Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

exodus_gods_and_kings_movie-wide

Brotherhood. Moses and Ramses know all about that. They should- they grew up together, have fought together, and have ruled together under the pharaoh. The time has come though for a new pharaoh to rise to the throne, and Ramses does so in a manner of his father and his father’s father… the list goes on. In this new transition, Moses is shown and told some disturbing things. How he is not truly Egyptian. How he is not royalty.

Taken aback at these claims and the way Ramses treats him under such, he has no option but to flee in the desert, where he meets his wife, starts a family, and meets a bush on fire, yet does not burn. He has been Told to free his people, the Hebrews, from Egypt. Who told him this?

God.

Things I Liked

While Moses departs from the standard Exodus representation of his character. He remains true to the essence of person. For the most part. Early on, instead of rebelling at the bush and calling, he rebels later in assembling his own little army and strike force. God appears later, after the failures of such a force. In more eloquent words He essentially asks “How’s that working for you?”. Moses eventually learns the lesson of submission and humility, and begins a walk with God which is excellent to behold.

The Hebrews as a whole, are shown to have an unwavering faith in God until the Red Sea, like shown in Exodus. Throughout the beatings, the plagues, and freedom they continue to hold fast to the prophecies told to them, and share them with Moses who is their deliverer. Even after the wonders of the plagues though, we see them begin to squabble amongst themselves and question Moses’s decision. I was glad they left both parts of this in the film.

The plagues portrayed in this movie are by far the best ever shown or captured. They even reference how each plague smacked the face of an Egyptian god. What is also laughable, is how the Egyptian priests attempted to explain away the plagues with science, to no avail. Much like what some scientists do today.

The cinematography and costumes in this piece stood out like none other. It is indeed a beautiful work to behold and seeing what Egypt could have looked like at the height of power…. Stunning. To say the least.

Things I Didn’t Like

In the beginning of the film, Moses and Ramses attack a Hittite war camp. People are stabbed, crushed, and cut down as the attack ravages the Hittite camp. In a similar a violent scale, Moses and his band lead attacks on the Egyptians to little success. Moses murders two Slavemaster Egyptians.

The Hebrew slaves in Egypt are shown to have little care and much brutality forced upon them. Families are hanged as public warnings. Dead slaves are left to rot in the sun. Countless slaves are beaten. We see scarred backs and broken spirits at times that make us wince in the inhumanity of it all.

While Just wrath of God is shown marvelously through the Plagues. The suffering which ensues is by no means enjoyable to behold. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is seeing the last plague take Ramses’ son’s life. It is a powerful and painful moment that was captured with the greatest of precision and tastefulness. Even in knowing that Ramses fully deserved the punishment given him, the pain which we see result from his disobedience against God still hurts. Like it should.

Closing Thoughts

“We must kill the firstborn lamb, so we may be passed over. If I am wrong, pity the lamb. If I am right, we will praise Him for all eternity.”
~Moses~

Director Ridley Scott has returned with yet another blockbuster film that has turned heads and gotten people talking. One of the most well known bible stories of all time, Moses has been the subject of many a film. From the classic four hour Charlton Heston version, to the animated dreamwork edition… This new dramatic piece adds to an ever growing list. While Scott takes many artistic liberties in this film, there are a few core natures that the biblical account contains that must, in my opinion, be retained to preserve the essence and purpose of the story. and in these natures… This film really does come together in a roundabout kind of way.

Stunning visual presentation aside, looking at the core themes of the Moses story, the majority are preserved in this unique and sometimes uncomfortable approach. We see when Moses takes things into his own hands, things fall apart. However, when God steps in, things go according to His plan. We see an excellent interpretation of the passover. We see a God who is vengeful throughout the liberation of his people, and in the end, we are shown as the comforter and caring God that he is of His people.

Many have expressed a profound distaste for the fact God was shown as a boy, and the attitude the boy has. In some ways I agree with the choice. But more is the outcry against His personality shown, rather than the boy himself. Sometimes we forget that God indeed does have just wrath and does not have to be accountable to anyone. What Ridley does in this movie is capture that- perhaps to an extreme. I did appreciate that in the end, we see a kind and loving side of God walking with His people.

