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Category Archives: Theology

Southern Baptist Leaders: Christians Should Make Themselves ‘Marry-able’ Younger

Will wonders never cease?

Some decent advice from the SBCers

Christian couples should marry sooner, an ethicist and a pastor with the largest Protestant denomination in the United States argue.

Andrew Walker, director of policy studies for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Jon Akin, senior pastor of Fairview Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, made the argument in a column for the Baptist Press earlier this week. While not advocating a specific age for marriage and noting the diverse situations for people, young people should still look toward marriage sooner, they said.

“We do not advocate a specific age; rather, we believe that young people should make themselves ‘marry-able’ younger,” wrote Walker and Akin.

“They need to push against the cultural norm that extends adolescence for an indefinite period of time and reach maturity more quickly so they can be ready for marriage sooner than the national average.”

Walker and Akin also stated that it’s “impractical and unhelpful to advise and encourage young men and women who reach sexual maturity at the age of 12 or 13 to wait 15 years before marriage and still remain pure.”

“Ultimately, there are Southern Baptists who will agree and disagree with us, which is expected given our denomination’s size and vastness. Even some in our own churches would disagree with us,” continued Walker and Akin.

“The question of when a couple is ready for marriage is one that requires wisdom and discernment for each person considering marriage and, ideally, the involvement of a local church that seeks to shape and influence potential spouses in a way that prioritizes and mirrors the Gospel in covenantal fidelity.”

[...]

Walker and Akin are not the only SBC ethicists in recent years to advocate for marriage coming sooner. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, also made a case for marrying early.

Al Mohler. Hmm. How about that.

Well, I guess even stopped clocks are right twice a day…

 
29 Comments

Posted by on August 21, 2014 in America, good news, religion, spirituality, Theology

 

Is Homosexuality a Sin? Tim Keller, John Piper, and Joel Osteen Give an Answer

Will S.:

I couldn’t be arsed to watch more than a minute and three quarters or so of any of them.

They’re all weasels, all weak, all trying to get around categorically, unequivocally, outright condemning such behaviour as sinful and grossly wrong as we ought to do, before God and in the presence of a watching world; but normally I’d expect better from ostensibly Reformed / quasi-Reformed brethren than from a mushy churchian, evanjellyfish type like Osteen.

Disappointing, to say the least.

Originally posted on Literate Comments:

Who gives the best answer? Presbyterian Tim Keller, Reformed Baptist John Piper, or Televangelist Joel Osteen?

Shockingly I would say Joel Osteen!

Keller:

Piper:

Osteen:

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Strip Club Dancers to Protest Topless Outside of Ohio Church During Sunday Service

Strip Club Dancers to Protest Topless Outside of Ohio Church During Sunday Service.

WARSAW, Ohio – Dancers at an Ohio strip club plan to protest topless outside of an Ohio church during this Sunday’s services, reports state.

New Beginnings Ministries in Warsaw has been standing against Foxhole North in Walhonding for several years, and the strip club has protested the church in return. In 2010, the matter made headlines after dancers from Foxhole showed up outside of the church in bikini tops while holding signs quoting from the Book of Matthew, such as “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing” from Matthew 7:15.

“Everybody has sinned, and that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna get into heaven,” stripper Laura Meske told the Associated Press. “I believe in Jesus. I don’t believe what they preach. They preach hate.”

“You don’t stand up there for years for hate. That’s not hate. That’s love,” replied church member Debi Durr, as a fellow congregant offered food to the strippers outside.

Interesting. Protest / counter-protest; to be expected, I suppose.

 

Does Fornication Matter When It Comes To Marriage?

Will S.:

Convert discovers old post of ballista74, gets upset and bleats about it; ballista74 responds here.

Originally posted on The Society of Phineas:

It’s been a generally accepted tenet over time, even in Scripture, that marriage is the only arena where sex is to take place and be pleasing before God.

