The Problem with Christianity

In Paul’s day, there were two enemies of the gospel that he constantly battled.

1. The gospel of legalism – this is essentially the message that says, “God is holy, you’re not, try harder.”

Paul took dead aim at this “gospel” in Galatians and other letters.

2. The gospel of libertinism – this essentially says that because we are under grace, any word of exhortation, admonishment, or challenge to be sold out to Jesus Christ and deal with issues in one’s life is “religious,” “legalistic,” and “wrong.”

James shredded this “gospel” in the letter of James, and Jude mentioned it when he said “they turn the grace of God into license to sin.”

Some Christians who have read my book From Eternity to Here and many of the articles on this blog have called me a “grace teacher.”

Others who have heard my message, The Gospel of the Kingdom, say I’m legalistic, even though there’s not one word of legalism in that message . . . not one rule . . . and absolutely no appeal to live for Jesus through our human will power.

That message actually tells us what the grace of God does in our lives.

The grace of God teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

~ Paul in Titus 2:12[Continue Reading...]

So You Don’t Believe in God Anymore?

Quick Announcement:

My book REIMAGINING CHURCH is free on Kindle today — July 31st, 2014 — only.

Get your copy and share this post with your friends so they don’t miss out.

Sometime last year, a biblical scholar who is part of the progressive left wrote a blog post that went viral.

In the post, the scholar bulbously argued why he didn’t believe in God anymore. Instead, he now “trusts” God.

All he was doing was using the word “believe” as a synonym for mental assent.

I read the post and shrugged my shoulders. Then I scratched my head, befuddled as to why the post went viral.

There was nothing profound or earth-shaking in it at all. He was just describing the essence of biblical faith . . . which is trust.

I knew today’s Christianity was shallow . . . but has it moved into the universe of boeotianism?[Continue Reading...]

How (Not) to Respond to the Sick and Suffering

The following is told from the lips of Lazarus, the man whom Jesus raised from the dead. The story presents several different ways in which people respond to Christians when they are sick or suffering.

I could not sleep most of the night. Tossing miserably, my mind refused to shut down. Neither would the pain vibrating throughout my body.

If I die, what will happen to my sisters … and my father? With the silversmith shop closed, who will provide for them? These were the worries that tormented my mind.

That evening my three closest friends, Nathan, Samuel, and Tobias, paid me a visit. I opened my eyes at the pounding of feet up the stairs toward my room.

After the men entered, they each stood around my bed and began to speak.

Nathan leaned forward, his face the picture of sadness.

Somberly he said, “Lazarus, you know that I lost my faith in God years ago. Like you, I was taught from childhood that YHWH would deliver our people from our oppressors. But there have been no signs of it. Not just for my generation, but for generations before me.[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking Hell

To the many who have asked, here are my comments about the subject of hell that I’ve written and tweeted in the past.

* Whatever the nature of eternal punishment is — conscious torment or annihilation — this question has never altered my desire to bring people to Jesus Christ. Jesus is real Life, for the here-and-now, as well as for the future. So my motive for evangelism has never been to give people a fire-insurance policy.

* The greatest Christian minds differ on the NATURE, PURPOSE and SUBJECTS of hell (subjects = who exactly will go there). But whatever we can say about it, the NT is clear on two points:

1) it exists, and 2) it’s undesirable.

* I am not a universalist. I believe that all mortals must repent and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. With respect to those who have never heard the gospel, or those who have only heard a distorted version of it, I’m content to leave such matters into God’s hands. He is righteous, just, and merciful, and I trust Him.

* Add to that, I don’t believe that every mortal automatically receives eternal life upon birth (of the flesh). I can’t speak of what happens immediately after death. The Bible talks about a judgment after death, but it’s not crystal clear on what happens at the moment of death. People can only speculate.

* “Jesus is not one of many ways to approach God, nor is He the best of several ways; He is the only way.” ~ A. W. Tozer

* If there’s life on other planets & they need a Redeemer, Jesus of Nazareth is it.[Continue Reading...]

Modern Day Moses

Sometimes music can touch us where printed words cannot.

This is one of my favorite songs of all time . . . it speaks to something deep within my own heart and thus inspires me every time I hear it.

Note: my podcast episode from August 2011 — God’s Dream: What Does It Look Like? — goes along with this song. Give it a listen.

If you like the song, share this post using the “share” buttons below. Most Christians have never heard it, so send them a blessing. :-)[Continue Reading...]

Your Dreams and Aspirations

If you’re new to the blog, I’ve been working on a series of digital journals (for the Kindle, Nook, and PDF) called The Rethinking Series.

The content of those journals is largely based on the survey you did earlier this year where I asked you what your greatest struggle was as a Christian.

Hundreds of you responded and these journals will address most of your struggles.

That said, I’m considering putting on a few events for 2015, and I want to ask you to answer one simple question that will help me in preparing for these events.

What are you dreams and aspirations that you’d like to see come to pass over the next 10 years?

Your responses will not show up to the public. Only you, me, and the Blog Manager will see them.

In your response, put your sex in the Name field and your age followed by cs.com in the email field.[Continue Reading...]

Because You Asked . . . Three New Projects Coming Soon

The reason why I blog, write books, and have a podcast is to provide value to God’s people.

That said, what I decide to write or speak on is directly related to the specific needs that my readers have.

Consequently, I’m presently working on three new projects — all based on your requests. They are . . .

1. The Physical Edition of My Online Course

Many of you have asked that my first online discipleship course, Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ, be put into a physical course, not just an online course.

At the moment, over 1,000 people have taken the online course.

But many resisted getting it because they prefer a physical product.[Continue Reading...]

Heroes

Young men and women are looking for heroes.

The same is true for Christian young men and women.

We need heroes to admire and look up to. We need heroes who can inspired us . . . people who have gone ahead of us.

We need men and women of God upon whose shoulders we can stand. And in God’s mercy, perhaps see further than they did.

If you were to ask the average 20- or 30-something Christian today who their heroes are, many would rattle off a few celebrity-pop-mega-church pastors. None of whom they know personally.

Some will mention Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Jonathan Edwards or Spurgeon.[Continue Reading...]

When Did Christians Start Tithing?

In our book, Pagan Christianity, George Barna and I wrote an entire chapter on the history of tithing from the Old Testament era, through the New Testament, and onward into church history.

What we establish will shock most Christians.

Namely, Christians didn’t begin the practice of tithing until hundreds of years after the death of the apostles.

They certainly gave money to various needs. But they didn’t tithe as they do today.

On another subject, have you ever asked yourself where the modern “worship service” comes from that’s observed in virtually every Protestant and evangelical church with minor adjustment to date?[Continue Reading...]