Answer for Evil

The Bible is full of creepy guys. Literally, these guys make your skin crawl they are so evil. Ahab was one of those guys. We’re told that “Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”

What I love about God is that He doesn’t forsake His people. When a bad guy comes, God always has a good guy ready. Ahab is mentioned first in 1 Kings 16 28. By 17:1 Elijah, the chief of the prophets, is on the scene!

Just when it seems like things couldn’t get any dumber, God comes along and totally redeems the situation. You can never get discouraged with bad guys, bad times, bad situations, because God has something good coming. Sometimes it takes a long time; sometimes the good comes quickly.

Doesn’t really matter: good is coming! Keep the faith!

Is Israel’s Kingdom in Minneapolis?

One of the central tenets of Reformed/Covenant theology is that the Kingdom of Israel is now fulfilled in the Church. The Church has replaced Israel, therefore, Israel will not get a kingdom, thus making reformed and dispensational end times views vastly different.

This is a huge sticking point for me. I do not see how you can read the Bible and not come to the conclusion that God will restore the kingdom to Israel. The only way you can do it is to “spiritualize” the text, to make it say what it does not literally say.

Here’s one “proof” that reformed theology misses the boat. At the beginning of Acts, Jesus tells His guys to wait for the power of the Spirit to come on them. The disciples ask, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)

If Reformed theology were true, Jesus would say something like, “Oh, you guys, don’t you get anything? Israel won’t get a kingdom, I gave it to a bunch of white guys in Minneapolis.”

However, this is not even remotely close to what Jesus says. Jesus says, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons.” In other words, not yet guys. This obviously implies that Jesus thought the Kingdom would indeed be restored, He just wasn’t telling them when.

“Restore” means to reconstitute, to bring back again. In other words, Israel is going to get back their kingdom. Next time Christ will reign and the Kingdom will be more awesomer than it ever was before. This will fulfill the covenant God made with David that there will be someone on David’s throne forever.

Reformed theologians say Jesus’ answer dismisses their question, they missed the boat still thinking about an earthly kingdom. But if this were the case, Jesus would not have answered about time, He would have answered about place. He does not correct their question, He answers their question in relation to time, by refusing to reveal when it would occur! No doubt because it would have been highly depressing.

The disciple’s question was correct it just wasn’t time yet. To deny that is to twist words.

The Faith of Harry Connick Jr.

Harry Connick Jr. did a brief interview with Christianity Today about his faith, which is “practicing Catholic.” Keep practicing, maybe someday you’ll get to play. Here’s a snippet.

“When I was young I felt more tension between my faith and entertaining than I do now. When I was 22 there were things that I thought were wrong that I now know are not wrong. For example, I don’t have a problem with profanity in movies. I did for a while and I did many movies in which I would not curse. I wouldn’t kiss an actress. I realize now that’s silly. Part of the reason God put me here is to be an entertainer.”

Holy Priesthood

“No lead pastor” view guys quote 1 Peter 2:5,9, we are the holy priesthood of God. They follow it up with, “See, I’m a priest myself, I don’t need a pastor.”

This is an ironic point because serious contenders for the “no lead pastor” view use much ink in telling us not to use the OT examples of Moses, Joshua, the priests, or the king as an example of pastoral power today. A point I agree with.

However, by saying, “since I’m a priest I don’t need a pastor” they now switch the argument back and equate the OT priest with the NT pastor. You can’t have it both ways.

Peter’s point is that we are all the priesthood of God in that we are all capable of offering God spiritual service and showing forth the praises of God. Believers are all God’s representatives and can all approach the throne room of God and can all serve Him. There is no special class of guys who get closer to God than others.

Peter’s point is that we all, in Christ, fulfill the pictures of the OT and are God’s representatives now. It’s not a temple, a class of priests, a selected nation. It’s a people born again to new life in Christ.

This is a far cry from saying that there are no leaders in the church. Ephesians 4, which details gifted men who lead the church, tells us that these gifted men are there to equip believers to do the work of the ministry, i.e.–teach them to offer spiritual service to God as a priest might do.

Furthermore, Hebrews 7 says that Christ is our priest. “No lead pastor” view guys argue against using OT offices as NT guides to church leadership, as they were all fulfilled in Christ. I agree, but again, they switch it back and now claim to be the office of priest!

