Tag Archive: what do Christians believe


Are there things in the Bible that are hard to understand?  How about things that I wish, at least on a certain level were not true?  Yes without a doubt.  Just a couple of examples.

I have both a cousin and a couple of friends from high school all of whom are involved in same-sex relationships.  Yet Romans 1:27  “And likewise also the men leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust one towards another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet”. Wow do I wish that wasn’t there.
Now that’s tough, but for me it gets worse.  Jesus said “I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery”. Being a single red-blooded male I fail at this pretty much on a weekly basis.  I could go on and on.  But I think you get the point.

Does what I think matter?

R.C. Sproul talks about a revelation he had while at graduate school, “You are required to believe and to preach, and to teach what the Bible says is the truth, not what you think it ought to be.”  Maybe the examples above don’t bother you, but I’m sure if you haven’t found something you wish wasn’t there you will.  What ever it is really doesn’t matter.
I may not like what the Bible says, but if God is real and who he claims to be, which is what I believe to be true based upon what I can know.  Then I have to accept what He says to be true even if I don’t always understand why.  Otherwise I am assuming the role of God, and I have elevated myself to god hood.
Perhaps I should embrace something Jim Rohn used to say, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.”  Taking it a step further.  Don’t wish God was different, don’t just wish I was better, but work strive study to be better.  Work on disciplining my thoughts and emotions in order to be who God created me to be rather than wishing I did not have to be that person.

 

Are you willing to work to become the man God made you to be, or are you just going to wish God was different?

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The God who suffers

Listening to a lecture given by Tim Keller on suffering, and he states that “Christianity is the only religion with the audacity to claim that God suffered”. I thought that was both simple, and yet profound (yes I realize it is not original with him, never the less).  Why would God suffer?  Not just suffer in a general sense but in a very real very literal way, and for us.

 “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8 NKJV)”. How amazing.  God did not just suffer, but Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world, not destined, not a future tense but past, was slain.
Can you imagine what that conversation was like?  The Father and Son discussing creating man.  And perhaps the Spirit chimes in and asks, yes but what about when they rebel?  The Father none the less says, let us make man in our image, but Jesus you know what this means.  And in that moment the Son not only sees the future, the beating, the suffering, the death.  Not just a knowing or a feeling, but he in that moment experiences being slain.  For God is outside of time in the way we know it.  In that moment the spear pierces his side.  The nails puncture his hands and feet.  The thorns dig deep,into his brow, as the blood pours forth  and he says.  “Of course I will die for them.”

 

I can barely fathom it.  

Can you?  Can you imagine what that moment felt like?  The sense, being slain before we were created?  Can you imagine knowing that your kids would literally kill you before they were born, and yet deciding to give birth to them anyway.  Maybe thinking oh well by the time it happens I will be old and besides they will have done a few nice things here and there.  A couple of breakfasts of soggy cereal and cold pancakes in bed, a few hand drawn birthday cards.  I know they will be the death of me, but it will be worth it.  No I can’t imagine either let alone going thru with it.  But imagine what this really means, before the hugs and kisses, before the “I love you” before a single moment of joy, you will suffer and be slain, and only then will you be allowed to enjoy those few of your children that don’t spit in your face and curse your name.
If that’s not love I don’t know what is.
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Earned Grace

I hear so many confused answers on Christian ethics and obligations.  This morning I heard a man I deeply respect say we are no longer under the law.  And then he stopped there, Romans says “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
And that’s true but that is not all, it goes on to say in the very next verse “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”

Can you earn a gift?

Can I earn God’s love and forgiveness?  Of course not.  I will never be good enough, there is nothing I can do to make myself good enough.  After all if I cut someone off on the freeway tomorrow, what do I do to make it right?  How about the lie I told my senior year of high school?(ok the LIES, plural). People I have hurt with my actions?  How would the scales ever balance out.
See grace can’t be earned, otherwise it is not grace.  Grace by one definition is unmerited favor.  It takes one of the hardest acts of man, to accept a gift.  We really want to make it on our own.  Our pride gets in the way, and we try to be good enough, strong enough, rich enough, wise enough.  But we can’t be anything enough to earn it.

