Category Archives: Christianity

What is an Evangelical anyway?

The Stand to Reason blog (Greg Koukl and others) posted an article entitled “E is for Evangelical” where Melinda (the author of this post) calls for the retirement of the title “evangelical.” One of the points that she makes is that since the rise of the Moral Majority, Evangelical has come to identify a political position as opposed to a theological one. Great point. I have thought that we have gotten into bed with the Republican party as Christians, and we need to get out. Being a Christian has little to do with political persuasion – as it has nothing to do with national affiliation. The church’s methodology and strategy is not political persuasion.

I simply want to be known as a follower of Christ.

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Heaven and Hell – Beware what you hear!

Maybe you have heard this statement before: “Jesus talks more about hell than he does about heaven.”

Just yesterday I heard a radio message from a local pastor claim that Jesus talked about hell 3 times more than he does heaven. As I sat in my car I thought to myself, “No he doesn’t” and couldn’t wait to get back to my computer and Bible Works to check out the claim. And sure enough, the claim is absolutely false. IN FACT, it is just the opposite.

Results for an English word search (King James Version – KJV which happens to be the version most fond of the word hell, our modern versions are much less fond of the word, NAS using it only 13 times total):

Hell is used 54 times in the KJV Bible , 15 times in the gospels.

Heaven is used 582 in the KJV Bible, 143 times in the gospels.

Really the ratio is 10:1, Jesus speaks of heaven 10 times more than he does of hell. Now that is just simple word usage, not taking any time to do an in depth analysis of context or the Hebrew and Greek words behind the simple English words Hell/Heaven. Anyone familiar with the background knows that it is not a simple process in talking about the word or concept of hell. Our modern concept is much more developed than the Old Testament Jewish concept and even different from the Judaism of NT times.

Sheol is the Hebrew word that the KJV translates “hell.” Most modern translations have abandoned that translation of sheol altogether and either simply translate sheol as “grave” or simply “sheol.”

Abusso, gehenna, hades, tartarus are the New Testament (Greek) possibilities for the word “hell.” None of them literally means “hell” rather they literally mean: abyss; Hinnom valley; the nether world; tartarus is only used once in 2 Peter 2:4 and the lexicons define it as the subterranean place lower than Hades where divine punishment was meted out.

Unfortunately, many pastors do not do primary study or research. Rather, they depend upon sermons that they have heard before, secondary sources that make unverified claims, or sermon outlines they purchased online. Some pastors just don’t know their limits and venture into areas beyond their expertise. Sometimes pastors are unprepared and feel the need to overstate to “motivate” or move their audience. So the listener is left with mythology, not good sound theology or doctrine. With the glut on the internet and podcasting, and the need radio stations have to compete there is no guarantee that goes along with the broadcast/sermon.

Caveat auditorem.

Listener, beware.

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A Description of Christians

“They love one another. They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If they have something they give freely to the man who has nothing; if they see a stranger, they take him home, and are happy, as though he were a brother.”

Aristides, a Christian apologist in the first century Athens, describing Christians to the Roman Emperor Hadrian

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Lord of Pots and Pans

A poem written in 1928 by a 19 year old girl n domestic service in England:

Lord of all pots and pans and things
Since I’ve no time to be
A saint by doing lovely things
Or watching late with Thee
Or dreaming in the sweet dawn light
Or storming Heaven’s gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals
And washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha’s hands,
I have a Mary mind,
And when I black the boots and shoes,
Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth,
What time I scrub the floor:
Accept this meditation, Lord.
I haven’t time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love
And light it with Thy peace;
Forgive me all my worrying,
And make all grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food,
In room or by the sea,
Accept this service that I do–
I do it unto Thee

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

ht: Thanks Jody Spiro

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It could be funny if it wasn’t so embarrassing!

Pat Robertson is at it again. It isn’t enough that he calls for the illegal assassination of a world leader, or his assessment that Ariel Sharon’s stroke was due to his dividing of the land of Israel – now he is waxing prophetic about a terrorist assault on the US, I think he just likes to see his name in the headlines. I for one am one evangelical who doesn’t want to be associated with this kind of drivel. How embarrassing. What a goofball.

Pat Robertson Check out his latest embarrassment here.

I had to control myself and edit what I originally wrote here – it was unbecoming of someone who named their blog “The Temple.” It was a not so subtle play on the words in the post -see if you can guess, add it to the comments if you think you are right.

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Thinking Clearly

“One of the great sins of organized religion is that people identify their perception of God with God, and claim that they possess the truth and that anybody that disagrees with them disagrees with God.”

John Shelby Spong

 

He is not one of my favorites, but listening to people with whom you strongly disagree can be a powerful thinking experience. Bishop Spong is one of those people with whom I strongly disagree in many areas, but challenges me as well. So, in keeping with my philosophy to challenge my thinking and not simply cultivate my own perspective I watched this video. It is long, but he is entertaining. Beware, it may make you angry. Iwould encourage you to hold in your anger and assess what parts of his presentation have merit.

 

The above quote was one of the things that stood out to me. Often we are guilty of holding on to “our perception” of God without challenging its truth value. Many things we believe about God are not biblical, hence not true. It is important to constantly hone our knowledge along the stone of the truth of God’s word so that we experience the sharp edge of the knowledge of God.

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John Stott

Here are some great Stott quotes compiled by Christianity Today:

The Christian life is not just our own private affair. If we have been born again into God’s family, not only has he become our Father but every other Christian believer in the world, whatever his nation or denomination, has become our brother or sister in Christ. … But it is no good supposing that membership of the universal Church of Christ is enough; we must belong to some local branch of it. … Every Christian’s place is in a local church. … sharing in its worship, its fellowship, and its witness.
Basic Christianity

If you find it hard to believe in God, I strongly advise you to begin your search not with philosophical questions about the existence and being of God, but with Jesus of Nazareth. … If you read again the story of Jesus, and read it as an honest and humble seeker, Jesus Christ is able to reveal himself to you, and thus make God. … real to you.
I Believe in God

The modern world detests authority but worships relevance. … Our Christian conviction is that the Bible has both authority and relevance. … and that the secret of both is Jesus Christ.
Culture and the Bible

The Gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales.
Christian Mission in the Modern World

Social responsibility becomes an aspect not of Christian mission only, but also of Christian conversion. It is impossible to be truly converted to God without being thereby converted to our neighbor.
Christian Mission in the Modern World

Sin and the child of God
are incompatible. They may occasionally meet; they cannot live together in harmony.
The Letters of John

God’s Word is designed to make us Christians, not scientists, and to lead us to eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. It was not God’s intention to reveal in Scripture what human beings could discover by their own investigations and experiments.
Christian Basics

God is a peacemaker. Jesus Christ is a peacemaker. So, if we want to be God’s children and Christ’s disciples, we must be peacemakers too.
Decisive Issues Facing Christians Today

The incentive to peacemaking is love, but it degenerates into appeasement whenever justice is ignored. To forgive and to ask for forgiveness are both costly exercises. All authentic Christian peacemaking exhibits the love and justice—and so the pain—of the cross.
The Cross of Christ

It is never enough to have pity on the victims of injustice if we do nothing to change the unjust situation itself.
The Cross of Christ

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