Thoughts About Thinking: Maybe Highly Educated Non-Christians Aren’t All That Smart

Digital drawing of girl in graduation cap and gown

When I lived in Memphis, two friends often volunteered to drive me to church in the wheelchair accessible van that I had. One friend had a Master’s Degree (in what, I don’t know) while the other had only completed a GED.

The three of us always found it amusing that the one with the GED consistently had to show the one with the Master’s Degree how to use the tie-downs to secure my wheelchair. Consistently, I said. Every. Single. Time. We’d say, “So much for higher education!”

Thankfully the one with the Master’s Degree had a good sense of humor.

As cute as this story is, it illustrates a point the apostle Paul made about the disparity between human wisdom and the wisdom of God.

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A Few Thoughts About Thinking: “Tons Of Wicked Little Thoughts Merrily Appear”

Boston, May 2015

When I was little, John F. Kennedy’s administration popularized Learner and Lowe’s Broadway play, Camelot. My father, always the one to buy fashionable items, purchased the record album, featuring the original cast. Hence I grew up knowing and loving all the songs (rarely understanding their full implications).

Early in the story, Guinevere sings about “the lusty month of May” “when tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear.” In contrast to the sexually charged lyrics, the lighthearted tune creates a feeling of innocence. Those tons of wicked little thoughts can’t really be that wicked, the music assures us.

Tell that to Guinevere years later as her merrily wicked thoughts lead her to adultery so vile that it destroys King Arthur’s kingdom.

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A Few Thoughts About Thinking: When Our Thoughts Exalt Us

Several years ago, I had another blog. It was a great deal less focused than this one — mostly because it started as a way to showcase my writing and digital art.

Gradually, I found myself blogging more and more about the Lord. In one post, I quoted a friend of ours who said Christians need to be less concerned about what we think and more concerned about what God’s Word says. Of course he meant that we too often impose our ideas on a passage of Scripture rather than expecting Scripture to shape our ideas. But I quoted him as saying something like we think too much.

One of my readers latched on to that quote and wrenched it out of context. She understood it as putting forth the idea that Christians shouldn’t think, but instead should blindly follow religious teachers.

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Keys To Discernment: Why Paul Wrote To The Colossians (Reboot)


Last Monday I explained that I’ll repost the few Bible Studies I wrote on Colossians before I injured my back in February. I’ll add a few remarks to these articles where I feel they need further comment, so you really might find it beneficial to read them again. Once we’ve reviewed those studies, we’ll continue working through the epistle.

As a young Christian, I would get impatient when Bible Study teachers would spend time talking about the background to whatever book they taught. I just wanted to grab verses here and there that I could shoehorn into my immediate circumstances. Textual context only mildly interested me; I had absolutely no use for historical or cultural background, thank you very much!

So if you’re groaning at the title of this post, anticipating a boring history lesson about First Century Colossae, I understand. It’s not what you expected from a study on discernment.

Don’t close this article yet, ladies! You need to know that I’m writing a little about the background to this epistle precisely because it will enable us to see how Paul taught discernment without once naming the false teachers that he refuted.

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Praise Him Even Now

All of us would probably like a refund for the year 2020. To the naked eye, there’s little reason to praise the Lord. The anger and frustration swells both because of COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd, not to mention the anarchy generated by demands to defund and/or abolish the police.

It’s a sad, heartbreaking time.

Yet God hasn’t abandoned His creation. He may be judging it by giving us over to our rebellion against His Word — indeed, I personally believe that to be the case. It may be difficult to adopt the so-called new normal that government leaders will impose on us. But all the negativity we currently experience has no power to stand against the goodness and sovereignty of our God and King.

A day approaches when Christ will return to establish His kingdom. At that time, He will eradicate every disease and will govern the entire world in perfect righteousness and justice. Christians long for that day!

The wonderful news is that He reigns even now. The chaos we see lies in His control as He uses it to accomplish purposes that we neither see nor understand. One glorious day, all creatures of our God and King will praise Him. filling the new heavens and earth with alleluias. Thankfully, Christians don’t need to wait for that day.

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Saturday Sampler: June 7 — June 13

You’ll like Ryan Higginbottom’s article for Knowable Word this week, I think. Context Matters: Perfect Love Casts Out Fear not only explains a difficult (and often misused) verse, but it encourages those of us who struggle with assurance of salvation. If you’d like to read something that builds your confidence, this will certainly fit the bill.

Looking at recent events, Clint Archer of The Cripplegate uses God’s Word to show us Why Looters Loot during riots. I don’t think many people have this understanding (I certainly didn’t), but once you read his post, it seems obvious.

It’s a popular notion that God is the God of second chances. But Lessons Learned: You Don’t Always Get a Second Chance by Erin Benziger questions that idea, using an example from Scripture to substantiate her premise. She’s currently writing a series on lessons she’s learned in her blog, Do Not Be Surprised.

Each of the guys who blog for The Cripplegate is worth reading, but I especially like the stuff by Jordan Standridge. This week he issues A Plea to Christians who Protest that contains rather unexpected counsel. Unexpected, but highly important!

With compelling honesty, Elizabeth Prata writes My silly reluctance to read the Bible in The End Time. Don’t mistake her essay for a cathartic exercise on her part, though. She makes a point that works to encourage and benefit all of us.

Three Things Christians need for Social Media Today by SlimJim of The Domain for Truth is just a few short paragraphs long, but those few short paragraphs say quite a lot.