While by no means perfect, this film has much to offer to Christians, and to the people who do not know him. To often I think we Christians expect a perfect replication of the biblical story, and anything less than that is blasphemous. What is unmistakable and undeniable though, that films like this spark public interest in the Bible itself, like an earlier film called “Noah“… and that one wasn’t even that great. And honestly, call me weird. But any film that gets people into the legit word of God is one worth recommending. For we all know that the Word of God is far stronger and more potent than an film Hollywood can put out. So here’s to more biblical adaptations- even when they may not be as biblical as they could be.

Advertisements

Why Conviction Isn’t Enough

Walking in the Spirit Conviction

I’m finding more and more people living “According to their Conviction” these days. It seems to be the new phrase that has replaced “I’m free in Christ” or at least, become a matching phrase meaning the essentially same thing. Many people live according to conviction.  This is good, as we are free in Christ to live apart from sin. We are to be free from this sin, not to desire things which are unlawful, and yet also not live with a spirit of legalism. The one extreme “I can do anything I want” to the other extreme “I must still keep the Torah to be clean” are flawed mindsets which must be overcome if we are to properly live walking in the Spirit.

Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.  ~Galatians 4&5~

So often in our lives though we mix up, or at least do not properly reconcile, what it means to live according to the “Conviction of the Spirit” Paul speaks of in Romans and Galatians. There are clear evidences of what living according to your heart’s desires looks like. There are also clear evidences of what Spirit given Conviction looks like. What we must not do, is be deceived into thinking our sinful heart’s desires are biblical convictions given by the Holy Spirit.

For if we mix the Spirit’s conviction with our heart’s desire, then we will stray into sin over and over. Because we all know, the heart is incredibly deceitful. 

What are the evidences then? How can we be sure that we are walking that straight and narrow path of honoring Christ with our whole being? Well, one reason I love Paul, is he was a list guy. Like me. In the book of Galatians he outlines in detail, what evidences of the spirit and heart (flesh) look like.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions,factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. 

Honestly, the evidences are quite clear. One I think is the most prevalent or at least, see most often, is selfish ambitions. Selfishness can be contrived and drawn up in many different ways to look like it is in fact, not so. Which takes us back to the core of ourselves- what does the heart look like? Is it meek and submissive? Is it selfless and honoring to others? We can only truly know our hearts when we line up our actions and true desires with scripture’s standards.

Which brings me to the last bit of this post… What are our standards? What does it mean to live according to conviction by the spirit practically? Remember that passage when the Priests came and questioned Jesus? (paraphrasing here) They asked Him incredibly insincerely  “Great teacher, what is the greatest commandment?” to which Christ replied brilliantly, per usual, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength. The second is like it- love your neighbor as yourself. Upon these rest the rest of the Law.” There, in plain black and white, is our standard. Is what we are doing in Love of the Lord, AND in Love of all others. It is such a simple, yet quite challenging truth. If what we are doing is out of a genuine Love for the Lord first, then others. You will be following the commandments the Lord has set in place.

Finally, here’s the bottom line I’ve concluded about this topic- If a conviction does not align with greatest commandments, you’re doing it wrong. And that wrongness should be changed- not based on what feels right, but what is known to be true. Then, and only then, will one be able to live according to the convictions Paul speaks of over and over. Convictions serving not the flesh, but the Spirit, glorifying Christ.

What Do You Want In Life?

 Bread of Life

I was reading a passage of scripture the other day, just really browsing the gospels like I usually do in my time of study. Reading bits and pieces, and came across this well known tale. I decided to read it again, and a revelation struck me which I wanted to share with you.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

From John 4

This, while just one of the rich stories of John, stood out to me while reading it like it never had before. I knew the setting, the backstory, the reason the woman was there all alone… etc. etc. I imagine if you like me- a Christian having been steeped in bible stories like this for years, the shiny newness of these tales has a propensity to wear off. This is unfortunate for us, and if we aren’t careful can create a feeling of boredom while going through a passage. I certainly know I’ve been guilty of that.

