Saturday, June 30, 2012

Church History: On this Rock

“Our calendar, the church itself, Sunday as a day of rest, and the remarkable changes in lives of followers of Christ are historical testimony to Christ in history” (Cairns, 54)

This chapter is for the people that deny Christ really existed.  People today either believe Christ was real man but not special or that he’s a legend like Santa Claus.  Earle Cairns provides extrabiblical proof that Christ really lived in history.

The Pagans:  A Roman historian named Tacitus who lived within a century of Christ mentions Christus, who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberias.

In 112, Pliny wrote about wanting to stop the Christians from taking over Rome.  Yet, he praises them for their high morality and “how they sing a song to Christ as to a God” (Cairns 45).  Here is testimony both to Christ’s humanity and his divinity.

Suetonius also mentions Jews who were expelled from Rome over Christ.  This would not have happened over a fictitious man.  

Lastly, Lucian wrote a satire in 170 about Christians.  It’s very blasphemous but all the more proof that Jesus was real.

The best non-Christian testimony about Christianity is Josephus who lived from 37-100.  He wanted to defend the Jews to the Romans and mentions Jesus, his brother James, and even claims that Christ was a wise man condemned to die.

At one point, years were measured on how many years it was after the founding of Rome.  Dionysius Exiguus dated Christ’s birth to 745 AUC (from the founding of Rome), and then people started dating history from that point, dividing between BC and AD.  Later, people dated Christ’s birth to a more accurate 749 AUC.  They decided this because Matthew says that Jesus was born during Herod.  Josephus mentions an eclipse in 750 AUC, right before Herod’s death.  Thinking that might be the star the Magi followed, they concluded that Jesus was born then.

Dionysius Exiguus decided to date Christ’s birth from 754 AUC (from the founding of Rome) instead of the more accurate 749 AUC.  Meaning, Christ was probably born 5 years Before Christ.

I gleaned the rest of this from a lecture by Darrell Bock, “Can We Trust the Bible” which you can find on  It is also good to mention today’s doubters from the Jesus Seminar.  I don’t know if he is in that group, but Bart Ehrman accuses the Christians of playing the telephone game because of oral tradition.  He lives under the delusion that the new testament books weren’t written until centuries later.

Even if that was true, the ancient world knew how to memorize accurately.  They weren’t distracted by television and internet and smart phones.  They actually had to spend their free time thinking, therefore, they memorized oral tradition.  But the last apostle to live was John who died about 100.  He wrote Revelation and finished the Bible.  All the New Testament books had already been written.  So, it was all written within 100 years of the events mentioned.

Another Ehrman delusion is that nobody knows who wrote the Gospels so the folks in the 2nd century just credited them to someone.  But if they really did that, why did they pick two of the men to credit.  Peter was the chief disciple.  Why were no books credited to him?  Why was Mark given a book?  Mark is the one who people think ran away naked when Jesus was being arrested.  Mark is the one who deserted Paul and Barnabas on their first mission trip.  If you were going to give someone a book without knowing if he wrote it, you would not let Mark have that honor.

Also Luke.  He was a great guy, a physician, but the “we” sections of Acts are not even on third of the book.  He has no big role in any of the stories, just some cameos.  If this was not real, then someone more active in the stories like Paul would have his name on the Gospel.  Not Luke.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

God Can Heal That

Okay, I'm writing another post today.  It started when a boy asked for prayer for his cousin to be healed of cancer lest she die in three months.  The answer: "You know God can heal that.  You just gotta have faith."

Ugh.  That's the last thing you need to say to that kid.  I think there is nothing that discourages faith more than saying someone can be healed with faith and then they die anyway.  It's like, was my faith not enough?  Believe me, faith has nothing to do with it.  It does, but God still sovereignly decides what to do with a person, and he knows what he's doing.

That doesn't mean I still don't grieve or ache.  But when someone I pray for does not heal, it does not mean I didn't have enough faith.  In fact, that may be the answer; God heals them at home.  And when he does, he's not evil, careless, or impotent.  He's God and he knows what he's doing.  I trust him to run this planet better than me.

So pray for your loved ones, for both healing and believing, but know that the result is only in God's hands.

Don't Quote Him: Kurt Cobain

Last week when I posted about Gandhi, I thought that I would receive criticism on that.  Alas, nobody cares.  Or are too polite.  Or can't find nice ways to disagree.

All in all, I thought, "I'd rather be hated for what I am than loved for what I am not."  Then I thought, Kurt Cobain is credited with saying that.  And although it's true, Kurt Cobain is not a man I want to emulate.  I'm certainly going to proclaim what I believe even if people get angry and I lose friends, but I'm certainly not going to live the self-destructive life Cobain lived. 

Then again, I guess I can kind of relate to him.  I guess the only difference between us is that Christ saved me.  And it's a huge difference.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Worn out Wednesday

So I did it again.  I peeled the carpet from in front of both major parts of the bookshelf and tiled the floor so I could go ahead and start putting stuff back on the shelf.

So far, the mess in my room keeps growing like the blob.  But the old entertainment center is clear of everything except VHS tapes, and my jewelry is sojourning on the bookshelves.  So I made some progress.  But just the same, here is the regress:

The good news is, someone thinks my pile of books is sexy.  I concur.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Message of Christ

So, I started the goal of reading through my church history book again, written by Earle Cairns.  It's a good thorough book.  I don't doubt that Cairns was a true believer. 

