Vacations With Mormons, Evolutionists, and the Truth

Yesterday my family and I returned from a trip to many National Parks and Salt Lake City, Utah. During our time, we saw many things that were an affront to my Christian beliefs.

Every National Park has signage stating evolutionary “facts.” Whether explaining how the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was formed over millions of years, or Agate Fossil Beds National Monument telling us about 23-million year-old dinosaur fossils.

Every place states these things as indisputable facts. If you do any reading outside of popular science, you know there is doubt about Darwinian Evolution. Not just from the Creationist fringe either, many scientists have their doubts.

Yet those doubts are never raised on the popular level. Just stated facts. I did note to my children in one visitor center movie how the narrator said “scientists believe” in reference to our descent from apes.

There is plenty of belief in science, because not all their facts are as factual as they’d like them to be. You are denying wide swaths of science if you deny this truth. The scientific method is based on not knowing and endeavoring to find out. The scientific method stops as soon as you think you know everything.

We also visited the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. The place repulses me and I could not stay long. However, I wanted my kids to see what it was about.

I don’t mind my kids being exposed to evolution, nor Mormon theology. I aint afraid. I believe I have truth on my side, and, if that’s the case, I can have confidence in the truth and rest. It also led to several good conversations. Thinking took place.

The modern scientific community is becoming very sensitive. They do not allow any variance from their views. There are no alternative theories up for debate. They know it all, and if you veer from it, they will endeavor to silence you.

Religious people are the same way, as modern science becomes a religion. You won’t get very far debating Mormon theology at the Mormon Temple.

Unfortunately, many supposed Christians react the same way. We get mad and offended, we work to silence those who oppose us. The more you have to silence others and be offended, the more you are admitting weakness and insecurity.

Mormons can say what they want. Read their book. Read all the ridiculousness that has no proof. Scientists can say what they want. Read science and see how often they change their tune. Neither needs to be silenced. God will silence us all.

I believe the Bible is telling the truth. I will let the truth win the gradual battle. The wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. Truth always wins, even if it takes forever.

The louder people get and the more they have to silence others, the more you know they are insecure. Truth has a way of calming and stilling its audience.

We all need more calm. More calm comes with more truth.

Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.


Lying is A Sin Too

In our obsessions with “bad sins,” Christians have skillfully avoided dealing with actual sins in their own lives. The sins that are the most fun to rail against are the ones you don’t personally struggle with.

Although we like to talk about murderers, abortionists, and homosexuals, how often do we feel convicted about our sin?

Lying is a classic example. Lying is bad. Christians aren’t supposed to lie. In Ephesians 4 where Paul talks about putting off the old man and putting on the new, guess how he starts talking about the new man?

put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour

Lying is the first thing he brings up. God speaks truth. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If you follow Him, then speak the truth.

Again, it’s more fun to make fun of our postmodern society and their shifting ground of truth and mock their lies, propaganda, and deception, but again, bring it home. How often do we lie?

I know liars who claim to be Christians. Most of their lies seem innocent, they are justifications of sin, attempts to not be rude, trying to be complimentary, trying to dismiss one’s self from obligations in a nice way, and other not so evil sounding things.

But lying is bad. Habitual lying is bad. Liars don’t get into heaven.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

Again, I didn’t say that. Just quoting the Bible.

The main problem with lying is that you can’t love people if you’re a liar. Love “rejoices in the truth.” Liars, because they know they are liars, have a real problem trusting other people. Since I’m a good person and I lie, imagine how much these other people are lying to me?!

Lying eats at the soul, makes you nervous, paranoid, and eventually, very lonely. People don’t like to be with liars.

Liars are insecure, they say things to make up for the reality of their failing. They pump up their stats in word, only to look foolish when it’s time for action. Thus they fear action. They fear vulnerability. They can’t love and they are very difficult to love in return.

Lying is antithetical to all that God stands for. Christians should be known as people who speak the truth. That keep their word. That deal with reality, not vain-talkers. God is honored by truth, so don’t be afraid to speak it.

The Good Gifts of James 1:17 Are Not Money and Possessions

Rich people seem to have a problem dealing with what the Bible says about money. Although the Bible is filled with verses about the dangers inherent in wealth, rich folk like to find a couple of verses that justify their materialism.

