Two Talents

Faith-based expressions of a Christian.

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.

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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

Contradictory gospels?

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I really like NPR, but I recognize that it is a wholly secular endeavor. Take, for instance, this story about apparent contradictions in the biblical gospels.

“In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is not interested in teaching about himself. But when you read John’s Gospel, that’s virtually the only thing Jesus talks about is who he is, what his identity is, where he came from,” Ehrman says. “This is completely unlike anything that you find in Mark or in Matthew and Luke. And historically it creates all sorts of problems, because if the historical Jesus actually went around saying that he was God, it’s very hard to believe that Matthew, Mark and Luke left out that part — you know, as if that part wasn’t important to mention. But in fact, they don’t mention it. And so this view of the divinity of Jesus on his own lips is found only in our latest Gospel, the Gospel of John.”

This from the lips of a man who has attended both the Moody Bible Institute and Princeton Theological Seminary. One may not be like the other in the case of those two institutions, but irregardless of where you obtain your education if you cannot see Jesus claiming divinity in Matthew, Mark and Luke you are blind; spiritually and almost literally. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

March 15, 2010 at 2:04 am

Worth reading

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Dan Phillips and Phil Johnson have responded to their atheist atagonists at the Pyromaniacs blog. You can read Phillips’ entry here and Johnson’s follow-up here. As is the custom with thier work, both are well done and, in my view, worth reading.

Written by Shawn

March 13, 2010 at 8:44 pm

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The woman caught in the act of adultery

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Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” {John 8:2-11 ESV}

It’s a familiar story for anyone who has become familiar with the gospels. A mere 9 verses, yet there is so much to be gleaned from it. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

March 13, 2010 at 6:15 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