They Enjoy Their Own Cleverness

OpenBible John 1How many times have people ridiculed you for believing the Bible? Have they questioned your sanity or acted surprised that you believe serpents  speak and messiahs rise from the dead? Yeah, and you’re probably already bracing for such uncomfortable conversations at Thanksgiving gatherings. So maybe I can offer a little perspective to help prepare you for conflicts around the adult table.

Ladies, we’ll resume our Monday Bible Studies on 1 Corinthians 15 pretty soon. Before you accuse me of a non sequitur, hear me out. I started working through verse 35 this morning, and I had some immediate thoughts on it that made me think about the ways some non-Christians (particularly those who are openly belligerent) try to derail us when we share the Gospel with them. Look at the verse with me.

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” (ESV) 

Okay, I didn’t get very far into my study today (I had a stressful situation last night that kept me from getting adequate sleep), so I don’t have as much of a handle on the verse as I will when we actually work through it. But the small amount of study I did reminded me that often people who raise objections to our beliefs honestly think they’re helping us understand why Christianity is intellectually untenable.

You’ll recall that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 15 in response to those who denied the doctrine of bodily resurrection. In the first 34 verses, the apostle provided legal evidence that Christ rose from the dead. Then he argued that Christ’s resurrection ensures the resurrection of believers. Verse 35 transitions to the rather childish challenge to prove the doctrine by giving specific details.

In other words, these skeptics think they’ve poked holes in Paul’s theology. They remind me of neighborhood kids who tried to prove that I was intellectually disabled by peppering me with impossible arithmetic questions that they themselves couldn’t answer.

“What’s 97,043 plus 32,017?” they ask.

I’d admit I didn’t know, and watch their smug grins steal over their little faces. With perhaps a little sadistic pleasure, I’d give them a minute to savor their cleverness before asking, “So what is 97,043 plus 32,017?”

Though I in no way recommend such a smart alec retort to non-Christians who fancy that their arguments blow holes in our Christian faith, I do want you to realize that they trust in their own cleverness. We must pray that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes the truth before they face the Lord in judgment. At that time, they won’t feel quite so clever.

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But The Bible Doesn’t Address This

IMG_1892A little over a week ago, I wrote an article denying that my disability gives me license to cast myself in the role of an oppressed victim. If you read the Comments Section, you’ll notice a little pushback from a reader named Daniel, as well as my response that he overlooked the clause in my Comments Policy asking that disagreements with my positions be substantiated with Scripture.

I’m fallible. I well understand that I’m capable of misinterpreting portions of God’s Word, particularly on secondary matters. When (not if, but when) I’m wrong, I need faithful Christians to open the Bible and, using proper hermeneutics, help me see my errors.

I didn’t approve Daniel’s follow up comment because, as I told him in an email, I preferred to Continue reading

God’s Word — Nothing Added

sola-scriptura-02

Some people believe that evangelicalism has reached a serious crisis point. I tend to agree. Professing Christians import worldly philosophies and practices at breakneck speed, leaving the faithful both breathless and  bewildered.  We wonder how we can ever restore Biblical Christianity.

As deplorable as the 21st Century Church has become, this isn’t the first time the visible church has strayed. And I tend to think that Continue reading

Masculinity Isn’t Toxic. Femininity Isn’t Toxic. But Feminism? Now THAT’S Toxic!

Redhead 03I didn’t include Michelle Lesley’s outstanding blog post, Toxic (Evangelical) Femininity, in last week’s Saturday Sampler because I wanted to draw special attention to it. Yeah, it’s that significant!

Michelle wasn’t so much concerned about the world’s latest kick of blaming everything on “toxic masculinity.” The world rejects all God’s standards anyway, so we needn’t be surprised at the growing rejection of male leadership that God established from creation. Rather, she focused on the feminist attitudes that have been slithering into the church.

Sadly, Michelle correctly analyzed the situation. I say sadly because the growing feminist influence in evangelical churches highlights the increasing compromise with the world that Continue reading

The Mess The Church Is In Now

Catholic to Protestant

Few Christians disagree that the visible church is corrupt. It’s pretty much impossible to ignore the moral compromises infecting all denominations, as well as independent churches as scandals proliferate. Social media only makes matters worse. Some “discernment blogs” (particularly Pulpit & Pen) absolutely delight in reporting every negative tidbit they can find. To be honest, scandal sells.

Admittedly, sometimes we need to name names. I have boldly written about Beth Moore, Rick Warren, Sarah Young, Matthew Vines and others who inject false teaching into evangelical circles and thereby distort the Gospel. Additionally I have addressed popular trends like Holy Yoga, direct revelation, seeker-sensitive churches and the Social Justice Movement many times on this blog. I will continue doing so when I believe situations warrant such articles.