The current proclivity of women (even Christian women) to ride the carousel, being an independent and empowered woman who enjoys career, traveling, and other experiences with that hot guy, it is a definite concern of Christian men. To be sure that they select suitable wives for themselves, considering a woman’s sexual partner count is important.

Reach out and touch faith!

Reach out and touch faith!

Fortunately, we have TRing and her Personal Jesus to set us straight and tell us all that we should man up and marry the sluts because we’re not exhibiting God’s grace:

What have you to say about women (and men for that matter) who get saved later on in life, having gone through somewhat salacious existences? Yes, Christ’s redemption…

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We will not be destroyed by global warming; we have God’s promise of that

Will S.:

Whether or not catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is real, and if so, whether or not we will suffer, or perhaps even profit thereby (see here and here), we can have confidence, from God’s Word, that any flooding that potentially could result (according to doomsayers), no matter how catastrophic such could be for coast-dwellers, it will not be the end of humanity, or life on Earth. So be of good cheer, brethren! :)

Originally posted on Will S.' Sunny Side Blog:

globalwarmingrainbow

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Some Bible verses for your day

Isaiah 36:12

Ezekiel 23:20

Why don’t we ever read these verses in church?

Psalm 137:9

Why don’t we ever sing this in worship?

Just askin’.

 
21 Comments

Posted by on July 24, 2014 in religion, spirituality, Theology

 

Please Don’t Say These Six Things at My Funeral

Will S.:

Agree completely.

Though I’d still like an Irish wake, after the service (perhaps after a pause), for my friends and family. Surely, after a funeral itself, there can be a place for cheerfulness – especially after the reminder during the service of the coming Day of Resurrection, to which we can look forward – as well as more personal remembrances of the departed.

Originally posted on :

funeralThere will come a day, perhaps sooner, perhaps later, when the man in the coffin will be me. They say the dead don’t care, but I’m not dead yet, so as long as I’m still alive, I’d like to have some say in what goes on at my funeral. And, truth be told, I think the dead do care. Not that they will be privy to the details of what happens at their own funerals, but they still care about the world, about their family, about the church. The saints in heaven continue to pray for those who are still on their earthly pilgrimage, so how could they not care about them?

Because I do care now, and will care even after I’m with the Lord, here are some things I hope and pray are not said at my funeral. I care about those who will be there, about what…

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3 Comments

Posted by on July 24, 2014 in good news, religion, spirituality, Theology

 

James and the Giant Peach on how he came to leave Islam and embrace Christianity, and his thoughts on how to reach Muslims with the Gospel

I asked commenter James and the Giant Peach a long question, based on Electric Angel’s posts here and here on Islam:

@ James: I remember you said previously (here, and also here and here) that you are yourself a convert from Islam, and since that is part of ElectricAngel’s subject here, I was wondering if you could share with us, a bit of how you came to know Christ, and if in sharing the Gospel with you, anyone pointed to any parts of the Koran that dealt with Christ, or Old Testament prophets like Moses, and Abraham, and used such in teaching you, and what you think of the notion of us Christians doing so, to try to reach Muslims living in our midst, or elsewhere for that matter? Do you think that can be part of an effective witnessing / evangelizing strategy? Does the fact of Islam having certain elements of teachings in common with Christianity help reach Muslims? Or does the distortion of them (e.g. the misunderstanding / misrepresentation of the Trinity, the Islamic teaching that Jesus was horrified at the notion of being considered divine, etc.) present a barrier? Or is irrelevant?

Just wondering what your thoughts might be on the subject.

James graciously replied:

@Will You can make it a guest post or not, I’m not sure if it is worth a self post but it is up to you.

But anyways, before I was a Christian, I noticed that the way Christian political leaders, pastors and newspapers in America work is that they appeal via moral superiority to the masses. As a specific case (divorce), Dalrock himself points this out constantly by referring to articles on the Christian Post, or Focus on the Family, where the author is very happy that the Christian divorce rate is lower than the general population rate. Despite the Christian divorce rate still being around a giant 30%. So then Christians are able to be happy and exclaim, that there must be something real about Christianity if it lowers divorce rates so much! And indeed there might be.