However, I noticed this first when he thought he should bring up Mithra and Attis in his first chapter about the world surrounding the birth of Christ.  I noticed that he has some liberal influence.

"Although the Cross was the primary mission of Christ on earth, it was not His main message, nor was it considered as an end in itself.  Any careful study of the Gospels will reveal that the kingdom was the primary message of the teaching of Christ."

I guess now that I've typed those two sentences I don't disagree with it.  Because of the church, we can have a Kingdom of God.  However, Christ's message was not only God's sovereignty but the kingdom's king, Christ himself. 

I don't know if kingdom met the same thing in 1954 that it means now.  The Emergent Church loves to throw around "kingdom" like they know what they are talking about.  They are extreme post-millennarians who think the only heaven is people being nice to each other and creating a Utopia.  Even with Christ in the picture, it connotes to me more of a social gospel about what we can do for people rather than the Gospel and what it does for us.

So, the kingdom is our ultimate goal as Christians, and Christ's mission on earth was the Cross to get us there, but it should not be our focus while living.  Christ is the focus with our goal to glorify God in thought, word, and deed.   That should spill into our deeds toward people.

That might not have been so liberal.  That was probably more picky.  But then, Cairns has a paragraph about classic post-millennials with a roster of B.B. Warfield, Charles and A.A. Hodges, and none other than Charles Finney.

Excuse me while I run down the street screaming.  It's another guy who does not realize that Charles Finney was a full-blooded Pelagian and probably was post-millennial in the liberal way, not the classic way.  He did not believe Jesus died to save us, only to be our example.  We just have to tap into the right journey to get to heaven.  Warfield, Hodge, and Hodge believed in true salvation.

Then, I think I finally know the difference between post-millennial and amillennial.  Both are post-millennial in that the millennium is our current church history that will culminate with Christ's return.  But classic, conservative post-millennialism believes that the millennium will still be a utopia caused by Christians finally uniting.  I can assure you, the church will never be united visibly again this side of heaven.  It makes no sense to believe this.  Again, it's Kingdom now theology that looks to man and not to God, a by-product of Finney's ministry. 

This is why I take amillennial.  The first 1000 years of Christianity were the millennium and now the church is in a Humpty-Dumpty state that only Christ can put together again when he comes and defeats Satan forever.

Monday, June 25, 2012


So, a discussion about T.D. Jakes occurred on Facebook.  He's yet another guy who should not be sold at Lifeway.  He's another prosperity minister and he's a modalist.  He's leading people astray into believing in God for wealth in this world and has a low view of Christ.

Anyway, I had to open my fat mouth and say, "Modalism is a heresy, but I don't think it's as damning as Arianism.  At least Modalists believe in Christ's deity."  Then I got slammed saying, if you don't believe in the Trinity you are not a Christian.  Agreed.  There's plenty of people out there who think they are Christians and yet miss the details of core doctrines.

But if you think about it, if you ask anyone in your church about the Trinity, they will give some analogy that sounds modalist whether they really believe it or not.  Modalism is the unitarian view that God is one person but reveals himself as three different persons throughout history.  They aren't separate persons, just like Peter Sellars playing the every role in The Mouse that Roared.  Again, they still believe Jesus is God, but it is dangerous to believe this as God has always been three people and those three persons work together to bring our salvation.  God is in the sky ruling the earth and sending Jesus to atone for our sins.  Jesus atoned for our sins and sits before the Father to intercede for us.  The Holy Spirit is how we can talk to God now and how we have Christ with us.  It's very important to keep this distinction.

But your average person in church will know enough about Christ's deity to not catch this distinction for a long time.  Does that mean they're not really Christian?  Should we kick them out of the church for heresy? Depends.

If this is some young believer who is not well educated in the faith, then you simply tell the truth and hope God opens their heart.  If this is a grown man using the analogy of him having three different roles in life, he's a father, a son, and a husband, then somehow I have to find a way to tell him to stop using that analogy as it reeks of modalism.  Seriously, just stick with the water analogy or the shamrock analogy.  They fail, too, but they aren't so modalist.

Then there's T.D. Jakes who knows the truth, has heard the truth, and still believes that Christ did not always exist.  This isn't even modalism but a hybrid with Arianism.  And he believes you aren't saved unless you speak in tongues.  And his faith is in God so he can have a good life here with health and wealth, and he's leading people to a faith that will eventually disappoint them.  So if he shows up in my church, I may welcome him with open arms and get him to hear the Gospel, but he does not need to preach or lead Sunday School, and we certainly should not go to a church where he preaches.  But we should seriously pray for him and for mercy on those in his congregation that are simply uneducated.  God will save whom he wants to save, and they will bear fruit at some point.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Old Friends: Plato

Plato influenced just about every philosophy of Western civilization.  I like him.  C.S. Lewis liked him.  Augustine liked him.  Most people who know what they are talking about like Plato.  Plato greatly influenced the world where Jesus was born.  

Here is the main doctrine attributed to Plato:  The world that we see is full of errors, but a more real world exists outside of this world.  It is populated by “forms.”  If you see a table in real life, there is a more perfect form of the table in the truer reality, and the table we see is just a shadow of that form. 

