Category Archives: Scripture

The problem of God: part one

For the foreseeable future, I will also be reblogging some posts Greg Eilers. Greg Eilers is a retired LCMS Pastor who suffers from gender dysphoria, a condition that makes him feel as though he should be a woman. Greg has done incredible work in keeping with sound doctrine and has even been helpful to me in my theology. In light of his condition and the fact that this is one of the big issues in society today AND his excellent sound doctrine, I would like to present you with posts of his as they pertain to both. My hope is that through scripture, we as a church appropriately deal with such issues and not be bumbling idiots about it all. Thank you.

Eilers Pizza

More than anything in the world, I want all people to understand God as I do. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, and an excellent seminary education, I have been blessed with excellent theology.

Just as a poor foundation dooms a building, poor theology dooms a person. Faulty premises result in faulty answers, result in false faith, and loss of faith, and no faith.

Since I believe the Holy Bible is the true Word of God, and since I am confident in my understanding of it, I do not speak in waffling language. A math teacher does not apologize for the difficult equations he writes on the board; he knows they are correct. Substitute religion for math and my point is made.

All that said, I long for everyone to keep reading. There is equal value for those who share my Lutheran faith, for those with different beliefs, and for those…

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A clean heart

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.

 Oh, what a wonderful verse. Sometimes, we focus so much on certain portions of scripture that we forget other equally important ones. The Psalms are a wonderful thing and contain great words. I had this on my mind late last night. These words ring strong as something we should pray everyday. Our hearts are filthy, wicked things which taint our spirit. Yet we are washed through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Perhaps this is simply one man’s opinion, but since the old Adam is constantly tearing away at the Christian, we should pray daily that God puts in us a clean heart and renews our spirit that we might not be tempted to fall away and that we always look to the cross for our hope.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me that I may always do what is pleasing in your eyes and call upon you in my times of trouble and distress. Amen.

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What we are called to do

From the second chapter of Genesis, God is laying down the law and yet, there is no sin. The first time law is brought up is effectively first use of the law, the civil use. God gave this law when he told Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Though generally given by governments, this use is correct in that at that time, God was the local governing body and this law was preventative in that it kept Adam from sin.

However, the law used in the rest of the chapter has more to do with vocation. This is first revealed to us when God says that Adam needs a helper. If one has no work, one needs not help. What did Adam need help with? Tending the garden of course. In fact, that’s exactly what Genesis says man was created for. Groundskeeping. (NOTE: I HAVE JUST FREAKED MYSELF OUT AS I FEEL THAT I MAY HAVE JUST ACCIDENTALLY DISCOVERED THE MEANING OF LIFE. IF THE MEANING OF LIFE IS NOT GROUNDSKEEPING, PLEASE SOUND OFF IN THE COMMENTS SO THAT I CAN REST EASY.) Adam was also tasked with naming all the animals. Also, when is helper, Eve, was finally created from his rib, they were tasked with making children.

So to recap, Adam was given the vocation of groundskeeper, beast namer, husband, and father. All before Genesis 3. He was also given specific instructions no to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So you can see, the law didn’t come around when Moses came along. Law was there from the beginning. And this law established vocation.

EDIT:  I HAVE BEEN CORRECTED VIA FACEBOOK.  I LEAVE MY POST AS IT ORIGINALLY WAS POSTED, BUT I ADD THIS SCREENCAP FROM MY CONVERSATION ON FACEBOOK.

VOCATION

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Isaiah 30:9-11

For they are a rebellious people,
lying children,
children unwilling to hear
the instruction of the Lord;
10 who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
prophesy illusions,
11 leave the way, turn aside from the path,
let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”

 

Sounds an awful lot like today, doesn’t it?  Sadly, it is an accurate description of many churches today. People don’t want to hear the word of the Lord because it shows us how wretched we are.  Instead, they love to be deluded with grandeur, even when the grandeur is terrible.  People get all excited and frightened when a false prophet predicts the end of the world, not because it’s true or false but because it’s big.  Their minds are excited for such a great change, even if it means they could die a horrible death.

“Sow a seed,” some say, “and God will reward you with riches.”  Oh, the illusions of wealth.  What a slick tongue does to an ear like that.  If anyone claims you shall receive wealth if you do such and it does not come to pass, just like the doomsday preacher, he is a false prophet.

And then we have preachers such a Joel Osteen who doesn’t seem to know such a thing as sin even exists.  He just smooth talks positive thinking into everyone and they eat it up.  They don’t want to hear about how sinful they are, just how great and awesome they are.  And then, when they hear good sound preaching, they chastise the pastor for it.  They tell him how awful his message is and that the only thing God really wants is people to be nice to each other.  Honestly, if that were the case, why would God have ever needed to give us the scriptures?

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Nah, Jesus, I got this

I’ve heard many Christian friends say that God does not give us more than we can handle, but is that really true? These Christians often cite 1 Corinthians 10:13 as proof, but if we look at the text, that’s not really what this is about. That verse deals specifically with temptation. In fact, when you read it in context, you’ll see more specifically that it has to do with temptation against idolatry. And that makes sense. If Jesus is the only way to salvation, any temptation that you give in to is willful disobedience. That’s a far cry different than “God never gives us more than we can handle.” Nowhere in scripture does it say that God never gives us more than we can handle, and that’s a good thing. If God never gave us more than we could handle, than why would we ever need Jesus? Why do we need a crucified and risen savior if we can just say to God, “It’s alright, I’ve got this”?