Anyway, this passage struck me in a new way this time. Because I didn’t so much look at the setting, but rather analyzed the speech. It is clear Christ is speaking spiritually, while the woman is speaking physically. She’s like “Give me this water so I don’t have to come to the well anymore!” Not having to do this would save her the shame of being reminded she is an outcast due to divorce, and that she would not have to endanger herself every time she needed water. In short, a never ending supply of water meant safety and a life of ease.  That’s what she wanted. At first.

Christ redirected her though and clarified what he was saying in a way only the Son of God could. Incredibly, she understands and goes into the city immediately to tell others about Him. Her wants were satisfied in the true Living Water, which is of course Christ. How often do we want what that woman wanted. Easy living, a safe environment (physically and emotionally), acceptance among peers… We all have wanted those things. It made me ask, do I want Christ? I’ll ask you the same…

Do you want Christ?

Because I’ll be honest here. I say “I want Christ” but then in my mind add “And some comfort along with a side of success.” I’m sure we all speak “Yes! I want Christ!” but so often that statement comes with unspoken qualifications and concerns. At least the woman at the well was up front in what she wanted… ;)

I guess what I’m trying to say, and what I took away from the passage, was this- If you want Christ, with all of your being, you’ll want for nothing. Not to say that desires for stuff, relationships, success, etc will cease. No. They won’t, because in the right place, these are good things! What I mean is, when you want Christ, when you are sustained and fulfilled by His purpose, His sustenance, and His life, all that other stuff will just be frosting on the cake.

So, as you go throughout your day and this week, I’d encourage you to figure out what you truly want in life. Is it Christ? Or is it something else?

Movie Review: Noah

noah-movie-psoter-6601

In a world that has turned from God and lives in depravity, Noah has been set apart to be the one responsible for starting the world over again. Mankind has disregarded the laws of God, turning the world into a wasteland, worshiping themselves, and living in continuous war. They eat the flesh of Animals, even though forbidden, and deserve utter destruction.

And that is exactly what The Creator provides.

We all know the bible story we grew up with, so join me in this dissecting of this fantasy Epic, inspired by the tale of Noah, interpreted by Director Darren Aronofsky. I leave my usual setup in this film, because of how difficult it was for me to categorize all the different elements. Spoilers are present, just so you know.

There are two ways to approach this film I think. One, from a desire to see an accurate biblical recounting. Two, from a perspective of understanding the world sees this as just another piece of literature- just like Narnia or Lord of the Rings. Approaching from a biblical recounting perspective, the movie is quite simply, butchered. The main elements remain- that is, the world is bad, God destroys the world, Noah is chosen to do so… And that’s about it. There are so many extra elements added, and parts stripped away that while recognizable, not accurate. This includes one of Noah’s son’s are married, the Nephilim are redeemed at the end, the vision of Noah is unclear, Methuselah has a whole role and plays a part in miracles of God, there are no dinosaurs to be found in the film, and the list goes on.  This is due to the fact much was added from the book of Enoch, which if you read the parts about Noah, are recognized there as well. Simply put, this isn’t a purely biblical adaptation. Rather, one based on numerous texts, most of which are not of the Cannon of Scripture.

The second perspective, a work of literature, goes in with several ideas concerning motives and reasons of scripture. From this perspective, again and honestly, it is a lacking adaptation. Very similar to the past film adaptations of the Narnia series. Motives and Characters are different. Core plot pieces are changed, and beings which get only one verse in scripture, get a whole deluge of backstory and explanation (the Nephilim). The don’t even quote the original work accurately in the book of genesis, but rather change it just a bit, to suit their story.

What irked me most though, was the fact they altered the Genesis tale. “In the Beginning, there was nothing.” we are told, yet the first scripture found says “In the beginning, God…” They alter many other passages, saying Adam and Eve only had three sons, and because of this, they had children with angels, who then became fallen. I was not so much bothered by additions to the story in terms of character events and processes, but was disturbed at the direct changing of scripture.