This is good because it reminds people that there is so much more to life than what we can see in the world.  Things like money, toys, jobs, houses, lots of children, are good things but we will lose them all someday.  There is an invisible world with a perfection that cannot be lost.

Plato understood the ideal part of life to be abstract: goodness, equality, bigness, likeness, unity, being, sameness, difference, change, and changelessness are abstract qualities that cannot be seen (Kraut).  If you see an object, again a table, and it appears beautiful or good or just, etc., then that table represents a truly beautiful table in the perfect unseen world.  A person is wise to keep in mind the things of the greater world while still in touch with the current, less perfect world.

Plato’s views, however, also impacted the world negatively.  Centuries later, Plotinus ( heard Plato’s views and started to believe that all matter was evil.  To be free from matter, you have to live an ascetic life to ponder the invisible things.  However, God created bodies and matter to be good.  Yes, sin corrupts them, but God sent his Son with a body to redeem our bodies for the world to come.

God never intended for people to live apart from the world.  Genesis 2:18 is the first negative thing that God said about his creation, “It is not good for man to be alone.”  God created people to need each other and to help each other live in this world, to “be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth” (Genesis 1:28). 

There are times when people should be alone to contemplate the Lord.  Lonely people have more of that time.  However, God only intended that time for once a week, on a special day called the Sabbath.  Exodus 20:11 proclaims that for six days you are to work and on the seventh day focus on resting and interacting with God.  Does that mean we don’t interact with God the other six days?  No.  If I did not spend some time every day reading the Bible, I’d be aching spiritually.  However, during the week, we live in the world, work, and care for other people.  The Sabbath is for Christians to revive each other in worship of the Lord and to interact with him as he unites us.  The rest of the week is to take God’s love and impact the world with it. 

So do contemplate the next world, but don’t forget that you still live here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Church History: Laying a foundation

I decided to open up my old Church history textbook, Christianity through the Centuries by Earle Cairnes, and try to comment on that.

Chapter 1 – The Fullness of Time

Galatians 4:4, “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son.” 

Jew, Greek, and Roman all paved the way to make the time perfect for God to send his Son to save us.

I. The Environment

A. The Romans

1. The Romans had developed this unity of mankind under a universal law (Cairnes, 35).  They had the law codified in the Twelve Tables and taught them to foreigners all over the empire.  They also let non-Romans become roman citizens.  All this united Rome into “one political organization [that] anticipated a gospel that proclaimed the unity of the race both in setting forth the penalty for sin and the Savior from sin” (Cairnes, 36).

2. Before the Roman empire, city states and tribes would compete against each other, meaning someone could not pass through from point A to point B easily.  After the Roman empire, the Romans developed peaceful cities and their developments and kept crime away all over the Mediterranean.

3. The empire had an “excellent system of roads” (Cairnes, 36) extending from the Roman forum.  These roads helped Paul on his missionary journeys.

4. The Roman army would have outposts all over the world with its soldiers mingling Roman culture with the culture of wherever they were stationed.  Many of these soldiers became Christian, and Britain possibly has Christianity because of these outposts.

5. Because Rome conquered many lands, many people lost faith in their gods who did not protect them from the Romans.  Instead, they partook in mystery religions that seriously rival Christianity: Cybele worship, Isis worship, and even Mithraism, have death and resurrection myths along with a savior-god.

B. The Greeks

1. Because Alexander conquered the world and converted it to Greek, everybody on three continents spoke the same Koine Greek by the time Rome conquered it.

2. Greek philosophy destroyed many old religions but did not satisfy spiritual needs (Cairnes, 39).  Some philosophers like Socrates and Plato believe in a world that transcends the visible realm, making this world temporal and the unseen world the true reality.  This lead to Gnosticism later on that thought all matter is evil.  They believed in an immortal soul but no resurrection of the body.

3. Epicurus founded Epicureanism, an early deism, which believes in god, but he has no interaction with the world and people make their own decisions.  People need to make their own decisions for maximizing themselves on earth.  Zeno founded Stoicism, a belief that there may be a god but he's not transcendent.  It's more of a pantheism.

II. Jewish contributions to religion: the church started in the Garden of Eden with Adam, passed down to Abraham, and created a heredity (Cairnes, 41) that became Christianity.

A. Monotheism: This aspect made the Jews stand out among all the other cultures.  All the cultures had many gods for their cities.  The Greeks and Romans had a god for about every aspect of life.  The Jews only had one God who transcends geography, and they worship no other god without serious consequences.

B. Messianic Hope: The Jews hoped in a Messiah who would bring righteousness back to the earth.  Romans expected him to be born to Caesar Augustus.  The Jews expected him to come down from the sky, slay all the Romans, and make Israel an empire again.

C. Ethical System: “the purest ethical system in existence” (Cairnes, 42).  While the Romans and Greeks saw sin as a failure within the heart of man, the Ten Commandments gave a stark contrast by making sin a violation against God himself.  This magnified the doctrine of sin and the need for a savior.

D. Old Testament Scriptures: These were sacred books, greatly used by Paul and Jesus, that were not given by the founder.  The Holy Spirit, however, inspired the words of both testaments.