The visible church is unquestionably a mess.

We often forget, however, that the visible church has always been a mess. Paul wrote most of his epistles for the express purpose of confronting false doctrines and sinful practices within the First Century churches. As Roman Catholicism developed its system of justification by works, few professing Christians understood the Gospel of salvation by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

The Protestant Reformation restored the Bible to common people, although many Christians died as martyrs. Catholic authorities accused these men and women of heresy because they accepted Scripture’s authority over that of the pope.

All too soon after the Reformation, Enlightenment philosophers attracted the attention of the Puritans, enticing them to integrate rationalism into theology. From there, liberalism and psychology easily blended into churches, always at the expense of doctrinal purity.

A friend of mine once scoffed at my blog posts about church history, explaining that she cares more about the mess the church is in now. Actually, I share her concern. That’s precisely why I blog so frequently about people and trends that assault the authority, inerrancy and sufficiency of God’s Word.

But in combating the current mess in the visible church, it can help to go back in time. Certainly, our ultimate stop must be the First Century, as we stand unwaveringly  on the Word of God. We must study, interpret and apply it in context. That’s why Michelle Lesley and I write regular Bible Studies in our blogs that lead you through large portions of Scripture, showing you the progression of thought propelling each verse.

Church history can aid our application of Scripture by showing us how Christians before us dealt with messes in the visible church. We can learn from the things they did right, but also from the things they did wrong. They can teach us how to identify false teaching, and consequently how to correct it with Scripture.

The visible church most assuredly is in a mess now. Church history testifies that it’s pretty much always in a mess. If we really want to restore the church to purity, why not trust church history to teach us how to apply God’s Word?

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Saturday Sampler: August 5 — August 11

Ryan Higginbottom of Knowable Word helps us Overcome Common Excuses for Not Studying the Bible. I needed this little kick in the pants. Do you?Victoria Painting

Have you ever been called a judgmental hypocrite for contending for the faith? I have. Recently, in fact! So I appreciate The Natural Man, the visible Church, and telling the truth by Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure. If you need encouragement to stand on  God’s Word, this is your article.

It doesn’t matter if someone we witness to claims to reject the Bible’s authority. God’s Word continues to be the means that the Holy Spirit uses to give people saving faith. In keeping with that truth, Jordan Standridge’s latest item in The Cripplegate shows us 3 Bible Passages to Study with Unbelievers that could help us in our evangelism efforts. As usual, Standridge writes with a Scriptural clarity that we desperately need.

It’s been a while since Lisa Morris has written on Conforming to the Truth, but she’s Michele Smithback!  Her study, Patience The Heart The Tongue and Our Love instructs us in applying the fruit of patience. I like her practical approach to this discipline. Welcome back, Lisa!

Douglas Wilson has been writing a chapter-by-chapter review of Aimee Byrd’s disturbing book, Why Can’t We Be Friends? on his blog, Blog & Mablog. I don’t want to feature each post in his series on Saturday Sampler, but Gaaa! Jezebel! definitely deserves attention. Of particular note is his reference to the Revoice Conference. The comparison between Aimee’s book and the conference had never occurred to me, but it really makes a lot of sense!

If you’re a mom sending your child off to college this month, warn your child to be careful about campus fellowship groups. Garrett O’Hara, in his contribution to Things Above Us, writes Extrabiblical Revelation: Being Chained to the Ocean Floor as an example of mysticism creeping into even non-Charismatic organizations at colleges and betty-portrait-painteduniversities.

In Getting “Unhitched” from the Old Testament? Andy Stanley Aims at Heresy, Albert Mohler evaluates Stanley’s latest controversial remarks through both Scripture and church history. This blog post underscores the important role of church history in exercising discernment concerning current problems in evangelical circles.

Responding to a question from a reader, C.T. Adams writes Question 34: How does one judge the fruits of others without being judgmental? in Faith Contender. This one might sting a little, just as any good antiseptic should, but it’s wonderfully cleansing. If you do any level of discernment ministry, I encourage you to Kristy Culverhouseconsider the admonition in this piece.

Feminism makes demands. Women want power that creates equality with men, evidently. Blogging in The End Time, Elizabeth Prata offers thoughts On empowerment from a Biblical perspective.

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“But My Experience Is CHRISTIAN!”

Experience Bible

If you want attention on Facebook, simply post something to the effect that God no longer speaks directly to people. Even better, include a quote by Justin Peters. You’ll get impassioned (though occasionally nasty) diatribes in your comments feed for days!

Once in a while, someone will argue from Scripture. I respect such people, even if I disagree with their application of God’s Word. At least they want to remain Biblical in their stand for continualist teaching.

The vast majority of continualists, however, rely primarily on their personal experiences to refute the notion that Continue reading