A number of people, quite understandably, have not taken fondly to my vocal fortress-of-fear / fortress-of-faith position. We shall now see whether that position is summarily disproven should I test positive. Of course, testing negative does not affirm my position, but a positive result would presumptively invalidate it. But when it is all said and done, I elected to self-isolate because, should I test positive, others should not suffer the consequences of my inadequate faith. To be absolutely clear, though, nothing I have stated, past or present, should be construed to suggest that those who contract corona are somehow lacking in faith. In this life, misfortunes do strike undeserving people. This does not mean that God intends for anyone to suffer or that God wishes to instruct us by way of suffering. While commendable for a suffering soul to be able to glean something positive from tragedy, God must be viewed as benevolent. God no more causes one to die of corona than God would cause one to die from an earthquake. There simply are natural forces at work that were long ago set in motion and which play themselves out. Earthquakes happen, hurricanes happen, mental illness happens, All of these can result in considerable tragedy and losses of life. Pure evil also happens (Pearl Harbor, 9/11, JFK).Continue Reading
It has been said that God cannot change his mind or alter his plans once decreed. Two verses in particular point to this:
Numbers 23:19 (NIV)
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
1 Samuel 15:29 (NIV)
He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.
But there are clear instances where God in fact changed his mind and/or altered his declared course of action. Continue Reading
Why I wear skirts has everything to do with equality. It started one roastingly hot July day in 2016 and I haven’t looked back since. Sure, I see the curiosity in others’ eyes and on their faces, but it surprises me how few people are direct enough to ask about it. This is, after all, the deep south far from international megatropolises like Miami, Los Angeles, and New York where cultural anomalies might be more commonplace. Perhaps southerners just want to avoid the appearance of rudeness. Even so, a few days ago a local librarian lamented that I had not blogged my experience and this led me to think that just maybe the public at large might be interested in my personal reasons and my social message.Continue Reading
People like Ben Carson and Mike Pence shade intellectual Christians as much as they flame dogmatic Christians. As for me, yes, I can engage philosophical arguments without fear of sacrificing belief. Argument might alter my concept of God but argument will never change my belief in God.
Paul wrote to Timothy that “in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves [… h]aving a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; […e]ver learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim 3 KJV)Continue Reading
The creation account(s) in Genesis can be rather puzzling. Only so much can be ascertained from a literal reading of the text itself. Enlightened inquiry begins by posing questions and seeking to answer those questions. There are certain deductions and interpretations that can adduced from the self-referential metatext (that is, each creative iteration implicitly depends on predicate iterations and thus subsequent passages reveal things not explicitly disclosed by former passages). This post seeks to elucidate some of those readings, but it cannot conclusively explain everything. For that reason, one of the principal aims here is to pose more questions than answers so as to invite the reader’s own contemplation. Ultimately, though, full understanding probably depends upon prophetic revelation apart from the text proper.Continue Reading
Two verses have been on my mind again these last two or three days. The first is John 19:11—”You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above“—and Lamentations 3:37—”Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?” (NIV–1978). Another more modern translation, and the one that I really want to focus on, renders Lamentations 3:37 as “Can anything happen without the Lord’s permission?” (NLT–1996).Continue Reading
An exceeding number of evangelical Christians have long crusaded against Evolution Theory solely because it discredits Abrahamic teaching. But is this really the most appropriate doctrinal or theological battleground? It occurs to me today—and I hope to explore the idea in a future post—that Evolution Theory is a greater doctrinal threat to the premise of salvation than it is to scriptural inerrancy. Continue Reading
There was a popular charismatic Christian mantra the 1980s and 1990s known as “name it and claim it.” The idea was that Christians would articulate a particular desire—usually material—and claim that as God’s promise to them as believers. Psalm 37:4 often accompanied this confession of faith: “take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (NIV) and Proverbs 13:22b “the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (NASB). It was a widely popular faith proclamation that stood in sharp contrast to humble hearth and home. As a matter of personal interpretation, I would have to say that God’s desire for humankindContinue Reading
I found myself reflecting on the 2002 Hillsong lryic: I will bless the Lord forever, and I will trust Him at all times. He has delivered me from all fear… I will not be moved, and I’ll say of the Lord… You are my shield, my strength, my portion, deliverer, my shelter, strong tower, my very present help in time of need…
While largely a paraphrase of the 34th Psalm, it really boils it down to a kernel.Continue Reading
The first-century Apostles sought to quell with doctrinal infighting. Modern believers sustain doctrinal infighting. Arguments against infighting just trigger more infighting. What does Scripture state?Continue Reading
Cognitively-challenged Christians are eager to invoke Deuteronomy 22:5—in judgment of women as well as of men—that “woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD.” Some denominations read this as requiring women to wear dresses (or, in the contrapositive, as prohibiting women from wearing pants). Likewise, Deuteronomy 22:5 has been invoked to condemn and deny skirts as menswear. This was certainly my experience when I “saw the light” and “converted” to skirts in 2016, but it has taken me three years to get around to publishing this formal rebuttal.Continue Reading
I am not saying that face coverings should be worn nor am I saying that face coverings should not be worn; I am saying that governments must not compel it. You see, while I am a stalwart libertarian, I am also a pentecostal Christian. I contend that such mandates go against my sincere religious beliefs.Continue Reading
Christ’s ‘great commandment’ instructs Christians to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ […and to] ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV). This summation, of course, recompiles a few Old Testament passages, notably, Leviticus 19:18 (“love your neighbor as yourself.”) A week or so ago I commented on another professor’s blog post that loving our neighbor *as* ourselves means that we must love ourselves equally as others. By way of example, a battered spouse should not remain with an abusive partner because, no matter the love for the partner, the battered spouse must love the self as much as the other. A loving parent does not place a beloved child in harm’s way so neither should a loving self place a beloved self in harm’s way. Today my eyes were opened to another implication of Mark 12:31.Continue Reading
The country has lost its mind trying to control the uncontrollable. Trying to stop pathogenic dispersion is like trying to prevent California wildfires. Humans want to think that our evolved intellect empowers us to bend nature to our wills. The reality is that all animals–homo or otherwise–must live with and within nature. Human suppression of natural fire turns the surrounding nature into a tinderbox. Fire is a critical part of nature’s ecosystem. Pathogens are too. I don’t hear all the macroevolutionists Continue Reading
It would seem that there are three types of people: cowards who run from risk, fools who ignore risk, and agents who accept risk. Vox
2 Timothy 1:7 declares that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”Continue Reading
Right-wing Christians grandstand on potentiating “unborn” lives with no apparent thought to the quality of those lives. I am this moment reminded of John 10:10 where Jesus said “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” How exactly can one be pro-life without also being pro-healthcare? Conservatives have (as should all) a distrust of government overreach and tyranny, but to be pro-life must necessarily also mean being pro-abundant-life. What use is it to have life without quality of life? And life cannot be narrowly classified as birth but as all those who have been born but not yet died. To be pro-life must mean (as the Catholic church teaches) opposing capital punishment. It must also mean making healthcare available to all—not just the wealthy, not just ‘the least of these’—but to all and to those between. And it probably also means dispensing the same quality and access to healthcare just as it means the equal right to live.