Darryl's thoughts on the Christian Faith, Facts, and World Events
How to Deal with Divisive People
It seems that every day, we must try our best to overcome divisions in our families, friends, churches, communities, nations, and world. Biblically the source of divisions are our own sins and of course Satan loves to plant the seeds of divisions.
It is very important define what a divisive person is and IS NOT.
Here is my definition of a divisive person: A divisive person intentionally, actively, and repeatedly rubs raw the resentments of people within a community, fans the latent hostilities of many people, searchs out controversy and issues rather than avoiding them, and stirs up dissatisfaction and discontent.
Divisive people are defined in the Bible.
So how can can we effectively deal with people who act as divisive people? It is important to remember that divisive people are just ordinary people like you and I who sometimes act in a divisive manner. We too can be divisive people, if we aren’t careful. Even the people who act in a divisive manner can stop at any time through repentance.
1. Do not get angry. Divisive people are like arsonists. Arsonists hate flame-proof materials and wet matches. Divisive people are happiest when people, especially their opponents get angry. Because, when we get angry, we unintentionally spread the seeds of division to others. The world says, “fight fire with fire.” This is a really bad tactic. If an arsonist breaks into your home and sets your curtains on fire, should you defeat him by setting your sofa on fire? No, you would use a fire extinguisher or water to put out the flame before it can spread. Even though the actions of the divisive person are designed to make us feel angry, the Bible says,
We cannot let ourselves be controlled by insults. Just remember that many years ago, people called guys who spent all of their time thinking about computers and software "nerds" and "computer geeks." Now, we call those same guys BILLIONAIRES. Imagine if Bill Gates thought this, "People are calling me a "nerd" so I'm going to stop learning about computers, instead, I'm going to try to be a professional football player, those guys are cool."
Vaccinating BRI Techs Against Logical Viruses
Sometimes our cultures can program our brains and thought patterns to the point that we can be deceived into misinterpreting the BRI results. The worst thing about deception is that usually we do not know that we have been deceived. These viruses, if left untreated can be dangerous for BRI techs. Matthew 24:8-11.
Here is one logical virus that infects many of our thought patterns.
"Unless you approve of my actions you do not love me (or you hate me)."
This is called a False dilemma (False Dichotomy Black or White Fallacy) The above statement gives only 2 choices.
Either 1. approve my actions OR 2. hate me. This assumes that there are no other alternatives. One option is very bad (hate) and so the only other choice is to approve of my actions even if they violate your conscience or religious beliefs. Given these two choices most people will feel pressured to approve of actions that they normally would find objectionable.
Here are Other Alternatives:
Examples of Alternative #4.
Smoking cigarettes is probably harmful physically and there may be some spiritual harm (from addiction). "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything." 1 Corinthians 6:12.
Since smoking is harmful I disapprove of the action of smoking by my loved ones because I do not want them to be harmed.
Heterosexual promiscuity/adultery may be harmful physically (STDs) and it is very harmful spiritually. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Since promiscuity/adultery is harmful, I disapprove of promiscuous/adulterous actions by my loved ones because I do not want them to be harmed.
Homosexual activity may be physically harmful and is definitely spiritually harmful. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Since homosexual acts are harmful, I disapprove of those actions because I do not want my loved ones to be harmed.
If you smoke cigarettes, or commit promiscuous, adulterous, or homosexual acts, I disapprove of your actions because I love you, I sincerely believe that these actions are harmful to you, I do not want you to be harmed.
I will approve of and support any efforts you make to quit but whether you choose to quit or not my love for you will not change.
If you are unwilling to change and you still want my approval of your actions, here are some possible actions you may choose to take.
A. You can try to persuade me that your actions are beneficial. If you are successful you can get my sincere approval but it is highly unlikely given that my reasons are based on Scripture. But, maybe I am misapplying these Scriptures so it's worth a shot. I won't be offended if you give it a try.
