Showing posts from August, 2015

When Christians Curse

Foul language varies by culture but misappropriating divine judgment does not. From ISIS to police brutality to the Planned Parenthood allegations to mass murderers, the world never seems to disappoint when it comes to evil. And for most Christians, there's little practical action to take besides joining in on hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter or #DefundPP . But we can always pray. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees on how to do this. Sure, we can all skim through the Psalter and pray for the rescue of the persecuted and the justice of evildoers, but there are a number of psalms that ought to at least give us pause before rendering their words on our enemies. These psalms are called imprecatory psalms . To imprecate is to invoke a curse; thus, the imprecatory psalms are essentially curses called down upon God's enemies. At least 14 of the Psalter's 150 psalms fall into this category. And there are those that would say that these psalms have special significance to toda

Only Hypocrites Have Integrity

Integrity was the virtue of an opaque generation. It's only been in recent years that I haven't gotten a crick in my neck every time someone walked by me while I was on a computer. All of those years of pornography addiction left me so paranoid that ALT+TAB became a reflex (macs suck) and whiplash was second nature. But when it finally sunk in that I no longer had anything to hide, surfing the web finally became fun again. Secrets are heavy. David once wrote, "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long." That's exactly how I felt: empty. I was so consumed with the guilt of my dirty, little secret that I began to feel like a shell of my former self. Being both physical and spiritual creatures, it's a bit like breaking up the metaphysical band. Keeping the two connected is just as important to our overall health as is the health of the individual components. One way to do this is through integrity. As a word, it simp

Your Spiritual Growth has a Price Tag

Spiritual profiteering has never been an ethical business, but at least it used to be an honest one. I grew up believing that the Reformation was Martin Luther's crusade for the gospel against the extrabiblical theology of the Roman Catholic Church. I had no idea that he never intended to start a revolution or that his 95 Theses were actually titled " Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences ." In fact, all I knew about indulgences were that they were some Catholic perversion involving the sale of salvation. But the more I've learned about this period, the more I've realized that Protestants never rid themselves of indulgences; they merely redressed them in modern cloths. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church , "An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven." Or simply, medieval indulgences were a way of commuting penance through payment. You could pay a fi

Would you vote for an atheist?

My latest for Think Christian... If public opinion is any indication, we could have our first atheist president in a few years. Some 50 years ago, only 18 percent of Americans would vote for an atheist. But according to a June Gallup poll, that number has increased to 58 percent (for comparison, 73 percent said they would vote for an evangelical Christian). Some find this troubling because they don't think God would want them to vote for an unbeliever. Wouldn't God's first choice for leadership be a Christian? To answer that, we need to consider how God has distributed His authority throughout history. Continue reading... photo credit: Prone to error via photopin (license)

I Can't Vote Republican Because I'm a Christian

So long as personal responsibility is your platform, the Bible can't be your barometer. As if I wasn't already convinced, last week's GOP debate reminded me why I won't be voting for a Republican in 2016. And not for the abnormally-coiffured misogyny you might expect. No, most every other candidate besides Donald Trump made it pretty clear that the Republican Party does not exemplify biblical values. Of course, if you reduce biblical values to abortion and traditional marriage, then that couldn't be a more absurd statement. From Mike Huckabee accusing Planned Parenthood of "selling babies' body parts like the parts of a Buick" to Rand Paul declaring that he doesn't want his marriage "registered in Washington," it would seem that the GOP covered their bases on what God cares about. Even Marco Rubio had the audacity to say, "God has blessed the Republican Party with some very good candidates. The Democrats can't even find on

Why Your Church Hates Other Churches

Unity won't be possible until the doctrine of the Trinity is taken seriously. The church has undergone numerous splits from the Chalcedonian Schism of 451 to the Great Schism of 1054 to the Protestant Reformation of 1517 (ish). And each time, the split created a new distinct branch of Christianity like Oriental Orthodoxy (e.g. Coptic and Syriac Orthodox), Eastern Orthodoxy (e.g. Greek and Russian Orthodox), and Protestantism. But none of them fractured the faith like the latter. Out of the Protestant Reformation have come Lutherans (1517), Anabaptists (1525), Anglicans (1534), Calvinists (1541), Presbyterians (1561), Baptists (1609), Quakers (1648), Methodists (1744), Episcopalians (1789), Mormons (1830), Seventh-Day Adventists (1844), Jehovah's Witnesses (1879), and Pentecostals (1906)--just to name a few. That's not to say that a unified church is a homogenous one. To the contrary, one need only read Romans and James to see that diversity has always been