SlimJim also writes Officer Chauvin and the belief that morals are up to the individual as a challenge to postmodern thinking. He asks insightful questions that maybe more of us should ask in our evangelistic conversations with unbelievers.

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We’d Rather Read About False Teachers, DebbieLynne

Okay, I read my blog stats. Monday’s post reintroducing the Colossians Bible Study hasn’t received much attention, whereas yesterday’s post about a tweet Beth Moore “Liked” is soaring to over four times as many views as the Colossians post got.

I can understand this discrepancy in two ways.

Firstly, I can deduce that my readers already study the Bible on their own, and therefore don’t need another study to work through. Truth be told, I don’t go through the studies that Michelle Lesley posts each Wednesday for that very reason. When I met her in person three years ago, I explained that reasoning to her, and she graciously understood my position. She says other readers have told her the same thing.

I dearly hope that my readers forego the studies I write for the same reason. I hope each of you spends time going through God’s Word each day, reading and studying it in context. If so, I have absolutely no problem with you skipping my studies.

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Not A Tweet Any Professing Christian Should Endorse

I had never heard of Kristen Howerton before. I have no idea whether she professes to be a Christian or not. If she doesn’t, I can shrug off her recent tweet. Non-Christians can be expected to say the sort of things she said.

If she does profess to know Christ, however, her recent tweet troubles me, as it should trouble any Christian. Beth Moore’s evident endorsement of that tweet also troubles me. Read the tweet for yourself:

The problem with a professing Christian as visible as Beth Moore has little to do with the question of systemic racism. I really don’t want to address that question in this blog, primarily because such a discussion would distract from the purpose of this ministry. But I definitely want to explain why the sentiments Howerton expressed (and Beth Moore endorsed) conflict with the Gospel.

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What COVID-19 And George Floyd’s Murder Demand

Praise the Lord for the sensible Christians out there who encourage us to use these troubled times as opportunities to present the Gospel! Too often, we get so embroiled in controversies that we lose sight of our main responsibility to tell the world about Christ. Thankfully, a number of people ranging from John MacArthur to my own pastor have emphasized the vital necessity of evangelism as we face both COVID-19 and the fallout from the murder of George Floyd.

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Keys To Discernment: Bible Study Of Colossians Reboot


Many Christians desire to have discernment, which is good. Many, however, maintain a narrow understanding of Biblical discernment, limiting its scope to simply calling out false teachers and/or identifying erroneous practices within the Church.

Biblical discernment most assuredly includes those activities, and we must never ignore the importance of exposing deception (Romans 16:17, Ephesians 5:11). But in order to identify false teaching, we must first have a grasp of sound theology. Going after Beth Moore or Joel Osteen takes more than reading a few discernment blogs; we need to know Scripture well enough that we see their errors readily.

I’d been excited about doing this Bible Study series on Paul’s letter to the Colossians precisely because it demonstrates an approach to discernment that very few Christians emulate today. Yet Paul refutes two major First Century heresies without even naming them. In both cases, he does so by pointing his readers back to Christ.

I said a moment ago that I’m excited about teaching this Bible Study on Colossians. At the same time, I’m nervous about doing it. As I studied it this past summer and fall, I saw how much Paul packed in to these four short chapters. I know how valuable this epistle is in giving us keys to discernment, and so I want to handle it carefully, accurately and reverently.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ~~2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

Today, however, let’s begin with some housekeeping to prepare for our study. First of all, you’ll probably remember that I’d started this study six months ago. In fact, those of you who began going through this study with me in January probably recognize what I’ve written so far in today’s post. (Well, you should!) Copy and paste is my friend.

But why, you ask, am I reposting the studies I already did? Rather than picking up where we left off in February, I’ve decided to repost the installments I’d already written in order to bring everyone back up to speed. My back injury occurred right in the middle of a crucial passage, and I think we’d sacrifice a lot of context if we didn’t go back to study the progression of Paul’s letter. I believe that reviewing — and occasionally expanding on — the past installments of this study series will better serve to help us study the letter as Paul wrote it.

Next, I need to remind any gentlemen who read my blog that I really intend to teach women exclusively. Unless you’re my husband, an elder at First Baptist Church Weymouth or a man vetting a handful of my posts to make sure they’re suitable for women under your leadership, this blog isn’t for you! The Lord has charged me not to teach men (1 Timothy 2:12), and I want to be obedient to His command.

The limitation of my writing to women is especially important when I present actual Bible Studies. Guys, I’m flattered that so many of you appreciate my writing (why couldn’t I get so many men to follow me when I was single?), but please don’t put me in the position of violating Scripture. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Also,  I plan to post these studies on Mondays. That said, remember that I’m still healing from my back fractures, and therefore have days when I stay in bed. My schedule may demand slight variations here and there. So, although I’ll try to keep on schedule, life might get in the way. Please be patient when I have to deviate from posting these studies on Mondays.

Finally, I really want to encourage you ladies to submit comments. Not “what this verse means to me” subjective comments, but questions or answers to questions from each other. Have you read a relevant commentary bringing out a point that I neglect?  Is my interpretation faulty? Please offer correction. Has the Holy Spirit used the text to challenge you? Let’s talk about it. You can also post comments to The Outspoken TULIP Facebook page.

The Lord wants us to be discerning. Studying Colossians can help us develop real discernment that will honor Christ. And honoring Him must be the ultimate goal of discernment

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