The word Peter uses for “priesthood” (again with the Greek concordance here), is different from the word “priesthood” used in Hebrews to talk about Christ. The priesthood in Peter is not a class, it’s a description of believer’s actions.

We have one high priest today and that is Christ. Christ has gifted men in the church to equip believers to do the work of priests–spiritual service. Thank you. That is all.


Seriously, I like much of what Frank Viola says. His critique of the problem is excellent. His solutions, a tad one sided. Here’s another example.

He mentions that the word “pastor” is only used one time in the NT, therefore it’s odd that we make so much of pastors in our day. Two things.

1) “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is mentioned one time in the OT, yet appears rather important to the mind of Christ. Let’s be careful not to determine how important God thinks something is based on our obsession with numbers.

2) I don’t know, with all due respect, Mr. Viola needs to implement a Greek concordance. I mean no disrespect, it’s just that my Greek concordance undermines much of what he says so authoritatively about certain words.

The King James uses the word “pastors” one time in Ephesians 4. However, the Greek word and it’s derivatives are used several times.

1 Corinthians 9, in defending the paying of pastors, says that shepherds eat from their flock so to should elders/pastors get paid.

1 Peter 5 tells the elders to feed the flock of God. “Feed” is the Greek word “pastor.”

Acts 20:28 says again to “feed,” pastor, the flock of God while speaking to the elders at Ephesus.

Saying that the word “pastor is only used once” is right in that only once is a man called a pastor. However, calling an elder a pastor is not a mistake, is supported by the activity a pastor is to do and is also what Ephesians 4 does indeed call them.

The shakiness of the central points trouble me.

Spiritual Rank

I’m trying to maintain composure. It really frosts me when people use Scripture in a twisted way. This Reimagining Church book is starting to get to me. Boy I wanted to like this book.

Exousia is a Greek word that means “authority.” The author maintains that at no point in the NT is one believer given exousia over another believer. All are equal, there is no hierarchy and no rank.

In order to maintain this, he has to fudge words around and ignore passages, like most of 1 and 2 Corinthians, which is Paul’s defense of his authority over them, even using exousia a few times.

If a guy were to look up the word “rule” in the NT he would find that this word, proistemi, (which is defined as “to stand before in rank”) is used several times of the higher rank of some in the church over others.

When he does mention “rule” he says it means to “guide.” I don’t see this at all in the word. Pro means “before” and histemi means “stand.” It means literally to stand before, in front of. One might say to rank ahead of.

In fact, Romans 12 lists ruling, having rank over others, as a spiritual gift! 1 Thessalonians 5:12 says we are to esteem those who have the rule over you in the church highly! One of the qualifications of a pastor is that he rules his own house well, how else can he care for the church?

However, the author would have us believe there is no rank in the Body. Does this mean believing parents don’t have authority over their believing kids? Does this chuck the whole man is responsible for his woman deal?

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says those elders who rule (rank) over you well get double honor. We are warned to stay away from “brothers” who are unruly (those who don’t submit to authority)!

Goodness. It just bugs me more that he’s so sloppy with Scripture. I truly wanted his point to be true. I did. But it’s not. It just isn’t.

It bugs me that he doesn’t even veer into these passages. He just skips them as if they don’t exist, mostly mentioning them in an appendix and he uses words deceptively to walk around passages. It’s like talking to a Calvinist. Man. What a bummer.

Double Honor

Continuing some thoughts on 1 Timothy 5:17. The reason I’m reading this book trashing the modern church (Reimagining Church by Frank Viola) is because I’m not content with the modern form of church. I really wanted him to tell me not to get paid and that I can slough off my responsibilities on the lazy laymen.

I desperately wanted that. I also wanted to be one of the high and mighty spiritual ones who could then down pastors who get paid and brag that I’m one of God’s priests, I don’t need you. I earnestly desired such a thing. Still do.

However, the Bible just doesn’t go that way, as much as I and others would like it to. A few more thoughts on double honor.

–If double honor doesn’t mean “pay” but means “respect,” then you have the unfortunate situation of doubly respecting certain members of the Body of Christ, which violates many scriptures. One of the main tenets of this book is that all members are equal, there is no leadership or hierarchy (institutional anyway). However, if double honor means I treat certain people better than others, seems I’ve missed something.