 You can’t save yourself, and neither can I.

The law saves no one.  The law is God’s standard.  We don’t obey the law in order to earn Gods love.  We obey the law because we love God.

The resurrection was a sign from God that Jesus sacrifice, his shed blood, his death was sufficient.
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Amish family riding in a traditional Amish bug...

Amish family riding in a traditional Amish buggy in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wonder if the Amish are on to something?  Are they right to send the young men out into the world.  By forcing them to make their beliefs system their own, nobody can then take it away from them.  What they claim to believe isn’t just because of what their parents, friends, or family believe, but they are forced to make a choice.  To either accept or reject the beliefs that they have been raised with.

Or is someone else’s belief enough?

Contrast that with the following survey from the UK http://richarddawkinsfoundation.org/
“Asked why they had been recorded as Christian in the 2011 Census, only three in ten (31%) said it was because they genuinely try to follow the Christian religion, with four in ten (41%) saying it was because they try to be a good person and associate that with Christianity.”
Can what you believe be handed to you like a family heirloom?  For me I left the family beliefs behind.  I searched and looked and tried so many things.  Only to have a sense of emptiness that nothing could fill.
Oh I tried and trust me I worked really hard to make all kinds of things fill me up, make me feel complete.  Inside of me was what I now know was a God shaped hole.  But then I tried to make other religions fill that.  When that didn’t work I then looked at anything, everything else.  Other people, especially women, trying to make them fit that shape.

Until it is your own it will not fit.

I would put someone else in that place, and for a time it would kind of sort of work.  Imagine trying to make three pounds fill a twenty pound bag.  There is something there, and it doesn’t feel as empty.  But sooner or later you realize that there is still something missing.  A life that isn’t full, isn’t complete.
The only thing big enough is God.  And now, well those other things just don’t seem that important.  Actually not important at all.  I enjoy the company of friends and time with family.  And although some of them are women I don’t use them to fill me up.  In fact being involved, dating, even the idea of marriage doesn’t really fit, at least for now.

Unlike Jerry McGuire the only thing that completes me is God.

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Let’s be clear from the start I consider myself as a classical liberal.  For those of you unclear on that I’m big on the responsibility and the value of the individual, limited government low taxes and states rights.  Or what is often referred to as a conservative.  Does this matter, probably not but I’m big on disclosure so there you go.

Do we really need more coarse language?

Ok so the vitriol that spews forth against the current President from people who dare to call themselves Christian is to me amazing.  Christian leadership needs to criticize, speak out against things you think are wrong, even immoral ie: abortion to your heart’s content, but isn’t it time you remembered that you are commanded to have respect for authority for they are placed in office by God.  Read Romans 12 & 13. The magistrate is there to do 2 things.  Punish evil, condone the good.  For a more in-depth analysis of this concept see “The Truth Project” 
Are their laws and actions being taken by the government that I think as a Christian I have a moral obligation to protest, fight against, and do my best to change?  Of course.  We should stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  What you and I should not do is promote hate for people no matter how much we disagree.  You and I have an obligation to reflect the one we call Lord.  If your daring to call yourself by the name of Christ and then saying some of the things I see floating around on Facebook, twitter, and blogs, I have to wonder what you’re trying to show the world.  If your calling yourself a Christian, you are setting yourself up as a witness for Christ.  Are your actions, your language really the way you want people to view Jesus?

Hate the action, not the person.

 Let me be clear, hate is not disagreeing. Hate is not holding the belief that certain actions or lifestyles are wrong.  When my sons were teenagers one of them decided that smoking pot and skipping school was how he would spend his days.  I hated what he was doing, because I love him.  Because I love him, I want what’s best for him.  Not what he wanted to do, and what he thought was best for him.
Likewise if I see someone doing things that aren’t best for them, I hate that too.  Before you go getting all bent jumping on the “judge not lest ye be judged” bandwagon, I’m not judging.  That’s not my place nor do I have the wisdom or the authority.  All I know is what God says.  If you have a problem with that, then it’s for you to deal with, not me.
If your going to call yourself a Christian, especially publicly, we are commanded to love our enemies.  Disagree with the actions, no problem, hate the actions, what you see government or this administration doing all you want.  Oppose it, work to change it.  But please stop spewing the hate of the person, instead of the action.  We, you and I are give direction that we are subject to the authorities God has put over us.