E. Philosophy of History: The Greeks and Romans had a meaningless cycle of evolution that went on endlessly.  The Jewish historical philosophy sees history as one line with a beginning and an end.  It’s started by God and will end with a triumphant God and a purpose.

F. The Synagogue: After the Babylonian exile, Jews settled all over the world and discussed religion in synagogues.  They built synagogues and discussed the Old Testament with its Messianic promises in Asia, Africa, and Europe.  According to Paul, Christianity was not “done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).  It has always been public and confirmed by witnesses, and now it is practiced in an increasingly unified empire.

Reading this causes me to recall the myths that Christianity borrowed its ideas from pagan religions at this time.  Rob Bell is the most recent proponent of this.  James White made a video response to this where he calls Rob Bell utterly naïve to accept such assertions.  The New Testament is its own context for Jesus.  He needs no cultural influence.

Then in classic James White analysis, he examines these pagan beliefs that supposedly have a virgin birth, a death, a resurrection, and render Christianity not so unique or special.
Mithra: The only real source on the internet for Rob’s sayings is just Rob Bell saying it.  According to White, who extensively studies these things, Mithraism was limited in popularity when Christianity was being formed.  Even in its best case scenario, Mithra was not popular until after the time of Christianity and the apostles.  Which makes more sense: a religion not rooted in history borrowing its ideas from Christianity or a religion that repudiates pagan idolatry borrowing ideas from pagan religions?

Attis supposedly was virgin born and resurrected.  This is how he was born: his mother ate some fruit that somehow had Zeus’s DNA in it and she became pregnant.  This does not compare to our Virgin Birth at all.  And his resurrection?  Somehow Attis emasculated himself and a tree grew from the ground from his blood.  Ew.  No, this is not the same thing.

We only know about these goofy myths because centuries later, Christian writers commented on them from the culture.  These characteristics don’t define the Gospel.

Caesar: as for the idea that Caesar is Lord and people celebrated an Advent for him, the only source James White found was from Ovid’s poetry about some god taking Caesar’s spirit and placing it to be seen in the stars.  This does not even relate to our exalted Jesus, not even if you mention some god’s right hand.

Bell seems to rely on a book called Christ and the Caesars, by this “Christian” universalist who makes such grand claims without backing it up with references.  The true stories of these myths, according to White, are so bogus that a reasonable person would have to check his brain at the door to believe them.  The Greeks, who believe that the body was evil, even scoffed at Paul for mentioning a resurrected body.

So, Christianity is unique.  If there are any similarities with pagan beliefs, the beliefs more than likely borrowed from Christianity much like they do today, making their lies that much more believable.

Thanks time

It's time to give thanks again.

1.  Thankful for my home, my cats, my room, and the two days I've had to be a bum while healing from a cold.

2. Thankful for the mess in my room.  I've been cutting carpet and tiling.  Next step is to move a bookshelf, put more tile down, and then try to figure out where all my stuff goes.

3. I'm not a very liberal person.  In fact, I'm a hard core polemicist.  But in the few times I get caught being, not necessarily liberal, but trying to be tolerant, I kind of like it. 

4. Thankful that I'm going to see a friend I haven't seen in a while who is going to help me move my bookshelf.

5.  Thankful that I'm starting to figure people out.  I don't necessarily agree, but I am starting to understand. 

6. Thankful for newer friends in a time of insecurity and sorrow.  These times come from nowhere, and it's good that I have someone to talk to each night.

7.  Thankful for the new law office I'm volunteering for.  It's only 10 minutes from my house, and although I still do criminal defense, this lawyer finds better stuff to defend.

8.  Thankful that I have some notification saying I have e-mail.  it may be junk or it may be legitimate, but it shows that I'm alive.

9.  Thankful that I'm awake before 8:30 today!  w00t!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Don't Quote Him: Gandhi

I've mentioned Gandhi before on this blog when Tim Challies blogged about him.  In the spirit of political incorrectness, I'm going to mention him again, not to condemn, but hopefully to heal.

In all due respect, Gandhi is someone I respect, he did wonderful things for the poor in India, and he's dead now.  However, as a Christian, I prefer to pity him rather than quote him, even if I do agree with his quotes.

His most famous is probably the one about how he loves Jesus but not the Christians because they are so unlike Jesus.  When he said that, he completely missed the point of why we need Jesus.  I do agree that we need to care more for the poor, and so many people have been dismissed in the name of religion.  It is very much a sin and a shame.  Yes, Gandhi and Gandhi quoters, the church is full of hypocrites and I'm one of them.  You know why?  I was born in sin, and even since God saved me, I still live in this body and it's still broken down although my spirit is healed.

However, Gandhi never really understood how hopelessly lost he is in sin.  He never really understood that no act of kindness we can do can change that.  We're still hopelessly lost in sin, and I am glad we are not like Jesus because then He gets all the glory and not me.  Anything good I can do is like a filthy rag to God and insults his gift of salvation through Christ.  Only when I submit to Christ, can I finally do good things for people.

So no, don't quote Gandhi.  But do surrender to Christ so that you can be the Christian he would have liked to have seen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Heaven Again

I was not going to talk about this again.  Then Challies posted this.

I'm not commenting on it; I'm just going to muse about "heavenly tourism" as he calls it.