Now.

All that being said, the movie is not without benefit. In fact, the core reason of the flood- man’s depravity, remains in such a pungent way, we can’t but help imagine why in the world was God so patient? Noah understands this more than anyone, and because of that, it gives him the idea that man is not meant to repopulate the world. He lives under the mindset of Justice alone, and forgets for a time, that God is a God of Love as well. Because of this, we watch him mercilessly let a girl be trampled to death. In another terrifying moment when he is about to commit murder of two girls, he is overwhelmed by love, and realizes the error of his thinking. It shows Noah as flawed. As human. But also righteous, willing to do whatever God asks of him.

After this film, I doubt anyone will picture Noah’s ark as a cute boat bobbing up and down in the sea. This movie dispels that myth with savage and terrific destruction, or that it was undeserved. Men in the cities of Cain trade young girls for food. They murder anyone who they feel like, and law is nonexistent. When the flood starts, not only does it rain on mankind, the earth tears apart as water from the deep consume armies of men in an instant. In the ark, we hear wailings and screamings of people drowning and clinging to the last mountain peaks, then all are silenced. A terrible, truly deathly, silence.

God is never shown to be unjust in his destruction of the world. He is however, shown to be silent, almost of a Deist perspective. He communicates only through visions (that is directly from the book of Enoch BTW), and aside from that, does not speak to anyone. In the end, we are shown a beautiful interpretation of the first rainbow, and while the reason for it is not explained, the meaning is clear.

All in all, walking away from the film, I wan’t impressed. Both from a biblical perspective, but also from one seeing it as “just another film”. Were it not for the incredible acting of Russel Crow, I truly believe this film would be an incredible flop. The story isn’t completely captivating, whereby alienating the worldly viewers. The adaption is quite apart from Scripture, whereby eliminating most christians, who want to see a pure adaptation.

In the end, I hardly think your faith as a Christian will be shaken if you go and see the film. What I do know, is that this movie has spaced conversations nationwide about the True story of Noah, and gotten several people into scripture, reading the original work. This is definitely a good thing. So, I honestly don’t see this movie as a terror or abomination to the original story, nor do I see it as something we should emulate or recommend. Rather, it is what it is- A worldly adaptation of a biblical story, remaining true to the original reasons, but departing from the cannon account.

 

 

Why I’m not a Homophobe

r-HOMOPHOBIA-large570

Disclaimer: Due to the ever changing standards of political correctness, I may use words which are not considered to be such. I do this not out of malice or degradation, but out of  the simple means of communicating a point or lifestyle. Thanks for your understanding. 

A cultural movement is being discussed quite a bit in the news and legal circles today. This is due to the large amounts of judges ruling laws against homosexual marriages unconstitutional. It has happened in Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, and I am sure more states will be added in the future to come. The truth is unavoidable, the gay lifestyle is becoming more and more accepted with the American people. Regardless of your political persuasion, as a Christian, this is saddening, and as a historian… Frightening.

What gets me most though, is when I see Christians not condemning such a lifestyle, but rather embracing it and supporting it. Any Christian well versed in scriptural principles easily sees that the gay lifestyle is indeed sinful. That much is virtually indisputable. Whether it comes from Nature or nurture does not matter. Sin is sin, and should be treated as such. However, the responses to this sin are often sinful inandof itself. I’ve seen, and at times been in the mindset of fearful reactions, arrogant dismissals, and apathetic thoughts. All of which should be condemned just as much as the gay lifestyle itself.

When you react to sin with sin… all you get is a bigger mess.

Politics and legality of marriage aside, as legalizing something doesn’t change the biblical truth of it, I think we all have struggled as to how we should approach someone living in this sin. The biggest stumbling block I’ve seen for most, and experienced myself, is the aspect of fear. Ironically, when you are fearful, it is quite difficult to love someone. As perfect love is the only thing which casts out fear. Love it however, much more powerful than fear.