–I may grant that “double honor” doesn’t mean a wage. I can agree with that based on the Greek. However, it can mean “to pay a price for something.” If all members of the Body gave double to a pastor more than what they pay to anyone for any other service, a pastor wouldn’t need a wage anyway!

–I still desire to be convinced not to be paid for this job. “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14). I view this statement as being a command, the way things ought to be. I also view it as a giant curse. A curse which many today are desiring to get out from underneath and I know why.

Getting paid for this job is one of the most humiliating (humbling) things I’ve ever done in my life. It carries a huge weight and burden. It carries with it a nagging sense that whatever I spend money on is letting down lots of people. If I were not paid for this, I’d be even more of an ego maniacal, raving jerk.

I can honestly say that being paid for this job has been one of the most trying things I’ve ever faced and it has lead to much growth in my life. I still have the right to forgo pay, but I also know I need to grow more before I can trust myself with such freedom.

Paid Pastors

I’ve long thought over the role of the modern day pastor. The current office is not the original intent. At the same time, whenever I read spoutings off on the modern pastor role, they tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater, which, you know, babies are annoying and everything, but still.

A recent guy I’m reading talks about 1 Timothy 5:17, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour.” This is a statement used to support the paying of pastors, which he attempts to deny.

First, he says that the Greek word used is not the usual Greek word referring to wages. This depends. Yes, there is a word that refers to wages but there is also a word that is more commonly used referring to paying money, and that is the word “honor” in 1 Timothy 5:17.

Second, there are charges in the NT for believers to honor each other and honor God etc. Therefore, it must always mean “respect.” This is true, the word is used that way, however, my Greek concordance also shows me that it is also frequently used in regard to paying money.

Third, he attempts to show that the context means we are to respect elders, not pay them. I would argue the exact opposite from the context. Ox eat the grain they tread, sounds like a physical payment to me. This point is further proven by looking at 1 Corinthians 9:9-11 (a passage he neglects to bring up) where the same analogy is used to refer to paying a guy for spiritual work. Granted, Paul refused the payment but he still says it is acceptable. “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (9:14).

Further, the anti-paid-pastor guy says that earlier in chapter five the church is to honor widows. He says this refers to respecting them. However, the context shows that Paul is literally talking about paying widows, putting them “in the number,” on the account sheet to provide for them.

It always bothers me when guys make points and neglect to raise the total context of their passages and words. Makes me suspicious of their agenda.

In all, I think pastors should endeavor to pay their own way, Paul is an excellent example of this sacrificial service. At the same time, the Bible seems to back up the notion of paying guys who help you. Christian love says to pay guys who don’t help you (Matthew 5:38-42) so I’d assume paying helpful people is also love!

Pastors should, however, be more concerned with their service to others and if reducing salary induces edification, go for it. Being paid is a right; foregoing it is a privilege.

A Post to Disagree With

Seth Godin has a blog post today about doing goals that no one ever sets out to do but perhaps should. He says,

“It’s not stupid to have a stated goal of starting several ventures that will fail, or asking three stupid questions a week, or posting a blog post that the world disagrees with. If you don’t have goals like this, how exactly are you going to luck into being remarkable?”

Being stupid is a very attainable goal for me. I will accomplish this goal by doing a blog post the world will disagree with. Here goes.

The apostle Paul instructs women to be quiet in church (1 Corinthians 14:34,35; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). No one ever adheres to this instruction. Even people who pride themselves on reading the Bible literally don’t literally interpret these passages.

The explanation I always hear is that these passages are to be interpreted culturally. Paul was speaking to the culture he was in and it has no ramifications for today.

Here’s the deal, if this is cultural, consider what it does to the context. If the Holy Spirit truly does gift women to speak in church and Paul culturally tells them not to, Paul is thwarting the Holy Spirit. Paul is putting a human rule, a yoke of bondage, on people, something he specifically preaches against.

If this passage is cultural, then Paul does not listen to his own teaching, he is an opponent of the Holy Spirit, and he undermines the authority of Scripture by showing that the Bible is not God-inspired.

If that’s the case, women, feel free to speak. If it is not, I suggest women shut up.

Let the disagreement begin.

Sacrifice and Obedience

It’s common knowledge that the sacrifices of the OT were a picture of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The sacrifices were a picture or a shadow of the perfect sacrifice of Christ.