I'm not sure that visions from God never happen to people.  But at the same time, God is not going to show such a detailed description of heaven as it's not in the Bible, and when he did show someone heaven, he told the guys not to say anything. 

In 2004, I had some dream that the book of Amos said that Osama bin Laden would attack America.  I read Amos 9 that morning and I still get the chills.  But why would God show me that?  It has nothing to do with the price of tea in China.  I'm certain that it was not so that I could brag about what I know, though I do that quite frequently.  Maybe God just wanted to affirm to me the Bible's veracity, especially at Trevecca where they love German higher criticism.

Then, in 2009, Mom change her address to be with the Lord.  Before then, Dad had a vision of us grieving over her before she was even sick.  Then afterward, Dad dreamed that he saw Mom and my sister Amanda, who died as an infant, in heaven.  Then around my birthday, I dreamed I was in the Greenwood mall eating ice cream with my mom and worrying about my weight.  That summer I dreamed I was Skyping with her.  Even Mom's friend Frances dreamed she was asking Mom if she'd like to come back, and Mom replied, "No way!"  I don't doubt that God sent those visions to comfort us or that there isn't some truth to them, but I don't believe we saw heaven.  I believe God was just comforting us.

I don't doubt the sincerity of Todd Burpo or Don Piper, but I really don't think they saw heaven.  They saw just enough to know that it's real and to be comforted.  Not to make bestsellers out of it.  That is all.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Introverted Visitation

I love reading articles about introverts in the ministry.  Here is one. So far, I have not made a hospital visit, nor really any pastoral visits.  I'm often even out of the loop of what's going on in my church and would know nothing if Mary, my housemate, was not my eyes and ears. 

All I know is that one time I went to a funeral, a softball scrimmage, another funeral, made a cake eonce, and I do Shepherd's Staff.  I also do Refuge.  My pastoral quota definitely lacks, but when I do, I don't pretend to not be an introvert.  I'm often silent, can't think of things to say, and if there's lots of people there, usually sit by myself. 

Refuge is the only place where I really talk and it's only to tell the ladies if they are pregnant and then urge them to know Jesus and find a real church.  And some of them, plead for them to not kill their baby.

Here's one of the article's section titles: you don't have to become an extrovert to be a shepherd.

Wednesday I'm totally looking at another potluck night.  Probably one where I have to stop by Publix and get some hummus.  I go there to support the church, not to be exciting and popular.  If it were not for craft projects, I don't know if I'd be able to talk to the kids.

The last section title really drives me home: if you let your introversion control you, you will fail as a pastor. 

I'll go on to say, you'll fail as a person.  If every introvert followed their feelings, half the population would stay home and never be social.  That would not be a good thing.  You still have to remember to call people and give up your comfort to reach out to your friends.  Myself, I need to start reminding my pastor to let me know when I need to visit someone because I'm tired of being out of the loop.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Facts on Solomon

Solomon's biography in the Bible gives me more fear than any other account.  Solomon was loved by God, given his father's throne, given the most wisdom of all time, and had wealth unequaled in history.  He built the temple and gave an amazing pastoral prayer for Israel.

Then he married a new wife every day and loved them so much that they led him to worship other gods.  I always fear this happening to me, but praise God that Solomon's story is in the Bible to give me a warning.

So, I've been reading through Samuel and Kings this month.  Despite their flaws, I am taken by how David and Solomon both point to Christ in ways I've never considered before. 

The people asked for a king and got Saul who came to love himself more than God or his people.

Then, Samuel anointed David to be king.  He "christed" David.  After that, he spent decades outrunning Saul and sacrificing himself for Israel.  In the same way, Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, lived on earth for 33 years, suffered betrayal and sleepless nights, and yet a kingdom followed him when he finally gave up his life and then rose again and sat on the right hand of the Father.

Of course, David then sabotages his family with the Bathsheba affair.  He even lost four sons in the consequences of his sin: Bathsheba's son, Amnon, Absalom, and later Adonijah.  The latter three followed their dad's example of getting what they want when they want and then hiding their sin for years until it grows like a cancer and destroys the country.  In the same way, the King of Kings left earth for a time and let his earthly body, the church grow and reign for 1,000 years.  Then, the church had an affair with works-righteousness, thus splitting the family into a Humpty-Dumpty state, that will not fully recover until the true King returns.

On David's deathbed, he instructed Solomon to kill Joab, Shimei, and to fire Abiathar for not following the king's directions.  Solomon did just that.  After that, he built the temple and Jerusalem enjoyed the greatest prosperity that has not been matched.  Just the same, Christ will finally return, destroy his enemies who wanted to follow their own rules, dismissing them to the eternal lake of fire.  And then, the new Jerusalem will come down from heaven, and unlike Solomon's reign, will never end and will never spoil with sin.  Solomon was a picture of the age to come, but there is only one perfect King who will never fail.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

True jeans

So the past posts make it seem like I don't like contemporary worship or blue jeans.  That's very much not true.  If there is one thing I disagree with Calvinists on, it is on the regulative principle of worship.

I'm definitely against worshiping images and bowing to them, but I like images.  I don't think a cross on a church wall makes me worship a piece of wood, though I have seen that.  In fact, I think a church's architecture can help me focus better on God and the world beyond this one than anything else.  I compare the monastery abbey to some contemporary church that looks like an auditorium.  A church needs to look like a church.

