Two Talents

Faith-based expressions of a Christian.

Archive for the ‘The Christian faith’ Category

Our “respectable sins”

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Dinah is a Bible.org blogger and has an insightful post about so-called “respectable sins” we Christians commit. In fact, her thoughts came from reading a book called “Respectable Sins” by Jerry Bridges. I encourage you to check it out. It will only take a couple of minutes to read but will hopefully cause you to consider the points made for much longer.

Written by Shawn

March 17, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Take your militancy elsewhere

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I avoid militants as much as I can, and by militants I mean dictators, despots, political zealots and so on. Within that list would also be found religious militants. Sadly, religious militants (who are almost always legalists) pollute the faith in a wide array of areas.

There exists one known as the Authorized Militant. This is the King James Only advocate who believes that the King James version of the bible (aka “Authorized Version”) is the only true and proper word of God in English. The most intense of this bunch claims it to be the only true and proper word of God in any language, with some even claiming it supersedes ancient Greek texts that differ from it. The most zealous among them also will claim that if you use another translation of the bible you are not saved. In my experiences with this crowd I have found them to not only be militant, but at least somewhat unhinged, angry, judgmental and puffed up with righteous grandeur. They engage in a jihad against any and all bible translations other than the Authorized Version. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

March 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Christianity and politics

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There was much ballyhoo from the left about the religious beliefs of Bush 43, and of the bible studies that took place amongst some of his staff. The most paranoid proclaimed it dangerous and were threatened by such overt applications of faith. And a man named Ralph Reed led a Christian political operation that held hands with the GOP (sort of a modern “Moral Majority”) not all that long ago. Today we see more and more people who define themselves as fiscal conservatives, and not social conservatives, and they want no part of the bible in their politics.

It is worth asking,: as a Christian, what involvement am I to have in politics, beyond voting? Frank Turk isn’t enamored with the idea of combining the two. He calls conservative Hugh Hewitt to task for trying to do so. Of Hewitt, Turk writes:

And he comes back because he thinks that the ends of the church are the same as the ends of conservatism. It’s because he sees the church as a moral improvement society — something which only teaches the world something it couldn’t learn on its own.

This is why Hugh Hewitt gets my goat: he sees the church as a means to a political end. I find his views in that respect reprehensible.

Also at Pyromaniacs, Phil Johnson answers a question about Christians and their churches staying of politics:

Are you saying that Christians should never seek these political remedies, or that they are currently spending more time than they should seeking these remedies?

I keep saying that my main point is about how the church corporately should be spending her time and resources, not about what an individual who is vocationally (or avocationally) involved in politics should do.

To be clear:

  • I object to pastors who use their pulpits to organize voters rather than teach the Bible and proclaim the gospel.
  • I object to evangelical organizations (including certain Christian broadcasters, evangelical radio stations, the National Association of Evangelicals, various 501c3’s, and even some churches) who raise money for “ministry” and then all they ever talk about are political issues and headline news, while rarely (if ever) mentioning the gospel.
  • I object to the fact that when the average unbeliever today hears the word evangelical, he thinks of a voting bloc rather than anything spiritual.
  • I object to the fact that most evangelicals are overwhelmingly on the same page politically, but their movement is doctrinally so diverse that they can’t even agree what the gospel is.
  • I object to the fact that the average evangelical could not give a coherent, biblically sound summary of the gospel or a theologically accurate explanation of justification by faith—but they are more worried about an Obama presidency than they are about the disintegration of their own testimony.

Phil’s boss, John MacArthur, has an extensive study at his web site about Christians and government and, while I haven’t read it all, it seems to agree that it’s not a primary mission of ours to engage in politics. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

March 15, 2010 at 4:48 am

Did Christ finish His work?

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I found this while perusing Bible.org this morning. It’s worth sharing.

How dangerous it is to join anything of our own to the righteousness of Christ, in pursuit of justification before God! Jesus Christ will never endure this; it reflects upon His work dishonorably. He will be all, or none, in our justification. If He has finished the work, what need is there of our additions? And if not, to what purpose are they? Can we finish that which Christ Himself could not complete? Did He finish the work, and will He ever divide the glory and praise of it with us? No, no; Christ is no half-Savior.

It is a hard thing to bring proud hearts to rest upon Christ for righteousness. God humbles the proud by calling sinners wholly from their own righteousness to Christ for their justification.

– John Flavel

Source unknown

It is a hard thing to bring proud hearts to rest upon Christ alone for righteousness. As a former Catholic I can attest to that Church’s faithful having nothing to cement their hope in. You are saved, but upon the act of any sin you are lost. You restore your salvation only to repeat the process. Where is the hope that Christ died for your sins and that you are redeemed? For if your salvation is shipwrecked with every sin then you have no hope. The best you have to cling to is a crapshoot of faith.