Sacrifices in the OT were spoken of to illustrate the various ways Christ’s death would fulfill God’s righteous demands.

When we see sacrifices in the OT our minds should point to Christ, it’s where the school master brings you.

Here’s an interesting one. Saul and the boys wooped up on the bad guys. God told them not to take any of the spoils. The people, true to form, took some spoils. This is the classic line of Samuel in the King James, “What meaneth the bleating of the sheep?”

Saul says, “Oh yeah, the sheep, well the people took those but we were gonna use them for a sacrifice to God.” Yeah, a sacrifice, yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket.

Samuel’s response, “to obey is better than sacrifice” Obedience is better than sacrifice.

Hmm, thinking of Christ, school master bringing me along. Hmm.

Christ is not sacrificed again, He did it once for all. That being the case, there are many who assume that since Christ died and I’m forgiven sin is no big deal. But something tells me listening to God is better than taking advantage of the sacrifice.

“Should we sin that grace may abound? God forbid.” I believe Paul and Samuel have the same human proclivity in mind in their similar statements.

Legalism and Lust

It’s hard work to live up to other’s rules for your life. Unfortunately, living up to other’s standards frequently leads to us failing God’s.

Back in the day, King Saul told his guys not to eat any food while they were woopin up on the enemy (1 Samuel 14). While chasing the bad guys they got tired because they were so hungry.

Finally they were able to eat after abstaining for Saul. They gorged themselves on meat and they were in such a hurry to cook and eat it they didn’t bother to drain the blood. Eating blood was a violation of God’s Law.

While doing a good job keeping Saul’s rules they ended up blowing it on God’s rules. Which do you think God cared more about?

The problem with legalism, man-made rules of conduct, is that it often leads to lust and a sudden explosion into sin. God does not promise any spiritual provision to keep man’s rules! Don’t waste your energy. Even if you succeed you’ll eventually blow it and a torrent of sin will ensue.

Prayer and Teaching

Israel’s idea to get a king did not go over well with God. He took it as an affront. They have rejected God to follow a guy. Samuel points out their sin to them and they feel really bad. They ask Samuel to pray for them. Here’s his response.

“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way” (1 Sam 12:23).

Of course Samuel will pray for them but he’ll also continue to teach them.

This refrain shows up other times in Scripture. The early church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

The pastors in Acts 6 chose guys to wait on tables so they could “give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”

Paul continually prays for his people while teaching them about love and their new salvation he desires them to grow in (2 Corinthians 13:9; Philippians 1:9). Prayer and teaching go together.

This shows us that teaching alone doesn’t work and prayer alone also doesn’t work. But both teaching and prayer presents an unstoppable force. Seeing as how this is a consistent testimony of Scripture, it should be our consistent practice.

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9).

Bible Names

Names used to mean stuff. I named our eldest daughter after a cute weather lady in MN. That’s not very inspiring (although her forecasts were).

Anyhooo, names in the Bible used to mean things. They called significant places long names to commemorate what happened there.

–And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah
–And he called the name of the place Taberah:
–And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:
–And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah:

If you know Hebrew you’ll know what these names mean and they would remind you of what went on there. They keep sticking more syllables together to get to a cool word that means stuff. Here’s my favorite one. This is so great.

Wait for it.

It’s from Joshua 22:34.


“And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed.”

That’s so great! It reminds me of The Quest for the Holy Grail. The mighty magic man is blowing up stuff with fire out of his staff. “What do we call you?” they ask hesitantly, greatly impressed with his powers.

He answers with much pomp and power: “There are some who call me, Tim.” Too funny.

Praying in Football

Tim Tebow has brought a lot of attention to the religious component of football. Which is fine, whatever, I still doubt anyone from the Florida Gators can truly be saved.

The NFL, which has long held to certain supposed Christian traditions and has also been labeled the No Fun League because they curb idiot athletes, has recently made a statement concerning end zone celebrations during the Super Bowl.

“The whole issue is, you can’t go to the ground on your knees or with your hand or anything. There’s only one time that you’re going to be allowed to go on your knee after you score like this, and that’s when you want to praise the Lord. If you do that, then I’m going to allow that, because I do not want to be struck by lightning, I promise you that. We will allow that.”

So that’s good reasoning. I guess I don’t mind end zone celebrations. Of course, the former team I cheered for never had to worry about getting carried away in the end zone for some reason. The Lambeau Leap reigns supreme as an end zone celebration.