Even if you meet in an office building, you can still manipulate lighting and decorate walls to help my ADD brain focus.  Our sanctuary looks like a sanctuary, and it's functional. 

As a music person, I especially love finding new music that glorifies the Lord.  Whether the music is old or new, there are some amazing hymns out there that have meaty lyrics and true structure.  They weren't pulled out of emotional highs.  I think of Keith and Kristyn Getty (and Stuart Townend) who wrote "In Christ Alone."  All their songs are that deep and are appropriate for Sunday worship.  Chris Tomlin and Hillsong normally have substantive songs, too.  All of Matt Redman's songs are deep in lyrics.  For all those Psalm singers, I like those too, but here is Colossians 3:16, where Paul is telling Colosse to sing psalms, hymns, and songs of gratitude.  He's clearly not against original music and possibly not instruments. 

I think you can have all the cool songs, instruments, and decorations and even come to church wearing a t-shirt with Charles Spurgeon's face.  There's a church in South Carolina, an EPC church, that has all that and people leave the doors knowing real Scripture because the meat of a worship service is in an expository sermon, not in the music, as much as I love music.

So, what about those boyfriend songs?  I must admit, I do like "Draw Me Close to You" or "This is the Air I Breathe," but are they really deep enough to sing in church to the God who deserves our best.  They're good songs on the radio, but not every CCM song is appropriate for church.  There's a time and place for everything, and for the most part, the time and place is in your car on the road or while you're working, not Sunday worship.  Sunday is where we hear the Word, eat the Word (in communion), and sing the Word in hymns, psalms, and good songs that use Scripture.  And it is all for the purpose of worshiping God and edifying the saints, not entertaining non-believers, which is evangelism and is done on the other six days, or even if you finally get a non-believer in your church.  Still, Sunday worship should not be geared toward him but toward feeding the sheep.  God will take care of the non-believer in your midst; you just have to faithfully minister the Word.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blue Jeans

In adult Sunday School today, Shannon the man taught on the last section of John 7 and the first section of John 8.  Here Nicodemus tries to support Jesus to the Pharisees, and they ignorantly claim that he's from Galilee and no prophet is from Galilee.  No fact checking, just proudly claiming they know everything.  It's just like in the Trayvon tragedy.  It's sad that a  young boy got killed, but we can't just assume it was over racism when it could have been self-defense and the guy that killed him was not white anyway.  Not even white-Hispanic.

Anyway, Shannon's example was from legalistic people who see a kid coming into church in blue jeans and a t-Shirt and automatically assume that he is disrespectful and lazy.  How do you know that isn't his only outfit?  How do you know if this is not the best he has to wear?  What if he works really hard and still hasn't enough money to afford nicer clothes?  And if it's so important, why don't you buy him the clothes or at least give him a gift card?

Then the other extreme happens in Sunday School.  Someone says, "How come people can't wait to get to a ball game and can't wait to leave church?  The people at the ball game are relaxed."

Then I played the devil's advocate and took the side of the woman who judges blue jeans just to make a point that we are not to be apathetic when we come to worship the only God who did not have to save us.  Blue jeans and t-shirts aside, I am not going to run a church like I run a ball game (I don't even know how to do the latter), just to impress people who will probably get bored and move on to a cooler church anyway.  While we should reach the lost and try to accommodate their weaknesses, Sunday morning worship is not about them.  It is about feeding the sheep and interacting with the Lord before we start another week.

Then I taught a lesson on the Sower and the Seed in children's church.  Church attendance has nothing to do with how many people stay through the years.  It has everything to do with truly teaching the Word of God without polish and letting God bring the people who will be reached.  It all depends on their soil and if God decides to plow through the path, dig up the rocks, or weed out the weeds.  Only God can sent farmers to properly cultivate the land and get a beautiful garden.  In fact, he is the chief farmer and we are only hired hands privileged to touch God's acres.  And I feel like many Evangelical churches today have only provided shallow, rocky soil for seeds to grow in.  They have cool music, good friends, potlucks, rock concerts, sports teams and cool lights, but the Word of God somehow is not emphasized enough and the people don't get to know the true Jesus who is loving but who also has teeth.  Without knowledge and interaction with the true God who is beyond relevant, they have no root and there's no reason for them to stay in a situation without proper nourishment.  And it only causes church leaders to play in thorny soil, worrying about every detail when God is the one responsible.  We are only there to spread the Word.  Lord, plow through our soil, our paths, and weeds, and help us to grow real crops!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Kant Stand It

So a friend of mine writes philosophical articles for examiner.  I'm going to comment on the one about Kant. First, I will summarize the article in layman's terms. 

Immanuel Kant wrote a book about "Critique of Pure Reason."  In that he questions the possibility of synthetic propositions.  Actual propositions are verified facts, while synthetic propositions are meaning derived from observations of the world.  This can include worldview, beliefs, things ingrained in you from your parents.  Synthetic propositions come about by reasoning instead of observation.  Kant explores synthetic propositions in math, natural science and metaphysics. 

Can synthetic propositions be possible in metaphysics?  Kant says, NO.  While reasoning is important in learning things, it is not the same as actually observing something empirically.  Most of the time, scientists want to know what caused things, then they find the causes and try to find what caused them.  They are on an endless quest for an unconditional something that caused all these conditions.  Scientists see noumena, or things that can be seen, and try to find the phenomena behind all that. 

