"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How Persuaded Are You?


But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed: Paul was exhorting the Galatians in the truth of the gospel that they had received from him. It was the gospel and there was no other gospel forth coming. And since there was no other gospel that would come later, the Galatians was not be persuaded by any message or messenger that was contrary to what they had already received.

Paul used a hypothetical illustration about himself, or even an angel from heaven, being accursed if they preached another gospel to the Galatians to demonstrate how persuaded the Galatians should be in the gospel of grace that was originally preached to them.

How persuasive do you think Paul could be? It wass Paul’s job as a preacher of the gospel, as well as the job of all gospel preachers, to be persuasive. (2 Corinthians 5:11) Paul had persuaded some Jews, and a great many devout Greeks and more than a few women. (Acts 17:4) Paul had persuaded people to worship God contrary to the Law of Moses. (Acts 18:13) Paul had persuaded Jews in the synagogue about the kingdom of God. (Acts 19:8) Paul had persuaded a great many people in almost all Asia to follow God. (Acts 19:26) If you are not yet persuaded of his powers of persuasion, then examine the arguments that Paul crafted in Romans. I believe Hebrews is Pauline also. Even according to modern secular standards Paul was a brilliant logician, philosopher and rhetorician. Paul was also equally great by first century Greek standards. Paul was indeed persuasive.

But if that was not enough, Paul stepped it up a notch and included the persuasion powers of angels from heaven.  How persuasive do you think that an angel from heaven could be? An angel persuaded a virgin she could conceive a child without the natural contribution of a man. (Luke 1:34-35) An angel convinced a reluctant Joseph who is about to put away his wife for fornication that she had actually conceived of the Holy Spirit and not a man. (Matthew 1:20) An angel convinced Mary Magdalene, and others, at the tomb of Jesus that their dead Messiah had actually been raised from the dead. (Luke 21:1-11) What persuasiveness!

Part of the powerful persuasion of angels is their imposing appearance. They have appearance like lightening and their clothes are white as snow (Matthew 28:2) and they shine with the glory of the Lord (Luke 2:9). 

Yet, Paul argued that the Galatian Christians were to be so settled in their conviction of the nature of the gospel that neither he nor an angel could turn them away from it. Obviously an angel from heaven would never preach a gospel other than the true gospel. Paul was using an absurd hyperbole to demonstrate the depth of conviction Christians should have concerning justification by grace. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

American Versus Liberal


If a man doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a man is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a man is hetrosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a man is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a man doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
If a liberal doesn't like a talk show host they demand it be shut down.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Pot Called the Kettle Black



"Oho!" said the pot to the kettle;
"You are dirty and ugly and black!
Sure no one would think you were metal,
Except when you're given a crack."
"Not so! not so!" kettle said to the pot;
"'Tis your own dirty image you see;
For I am so clean – without blemish or blot –
That your blackness is mirrored in me."

As the smut cover cauldron peers at the stainless kettle, all the cauldron can see is his own smutty image, and, therefore, perceives the kettle as black. It is the pot projecting his own blackness onto the kettle. When the pot calls the kettle black he is revealing himself. The accusation of blackness speaks to the character  of the cauldron and not to the character of the kettle. How often do we see this happen? How often have I done this myself? How often have you done this?

When the government calls its citizens greedy...the pot has called the kettle black. 
When Republicans call Democrats opportunists...the pot has called the kettle black. 
When Democrats call Republicans angry...the pot has called the kettle black. 
When one impugns the motives of another...the pot has called the kettle black. 
When independent Apostolics call organized Apsotolics political...the pot has called the kettle black. 
When organized Apostolics call independent Apostolics controlling...the pot has called the kettle black.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Work Out Your Own Salvation


“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV).”

Here Paul says, “work out your own salvation,” but then goes on to clarify how we work out our own salvation: “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”As Christians we do the work, but the will and the work are worked in us by God. We actually work as He works in us. We work as God synergistically works in us through our will. It is like a man working a backhoe tractor: “For it is the operator who works in the tractor, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” The tractor is actually what is digging the hole.  The man operating the tractor never actually touches the ground himself, but he does dig the hole because he is in the tractor working the controls and willing it where, when and how to work. So we actually work out the salvation, digging the hole as it were, but God is the one in us at the controls willing us when, where and how to work. Both the operator and the tractor are working. The tractor operator does not work alone, and the tractor cannot work alone; it is a cooperative effort.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Is Baptism Necessary?

