3 Myths Concerning Christianity

I’m going to ask a question, but I don’t want you to answer until you’ve read to the end.  Who is right?  Atheists or Christians?  Many of the Atheists’ rejection of Christianity is centered on what they believe to be the immoral teachings of Christianity.  For example, they believe Christianity encourages misogyny, promotes slavery, and teaches that you can live as immorally as you want as long as you believe Jesus.  Sadly, in many conservative circles, they aren’t far off.  Upon examination of the Bible in context, we will find that these allegations are actually not correct regarding what true Christianity is supposed to be.

The more I know about the Atheist perspective, the more I realize that they are misunderstanding much of what the Bible teaches (or in some cases, purposefully misusing it).  This leads to their radically hostile views of Christianity.  But before we as Christians pull out our condemning attitudes, let’s remember that many of them refused the Christianity they were once part of because they were taught by Christians who don’t understand the Bible.  I believe that as we look into the Bible, we will find that God is against the same false teachings that are such a turn off to Atheists.  Let’s look at 3 Myths Concerning Christianity and see what the Bible says:

1.  The Bible Encourages Misogyny – There are numerous churches which teach that women should be an absolute submission to the husband in the sense that they should have no opinion or objections, but obey like a mindless robot.  This creates a situation where the husband is set up to be his own god in a sense.  He get’s what he wants and she always has to oblige.  With this mentality comes the false belief that men are to dominate and control women.  May I stop right here and say, the Bible teaches no such thing.  Ephesians 5:22-24 is one example of a passage used to propagate such a doctrine:

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

If we left that passage as is and only look at those three verses, you could easily come to the wrong conclusion.  It’s not until we read the very next verse that everything is put in perspective:

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Now we come to a verse that contradicts any misogynistic behavior.  Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.  Christ’s love was perfect.  And there could never be a greater display of love than God’s display at calvary when He gave Himself to save our souls and pay for our sins.  The husband is not to be a tyrant and the wife is not to be a slave to do all the husband desires.  The husband is supposed to show a divine love for his wife.  This immediately removes any possibility of abuse or mistreatment.  What the Bible is teaching from a practical sense here is love and respect.  The woman should respect the husband and not lord over him.  The husband should love the wife and cherish her.  That makes for even good secular relationship advice.  True submission in the Bible is one towards another, not one over the other.

2.  The Bible Promotes Slavery – There are two things we must understand about this.  First, slavery as we know it today was not the same as the slavery mentioned in the Bible in conjunction with rules on how to treat slaves.  Second, slavery as we know it today IS strictly condemned and punishable by death in the Bible.

The slavery that existed in Bible times was more of a willing servanthood.  A person could pledge his life to serve a master and do his bidding.  In return, the master would provide for his needs (food, shelter, etc.)  When we look at it this way, we understand it’s a lot like the relationship between employers and employees.  This is the realm in which the law gives regulations of slaves.

As far as the slavery as we know it, Exodus 21:16 says this:

And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.”

If you force someone to be your slave, sell one, or if one is found in your possession, you were to be put to death.  All permissible slavery in the Bible is simply the moral standard for how employers and employees should interact.  And, all of it is to be on a willing basis.

3.  The Bible Teaches You Can Live However You Want As Long As You Believe Jesus – This is actually the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches.  There are two verses we will use to bunk this myth.  John 14:15 tells us,

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

1 John 5:3 says,

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

The Bible not only teaches that if we truly love God as we ought to that we will keep His commandments, but that it will not be a burden for us to follow His word and the principles we find in it.  A true believer is not given a license to live as he wishes because he is saved.  He is to follow God and live according to the Bible because he loves God.  Paul reiterates this thought in Galatians 5:13:

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

Now, while I could go on about different misunderstandings, this should suffice for us to see the answer to the question about who is right.  And it is an answer that both Atheists and Christians alike should heed: God is right, and His Word is truth.  Atheists need to understand that just because a group of churches believes a doctrine and teaches it boldly doesn’t make it biblical.   Christians need to understand where they are wrong biblically speaking and actively search the Bible to ensure they have an accurate view of the truth.  May we be searchers of God’s truth, because the truth will set us free.

