Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Gospel

Up until this point in all of my posts I have discussed controversial topics in the Christian church, but in my final post I hope to focus on one thing that the Body of Christ can agree on, and that is the Gospel.

Titus 2:11-14
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Titus 3:4-7But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for you. He died to bring you salvation. He made himself uncomfortable, so that you can be comfortable for eternity. If you are a Christian you have heard this more times than you can count, and if you're a non-Christian I'm sure that your skull has been bashed in by many well-meaning, but rather untactful, Christians with verses like John 3:16 a multitude of times.

If you are a Christian, then I have one warning for you. The gospel is not the abc's of Christianity. No, it is the a-z's. Everything hinges upon Jesus Christ and his death burial and resurrection. All of the theology that I have discussed up until this point mean absolutely nothing if Christ was not raised from the dead. The importance of modesty, the Holy Spirit, judgment and predestination are only found in light of the gospel, and it is under that light that they must be seen. Do not raise the importance of what you believe about any of those things to the level of the gospel, because it is only in the gospel's light that they have any value or precedence.

If you are not a Christian I do not ask anything from you, only God can. I do not believe in my wildest imaginations that any weak and whimsical words I may write could change your mind. I do not believe that you will be persuaded to believe in God because someone tries to warn you with fire and brimstone.

What I want you to realize though, is that while you may not believe in God, something or someone is the object of your worship. Whatever it is you worship, whether it be money, a significant other or sex, they will let you down. There is only one person in existence that truly deserves your worship, and he died for you. He died so that you would see the false idols that you cling to for what they really are, and that you would desire the living God.

Has God changed your life through the gospel? Feel free to share your thoughts or testimonies in the comments below.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Do It Alone

Psi Epsilon Samurai Picture
The men of Psi Epsilon, an Oklahoma Christian University social service club, are entering a new era in the life of their brotherhood. The 2013-2014 school year will mark the club’s first time to not have an original charter member on their club roster. Dwayne Wiseman, the president of Psi Epsilon, spoke about his thoughts on the upcoming year.
 “I’m really excited about this upcoming semester. I really loved the charter members, but I am excited to take Psi to a whole ‘nother level,” he said

Pushing Forward

            In 2008, when Psi became an official club, there were very low expectations. In recent years, Psi has become a consistent staple in Spring Sing, and has thrived in sports such as volleyball and soccer. Although the club has experienced a moderate amount of success in such a relatively short amount of time, the disrespect has not completely dissipated, and Vice President John Frias spoke about this issue.
 “I think that we have come a long way as a club in the five years that we have been around, but there is still so much more that we want to accomplish. I’m not content with just coming in third or fourth place for the major sports and Spring Sing. No, at the end of the day, I want to be holding the trophy for everything that Psi competes in. I don’t think that [winning] is something that the original members of Psi put much emphasis on, but that is slowly changing over time.”

A Club United

            In the five short years that Psi has been a club, amazing change has taken place, and that change is only going to continually grow as the club advances further and further away from the original members. In the past, Psi has been seen as a club that was not very involved. The charter members liked it that way, but things have begun to change.
“I think that the founding members of Psi had a lot of hesitancies about enforcing mandatory involvement because of experiences that they had when interacting with other clubs. That hesitancy seems to have created a culture that lacks involvement, let alone promotes it, and that is one thing we are hoping to change,” said Mitch Auferio, the activities director of Psi.
            The first thing that the new government of Psi sought to do was end the cycle of complacency. They passed numerous new constitutional amendments that enforce involvement in the way of attending rush events, homecoming and sporting activities, while still seeking to stick to their laidback roots.

A Bright Future

            The future of Psi is looking bright, and this new regime is hoping to make the 2013-2014 year the most successful in its short, but decorated history. This year they will have to seek out their success without any guidance from their founding members, but they believe it is a challenge that they are ready for.

 “I think that the expectations are high for us this year, but I think that we will be able to meet them. Bring it on,” said Wiseman.

