Yes, Jesus Ate With Sinners — But Do You Understand Why?

Rainbow HeartThe argument goes that,  since Jesus ate with people that the Pharisees regarded as sinners, He accepted them as they were. As a result, He would embrace those whom conservative Christians supposedly reject today. In particular, He would champion members of the LBGTQ community, and shame on conservative Christians for calling their sexual orientation sinful!

Christians who believe that homosexuality and transgenderism require repentance constantly hear that we should follow Jesus rather than following Bible verses that condemn homosexuality and transgenderism. Jesus, they remind us, hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes, giving us an example to follow. When we dare to speak out against sexual sin — especially those sins under the LBGTQ umbrella — we face enormous censure for evidently failing to be Christlike.

But maybe we ought to look at an instance of Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors. In this episode, Jesus has just called Levi (also known as Matthew) to follow Him. Luke 5:28 plainly says, please notice, that Continue reading

Unforgiveness Hurts Others More Than It Hurts You

Forgiveness ButterfiesSomewhere in the 1960s, when evangelicals became enamored with psychology, teachings on forgiveness started emphasizing the benefits of forgiveness on the person doing the forgiving. If they had left the discussion at Matthew 6:14-15, that would have been fine.

To their shame, they didn’t leave it there. No, they elaborated that when someone refuses to forgive those who hurt her, she imprisons herself in bitterness. Therefore, they reason, she Continue reading

When Someone Admits They’re Wrong

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It’s been years since I’ve read Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Call me silly, legalistic, prudish or whatever, but the magic and the cross-dressing in his comedies bother me. So, although I understand why Portia dresses as a man during the courtroom scene, I feel uncomfortable with it.

Today, however, I’ve been thinking about Shylock’s demand for a pound of flesh when Antonio defaulted on his loan. Despite offers to pay him back double the debt, Shylock resolutely demands the pound of flesh. Nothing else will satisfy him.

Shylock’s unmerciful attitude shocks us, though it really ought to expose our own unwillingness to extend mercy and forgiveness when someone apologizes to us. I know that I secretly enjoy Continue reading

Sometimes Jesus Gets Lost In Our Service To Our Church

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Each of us (if we’re being obedient) has at least one avenue of ministry. And we cherish that opportunity to serve both the Lord and His church. During my years as a single woman, I enjoyed a variety of ways to serve, ranging from editing the church newsletter to writing and directing drama productions to teaching children in Sunday School.

My ability to serve is a great deal more limited now, but I well remember the busy life of ministry that dominated my younger years.

I also remember realizing at one point that my heavy involvement in ministry had Continue reading

Would It Be Trite To Ask Whether Or Not Benny Hinn Has Really Repented?

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The Internet chatter and speculations over Benny Hinn’s wishy-washy repentance from the Prosperity Gospel has pretty much died down at this point, with only a few rumblings here and there. The last rumble I encountered was on the September 30th episode of Too Wretched for Radio with Todd Friel and Phil Johnson.

People generally conclude that Hinn has yet to demonstrate any real repentance. Please, though, read that conclusion with sorrow, joining me Continue reading

Don’t Analyze Your Sin — Kill It!

Killing SinPsychology has many inherent problems. Regular readers know quite well that I strongly oppose incorporating it into evangelicalism because of its roots in evolution and the occult as well as the way it encourages narcissism. Since churches began embracing psychological counseling in the late 1970s, Christians have learned to view their propensities for besetting sins (alcoholism and homosexuality mostly, but not exclusively) as addictions.

Suddenly, Christians dealt with individual sin patterns through lengthy counseling programs, frequently looking at their childhood hurts to identify root causes of those sins. My pastor in California, for example, believed that my uncontrolled anger stemmed from a traumatic event when I was very young. Perish the thought that it Continue reading