B. You can try to persuade me to hate you so that I can sincerely approve of your actions based on #2 above.
C. You can try to bully, threaten, sue, and even torture me to the point that I will say that I approve of your actions but this will not be sincere approval.
But, if you truly love me, could you resort to options B or C? Wouldn’t it be better to accept sincere love from someone who disapproves of your actions than approval from someone who hates you?
Proverbs 27:5-6 "Better is open rebuke Than love that is concealed.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy."
Proverbs 9:8 "Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you."
Proverbs 3:11-12 "My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof, For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights."
Romans 1:28-32 "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."
This logical virus can also infect our thinking about other important issues.
Unless you believe in evolution you are anti-science.
Unless you support abortion you are anti-woman.
This virus can cause divisions among Christians:
Unless you agree with me about this (non-essential doctrine, practice, personal conviction, political issue, or denominational distinctive) you are (not a Christian or you are not a good Christian).
Romans 14:4 "Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."
One way to detect this virus is ask yourself. Does this opinion bully or pressure people into agreeing with it and/or insult those who don’t? I try to remind myself that, "satan is the father of lies" (John 8:44) and "satan is the accuser of the brothers." (Revelation 12:10) So, it is important to be very careful that we are not spreading lies and false accusations against our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Is Sola-Scriptura a False Dichotomy?
Sola Scriptura should not be presented like this: "Unless you believe in Sola Scriptura you are a (insert insult)."
Instead I try to present it like this.
I try to leave space for people who are not totally sold on sola-scriptura to try it out without feeling bullied or insulted if they are not totally convinced. If the Bible truly is God’s Word, then I believe that eventually many people will be persuaded of that without any bullying, insults, or pressure from me.
Is the Gospel a False Dichotomy?
If we present the Gospel as “Turn or Burn”, most people will see this as a false dichotomy and this can harden their hearts against the Gospel. The choice between heaven or hell is not a false dichotomy because Hebrews 9:27 says, "Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,..."
To avoid this misunderstanding, I try to present the Gospel in this way.
Those who reject the Gospel will have to suffer the consequences of their choice, there is no need to add insults do anything which would make it more difficult for them to resume communication with me and complete the journey later. Salvation is too important for people to be pressured into it. We cannot persuade anyone very effectively after we have insulted them.
MRI Machines (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) are very useful for identifying tumors, some cancers, and other potentially fatal medical conditions without the need for exploratory surgery. The Bible is a lot like an MRI machine because it can identify spiritual, emotional, and even attitudinal conditions that will lead to destruction if left untreated through the process of repentance. So, we will call the process of "destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" 2 Corinthians 10:5 BRI or (Biblical Resonance Imaging).
The Bible is our BRI Machine. "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." Hebrews 4:12-13
Christians are BRI Technicians (in training). "Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness," 2 Timothy 2:14-16
As a BRI Tech (in training) I will now seek to "accurately handle" the BRI Machine to scan a variety of Human Sexual Preferences as represented by various hypothetical advocates for various lifestyles who come in for a BRI scan as a condition of being accepted or rejected by Christians who believe that Scripture is the final authority that should govern our lives. This is especially important in present time.
"Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:12-17
BRI Scan #1-Bestiality Advocate
BRI Tech: Please come in and close the door behind you.
Bestiality: Wow it sure is quiet here.
BRI Tech: The door is specially sound proofed so that the noise from pop-culture, media, politicians, and religious leaders do not interfere with the accuracy of the BRI Machine. As a BRI Tech, I strive to operate the BRI machine accurately and not to allow my personal biases and preferences to interfere with the BRI Machine. The more skilled I am at doing this, the more accurate and trustworthy the results will be. The BRI Machine itself is 100% accurate but sometimes the technicians lack the skills and discipline to allow the machine to perform at its potential. So, what should we scan today?
Bestiality: I have always heard that Christians are cruel bigots etc. but this is a nice surprise. So here is what I would like you to scan. "I want Christians to agree with me that humans should be able to have sexual relations and marry animals, if they want to."
