Saturday, January 23, 2016

Four Reasons I Am Pro-Life

During a week that commemorates the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I would like to offer four clear reasons why I believe that the unborn child is a human being, and that stopping the pregnancy causes the death of that child. I am going to give four different arguments for this position. The first will be scriptural; the second will build on church history; the final two will represent arguments that build from biology and rationality. (If you are not inclined to give weight to the Christian perspective, just skip to the third point).

(NOTE: I will be primarily referring to elective abortion, not the “hard cases” such as rape and incest,[10] serious medical difficulties in the baby,[11] or times the mother’s life is in danger.[12] These are situations that need to be answered carefully, compassionately and truthfully, but they are broader than the purposes of this article. Go to the footnotes in this paragraph for more info.)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

LIfe Together To The Glory Of God (Philippians 1:1-11)

" In a series of battles there in 42 B.C.E., Mark Antony and Octavian ('Augustus') conquered the forces of the assassins of Julius Caesar, Cassius and Brutus. In some ways this battle marked the turning point between the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire (which meant the emperor would now be deified)…  Augustus turned Philippi into a Roman colony… Here he planted veterans of the civil wars and the supporters of Mark Antony… Special privileges were allowed to these Roman colonists, such as exemption from taxes and the right to own and market property." (Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible)
By the time the Apostle Paul got there, Philippi was highly Roman, highly militarized, wealthy, and because of where it was situated geographically, one of the hubs of the modern world intellectually, economically and spiritually. Some historians described it as a gate between Europe and Asia. In Acts 16, we read an account of how the church started in Philippi.[1] 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Four Questions For Modern Prophets

Well, it's that time of year when prophecy moves front and center in some Christian circles. Let's set aside for a moment whether or not you believe there are prophets today identical to prophets in the Bible or if prophecy is meant to be foretelling (predicting the future) or forthtelling (boldly speaking God's truth). I don't want to get sidetracked from a particular observation: if you believe the gift of prophecy is legitimately exercised today, you should be concerned that most of what is labeled 'prophecy' today does not reflect a biblical position.

In “Bad Year For Astrologers: 
Hardly Any Predictions Came True,” 

Wolfgang Polzer offered an amusing look at the woeful state of astrological predictions:

It was a bad year for astrologers. The Society for Scientific Research of Para-Sciences in Rossdorf near Darmstadt, Germany, examined 90 predictions about the year 2004; none of them came true.

One astrologer predicted in 2003 that US-President George W. Bush would be assassinated. Los Angeles was due to be destroyed by asteroids. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder should have handed in his resignation and would have been replaced by opposition leader Angela Merkel according to astrological forecasts. 
“Clairvoyants usually turn out to be failures,” says mathematician Michael Kunkel of the Society. He recalls that astrologer Patricia Bahrani predicted a terror attack on Berlin and Anton Tewes even a nuclear attack on New York. 

Some predictions are so general that they may be interpreted either way. Others are incomprehensible to normal human beings. Astrologer Rosalinde Haller, for instance, foresaw “serial vibrations in Southern Australia”. She did not even bother to explain what she meant, commented Kunkel.

If you are a Christian, this should be sobering. Why? Because prophecies that don't come true, are so general they may be interpreted either way, or are incomprehensible to normal human beings have become the norm in the Christian prophecy circuit as well.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

No Shortcuts (The Building Of Christian Character)

There is a tension in the Christians life between what God does for us and what God expects us to do. God is always at work doing something in us and for us that we can’t accomplish on our own power, but the Bible is also clear that God expects us to participate in the building of our lives.

“Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock, and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house; and it fell.  And great was its fall.”(Jesus, in Matthew 7:24-27) 

Jesus is the rock on which we build a foundation of life that will stand in the midst of storms. But we build. Whether on sand or stone, we will build something. After talking about people who were commended for their faith, Paul wrote,

“Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...” (Paul, in Hebrews 12)

Jesus is the author of our faith and the finisher of our faith. There is no righteousness we can earn or attain on our own merit. God does all the heavy lifting when it comes to salvation. However, we were not saved for complacency. We throw off everything that hinders. We lay aside every weight. God may have built the stadium, equipped it with every good and perfect gift, and put us on His own team, but we've still got to put our phone to the side, strap on the shoes and run.