No Muslim will ever be convinced by that argument. Take for example, my Muslim family. My mother is 1 of 7 children. My father is 1 of 7 children. Out of my vast amount of relatives there was maybe 1 divorce. That’s it. The country my parents come from currently has a divorce rate of about 20% which is seen as super high, and as a result, the Islamist party gets elected into power to restore traditional values. The 20% general population divorce rate isn’t even half of the United States general population divorce rate and people are already trying to change society to counteract this. And this country, is one of the most liberal Muslim states in existence. So the whole “Christians are a positive moral influence on general society” argument doesn’t appeal to Muslims because from their point of view, even the Christian standard is lacking compared to the most liberal Muslim state. This isn’t only specific to the case of divorce though, but that’s beyond the scope of this post and divorce is just the example I am using to show you the Muslim mindset. Also, any argument you enter with a Muslim person, they can show that Christian/Western government influence has always made them worse (and more Islamic). You can take the entire MiddleEast and North Africa region as an example, Churchill causing a systematic famine in the Bengal areas of India killing 4 million people contributing to the almost entirely Muslim state of Bangladesh, etc. etc. If you want to play the moral superiority game with Muslims, they will beat you at your own game by pointing cultural trends, and in addition to that point out countless examples in the past centuries where Western countries (which they associate wholly with Christians) have utterly messed up Muslim countries/communities. So if you want to convert Muslims, you really have to avoid that route.

Now what you do have to your advantage is that most Muslims haven’t actually read the Bible. The Qur’an states that Jews and Christians originally had the right teachings, but it was corrupted. Therefore most Muslims haven’t even read the Old Testament or New Testament. That’s a fresh field to plant seeds! I myself was invited to a Bible study from a minister on the street. Curiosity is what made me go the first time. The first Bible study I was given was of Zaccheus the tax collector. He climbed a tree to see Jesus from a far, but had to come down to really see Jesus as he is. So while I didn’t believe the Christian version at that time yet, I could agree with the point of the story that I cannot let pop culture or my own distanced perceptions of Christians and Jesus define what Christians believe. So I gave it a shot and went to bible study around 2x, 3x a week. What convinced me a lot were the universal truths in the Bible, things that I could read and immediately see being true, even from my own experience. And the biggest point of all was that the minister lived as he preached. The minister just started the church in the city I was in, so it had no congregants. The minister lived frugally and self-sufficiently (not like the church pastors you hear on the news with Rolls Royces or Mercedes-Benz, eating fancy dinners at 5 star restaurants etc.), lived with patience and love (I had never ending questions), lived with a true purpose and dedication to God. Something drove him that I quite couldn’t place my finger on. And I don’t mean ambition for wordily things. I believe you can’t fake that. A person can tell when a pastor or minister has ulterior motives. Not always, but you can feel the desparateness of a pastor looking to fill his pews for tithe not for saving of souls and establishing a fellowship with them.

So this is continuing, maybe several months in, and I start comparing it to the things in the Qur’an. If God in the OT chose Israel as his chosen tribe, language, people and all, and in the NT Jesus opened it up to everyone, why does the Qur’an instate Arabic as the official language again? It would seem like a backwards move given God’s track record. Jesus was crucified because he refused to use violence, so why would the next prophet use violence? Wouldn’t have God made Jesus use violence the first time if it was OK anyways? And so on. Eventually the system I had in my head of what Islam was collapsed in the face of all these questions. I was convinced, in light of the minister’s way of life (the fruit) and the teachings of the Bible (the wisdom) that whatever the tree was (Jesus/God) must have been good.