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5 Things Christians Should Never Say To An Atheist

I can already see the Christian mobs rising up with anger and preachers making me into their next sermon illustration, and all without reading more than just the title of this post.  But hear me out.  If you really want to make an impact for Christ on an unbelieving world, there are a lot of things you should NOT be saying, because, frankly, you’re just ticking atheists and agnostics off and killing any chance you might have had to positively influence them for Christ.

For years now, I’ve seen it time and time again.  The preacher tells a congregation how to deal effectively with atheists.  They go into the arguments we should give so that they will just HAVE to believe.  Probably the most notable of such arguments is the watch-watchmaker argument.  Looking at a watch tells you the watch has a creator so looking at creation must say there is a creator.  No, that will never win over a single person.  In fact, all you’ve done is just reduce your credibility because you’re being seen as a person who can only regurgitate what some preacher has fed you.  The “Christians” in the congregation fall in love with these cliches and immediately start implementing.  Before long, the cliches have spread from church to church, and now, atheists think of most Christians as nothing more than a joke.  So what cliches should you stay away from?  Without further ado, here they are:

1.  If you don’t believe the Bible, you can’t have morality – Let’s stop right there and say, if the only reason you aren’t slaughtering people is a religious book, you have problems.  The fact is, most atheists do have some sort of code of morality.  While it may not be what the Bible’s standards are, they still have some.  This moral standard can come from a variety of places.  For example, most, if not all atheists have people they care deeply for.  And a code of ethics that would protect their loved ones and promote happiness rather than hurt is a favorable standard.  Just don’t say this.  It’s simply not true.

2.  You must be miserable without God – Ok, we are forgetting that the Bible even teaches that sin brings pleasure for a season.  With that in mind, we need to realize that there are many very happy atheists.  In fact, I might even go as far as to say that a higher percentage of atheists are happier than their Christian counterparts.  We should just chalk this cliche up to another myth.  It’s just not true either.

3.  Your life must have no meaning without God – The truth is, there are a lot of things that bring meaning to an atheists life.  By human nature, many, if not most people desire to be a part of something bigger than they are.  Many atheists are very actively involved in community services and other humanitarian endeavors.  In fact, that is actually one of the biggest gripes atheists have about Christians: “Christians just don’t care about helping people physically.”  And, in my experience, that has been pretty true.  Without a doubt, for a Christian, no issue could be more important than a person’s eternal destination.  But, if you look at the pattern of the life of Christ and His disciples, you will find that they not only met spiritual needs, but often simultaneously met physical needs.

4.  Why are you mad at God? – The truth is, while some atheists might be mad at God, not all of them are.  In fact, they don’t care either way about Him.  What if someone confronted you (being a Christain) and asked you why you were mad at Odin?  You would look at that person like he or she was stupid.  Why?  You don’t believe Odin exists, so why should you care enough to have any emotion for or against him?

5.  You need to open your heart to God/You just need to have faith – You really have to think about this from their perspective.  If you tell them they need to just open their heart to a God they don’t think exists, they’re probably thinking, “Would you open your heart to Allah if a Muslim told you to?”  The truth is, they see this as nothing short of hypocritical.  Christians have no problem discrediting gods of other religions.  To them, yours is no different.  And telling them they need to believe in Him without giving them any real reason to won’t do any good.

So what should you do?  Reach out and genuinely try to help them and show them the love of Jesus Christ.  Not as a gimmick to get them into the church, but because you really do love them like God does.  Befriend them.  Help them.  Care for them.  Let the love of God flow through you.  Ultimately, they’ve got to see that a real God has made a real difference in your life.


