Tag Archives: Faith

A Self Defeating Doctrine

The other day, I was having a discussion with another Christian on how we are saved. He being Southern Baptist and I Lutheran, we had a bit of disagreement. Nothing heated, but he did bring out a list of things he believes, one of such being we are not born into salvation. Now, I wasn’t quite sure where that one came from as I am not sure of any denomination that believes we are born saved, but it did get my gears turning and brought me to realization about another doctrine Southern Baptists and other denominations hold. Age of Accountability.

The Age of Accountability is a self defeating doctrine because it’s very nature denies other doctrines. Let’s just ignore the fact that there is nothing Biblical about it whatsoever and examine the whopping contradiction that it is.

The Age of Accountability right off the bat automatically claims you are born into salvation for if you cannot go to Hell until age fourteen (or whatever age your denomination holds to), then you are by default saved. If children get a pass, they are literally born into salvation. In a strange and funny way, this turns Jesus into the parent who kicks their child out of the house when they become an adult. What’s the difference between , “Alright son, you’re an adult now. It’s time you got a job and found your own place to live” and “Alright my child, you’re old enough now to decide for yourself. If you want my continued protection, you’ve got to make a choice.” This, in turn, leads to the next two contradictions.

For one thing, it directly denies (for at least a few years, anyhow) the decision theology these denominations so cling to. You have to choose to follow Jesus? Not if you’re eight. Jesus has brought you into salvation by nothing that you do. In a strange and twisted way, this is actually closer to the Gospel than what they believe the adults have to go through because at least with the child, there is nothing that they can do to be saved. It rests entirely on Jesus. Until you’re old enough that is, then you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. But at least for a brief time, it’s not about you; it’s about Jesus for you.

And finally, it denies their false doctrine of once saved always saved, because if children get a pass until they’re old enough to make a decision, than that means not only can they lose their salvation, but there’s a clear cut off date that it’s getting taken away unless they do something before it’s too late. If they miss the deadline, well, sucks to be them. They’re going to have to try harder to get back into God’s good graces. Thankfully, once they pass the arbitrary I Chose Jesus test, they’re set for life. I think they should really start calling it Once Saved Again, Always Saved. It’s much more honest that way. I don’t think they realize it, but the whole once saved (again) always saved doctrine is like a free pass to go all heretical. Age of Accountability technically gives children a free pass to be as heretical as they like for a limited time only.

In reality, there is no Gospel in the Age of Accountability. For the children, it gives them a false sense of security. As they get older, towards that age in which they shall be held accountable, it can potentially give them an unwarranted sense of anxiety. And then, beyond that, once they’re saved again, either a sense of self-righteousness or constant worry of if they’re good enough. The fact of the matter is, Jesus died for you sins on the cross and you are called to believe his promise that he will rescue you from sin, death, and the devil. How are you called to believe? Through faith and faith comes through hearing and hearing through the Word of God. You don’t make a decision. You don’t invite Jesus into your heart. You don’t do anything except for hear the Word and believe.

If you can think of any other ways the Age of Accountability is self-defeating, I’d love to hear it in the comments below. There may be more, but these were the three examples that I could immediately think of.

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Your Baptism Now Saves You

The other day, I was listening to the 200proofgospel podcast and they were discussing baptism. They brought up a very interesting point on infant baptism that I would like to expand upon.

There are a lot of protestant Christians who disagree with the practice, despite it being around for roughly as long as the church has. They often claim that baptism is a work that they do and a such, is not salvific. The historic church, on the other hand, does claim that baptism does contain saving grace and is not a work of man, but of God. Listening to the discussion on 200proofgospel, they brought up a very good point. Let’s eliminate all the supernatural reasons for infant baptism and focus on just the tangible reasons. Primarily, death.

Sometimes, there will be a grandmother who was very faithful in the church and her daughter will be having a child. Now, the daughter fell out of the church and hasn’t attended since she was a little girl. Now, the grandmother and daughter want to have the child baptized in this church because of the family history. Mama was baptized there, and so was grandma, and so forth. So the pastor baptizes that baby knowing full well that it will not be raised in the faith and just as predicted, that baby never comes back to church. Fast forward some sixty years and that baby is now an old man dying of cancer. He starts thinking about his need for religion and then goes back to that church and explains to the pastor his troubles and that he was baptized there and develops a bond and is saved. For that man, his infant baptism saved him.