BRI Tech: Before we do scan your proposal, let me say, thank you for being so polite. A lot advocates of various sexual preferences come in here and try to change the BRI Machine or even try to accuse or attack me, the BRI Tech when they don't get the results that they want. It is kind of like when people, like me, who struggle to overcome obesity, try to change the scale or get angry when the doctor says that we need to lose weight. But, this doesn't do any good.
Bestiality: Okay, I will try my best to be reasonable and polite, even if I don't get the results from the BRI Scan that I want.
BRI Tech: Great! Okay let's start scanning your proposal. "I want Christians to agree with me that humans should be able to have sexual relations and marry animals, if they want to."
BRI Tech: Okay, here is the first result.
"Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man." Genesis 2:18-22
Bestiality: That doesn't sound like the BRI Machine is approving of my proposal. I guess stepping on the scale makes you feel like I do.
BRI Tech: Ha! You are right, based on this scripture alone, your proposal is rejected. Christians who respect the Bible will never be able to agree with, participate in, or encourage your bestiality sexual preference. But, just to clarify your results, let's scan a little deeper.
"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28
So, based on the fact that that humans have authority over animals, that having sex with them or marrying them would be an abuse of power, kind of like sexual harassment in the workplace or a teacher using their authority to force their students to have sexual relations with them.
Bestiality: Ouch! So what happens next? Are you going to call the police or try to kill me?
BRI Tech: No, your scan results are confidential between you and God. If you break any animal cruelty laws (which I support) and you get arrested, I will not defend you but I will visit you in prison. The action of having sexual relations and marrying animals falls into the category of what the Bible calls sin. Sin means, "missing the mark or target". So, you need to get back on the mark through what the Bible calls "repentance". Repentance means "changing your mind" by making your thoughts conform to God's thoughts. "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2
This process can take some time. So in the meantime, If you are willing, you are welcome to attend church services, Bible studies, and even get together with Christians informally to discuss your spiritual condition and to help you better understand the Bible. Now, I hope you won't be offended if the church doesn't consider you an official member, give you leadership responsibilities, and if they have a "living Nativity" at Christmas, they may not allow you to be alone with the animals, because they don't want you to be tempted.
Bestiality: Wait, this sounds too easy and nice. I think this is a trick. I remember someone telling me that the Bible says that people who have sex with animals must be executed.
BRI Tech: I am not trying to trick you. Please take a look at the control panel of the BRI Machine. Do you see the lever that is labeled, "Mosaic Law and Prophets"
Bestiality: Yes I do. It is is turned off and there is a bloodstained padlock that is locking it in the OFF position. It looks like there whole mechanism is totally gummed up with blood so that the lever cannot go back into the ON position.
BRI Tech: The lock was purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished." Matthew 5:17-20.
When that lever was in the ON position then the BRI Machine would have returned these results.
1. "Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion." Leviticus 18:22
2. " If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal. If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them." Leviticus 20:15-16
Bestiality: Wow, it is a good thing that that lever is turned OFF.
BRI Tech: That is Good News for all of us. Don't feel like you are being singled out, if that lever were turned ON, none of us could survive and go to heaven. "What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.” Romans 3:9-12
But, the Good News is that Jesus Christ, fulfilled the law. "And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Hebrews 9:22
"Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him." Hebrews 9:26-28
Bestiality: Wow, that is Good News!
BRI Tech: Before Jesus' sacrifice, humans could only make it through the scan by sacrificing a lamb or other animal. They used to put the animal in the BRI Machine during the Mosaic Law and Prophets scan. The animal would be killed as a temporary substitute for their sins. But, the BRI Machine always registered the animal blood this as an error and would eventually demand human blood for the sins. "These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
Bestiality: So the reason, I was not executed for my sexual sins with animals is because of Jesus? Is that why you are being so nice to me?