To Kant, the phenomena cannot be found.  It cannot be proven despite the good reasoning behind it.  If you can't see it, you can't prove it.  This includes God and the supernatural.

I think that's the gist of the articles.  In other words, Kant thinks metaphysics are pointless because they are intangible.  Any scientist will research the world from the viewpoint of his religious upbringing, causing a bias in every conclusion from their research. 

Kant is right.  Unless a person is taken by the Holy Spirit, he will never truly believe in God's revelation or a world beyond this one.  These people will not be able to prove God to non-believers who know the truth but don't want anyone ruling them.  And even Kant in his agnosticism knows that every cause in this world had to be caused by something, eventually leading up to some uncaused cause. 

And the organization of Answers in Genesis bases their whole scientific research on their literal Biblical worldview showing that evolution did not happen, but the flood did happen and made this world look old.  They have such reasoning that a hardened theistic evolutionist can leave their museum completely changed to young-earth creationism.  However, this only works on people the Lord has saved.  Those who will never surrender to the Lord will believe the truth no matter how compelling the evidence.  And they have Kant to thank for their stubborn decisions.

Friday, June 8, 2012


I was listening to the Waiting this week.  The band from Georgia from 1997ish.  The Christian band who has every song as an alter call.  1996 and 1997 are when I remember really caring about Jesus and dedicated my life to him, and God used a lot of CCM to help me.

Those days were the heyday of CCM, Christian rock, and the advent of contemporary services/rock concert services.  This was also the time when the events of the Lost Kids of Rockdale County took place.  I'm not describing it, but Google it.  I clearly remember attending a Throne event once (a Christian rock worship service with mostly dcTalk songs) and feeling very spiritually high.  Some of the kids in town began to worship Jesus because of the electric guitars and fun songs.

But for the most part, there really was a huge rebellious streak at Memorial Middle School where I attended.  I was surrounded by all people who talked crudely, made fun of me, cared only about manicures and hair dye, and pretty much watched whatever came on the WB.  Looking back, I was really shocked in 1999 when LKRC blew the whistle on Rockdale's teen syphilis epidemic.  Now, I realize that I should not have been surprised.  I think of my youth group at Smyrna which was pretty much evenly divided between the preppy kids and the druggie kids.  I didn't fit in with either group and mostly related to the druggie kids who liked music but also MTV, Nirvana, and pretty much were having sex in middle school.

But they all claimed to love Jesus and love Christian rock music.  Now I realize that their faith was based solely on the rock music and had nothing to do with Jesus.  Or they took the bait, got caught, but the fishermen didn't properly explain the Gospel, the law, responsibility, or surrendering to Jesus.  Only a happy-go-lucky Barney God who loves all people no matter what.  This is why these days every woman coming into my pregnancy center is a "Christian" despite still not being married, pregnant again, and even has an abortion history.

Adding to the rock music gimmick, we also had so much Christianity in Rockdale based on morals, and clean living.  It's like my parents' generation equate Christianity with being a good American who votes Republican.  Now, I'm a raging Republican, but I also am aware that GOP and Christ are not mutually exclusive.  (Though I can assure you, Christ is definitely not a liberal).  And I'm not Christian because I vote for GOP, fight abortion, or speak out against gay rights and bad music.  When your whole Christian walk is based on good morals and good music, then it is not based on what the Bible actually says but just on what we can do to make the world safe for the kids.  Then, the kids grow up having no meaning in life.

So the solution to this?  I try to get people to know Jesus and find a legit church these days.  Also, to know that Jesus has teeth and is not a doormat.  Here's the thing:  all people want to go to heaven when they die.  Nobody in their natural state wants God to be their God.  We want to be our own gods.  If you die and Christ still is not Lord over your life, then do you really think you will be in God's kingdom without its King?  No, you are going to eternal punishment.

We all deserve this punishment, but God sent Christ to die the place of those he will save.  Our price is paid and we don't have to pay anymore in penance or works or alms, although as Luther said, our lives should be one of continual repentance.  And repentance only happens when Christ has changed you and the Holy Spirit has come to live in your life.  If God rules your life, then you are going to naturally obey his commands because the Holy Spirit makes you able to do so, to even want to do so.

So these days, whenever I hear old Christian music, I still love it, but I see so much seeker sensitivity in it that made the Gospel too easy and cheap.  I also groan whenever my dad bemoans the falling of America, saying he's worried about it?  Why?  America is not a Christian nation although it was founded on Christian morals, and our home is not on this planet anyway.  Don't you want to see Christ return again?  Let's stop trying to keep our kids safe and actually teach them how to give their lives for Christ as living sacrifices.

By the way, any suggestions on how to do that?  The floor is open.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lo-go-mo and thanks

It's time for me to do another thankful list, and on this list, I will be thankful for the VBS going on this week and that so much community is happening there. It' in Loganville, and it's beach themed, so here goes.

Aruba, Jamaica, oo I'm gonna take ya
To a church gym, and church friends, see our children's mamas
My keys stowed, tea to go, baby why don't we go?

