Category Archives: Christian – misc.

What about the Crusades?! And the Inquisition?! Etc.?!

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When people try to dismiss Christianity or belief in God by asking, “What about the Crusades?!” (or some other bad thing), this is my first reaction:

  1. You don’t judge an ideology by those who violate its tenets.
  2. I make it a habit not to apologize for things that a) happened 1,000 years ago and b) I didn’t do.
  3. If there is no God then there is no moral grounding to criticize the Crusades or anything else.
  4. None of those things disprove the central claims of Christianity, such as the physical resurrection of Jesus, his divinity, etc.

Many critics try to use issues such as the Crusades, the Inquisition or just run of the mill hypocrisy as trump cards against Christianity. If people did the opposite of what the Bible teaches then at worst they were not Christians and at best they were, at least temporarily, bad ambassadors for Christ.  Those issues are serious, of course, but they have zero impact on whether the Bible is true and whether Jesus is the the only way to forgiveness of your sins, reconciliation with God and to eternal life.

The same goes for other religions and worldviews: We need to understand what they really teach to judge them properly.

Another possible response is to say that you’ll take responsibility for the thousands of people killed by “Christians” provided that the atheists take responsibility for the one-hundred million plus killed by Lenin, Mao Tse-Tung, Pol Pot and others.  The Salem Witch trials killed 18 people.  The Inquisition killed about 2,000.  That is 2,018 too many, to be sure, but keep in mind two things: The perpetrators did the opposite of what Jesus commanded and 2,018 murders was a slow afternoon for atheists like Stalin and Mao. And keep in mind that the Crusades were not what you see in the pro-Muslim politically correct version you hear about today.  They were largely a defensive maneuver.  Here are 4 myths about them:

  • Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.
  • Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.
  • Myth #3: Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.
  • Myth #4: The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.

Also, if someone wants to claim that Christianity isn’t true because of bad things done in Jesus’ name, then they would need to concede that the vast number of good things done in his name would be evidence for Christianity.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we should gloss over bad things done in Jesus’ name.  Those are serious issues and an embarrassment to Christianity.  We can respond to them and use them to express Biblical truths.

Was the Inquisition wrong?  Of course!  It is completely un-Biblical to think you can or should force someone to believe something.  When the rich young ruler walked away sadly after being told he must give up everything to follow Jesus (Matthew 19), Jesus didn’t run and tackle him.  He didn’t even offer to negotiate and take half.   The text says that Jesus loved the young man, but He didn’t force him to believe.  You come to him on his terms or not at all.

Mainline Christian denominations have caved on important Biblical concepts regarding sexuality – easy divorce, promiscuity, abortion and various perversions.  These false teachers abandoned essentials of the faith such as the deity, exclusivity and sufficiency of Christ as well.  They have grossly misinterpreted the Bible, but that doesn’t mean Christianity isn’t true.  It means people have drifted from or abandoned Biblical teachings.  Ideally, people wouldn’t judge Christianity based on what those people do and say.

Some “Christians” abused scriptures to justify slavery (maybe they were really Christians, and maybe not . . . that was between them and God).  But what critics typically forget is that Christians who properly interpreted scriptures, such as heroes like William Wilberforce, were the ones who helped end that type of slavery.

Yes, self-proclaimed Christians have done many bad things.  But what is the answer – that Christianity is false?  Of course not.  The answer is more Christianity, or more specifically, more authentic Christianity.

Biblical illiteracy is part of the problem.  The more people know about what the Bible really says, the more quickly they can stop heretical movements.

Are bad actions done in the name of Christ a problem for Christianity even if the perpetrators may not have been true Christians and the acts were un-Biblical?  In a moral sense, no.  Again, you don’t judge an ideology based on the actions of those who violate its tenets.

But in a practical sense it is a problem for Christianity, because these issues can be a stumbling block for non-believers.  We need to be sensitive to those who were wounded by Christians (real and fake) and be prepared to explain the truth in love.

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“Redeemed From The Pit”

I’ve been reading the blog Musings from a Theo-Geek by Marie for a long time and wanted to make readers aware of her new book.  If you have any interest in the topic of eating disorders and overcoming spiritual bondage then I encourage you to look into it.

Side note: I don’t have the stats in front of me, but my daughter mentioned that when TV comes into a culture that eating disorders increase dramatically and quickly.

Calvary Press is releasing “Redeemed from the Pit: Biblical Repentance and Restoration from the Bondage of Eating Disorders” . . .

From the publisher’s website, here is the description and Martha Peace’s Foreword:

NEW! Check out our eBooks for download!

