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Archive for the ‘Controversy is Christian’ Category

Why I can wear a cotton shirt and still be a Christian.

In Controversy is Christian on November 4, 2013 at 10:31 am

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Photo courtesy of Flickr All rights reserved by Twelve Bar It’s All Love

I find it frustrating when I read or hear columnists, pundits, or journalists dismiss Christians as inconsistent because “they pick and choose which of the rules in the Bible to obey.”  What I hear most often is “Christians ignore lots of Old Testament texts—about not eating raw meat or pork or shellfish, not executing people for breaking the Sabbath, not wearing garments woven with two kinds of material and so on. Then they condemn homosexuality. Aren’t you just picking and choosing what they want to believe from the Bible?”

The short answer is no.

And honestly if I did, I could think of much meatier things to selectively not follow than those.  For example, I mean let us be real here.  Wouldn’t it be easier to get rid of the scriptures that deal with covetousness and fornication and adultery?  Let’s just throw out the scriptures on sex.  Wouldn’t that be more realistic and pleasurable?  I think you would agree that there are many more scriptures we would love to selectively follow then weather I can wear a cotton shirt or grow a beard a certain length.  Then I’d be free to just enjoy my lustful cravings and conspicuous consumption at will, and still be a Christian!

But the reality is that such objections are red herrings to distract from the moral questions often raised by Christians or to ridicule a Christian’s faith.  The objection also fails to understand or perhaps chooses not too understand the difference between the moral laws of God versus those societal laws given to Israel.

The truth of the matter is that the Bible makes it clear that the Christian is no longer bound by those Old testament standards.  We are under a “new covenant”.  A new set of standards that supersede and are higher than those given in the Old Testament.  We are instead bound by a higher code.  The love of Christ.

The fact of the matter is that the Old Testament law with all its sacrifices and ceremony was never designed to be permanent in the first place.

Lk 16:16, The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Rom 10:4.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

In Christ, we find the ultimate fulfillment of the law.  Hebrews 10:1-18 does an excellent job of explaining the Law and its intent to make us aware of our moral/spiritual inadequacy and its design to lead us to Christ.  The law is designed to simply make us aware of our sin, but was never intended to solve the sin issue.

And let’s face it.  It’s the issue of sin that gets everyone up into a tizzy.  The idea that something is in error with my behavior, thoughts, etc.; is not exactly the most politically acceptable message to communicate in this day and age.  Do not get me wrong.  I am not saying that Christians are perfect.

But a recovering alcoholic can recognize another alcoholic.  The recovering individual is not condemning the person who has a current problem.  He is trying to help the person out to see that his behavior is destructive.  And despite his desire to want another drink, and even his freedom to do so, his behavior has destructive consequences on his relationships, and society at large.  The Christian merely says the same thing, weather the topic is abortion, marriage, etc.  The issue is our perspective.  How many times have you attempted to “intervene” with someone who needed help?  Did they always appreciate it?  Did they project that you are better than they were?  Often Christians are accused of judging others.

The Christian is someone who knows that if it were not for the transformative power of Christ they too would be hitting the bottle, and commit to acts of self-destruction or hurt to others.

What shall we then say to these things?  If you disagree with an idea, instead of attacking the person, instead of the argument…instead of responding to objections by straying into subject matters that are not related to the topic at hand; why don’t we simply reason together?

It is amazing what you might learn from a Christian who wears cotton shirts.

Past Performance Does Not Guarantee Future Results: thoughts on faithfullness

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on October 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Rock of Gibraltar

The rock of Gibraltar stands as a beacon of both majesty and reliability. The idiom, “solid as a rock” has come to mean faithfulness, and is synonymous with the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s fitting that even modern day companies such as Prudential have used this symbol to convey reliability and strength.

Faithfulness is a highly praised quality that persons of all persuasions admire. The Bible is replete with thoughts on the subject. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Proverbs.

Pr 25:19

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

If you have ever had a toothache, or twisted an ankle then you are getting the imagery here that the writer Solomon wished to convey. This communicates to me that times of trouble really help reveal the quality of faithfulness in a person, and that unfaithfulness can carry pain and impediment to a persons hurt if we are not careful.

But what is faithfulness? The first occurrence of the word in the Bible is found in 1 Sam 26:23 and literally means firmness. In other words something that you can stand, build, or otherwise rely on the character of. Solidity. Ultimately, it means to be trust worthy.