*** This post was added for an online course I am taking. That is the reason this post stands out in such stark contrast with my other posts, and why it is not on a biblical topic.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Disputable Matters and Judgment

Romans 14 and 15

In chapters 14 and 15 of Romans, Paul discusses the disputable matters that the early church experienced. It is in these chapters that Christians can find their basis of handling disputes within the church.

In chapter 14, Paul talks about meat, a common controversy between Gentiles and Jews in the early church, and comes to an amazing conclusion. Paul teaches us that it is not being right or wrong about a matter of unimportance that makes one justified in God's eyes, rather it is how we handle those beliefs in regard to other Christians. You can be right on an issue, but be wrong in God's eyes.

We are taught that it is right that all meat is clean in the sight of God. Because of this, it is clear that those who think that eating meat is wrong or immoral are the ones actually in the wrong, but that is not what is important to God. Paul teaches that God does not care whether you eat or don't eat meat, as long as you do not go against the conscience that God gave you, rather that you sin when you pass judgment on one who believes and acts differently than you.

When one abstains from eating meat and passes judgment on a brother or sister that eats meat, then that believer is in sin. Likewise, the one who eats meat falls into sin when he judges the brother that abstains as ignorant, or lacking knowledge of God.

After completely fleshing out both aspects of this debate, Paul makes an extremely important statement near the end of chapter 14 and the beginning of chapter 15:

Romans 14:17-19 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Romans 15:5-7 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

The crux of Paul's assertion is that as Christians, it is perfectly fine to disagree, but he maintains that once these disagreements proceed to judgments, they become sinful. Finally, we see that Paul commands us that even amidst all of these disagreements that we find unity in Christ.

There are plenty of things that have caused massive schisms in the church today due to biblical silence. Whether our disagreements be about instruments, artwork in the church or how communion is performed, it does not matter. None of these things are specifically ordained in scripture, and thus it is perfectly fine to disagree. What matters is that we find our unity in Christ, and that Jesus and His gospel supersede all arguments.

Do you agree or disagree with the assertions I have made? Feel free to comment below, and let me know!

Friday, July 5, 2013


Romans 9:19-24

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”
 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patiencevessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

Among Christians, predestination has always been a hot topic. On one side there are many people that would argue that there is no such thing as free will, and that those who are predestined will go to heaven no matter what they do in this life.

On the other side of the issue there are those who assert that coming to faith is a choice, and that God does not choose who goes to heaven whatsoever. Discussion of this topic has been the focus of conversation between Calvinists and Southern Baptists in recent weeks, so I hope I can shed a little light on this controversial issue.

Throughout the Scriptures, no one comes to faith, or follows Jesus for that matter, without God first calling them. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 12:3 we are told that no one can even declare that Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit. The problem this presents for those who solely believe in free will is that the Holy Spirit is a gift given from God, just like faith. Thus, if you believe in God it is because God himself has given you the faith to do so.

While it is clear from Scripture that predestination is true to a degree, it does not make free will any less Scriptural either. Every single person on this earth has free will, and every single time we all choose to sin. No one chooses God, unless God actively intervenes in their life.

Why then does God give faith to some and not to others? I don't have an answer, and the only answer I have found in Scripture is the one posted above from Romans 9. We are God's creation, and he can do whatever he wants with us. Who are we to put the God of the universe on trial.

Do you agree, disagree, or have any ideas why God only gives faith to some? Post a comment below and share your thoughts!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Matthew 5: 27-30:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (ESV)

In the summer, modesty is quite literally a hot issue. Add the recent video circulating the web from Jessica Rey about the evolution of the swimsuit, and it has begun to seem like we're at an outdoor wedding in Houston, Texas during the month of July. 

The crux of Jessica Rey's argument is that modesty is an unchanging standard to which Christian women are to be held. She believes that men view women as objects when they encounter them in such attire, and that women in bikinis have low self-esteem. I have seen many responses to this topic, but none of them from a man, so I thought I would try and speak on this from a Christian man's perspective.

