taking a look at Matt. 5:38-39 From the ESV it reads as such: "You have heard that it was said, 'an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil, but if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."
    So first we take a look at the immediate context: Jesus is in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, the greatest sermon ever preached (If you don't believe me, read the sermon in Matthew 5 and then compare it to any and every one of your pastor's sermons (no offense to your pastor, but he ain't Jesus)), covering issues from blessing to sin, and how he came to fulfill the law. And finally he comes to the issue of retaliation in verse 38. At first glance, many people make the same mistake: Christians are to be pacifists, not striking anyone, and always loving their enemies (see v. 43-48). Now, do not get me wrong, not all of this is a mistake. As Christians we are called to love our enemies and do good to those who hurt us, but I believe these particular verses (38-39) are speaking only of revenge, not self-defense as many think. Taking a look at the surrounding context, we can now move on to historical context. Back in the day, a right handed person would slap another man with the back of his hand, on the receiving person's right cheek. This was a bad insult. Instead of replying with another insult, and escalating the situation, the person receiving the slap on the cheek should turn and offer the other cheek, causing the man to use the palm of his right hand which was not as bad of an insult. So instead of escalating the situation, the situation would diminish. Very interesting. Also, going partly off of other verses in the Bible and partly off of historical context, we know that Jesus was addressing three verses in the Old Testament that were often misinterpreted: Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, and Deuteronomy 19:21. In all three of these verses, God is commanding the Israeli authorities to make the punishment fit the crime (eye for eye, tooth for tooth, fracture for fracture), and is thus both preventing the Hebrew judges from over-punishing a crime (stone him for knocking the tooth out), and under-punishing (apologize for breaking that man's leg) (neither of those examples are found in the Bible, I was just trying to think of a way to explain them.). Those OT passages were often misinterpreted to mean that it was open season for anyone wanting to take revenge, so instead of it being used only in the hands of the judges and other authorities, but now it was used by the people, apart from the law. So, by viewing the historical context, we can conclude that Jesus was addressing that issue, not banning self defense (Luke 22:36-38) or fleeing from evil (Luke 4:29-30; John 8:59, 10:39; 2 Corinthians 11:32-33). Also, sometimes the best way to love your enemies is to stop them from further attacking and injuring others ,thus bringing more charges against themselves in a court of law. Although there is no specific Bible verse that I can find where Jesus specifically states self-defense is ok, I hope that the verse in Luke where he tells people to buy swords is enough to convince you otherwise.
  So, your thoughts?



Monday, August 29, 2011

New "Series:" Seven Misused/Abused/Misinterpreted Bible Verses

Dear Reader,

    Today I will be starting the first series, this one being on misused Bible verses. It is very interesting to note that the vast majority of these theological mistakes could be avoided by following the three rules of Biblical interpretation: 1. Context; 2. Context; and 3. Context. This is not just applying to looking at the surrounding verses (although that is the first rule), but it also is looking at the historical context (rule two), and the context of other Bible verses that speak on that same issue (rule 3). If a verse does not make sense, then look at the surrounding verses, usually this will clear up any miscommunication. If that does not clear the issue up, then search through your Bible looking for verses that deal with the same issue.  If that does not clear up the issue, then look at historical context: who was the author; who was he writing too; and what was his audience going through at their time? If that still doesn't clear up the issue, then consult some experts for their take on your issue.

    Now, back on topic. The first verse that I will be dealing with is one you should be very familiar with, it is 1 Tim. 2:12 "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet." Taken out of context one would think this verse means that women cannot teach men, and that women are not to do any talking in church (no singing, asking a question, or visiting with your friends allowed woman!). After taking a look at the surrounding verses, it only adds to the confusion (What! Now women can't wear gold, pearls, or braid their hair?!?!). So next take a look at the historical context. We know that the author (I believe it is Paul, but recently there has been debate over that fact, so I'll remain neutral until I can compile some of my own research) wrote this letter to Timothy regarding heresies that were springing up in the church at Ephesus. We also know that Ephesus, at that time, was the center of worship for the Cult of Artemis. This warrants a closer look at the "goddess" Artemis and her devotees.
     Artemis was the virgin goddess of hunting. She protected or killed women while in childbirth (both ways ending their pain). The cult held that women were superior to men, and the religion stated that Artemis was born before her twin brother Apollos. This would explain both the reason for bringing up the creation story in vv.13 "For Adam was created first, then Eve;" and for the alternative way of translating the Greek word "αὐθεντέω" or authenteō, which means "to act of oneself, that is, (figuratively) dominate: - usurp authority over, (Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries)." This verse would therefore not be commanding women to be silent and not teach men, but rather to not teach men in a domineering way, by lording their knowledge over the man. Also, when looking for other verses in the Bible that deal with this issue, we see in Paul's farewell to the Romans (Rom. 16:1&2) and also in his greeting to Philemon (Phm 1:2) that women could serve and are considered fellow soldiers.
    These arguments being made, I commend my position to you, my readers, for consideration and debate. I will be trying to do one of these a week for the next seven weeks, some being more controversial than others, so keep your eyes open for them. If my opinion differs from yours, or if you have some verses to add to my arguments, then don't be shy, post them!