BRI Tech: Yes! I once came into this same room and I discovered that I was just as guilty and worthy of death and hell as you are. Even though my sins were different from yours, I was just as guilty. But, the BRI Tech I met showed me how to be forgiven of my sins, to be given a new name, "Forgiven". Would you like to be transformed from "Bestiality Advocate" to "Forgiven" like I was?
Bestiality: Yes! Please show me how!
BRI Tech: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
This BRI Machine always gives the Bad News first. Once we understand the Bad News, it starts giving Good News. Here comes some more Good News Scriptures!.......
"Gutenberg Bible, Lenox Copy, New York Public Library, 2009. Pic 01" by NYC Wanderer (Kevin Eng) - originally posted to Flickr as Gutenberg Bible. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gutenberg_Bible,_Lenox_Copy,_New_York_Public_Library,_2009._Pic_01.jpg#/media/File:Gutenberg_Bible,_Lenox_Copy,_New_York_Public_Library,_2009._Pic_01.jpg
Part 1 Part 2
Sola Scriptura (Only Scripture) is the anti-virus software of Biblical Christianity. We can find examples of its use in the Scripture.
"The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." Acts 17:10-11
Paul was an Apostle who was inspired to write much of the New Testament, yet he applauded the Bereans for checking Scriptures to confirm or reject his teaching. If it is okay to Scripturally Fact Check and apostle, then it must be okay to do the same thing with the teachings and theories of a pastor, pope, politician, pop star, or scientist etc. "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!" Galatians 1:8 By this standard, even the Apostle's opinions should be rejected if they contradict the inspired teachings found in Scripture. Beyond this, if an angel preaches a different Gospel, then we should reject that. It is on this basis that we reject Mormonism and Islam. Furthermore, even if an alien appears and claims to be the creator, we should also test their claims under the authority of Scripture.
Galileo was forced to recant his theory that the sun is the center of the solar system, by the Catholic Church. Because of this, many people mistakenly think that the Bible is anti-science. But, it important to remember that the Catholic Church rejects sola scriptura. So, Galileo's argument was against the current pope's interpretations of scripture instead of scripture itself. In 1992, a later pope agreed that Galileo was right. It isn't fair to judge sola scriptura based Protestant Christianity for this, because the same Catholic Church that bullied Galileo into recanting his sun theory was also persecuting and executing Protestants for believing in sola scriptura.
How Would Sola Scriptura Have Treated Galileo and Other Scientists?
Let's try it out. Sola Scriptura (Sola) will have a conversation with Galileo.
Galileo: I have a cool new theory. I think that, the earth orbits the sun instead of the sun orbiting the earth.
Sola: Let's search the scriptures.
Genesis 1:14-19 says that God made the sun and moon, you don't deny that do you?
Galileo: No, “…no truth discovered in Nature could contradict the deep truth of the Holy Writ.”
Sola: Ecclesiastes 1:5 says, "Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
And hastening to its place it rises there again." Does your theory have a problem with this scripture?
Galileo: No, it is just a matter of perspective. Let me show you. Here focus your eyes on this apple that I am holding in my hand. It represents the sun. You represent the earth. Okay, now, sit down and then stand back up. From your point of view, did the apple/sun rise when you sat down and seem to go down when you stood up?
Sola: Yes, it did.
Galileo: Check out this passage. "“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts". Isaiah 55:8-9
Sola: That is true. So the way something seems to be from our perspective as fallen, sinful, humans may not be the way things really are from God's perspective.
Galileo: "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2
Sola: Cool, well my friend, I don't have a problem with your theory, go ahead and see how it turns out.
Charles Darwin: "I found some birds with different beak shapes that are adapted to different environmental conditions. I think that if this can happen, then eventually birds can keep changing and become other kinds of animals and that birds evolved from dinosaurs."
Sola: Genesis 1:21, 1:25, 6:20, and 7:14 all say that God created the different kinds of animal to reproduce "after its kind" so there is no way that they could have evolved from one kind into another kind within the framework of Scripture. So, either your theory of evolution is wrong or scripture is wrong.
