Do You Believe Adam And Eve Were Actual Historical People?

HominidOne of the important questions being discussed by theologians today is what we should do with Genesis 1 and 2. Were Adam and Eve actual people, or were they meant to be archetypes of sort?

Before 1859, the year Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published, this was a discussion in which few people engaged. The biblical account was taken at face value by most in the West. But now, with an increasing number of Christians viewing evolution as an established fact of Science, many are grappling over how to make sense of Genesis 1 and 2, which clearly depict Adam and Eve as literal historical people.

MUST THEY BE?

The question I would like to address is must they be historical?

Popular blogger Albert Mohler argues that the entire story of the Bible does not make sense if Adam and Eve were not historical figures. He writes, [Read more...]

Are People Born Wicked? (or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?)

born wicked
I’ve been thinking lately about my all-time favorite Broadway show – Wicked.

Based on Gregory Maguire’s novel of the same name, Wicked tells what happened between Glinda the Good and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, before Dorothy showed up in Oz. It was funny, entertaining, and thought-provoking.

There’s a question Glinda asked early on in the play that I’ve been reflecting on a lot lately.

GLINDA
And Goodness knows
The Wicked’s lives are lonely
Goodness knows
The Wicked die alone
It just shows when you’re Wicked
You’re left only
On your own

Glinda WickedALL
Yes, Goodness knows
The Wicked’s lives are lonely
Goodness knows
The Wicked cry alone
Nothing grows for the Wicked
They reap only
What they’ve sown

GLINDA
Are people born Wicked? Or do they have
Wickedness thrust upon them?

The rest of the play was a commentary on that single question.

What do you think?

Why Yes, I Am Smarter Than God

smarter than god
Who would have ever dreamed that in the 21st century the most counter-cultural thing to do in the Christian community would be to take God’s word at face value?

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend who asked, “How do you know that’s what the Bible really means?” It was as if he was looking for some loophole to get out of a decision he knew he had to make. So he prodded me to find out if there was an underlying Greek word in a particular passage that would reveal something other than what that verse was, in fact, plainly saying.

My friend, no doubt, will keep on asking other Christians the exact same question until he finds someone who will tell him what he wants to hear. Unfortunately, I fear, he won’t have to search very long.

A Prophecy Fulfilled

The Apostle Paul warned his disciple Timothy that, shockingly, the day would soon come when there would actually be people who call themselves Christians who…

…will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. – 1 Timothy 4:3-4

No doubt when Timothy read those words he said, “No way. Impossible. Who would be so brazenly arrogant and so self-righteous to presume that their wisdom is greater than God’s?” [Read more...]

You Don’t Have To Be A Scholar To Read The Bible With Confidence

bible study

Professor Tom Friskney’s first words to us in my undergraduate Biblical Interpretation class were,

God has communicated through his word and he expects to be understood.

Those words, and the man himself, made an indelible impression on me.

Internet Confusion

I’m mindful of what Professor Friskney said every time I watch people engage in discussions on the Internet about what certain passages in the Bible really mean.

One of the blessings of the World Wide Web is that we now have access to an unlimited number of opinions about any given subject. One of the curses of the World Wide Web is there is no search engine that screens for stupidity and poor judgment.

Google any biblical passage and one quickly finds so many conflicting opinions on what that passage means that a novice is led to believe that the true meaning of what God meant to say in that passage is simply unknowable.

This is ludicrous.

As Mr. Friskney said, “God has communicated through his word and he expects to be understood.”

The good news is that understanding the Bible is possible, even for a person who has never read it before.

My Top Ten Suggestions

Are you new to reading the Bible? Here are 10 suggestions that will help you study, interpret, and apply the Bible with confidence. [Read more...]

Did Jesus Really Mean What He Said About Divorce?

Divorce and remarriage

Occasionally people will ask me whether or not I think God hates divorced people, usually by former Catholics.

Thousands of years ago God said, “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16).

It’s a rare thing in the Bible when God is quoted as saying he hates something. If God says he HATES something, you better believe he REALLY hates it.