Trust however must be “found”. It requires examination. Daniel was examined and found faithful. Dan 6:4

Stewards of the mysteries of God must also be examined and found faithful. 1 Cor 4:1

Jesus teaches us to avoid building our lives on things that shift. Matt 7:24-26.

God constantly has appealed to humanity to place its trust in Him. Mrk 11:22. To examine him, and find him faithful. He proclaims that he changes not. Mal 3:6

But what if you’re not faithful? What if you have had troubles being faithful?  Sometimes in our zeal to serve, we like Peter know not our own heart and its capacity to turn. Peter thought he would never deny the Lord. But Jesus knew him well enough to let him know not only would he deny him, and would show his unfaithfulness three times in one evening.

It’s astounding when one thinks about this, could it be that Jesus didn’t follow his own advice in Proverbs, and relied on an unreliable Peter? But the actuality is that Jesus had indeed examined him, and knew that after his testing, he would come forth as pure gold.

Lu 22:31, 32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Jesus knew that after Peter’s trial by fire, and after the dross was removed he would come forth a vessel qualified to carry his message beyond his own race of people. Peter’s end in faithfulness was so astounding that according to church tradition he would not only stand up for the cause of Christ, but would be crucified upside down.

God makes the unfaithful, faithful. Such is the power and transformative love of Christ.

As you, evaluate the faithfulness of things and others around you. On what can we really guarantee our future success? Keep faithful men and women around you. Be not weary as others examine you, and as the Lord reveals to you the need for a deeper level of reliability as you walk with him. Don’t be offended if you are submitted for examination, it simply means that God or persons are simply looking for faithfulness in you.

More importantly keep Him around whose faithfulness knows no limits. I suppose I can’t say it any better than what it states in Hebrews.

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

Now that will guarantee future success!

To be poor in spirit.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on October 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

desperate days_t_nt

In a recent worship service the pastor talked about our need to be totally reliant on God.

Needless to say I have not always done a great job of that in my own walk.  But nevertheless, I find that the lesson is still refreshing to hear.  Recently I received an understanding of a scripture that for many years has eluded.  Perhaps I never studied it as fully as I should.  Maybe I simply was blind to its truth before now I don’t know.  All I know is that I get it now.  And it’s a doozy…at least to me.

Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I’ve often wondered what that means.  I’m living in the 21st century and in the day when I hear terms like “Google it”, “Twerking” and “hashtag” the phrase “poor in spirit”, just doesn’t come up in my everyday experience.

The word poor here comes from a Greek word ‘ptochos’ which comes from the derivative ptosso.  It means…

“(to crouch); akin to 4422 and the alternate of 4098); a beggar (as cringing), i.e. pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy, although also used in a qualified or relative sense; whereas 3993 properly means only straitened circumstances in private), literally (often as noun) or figuratively (distressed):–beggar(-ly), poor”

Now I’ve seen beggars.  Most of what I’ve seen has been homeless individuals as I speed near exit ramps holding signs that state “Hungry, will work for food.”  I’ve had beggars come and ask for a dollar.  I’ve seen them huddled in blankets cold with a tin cup, pressed against the back of buildings to keep warm.  It’s not exactly the most pleasant image that comes to mind.  Perhaps that’s why I have found myself running from such a condition.  I mean who wants to beg?  It’s probably one of the most adverse circumstances any of us would want to find ourselves in.  To be in such abject poverty, and a state of insufficiency that we must plead for the help of someone else.  But this Jesus person comes along and says yep.  Your blessed if that’s the state you are in, ‘in spirit.’

So naturally my logical thinking mind is “what’s this ‘in spirit’ thing?

After studying out that the word; ‘spirit’ comes from the Greek work pneuma, which roughly means breath.  I must admit that my understanding simply didn’t get any help there.  It wasn’t until later that it clicked for me that Jesus used what had to be an idiom.  A an expression that could not be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that had a separate meaning of its own.  Similar to such phrases like, “A Dime A Dozen”, or “A Piece of Cake”.

So what does “poor in spirit” mean.  It means to be totally dependent on the sufficiency of God.  To look to him for sustenance, fulfillment, sufficiency, and resources.

There are numerous scriptures that communicate this truth of the believers need to look to and rely on God.  Everything from Matt 4:4 “man shall no live by bread alone”, to when Paul communicates in 2 Cor 12:9.  “my grace is sufficient for you.”

Oh and these are just a few new testament scriptures.