Why?

Personally, I think it has to do with knowledge of history. When death comes knocking at one’s door, the one who has been baptized, has something they can fall back on. Even if they never spent another moment in a church after that, they automatically have knowledge of a place they can go. They automatically have a place they can reach out to. Now, let’s contrast that to the baby who isn’t baptized. They’re sixty years old and dying of cancer. They start thinking about religion, but they really don’t have a place to go. To them, there are just a million different churches and beliefs. That, I imagine, would have to be overwhelming. Despairing. That infant that was baptized, they’ve got an immediate direction. They’re more likely to reach out.

So, ignoring all scriptural reasons to baptize infants, there is still a case to be made to do it. To not baptize infants is to do your fellow man a great disservice.

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Death

For about two and a half months now, the only thing I have been really able to think of is my inevitable death. Every single day. And if I went a time without thinking about it, I’d get happy for not thinking about it, and then that would cause me to think about it. It was a horrible daily cycle. Every time it came to mind, it was with a finality. No heaven or hell. Just nothing. Everything about me, gone. All my thoughts and actions for naught, never to exist further. It was quite depressing to say the least. I would do best to distract myself from my thoughts. Many times I found myself internally yelling at my brain to just “shut the fuck up!” I hate my brain sometimes.

Going to sleep was no fun. Some night I would just lie awake, pondering.

And then, a couple days ago, it just stopped. My daughter was sick with a fever. She was miserable and didn’t want to be alone, so I went up to lie in bed with her to help her sleep. I still had the depressing notion of death and it’s finality of nothing on my mind at the time. And yet as I lay with her trying to comfort her so she can get some much needed sleep, something happened. Just as she dozed off, she said something to me. Now, for what would seem like an epiphany moment, you’d think I could remember what she said, but I can’t. I don’t know why, but for the life of me I cannot remember what she said. I do remember there was nothing profound or even religious about what she said, only that my brain suddenly changed. With her words, I smiled. There is a God and everything is going to be okay.

I know. It sounds blazingly stupid and I acknowledge that. I don’t know what was wrong with me. Perhaps it was a midlife crisis. As I often tell my wife, “I’m half over.” I don’t know what’s changed and I’m smart enough not to trust my feelings, but it’s nice to be okay with death and my destination once again.

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“It is finished”

This post speaks for itself quite well.

Eilers Pizza

2016-03-23 11.22.22 Christ’s cross, by my daughter, Erin

Among the things that I found myself saying after several years as a pastor regards the character of God, that He is love, and merciful, and generous, and just, and faithful, and when talking about the person and work of our Savior, Jesus, I continually found myself asking, “Who wouldn’t love a God like that?”

To love God, we have to properly understand God. And, in the Lord Jesus’ Good Friday declaration from the cross, “It is finished (John 19:30),” we have the foundation laid for a proper understanding of God.

The problem with us is that we constantly take those words out of the mouth of the Lord Jesus as if He never spoke them, as if He did not complete the work of saving us, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our…

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Reflections of Faith: Death

The downside to having a very imaginative and creative brain is that it at random seems to make you think deeply about things you don’t want to think about. Last night when I got into bed, for no apparent reason I was suddenly faced with my own mortality. This has happened to me at various points in the past, each of them equally unpleasant. The finality of death, regardless of faith, is always unsettling. In the Christian faith, death is unnatural, a result of our sin. There is a beyond, but that beyond is your final destination. In the atheist mind, death is it. There is nothing more. Either way, death is the great finality and something I have difficulty coming to grips with.

The other night, as I lie there in bed disturbing myself as I am wont to do, the common theme processed in my brain, unable to fully comprehend either of them. On the one hand, there’s that struggle we sometimes face as Christians, that part of the brain that says, “What if we’re wrong?” What if death is final and that’s it? As living organisms, we spend so much time being that it’s so difficult to comprehend not being. Even when we sleep, we on occasion have moments of lucidity. Have you ever been conscious while asleep and dreaming? I have, and it’s an incredible thing. Even if you’ve never been lucid while asleep, most of us have had dreams that we can remember when we awake in the morning. While dreams are usually totally separate from our actual lives (IE, what we are doing during our waking moments is not historically relevant to what we dream), the fact that we retain memory of them attests to the idea that we are still being. So the thought of not having stream of conscious is incredibly hard to grasp fully and at the same time, terribly depressing.