Until next we write,


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Should We Handle Interpretation Differences on Secondary Doctrines?

This was a page that the professor handed out for the second to last class of Intro to Biblical Interpretation. I thought it would be a good page to also show you and include as part of the blog rules, because it illustrates doctrines that are essential or non-essential, and how we should respond to differing views on secondary doctrines. Brackets are mine, and Bible verse were removed, leaving only their references to save room, please look them up on your own.

    "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity [grace]" - Augustine

Some examples of secondary doctrinal issues:

    ~ Eschatology [How/when Christ will return]  ~ Ecclesiology [How the church should be run
    ~ Baptism                                                       ~ Interpretation of the Creation Account
    ~ Spiritual Gifts                                               ~ Divorce and Remarriage
    ~ Women in Leadership                                  ~ Calvinism and Arminianism

Some recommendations of what we should do

    1.  Study the Various Views with an Open Mind, Changing our View if the Biblical Evidence is Convincing (Emphasis Added)
         (2 Tim. 2:15)
         (1 Cor. 13:9-12)

    2.  Study the Various Views as Expressed by those who Hold them, not just those with opposing views that criticize them.

    3.  Develop our own Convictions, yet hold them with humility
         (Rom. 14:5)
         (Eph. 4:2)

    4.  Treat Those who Hold Other Views with Dignity and Respect
         (Matt. 7:12)

    5.  Make Every Effort to Preserve the Unity of the Spirit Through the Bond of Peace, Established by the Lord Jesus.
         (Eph. 4:3)
         (John 17:22-23)

Some recommendations of what we should not do.

    1.  Be Uninformed, or Lazy/Apathetic
    2.  Be Dogmatic; Closed Minded toward other views [on secondary doctrines]
    3.  Misrepresent the views of others, in an attempt to win an argument
    4.  Make secondary issues the litmus test of salvation or evangelical orthodoxy [if you don't believe in infant baptism, or that the world was created in 6, 24 hour days, then I don't think you are a true Christian.]

This really spoke to me during the class, and I really thought "this is how I want the people on my blog to behave," so I thought I would pass it on to you. Let us be salt and light to the world, not have the world drag us down with useless bickering and divisions in the Church due to petty issues.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mission of the Blog

   In the days of the Reformation, Christians would often meet together in taverns to discuss the ideas of the Reformation. One such inn, known as the White Horse in Cambridge England, became the regular meeting place of a small group of English Scholars, who would gather together to discuss their views. My intention is that this blog become a similar place, if you are uncomfortable with adult beverages then you are more than welcome to not include those, and the medium of the internet allows you to not have to observe any drinking if you do not want to. (We'll be dealing with alcohol and the Bible in a future post). But why did I choose "Eternity's Christianity" instead of "Today's Christianity"? Very simple, Today's Christianity implies that it was different today then it was yesterday, and it is my belief that the church is the same throughout history, and should continue to be the same today.
   The mission of Christians all over the world is explicitly stated by Christ in Acts 1:6-9, when Christ commands his followers to "be my witnesses in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the Earth." Also, in Matthew 28:19, Christ tells the Disciples to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." That being said, the mission of this blog is not entirely to fulfill the Great Commission, but to instead indirectly fulfill it through causing you, the reader, to examine your faith and affirm your beliefs. I cannot tell you that I have all the answers, that would be EXTREMELY arrogant of me (and wrong), instead, "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" I plan on learning just as much from these blog posts as I hope you do.
   This blog is entirely open for debate (in fact, that is a portion of the purpose) but i ask that you keep the comments section free of derogatory statements, generalizations, obviously foolish statements, or useless banter of any kind for that matter. Please back up every claim with a reference verse, in any Bible translation of your choice, and use your statements, whether they are in support or opposition of an entry or a comment, to build up yourself and your opponent's understanding of the word.
   This is just a small portion of the mission of this blog, and it will continue to evolve (with micro evolution, not macro) as this blog continues to develop and take shape. Feel free to make yourself comfortable and I hope your walk with Christ grows through this experience.