I recently tweeted, "What baptism does one cannot be saved without; therefore, baptism is essential to salvation."

I want to expand on that idea here on this blog.  What does baptism do?  Can a person be saved without what baptism does?

1. Baptism is for the remissions of sins (Acts 2:38): Can one be saved without the remissions of sins?

2. Baptism is a commandment (Acts 10:48): Can one be saved who refuses to obey the commands of God?

3. Baptism is when sin is washed away (Acts 22:16): Can one be saved if their sins are not washed away?

4. Baptism puts one into Christ and into his death (Romans 6:3): Can one be saved outside of Christ and his death?

5. Baptism is how one puts on Christ (Galatians 3:27): Can one be saved who has not put on Christ?

6. Baptism is the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, the circumcision of Christ (Colossians 2:11-12): Can one be saved having not put off the body of sin?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Snake Handling: Bad Theology with Real-Life Consequences

http://news.yahoo.com/serpent-handling-west-virginia-pastor-dies-snake-bite-173406645--abc-news-topstories.html

Mark Wolford is in the news after having been bitten by a timber rattler in a snake handling service.  I want to say first that this is a sad story and prayer should be offered for the comfort of his family.  However, there is another side to this story that also needs to be pointed out; doctrine has consequences.

There is nothing admirable, honorable or excusable about this situation.  This was an unnecessary and avoidable death based on a fatally flawed interpretation of scripture (Mark 16:17-18).  He was not the first, and he will not be the last to unnecessarily die.  

Just because this misunderstanding of scripture is sincerely believed does not mean that it is a valid belief; it is not.  These sincere and good people need to be converted from this false teaching.  Even though they call themselves Apostolic, this is NOT apostolic doctrine or teaching.  This was not the practice or teaching of the apostles concerning snake handling.  The apostles would have most certainly rejected and rebuked this tradition for a number of different reasons.  

There is not a single example of the apostles purposely picking up actual snakes to prove they were believers.  The only time an apostle handled an actual snake in scripture it was an accident, and he killed it (Acts 28:3-6).  This is the apostolic, and the Texas way of handling a serpent. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Anderson-Thrasher Debate

I am looking forward to the Anderson-Thrasher debate, which I am moderating.  It will be July 19-20.  I will share more details as we know them.  I have debated Thomas Thrasher twice, but this will be my first time to moderate in a debate against him.  It should be a great debate. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Eyes Are Closed, You Can't See Me


"My eyes are closed, you can't see me," said my little girl as she sat on my lap.  Of course I laughed at the thought of her thinking that my vision was limited to what she could see; because she was invisible to herself she thought that she was also invisible to me.

How often we think that if we close our eyes that somehow our Heavenly Father, and our brothers an sisters, become blinded by our closed eyes?  Surely if I close my eyes to my own failures and flaws then everyone else's eyes are also closed.

It is with God, as with me as I watched by little girls close her own eyes, He sees me with my own eyes willingly closed thinking that I have blinded Him to me as well.  God sees; God knows!  My prayer is that God will give me grace and courage to open my eyes to both see Him and myself as I ought.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Atheist Hypocrisy

I have been watching a lot of Atheism vs. Theism debates lately and I wanted to post some observations.  I am sure if any of my atheist friends find their way to my blog that they will engage in Dawkinian and Hitchinian insults about how ignorant and deluded that I am.  This is totally fine with me.

1. BURDEN OF PROOF DISCREPANCY:  While our atheists friends chide us incessantly about the lunacy of theism and its lack of evidence they are more than willing to be open minded about pure speculation and even laud it as intellectual if it denies God.  An example of this is the Multiverse Theory.  There is at this point no scientific evidence that there are billions of other universes outside of ours, yet for atheists to entertain this idea is intellectualism.  To even theorize about the Multiverse Theory one must immediately leave science behind. Yet, no matter what hypothesis the theist forwards or what evidence he gives for it, we are deluded.