If you want to try and convert Muslims, first you have to hook them with the curiosity of a Bible they’ve never read, make them stay for a while with your own actions and lifestyle, and then let the Bible speak for itself. Other than that the best witness to a Muslim community is if Christians fix up their own communities and lives. In my country there are some Christians (less than .5% probably) that are Eastern Orthodox. They say they converted because of the lifestyle they saw them living and eventually the truths in the Bible. They also say they would have never converted to American or Western European Christianity because what they preached never matched how they lived their lifestyle, and that it was evident in their community, culture, and morals. (Of course this is not true of all Western Christians, as I myself have been heavily influenced by one). Don’t underestimate your own lifestyle, actions and deeds in the eyes of a Muslim. That draws them in to stay around and read the Bible which ultimately converts them.

You aren’t going to convert Muslims wholesale by pointing at Christian society or morals. You are going to convert them on a 1 on 1 basis, using your own life as a living testimony, and proof of God. The reason why so many people followed Jesus is because he backed up his actions by words. Heck, half the time the Pharisees taught things approved by him (do what they say, not what they do), but because the Pharisees themselves did not do it they didn’t have the same sort of authority Jesus did. That and being the son of God thing also helps. It really shows the power of actually doing and not just saying. If you have an obese, diabetic man sitting on the couch all day giving you diet and workout advice, you in no way shape or form want to listen to any advice he has for you, despite the fact that the advice could be true. And when a Muslim, sees a sick, immoral, adulterous, divorcing Christian society, that constantly invades his homeland, trying to give advice on how to live a good life, be a good person, how to live for God, do you think he will want to hear it? So you either have to fix your own society, or go to him as an healthy Christian individual. In my conversion it was an individual that helped convince me so never underestimate the impact of one person.

Thanks again James, for giving such a comprehensive and detailed response, sharing your inspirational testimony, and giving us all much food for thought.

 

Can a Christian Smoke Pot? Exploring the Morality of Legal Drug Use

As the laws change, this is a discussion we Christians must have amongst ourselves.

I know individuals who look askance at marijuana but can and do medicate themselves into a near-stupor with a doctor’s permission. Legality is not morality, and all mind-altering drugs should be considered in the context of purpose, necessity, and effect.

So is it moral to smoke marijuana if one can maintain self-control? Can it merely “gladden the heart” without leading to something like drunkenness? Those are the key questions, and they’re not going away.

Welcome to the new normal.

I can’t remember where, but I read an opinion piece by another fellow Christian who seemed to think you can’t smoke any marijuana without becoming stoned, but that’s bullshit; just as you can have a drink and not get drunk, just enjoy a pleasant sense of relaxation, so too could one partake of only a small amount of marijuana, as opposed to a larger amount, and enjoy some effects without full-out intoxication. It’s no different between the difference between having a cup of coffee, compared to having four cups of coffee: the cup of coffee will be pleasantly stimulating, but downing four cups of coffee may get your heart racing and give you nervous jitters – there’s a difference between getting mild stimulation and getting outright wired.

All drugs work this way; the basic principle of pharmacology is this: for every substance, there exists a dosage, a concentration / amount so small, as to have zero effect; but the flipside is, a large enough concentration / amount of any substance will kill you. Every substance works that way, including beneficial drugs without narcotic or psychotropic effects.

No reason to think there’s something magical, dangerously bad about certain ones, that any amount whatsoever of them is automatically going to have negative effects.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 15, 2014 in religion, spirituality, Theology

 

Quote of the Day

It is an interesting fact that the apostles, in giving much doctrinal and practical guidance, never once  (as far as I can see) gave guidance with respect to Christians’ futures. They are never asked, and never offer such guidance, as to what the will of God is for their lives and how they are to discern this.  This is disappointing for any one hoping, through prayer or Bible study or some other discipline,  to be handed a torch which has the magical power of shining a golden light illuminating the path leading from the present to an assured tomorrow, or to the next year, or the next decade of our lives.

 – Paul Helm
 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 15, 2014 in religion, Theology

 
 
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