Welcome to tomthinking.com Sunday, August 19 2018 @ 05:45 AM UTC

Can America Be Good Again?

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Can America be great again? Yes. America can be great again. If we steel our determination and apply the right principles we can fix our economy and be economically great again.

If we take a sobering look at the evils in the world and be resolute about defeating our enemies then we can be militarily great again.

If we will take a common sense look at what we are teaching our children and be determined to fix our failing education system, we can be educationally great again.

Yes, America can be great again. But that's not really the issue, is it? Any country can be great. Greatness is not hard to achieve if we are committed to it. So greatness is not the issue. The issue before us as a nation is more fundamental than that.

Can America be good again?

Judgment Comes Before Mercy. Here's Why

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One of the most popular charges leveled against the elect is that of judgmentalism. Because Christianity teaches from the Bible about the nature of sin, and declares that sin requires repentance, some people, both unbelievers and even fellow Christians charge many Christians with being judgmental or condemning instead of loving as Christ did. Yet as we shall see from this study, there are times when obedience to Christ, and adherence to God’s word requires that a Christian exercise judgment for the purpose of condemnation in turn leading to the hope of repentance.
We shall see from this study that Jesus condemned sin and certain people; that the Apostles condemned sin and certain people, and that we are enjoined to condemn sin and certain people.

The Shroud Of Turin Is Not The Burial Cloth Of Jesus, Here's Why

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I had a recent conversation with someone on Facebook advocating that the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus and that the image on the shroud is a miraculous image of the real Lord Jesus. The exchange has driven me back to scripture to one again ensure that my position on the Shroud is not a mistaken one. I do not believe that the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus. I think a careful study of scripture reveals that the Shroud is not authentic. I’ve written previously about this, however, today I’d like to make a much more thorough case comparing the Shroud to the scriptures about Jesus’ burial to demonstrate why my conclusion is valid.

To keep the length of this article manageable, I will not be providing background information about the Shroud of Turin and its history. If you are interested in more details about the Shroud then you can find that information here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shroud_of_Turin) and here (https://www.shroud.com). My concern is with what the scripture reveals about Jesus’ burial and whether or not the physical evidences of the Shroud comport with the biblical evidences. What are those physical evidences?

The Revolutionary Resurrection

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I want to offer up five significant thoughts about what the resurrection of Jesus Christ provides to us. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is far more significant than any other event in history. While most people tend to give more attention to Christmas, I’ve always felt that the resurrection was of greater importance. If there had been no resurrection there would be no Christmas celebration; the resurrection gives Christmas its meaning.

Aside from Christmas, the resurrection provides five things that make Christianity stand out as unique, remarkable, and superior to every other philosophy and faith.
THE RESURRECTION REVERSES THE GARDEN CURSE
We don’t often think of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden when we think of Easter. But the scriptures actually tie the two together. The first pronouncement that man would die was in Genesis 2:17. God warned Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” After their disobedience, in Genesis 3:19 God confirmed the consequences of their sin: “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
From that point on all men were subjected to the punishment of death for the disobedience of sin: “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men” (Romans 5:12). But Jesus, as the “last Adam” of I Corinthians 15:45, negates the final effects of the curse. Though we will one day all partake of death, the death of the Christian is only a temporary condition while we await our own resurrection that will give us a body like his: “Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly” (I Corinthians 15:49).

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.