2. UNDERSTANDING DISCREPANCY: In these debates with atheist, particularly Christopher Hitchens, they show not even a rudimentary understanding of what the bible actually teaches.  I point this out because atheists often insist that we don't understand science.  However, atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins do not even have a Sunday School grasp of Christian theology, much less the advanced knowledge they demand we have of science.  The only way that religion, and Christianity in particular, could be so misrepresented is for these guys to be ignorant of theology, or intentionally misrepresenting our view, neither of which are good options.  Frankly, it is hilarious to watch at times. The theists (Craig, D'souza, Lennox, Strobel, Wilson) that participate in these debates are much versed in philosophy and science than the atheist (Barker, Dawkins, Hitchins) are in theology.  If the theists only knew as much about philosophy and science as the atheists knew about theology (religion in general/Christianity specifically) they would not be given the time of day; no one would take them seriously.  The atheists need to do a much more serious job in their presentation of religion and Christianity in these debates. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Resurrection: Proof of Theism and Christianity


Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2  and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 
1 Corinthians 15:1-4. 14 ESV

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2  until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3  He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Acts 1:1-3 ESV

The resurrection of Jesus is essential to Christianity and relevant to theism.  Theism (deism, Judaism, Islam, ect...) can be true if the resurrection is not true, but Christianity cannot be true apart from the resurrection of Christ.  The resurrection is relevant to theism in that if the resurrection is true, then so is theism, and consequently Christianity.  The resurrection, if true, is the ultimate proof of the existence of God.

The resurrection is central to the Christian claim.  If the resurrection is not true then Christianity is the largest hoax in the history of mankind.  This is why we as Christians must begin to reemphasize it as the central tenant of the faith.  I am writing this blog to encourage Christians of all creeds, especially young Christians, to focus on a defense of the historical resurrection of Jesus.  This is where the battle is.

I encourage all who read to make this the most important focus of your theological studies.  There are many other doctrines that the resurrection of Christ touches, but the resurrection is the most important. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Who Is Raising Whom: Parents (us) or the Kid (Gia)?


This is the question that I was asking myself at supper tonight as my wife and I were trying to figure out if our 3 year old daughter was "playing us" or not.  My wife was attempting analyze her tactical maneuvering by asking me: is she (a) ?, (b) ? or (c)?  We had the funny feeling that we were out smarted by a 3 year old, never mind a 5th grader.

I feel so stupid having to have tactical planning sessions about a 3 year old kid.  Some days I feel like I need strategic and tactical response training; military grade, that is.  God have mercy on us as she becomes a teenager.

Example: At dinner tonight she did not like the particular form of family activities as they were not as child focused as she would have like.  We informed her she would just have to wait to do what she "really" wanted to do.  So she launched into a detailed and articulate argument about why she though our decision ought to be reversed: "...but one time I was doing some kid stuff and you guys wanted to do adult stuff and...."

We can't decide who is raising whom...the only thing I know for sure that was getting raised at supper was hades. :)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Milestone

Passed 40,000 blog hits.

Pendergrass-Weatherly Debate: Sing and Make Melody



Kevin Pendergrass, in his attempt to show that “sing AND make melody” refer to one action, put up a chart with several different illustrations to make his point: trespasses AND sins (Ephesians 2:1), rooted and grounded (Ephesians 3:17), offerings and sacrifices (Ephesians 5:2), gird, put on and shod (Ephesians 6:14-15), psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19).

However, in none of these illustrations are the items he listed one action. 

SINS AND TRESPASSES:
Sins and trespasses are not the same thing.  There are two separate offerings under the law for trespasses and sins.  There are a number of distinctions to me made between the two, but the ultimate point is that they are not one and the same action.

ROOTED AND GROUNDED:
Rooted has to do with nourishment and growth and the other has to do with stability and longevity.  Many distinct applications can be made between these two metaphors.  Even if one argues that the rooting and grounding happens at the same time, the same can be said for singing WITH musical accompaniment.


OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES:
It should be clear to even the casual observer that offerings and sacrifices are NOT one action like Pendergrass claims that "singing and making melody" are.  There were drink offerings that clearly were not the same action as an animal sacrifices.


GIRD, PUT ON AND SHOD:
No one should think that the girding of the loins is the the same action as having one's feet shod.  Girding the loins and putting on shoes obviously requires two separate actions.

PSALM, HYMN, SPIRITUAL SONG:
A hymn is not a psalm, and a spiritual song is neither a psalm nor a hymn.

These are distinct items just as singing and making melody are.  This in no way proves that singing AND making melody to the Lord are a single action and not two.