Darwin: Scripture is wrong.
Sola: Sorry, I can't accept your theory because I can't call God a liar.
Sola Scriptura as a filter for Modern Sea Level Theories
If you do an Internet search, "sea levels rise", you will find a lot of theories. One of the biggest problem is that so many theories out there try to bully us into accepting them because of how many scientists, politicians, religious leaders, and movie stars believe them. But popularity of an idea by powerful people should never influence a Christian who truly lives by Sola Scriptura. "What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “That You may be justified in Your words, And prevail when You are judged.” Romans 3:3-4
So, let's search the Scripture for what it says about the topic. "I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh." Genesis 9:7-17
Sola: I will reject any theory that claims that sea levels will rise so far that they will threaten humans and all land animals with extinction, because they make God a liar.
Proverbs 8:26-29 "When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command,"
Job 38:8-11 “Or who enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; When I made a cloud its garment
And thick darkness its swaddling band, And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’?
Psalms 104:5-9 "You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters were standing above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled,. . . To the place which You established for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass over, So that they will not return to cover the earth."
Jeremiah 5:21-25 "‘Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it."
Sola: I will reject any theory that claims that human actions can raise or lower the sea level on their own without acknowledging God as the Creator who has the final authority to set the boundaries of the sea because this would be calling God a liar.
Along these lines, here is a very interesting Scripture.
Ecclesiastes 1:7 "All the rivers flow into the sea,Yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, There they flow again."
This is an amazing verse because the water cycle is mentioned in the Bible many years before it was "discovered" by human scientists.
Here is my personal thought: Check to see if any theories take into account the complete functioning of the water cycle. For example, if earth's temperature were to rise, the polar ice caps and glaciers would melt and flow down the rivers into the sea. But it also seems reasonable that the same increased temperatures that raised would also lead to increased evaporation of sea water, which would result in more clouds and more rain, snow, and other precipitation on land. God's fine-tuning, design of the earth and its atmosphere have functioned just fine for thousands of years despite volcanoes and other events. On the other hand, humans' best efforts to manage our own small scale climate failed in the early 1990s. (see Biosphere 2). So I will continue to trust God and His Word more than the theories of humans no matter how popular they may be.
We all love new computers because they are so fast. Over time updates, patches, bloatware, malware, viruses, and even our own files pile up and make them slow, incompatible, and unstable. I have an Acer Netbook that I purchased several years ago, it was getting so slow and unstable that I thought I would have to replace it, but when I took it in to the computer shop and had all of the software uninstalled and then only reinstalled the programs that I actually need, the computer has became faster, more stable, and this has extended its life as a computer I use when teaching Christian Apologetics classes.
New Christians are like new computers, but over time they get slower, incompatible with other Christians, unstable, and less and less useful. It reminds me of the verse, "but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." (Mark 4:19). When I think about Scripture and history I see this same pattern of Creation, Complication, Confusion, Corruption, and Crash afterwards our theology needs to be reinstalled from the ground up.
For example, God gave Adam and Eve simple instructions and very quickly Satan and them managed to complicate, confuse, corrupt, and crash it. God installed the sacrifice software and Cain did the same pattern, and killed Abel. Things got so bad that God had to completely destroy the earth and its inhabitants and re-install the software of Truth with Noah. Later, God had to quarantine the spiritual viruses at the Tower of Babel and re-install the truth into Abraham. The Mosaic law was another reboot. The Pharisees managed to complicate it, corrupt, and crash that until Jesus installed the Great Commandment "Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31).
I see the Apostles's Creed and the Nicene Creed as further attempts to re-install the basic Biblical software of Christianity in a way which was comprehensible and would unify Christians around the essentials of Christianity. This is why 21st Century Protestants still use these creeds. If the Catholic Church hadn't added so many doctrines on top of these creeds, we would all probably be Catholics today. After these Creeds, more and more updates, patches, viruses, and bloatware entered into Christian theology that the only way to clear the decks was to go back to the Bible.