On the edge of Rockdale, there's a place called Lo-Go-Mo
That's where you wanna go and follow the Savior's call.
Hands in the sand, making clay crosses and painting shells.
I'll be cutting some duct tape that looks like Hawaiian shorts
Way down in Lo-Go-Mo

Aruba, Jamaica, oo I'm gonna take ya
To a church gym, and church friends, see our children's mamas
My keys stowed, tea to go, baby why don't we go?
Down to Lo-Go-Mo
At VBS, and we will make a mess.
It's fun I must confess
Down here in Lo-Go-Mo.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How not to Argue

Looks like this is going to be a series.  It's good to write this publicly so that I can practice my arguing skills on the internet, the land of no tone.  The best advice would be to not use the internet, but alas, I don't practice what I preach.

Like I said yesterday, I got in trouble for arguing with a stranger on someone else's Facebook page.  I mean, people have argued on my comments plenty of times and I just let them.  But I'm figuring out that's not the best tactic.  Depends on who it is, but it's still not the best tactic.

So hanging my head in shame, I posted two articles on Facebook today.  One about "culture wars" and one about there not being that many gays in America.  A friend who I love but disagree with dissented on both of them.  That's fine.  I'm not shocked and I actually yawned.

Then two guys commented on each one.  I erased one and kept the other.  First, the dissenter friend posted something about homophobes and such liberal mantras that aren't new or bold.  Just conforming to what the media wants you to believe.  The other guy, who I agree with, posted about "homosexuality being an abomination."  Which it is.  And in a perfect world, we could tell people that and they would take the kind advice and listen.  But the biggest argument these days is that people bully other people because they are gay.  I don't want to give the impression that I am bullying gay people even though I am openly against that lifestyle.  But, the correct guy was doing the wrong thing: also using cliches and not really showing any love.  I'm an expert at saying the right things the wrong way so I can call it out.

On the other one, my dissenter friend commented, "Truth is in the eye of the beholder," along with more paragraphs of stale liberal cliches, and a guy who lives in a coffee shop (I miss doing that), started, "I don't know you, but from what I see..."  I kept that because he was polite, respectful and showed in words that he really cares about the guy.

So I probably insulted the previous guy by erasing the comment, but I'm trying to stop him from making the same mistakes that I make all the time.

That being said, I've got two cents to say about the gays.  I see girls week after week who are starved for love and try to find it in sex.  I see young kids starved for love.  The TV says they can find that through that special someone via sex.  Then they go to churches that don't actually preach Christ and the gospel, just some grandfather in the sky who gives his kids whatever.  So they don't know Christ's love, and partially it is our fault because we are by default hypocrites and so much of evangelicalism downplays sin and over emphasizes unconditional love.  They don't have the satisfying love of Christ or a proper church body, so their only meaning in life is to try to be used by either gender and still be empty.  These girls end up pregnant.  These boys end up with diseases.  They both are dissatisfied and have no meaning in life.  I lead the church's children and I care very much that the girls have boyfriends at age 6 or if two girls decide to hold hands (even though it is innocent).  And I can understand the urge for love and affection, but I also know the Lord.  He's real, he's the only truth out there, and his is the only love that matters.  And because of this love, I want to show people deep love without perverting it.  And honestly, all sexual sin started out as good love that God intended, but then Satan perverted it and made it so the only thing you can do is have sex.  No talking or getting to know the person.  No true affection.  Just using people for their bodies.  This is why kids commit suicide, and I will do what I can to fight sexual perversion of all kinds and encourage kids to one, find a legit church, and two, wait until you are married to someone of the opposite gender.  Girls, say no the the boy and possibly get away from him if he pressures you; and boys, respect your girl treating her as a treasure, not as a tissue.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Resistance is Futile

So my name is Meghan and I have a problem.  I enjoy controversy.  It's like something I can't resist.  If there is something to disagree with, I will make my opinion known, no matter who you are.  Like the scorpion stinging the back of whatever carried him across the water, it's just my nature.

Then again, Jesus saved me to overcome my sinful nature.  He did make me a polemicist.  But I can also take that too far and judge people or get into fights with random strangers on other people's Facebook pages.  I think the day I can get to where that doesn't happen, I'll be fine.

Praise be to God, I do keep my mouth, and sometimes keyboard, shut more often.  Internet is the worst however.  It's where I'm most comfortable talking and it's where there is absolutely no tone of voice.

So how do you readers learn how to control impulses to argue on the internet?

UPDATE: You should see the controversy that ensued on Facebook when I posted this.  And I'm still shocked about who is on what side.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


So, I cut a hole in my carpet.

These two cats are the reason I cut a hole in my carpet.

Now my floor looks like this.  I'm quite proud of this and might keep doing it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Facts

Memorial Day was Monday.  I had no class.  It's Friday.  I have class.  I'm already ready for bed. 

I saw 20 things that pastors normally hear in counseling, from Challies's website.  I found myself laughing at some of them.

I see all kinds of names at Refuge Pregnancy Center.  I'm actually starting to like some but I would never name my kids that. 

I hope the rain lasts long enough for me to hear it in bed.

I'm gonna be writing down quotes from my professor.  He's a hoot.

I cut a hole in my carpet earlier this week.

It is my intention to replace that carpet with something hard.

I hesitate to do so because of both money, and I don't want to make it comfortable for the cats again.

I need a nap.