See, I’ve found in recent years that people living in sin hardly care about condemnation of others, because they are so wrapped up in self. This can be true for Christians even in times of great struggles. We can condemn people all day, but we might as well be beating a wet towel against a brick wall. Sure, it will leave an impression where it hit, but evaporate quickly with no lasting effect on the wall itself. However, all acceptance (in the pursuit of love) is just as useless and perhaps more damaging, as you enable their sin more.

Per usual, Christ embodied the perfect balance of love and discussing sins. He showed us Love isn’t mushy and soft, sometimes it hurts. We never saw him go “What?! You’re a tax collector?! Sorry, I just can’t associate with you anymore.” Rather, we see him eating and drinking with some of the people considered to be the worst in terms of morality and lifestyle in that culture. Now, I’m not saying you should invite a couple over for dinner. (though, it could be a very powerful tool of testimony and you should do so if you feel called) What I am saying is we should stop completely freaking out inside when someone proclaims they are “Gay”, and instead perhaps reach out to them like we would any other individual who is in need of Christ.

We should treat them just like any other person lost in the world living in sin. We should be a shameless living testimony to them and make sure they know we don’t approve of their lifestyle- but that doesn’t mean we put them in the “Do not witness to” box. They are just as approachable as any other person. I’m not a homophobe because I know who I am in Christ, what He commands me to do, and how to do it. And those commands don’t include closing myself off to an entire group of people just because they are more public and shameless about their sins than most.

I’d say live in love- not fear, humility- not arrogance, and concern- not apathy and we might, just might, begin to impact yet another “that lost cause” (as someone once told me) for Christ. Then behold His glory in the redemption of those people, as we’ve seen hundreds of times over in times before. All because we cast out fear, and started living in Love- Christ’s Love.

Sorry, but I’m not Sorry

Sorry-Im-Not-Sorry-Themeside

There are two great phrases in our society that in someway, as supposed to relieve us of all responsibility of what we just said. “Just Saying” and “I’m Sorry but…” While the first I’ve yet to understand the purpose, even though I use it myself, it has become apparent to me that “I’m sorry but…” is just not sincere anymore.

I’m sure you’ve seen the posts, and heard statements. “I’m sorry, but I just had to post this song even though it may not be the best to listen to.” “I’m sorry  for all the pics, but there are so many good ones!” Or how about in speech, “I’m sorry I ate yours, but it was good!” I’m sure we could make the example list a mile long, but I am assuming you are getting the idea. ;)

I do this just as much as anyone today, so don’t think I’m proceeding on a pretense of having my speech perfect. No, I’m sharing observations today on a habit I think worthy of removing from communication with others. What does it truly mean to be sorry? According to Webster, it is to “feel sorrow, regret, or penitence.” Now, to be clear, being sorry is not the same of being repentant.

You can be sorry all day long, but never improve or change. Therin lies the problem.

If we were truly sorry about something, truly felt sorrow saying something, I’d venture to say we would in fact not say it at all. However. We aren’t really upset or sad, we just want to keep ourselves out of trouble, so we use a word associated with regret, even though we don’t mean it. We have, in one sense, so corrupted this word, the contextual meaning has been lost. Sorry used to convey a genuine apology. It meant “I apologize for the offense against you.”, but not anymore. Honestly though, the true problem does not lie in the changed meaning of a word, but rather, something more serious.

The problem, lies at the heart of repentance. 

Based on reading of  scripture, I have found that repentance does not come of its own accord. It comes with a two fold heart that is truly sorry for the actions it commits, and the spirit working through the person to  feel that sorrow and then change their actions for the better. This can also be called the process of “Sanctification”. In the world, true repentance is nonexistent. Is it any wonder then that the basic premiss of the start of repentance has also been corrupted? In the words of Paul, Certainly not.

The solution, lies at the heart of repentance.

As always, the heart is the origin of all problems and solutions. So how does this apply to Christians today, who are apart from the world in this matter? For one, perhaps a reevaluation of what sorriness, apologies, and repentance is should be in order. This is the easy part frankly, as scripture is clear on what this is. Often though, I forget or need to be reminded of what it says, so that evaluation is always important.

