Friday, April 28, 2017

Is it Biblical to judge a culture or traditon?

Some ask is it Biblical to criticize another persons culture or traditions during apologetics or polemics?

Yes it is within Biblical boundaries, it fits inside the Christian apologetics blueprint:

1 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV)
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

The common position to day is the Secular Humanist idea of cultural egalitarianism which means that all societies cultures and traditions are of equal value.

I do not see this taught anywhere in the Bible.
  • The Bible affirms the equal value of human beings (Genesis 1:27)
  • But through out the Bible human cultures and traditions are criticized.

For example the Bible criticizes:
 The pre-flood culture.
The culture surrounding the Tower of Babel.
The nations Abraham lived among.
The major cultures of world history: The Egypt, Babylonians, Assyrians, the Greeks the Romans.
The whole entire world system 
And more.

Now what about the good Samaritan or Jesus command not to judge?
Jesus commended and held the good Samaritan up as an example of a heathen who obeyed the spirit of the law unlike many of the Jews, but Jesus never endorsed Samaritan culture or traditions. As far has judgment Jesus forbid unjust judgment not all judgment, just judgment is obligatory (John 7:24). 

Look at the narration of the Samaritan woman by the well, not only did Jesus confront this woman on a personal level he made the following statement about the Samaritans traditions:
  • The woman said to him " Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship"
  • Jesus answered her "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews."

If you read and study that whole chapter you will see Jesus uses evangelism, apologetics and polemics when speaking to the woman at the well.
  • He does not shy away from calling her sin...sin.
  • And he even says the Samaritans worship was wrong compared to the Jews.
  • Yet he remains a perfect gentleman and he never needlessly tries to insult her.
  • He applies a correct just judgment of the Samaritan tradition so this doesn't violate he's command to not unjustly judge in Matthew 7:1-6
  • And He offers her hope and good news, which is the point of apologetics and polemics to open the door for the Gospel. 

The dividing line between polemics that brings glory to God and pointless judgmental meanness is who gets the glory? 

If I get the glory people see me as smart, quick witted, that I crushed my debate appointed then I was motivated by Satan and my flesh. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The difference between worshipping in Spirit and worshipping under Sharia law

The main difference between worshiping in Spirit and truth and life under Sharia law.

My life as a Muslim was marked by constant worry. I worried about what was the correct jurisprudence ruling on all the various rituals I did. This was the path I prayed 17 times a day to be on. Every ritual was a chance to earn a reward that would be put on the scale or meezan on the day of judgment. This was vitally important because the number of rewards I had would determine my salvation and rewards in Islamic heaven(Jannah). I never felt any connection to God, God certainly was not like a father to me that would be way too personal and intimate. For me, God was a being who I had to work hard for every day so he would not burn me in the fire. I did not look forward to spending an eternity in God's presence or worshiping him with the angels. Eternity for me was what Muhammad had described, lush green carpets, pure wine, and virgins.

It was not until that day on December 11th, 2010 that the Spirit of the True and Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob called me out of the darkness of Islam into the light of Jesus Christ. In a moment like when Christ called Lazarus name and he awoke from death, the Lord called me and the scales fell from my eyes and the veil was lifted off my stone hard heart. God changed the condition of my heart, he removed the stones and thorns that blocked and choked the Word of God from entering past my ears and going into my heart and taking root and producing fruit. Before this he had convicted me of my sinful state, I knew after years of salat, years of fasting, years of reciting Quran, years of listening to lecture from Imams God was still a million miles away and I was still a sinner.

John 14:15 (ESV) 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 14:21 (ESV) 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

John 3:3 (ESV) Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he 
cannot see the kingdom of God.”

When you are born again and you have been given Eternal life, and you have the ability to Love God. Real love is not mere emotions and deep feelings, real love is wanting the best for the one you love. Any supposed love that is based on getting something out of God or avoiding God's wrath is not real love, the objective is humanistic it's not about giving God glory it's about yourself! And that's what every man-made religion is about gaining something from God for self's sake. That's not spirituality that's carnality masquerading as religion.

James 2:19 (ESV) 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

Matthew 6:5 (ESV) “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Matthew 6:16 (ESV) 16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Hosea 7:14
(ESV) 14  They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds;

for grain and wine they gash themselves; they rebel against me.

Friday, April 14, 2017

God Died on the Cross

God Died on the Cross
by Fred Sanders on  
In the days leading up to Good Friday, I’m going to post a few theological answers to questions I get every year around this time. The answers will be unblushingly doctrinal, so prepare to put your thinking caps on. 
This little series isn’t mainly about getting the theology right for its own sake (though I’m strongly inclined to do that, because who wants to get the theology wrong?). It’s mainly to clear a few theological questions out of the way before the Good-Friday-to-Easter church sequence arrives.
My dream is that we could think hard about theology online during the first part of the week, and then have our thoughts in order before we experience the annual remembrance of the death and resurrection of Christ in the last part of the week in church. These posts are intended to clear away some theological confusions that might prevent intelligent participation in the life of the church. 
The first one is what it means to say that God died on the cross. My answer is an excerpt from a book I edited about ten  years ago: ...

Click HERE to finish