On the other side of the coin, there’s the final stop after death. As someone of faith, one would think that none of this would be an issue, yet the very fact that I ponder the previous paragraph makes me question my faith somewhat. Apparently residing somewhere deep inside of me is some level of uncertainty. Some may point to the very fact that I have these concerns as proof that I do have sufficient faith. They’re quite possibly right, though I still have difficulty accepting that knowing the evil that lives in my heart and the lies my brain likes to tell me. So what of the afterlife? A place of eternity, despite being in direct contrast to what I previously stated, is also incredibly difficult for us to comprehend. We see things end all around us on a daily basis. Movies, books, cities, people, stars, etc. Just as it’s hard to imagine my consciousness coming to an end, it’s also tough to imagine it never ceasing. Logically, everything has to end.

And at the same time, no it doesn’t. So a war wages in my head, an opposition among two forces that my brain cannot comprehend. Two radically different ends, once of which I will most certainly face and yet neither of which can I comprehend. It’s depressing and stressful at times. I often feel that when I struggle with this, I’m struggling with my faith. It’s to be expected though. I’m not sure how I’ll go, though it will most likely be from cancer. Apparently it runs on my birth father’s side. I’d like to think when my time comes, however, that I’m stronger in the faith than I’ve ever been. I’d like to go with a smile and saying, “See you on the other side. Don’t forget to bring beer when you come.”

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Help without words

I helped an old man with the Bible yesterday. Honestly, I was caught completely off guard by his question. He walked in with his Android phone and I asked what I could do for him.

“How do I work the Bible button?”

At first, I thought I had misheard him as there is no Bible button and I’m sure there would be mass protests in the streets if Motorola attempted such a thing. I had to ask him again to be sure I had heard correctly and when he said it again I was positive that I was mishearing something. So upon receiving his phone I saw that he was in fact referring to a Bible app that had somehow been grouped with another app. My initial thought was this must be the problem and uncoupled the apps for his ease of use. Then I opened the app and to make sure he was able to use it.

“Hold on!” he protested. “I forgot something.”

The old man ran out to his car and came back with what I immediately recognized as scripture readings from any given Sunday. I didn’t get a long glimpse, but I don’t think he was Baptist as they didn’t resemble any of the formats that the Baptist churches in I’ve been to in my area. It appeared to be a bit more traditional from my estimation. I suppose I could’ve asked him his denomination, but politics and religion are generally frowned upon topics in the workplace. Especially when there are other customers around.

Anyhow, I tried helping him with the app and even searching the scriptures he had brought out from his car. I say tried because whoever designed the app did a very poor job. There seemed to be no real logic to it and even had buttons that didn’t function. I suggested he let me put a better app on his phone which he agreed. So I installed the app that I recently started using in my personal phone and it was such a verse showing him how to use it. He was thrilled with all the functionality of it. That is until I showed him how to switch between translations (the default being KJV).

“I don’t NEED any other version! ” he snapped angrily.

Okay, definitely not Lutheran.

Suffice to say, he was very happy that he could now use the scriptures on his phone. Judging from what he brought in, this was going to be a big help for him in church. While I’ve never been able to get behind the King James Version (I don’t care what anyone says, it’s not the same language), I’m glad to have been able to help someone in their Christian walk. I think perhaps something that we as Christians don’t always consider is that we can help people in their walk with Christ even when we’re not in a situation where we adequately talk to them about it. The tools we have at our disposal in this day and age are astounding. Sometimes we just need to give someone the right tool.

I honestly don’t know how he’ll be using the new app I put on his phone, but he left me with an impression that the app is going to help him be more involved in the word and his church.

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The cure is worse than the disease

A few days ago, I sliced my foot open pretty bad at the beach. I slipped on a rock and left a gash that was probably slightly over two inches long. I bled for about two hours, got light-headed, shaky, and uncontrollable giggles. As I understand, those are side effects of blood loss, so it makes sense. Anyhow, the whole experience didn’t really hurt, but it was severe enough that I needed to go to the emergency room to get stitches. That was fine, they gave me some kind of numbing agent so I wouldn’t feel them go in. Then I went home, watched a show and went to bed. Everything was great. Or so I thought.