HAVE YOU FALLEN INTO THE PIT?

HERE’S HOPE!

REDEEMED FROM THE PIT

by Marie Notcheva

• Up to 3% of ALL adolescents in the United States have

symptoms of bulimia.

• 5-15% of ALL adult women show the same signs.

Are you one (or do you know someone) of the literally thousands who suffer from an eating disorder, most likely bulimia? Do you see yourself as fat and unattractive? Do you feel as though you don’t “fit in” and suffer from periods of deep depression? Has binging on food and then purging become a daily part of your routine?

HERE IS HOPE!

Drawing from her own experiences with the disorder, author Marie Notcheva shows you how to overcome this life-destroying habit. No, not by some contrived “self help” system—but by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ! Notcheva believes that the person suffering from an eating disorder is not a victim of a “disease”; it is not something that has befallen them or has been thrust upon them. Rather, the bulimic became so by a series of choices. They chose to feel a certain way about themselves. They chose to start on a path of behavior that leads to a destructive habit.

Likewise, those suffering from bulimia can start making correct choices. They can make the choice to believe that their behavior is sin, not a disease. They can believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and that by trusting in the sacrifice of Christ for sinners, they can have new life—and that they can have victory, not only over bulimia, but over the greatest threat of all: eternal destruction.

This book may indeed prove to be a “life saver” to many. It will certainly give tremendous hope to all who read it.

FOREWARD BY MARTHA PEACE

Since Mother Eve fell into sin, almost all women, Christians or not, have desired to be beautiful. Different cultures, over time, have defined beautiful in different ways. Remember the bee-hive hairdos of the 1960’s? Ancient Roman women thought that beautiful, too! Well, the bee-hive went out and thin came in.

Today, we are greatly influenced by the media to think that the only truly beautiful women are thin; very thin. We want to look like the movie stars, news anchors, and models that are almost always super-slim. I once heard about a movie star who on a very long air flight refused all the meals. On occasion, however, she would become so hungry she would insist on something to eat, eat two bites, and refuse the rest. She was thin and she was beautiful, but I wonder if her almost-starvation diet was worth it in the long run. She struggles with anorexia. Another may not starve herself; in fact, she may often be gluttonous, but maintains her weight by throwing up after the meal. Sometimes her compulsion is repeated several times per day. She struggles with bulimia.

It was forty-plus years ago in nursing school that I learned about eating disorders. As I recall, it was the first time I knew that eating disorders existed. Both were said to be psychiatric diseases and both, especially anorexia, were difficult to treat. What must have been rare back in the 1960’s is now, for many, a common practice. The quest for beauty which likely began with Mother Eve has not gone away. It is still labeled a psychiatric disease and anyone struggling with an eating disorder knows what Marie Notcheva means about being in the “pit” and “in bondage.”

Redeemed from the Pit: Biblical Repentance and Restoration from the Bondage of Eating Disorders is a gift from God to those struggling and to those helping someone struggling with an eating disorder. This book maintains a high view of God and an accurate view of man. It is written in an engaging style and entwined within it is Notcheva’s own personal struggle and how God granted her repentance and real freedom. As a biblical counselor to women, I am looking forward to using this book to help others. Read it prayerfully and thoughtfully. You, too, can, by God’s grace, be truly redeemed from the pit!

Martha Peace Biblical Counselor and Author of The Excellent Wife

Price: $21.99

ISBN: 978-1-879737-78-5

 

Good news about the National Council of (apostate) Churches

Time for some sweet, sweet schadenfreude: By good news about the NCC I mean bad news for them: NCC Nears Financial Collapse?

The once influential National Council of Churches (NCC) may again be approaching possible financial collapse.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop told the NCC’s September board meeting: “We have 18 months sustainability.” All voting NCC board members were scrambling for “immediate sustainability,” mostly behind closed doors as they discussed the NCC’s audit and budget. Further highlighting the crisis was an interruption of the meeting by placard waving union employees distressed over benefit cuts to NCC staffers.

That is great: Union employees — which the NCC no doubt supports — are interrupting them when they are trying to survive.  Maybe the NCC will realize that the unions would rather the NCC fold than cut benefits to union employees, and that the union demands are part of the reason they are failing.  No, they probably won’t get it.

. . .

NCC member denominations, many of them losing members, like the United Methodists and Presbyterian Church (USA), continue to reduce their contributions. For instance, the UMC reduced from giving $543,265 last year to offering $ 442,404 this year. Some members like the Greek Orthodox Church and historic black denominations continue to give nothing or token amounts. The Orthodox Church in America, for example, contributed a mere $1,000 to the ECF Fund. Now, private donors are reducing contributions too.