I think God hates divorce because it…

  • Rips families apart
  • Decimates finances
  • Guts children emotionally
  • And forces people to start their lives over with a limp

Yet, it doesn’t take a PhD in New Testament Studies to wonder if God hates divorced people as well, at least judging by the words of Jesus in the gospels.

What did Jesus really say about divorce and remarriage? [Read more...]

Was Jesus A Man That The Early Church Turned Into A God?

was jesus a manEvery Easter the modern print media, trying to bolster sales, publishes “new” and “shocking” “evidence” that claims that Jesus wasn’t who he really said he was. Did you see their magazines at the grocery checkout right before Easter?

This year it’s the claim that Jesus had a wife, based off of a manuscript three centuries after Jesus lived. Not only has every reputable historian repudiated that claim, but, more important, who cares what someone three centuries after Jesus said about him?

Three hundred years from now if people claim I was purple and loved opera, does it really matter? I’m not and I don’t. Everyone knows that now, and more importantly anyone will be able to easily find that out 300 years from now if they do just the tiniest amount of research.

A Man Turned Into A God?

The ongoing issue that is constantly raised around Easter is popular liberal scholarship’s ongoing claim that Jesus was really a man, who, over decades and decades, was eventually turned into a god.

The argument goes something like this: [Read more...]

Spit Out That Lotus Plant (or thoughts on why going to church matters)

why going to church is importantA few Saturday nights ago I texted my Worship Pastor:

Me: “Been outside yet? Stunning. 15 people in church tomorrow.”
Worship Pastor: “6 of them will be staff. ☺”
Me: “Can you blame them? It’s gorgeous.”

In Philadelphia there’s a day that occurs in the Spring that clearly marks the end of winter. You know it when you see it – kids are outside on bikes, warm breeze, people cutting grass for the first time.  As a pastor, whenever “that” day hits, I know that that upcoming Sunday a sizeable number of our people will be worshipping at Bedside Baptist.

It’s also the day many of our new Christians will take their first bite of the lotus plant. [Read more...]

C.S. Lewis On The Resurrection

resurrection of JesusOne is very often asked at present whether we could not have a Christianity stripped, or, as people who asked it say, ‘freed’ from its miraculous elements, a Christianity with the miraculous elements suppressed. Now, it seems to me that precisely the one religion in the world, or, at least the only one I know, with which you could not do that is Christianity.

In a religion like Buddhism, if you took away the miracles attributed to Gautama Buddha in some very late sources, there would be no loss; in fact, the religion would get on very much better without them because in that case the miracles largely contradict the teaching. Or even in the case of a religion like Mohammedanism, nothing essential would be altered if you took away the miracles. You could have a great prophet preaching his dogmas without bringing in any miracles; they are only in the nature of a digression, or illuminated capitals. [Read more...]

An Open Letter To Amway Salesmen (and anyone else like me that tends to use people in the church)

AmwayIf I had a dollar for the number of times an Amway salesman approached me at the end of a church service and shared that they had a wonderful money making opportunity that would transform our church, I’d, well, you know.

“No offense,” I always reply, “but the last thing that transforms churches is money. That’s usually the very thing that spoils them.”

“Well, um, yeah, I get that, I think, but I work for a multi-national Christian company where Jesus Christ is at the center of all we do, and we empower Christians to have the financial resources to (a) have more time to serve in the church and (b) give money to important Christian causes.”

“Let me guess: Amway?”

“Don’t you want that for your church members Rev. Jones?”

“Please call me Brian. And we’re talking about Amway, right?”

“I mean, just imagine! If your people had the…” [quickly placing my hand on his shoulder and cutting him off mid-sentence…] [Read more...]

The Radical Gay Agenda – Rethinking Homosexuality (Part 6)

god hates signs

On an episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart defined “the gay agenda” as…

“Gay marriage, civil rights protection, Fleet Week expanded to Fleet Year, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance for when it’s raining men, Kathy Griffin to host everything and a nationwide ban on pleated pants.”

After this week I would add one more: to simply be treated with respect by Christians.

Earlier this week on Facebook someone wondered out-loud what my agenda was for doing a blog series on homosexuality. A few people always think I raise these kinds of questions because I like controversy.

Actually, nothing could be farther from the truth. What I like is clarity. [Read more...]