Inside Were Fears

One criticism that I have heard at my church is that I’m too wimpy when it comes to confrontation. I’ll confess the truth in this.

My growing years were consumed with idiots making fun of me and my crossed-eyes. In Jr. High I was put in a special ed gym class for some reason. During the entire year, all the special ed kids made fun of me, calling me ever so affectionately, “Cockeye.”

I withdrew into myself and watched. I can judge character in a split second. I know a bully at first glimpse and I’m seldom wrong. Even now, as I work with young kids in our church, I can always sense the ones who will mention how my eyes look funny.

I’ve always struggled with a fear of people, weird situations and new surroundings. Much of it has to do with the fact that I can’t see well. This has long been a battle for me. I have seen growth but I continue to fight it.

It is nice to be treated with grace in this area but I also understand how disappointing I may seem as a pastor. I get it. This is one of many reasons I point people to Christ and not me.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”
–2 Timothy 1:7,8


Israel and the Palestinians have called a truce in their conflict of the last three weeks. Gaza is the largest city of the Gaza Strip region.
I happened to be reading in Judges today and saw that Samson had his run-in with a prostitute and then was later imprisoned in Gaza!
Gaza was also the place Philip was heading to in Acts 8 when he met the Ethiopian eunuch.
I don’t know why, but that’s weird to me.

Can Church Really Teach Scriptures?

Not long ago a guy at our church came up to me and said “The Church [by which he meant the institutional church] can never truly teach the Scripture because the Scripture teaches against the Church.”

I thought that was a good point. It’s quite true. Read Matthew 23. Read Paul and Peter’s warnings about false shepherds and teachers.

–It’s awful hard to get rich off ministry and teach the Scripture.

–It’s awful hard to be more interested in your church’s finances and material growth and teach the Scripture.

–It’s awful hard to tell everyone your leadership and teaching is infallible and teach the Scripture.

–It’s awful hard to make your church members jump through your traditional hoops and teach Scripture.

–It’s awful hard to live above the laws you force on your congregants and teach the Scripture.

–It’s awful hard to desire fancy titles and privileges and teach the Scripture.

–It’s awful hard to be friends with the world and adopt their methods and teach the Scripture.

–It’s awful hard to tell lie after lie, deception after deception and teach the Scripture.

“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”
–Romans 16:17,18

Our Prayer

In the same prayer sermon by Mark Driscoll, I heard him say that when we pray, based on Jesus’ teaching in the Lord’s Prayer, we should do it corporately minded. Not always praying about ourselves.

His reasoning for this is that Jesus constantly uses “us” and “our” throughout the Lord’s Prayer.

Now, I certainly have no problem praying for others or with a corporate mindset. However, to teach that we should always pray this way because Jesus uses “us” and “our” in the Lord’s Prayer seems a tad off.

The reason Jesus uses “us” and “our” is because it’s in answer to the question: “Teach US to pray.” He is addressing a group at the time. “He said unto THEM. . .”

How to Pray

Prayer strikes people differently. We’ve made it more confusing than it needs to be.

Jesus Christ taught some good stuff in regard to prayer in Matthew 6. His first teaching is that if you want to learn how to pray don’t watch religious people. They don’t get it.

Instead, when He teaches people how to pray He constantly drops in “Father.”

If you want to know how to pray, watch a kid who has a loving father. Watch how that kid talks to his dad: that’s how you pray.

I heard this in a sermon by Mark Driscoll and I thought it was well said. I doubt I have said it better.

The King and I

Deuteronomy 17 contains rules for Israel’s kings. The kings pretty much ignored all of them, some right away. One rule that was majorly violated is in 17:17–the king should not have a multitude of wives. How did that one go David?

Here’s a more fascinating one in 17:18, the king was supposed to make a copy of the law, to write it out in front of the Levitical priests! How cool is that?

Obviously this one fell into disuse as well, seeing as how one of the priests stumbled upon the book of the law under Josiah’s reign. If the priests didn’t know where the book was it was doubtful the king knew it.

Furthermore, if each king had to write out the law wouldn’t there be many copies lying around somewhere?

It’s amazing how God’s rules are so simple and yet we have such a hard time keeping up. Thank God for grace, but thank God for His rules that can keep us out of much stupidity if we just go ahead and do ’em.