Words are important, and how we use them determines whether we are communicating for Christ, or for the world. This is  just one phrase of many which I believe can be changed to the better, an remade into a statement of credibility, not irresponsibility.

Will you join me? Or do you have a different opinion? Be sure to let me know down below! :)

Why I Reject Calvinism & Armenianism

220px-John_Calvin_2 arminius[1]

So many people have asked me in the past why I won’t talk to them about T.U.L.I.P. So many people have asked why I won’t talk about free will in depth. I usually stay away from these topics, and the reasons I will explain to all of you in this post. So if you do wonder why I clam up when this topic is introduced in any circle of discussion… you are about to find out.

Let me first say what this post isn’t. This isn’t about what view is right. This isn’t about which view is wrong. In case you are wondering, both have right, and both have wrong. That’s all I’m saying in regards to these concepts, as people have talked for centuries until they are blue in the face, and never resolved anything pertaining to this. It will be argued about until Kingdom Come.

Few things in the Christian community have been as divisive, compartmentalized, analyzed, and rationalized as these two topics of Calvinism and Armenianism. I’ve seen friendships broken, read about churches splitting, and heard the world mocking us over these subjects which many of us so gladly bicker about- under the guise of “discussion”.

I’m typing today to voice, maybe alone, my incredible disgust with the treatment these two topics have been given, and how destructive these things have become in the unity of the Christian church as we know it. Why do I reject both of these titles? Because these titles are flawed, divisive, and prideful. So let’s begin.

I am of Calvin, not Christ.

These men’s words often are treated as the only method in which the scripture can possibly be interpreted. These men’s words and thoughts are themselves worshiped and focused upon. Anytime it seems when I am asked by a strong professing Christian if I am a Christian, then I reply “yes”… The follow up is immediately- “So are you Calvinist?”

When people ask me that, I think of this passage. Paul is talking to the Corinthians. Telling them to stop rallying around these people preaching the gospel. These people were dividing the church, as members began to follow these individuals, rather than turning their focus on Christ. He talks about this in two places in the same letter, as it was so important.

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’shousehold, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” s Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. ~1 Corinthians 1: 10-17 ~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. ~1 Corinthians 3:1-6 ~

It seems pretty clear to me, we are to identify with no one other than Christ. When people say “I’m a Calvinist” or “I’m a Baptist” or “Insert title” they are exhibiting what Paul calls Carnality. This is where so many of these divisions and strife come from the in the Christian church. And it isn’t even on matters imperative to the christian faith.

The Foolishness of God.

If that alone wasn’t enough, Paul, in the same passages, goes into the futility of man’s wisdom concerning things of God. He also again tells the church not to boast in man and their ideas, but in Christ and that the wisdom of man is utter foolishness to God.

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord. ~1 Corinthians 20-31~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. ~1 Corinthians 3:18-23~

Let me add a note here, I’m not saying we should not pursue the knowledge of who God is and what scripture says. Not at all. If we are to grow in our walk with Him, we must delve into the scripture with hungry souls for His teaching. To desire wholeheartedly the improvement Christ is ready to work in us. The disqualifies comes, when we start using man’s uninspired teachings as the starting point and identifier of what we claim to understand.

The Divided Church

The bottom line is that these two ideas, these concepts, have done much more harm than good in the Christian church. They aren’t unifying, they are divisive. We have let so many things, based solely upon man’s interpretation, tear us apart. Calvinism and Armenianism are just the tip of the iceberg. You can apply similar principles to bible translations, denominations, and more. We have become lost in the depths it the interpretations of interpretations, instead of simply rejoicing in the fact we are indeed saved.

So did I choose to write this article? Or was I predestined to? That’s the question  forever argued about isn’t it? The truth is you can interpret scripture one way, and I another as long as it does not explicitly go against other passages. We will never know who is right until we meet together in heaven. Paul says we see in part- as in a mirror. We’ve got to stop spending days and months quarreling and debating these topics. Christ told us to make disciples, not sit in the temple all day discussing the matters of what each person thinks God is.

