Questions To Start With

In Luke 10 a Lawyer confronts Jesus. The matter of the confrontation will not be addressed here because that’s not my point. My point is how Jesus attempts to answer this smart guy’s question. He starts off with two questions of His own.

1) What is written in the law? The first way to answer a challenge to your faith is to ask the other person what scripture says. If they don’t know what scripture says, or if you don’t for that matter, there will never be a solid resolution.

2) How readest thou? Now that Jesus has pointed smart guy’s brain to the scripture, He then asks how the guy reads it. Just because the Bible says something doesn’t mean people read it that way! These two questions should be the foundation to the beginning of any answer in a doctrinal disagreement.

Knowing the answer to these two questions will aid in coming to a good conclusion. However, even Jesus had trouble with this guy. After answering that he should love his neighbor, lawyer man decides to justify himself or excuse himself by asking who his neighbor is.

The third step to coming to a conclusion is to eliminate justifications. Often, even though we know what the Bible says and we have even read it right, we still don’t want to do it.

With these three steps in mind, you can have a fine conversation with someone, or at least know that any further conversation is going to be a colossal waste of time and energy. Cutting to the point is the object. These three steps cut well.

Fat Tuesday

As we all know, God failed miserably in His attempt to judge the heathens in New Orleans. One funny thing about that is that New Orleans, home to Mardi Gras, is actually celebrating a “Christian” holiday.

Mardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday,” has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. But its roots lie in the Christian calendar, as the “last hurrah” before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. That’s why the enormous party in New Orleans, for example, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday, with battalions of streetsweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home.

I think Fat Tuesday is an excellent example of the failure of legalism. Lent is supposed to clean you up, supposed to guilt you into good behavior.

All it does is make us what we are not and the result will be a party before and after. “Hey, I did good, I deserve a break.” Or “Hey, I have to clean it up, but before I do, look out here I come!” Either way, you are serving in the letter not in the spirit.

I would also like to point out the freedom in Christ that not only could I have Fat Tuesday, but I can follow it with Fat Wednesday, Fat Thursday, Fat Friday, Fat Saturday, Fat Sunday, Fat Monday and right back into Fat Tuesday, 52 weeks a year. God is not impressed with your humility and will-worship (Colossians 2:23). He is impressed with faith that rests in His provision.

Jesus Driftwood

A woman from Ohio has a piece of driftwood in her garden that has an image of Christ on it. She was afraid to tell people about it for fear they would think she was nuts. No, no, who would even think that? But then the grilled cheese sandwich fiasco happened so she started showing it to people.

After sending a photo of it to a friend, the friend spotted an image of Satan on the same piece! Now she wonders what the deal is. Is it a message? Is it a miracle? Is it worth money?

Hocevar said some of her friends view the wood as a miracle, but her husband isn’t sold. “He thinks it’s dumb and wonders what I’m going to do with it,” she said.

I don’t even know the guy and I feel as though we have some sort of connection.

Henry Morris

Dr. Henry Morris passed away at the age of 87 after a series of strokes. Morris was one of the founders of the modern Creation Science movement. His most notable work is The Genesis Flood. He was also the founder of the Institute for Creation Research.

I remember back in college I had an 8 am Earth Science class. This wouldn’t be so bad now, but at the time I worked until 2 am. One of the books we were supposed to read was The Genesis Flood. I can’t honestly say I read too much of it. Since then, I still have the book on my bookshelf and I’ve always meant to read it, which is pretty close to actually having read it.

My wife, who also had an Earth Science class at the same college, read the book and claims it’s one of the best books she’s ever read. She actually got one of those “A’s” they always talk about. Maybe I’ll read it now in memoriam.

British Church Trends

New research has shown that more than 1,000 new churches have started in Britain over the last seven years. Only 450 Starbucks have opened in that time. Seriously, that’s one of their conclusions.

All the major denominations opened new churches but the biggest growth was among the black Pentecostal churches. About half of the new congregations were created by the Pentecostal churches, with help from other ethnic minorities such as the Chinese and the Croatians. New initiatives such as “Fresh Expressions“, alternative worship services aimed at young people, accounted for a fifth of new congregations.

This may sound like good news, perhaps more people are going to church now. Only problem is, the UK closed more churches than it started in the last seven years. Most of the people who are going to these new churches are the same people who were going to the old churches!

One of the pastors of one of the fastest growing denominations said that “the secret of church growth was lively worship and meeting the needs of the community.” I won’t even make my next statement.

God Is A Bit Rusty

New Orleans is gearing up for Mardi Gras, which gets in full swing tomorrow on Fat Tuesday.

Throngs lining the routes of the family-friendly uptown parades were six- to eight-feet deep, but still not as thick as in years past. Restaurants reported brisk business, but there are fewer restaurants: 506 of the pre-Katrina number of 1,882 restaurants were operating, said Tom Weatherly, vice president for research with the New Orleans Restaurant Association.

Hotel rooms were filled, but again, there are fewer – about 15,000 instead of the usual 25,000 – according to Denise Estopinal, a spokeswoman for the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association.

Back in the day when God judged people regularly, He did it for real. Not only did cities not return to pagan holidays the following year, they were lucky to have anything left. I guess God is a bit rusty. I hope He practices some more so we can all celebrate some good smiting of heathens sometime soon.

Theological Word Of Today

Today’s theological word is Pelagianism. Pelagianism.

It was decided long ago that Pelagianism was heretical, it won’t take you long to understand why. However, some Pelagian thought remains today. Pelagius was the mind behind this theological theory. No one knows too much about him except that he was a strict ascetic–disciplined himself highly.

Pelagianism is the belief that mankind can save itself by being good. Adam’s sin did not taint our nature, it merely set a bad example. Christ was not a sacrifice for us nor did He represent us on the cross. Instead, Christ merely set a good example. God’s grace is just an added bonus, the icing on the cake for good people.

Obviously this is heretical. If it were true there would only be two people good enough to be in heaven–Me and Pelagius. Be sure you thank God for his grace.