“If your going to preach fire and brimstone you need to do it with tears in your eyes” –  Jim Rohn

What do you think when you see others tearing apart our leaders out of anger, instead of seeking to change things because of love?  What about when it is someone who then claims to be a Christian?
While I understand that many may believe that the God of the bible expects blind faith, I wonder where this comes from?  I can not seem to find this teaching, this command anywhere in the Bible.

I recently saw a video by Aron RaFaith is not a Virtue, and he will contend that to have faith is to disengage your mind, to turn off your cognitive ability.  Just some examples are:
  1. “Faith is a secure confidence not based on evidence”.  Can’t speak for anyone else but my faith can only be based upon past experience, and the fact is the same with much of science.  After all what much of what is called scientific “fact” is taking multiple results to an experiment and based on getting the same result multiple times, believing that the results will continue to be the same ad infinitum.
  2. “Faith is unsupported wishful thinking”.  Christianity isn’t about wishing things were all puppy dogs and rainbows, but rather an acceptance of what is, not about how we wish it was.  We accept what is and make the decision to live our lives based on that, working to achieve what we believe to be the best possible outcome, even if we do not have the certainty of success.
  3. “Religion is a belief system that means you are required to believe this, and forbidden to believe that” – guilty as charged, however science is in the exact same boat, for example, if you’re a mathematician aren’t you required to believe that 2+2=4, and not 6? Or how about an evolutionary biologist?  If you don’t believe the theories of this discipline can you still call yourself an evolutionary biologist?
  4. “The real problem for empirical scientists and rational skepticism is we care more about truth than the religious do” – really? As a follower of Christ the pursuit of truth is a requirement, not an option.  The problem with scientists and skeptics is the refusal to admit, at least in public, that those data points most often used as “proof” of evolution, the beginning of the universe, and the like are assumptions, an if this then that, line of thinking.  Where is the willingness to stop and say clearly that ” We believe that The universe began because of X, therefore Y, but if the beginning is actually Z then the answer would be completely different and the truth is we can not know if for no other reason then there are different ways to get to this point and there is no empirical evidence which can say with absolute certainty that X is really the starting place.”  Will you ever hear a Hawking, Dawkins or other scientists who believe in evolutionary origins say this?  Will they freely admit to doubt or other possibilities?  I doubt it but time will tell.
  5. “All sin can be forgiven if you believe in Jesus, and simply because you believe in Jesus” – Close but not quite, yes all sin can be forgiven, however as James says “Thou believe that there is one God; thou doesn’t well: the devils also believe, and tremble”.  So no just belief is not the key, it starts there, but it also requires, a declaration of Jesus as Lord, see Romans 10:9-10, and if you think this is just some sort of lip service to God think again.
  6. “He(God) lives by those rules even when circumstances demand exception” – really and what exception would that be?

Not having the answers doesn’t make you wrong

Oh don’t get me wrong there are far too many who call themselves Christians, and even claim to speak for God espousing some of the things mentioned above.  Even saying some incredibly ridicules things as if they were a prophet.  Maybe according to some I am a heretic for even questioning their beliefs.  I think however that those of us that dare to claim Jesus as Lord should be neither closed-minded to what science has to say, or to take it on blind faith.
Unlike Mr. Ra I can freely admit my prejudices but also accept that at this point there are some things that neither science or Christianity can answer.  Things like how exactly was the universe created, when the Bible speaks of a 6 day creation is it 6 literal days?  Or is it like Peter spoke of that a day is like a thousand years?(2Peter3:8). Only time will tell.

I’ll keep looking for answers,thank you very much.

For now I must be content with not knowing all the answers, but continue to search for them.  I don’t believe God gave us a brain only to turn it off when the questions get tough.  Although I am a little frustrated with others, especially non-Christians, trying to define Christianity, I will continue to do my best to point out the flaws, even glaring errors in their definitions.  Maybe it won’t matter to them, but it matters to me.
What about you, have you encountered people mis-representing what Christianity is?  Did you speak up?  What did you do about it?