I encourage you to listen to the debate. 

Debate Firsts

I have had a lot of debate firsts: My first debate. My first oral debate. My first written debate. My first godhead debate. My first Eternal security debate. My first communion debate. My first baptism debate. My first impeccability debate. My first marriage and divorce debate. My first debate with a Church of Christ. My first debate with a Baptist. My first debate to be a moderator. I am sure that the list could go on, but last in the Weatherly-Pendergrass debate was another first.

MY FIRST DEBATE WHERE A POINT OF ORDER WAS IGNORED!

Thursday night of the debate I called a point of order 4-5 times and it was ignored by both the debater (Kevin Pendergrass) and his moderator (David Fanning).  I have never seen this happen in any debate.  Unprecedented!

Their excuse was that they did not think that they were breaking any rules so they did not have to acknowledge our point of order.  Any time a point of order is called by the other team you owe them the courtesy of acknowledging their grievance.  If they had call a point of order we would have given them the respect they deserved as out opponents.  It was disrespectful to say the least. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

A New Beginning Called Grace


Today we adopted a 3 year old girl that we have had for over a year and a half.  When we got her, she was suffering from a myriad of past abuses.  Today the little girl who came to us as Regena James took on a new identity as Gia Grace Carroll.  The miracle of transformation that has already taken place in her life was formalized by Judge Nance Berger in the 322nd District Court, Tarrant County, Fort Worth, Texas.

Three things of significance occurred on this day: 1. She was, as it were, born again. She will receive a new birth certificate that will show Dana and I as if we were her birth parents. 2. Secondly, she received a new name. 3. Her past records were sealed by the courts and her first/old parents can never access any of her records.  The only one that can access the records is the Judge and the court.  In extreme cases and only at the Judges discretion we, as her new parents, may see them.

DON'T MAKE ME PREACH! :)

Today the old abuses, fears and scars are forever buried.  This is a story of a new birth record, a new identity and a forgotten past.  She has began a new life, with new family, and a new identity called Grace.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wrong Basis for Friendships

We all have various relationships that serve different needs in our lives, and we must.  But larger than the need the friendship serves is the basis upon which it is built.  I have lived long enough to see and be involved in too many relationships that are built on ideological sameness.  It is the ideological equivalent to same-sex marriage.  Relationships that are not built on people, but ideology, is doomed to fail.  Ideologically driven friendships will abandon you when you no longer serve the agenda or they no longer like you.  People who are ideologically driven in their relationships will only be loyal to you as long as you are loyal to the ideology, and the moment that you cease to be loyal to the ideology they will cease to be loyal to you.  No relationship is sacred to the person who is ideologically driven no matter how long it has been in place.

Never seek to retain and maintain relationships with people with whom ideology means more to them than people do.  Be wary of anyone who views ideology as indispensable, but people as dispensable.  If you have a friend that you have watched abandon someone over political expedience, then it is just a matter of time until you become a political liability and you will also be abandoned.  If the only reason I am in your life is to forward your agenda then let me go now and quit wasting my time.

I am sure that I have used relationships in this way, but I pray to God that He grants me grace to never do it again. I have learned over the last 5-10 years to take friendships seriously.  I am loyal and pray that I always will be.  I do not forget loyalty when it is shown me.  I am friends with people that are social assets, and I am friends with people that are social liabilities.  And I am as equally loyal to the one group as I am the other.  I have about 8 friends that I am sold out to.  Lots of others that I am glad to have in my life.  I pray that God places more friends in my life as I go along life's journey.  

Sometimes life is going to make you friends with people that does not make sense to the onlooker.  One of the most foolish things one can do as an outsider is to try to make judgments about why two people are friends.  Never think that because someone is publicly loyal to a person that they have not privately disagreed or even rebuked that person.  All public loyalty means is that the person means more than the issue does. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

With This Ring I Thee Divorce!


Yahoo reveals a new trend in jewelry, divorce rings.  How romantic is that?  Imagine a man after 10 years of marriage walking nervously to the door carrying a bouquet of a dozen red roses with a dis-engagement ring in one of the roses.  He knocks and as his wife answers the door he gets down on one knee and asks, "Will you divorce me?"

She begins to cry and he becomes nervous and afraid that she is going to say, "No."  After a brief, tense moment of contemplation she takes the roses, tells him to stand up and hugs him saying tearfully, "Yes!  Yes! I will divorce you!"  He takes the dis-engagement ring out of the rose and replaces the wedding band already on her finger.