I woke up in the middle of the night with an unbearable pain in my foot. It was the stitches. The numbing agent had finally worn off and I felt the full pain of the threads that were holding my flesh together. Receiving the gash was nothing, but these little stitches were awful. I pretty much didn’t walk the next day. And for a few days after that, if I needed to move far, I needed crutches. I still have a few more days before I can have the stitches removed and they’re still painful, but I’m walking unassisted with only a slight gimp. Stitches are awful, but necessary if I didn’t want to be walking around with duct tape on my foot. When it’s done healing, everything will great and certainly much better off than if I had chose to not go to the emergency room.

So, the cure is worse than the disease, or in my case, the bandage is worse than the wound. And as I think about it, that in a sense describes the Christian life. Through receiving saving faith in Jesus Christ, we open ourselves to ridicule, hate, persecution, violence, suffering, and even death. It can be quite a miserable life if you are a Christian. These are all possible side effects of salvation. Both mentally and physically, the cure (faith in Jesus Christ) is often worse than the disease (sin). And yet any doctor will tell you that you need to be cured because the consequences of the disease, as painless as living with it may be, are far worse that the pain the of being cured.

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It comes anytime

I just read that Rowdy Roddy Piper died today. As a big wresting fan, I’ve watched a lot of my childhood heroes die over the past fifteen years. At times, it seems I can’t turn log onto the internet without seeing someone I admired growing dying.

Roddy Piper – Heart attack

Chris Benoit – Double homicide/suicide

Sean O’Haire – Suicide

Paul Bearer – Heart attack

Captain Lou Albano – Natural causes

Crash Holly – Suicide

Mr. Perfect – Cocaine overdose

Eddie Guerrero – Heart Failure

Chris Kanyon – Suicide

Macho Man Randy Savage – Heart attack

That’s just a small list. I don’t intend to list everyone who inspired me at some point in life macho-man-ascending-into-heavendied. I don’t know if any of them were Christians except for Paul Bearer. Their religious faith or lack thereof is not the point (though I like to imagine that they’re all together having some big wrestling match in the sky). My point is simply this; death can occur at any moment. It doesn’t matter how much we plan for the future. All the amount of planning we do is all for naught if we should up and kick the bucket. As Luke 12:19-20 says, “And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’”

Even the mighty fall. Often tragically. If that is the case, what then, is there any value in what we do? Only that we believe, believe that Jesus Christ the son of God incarnate came down Earth as man and died on the cross for our sins. I know that I am a wretched sinner and even if I were to build up the most amazing legacy and change the world for the better forever, it would still be for nothing without Jesus Christ.

I pray you’re resting in peace, Hot Rod.

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The question of sin (2 of 4)

I would like to encourage all to read the comments in regards to this post on his blog. While it got slightly off topic, we got into a discussion on a specific reality of abortion that I don’t really hear many people talk about. I often hear people bring up it up, but never the opposing argument. In my comments, I take up the opposing argument. I actually side with what some may call an extreme that I’m sure many churches wouldn’t even side with.

Eilers Pizza

Today, I turn to specific ways I have been told that transitioning from one’s birth sex is a sinful action.

Deuteronomy 22:5 is the one verse which appears to speak most directly to the issue at hand: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this” (NIV).

This is used to run the gamut of issues: crossdressing, drag queens, the fetishistic use of the garments of the opposite sex, impersonating the other sex for the purpose of deception, and transitioning from one sex to the other.

If this edict holds in the New Testament era, I question whether it applies to the person who has a condition, which has the person in a weakened state, who does not desire to offend the Lord or take to the opposite sex out of any illicit desire for the…

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Why I am a Christian and more

This is a must read for any Christian. I must say that Greg is a far better man than I and that I can only hope to practice my faith at least half as well as he does. The beauty of this post is that it’s not law. It’s just good habits that he practices. I see a lot of areas where I can greatly improve on (namely all of them) and changes I should be making, not because I have to, but because it is good.

Eilers Pizza

Why I am a Christian

This is my essay about why I am a Christian.

I am a Christian because I am going to die and only one person, God-in-the-flesh Jesus Christ, has beaten death with His death and resurrection, which means He is the only One who is able to offer the cure for death, which is His gift of my own resurrection to eternal life.

That was my essay about why I am a Christian.

Of course, there is more to the Christian faith, and you might even argue that I am a Christian because I was born into a Christian family. Every other thing aside—how I was reared, what else the Lord does for me—is in the shadow of this shining light: Jesus Christ gives life which transcends this life, the resurrection to a life when there will be no more death or mourning or crying or…

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