The biggest argument that I have heard in favor of modesty is that it is done in order to prevent men from lusting after them. This assertion is not based on Scripture. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about lust, and his point was quite clear: lust is something that the object of its affections cannot control. That is why Jesus didn't demand that women in the crowd who were being lusted after to put on more clothes. Lust is a heart problem, and you can't solve a deep Spiritual issue with surface-level solutions. Put a woman in a burqa, and a man that struggles with lust will find a way to lust after her.

In the early church, men and women would be baptized naked in front of the congregation. There was not anyone worrying that they might cause someone to stumble because they realized that men and women were responsible for their own hearts.

1 Timothy 2:8-10

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. (ESV)

It can be seen in this scripture from 1 Timothy that Paul is not arguing for modesty in order to prevent his Christian brothers from lusting. He is telling the women to be modest in order that their focus would not be on material objects, but rather the Spirit of God.

It is clear from Scripture that modesty and lust were never meant to be connected, but rather, that they are two separate commands ordained for two separate purposes. The man who lusts is held responsible for his actions regardless of whether or not a woman is naked or fully clothed. The solution lies in God changing a man's heart, not a woman changing her clothes.

Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (ESV)

Over the past year, I have repeatedly heard this Scripture used to argue that the miraculous spiritual gifts no longer exist, and I am here to argue that in light of Scripture, that belief is both wrong contextually, and it is also sinful in nature. Let me tell you why:

1. If the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit have passed away, we are damned. Is the ability to love your enemy not just as miraculous as speaking in tongues? Is being given faith in a God you cannot see any less miraculous than speaking a word of encouragement with the gift of prophecy? Is the gift of knowledge, which allows one to understand the Scriptures that revitalize the soul, any less miraculous than the gift of healing? Every single one of these things is a miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit, and to deny that is blasphemy. Why else must we pray for more faith, love and knowledge of God if we could merely grasp them on our own?

Titus 1:1-3

Paul, a servant[a] of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began[b] and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior (ESV)

2. By arguing that prophesy and speaking in tongues have passed away you are asserting that knowledge has also passed away, and if knowledge has passed away then we cannot ever become godly because that only comes through knowledge.

1 Corinthians 14:1-5

1. Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

3. Love desires spiritual gifts. Merely looking at the next chapter shows that having love does not mean that we no longer need spiritual gifts; rather, it teaches the opposite. Prophesies are for strengthening and encouraging. Speaking in tongues are for the edification of one's relationship with God. Love is at the heart of both things. The love of our neighbor should send us running to God for the gift of prophesy so that we can encourage and strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ. The love of God should have us asking for the gift of tongues so that we can draw closer to Him in prayer.

4. We are told to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially prophecy (V.1). I have heard it said many times that "I believe in spiritual gifts, but I just have never seen them," but this statement in itself misses the point of Scripture. Not only are we called to believe in spiritual gifts, but we are called to desire them because of our love for God and for others. We must desire spiritual gifts. If we don't, we need to check out our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.22 Abstain from every form of evil.

5. Despising prophecies is quenching the Spirit of God. When we say that prophecies no longer exist, we are quenching the Holy Spirit from working in our lives and the lives of those around us. It should scare you to think that you have the power to quench the Spirit of God, especially if you are doing it.

6. Paul does not command disuse on the account of misuse. In Thessalonica, there appears to have been an abuse of the gift of prophecy, like we often see today, but Paul does not order that they be stopped on account of this, rather that they be tested and sifted through the Word of God.

"Miraculous" spiritual gifts in Scripture are used for encouragement and strengthening (prophesy), edification (speaking in tongues) and evangelism (healing). I have heard many argue that these gifts are no longer needed today, but that is to say that we no longer need to encourage one another, edify our relationship with God or evangelize. We need these gifts now more than ever. Denying spiritual gifts is like only bringing a screwdriver and a wrench when you go to build a house; they just won't cut it.  God has sent his people out to do his good work in this world, and salvation is on the line. He has given us all of the tools necessary to share the Gospel with those around us, but it is up to us to use them. That is God's word, not mine.

If you are interested in more work done on the Holy Spirit, I recommend that you check out the link below. It uses Scripture to provide great insight into how we can tell if those around us have the Holy Spirit or not.