Showing posts from 2015

Loving Our Pro-Life Neighbors (A Response to Karen Swallow Prior's Article in Christianity Today)

In the wake of the shooting a week ago at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility, Karen Swallow Prior wrote an article for Christianity Today entitled Loving Our Pro-Choice Neighbors in Word and Deed. The article has caused a bit of a stir, particularly because she said it's unchristlike to call a woman who gets an abortion a murderer or describe abortionists as monsters.

We're supposed to try and encourage a person to choose life, not push them away with inflammatory rhetoric. She says, "Referring to abortion providers as 'abortion ghouls,' clinic volunteers and workers as 'deathscorts' or 'bloodworkers,' and women who obtain abortions as 'murderers' is worse than inflammatory: it is unchristlike."

The short response to this is no, it's not. Jesus called the Pharisees white-washed sepulchers full of dead mens' bones and all manner of uncleanliness (Matthew 23:27). He said it to their faces in the presence of a crowd. …

Are T.D. Jakes and Steven Furtick Heretics?

Through the ministry When We Understand the Text, I've fielded a few questions about Steven Furtick and whether or not he is trustworthy. To give the best answer that I can, I've decided to use Steven's recent appearance at Bishop T.D. Jakes' mega-plex, the Potter's House, where he preached this past Sunday. This is written in love, so that the people of God will be able to test and know that not everyone who claims to be of God speaks the counsel of God (1 John 4:1).

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

I went to the Potter's House website to pull up Sunday's sermon, but first I had to sit through more than five minutes of Potter's House commercials. Then the camera showed this multi-millon-dollar stage with "Endure the Race" lit up on a video screen. Someone off-camera sang-shouted, "I just want to tell you what I think about you!"

Suddenly a bunch of singers and dancers came running out to pop music and a dazzling light show. Multiple video scr…

Why Are You Praying for Paris?

#PrayForParis has been a common hashtag on Twitter and Facebook since the terror attack in Paris, France on November 13, 2015. About 129 people were killed in coordinated attacks around Paris, and over 300 more injured.

Should we pray? Absolutely we should. I spent some time in prayer Saturday evening that God's will and his justice would be done, and that through this tragedy people would be saved, repenting of sin and coming to know the Lord Christ as Savior.

But the call to pray is not in and of itself a noble thing. We can pray with the wrong kind of motivation (James 4:3). A person can pray to the wrong god (Jeremiah 14:22). ISIS is praying for Paris, too. They're praying Paris would be destroyed.

You could argue that I'm taking #PrayForParis out of context: "No one is posting #PrayForParis and calling for them to be destroyed," you might say. But let me ask you something: What are you praying for? Are you praying for the victims and their families? Good! B…

When Elijah Mocked the Priests of Baal

In 1 Kings 18:21, the prophet Elijah as directed by God stood before Israel and told them to pick a side: "How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him. But if Baal, then follow him." Yet the people did not answer him.

So Elijah issued a challenge. A fight to the finish. Elijah vs. the priests of Baal. One true prophet against 450 false prophets. Each would take a bull and place it on their own altar. The priests of Baal would pray to their god, and Elijah would pray to his God. The God who answered by fire, igniting the sacrifice on the altar, was the true God. And all the people said, "Let's do it!"

Elijah let the priests of Baal take the field first. They built an altar and chose their bull. Then after preparing the animal and laying it on the wood, they danced around it calling on Baal from morning until noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they cried. But there was no voice, and no one answered as they limped…

Why I Deleted the Jefferson Bethke Parody "Jesus Hates Religion"

The WWUTT video "Jesus Hates Religion?" was posted on Sunday evening. In 48 hours, it had about 3,000 views, received 240 likes, and been shared a few hundred times. I'd received comments of it already being shown in Bible studies. But by Tuesday night, I deleted the video.

I'd like to be able to say, "Numbers don't matter," but that wouldn't be true. I am grateful for every share and every view we get on a video (and every listen I get on the podcast).  I read every comment and e-mail, though I may not always get the chance to respond. The feedback does matter.

But the feedback did not have to do with why the video was removed, nor was its popularity and approval-rating enough to satisfy the conviction the Spirit impressed upon me. The tone in the video simply wasn't kind. That's why I removed the video. I've since re-written the script and posted a new version, still under the same title...

In 2012, 22-year-old Jefferson Bethke created…

I Was Hurt By the Church. How Can I Re-Engage?

I used to be involved in a Christian community back when I was in college. Needless to say, I graduated and moved on. Now that I'm in the workforce, I understand I should get involved in a local church. However, something is holding me back.

Quite a few times, I felt betrayed and ostracized by the community I was in due to some of the drama that happened. It is hard for me to get involved into a new community given the fact that I've felt let down. Furthermore, it takes me a long time to get to know new people. How can I start anew and change my expectations for a better outcome? 

Let Down

Dear LD,

Though you sent this question in to Relevant Magazine, they gave you a lame answer. A lot of that article didn't even make sense. First of all, no one should ever be applauded for leaving the church over "drama." How do you start anew and change your expectations for a better outcome? What Relevant should have told you was this:

Repent of your sin, ask God for forg…

The Review of "90 Minutes In Heaven" You Don't Need

At the end of August, I received an invitation to a private luncheon showing the film 90 Minutes In Heaven. The movie was free, and best of all the lunch was free. I was tempted to accept the offer, not because I actually want to see 90 Minutes In Heaven. I very much don't want to see it. And that's why I wanted to see it! A chance to offer a preemptive review of a bad movie with bad theology before it comes out? For a free lunch?! I'm there.

However, the lunch was on a Tuesday which is the day I help feed lunch to high school students and share with them the gospel. It's an opportunity that I treasure and I hate missing it. Thinking about accepting the invitation to see 90 Minutes In Heaven lasted for about as long as it took you to read that first paragraph. Then I declined. When it comes down to it, I know all I need to know to tell anyone why they should not bother seeing this movie...

1. It's a lie.
I'm going to present five reasons here about why someone d…

Don't Be Anxious, Be Thankful!

The following is a chapter from the book 40 of the Most Popular Bible Verses (and What They Really Mean). You can pick up a copy here. Since we've been going through Philippians in the podcast (find the podcast player on the right), I decided to post this chapter...

Philippians 4:6
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (NIV)

Generally when you see an online list of the most searched-for verses, Philippians 4:6 is clumped together with verses 7 and 8. This being at the conclusion of the letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul brought to their attention the words spoken by Christ in the Sermon On the Mount: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

The ten verses in Matthew 6:25-34 are where we read Jesus' teaching about not worrying. The Lord cares for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. …

Yes, Kim Davis Is Being Persecuted

Kim Davis is the Rowan County Kentucky clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. "On whose authority are you not issuing such marriage licenses?" she was asked by the media. "On God's authority," she replied. Same-sex marriage goes against the laws of nature, she clarified, which have been set by God and stated in his word, the Bible.

Yesterday, Judge David L. Bunning ruled that Davis was a dangerous criminal who needed to be put behind bars. After sentencing her to serve time in jail, cheers went up outside the court house, rainbow flags waved in the air, and gay men celebrated outside the clerk's office by making out. None of that was sensationalized or exaggerated. Davis was yelled at and spat upon as she was ushered past the crowd. "Love wins!" my foot.

Upon her sentencing, Judge Bunning said, "The idea of natural law superseding this court's authority would be a dangerous precedent indeed." Yes, he really said that.…