Category Archives: Theology

The Bible Doesn’t Call us to Apologize, It Calls Us To Repent

Have you ever noticed that the Hebrew and Greek equivalent of our notion of ‘I’m sorry, I apologize’ is nowhere to be found in Scripture?  Or that you’ve never noticed any story in the Bible that features some character or other going to someone and saying ‘I’m sorry I did that’?  That’s because ‘apologizing’ is meaningless.  It changes nothing, it effects nothing, and it restores nothing.

Instead, Scripture calls us to repentance, which isn’t a mere feeling of sadness for some wrong done but an actual change of behavior.

If people change their behavior after they’ve done a wrong, then they’ve done the right thing.  But if they merely utter a few words and then continue to behave the same way as before, they’ve not done a single meaningful thing.

Any sorrow that doesn’t lead to real repentance is false.  No matter how much the wrongdoer may sound off with words like ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to, I apologize’.  If you are really sad that you’ve hurt someone, change your behavior and don’t do it again.  Otherwise, you haven’t repented at all and you aren’t even really sorry.

Your Assemblies Sicken Me

Your public assemblies I have come to hate. For there are excessive banquetings, and subtle flutes which provoke to lustful movements, and useless and luxurious anointings, and crowning with garlands. With such a mass of evils do you banish shame; and ye fill your minds with them, and are carried away by intemperance, and indulge as a common practice in wicked and insane fornication.

And this further I would say to you, why are you, being a Greek, indignant at your son when he imitates Jupiter, and rises against you and defrauds you of your own wife? Why do you count him your enemy, and yet worship one that is like him? And why do you blame your wife for living in unchastity, and yet honour Venus with shrines?  – Justin Martyr

Justin would say pretty much the same thing about most modern Christian worship and every Emergent and Seeker Sensitive ‘Church’.

Zwingli Was Right About What Must Be Done With Heretics

When he wrote, in a disputation-

So far am I from yielding to you that unless you leave me and mine—that is, the sheep of Christ—in peace and quiet, I shall proceed to deal with you far more roughly, without fear of your words or your frowns. You must deal with me by means of the Holy Scriptures bestowed upon us by God (and do not forget that point), and they must not be twisted. You must not use things devised by the vanity of man, and you must come to close quarters and not fight by laying mines. As soon as I perceive any tricks, I shall expose them.

There it is.

Yet Another Declaration That ‘The Church is Dying But I Can Revive It’, Take 454

Nope.  And nope.

That same heresy was floating around when Montanus convinced a couple of rich women to support his spiritualism and he sucked in even the likes of the great Tertullian.

It came to nothing then too.

(I wish people would read church history before they peddle their ‘new fad’.  If they did, they’d know that there was nothing new under the sun and that the old heresies have all come and come but the Church remains).

Breaking News

You don’t get to decide what ‘Christian’ means.  That was settled 2000 years ago.  Accordingly, your ‘personal definition’ of what it means to be a Christian is utterly meaningless.

Why Christians Ought to, Need To, Get To Worship Services

From an essay in the Raleigh News and Observer:

Here are the reasons why, all things being equal, Christians must go to church:

Christianity is a team sport. Permit me a humble analogy. You might see yourself as a terrific baseball pitcher. But if you only throw baseballs in your backyard at a plywood cutout, you won’t progress. You’re not even really playing baseball.

To discover the full extent of your abilities, to understand the true game, you need a catcher, a coach, infielders and outfielders — and even someone standing in the batter’s box ready to swat your best fastball right back at you.

Same with being a Christian. You can’t do it well by yourself.

Communion is among our faith’s central sacraments, a ritual that celebrates Christians as members of a spiritual, God-ordained community. We’re many individuals who, joined together with Jesus and each other, form one great cosmic body. It’s in our spiritual DNA that we rely on one another; no one stands alone.

Attendance is commanded. The writer of Hebrews, for instance, warns us never to forsake assembling together with our brothers and sisters.