After a few months of divorce dating they set a date.  Standing before the minster, church filled with family and friends, having exchanged vows declaring their commitment to one another that they will remained divorced till death, the soon to be divorced groom takes the bride's hand and places on it the divorcement ring saying, "With this ring I thee divorce."

Later at the reception of the newly divorced couple people pin money on the groom to aid with the divorce settlement, layer fees and alimony checks.  They soon part ways and live happily ever after. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Worship Jesus


Essential to being a Christian is the worship of Christ.  To the Christian, Christ was more than just a human role model to show us how to live; He is more than just a cosmic life coach, He is God in flesh.  The worship of Christ is essential to the Christian experience.  Jesus Christ, the son of God, was the living, breathing expression of the invisible God.  He was and is the express image of God the Father’s person (Hebrews 1:1-3).

“That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” John 5:23 KJV

It is obvious at just a casual look at how the word “honor” is used in the New Testament that it does not exclusively refer divine worship.  Those who deny the deity of Christ will surely point to those passages (Matthew 15:4, 6; 19:19; 27:9; Acts 28:10; 1 Peter 2:17).  However, by saying that it does not exclusively refer to divine worship does not mean that it never refers to divine worship.   The only way to determine how the Son is to be honored we must find out how the Father is to be honored. 

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:7-9 KJV

This is a reference to:

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” Isaiah 29:13 KJV

In Matthew 15:7-9 there are three synonyms used in this text: draweth nigh, honoreth and worship.  The way we honor the Father is through worship.  If there is any doubt as to whether honoring the Father is divine worship, one needs only to read what Jesus quotes from Isaiah (Isaiah 29:13).  Surely all will admit this divine worship that is being given to Israel’s God.  

Whatever honor the Father means, it must mean the same thing for the Son; “…honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.”  The gospels, as well as the whole New Testament, are clear that the Son is to be worshipped.

 “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” Hebrews 1:6-8 KJV

Nothing could be clearer in this text than the Hebrew writer’s (Paul, IMNSHO) claim of the Son’s deity, and therefore his qualification to be worshipped.  Jesus was worshipped in an incarnational context: “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”  I make this point as I adhere to an incarnational sonship view of the Son.  By this I mean that I reject eternal sonship, which is the idea that Jesus eternally preexisted the incarnation as the Son, or in more tritheistic Trinitarian terms, God the Son.  I believe that Luke 1:35 demands that the Son be understood incarnationally.   

I digress.  Back to the point that I was making that Jesus was worshipped in the context of the incarnation.  For me this is one of the more powerful proofs of the deity of Christ.  God alone is to be worshipped; yet, Jesus received worship.

“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10 KJV

Only God is to be worshipped and served.  This eliminates the worship of angels (Colossians 2:18) and humans (Acts 10:25-26; 14:11-15).  Yet, Christ was worshiped and never refused it.  

·         Wise men worshiped Jesus (Matthew 2:2, 8&11).

·         A leper worshiped Jesus (Matthew 8:2).

·         A ruler worshiped Jesus (Matthew 9:18).

·         His disciples worshiped Jesus (Matthew 14:33).

·         A woman of Canaan worshiped Jesus (Matthew 15:25).

·         A mother worshiped Jesus (Matthew 20:20).

·         Mary Magdalene and the other Mary worshiped Jesus (Matthew 28:9).

·         Eleven disciples worshiped Jesus (Matthew 28:17).

·         The demoniac possessed by a legion of demons worshiped Jesus (Mark 5:6).

·         The disciples worshiped Jesus (Luke 24:52).

·         A blind man worshiped Jesus (John 9:38).

Not only was Christ worshiped, but He responded in a God-like manner.  In each of the cases that angels were worshiped they gave the proper angelic response by refusing the worship and redirecting it to God.  Also, each time the apostles were worshiped they gave the proper human response, deflected the worship, and demanded those who would worship them to worship God.

However, we find quite a different response on the part of Christ.  Not only did He not refuse the worship, He responded by granting the petitions of the worshipers.