You don’t need Jesus if you can handle everything on your own. You’re your own god, and you’ve got that covered.

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Psalm 119:94

I am yours; save me,
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In a profound way, this one verse sums up all of scripture.  I am Yours.  God created me.  I am his being, not my own.  He can do with me as he pleases and it is right for him to do so.  Save me.  There is nothing I can do to save myself.  I am deserving of death and damnation.  I need him to save me.  I cannot do it on my own.  God did save me.  He became flesh and died for my sins.  I did not help.

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Your Feelings Don’t Really Matter

When Luke Skywalker  first learned that Darth Vader was his father, he refused to believe it.  “Search your feelings,” Vader said, “you know it to be true.”  And Luke believed.  Unfortunately, truth doesn’t actually work like that, despite what many Christians will tell you.  Go ahead.  Ask one how they know their beliefs are correct.  Odds are they will tell you that it just feels right or that they can feel it in their bones that it’s correct or some other variant of feeling. Uh-huh.  You know how the Mormons know what they believe is true?  They just feel it.  You know how abortionists often rationalize their actions being good?  It just feels like the right thing to do.

Another good one is that some Christians tell you that they listen to their heart.  Shouldn’t they know that their heart is a damn liar?  I mean, they are Christians after all.  I dunno, maybe they just have a good feeling that they’re right.

My friends, the truth is that your feelings don’t really matter because they do not determine truth.  If you want to know if what you believe is correct, pick up a Bible and compare your beliefs with scripture.  Do the work of a Berean.  If your feelings line up, awesome.  But if they don’t, you might have to come to grips with the hard truth.  So go ahead and search your feelings, just don’t expect them to be honest with you.

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A Little Paraphrase is a Dangerous Thing

Paraphrasing can be a useful thing.  For example, you need to convey an idea that someone had said, but you don’t have the source directly in front of you.  In this scenario, paraphrase can be used to convey that thought without actually quoting.  Let’s say for instances a pal was starting a motorcycle rodeo and he wanted you to get the word out.  So you go tell your friends, but you forget what a motorcycle is called, so you tell your friends that he’s starting a rodeo with gas powered bicycles.  No, that’s not what your friend said, but it’s the same idea and the friends you’re telling will understand what it’s all about.  In such situations, paraphrase is a very useful and good thing.  But what if your source is a paraphrase?  Wouldn’t you then be conveying your thoughts of a secondhand opinion of the original idea?  Why would you ever go to a paraphrase when you can have the source directly at your finger tips?

Of course, I’m talking about The Message.  For those who are uninitiated, The Message is paraphrase of the Bible, not a translation but a paraphrase.  If you’re not sure why that’s terrifying, let me give you an example.  Below is Mark 8:34-37 in both The Message and the ESV.  You’ll notice how they say two completely different things.

The Message

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?

English Standard Version

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  For what can a man give in return for his soul?

Can you see the problem here?  While it may seem similar at first, it is far from the same message.  If you are honest with yourself, you’ll see that these two versions have a completely different messages.  In fact, the only portion of these two that is even remotely similar is the very last question.  And this is not ESV VS MSG.  This is the ESV, NLT, NIV, KJV, and all the other translations VS The Message paraphrase.  So I ask you, why would you ever use a paraphrase when you can have a perfectly good translation at your fingertips?

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Children Do Not Get A Pass

One of the great lies in modern evangelicalism today is the age of accountability; that is, children who die before attaining a certain age get to go straight to heaven.  But that’s a straight up lie.  The fact of the matter is, children do not get a pass.  In fact, there is nowhere in scripture that states anything remotely even resembling an age of accountability.

So what does happen to the dead children?  The answer is simple.  The same as everyone else.  If they are in Christ, then they shall be in heaven with him and if not they shall go to the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Though the Bible doesn’t exactly say much on dead children, it’s overwhelmingly clear that all have sinned and fall short the glory of God and that apart from Jesus Christ you cannot be saved. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  If he makes an exception, than the whole gospel falls apart.

Now that’s not too say that scripture doesn’t offer comfort in such situations.  Faith comes through hearing.  Please note, scripture doesn’t say, “faith comes through hearing and understanding,” but only says, “faith comes through hearing.” How glorious are these words when but a small fetus in the womb can hear the gospel faithfully preached to it through its mother’s belly.

Also, it is Christ who gives us our faith, we don’t come to it on our own.  Alas, just as we adults don’t come to a decision for Jesus, neither does the child, but Christ through his own mercy will grant faith to whom he chooses.

My friends, scripture doesn’t say a lot about children who die and we dare not speak where scripture has not spoken, but with authority we can boldly proclaim on what scripture has clearly spoken.

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That Time is Now

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

I think that fact that people Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Joyce Meyer, and many others are so popular lends to my belief that the majority of “Christians” have never read their Bible and those that have haven’t taken the time to really study it.  Rick Warren gives people purpose.  Joel Osteen make people feel good about themselves.  Bill Scheer gives his congregation actual concussions… you know, for Jesus.  You know what none of them give you, however?  The cross.  The gospel.  The good news that Jesus died on the cross for your sins.  In fact,  I contest that they have more in common with Mormonism than true Christianity for the simple fact they all of them let you know it’s true by that good feeling you get inside.  A punch in the face or a diet plan might make you feel good inside but it has nothing to do with Christianity, and anyone who tries to claim that it does or that it’s for Jesus is a heretic.  If your ears are itching, scratching will only spread the itch.  What you need is ointment, and if the ointment stings, that’s how you know it’s working.

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