This theme of dependence on God is one of the central messages of Jesus: that we are in need of God, a savior and that we are powerless (i.e. in abject poverty) without him.  What’s interesting is the contrast to the person who is “poor in spirit”.  I happened to find it, and the person, nay a whole group of persons are described by Jesus very clearly in Revelations 3:17

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”

This was the comment to the Laodician church.  Interesting huh?  Those that know this text know Jesus’s feelings about them.  Words like regurgitation come to mind just to jar your memory.

No wonder I have had a hard time finding the meaning of this phrase.  Between my own life and society around me.  I’m stuck in a morass of people who are comfortable in their own self sufficiency and who don’t realize their true condition.

It’s amazing to me when I can look at my life and see how easily one can move to dependence on something other than God.  Kind of just gets ya doesn’t it?  Laodiceans…sigh.

Are you poor in spirit?

Controversy is Christian: Am I romanticizing Lucifer?

In Controversy is Christian on May 4, 2013 at 2:19 am

A viewer of my kickstarter project saw the above trailer and stated the following.

“I must say you have made a VERY interesting trailer. Did you make that your self. I assume the footage is from video games and stock footage but the music, text and all is pretty impressive.

The question I have though is aren’t you afraid that this is romanticizing Lucifer? I ask because prior to being saved I had a crazy interpretation of the Bible in this ultimate struggle between Good and Evil. Long story short my version of Lucifer was much like Anikan Skywalker (assuming you have seen Star Wars). It sort of made me sympathetic to the “dark side” if you will. Now that I am saved and actually read the Bible I have a completely different take on things however, you trailer (as good as it was) kind of reminds me of how I use to see things. So what I am asking, how do you think this will benefit the 16 – 21 year old version of myself that imagining things like this”

Here was my response.

“I’m glad you enjoyed the trailer. I took me quite a while to put it together. Yes it is from various elements of footage that I’ve ‘stitched’ together. If you think that was impressive imagine what I was able to depict in a 400 page novel! I love the story and I think it came out great. You’re just getting a taste of my story telling in the trailer.

I think the question is a great one and its one I have given a lot of thought too. The Bible makes it clear that Lucifer was perfect in all his ways until iniquity was found in him. Ezk 28:15

For those of us who accept the literal interpretation of the Bible Lucifer is a real person, Anakin Skywalker is a fictional one. This is ultimately a fictional account of the life of a real person, and depicts his falling from power and his eventual demise. When you think about it, we hear about this type of thing daily with all manner of persons unfortunately.

Anakin eventually found redemption, no such situation exists here. Lucifer is clearly shown to be judged at the end of time, and my novel shows him in that state at the very beginning. I would encourage people to take a look at my prologue in the book. The novel clearly starts with where Lucifer is destined to be. The series simply addresses HOW he arrived from point A to point B.
I don’t believe telling his story takes nothing away from the central message of the Bible which culminates in the person of Jesus Christ.

You can read the prologue here.

https://donovanmneal.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/third-heaven-the-rise-of-fallen-stars-prologue-reveal/

I don’t think it romanticizes Lucifer to talk about the fact that at one time he was good. It simply is a statement of fact. I do not want to make him into something he is not, I’ve tried to share an entertaining tale from a Christian perspective that a believer could ‘get with’.

What is the real story to me is how someone who held such position in the kingdom, who was so close to God, who was created in perfection and lived in perfection could acquire a level of dissatisfaction that could be so contagious that it resulted in such a schism that a third of angel kind rebelled? That I believe is the story of interest, and the story in this first of what is to be three books in the series.

If anything I hope it can be an object lesson and a warning to all of us, and foster a deeper love of the Bible and bring the scripture to the forefront of peoples mind, via literary entertainment. Similar to the Left Behind Series.

I hope you feel comfortable supporting the project.

Highest Regards,

Donovan”

So last time I checked the word romanticized means to treat as idealized or heroic.  I’m not sure how that’s portrayed in the trailer or even the prologue.  But it is an issue that I had to address when writing the novel.

So my question to you guys is this?  Has what you seen so far romanticized Lucifer?

You be the judge.

Controversy is Christian:Guns & Gun Control

In Controversy is Christian on April 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

heston

Ok so I want to start a weekend topic dealing with subject matters that are controversial.  Yep  stuff you’re not gonna like.  Or at least will have a strong opinion about.  Actually, I want this to be a lively debate about what you think, and more importantly, why you think what you do.