When the leper worshiped Jesus He cleansed him (Matthew 8:3); when the ruler worshiped Jesus he raised his daughter from the dead (Matthew 9:25); when the woman of Canaan worshiped Jesus He made whole her demon vexed daughter (Matthew 15:28); when the demoniac possessed by a legion of demons worshiped Jesus He cast out the demons (Mark 5:8).

While angels gave an angelic response, and men gave the human response, Jesus gave the God response.  Christ responded to worship in such a way that it demonstrated that He was God.

Christ was worshiped as God incarnate, the Son of God.  The New Testament very clearly understood Jesus, the Son of God, to be God.

“And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:18 & 23 KJV

The Son of God claims that He is the one that “searcheth the reins and hearts.”  Based on the quote from Jeremiah 17:10 this is a very bold claim by the Son of God to be LORD (Yahweh God).

However, when I say that the Son is God, I do not mean as God the Son, the second person of the Trinity.  I acknowledge that the Son is God, and is to be worshiped as God, because He is the living, breathing embodiment of God the Father.  The Son is the express image God the Father’s person (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1-3).  When I speak of the Son as being God I do not mean that he is God the Son manifest in the flesh; I mean that He is God the Father manifest in the flesh, the Father incarnate.  The Son is God the Father existing as a full and complete man.

Friday, March 30, 2012

One God


No doctrine in scripture is more explicit than the oneness of God.  The King James uses these terms:  One God (Malachi 2:10; Mark 12:32; Romans 3:30: 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19).  God is one (Galatians 3:20). One Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4; Zechariah 14:9; Mark 12:29; Ephesians 4:5).

Not only does the scripture say that God is one, but further defines this oneness in these terms: alone (Isaiah 44:24), by Himself (Isaiah 44:24), none beside and none else (Isaiah 45:6), above all (2 Chronicles 2:5), none before and none after (Isaiah 43:10).

In addition to this are the thousands of times that singular personal pronouns (He, Him, I, Me) are used of God. While there are a couple references in the English translations to God as “us” they must not be understood in a Trinitarian sense.  The Jews, to whom the language belongs, would never have understood God as a pluripersonal being.  Some of the “us” passages that are sometimes thought to refer to God, like Isaiah 6:8, clearly do not.  The “us” in Isaiah 6:8 does not refer to God alone, but to God and His host (Isaiah 6:3).  God is never referred to as “they” or “them.”

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” Deuteronomy 6:4 KJV

Deuteronomy 6:4 is called the Shema, and is the bed rock upon which both the Old and New Testaments are built.  The Shema is not only central to Judaism, it is also equally central to Christianity; it is the theology of both covenants.  More importantly in the New Testament is the idea that Israel’s God has been revealed in and as Jesus.

As N.T. Wright says:[1]

“…we are to look at Jesus and see in him, however strange it may seem, the personal presence of Israel’s God…”[2] 

“…God who, having made humans in his own image, will most naturally express himself in and as that image-bearing creature…”[3]

“…in Jesus, Israel’s God had become present, had become human, had come to live in the midst of his people…”[4]

The idea that Israel’s God had become human in and as Jesus Christ is incredible!  That Jesus is the incarnational and personal presence of Israel’s one God is replete throughout the Old Testament (prophetically) and the New Testament (fulfillment).

“Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.” Romans 3:29-30 KJV

This verse beautifully illustrates that Israel’s God is the Gentile’s God, and the way that Israel’s God became the Gentile’s God is in the incarnation (2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16).

My favorite illustration of Jesus being Israel’s God incarnate is Jeremiah 17:9-10 and Revelation 2:18, 23:

 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

“These things sayeth the Son of God… all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:18, 23

This is a bold claim by the Son of God to be the Old Testament LORD (Yahweh).  The New Testament makes two very clear claims: 1. Israel’s God is the only true God. 2. Israel’s one God is revealed in the Person of Christ.

The point of the oneness of God, as I will attempt to demonstrate in this book, is much bigger than creedal confession.  The oneness of God is not only the world’s greatest creed, but it is also the world’s great conduct.


[1] For clarification: I am not quoting N.T. Wright presuming that we share the same Theology or Christology. 
[2] Wright, N. T. (2012-03-13). How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (Kindle Locations 1573-1574). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
[3] Wright, N. T. (2012-03-13). How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (Kindle Locations 1706-1709). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
[4] Wright, N. T. (2012-03-13). How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (Kindle Locations 1549-1554). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Essentially Christian

Essential to being a Christian is the worship of Christ. To the Christian, Christ was more than just a human role model to show us how to live. He is more than just a cosmic life coach, He is God in flesh. The worship of Christ is essential to the Christian experience. Jesus Christ, the son of God, was the living, breathing expression of the invisible God. He was and is the express image of God the Father’s person (Hebrews 1:1-3).