A classic example is James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Rich people then conclude: I think money, and the stuff I buy with it, are good. Therefore, if I get money and stuff, which are good, God must have given them to me.

Let me explain why James is not talking about money and stuff being the good gift.

Because James is not talking about money and stuff!

When James does talk about money and stuff (2:6-7; 5:1-6) he says it’s evil and nasty. Based on the general context of his epistle, James can’t possibly be saying that money and stuff are good gifts.

James, in fact, seems to be saying that bad stuff is actually a good gift.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” is how James opens his letter. He develops the point further in 1:12-15

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Our lust drags us into sin. Wanting stuff leads to sin. He then says every good gift comes from the Father. Good gifts, to be considered good, can’t lead to sin. Getting what you lust for is not a good gift.

If context means anything, there is no way that the good gift of James 1:17 is referring to money or possessions. The good gift is that God makes us new creations, not living in the entrapment of the old creation.

The good gift is that God is forming us though trials to grow into Christ, and to enjoy new life in Christ, able to love others rather than be consumed with self.

Words mean things, and it’s a good idea to find out what they mean, rather than misapplying them to feed our lust.

Rich People Are Evil, Thus Saith The Bible

I mention the dangers of money and materialism quite frequently in my sermons, Bible studies, and on my blog. I do this for two main reasons

  1. It’s all over the place in the Bible
  2. This is a problem that I and many others struggle with

The Bible is very clear on the issue and very repetitive. While pointing out the clear, oft-repeated message, I have gotten accustomed to the responses. They generally go like this:

  1. The Bible’s teaching on money is unrealistic. You can’t go through life literally applying what the Bible says. It makes no sense.
  2. What? Are you saying I can’t have a house? You have a house, so who are you to tell me?
  3. It’s OK to be rich as long as you do good things sometimes.
  4. I’m not rich, I have problems paying off my cell phone, cable bill, credit cards, and Starbucks drinks every month.

Few respond with, “Oh, wow, I should seriously examine this issue and take steps to resolve my errors.”

The Bible says bad things about rich people.

You should realize that. James is probably the worst of them all. He sounds like a Bernie Sanders supporter, in all honesty.

you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

That’s from James 2.

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.

That’s from James 5.

James basically says the rich only get rich by doing sinful stuff. That’s James, which is in the Bible. He equates being rich with being sinful.

We tend to view riches as God’s blessings. We must be doing things right if we have so much stuff. James decidedly disagrees.

Again, I know the justifications–Jame’s is speaking generally, not all rich do this, Abraham, David, and Solomon were all rich and God liked them, etc.

The issue will be brought up on Judgment Day. Thought you’d like to know.

My Brain On The Internet: Bad Cholesterol Is Good, Priest Punches Groomsman, Orlando Blame, and C. S. Lewis Audio

A new study has found no link between high cholesterol and heart disease. In fact, the study found “that 92 percent of people with a high cholesterol level lived longer.” Shocker. This is why I don’t listen to anyone’s advice about what I eat. Nobody knows what they are talking about.

A priest officiating a wedding, apparently punched the groom’s brother in the face for dorking around during part of the proceedings. This is awesome. I would enjoy weddings more if I could punch people.

One of the things that convinces me the Bible is the Word of God is that the world so consistently hates Jews and Christians. Orlando was recently shot up by a Muslim. One would think there would be some honest examination of Islam’s teaching by society in general, but alas, that won’t happen. Watch: What will happen is all religions will be attacked as evil. It’s not a problem with Islam; it’s a problem with religion. Therefore, Christianity will somehow be at fault for this, too.

The only still-existing BBC Radio recording of C. S Lewis

5 Thoughts on Satan and Cynicism

God asked Satan if he had observed righteous Job. Satan had, which first of all, lets you know that true righteousness is always visible, as John said, “Be not deceived, he who does righteousness is righteous.” We like to prove righteousness by numbers of followers, bank balances, or some other external measuring line. God measures righteousness by whether you do righteous stuff.