If we spent more time sharing that joy with others and those who are lost, instead of debating these ideas which have no bearing on the state of our soul eternally and focusing on identifying with labels instead of Christ… We would be better off indeed. I say start showing the world our Joy in Christ’s gift and investing in other’s real lives- instead of professing our divisive foolishness to men.

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Red Snake and REd Apple
Photo Credit: http://www.animalsw.com

We’ve all heard it before haven’t we? I recently heard this phrase at work, and have been pondering it quite a bit the last few days. The phrase is used in movies, our culture, and in even in our life. The ulitmate blameshifter and justifier of sin.

“It’s not my fault! The devil made me do it!”

We shouldn’t be surprised really- the phrase has been around since the beginning of time. Eve was actually the first one to use it, albeit in a manner which sounds a little nicer…

And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” ~Genesis 3:13~

Even in the dawn of time, and sin freshly conceived, the Devil has been taking the brunt of blame for all kinds of sins which humanity commits on a day to day basis. Is it any wonder though he gets the blame? He is the father of all lies, the master of deception, and the prince of this fallen world. I think though, the Devil gets way to much credit for the sins going on in the world. People think he causes them to sin.

Trust me, we don’t need any help.

We are conceived, born, and live in sin. The idea the Devil makes us sin, puts him on a pedestal which he doesn’t deserve. He isn’t all powerful. He isn’t omniscient. He isn’t all knowing. He is a fallen angel who prowls the earth under God’s jurisdiction. Ultimately, he will be destroyed.

Why don’t we give credit to sin where credit is due? Probably because when we start rolling those credits, we see ourselves. Over, and over, and over. James tells us where sin comes from. It comes from our heart’s desires.

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” ~James 1:13-15~

When Eve ate that fruit, she didn’t eat it because the Devil made her. She ate it because she wanted to be like God- at the expense of disobeying a direct command. She trusted herself more than God’s words. We do the same.

Does the Devil have a hand in this world? You bet your big black attack bible he does. But does he cause us to sin? No. He doesn’t. We are incredibly sinful beings, and when we sin- that comes from our heart and our choices. Let’s take responsibility for that and stop trying to push it off on Mr. Lucifer. He already has a huge ego- as do we. Humbling ourselves and owning our depravity is the first step to conquering our natural desires.

Care to take that first step with me?

Why Abortion is Acceptable

abortion sign
PhotoCredit: Religionlink.com

I told myself I would never write about this topic. But today I saw one hateful picture to many. You know- the kind which sarcastically and hatefully tell you “If you got an abortion, Congrats! you just got away with murder.” Derogatory and demeaning pictures which tear a person down in their choices. No shown love, no sympathetic grace, no kind forgiveness.

Let me tell you why abortion is acceptable in our culture today.

The Problem isn’t Abortion

When you ask someone why Abortion is OK, and they are in favor of the action. They say “A woman has a right to choose.” or “Women have rights over their bodies.” etc etc. They don’t address the child inside the woman, because to them, it isn’t a child.

And that’s where the problem lies.

See, if everyone thought the children in a womb really were children, you would have to be devoid of any kind of conscience to actively support abortion. Indeed, I know people who are not Christians, but do not support this practice. Why? Because they believe it is a  living child. If one believes that the thing inside a woman’s body is a fetus without life, then why would it be wrong to remove it? The fact of reality, based on both scripture and science, is children are indeed alive when in a womb. However, the large majority people don’t recognize this.

Abortion isn’t a choice problem, it is a heart problem.

When I see these terrible pics, these destructive videos, and prideful posts condemning the people who have abortions- delighting in arguing with people who disagree with them, I am saddened. They aren’t focusing on the heart. They are focusing on the agenda. Until people are talked on a person to person level about the importance of the child, not their choice, things are not going to change. Not focusing on “proof”, but focusing on the individual’s situation.

Until love starts to be shown to people regarding this topic, we Christians are like it says in 1 Corinthians. How about we actively start engaging people in love, not through hateful pictures and internet arguments?