Sola Scriptura was the key idea of the Reformation because it made it possible for every Christian to uninstall all the bloatware of tradition and get back to simple truths of the Bible. I understand that my Catholic friends may be offended by Sola Scriptura because they want to hold on to the software that the Reformation uninstalled. My purpose is not to get into an argument over whether Sola Scriptura is good or not. If you don't like Sola Scriptura feel free to argue with these guys (Defense of Sola Scriptura) . Sola Scriptura made it possible for Christianity to spread around the world in places where the Catholic Church could never have gone due to political barriers. In times of persecution it is easy to destroy church buildings and identify and imprison or kill clergy, but it is much more difficult to crush Christianity, when anyone who was literate can read and share the Scriptures with those who can't read. If our understanding of the Scriptures and our salvation depended on formal religious institutions, then the House Church Movement of China would have been impossible.
My concern is that since the reformation, especially in North America and Europe, even Protestants have managed to add a whole bunch of updates, patches, bloatware, and in some cases even viruses. Martin Luther's 95 Theses was mainly concerned with the selling of Indulgences by the Catholic Church in order to pay for building programs. In other words, the Catholic Church was saying there are sins but you can get a pass on the penalty of the sins if you pay us money. But now, so many Christians will compromise the clear teachings of Scripture free of charge!
They are basically saying, "God is wrong, Jesus is wrong, and the Bible is wrong, it is okay you can ____________ (insert popular sin etc. here) as much as you want, we won't judge you for your sins and we will even attack other Christians who mention what the Bible says about it. We will celebrate your sin. Just please! please! please don't call us names! (bigot, anti-women, anti-science, homophobic, or islamophobic. etc.)"
So, we really can't throw stones at the Catholic Church of Luther's day, because if Luther lived now he might, tape a flyer on our church doors or at least post a meme on our Facebook wall. We can't throw stones, because we are not without sin. There are many more parallels that I can draw between the state of many modern protestant churches and the Roman Catholic Church of Luther's era, and perhaps I will do so in later posts. For now, I believe that we need to get back to the clear never changing principles of Scripture. We, as Protestants, cannot criticize the Catholic Church for believing in Scripture+Tradition five hundred years ago, if we ourselves believe in Scripture+Pop Culture right now. In many ways Gallup Polls, seems to be the most important commentary that many Protestant leaders consult. First they see what is popular and then they interpret the Scriptures accordingly. The Mormons, changed their views on polygamy in order for Utah to gain US statehood and they changed their views on dark skinned people to reflect cultural trends. The Mormons can do this, because they believe that they have a living prophet, who can give them updated interpretations whenever it is politically or economically profitable to do so.
But, I believe that, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) and "Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear." (Matthew 24:35). I also believe this:
"Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:10-17)
The first generations of Christians did not change the teachings of God's Word just to please the popular culture and avoid persecution. Many of them were martyred and tortured because they would not make small compromises such as acknowledging Caesar as a god. It would have been understandable if they had tried to be more "open minded and tolerant" to avoid the horrible tortures and deaths of Foxe's Book of Martyrs. But, when we as modern Christians compromise our faith to avoid being called names on social media, we are dishonoring their sacrifices and courage.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an high tech scanner that is used to detect tumors, cancers, and other potentially fatal disorders without having to cut into the body. The Bible is like a spiritual MRI.
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." Hebrews 4:12-13
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;" 2 Timothy 3:16
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? “I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds." Jeremiah 17:9-10
Martin Luther used new media technology, the movable-type printing press, in a way that changed the world. This article springboards off the article, "How Luther Went Viral." Now, we live in an era of new technology where people in even the remotest parts of nations like Cambodia have Internet-connected smartphones. This is an exciting and yet perilous time for Christianity in general and world missions in particular because truth and error can travel around the world in an instant, and often error is more popular and better funded.