Maybe it will occur to them that if their donors are having to make big cuts that perhaps they also don’t have more money to pay in taxes.  No, they probably won’t get that, either.  They’ll keep pushing Caesar to confiscate money from neighbor A to “give” to neighbor B.

 . . . Trimming staff is proving to be one of the most painful experiences for the ecumenical movement.

Welcome to the real world, folks!  Businesses make tough decisions like that all the time.

Eventually, some important information rose to the surface as NCC President Rev. Peg Chemberlin and Women’s Ministry director Rev. Ann Tiemeyer both mentioned losing a million-dollar donor. Since last year’s budget was around $4 million, this cut is quite significant. Even the Aetna Corporation’s starter grant of $25,000 offered little encouragement.

Yes, even though the NCC is mainly politics disguised as religion so that false teachers like Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie can quote them as authorities, they get contributions from non-religious groups as well.  The NCC hides that information, of course.  That reminds me of how deceptive  Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis was in denying the large contributions to Sojourner made by atheist George Soros.  Why do these atheists care to prop up these leftist “religious” organizations?

At one point, the board broke up into small table groups to propose solutions to these besetting toils. One table, headed up by Bishop Mark Hanson and United Methodism’s Betty Gamble, even recommended the NCC take a “jubilee.” Under this plan, the NCC would withdraw from public activities and focus on fundraising. Many delegates pointed out that such a recess would negate any reasons for donors to contribute.

Please stop and  meditate on that.  These leaders, who probably have zero business experience, thought they should stop fulfilling their charter so they can spend a year asking for more money?!  Can you imagine a business doing that?  “Dear customer: I’ve run my organization into the ground, so please send me money for a year while I stop providing goods and services to you.”

Accentuating the tension was an interruption by the NCC staffers’ union, the Association of Ecumenical Employees, which marched into the board meeting waving placards. Ironically, the pro-union NCC has been trying to reduce retirees’ health benefits with its own union. It seems that contract negotiations have lasted nearly eight months, prompting distressed unionists to conduct their silent interruption, after which they quietly marched out.

I love it.

Amid the troubled finances, both Kinnamon and Hanson advocated the NCC rediscover its theological identity. As NCC President-elect Kathryn Lohre suggested, “It would be wise to see if we’re going through some kind of purification for the greater good.” But there were no talks about sin and salvation. Instead, most voices emphasized traditional NCC liberal political themes. Staffer Jordan Blevins, for instance, led a peace litany that read, “We pray our children pursue peace-vocations.” Also, a Children’s Defense Fund’s representative met agreement when she urged members to “make sure the rich and powerful contribute their fair share.”

It wouldn’t be an NCC meeting without a healthy dose of coveting and zero mention of sin and salvation!

In similar turn, female board members touted feminist activism while minority voices emphasized affirmative action.

Feminist activism = the right to destroy innocent yet unwanted human beings.  And this group claims to be Christian.

Kinnamon and Hanson want the NCC to focus on poverty issues (i.e. mostly touting government programs) for the moment. Hanson observed; “You can talk abstractly about ecumenism or you can join with those causes that are furthering the kingdom of God now” like Sojourners and the “Circle of Protection” protest against government welfare and entitlement spending limits. Kinnamon went on to say that the “Circle” is “not a matter on which we can be divided or silent.” At the conclusion of the frayed and frustrated gathering, a Quaker representative exclaimed: “Some new thing was trying to birth among us today…the new fire is not just for the young people. It’s among us and it just needs to be captured.”

They oppose corporate welfare?  Like what Obama gives GM, GE, Solyndra and so many others as political paybacks?

As senior NCC officials try to rally around traditional liberal political causes, many traditional Christians may ask what is so unique about such stances. If only offering a narrow set of political and economic policies, the NCC is merely slapping religious terms on liberal initiatives. Would the NCC’s removal from America’s religious landscape have any major consequence?

Short answer: No.

Jesus died for this?

I was getting a lot of traffic for this 2007 post so I thought I’d re-run it.

—–

In an episode from The Simpsons where Homer sues the church, Marge tries to discourage him by saying that he’ll be made fun of in the church bulletin. Then Homer shows her that they already are making fun of him.

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This was just a little gag in the episode, of course. But the world could plug a picture of any of us at our worst possible moment into that bulletin and ask incredulously, “Jesus died for this?”