So today’s topic of choice is Guns and gun control

Yep I put it out there.  I’m not skeered. 🙂

As a Christian, not an American, not a republican, not a democrat.  What should be my take on gun ownership?  You TELL ME.

Now before I have people make assumptions about me and where I’m going, let me tell you a few things.  I do not own a gun.  BUT I want one.  I have voted republican all life, but I did vote for President Obama.  I am a conservative Christian.  (How do ya like me now?)

Oh for those that wonder, I’m college educated with a graduate degree.  I’ve lived in urban and suburbia, I’ve had my home broken into several times and have witnessed gun violence personally, and have had my own brother violently taken from me due to gun violence.

So I figure for those that need to put me in a box…good luck with that one.

So here’s my take on WWJD.  I think as an American, yep I have the constitutional right to own a gun.  No doubt about it.  Hey as I already mentioned I actually do want to purchase a handgun at some point.  I understand that government does not like an armed citizenry.  I get that historically, and the idea that we should not fear government is naïve to me.  Especially if you believe as a Christian that one day there will be a government headed by an antichrist that has the ability to control all that is bought and sold.

And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Revelations 13:14-17

So this scripture says NO man.  Not just Europeans, not just Asians, the above would have to include Americans too.  So the idea that you should not have to be afraid of your government is simple naive to me if you hold to the belief in this scripture.  There is a day coming.  When those who live under this rule should be afraid.

So as an American if anything this scripture should make me just say they will have to take my gun before they put a mark like that on me.images (2)

But then I’m confronted with a simple scripture like this.

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Matthew 26:52

So Jesus tells this to Peter after Peter defends Jesus from being taken away to a bogus trial, to protect leaders positions, and government interests.

So how do we practice this scripture in our modern life?  We do not carry swords around today.  But let’s face it.  Swords were the guns of Jesus’s time.

So what we if changed this verse a bit and said “all they that take the gun shall perish with the gun.”  No how do you like it?

There is no indication that Peter was a violent man.  Although the Bible does not tell us Peters skills in swordsmanship perhaps this was his first time using a sword. In fact, wasn’t he justified?  Who can go wrong defending someone like Jesus?  Isn’t that what we need guns for to protect us from those who would seek to do us harm?  I mean here is a representative of the government coming to arrest Jesus, and at least one disciple picks up arms to defend their Lord.  I can relate to this.  But Jesus rebukes Peter, and undo’s the violence Peter had done.

Rebukes Peter, and then undoes the act of violence a disciple has committed in his name.  Think on that for a moment.

What does this say to us?  What meaning does it have for us as modern day Christians?  I find myself reminded of scriptures about not resisting evil.426286_246011435488353_1026417449_n

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Mt 5:39  Then jesus talks about giving my stuff away…pssft..really?  Ugh sometimes I just don’t want to read some scriptures, they are like mini ‘inconvenient truths’..lol

Man I wish that verse was not in there because sometimes people need a good slap on the cheek.  Just saying.

Hey but it’s there so now I got to frigging figure out how to incorporate this in my life.

This following Christ thing can be hard.

So what about you?  Don’t talk to me about rights, and the constitution.  What would Jesus do?  Would he be endorsing your packing? Give me your thoughts.

Controversy is Christian: Does finding intelligent life ‘out there’ threaten Christianity?

In Controversy is Christian on April 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Ok so I want to start a weekend topic dealing with subject matters that are controversial.  Yep stuff you’re not gonna like.  Or at least will have a strong opinion about.  Actually, I want this to be a lively debate about what you think, and more importantly, why you think what you do.

So here’s my question for this week’s blog post on Christianity and things controversial.

If we found intelligent alien life on other planets; how would that impact our view of God and the Bible?  Does it threaten Christianity at all?

If the Bible is God’s word to man, then would it stand to reason that God might have a different book for another species?

Would Christ’s death on the Cross have efficacy for the Romulans.  (I’m serious)  Christ is called the last Adam.  (1 Corinthians 15:45)  Not the last Regallian.

“When Christianity spread throughout the West, the Ptolemaic system became very widely accepted, and although the Church never issued any formal pronouncement on the question of alien life,[111] at least tacitly, the idea was aberrant. In 1277, the Bishop of Paris, Étienne Tempier, did overturn Aristotle on one point: God could have created more than one world (given His omnipotence). Taking a further step, and arguing that aliens actually existed, remained rare. Notably, Cardinal Nicholas of Kues speculated about aliens on the Moon and Sun.[112]”  Wikepedia

Here’s something to mull over.

