• Apologetics,  Christian Living,  Culture,  Ethics

    Early Christian Opposition to Abortion

    Honestly, I am not surprised when some people claim to be Christians yet support abortion. I guess I am used to people claiming to be Christians while denying that claim by supporting all sorts of immoral nonsense. It is easy to claim to be a Christian. However, in contrast to many false believers who claim Jesus, real Christians are marked by commitment to Christ and His commandments. Real Christians are committed to the teachings of Jesus (John 13:35; 1 John 2:3) as well the teachings of Scripture as a whole (2 Tim 3:14-17). So, although I have seen my fair share of self-identifying Christians support abortion, I must admit I was a bit surprised recently when I saw a pastor of a megachurch come out and say abortion and Christianity are completely compatible. Of course a Christian analysis of this situation would affirm that abortion remains incompatible with a Christian…

  • Christian Living,  Church,  Culture

    A Mark of the Fool is Lack of Understanding

    Recently, a meme was circulating on social media, which had a picture on top and on the bottom. The photo on top showed Prince William making an obscene gesture to the crowd by holding up his middle finger. We could see the disrespect and arrogance oozing from the photo. However, the image on the bottom showed a different angle of the same situation. From this new perspective, we observe that the gesture was not obscene at all. Instead, it became evident that the initial view prohibited us from seeing the other fingers. The caption for the meme read, “Seeing only one side can be very dangerous.” I like this meme because it illustrates two aspects of biblical wisdom. First, there are many scenarios where our first impressions or perceptions are incorrect. Only through gaining a complete perspective can we be sure of what we are looking at. Second, wisdom obligates…

  • Christian Living,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    What does the Bible Say about Dreams?

    What does the Bible say about dreams? Although at one point I was surprised whenever someone would ask this question, this has long since ceased. Christians regularly want to know what the Bible says about dreams. One of the reasons for this is because human beings are naturally curious about dreams. Dreams intrigue us. This is evidenced in part by the fact professional dream interpreters have their own business. Additionally, almost everyone has read of Sigmund Freud and his propensity for analyzing dreams and what they signified about an individual. For Christians, not only do dreams interest us, but the Bible also interests us. Hence, when we read about God speaking to people through dreams, it is a natural question which comes up—should we expect to hear from God in dreams? Dreams in the Old Testament The first mention of dreaming in the Old Testament comes in Genesis 20:3, where…

  • Christian Living,  Ethics

    Does the Bible Say Same Sex Attraction is Sin?

    Although some would argue that any same sex relationship is a good thing if it doesn’t harm anyone, in Christian circles there is usually a more clandestine approach to encourage acceptance of the gay lifestyle. This approach says that same sex attraction itself is not a sin, it is following through on the attraction that is the sin. In other words, to be attracted to the same sex is not a sin as long as one does not act on those impulses. In one sense, there is a difference between the gravity and consequences of following through on the attraction, but the real question is whether desires themselves can be sinful? People will often differentiate the issue between orientation and behavior. Some people will say that it is not sinful to be a “gay Christian.” It is only necessary to live celibate. However, there are two significant reasons that same…

  • Christian Living,  Hermeneutics,  Old Testament

    Train up a Child in the Way He Should Go? A Promise?

    Proverbs 22:6 has been interpreted in some circles as a promise to parents that if they do their jobs right, their child will never abandon the faith. However, this in turn has resulted in many parents feeling as if God has broken His promise to them when their child turns from the faith. Train up a child in the way he should go:And when he is old, he will not depart from it (Prov 22:6, KJV) Although this verse has been used by many parents and church leaders as a promise, it is important to slow down and read this verse carefully. A Proverb is a Principle, Not a Promise First, a proverb is not a promise! Proverbs are axiomatic (self-evident) sayings about how life normally works. But, there are plenty of exceptions to proverbs, because life is complicated by many factors. For example, although Proverbs 21:17 says the one…

  • Christian Living,  New Testament

    Understanding the Gospel as Story

    It is very popular in today’s evangelical culture to advocate living a “gospel-centered” life. Further, Christians are quick to remind others to “preach the gospel to yourself every day.” I think I understand what Christians mean by this, but I have seen a few problems that come from this kind of catchphrase Christianity. My goal is not to dissuade people from using these phrases, but to try to use biblical definitions to help others understand what living a gospel-centered life means. What is the Gospel? Most people are familiar with the fact that “gospel” is usually used to translate a Greek word, euangelion, which means, “good news.” More specifically, however, I think it is fair to say that most people use the term “gospel” to refer to the following logical sequence. All human beings are sinners; and as sinners we are bound for eternal damnation. Jesus came to earth, lived…

  • Christian Living,  Old Testament

    Principles in Proverbs on Wise Communication

    Communication is important. More importantly, how communication is done is important. Jesus himself said that “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matt 12:34b). It is underappreciated in our culture that what we say—whether verbally, over text, or on social media—these acts of communication reveal our hearts. It is a good and important exercise to evaluate our own communication and see how we line up. The ancient world prized wisdom, specifically the discussion of how to act in daily life. Unsurprisingly then, Proverbs provides some of the most pithy and helpful statements on how a righteous man or woman engages in communication. In many cases, Proverbs will contrast the righteous and his communication style and the non-righteous. What follows are a few of the many principles derived from Proverbs on how the righteous communicate. The Righteous Brings Benefit by His Communication The mouth of the righteous is…

  • Christian Living

    True Greatness in the Christian Life

    As a Sophomore in college I remember having an opportunity to eat dinner with a wise man. This man was a teacher who taught only one class at the college, biblical hermeneutics. Although he only taught one class at the college, he was a full time teacher at a local high school as well. He had devoted his life to teaching young guns like myself how to understand the Bible and how to live the Christian life. Seeing him eating by himself one day at the school cafeteria, my friend and I went over to join him. I tried really hard to think of some good questions to ask him, but could only come up with one that I guess I had been thinking about. “Prof, do you think it is okay to want to be great?” The question came out of my own understanding of success. To me greatness…

  • Christian Living,  New Testament,  Theology

    Is God in Control of My Sickness?

    Nobody enjoys sickness or infirmity. Whether it is a significant disease or a minor sickness, infirmities often are a source of consternation and complaint. Regardless of whether it is our own sickness, or the sickness of a loved one, Christians are constantly driven to questions about God’s relationship to sickness and suffering. Does God have control over sickness? Sickness and God’s Glory One of my favorite passages which addresses the issue of sickness or infirmity and God’s control is John 9. As Jesus and His disciples traveled in Jerusalem, they pass by a man who was blind from birth. The disciples ask Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). The assumption behind the disciples’ question is that sin and sickness are connected. The disciples supposed that it was either the blind man’s sin, or his parents’ sin that brought about the…

  • Christian Living

    Loving by Leaving Rather than Staying (Prov 25:17)

    As Christians, we always are trying to get better at loving other people. To love one another is, according to Christ, the tell tale sign of being a believer (John 13:35). In contrast to viewing love as a mere feeling, Christians understand there is a deeper definition of love (1 Cor 13:4-7). Love meets the needs of others. Love exalts others. Love seeks the betterment of others. Through everything, biblical love is the supreme element in healthy, God-honoring relationships. As I was reading through Proverbs the other day, I was struck by one of the practical ways to show love. “Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.” Prov 25:17 One’s home has always been viewed as a sanctuary, a place of security and comfort. To invade that security and comfort too often can cause a stress on any…