It is not Catholicism alone* that has a practice of adding man’s works to Christ’s as part of salvation. Plenty of other Churches do so as well, it’s just that I’m familiar with the Catholic Church because I was part of it. Christians speak of liberty, redemption, trust and such, but if you allow your pride to attach your works to those of the Almighty then you have no liberty or redemption and your trust is as much in yourself as it is in Christ. Think about that.

Jesus had to die in order to atone for our sins because we were incapable of doing it ourselves. Had we been able to redeem ourselves then millions would have been saved through the Law of Moses. Yet Paul teaches us that this did not happen

17But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,

18and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,

19and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

20a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,

21you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?

22You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

23You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?

24For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written. {Romans 2:17-24}

19Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;

20because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. {Romans 3:19-20}

* It’s been my experience that the majority of Catholics I know don’t necessarily agree with all of their church’s teachings, nor do they practice them. My disagreements with Catholicism are doctrinal, and thus with the institution of the Catholic Church, not with Catholics themselves.

Written by Shawn

May 20, 2006 at 2:12 pm

All Dead, All Dead

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I still enjoy secular music, even harder rock. However, my all-time favorite band (who could rock hard when they wanted to) is Queen. I try to be careful about what secular songs I listen to. For instance, Queen's "Get Down, Make Love" is off limits, so too Joan Jett's catchy "Do You Wanna' Touch Me". The lyrics of those songs make them something a good Christian boy shouldn't be listening to.

Sometimes, however, you find secular song lyrics that inspire a good Christian thinking session. On my way to work yesterday I decided to get nostaligic with some older Queen, so I popped "News of the World" into the CD player. I hadn't listened to some of those songs in quite some time, including the song "All Dead, All Dead". It's a song about two young lovers. The female dies and the male is left to struggle with the memories and what could have been. Sample lyrics:

All dead all dead
All the dreams we had
And I wonder why I still live on
All dead, all dead
And alone I'm spared
My sweeter half instead
All dead, and gone

While listening to this song yesterday I was struck by what comes near the end of the song. I'd forgotten all the lyrics, so while I was reminded of them as I listened, I don't know that I ever truly grasped this part of the song, and how I can relate to it as a Christian (though it was probably not written in that spirit):

All dead, all dead
But I should not grieve
In time it comes to ev'ryone
All dead, all dead
But in hope I breathe
Of course I don't believe
You're dead, and gone
All dead, and gone

As Christians we believe in the resurrection of Christ, and so too that because we possess faith in Him we will also be resurrected. Thus Paul asks, "O death, where is thy sting?" Christ conquered death and damnation for all who believe in faith in Him. Of course we grieve the loss of others, even when we know they believed in Jesus Christ and so were saved. We know they are better off, but we still hurt. However, as the lyrics above say, it is in hope that we breathe. Our hope is part of our faith; we trust and hope in the promises of God. Also as in the lyrics above, when a believer dies we don't believe they are truly dead. After all, we trust in God to be true to His word, and He has promised that all those who believe in Him are saved and will be resurrected to be with Him forever. '

If you trust in Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that He is God the Son who died to pay atonement for your sins, and that He was resurrected and lives, you shall be saved. In time, death does indeed come to everyone, but we who live by faith know that while those who belong to Christ may die, they are not all dead and gone. In hope we breathe, in God we trust and in Christ we believe.

Written by Shawn

May 15, 2006 at 4:01 pm

Scientology’s “Super Power”

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I found this story this morning: Scientology nearly ready to unveil Super Power.

While I do not know all of the specifics of Seientology's beliefs I know enough to wonder how anyone, even a flake, could fall for this so-called religion. Scientologists believe that mankind came here from some other planet eons on spaceships. In other words, we are ourselves aliens. We were sent away by the millions from wherever it was we lived, which was run by an evil ruler called Xenu. They believe that this Xenu murdered millions or billions and the souls of those killed sort of invade us and cause us to have psycological and emotional problems. Scientology has a plan for that soul invasion: auditing, the process of cleansing the bad from the person. Oh, and Xenu is still desiring to murder us, although he's not on earth, so we have that to worry about as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

May 7, 2006 at 12:11 pm

Misc. Church stuff

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Gee, it's been over a month since I posted here. I've become slothful.

My Church has been without a pastor for several months. It has been a time which tries men's souls. Okay, that's overly dramatic, but it's sort of revealed our mettle as a Church, and I have not liked all that I've seen. I finally called someone who holds a position in our Church that would make him familiar with the inner matters going on. I know I could trust him to give me straight answers and he did so. I have to say I'm confused and frustrated by what some folks have done and are still doing. So, here is a compilation of various things, not all of which my Church is dealing with. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

April 24, 2006 at 1:49 pm