Welcome to tomthinking.com Sunday, June 17 2018 @ 09:59 PM UTC

There's No Such Thing As Compassion Without Passion

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I have to love him, but it doesn’t mean I have to like him! Have you ever heard anyone express this idea? Perhaps you’ve said it yourself? I know I certainly have. The problem with this statement is that it has no foundation in the Bible. In fact, this kind of statement actually contradicts what the Bible actually teaches.

 

We often attach extra-biblical ideas to our biblical understanding to give us an excuse not to follow what the scripture actually says. Here are some examples:
  • I don’t give the homeless money because they might spend it on booze
  • The Bible says I have to love my neighbor, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him
  • I don’t have the gift of evangelism, so I don’t have to witness to people
  • Tithing is part of the law, and I’m not under the law, so I don’t have to tithe if I don’t want
  • Love is a verb

 

"Christianity Is Rooted In Fear & Superstition"

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Have I got your attention?

Recently I've been reading the book, "How The West Really Lost God," by Mary Eberstadt. The book makes a strong case for the Western decline of Christianity being tightly related to the decline of the traditional family. However, one quote caught my attention. It is a summary statement of the position atheists have about Christianity. It is that, "Christianity is rooted in fear and superstition. Its purpose is to serve as a giant pacifier against the hunger pains of mortality."

I'd like to address this statement's four assumptions and show why from scripture and common sense that these are false assumptions. That they are assumptions is clear since none of them are predicated upon either doctrinal or historic facts about the faith.

The Quest To Dehumanize

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What do you think of yourself? How do you define your humanity? Do you think of your limitations, your flaws of character, your sin? What do you call yourself? Adulterer? Thief? Prostitute? Black? White? Asian? Sinner? Worthless? Are these labels you can apply to yourself?

These labels, and others, may be true. But there is a greater truth to your existence. And it begins with this: Labels dehumanize because they relegate us to limited or no value.

What value was a slave, or a criminal, or an adulterer, or a liar? Some of these labels are true descriptions, but they also dehumanize because they offer no solution to the problems they describe. Sin always dehumanizes because it is a way of living contrary to our design of dignity. But there is one thing that wipes all of this away.

The incarnation humanizes.

The Problem With Progressive Christianity

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For many years there has been the notion among some people that American Christianity is too concerned with doctrine and theology and less concerned with helping the needy and oppressed of society. This narrative, to a degree successfully promulgated, was fostered by those with a liberal mindset toward Christianity. More importantly, within the church community this narrative has been embraced by what has become known as Progressive Christianity. Progressives, both secular and religious, have effectively controlled the narrative that conservatives lack compassion, care for the poor and oppressed, and that they are too focused on morals and values issues that they ignore critical human needs. But is this narrative really true, or is this an argument developed by Progressive Christianity in opposition to the church’s historical emphasis on right beliefs?

How To Recognize A False Religion

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If you've ever been confronted by a Mormon at your door, or spent time listening to a Buddhist talk about enlightenment, or sat in a church service of progressives, then you may have wondered to yourself if what was being discussed was true. Maybe your own faith has shaken a bit as you considered the claims of a competing worldview.

Today, I want to set your mind at ease. I'm going to give you ten brief characteristics of Christianity that will enable you to instantly recognize whether what you are hearing is true or false. That's right, I said instantly. Once you understand these characteristics, spotting a spiritual fraud will be easy, and you'll be able to begin holding your ground against a false religious claim. So, let's get started.

All false religions deny, redefine, or supplement some or all of the following truth:

How Do You Know The Bible Isn't A Myth?

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Throughout 5,000 years of recorded human history virtually every culture has had some kind of mythos regarding the supernatural world. In fact, Judaism, and later Christianity, sprang from a group of stories about the supernatural world and its impact on Israeli society. All of the ancient religious myths have fallen into obscurity, but Judaism and Christianity remain. Yet here is a surprise that most Christians don’t think about.
The Bible has all the markings of an ancient myth.
Now, for purposes of clarity let me define what I mean by a religious myth. A religious myth, in one definition, is a story or group of stories about gods, goddesses, or other supernatural beings that help shape a culture, but from a historical and factual perspective are not true. Myths are not true. They are religious folklore. They have value in that they can teach certain principles a society holds, but they are not, by definition, true accounts of real world events. What may surprise many Christians is that Christianity and Judaism have all of the markings of ancient religious myths—with two important exceptions.
 

The Theology of Time Travel

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Don't you hate it when people bring up objections to the Gospel that seem high and intelligent just to catch you off-guard in your witness about Jesus? For instance, have you heard that silly challenge that asks, "Can God create something so heavy that even he cannot lift it?" Those types of questions are designed to stump the Christian and even make you and I look silly. (By the way, the answer is yes he can. Jesus collapsed under the weight of his own cross).

Recently the movie, "Looper" and popular science fiction shows have brought up another protest to the Gospel that seems just as silly. "If time travel is possible, doesn't that mean that God is not in control of the world, or history?"

I confess that I enjoy thinking through issues like these. These issues stretch the imagination and can force us to go back to the scripture for answers to even the silliest or the hardest of issues. And yes, there is also an answer to this question in the scripture.

Is Time Travel Possible?

If It Can't Be Measured It Doesn't Exist

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Recently I posted the following on my Facebook page: “If it can’t be measured, it doesn’t exist.” It wasn’t long before someone asked, “How do you measure God?”
Thanks for asking!
Some people look at faith in God as something that is regulated to “personal belief.” In other words, you can believe something if you want, but it’s not really real. The Bible’s view of faith is quite different. Faith is not something you believe without evidence for the object of its existence. Rather, biblical faith is based squarely and solidly on evidences. Biblical faith is not nebulous. Nor do we measure God by a ruler. Rather, we measure God by the impact he has on his creation. In fact, measuring God is not all that dissimilar to measuring black holes. Yes. You read that right.

Man Is Made In God's Image. But The Angels Are Not. Here's Why

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Have you ever read Genesis 1:26 and wondered what in the world God was talking about when he decided to make man in God’s image? The passage reads, “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.”
Many people have speculated about the image of God, thinking that it refers to man’s intellectual capacity, or his ability to make moral judgments. Many have wondered if angels are made in God’s image since they would seem to be above us in the current created order (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7). Angels seem to be able to have intellectual capacity and make more judgments. So how can man, being lower than the angels be created in God’s image and the angels being higher than man not be in God’s image? These are interesting speculations. However, the scripture does not seem to refer to such characteristics as being the reason why man is categorized as being in God’s image.

Joyce Briscoe

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During a recent talk with one of my daughters this testimony came up. I thought I’d share it again.

She stood before an adoring crowd on national television to tell her story. She was the recipient of a Disney award for outstanding teachers. Comedian Robin Williams introduced her to the audience. She had come fresh from a controversy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She had shown the movie, Last Temptation of Christ to her gifted history students. When word leaked out that she used the movie for a history class, Albuquerque's Christian community spoke up in protest. During the award ceremony Mrs. Briscoe noted how some Christian leaders had risen up against what she had done.

She was talking about me.