A Revolution Back To True Christianity

As I scroll down my Facebook news feed, I can’t help but notice the shear amount of extremists sharing their slanted views.  You’ve got groups like Stuff Fundies Like who will take extreme cases within the Independent Baptist realm and make it out to be the common practice for the whole movement.  And, on the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got ultra conservative groups who will relentlessly slander and deface everyone and everything from Billy Graham to Starbucks coffee.  I’ve even heard blasts against men who had facial hair and flip flops. (Huh?? What??)  Both sides seem to seek to destroy the reputations of everyone of the opposite view.  Both of these extremes, unfortunately, seem to come from the same source: a false understanding of what true biblical Christianity is.  One group is running out of the religious circles throwing hand grenades back in, and the other group is taking those grenades and dishing them right back to those who would leave their religious movement.

All this raging battle is doing to those outside of these two groups is proving, in their minds, that Christianity is nothing less than a horribly destructive religion that promotes extreme brainwashing and abuse (physical, emotion, and spiritual).  And we wonder why people simply aren’t interested in God anymore.  We need to have a revolution back to what true biblical Christianity is supposed to be.

I’m convinced that if Christianity as Jesus Christ Himself intended it is followed again by Christians, we will see a renewed interest of multitudes of people in God again.  The problem is, most groups that call themselves Christians are missing one of two things: Biblical Truth or Christlike Love.  Both have to be present if we are to make an impact in this world.  When we look at the example of Jesus Christ in the Bible, we will notice that he always presents the truth, but never condemns a person based on lifestyle (outside of the Pharisees that is).  Jesus always dealt with people in love and compassion, and lead them to the truth in this manner.  By the way, repentance is a simple byproduct of this approach, not a forced action.  Take your pick of the many examples recorded for us (the woman at the well in John 4, the woman taken in the act of adultery in John 8, etc.)  There’s a principle in the business world that is used that can really be traced back to the example given to us in scripture.  Build relationships with people and the business will take care of itself.  The truth is, if we showed the love of Christ to people and took the time to build a friendship with them, they would at least open their ears to hear us out when we present the truth of the gospel instead of tuning us out on the spot.  I can say from personal experience that nearly everyone God has given me the privilege of sharing the gospel with who trusted Christ as their savior came as a result of an opportunity that opened up because I simply was real with people and developed a friendship with them.  That’s it.  No special gimmicks or manipulation.  I built a friendship and, as a result, they were willing to hear me out because they knew I cared.

If we are to be effective in reaching our world with the gospel of Christ, then we as Christians must do things God’s way.  And, contrary to popular opinion, His way is quite simple.  Show the love of Christ in your life and through your actions.  Share the love of Christ through your words.  And help people grow in the love of Christ by personally taking the time to disciple them.  True Biblical Christianity is not about separating yourself from everything and everyone different than you.  It is not railing against every idea or person that slightly disagrees.  True Christianity is all about sharing God’s message God’s way by God’s power.  When we learn to do this, we’ll be able to accomplish God’s plan for His church.


New Life, New Dangers!

Recently, one of our female guppies gave birth to about 20 fry.  For those who may not be familiar with what I’m talking about, one of our fish had babies.  Our first initial thought is, “How cute!”  It was quite exciting to see these miniature fish swimming around for the first time!  Unbeknownst to many of them, it was soon to be their last.  For you see, at their size, they become nothing more than another source of food for our already gluttonous fish.  And, in an effort to survive, many begin to hide in the crevices, the leaves of the plants, or wherever else they might be able to get out of vision of the other fish.  Some last longer than others.  But, in the end, many of them are hunted out and eaten.  For them, they are just trying to hang on as long as possible.