Secondly, although Satan is aware of Job’s righteousness, Satan is highly cynical. Satan believes Job is only obedient to God because life is going well. Take away Job’s good stuff and his faith will disappear too. This leads me to several points about Satan and cynicism

  1. Cynicism is often an admission of guilt. Perhaps Satan is so cynical because Satan fell himself. Seeing someone actually listen to God, even a lowly human, perhaps makes Satan feel guilty. Our own guilt often makes us question the sincerity and spirituality of others. It says less about them and plenty about us.
  2. Cynicism is Satan’s territory. I am a very cynical guy. I like to think my cynicism is pure wisdom in action. I know things about people. But I have often wondered if my cynicism is more flesh than Spirit. We are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We are to test the spirits. But cynicism is a destroyer and knows no limits. It takes down the pure and the dirty.
  3. Cynicism is often right. Satan assumes that faith will fall when life goes bad. Clearly this has happened many times. Satan would be right in general on this charge, just horribly wrong in Job’s case, just as Job’s friends were generally right, but not with Job. The Health and Wealth Gospel is Satan’s point here. Take away the Health and Wealth and the Gospel, for many, disappears too. Often this is true, but not always.
  4. Cynicism should be viewed cynically. I recently read the autobiography of George Muller, who supported hundreds of orphans, yet never asked for money, he only prayed. There were several things in the book that made me question Mr. Muller. So, my cynicism of Mr. Muller, does it reveal a problem with Mr. Muller, or is Jeff just feeling guilty he doesn’t trust God and pray enough? I know enough about cynicism to make me cynical of it. I doubt my own doubting of others. However, being cynical of cynicism is a Catch-22.
  5. Cynicism can be good. For my proof text, I point you to Proverbs 14:15, “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” Wise people don’t believe everything they hear. They doubt some stuff. Part of being wise is learning who to trust and who to doubt. Doubting the right people is important for remaining wise!

We need to be careful with cynicism. It has its place, but out of place, it ruins ourselves and others. It’s nigh on impossible to be cynical and loving at the same time. Love believes all things, remember. Perhaps it is possible to not believe someone and yet not be cynical of them.

I confess to you that this is a tough issue for me. Just writing down some thoughts to help me sort through it. Or am I?

Is the Church a Whore, or Your Mother? No

“The Church is a whore, but she’s my mother.”
–St Augustine

Mr. Augustine said a lot of things. It is possible he said this, but there is no proof. In the plethora of thoughts he wrote down, it seems likely one would be able to find a context for this quote, but it’s nowhere to be found.

Which leads me to believe he never said it. Augustine, however, was rather mindful of whores in his life, so it sounds like something he would have said.

The gist of the quote, as far as I can tell, is that the church is a messed up place, but in the end, it’s still your mom and you’re supposed to love your mom.

I can think of three objections to this notion right off the bat:

First, would you love your mom if she were a whore? It would certainly be difficult, there would be a definite strain in the relationship. I would not trust her, nor would I get too close. If this is indeed an apt description of the church, would Christ really want me to associate with her? The Apostle Paul asked, “shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot?” Is Christ asking us to be joined to a harlot? I think not.

Second, are you suggesting that the church, the Bride of Christ, is a whore? The same bride whom Christ washed and sanctified? Are you suggesting that Christ’s work has come up short and that new birth results in no change?

Third, the notion that the Church is our mother is not biblical. This is purely a Catholic idea that has no basis in anything scriptural. I would hesitate to use the metaphor.

I will be the first to admit that the visible/institutional church has been unfaithful and gross. No argument there. But this isn’t the True Church. It is Augustine’s church, so thus I can see why he may have said this, but it’s not the True Church, the Bride of Christ.

Don’t call Christ’s bride a whore. Not cool. The Bride of Christ is pure, holy, loving, peaceful, united, edifying, and fully loyal to her husband. There is no whoredom in Christ’s church.

Blame your problems with the church on human sin, don’t develop bad feelings toward His True People, His Bride. The Bride is dressed in fine, white linen representing the righteous deeds of the saints. This is the Bride of Christ, the Church. She does what is right and beautiful.

Don’t let past experience with those who weren’t the True Church anyway, keep you from present enjoyment of knowing Her now. God’s people are out there. It has always taken some work to find them. There has always been a remnant, and remnants are, by definition, small. But when you find Her, what a joyous relationship can ensue.