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poorand give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Alien Apocalypse: We Are Not Alone

Illustration from HG Welles "War of the Worlds"
Illustration from HG Wells’ “War of the Worlds”

The is my second, long overdue, response to the American Apocalypse obsession. Aliens are a word and concept everyone knows about. If you’ve read any sci-fi, or watched any movies, you’ll know Aliens can look like us… Or look like something which we dream about in our nightmares.

Why do Americans, even many professing Christians I talk to, embrace the idea of life on other planets? Why do some people believe Aliens will be returning soon to harvest the life they have planted? What does scripture have to say about this? I hope to adequately adress all these questions in the course of this article.

What is an Alien?

Let’s start with a foundation. What do we mean by Alien? What constitutes life on other planets? When I talk about aliens, and when many others do as well, usually the context is of sentient life. Sentient life is that which knows right and wrong, which has and holds to morals. Life which possesses a soul. If such life existed  it would destroy the credibility of scripture as we know it.

What Difference Does This Make?

So why worry about this ideology and mindset? I hold to the belief sentient life as we know it, on other planets, (ie Aliens) is not supported with science, nor scripture. One common belief which incorporates evolution is a long time ago, advanced aliens planted bacteria here and created a soup for life to grow in. This started the evolutionary chain, and thus solving the issue “how did life begin on earth”.

This belief puts faith in an unknown interstellar race for our origins. This belief takes just as much faith, if not more, than believing the biblical account of creation as shown in Genesis. Genesis is the foundation for the purpose of Christ, the state of man, and the state of this universe. Remove, or twist Genesis, and you have removed the cornerstone of what Christians believe, and all hope for redemption and a perfect ending to this world. The idea Aliens live somewhere else, planted us here for an unknown reason, and will be coming back to destroy most of us when we finish our task, is hopeless and sad.

One common thread I see when talking to some people who quite honestly believe this worldview, is the incredible amount of faith, or rejection of God, they have. Evidence comes not from science, but from YouTube Videos, the History Channel speculatory  series called “Ancient Aliens“, and blogs. To base a life truth off of youtube videos and such, especially ones involving conspiracies and fallacies like this, is like putting faith in a dinghy to make it safely across the ocean. Tragically foolish and unfounded.

Responding with Grace

Faith in Aliens as our creator, redeemer, and destroyer is based upon a desire to reject God with something more real and tangible. Even if that thing is evil or brings destruction. A valid and common question asked by those who believe this is regarding the size of the universe. Something so large has to be filled with other life. Right? Why else would it be so huge? Why would God create something so vast for one species?

One thing which makes me disheartened in the common professing Christian is when these questions are asked, they are offended and say something to the effect “I have faith” or, they confess they have no idea and that there might be truth in what the other says. I see this especially in the area of Space and Aliens. With Star Wars, Star Trek, and other popular series, believing life could exist elsewhere isn’t so hard to do when you don’t think about it. But in the words of Bill Jack-

“Too often Christians today are not only soft headed, but they are also hard hearted.”

This is one worldview we as Christians have to engage the culture in a way which is intelligent, yet kind. Scripture defends itself in this area. I’ll be honest, nowhere does it say “Sentient Life does not exist save for earth.” However, it does say a lot about the reason of the universe and why it exists like it does. In a future article I will adress these points more directly, with verses and answers. I challenge you in the mean time, to look up answers for yourself. To ask those hard questions like “Is it really so wrong to believe Aliens exist?” And come up with passages pertaining to that topic.

I’ll close with this. Just like the Zombie worldview, this belief of Aliens leaves people ultimately, without hope for a better life now, or in the future. Christ provides that hope, and that is always where we must guide every conversation in these areas of topics. Aliens are just a cover people wear to keep themselves from waking up. Sometimes, covers need to be ripped off, so the person sleeping will start their day. In the same way, these worldviews need to be exposed for what they truly are.

That is, unfounded on speculation and rejection of the life of hope found in Jesus Christ.