I fear that too many Christians are living in much the same existence!  From the time they are saved, they are unaware that Satan and his army is relentlessly pursuing them to devour and destroy their lives.  I Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”.  And unbeknownst to us, he is using tactics that he knows will lure us into the hands of destruction.  Make no mistake about it: Satan and his army are professional hunters of the hearts and souls of men.  From the time a person trusts Jesus Christ as his savior, he become a huge target!  Don’t get me wrong, Satan is very much interested in preventing the lost from knowing Christ as well.  But, for a Christian, it seems that personal attacks are relentless at times.  Whether Satan begins the destruction through that Christian’s carnal desires, his family, or even his job doesn’t matter in the end because the results are the same.  Satan is seeking to devour families, ruin lives, and destroy reputations, all to hurt the cause of Christ.

The question is probably floating in the back of your mind right now, “How are we like these baby fish?”  The truth is, all we can do in our own power is try to hang on as long as possible before the inevitable happens.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way!  Unlike the fish, we have an outside source of strength and protection that will not only defend us against these malicious attacks, but will allow us to conquer the one who sought our destruction!  I John 4:4 tells us, “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  Though we do indeed have an enemy seeking to destroy us who is far stronger than we could ever hope to be, the truth is, that enemy has no power over us when we are living in the power of God Almighty.  When we are trusting in God to protect us and strengthen us, not only are we able to withstand the attacks of Satan and his army, but we are able to claim victory in any circumstance!  Let us as Christians not live a life of survival; our existence ought not be one of just simply “hanging on”.  Let us press forward and claim the victories that God has already won!!


Has Religious Moralism Replaced True Christianity?

This is the question that I have spent much time contemplating lately.  I want to preface my thoughts by saying that I most definitely believe that the lifestyle of a Christian should be marked by Christlike behavior.  And, I believe biblical separation is from the world and unto God.

But, I have, unfortunately, seen a horrifying trend amongst many churches who consider themselves to be Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB henceforth).  Churches are coming to place where a list of standards (some of which cannot be proven to be biblical) has replaced a true relationship with Christ.

A few years ago, I was sitting under the preaching of a well known IFB preacher.  I was horrified to witness a full sermon, during which, the Bible was never even opened, yet the audience was going wild with religious enthusiasm.  The message was one I had heard hundreds of times.  It involved a long list of railing against certain behaviors.  Please don’t get me wrong; I am most definitely FOR preaching against sin.  But, the part that horrified me was that the Bible was never used to back up the preacher’s thoughts.  I later found out that the contents of the sermon actually came out of a book that I’ll not name publicly.  Unfortunately, this was not the only time I experience this sort of thing.  I have heard hundreds of sermons, during which standards were preached, but the Bible was not used (or used out of context).  I could name some of the hot topics you could expect to hear in any typical IFB standards sermon.  You would hear about abortion, homosexuality, rock music, women wearing pants, KJV-only, no movie theatres, etc.  Now, before you write me off as a heretic, hear me out.  I am NOT saying that I don’t agree with the standard that the Bible sets.  I wholeheartedly believe that God’s Word sets a standard for His children.  But, without the Bible to back up these claims, adherents are nothing more than religious moralists.

My concern is simple.  Many churches have gotten to the place where they will hear about these topics week after week, but, biblical teaching and expository messages are disappearing.  Christianity, to so many IFB attendees has quickly become a checklist of sins to stay away from and behaviors to work on.  If you abstain from certain things, act a certain way, dress a certain way, and talk a certain way, you’re a “good Christian”.  A walk with God has been reduced to something you work on when your checklist doesn’t line up just right.  You see, for many, religious moralism has taken the place of what true Christianity really is supposed to be.  Christianity was never meant to be a checklist; it is supposed to be a relationship with God Almighty.  And that relationship is supposed to be strengthened as we ever grow in the knowledge of our Savior from dedicated Bible study and expository preaching.