One challenge to overcome is that Christians tend to have an aversion to new technologies and means of communication. My 79 year old mother tells the story of a missionary to Japan in the years immediately after World War 2, who filmed his mission work. When he returned to Missouri and tried to present his work with local churches and show his "mission films", they rejected him saying, "We won't have movies in Church!" That was in the late 1940s. By the time the Jesus Film was produced in 1979, the churches were willing to accept it, but by then, they were behind the curve instead of being cutting edge.
We live in a time of Internet, smartphones, and social media. We can complain about how much the young people are using it. We can warn of the dangers of pornography etc. etc. on the Internet. But, unless we also learn how to provide more, quality, Christian content for the Internet/apps/devices, we will be left behind once again.
It is possible to update our methods of communicating the Good News of Jesus Christ without compromising the eternal truths of the Bible. God's Word is active and powerful, whether it is printed on parchment, paper, a computer screen, or in audio form. There was a time when paper tracts like the Four Spiritual Laws were cutting edge, but now there are increasing advantages to developing digital-tracts that can be produced, spread, customized, translated, and used around the world for a fraction of the costs of printing on paper.
Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear."
1 Corinthians 9:22-23 "When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings."
While some are trying to change Jesus Christ and the Bible to match the trends and values of pop culture but Scripture does not give Christians those options. But, we are free and encouraged to "Go into all the world." I believe that all the world, includes the World Wide Web and whatever new media technology that comes next.
As the old Hymn goes, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow....Because I know, He holds the future..."
Continue to Part 2.
Have you ever noticed how many atheists hate God and how angry they get at anyone who dares to believe in Him? There were a lot of times growing up when Santa Claus totally failed me (thanks for the socks etc.). But, I don't hate Santa Claus or people who like or even believe in Santa. I wouldn't try to sue anyone who dares play, "Santa Clause is coming to town" in a public building. This is because Santa isn't real. I mean if God isn't real, then God only is a figment of my imagination. How can you hate something that I am imagining? I'm imagining, Mr. Ed wearing roller skates right now, they don't hate that imagination do they? They don't hate the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, do they? So why do they hate my "imaginary" God?
I mean, if I had an atheist friend, (I would like to have one, but they don’t like me) so if you can find a polite and friendly atheist out there, let me know. I'm serious. Anyway, If I had an atheist friend who had three imaginary friends named Big Daddy, Jayzee, and Casper (the ghost) and my friend sincerely believed that those 3 imaginary friends were really 1 imaginary friend, I wouldn’t get angry about it. In fact, if Atheists had imaginary friends that gave them more peace, helped them to be nicer (and not so angry all the time), and more honest, I would think that would actually be an improvement. So the next time an atheist gets angry at me for believing in God, I will ask them, “I don’t hate your imaginary friends, why do you hate mine?”
If God is only imaginary, why are students and teachers prohibited from talking about, reading stories about, or even praying to God. Would you get so upset if someone talked about, read stories about, or even prayed to the Easter Bunny? You might think they were crazy but you would still be so secure in your knowledge that the Easter Bunny doesn't exist that you wouldn't be threatened by it at all. So, if you are an atheist and you hate God and you despise anyone who believes He exists, this proves that you are not 100% secure in your belief that there is no God. You see, people who are insecure (doubt their own position) tend to cover their insecurity with anger, insults, and even violence toward anyone who is on the verge of defeating their arguments. So if you are angry, this shows me that you are insecure because there is a "reasonable doubt" programmed into your heart by a Creator that you refuse to acknowledge. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/…
I am sure that if any atheists read this, they will get angry. But their anger only proves my point. (Hint to any atheists who reply: try to be polite, if you can. Then we might actually be able to have an intelligent debate about the most important question of life). If there is no God, there is no reason for them to get angry…unless….
A Christian Apologist, Author, Missionary, Husband, and Father. Darryl has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University (CA), an MA in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University (CA), and a BA in Political Science from Truman State University (MO).