In part, this is why the Jehovah Witnesses, Christadelphians, and others can never be considered Christian.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What Everyone Wants, but Few Are Willing To Do.

Everybody wants unity in the body of Christ, but few are willing to make the sacrifices for it.  We love the idea of unity, but we loathe the ideology of unity; we love the preaching of unity, but not the practice of unity.  We are okay with unity as long as everyone is shifting into my paradigm.  We insist the other guy change for sake of unity, yet I refuse to change for sake of truth.  This is not unique to the conservative or the liberal; both are guilty.

What are you willing to do for the unity of the body of Christ? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Friends

I thank God for my friends. God has blessed me with a handful of really great and diverse friendships. I have friends that challenge me intellectually. I have friends that challenge my faith. I have friends that challenge me spiritually. I have friends to argue with, laugh with and cry with. I have young, middle-aged and older friends. I have friends that are more liberal than me and I have friends that are more conservative than me. I have friend that can address every need that I have. Somewhere between all of their influences I think I will be safe. Thank God for friends.




Thursday, January 12, 2012

Innovation or Paradigm Shift

The second attribute of imaginatively gridlocked relationship systems is a continual search for new answers to old questions rather than an effort to reframe the questions themselves. In the search for the solution to any problem, questions are always more important than answers because the way one frames the question, or the problem, already predetermines the range of answers one can conceive in response. The critical difference between what is now popularly called a paradigm shift and what might otherwise be simply an innovation involves precisely this change in focus from answer to question. For example, at some point in history someone realized that solid wheels could be made much lighter by cutting away pie-shaped slices and leaving only spokes. That was certainly a useful, facilitating innovation that produced a new answer to the question of how to overcome the cumbersomeness of wheels. But the paradigm shift of transportation that opened imaginative new ways of thinking was the wheel itself! Innovations are new answers to old questions; paradigm shifts reframe the question, change the information that is important, and generally eliminate previous dichotomies.

Friedman, Edwin H. (2007-02-01). A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix (Kindle Locations 783-787). Church Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Merit or Mercy

The blessing and favor of God cannot be merely a matter of merit; it must be a matter of mercy. Recently I began to mentally itemize the reasons that God should bless me. The Spirit quickly began His own itemized list of reasons as to why I should not be blessed. The Spirit's list was longer and more significant than my list. God was trying to remind me that His blessing and favor flows out of His mercy and not my merit. Trust!

Monday, January 9, 2012

"If I Were Your Friend" by Martyn Ballestero

If I were your friend, I would love you regardless.

If I were your friend, I would stand by you when no one else was brave enough to.

If I were your friend, I might know negative things about you, but I’d still love you.

If I were your friend, I might not approve of all you do, but I would still love you.

If I were your friend, I would never stab you in the back.

If I were your friend, I’d never give up on you.

If I were your friend, I would love you even when it wasn’t popular to do so.

If I were your friend, I would defend you against rumors and lies.

If I were your friend, I would pray for you and with you when you needed help.

If I were your friend, I would celebrate your achievements.

If I were your friend, I wouldn’t try to make you just like me.

If I were your friend, I would only offer criticism or advice, if you asked.

If I were your friend, I might not agree with you, but I would always love you.

If I were your friend, I wouldn’t let you down.

If I were your friend, I would never walk away.

If I were your friend, I would accept you like you are.

If I were your friend, I would never say anything to hurt you.

If I were your friend, I wouldn’t let you choose my enemies.

If I were your friend, I would cry when you cried.

If I were your friend, I would laugh when you laughed.

If I were your friend, I would be loyal even if others weren’t.

If I were your friend, I would keep God in the center of our friendship.

If I were your friend, I would still be your friend when I died.

If I were your friend, I would consider it an honor.

If I were your friend, I’d never get in your way, unless you were going down.

If I were your friend, I would love you regardless.


One might ask, “Isn’t that going a little over the top with friendship?” Maybe so, but I don’t know how else to interpret what King Solomon said!

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.