It’s not all about you. We’re sent to church to serve others as much as we’re sent there to be served. Believe it or not, you possess gifts and talents your brothers and sisters need. If you’re not present, you’re denying them benefits God intended them to enjoy.

Your fellow parishioners, including your pastor, will make you mad, hurt your feelings and get on your last nerve. This is exactly what’s supposed to happen. Finding ourselves offended and disappointed lets us see just how shallow and petty we are. It sands down our rough edges. We discover that, by gosh, we’re no better than all those other hymn-warbling yahoos!

Also, watching God work miracles through the smelly, imperfect, hypocritical men and women who make up a congregation reveals to us the unfathomable depths of God’s grace and love. It renews our faith. We realize he can use anybody — even us.

Your fellow Christians will reveal aspects of the Lord you’ve never seen. As we get to know our fellow pilgrims, as we hear them tell and retell their sordid stories while they’re bumbling along, we find they’ve experienced God in ways we haven’t. They’ve seen revelations we’ve never imagined. Over time, all these very different visions merge into a greater portrait of him than we’d ever otherwise behold.

Your fellow churchgoers will inspire and comfort you. Sure, some Christians will let you down, because they’re human and that’s what humans do. But you’ll also find disciples who’ll sit beside you in court when your kid’s up on drug charges, and who’ll hold your hand when your spouse is lying in a coffin, and who’ll bring you soup when you’re sick with the flu. When everything’s going wrong, they’ll assure you it’s going to be OK in the end, because they — and God — have your back.

To the extent you honor your church, you honor Christ. “In as much as you’ve done it to the least of these my brothers and sisters,” Jesus said, “you’ve done it unto me.” When you dishonor or ignore his church, you’re dishonoring or ignoring him.

You’ll get plenty of laughs. You’ll sing and pray, sure. You’ll snore. You’ll grow fidgety. But as much as anything, you’ll experience joy — and mirth. Each church is a microcosm of the human comedy. When you’re not cussing about it, the sheer surreal madness of it just leaves you clutching your rib cage, shaking with laughter, tears of gratitude streaming down your cheeks.

An Astonishment

It is an astonishing thing to watch Christians, week after week, abandon worship of the Lord God Almighty for the most trivial things.  And then watch those same Christians wonder at the state of the world.

Remember…

Some indeed have a wicked and deceitful habit of flaunting the Name [of Christian] about, while acting in a way unworthy of God. You must avoid them like wild beasts. Ignatius of Antioch

Ancient Guidance For Terrible Times

My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal. Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes. Cling to him and do not leave him, so that you may be honoured at the end of your days. Whatever happens to you, accept it, and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient, since gold is tested in the fire, and the chosen in the furnace of humiliation. Trust him and he will uphold you, follow a straight path and hope in him. You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; do not turn aside, for fear you fall. You who fear the Lord, trust him, and you will not be robbed of your reward. You who fear the Lord, hope for those good gifts of his, everlasting joy and mercy. Look at the generations of old and see: whoever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame? Or whoever, steadfastly fearing him, was forsaken? Or whoever called to him and was ignored?  For the Lord is compassionate and merciful, he forgives sins and saves in the time of distress.

Woe to faint hearts and listless hands, and to the sinner who treads two paths. Woe to the listless heart that has no faith, for such will have no protection.  Woe to you who have lost the strength to endure; what will you do at the Lord’s visitation?  Those who fear the Lord do not disdain his words, and those who love him keep his ways.  Those who fear the Lord do their best to please him, and those who love him will find satisfaction in the Law.  Those who fear the Lord keep their hearts prepared and humble themselves in his presence. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, not into any human clutches; for as his majesty is, so too is his mercy.  (Sir. 2:1-3:1)

Quote of the Day

Princes sin and the people suffer for it. –  Matthew Henry

Quote of the Day

“The punishments of hell differ in degree, according to the quality and measure of sins.” — Hollazius

Tippers and Tithers

Tippers don’t fund church programs and ministries, tithers do.  A Church of tippers will always be on the verge of a crisis whilst a Church of tithers will always be able to meet the ministry and mission needs of the hour.