Heart Health

When it comes to the genuineness of faith, the heart is always the issue.

God has revealed many things to us to help get us where He’d like us to be, allowing for our own free will idiocy at the same time.

God has always been interested in people’s hearts. He wants to know what’s going on in there, and He finds this out by watching words and actions (Matthew 12:34; Ephesians 6:6; Romans 6:17).

Deuteronomy 8:2 says “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.”

He obviously got His answer! In order to stay in the Land and keep things going well the people were to live by the Law. If they did what God desired them to do they would be blessed in their Land.

We know the rest of the story. Listen to God’s cry, feel His pain in this statement, “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29)

This is the pain of a father who loves His kids, who desperately wants them to just listen so they won’t have so many problems and so that He can love them the way He’s always dreamed of loving them.

The issue is the heart. If the heart is right with God good actions happen.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezekiel 38:26,27)

There is a partial fulfillment of this today, all believers get a new heart. Paul says “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.” Love is the fulfilling of the Law.

So cool how it all fits together.

Simony and Pet Doctrines

I was involved in a very fun discussion last night about faith. We eventually hit on Simon who believed God and was baptized (Acts 8:13). Later on, however, Simon tries to buy the power of the Holy Spirit.

At this point Peter says to Simon, “Let your money perish with you. Your heart is not right, your sins are not forgiven and you in trouble son” (Acts 8:20-23).

The fascinating point brought up was, which one do we throw under the bus here: justification by faith alone or eternal security?

If a man is justified by faith alone it would be hard to imagine Peter condemning the man to hell since he said he believed. If he was saved because he believed and Peter told him and his money to go to hell, well Simon just lost his salvation.

Which doctrine do we keep in this one? If you say Simon wasn’t saved, what was all the “Simon believed” business? The only other option to avoid chucking doctrines is to convince yourself that when Peter told him and his money to perish is that “perish” does not mean condemnation to hell.

You’d have to do some tricky non-literal interpretation things to get that meaning based on how the word is always used in regard to people: talking about their destruction in hell, Judas was a son of perdition. “Perdition” is the same word as Peter uses for “perish.”

Fun stuff!

Daily Devotionals are Weak

I came across this article that notes the new trend in making one minute Bible studies for busy Christians. These are nothing more than devotionals that are marketed to only take a few minutes out of your day.

Devotionals have always struck me as odd (not to the point I don’t write them for cash), but still they’re mostly trite and simplistic.

The fact that marketers of devotionals have to now stress how little this devotion will waste your time does show a disturbing trend, however.

A recent national survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 71% of people are absolutely certain about their belief in God and that 58% pray daily outside of religious services.

Faith leaders are working hard to capitalize on that spiritual hunger, not just with convenience but with high production values.

Well, this here “faith leader” aint doing anything to help you water down faith and make it as convenient as possible for anyone.

When you observe the methods of Jesus Christ in evangelizing and teaching, you very quickly realize that He confronts people and makes His message as difficult as possible to receive. He lets people know the cost and what it will do to them.

I get it that publishers need to do what they gotta do to make money. But to trivialize the Bible, to make it convenient and slick is completely contrary to the Bible’s message.

We’re told to “study to show ourselves approved.” I don’t recall reading the part where it said “Read for like a minute a day to be approved.”

(And, to all devotional readers who are offended, yes, “it’s better than nothing.” Just like walking to the fridge is better than sitting on the couch.)

Obama and God and Stuff

I refrain from most political discussion more or less because I think it’s pointless. However, I still find it interesting to observe. Here are some news headlines:

–Obama wants to include “so help me God” in his swearing in. I’d like him to include it too.

–Apparently Obama got lots of heat for his choice of Rick Warren, gay basher extraordinaire, to pray at his inauguration so he’s evened it out by asking an openly gay Episcopal bishop to also pray. Ahh, safely back on the yellow line.

–In other news, Ted Haggard is back from the “wilderness.” “At this stage in my life, I’m a loser – a first-class loser,” he says.

–And lastly, some not so surprising news that I predicted many years ago, megachurches are increasingly defaulting on their loans. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the taxpayers who will foot the bill for their bankruptcies. Jesus must be so proud.

(Many thanks to the blog Thunderstruck for their continued sifting of the news for me.)

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