“Would The Devil Write it?”

A Florida church has decided that the best way for them to publicly represent Christ is to burn copies of the Qur’an on 9/11/10.

Presumably, this church headed by Pastor Terry Jones (below) adheres to the teachings of the Son of God who when asked by His opponents what the greatest commandment is, responded with this,

‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.


Like Hilary Faye, Pastor Terry Jones is filled with Christ’s love. As if you couldn’t tell by the suit…

I fail to see how this Qur’an burning carries out the second greatest commandment. The book burning in Acts 19 can hardly be used as a precedent. What the Ephesians did there was publicly making their repentance known. By burning their sorcery books they were saying Jesus trumps sorcery, incantations and the occult. I find it hard to believe that the folks at this Florida church are repentant Muslims.

Predictably and justifiably so, there has been public outcry over this church’s planned bonfire. Young American Muslim, a Houston Chronicle blogger, has chimed in with a post titled, Burn a Quran Day is Hateful and Ignorant.

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Moratorium

On using out-of-context Biblical passages or events to bash or deify President Obama.

Enough already.

This might unsettle the throngs of Left Behind devotees, but POTUS is not the rider of the white horse in Rev 6, though Anna (below) might be.


“I can even save Charlie Weis’ job”

Nor is President Obama the rider of a different white horse in Rev 19, I’m looking at you Spike Lee. This does raise the question: If POTUS got inked up, what would he go with?

Psalm 2:1-2?

Disputable Matters

Carrie Prejean (below), the much despised/admired former Miss California recently sat down with Christianity Today a for a Q&A.

Carrie

Truth be told, reading the interview won’t change your view of this polarizing woman. If you disliked her you’ll dislike her more after reading it. If you were shaking the Carrie pom-poms before, you’ll continue to spirit sprinkle yourself until your fingers fall off. Both camps are represented in the comments section of the article.

The interviewer lobbed more softballs than any pitcher that patrols the mounds of your local beer league. Softball guy is a post all unto himself, but I digress.

There was one question which will surely catch anyone’s attention,

You wrote that you don’t regret getting breast implants. Have you ever wondered whether it might be incompatible with your Christian faith?

Here’s Prejean’s answer:

No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting breast implants as a Christian. I think it’s a personal decision. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says you shouldn’t get breast implants.

St. Paul couldn’t have possibly imagined boob jobs would be in play when he told the Romans not to “pass judgement on disputable matters”.

Begs the question: Do boob jobs fall under “disputable matters”?

What about skin-whitening creams?

Coexist

I’m not sure what the artist who created this sticker had in mind. If his point is to call (command? Gasp!) upon people who hold these differing worldviews to get along, who can argue with that?

Hopefully our artist realizes that this is nothing new. In fact in the Gospels, Jesus ups the ante by commanding us to love God and to love our neighbor. Of course, “neighbor” encompasses unregenerate people of any stripe (Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, Wiccan, etc).

However if his point is that these worldviews are ultimately reconcilable (let us not forget that the same Jesus who told us to love God and our neighbor firmly stated this), then I’m afraid he is sadly mistaken and tragically anachronistic in the sense of extrapolating current moods to older traditions. As noted Christians apologist Ravi Zacharias said,

Anyone who claims that all religions are the same betrays not only an ignorance of all religions but also a caricatured view of even the best-known ones. Every religion at its core is exclusive.

Whatever the artist’s motivation, this story might be an example of my first speculation:
Fighting for their whiskers

The story is about the D.C. Fire Department making their firefighters shave their beards. However there are Christian, Jewish and Muslim firefighters that for religious reasons will keep theirs. In a sense they are banding together to keep their fuzz.

What better way to Coexist than standing up for beards?

John Chrysostom Helps a Brother Out

This is a mosaic of Eastern church father John Chrysostom. It resides in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

John Chrysostom lived from 347-407 and from the sixth century on he was glossed Chrysostom (Gk. Golden Mouth) for he was a master preacher. What’s more, St. John has kept up with the times and even has his own website.

In Knowing God, J.I. Packer says,

John Chrysostom had [Paul’s letter to the Romans] read aloud to him once a week; you and I could do a lot worse than that.

Yes I suppose Dr. Packer is right, we could do a lot worse than that. So this prompted me to mirror Chrysostom’s practice though I’m doing my own reading.

I’ve read Romans a few times, successively learning something new. I’m not sure where God will take me as I embark on this new journey through (IMHO) the best of Paul’s epistles.