It points to a grand and shocking truth: Yes, Jesus did die for this – for slobs who fall asleep in church, and for those who sin countless times in countless ways (i.e., you and me). Satan wants you to believe that you are beyond hope and unforgivable, but that is a lie. (He’ll be just as glad if you believe the opposite lie — that you are just swell and good enough for God on your own without Jesus.)

2 Corinthians 5:15-17 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

The world can’t handle that truth. It constantly tells you that you have to earn your way back to God with your good deeds. But that is futile. No amount of good deeds can bridge that gap. But there is good news:

Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8 and 10:9: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Yes, Jesus died for “this” — the sinners. God adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus. Jesus is the only way to salvation.

Free eBook for those battling bipolar

Courtesy of Pistol Pete — Free E-Book Still Available « Necessary Therapy.:

It’s called From Sheol to the Highest Heavens: 101 Devotions for those with Bipolar Disorder (and those who love them).  It is a spiritual journey through my 20+ years battling Bipolar with Christ on my side (yet sometimes my working against Him).  You can get your free copy by sending an e-mail request to nikita1940@comcast.net and write in the subject line, “free e-book”.

The tomb is still empty

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Spoiler alert: The text at the bottom gives away the ending of the Gospels.

My favorite part of The Passion of the Christ movie was the understated scene where Jesus is sitting in the tomb on Easter morning and then He just stands up.  That’s it.  No humans saw him get up, though angels may have.

The resurrection is the greatest and most central event in human history.  Good Friday is when Jesus died for our sins, but the resurrection conquered sin and death for all time for those who trust in Jesus.   Everyone spends eternity somewhere.  Trust in Jesus and you have hope in this life and an eternity in Heaven.  Don’t trust in Jesus and you have neither.

Bonus link: Ten resources to help you defend the resurrection of Jesus as history.  Yes, He really died and rose again, He is really God and He is really the only way to salvation.

He is risen!

John 20:1-18 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Planned Parenthood busted again–how much more information do people need?

See Breaking, Video: Planned Parenthood caught aiding and abetting underage sex trafficking – Jill Stanek.  Watch this video of the “pimp,” “prostitute” and Planned Parenthood Office Manager and ask yourself why they aren’t shut down and why your tax dollars support them.  Then ask yourself why the mainstream media will suppress this story just like they are doing with the Dr. Gosnell atrocities.  (Go see how many stories you find on him versus the murder of “Doctor” Tiller.)

This is pure evil, and I mean that without hyperbole..

The most bizarre thing is how casual the Planned Parenthood office manager is.

  • She reflexively coaches the “pimp” on how to keep the girls working even after the abortions (“waist up”).
  • She is practiced at coaching them to lie about their ages.
  • She laughs and steers the younger girls to abortion clinics with even lower standards.
  • She mocks parents who would want to know that their underage daughters are having abortions.
  • She never flinches that this pimp is bringing in underage 14-15 year olds who came from other countries illegally and don’t speak English — i.e., sex slaves.
  • And more!

As Jill Stanek noted, here are a few of the laws they appear to have broken or manipulated:

1. Sexual Abuse Cover up
2. Aiding and abetting statutory rape
3. Aiding and abetting minor prositution
4. Aiding and abetting human trafficking
5. RICO/conspiracy/racketeering

Aren’t you glad they get $300 million from taxpayers each year?  Will the Republican House finally be the ones to expose them?  Will U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder actually investigate them?

Theological Liberals continue to support Planned Parenthood, even though they:

This is one of the most vile and creepy organizations on the planet, yet theological Liberals bless them and insist that Jesus supports their efforts.  Verses about millstones, “woe to those who call evil good and good evil” and “I never knew you” come to mind.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers obey the law and report statutory rape.  Planned Parenthood deliberately hides it.

As noted at RedState:

The exploitative roots and track record of Planned Parenthood is a largely untold story that can no longer be ignored. The horror of the logic behind Planned Parenthood’s founding has come to roost in this modern form: it is the primary partner of those who degrade and exploit women.

The exploitation of women by men through abortion was vehemently rejected by the early feminists. Yet today’s footage and the unbroken trail of like evidence is a natural extension of founder eugenicist Margaret Sanger’s worldview, who saw vulnerable citizens like African-Americans, the poor, and immigrants as “human weeds” and “reckless breeders.”

She believed “the most merciful thing a large family does to one of its infants is to kill it.”

P.S. I do agree with one of Planned Parenthood’s views: “An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun” At least that was their view in this 1964 advertisement. Did they learn anything about science in the few years after that when they changed their minds? Of course not. Science couldn’t be more clear: A new human being is created at conception.