Peter Stoner, in his book, Science Speaks, states that coincidence can be completely ruled out by the science of probability. Of this science of probability, Stoner says of eight prophecies that “we find that the chance that any man might have lived and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000.” Now maybe that seems possible. Not completely unlikely. But for one man to fulfill 48 prophecies, Stoner says the chances are 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.”

So here we have the chances of Jesus fulfilling all these prophecies as well…a really big number.  And we will claim that he is the fulfillment of these astronomical possibilities.  So if the odds of this being true is something we can believe is it so hard to fathom the possibility of ET?

There is an equation, called the Drake equation that gives us some idea of the odds of finding intelligent life.

When you  look into research by Professor Andrew Watson and keep Drake in mind the chances of intelligent life emerging is low – less than 0.01 per cent over four billion years.

So when it’s all said and done we might not be alone after all.

Now assuming we find it; and some say God forbid that we do: because were up poops creek without a paddle. As in all likehood they will probably be more advanced than us.  (Remember Columbus and the Indians?)  Think Independence Day people.

Will the gospel apply to them?  Forget intelligent life.  What if we find ANY life on other worlds.  Again how does this alter our view of God, and Christianity?  Should it?

I would say it doesn’t   The Bible was written for man to man.  Not from God to the Romulans.  But again hey maybe the scripture that deals with those who have not heard the gospel applies to aliens?

Romans 2:12-15 it states, “For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts ultimately accusing or defending them. In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”)

The Bible teaches we all have inherited the sin of Adam. Romans 5:12 states that “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

But that means sin didn’t come from Regulus.  So this scripture wouldn’t apply to our alien friends.  Would our evangelism efforts be limited to humans?  Should we even evangelize Romulans?  On what grounds?  How should Christians then look at behavior where Aliens co-habitate?  What if they have more than one spouse?  What if they engage in same sex relationships?

Angels are extra-terrestrial life are they not?  So the Bible wouldn’t apply to them.  They have their own codes and laws don’t they?  After all they can leave their first estate.  There’s no indication from the scripture that angels have ceased from falling or don not have the ability of free will where they cannot fall.  Why not other species?

Yeah, yeah your thinking…not in my life time.  It will never happen.

Ya never know…the Rapture is not here yet.

 

D

Controversy is Christian: Art and the Christian

In Controversy is Christian on April 13, 2013 at 1:09 am

structured_controversy

Ok so I want to start a weekend topic dealing with subject matters that are controversial.  Yep  stuff you’re not gonna like.  Or at least will have a strong opinion about.  Actually, I want this to be a lively debate about what you think, and more importantly, why you think what you do.

So lets me lay a groundwork.  When doing a devotional reading I noticed that God in the book of Genesis made two types of tree.  Those that were good for food, and those that were pleasing to the eye.

Gen 2:9 KJV

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; (italics mine)

Now this is interesting to me.  Because why not just make trees that were functional.  In other words who cares about trees that look good?  Well based on this scripture apparently God does.  Beauty has a function all its own.  Apparently, food alone is not sufficient for man’s existence.  Beauty is also important.  It also serves a function in creation.

So this leads to my discussions.  Art serves no purpose right?  I don’t think its a stretch to say that art in all its forms is an extension of this ‘beauty’ that God deems important.

Art doesn’t feed you, it won’t keep you warm, it won’t satisfy mans need for sexual gratification.  What purpose then does art serve?  The same purpose as the trees of beauty apparently.  Somehow, beauty is important to God, and he thought it important to man.  Is art to the inner man what food is to the outer man?

So here are my questions.

Does all art have to be Christian themed?

Does all music have to Christian themed?

Does all writing have to Christian themed?

Literature, music, and visual arts can all be classified under the category of ‘art’.

Are Christians limited to listening to music, literature, and visual works of art that are not Christ centric?

Think about it?  In my community we talk about secular music, and Christian (gospel music) We really look down on people who listen to something other than gospel.  Why?

Is this standard applicable to literature?  Visual art?

Why?

So give me your comments.  I’m curious (especially from believers) what you thoughts are.  But hey non-Christians feel free to chime in as well!

Do we Christians have issues with art that is none Christ centric?  If so why?

Remember be respectful! I’m looking forward to hearing your views!