Preachers don’t like to talk about tithing because they don’t want to be accused of being self serving or greedy or worse, like a televangelist just feathering his own nest.  But tithing is a biblical concept and since the very beginning of both Israel and the Church, it was the means by which ministry, worship, and missions were made possible.

People might not like talking about ‘giving’ but that’s usually because they don’t do it, and talk of it makes them feel self conscious or even ‘guilty’.

But the harsh truth is that if people don’t give to support the work of their local Church, before too long there won’t be a local Church for them to attend.

Tippers and tithers.  Every Christian gets to decide which they’ll be and what sort of ministry they want to fund.

With St Patrick’s Day Just Around the Corner it’s Time For ‘Patrick’s Bad Analogies’

How Leanne, The Woman Who Was Scratched By A Panther, is Every Exvangelical

A woman who was attacked by a jaguar at a zoo in Arizona has insisted that she has learned her lesson after leaning over the barrier – but advised the zoo to review their safety standards.

Pay attention to what she says- she learned her lesson, but the zoo….  That is, it’s really the zoo’s fault that she got too close to the panther.

Only identified as Leanne, she has spoken out for the first time, saying that the big cat took a swipe at her arm when she leaned through the safety fence, and put her arm in front of it with her camera.

Speaking to CBS News, she said: “The black jaguar was up against the fence we happened to be walking by and said ‘hey, let’s get some good pictures’.

“I was in the wrong for leaning over the barrier, but I think the zoo should consider moving their fence back.”

No, Leanne, the zoo doesn’t need to move the fence, you need to abandon your sense of entitlement and your belief that instead of abiding by rules as they exist, rules must be changed to accommodate themselves to you.

Leanne is every exvangelical.  ‘Change the rules to what I want them to be and I’ll abide by them.  If you don’t, I’ll just do something stupid and then blame you for my doing it and leave in a huff’.

If ever there were an exvangelical parable, this is it.

Quote of the Day

“Prayer is not the flare gun of the desperate or room service for the indulgent. It is the confidence of the adopted.” — Sam Allberry

The Best Theologians Don’t Follow, they Lead

Zwingli For Today

reformers1.jpgThe promiscuous pairing of animals, even in our judgment, is not base, though such pairing of human beings is most base. But what is it that absolves them but condemns us? The Law. For by the divine law we are confined within the barriers of matrimony.— Huldrych Zwingli

God Gives Wealth to Fools, In Order to Destroy Them

Wealth is the least important of all things upon the earth, the smallest gift that God has bestowed on man. What is it, compared to the Word of God? Yes, what is it, compared even to bodily gifts and beauty? What is it, compared to the gifts of the mind? Yet people strive so for it! By no category of logic can it be called good—for its substance, its quality, as a means or as an end. Therefore God gives it commonly to coarse fools, to whom he means no good. — Martin Luther

The Doctrine of Providence as Source of Comfort

The Christian, then, being most fully persuaded, that all things come to pass by the dispensation of God, and that nothing happens fortuitously, will always direct his eye to him as the principal cause of events, at the same time paying due regard to inferior causes in their own place. Next, he will have no doubt that a special providence is awake for his preservation, and will not suffer anything to happen that will not turn to his good and safety. But as its business is first with men and then with the other creatures, he will feel assured that the providence of God reigns over both.  — John Calvin.

How Lent is Being Turned Into a Focus on YOU… And Thus Meaningless

How come Lent is sounding more and more these days like nothing but a ‘self help’ or ‘self improvement’ fad instead of a spiritual discipline leading people to focus on CHRIST?

Lent isn’t about decluttering your life or becoming a better you….

Godless pagans…