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The Power of God’s Word

My journey to faith in Christ from unbelief involved, of course, a supernatural act of God by which He, through the power of the finished work of Christ, resurrected a dead mind, soul, and heart. This was done through His Word in my specific case, for others it is different, such as the Apostle Paul whose conversion was spectacular.

As an unbeliever, I did what might be the worst thing one in the depraved state can do: Pick up a Bible. My motives were not good ones for I sought to find things with which I could destroy or hinder the faith of another who kept pestering me with her crazy Christ talk.

It was through His Word that God convicted, convinced me and captured me into new life. I recap the conversion experience as it happened in my particular case because listening to the message given by Pastor Mark Dever at New Attitude 2008 took me back to this pivotal point in my life.

Dever has a similar experience, as he tells it,

[I] denied the reliability of the Bible. I would informally argue with Christians and through continued study I became somebody who by God’s grace, believes in the reliability of the Bible.

The power of God to take a heart of stone and bring it roaring to life so that the creature that has been born-again may be enabled to taste and see that the LORD indeed is good, and glorify Him through a redeemed life.

Click on the link below to listen to Pastor Dever’s message,
The Authority of Scripture

Christian Environmentalism: 2 Perspectives

The first comes from Pastor Rob Bell who outlined his stance in an interview titled, “Rob Bell Tells it Like It Is”, from the January/February issue of Relevant Magazine,

Relevant Magazine: Why do you think so many Christians are now embracing this style of living? What is it about faith that lends itself toward being environmentally conscious?

Bell: Well, for our community, this isn’t rooted in the fact that it’s gaining steam in popular culture. It’s always been rooted in the very nature of God. The central Hebrew prayer, Deuteronomy 6, says, “Hear O Israel the Lord your God, the Lord is One,” so we live with awareness that all of reality is one. We are connected with all things everywhere, and I would argue that in the last couple hundred years, disconnection has been the dominant way people have understood reality.

And the Church has contributed to that disconnection by preaching horrible messages about being left behind and that this place is going to burn–absolutely toxic messages that are against the teachings of Scripture, which state that we are connected to God, we are connected to the earth, we are connected to each other. When any of those connections fracture, the whole thing starts to fall apart. Your relationship with God is tied into your relationship with the soil. Go back to Genesis. There are essentially four dimensions to shalom, which is God’s intention for all creation: peace and shalom with our Maker, with each other, with ourselves and with the earth. They’re intimately linked from the beginning. Over and over again [in Scripture], the relationship with God is lived out in relationship with each other and the soil. Nothing we’re saying is actually new at all; it just got lost along the way. The only reason somebody isn’t sensitive to the earth or the care of the earth is because their wealth or their indifference has essentially isolated them.

Here is the other perspective, from Pastor John MacArthur,

So I believe we are charged to treat responsibly all the wonderful resources God has given us. But that, in fact, has very little to do with the environmental movement. The environmental movement is consumed with trying to preserve the planet forever. But we know that isn’t in God’s plan.

The earth we inhabit is not a permanent planet. It is, frankly, a disposable planet—it is going to have a very short life. It’s been around six thousand years or so—that’s all—and it may last a few thousand more. And then the Lord is going to destroy it.

I’ve told environmentalists that if they think humanity is wrecking the planet, wait until they see what Jesus does to it. Peter says God is going to literally turn it in on itself in an atomic implosion so that the whole universe goes out of existence (2 Peter 3:7-13).

This earth was never ever intended to be a permanent planet—it is not eternal. We do not have to worry about it being around tens of thousands, or millions, of years from now because God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth. Understanding those things is important to holding in balance our freedom to use, and responsibility to maintain, the earth.

Just a footnote. Though this earth is our temporary home, do take time to enjoy God’s beauty. Take care of your yard. Stop to smell the flowers. Enjoy the forests. God placed those rich resources on this planet for our comfort and His enjoyment. Let us be thankful to Him for that.

(from “Evangelicalism and the Environmental Movement”)

If I read this correctly, according to Bell, Johnny Mac’s words are “absolutely toxic” because well MacArthur points out that yes this earth is going to be laid waste.

The concern perhaps should not be on whether a teaching is “absolutely toxic” but is it Biblically tenable? A cursory look at 2 Peter 3:10-12 actually shows that MacArthur is correct.

“Absolutely toxic” the man’s conclusions might be, but then one will have to extend the same courtesy to the Apostle Peter from whom he got the idea.