In II Timothy 3:5, Paul warns Timothy of this very thing.  He said that there would be people and groups of people who would be guilty of “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof”.  In other words, they would have religion and an outward religious appearance, but the life-changing power of Jesus Christ would be denied.  I fear that unless we heed this warning, many good Bible preaching churches could easily slip away into being satisfied with simply having a form of godliness.  Having a form of godliness can be accomplished by anyone who wants to complete the checklist Christianity.  But, it takes the power of Christ to truly change a person.  And in the very same passage, Paul tells Timothy the answer to the problem of a Christless religion.  II Timothy 3:14-4:2 tells us,

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word”

Paul’s answer was clear; Preach the Word.  He didn’t tell Timothy to make people adhere to a list of standards; He told him to declare the Word of God.  God didn’t call us to conform ourselves into the image of a cookie cutter Christian; God called us make much of His Word!  He called us to read it, reread it, study it, meditate on it, follow it, and share it!  

It’s about time we quit trying to conform unconverted man, and preach Christ!  Man doesn’t need a list of rules, he needs Christ!  The power of Christ will do so much more than conform a man; it will transform his life!  A man who is in Christ, WILL be a new creature in Christ!  Is morality important?  Yes.  But, it should never be anything but a by-product of a true relationship with Christ!


Thoughts of Heaven

Why do you want to go to heaven? Is it because the heavenly city is beautiful with streets of gold, pearly gates, and jasper walls?  Is it to see loved ones who have already passed on?   Is it simply to escape hell?  There is no doubt that the vast majority of people in this country desire to go to heaven one day.  It is interesting, however, to note that while so many people want to go to heaven after this life is over, so few have an understanding of what it will be like there.

Most people think of heaven itself as the reward.  No doubt, the city will be wonderful!  The beauty of the city with its streets of gold, pearly gates, crystal sea, and jasper walls will indeed be a sight to behold!  In heaven, there will be no more night, no more pain, no more death, and no more sin.  But, that is not what heaven is all about.  In Genesis 15:1, God told Abraham that He was Abraham’s “exceeding great reward”.  The truth is, spending eternity in heaven is all about being with our Savior; We will be serving and worshiping Him for all of eternity.

Revelation 22:3 tells us “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him”.

Nehemiah 9:6 says,  Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.” 

When we get to Heaven, everything will be centered around serving and worshipping our precious Savior!  Will we see and know our loved ones? Yes! (II Samuel 12:23)   Will we be able to fellowship with them in heaven? Absolutely! (Matthew 8:11)  But, even in those things, I believe the Bible shows us that everything in heaven will be centered on our God.  When we get to heaven, the greatest sight ever seen will be unveiled!  We shall finally be able to see our Savior!  And when we see Him, we will loudly proclaim, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” (Revelation 5:12)  We will for all eternity praise His holy name for all that He’s done for us!


What’s Your God?

When I think about some of the things I enjoy doing in my spare time, a number of things come to mind.  I love fishing.  I could probably spends days on end fishing without interruption.  I also like camping, grilling, and spending time with my family amongst a few other things.  However, a question I must ask myself is, “Has it become my god?”  I John 2:15-17 tells us,

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

At any given moment, if I am in love with the world, the love of the Father is not in me.  What does it mean to love the world?  What does it mean to love someone or something?  I think back to the days when I was dating the young lady who is now my wife.  My thoughts were absolutely consumed with her.  Spending every waking moment of the day together wasn’t enough.  It was consuming.  Looking back, I can see that the time I should have been spending with thoughts of my great God were instead spent on her.  The moment the thoughts of her caused me to not give God preeminence in my life, she became my god.  There’s nothing wrong with loving your spouse.  In fact, the Bible commands it.  But, that love should never replace or supersede our love for God.

Whatever is consuming your thoughts IS your god.  In other words, whatever you think about most is your god.  Is your god the God of the Bible?  Or is it some form of entertainment?  Is it even something considered good and noble like family?  For those in the ministry, even the ministry itself can become a god if you aren’t careful.

Matthew 6:24 tells us, “no man can serve two masters”.  So, which master are you really serving?  You cannot have it both ways; you cannot have both the world and God.  May God give us the strength to be able to say from our hearts that our God is the God of the Bible; May He be the one who consumes our thoughts and affections.