Friday, February 27, 2009

"People of the ook"

There is a saying that Southern Baptists (of which I am one) are "people of the book." The claim is that Baptists are people who live by the bible. I'm guessing that it is Southern Baptists who most often refer to us this way.

When I think about this claim, I wonder what basis we use to say this. Do we really believe that we have things so figured out that we can say that we live by the book, and at least imply that others do not? For example, are we absolutely certain that we are correct about baptism and others (such as bible-believing Presbyterians) are not? Are they not trying to live by scripture as well?

Additionally, and more troubling, there are many areas where we as Southern Baptists as a group fall short of biblical standards. One of the most glaring areas is our ecclesiology. The more time I spend in Southern Baptist churches, the more I realize that the way we live as the church of God is often driven much more by tradition than by scripture.

In the bible, we see the church as a united body of believers in Jesus Christ living together, sharing their lives together, caring for the poor and hurting, and boldly and lovingly proclaiming the gospel to the lost. When we look at many (not all) of our Southern Baptist churches, we see people who love each other, but do not necessarily share life together. We see people who gather more for worship than for edification. We see much ceremony, but often times little substance. We see expository preaching, but lack of reaching out to the poor and hurting. We see our folks learning step-by-step plans of salvation instead of just living out a lifestyle of evangelism.

I realize these are generalizations. There are some SBC local churches that are really trying to be biblical. They are striving to follow not just what is commanded in scripture, but also what is modeled.

Regrettably, most churches within our convention appear to be unwilling to even ask hard questions of themselves. They just won't change to be biblical in practice because it would be too uncomfortable.

Since this is the case, we need to not be so fast to proclaim ourselves to be "people of the book." It seems that we are trying to live by the parts of the bible we choose. We are living by only segments of the book.

Maybe we should instead call ourselves just "people of the ook."

Helpful Instructional Video (Just for Fun)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Study Says Women More Spiritual Than Men

The Pew Forum has data that shows what we probably already know: women are, at least statistically speaking, more spiritual than men. The numbers are clear in each category. So here's the question I have: Why are women more spiritual than men? What do you think?

To visit the Pew Forum site, click here.

Deacons Being Deacons

This past Sunday our church family was blessed to be led in our worship service by Simple Grace (the Hitch family musicians). After the service, the Hitches wanted to get back on the road to head home to Nebraska. One problem: they had a serious transmission fluid leak in their van. Since it was Sunday, it looked like they would have to wait until at least Monday to begin the long trip back to the Midwest. This would have been no big deal, but several of the Hitches are flying this coming Sunday to Haiti on a mission trip. They needed to get home as soon as possible.

In stepped one of our deacons. I'll omit his name; he wouldn't want me to post it. For the sake of this post, I'll refer to him as "John." He acted out being a deacon.

After the service I walked outside to look at the van situation. All I could see of John was the lower section of his legs. The rest of his body was under the van. He was trying to get a 5 foot long hose/pipe off the bottom of the vehicle. It did not look pleasant. In fact, it liked downright dirty.

After a while, I went home to rest a bit and prepare for the evening. John remained at the van. I'm told that after he removed the hose/pipe, he contacted someone he knew, and persuaded him to make a new one right then. John also even managed to get the hose/pipe maker to just charge his normal rate for the new part instead asking more because it was the weekend.

In all, John sacrificed about seven hours of his Sunday in order to help the Hitches get back on the road. After talking to him about it, I could tell that he was pleased to do it.

John was a deacon being a deacon. His example is a good one for all of us. May we all serve one another to build up the body of Christ. May we all be deacons to one another.

Sonic Flood in India - "Cry Holy"

Click here to watch Sonic Flood perform "Cry Holy" while in various parts of India. I love this video because of all the different scenes within India itself.

Wouldn't it be amazing if one day we would see many of the billion souls in India come to Christ? Let's pray that we see that day. If it can happen in China (and it is), then it can happen in India as well.

More Evolutionary Nonsense

Here we go again. The BBC today is reporting the following, "The earliest footprints showing evidence of modern human foot anatomy and gait have been unearthed in Kenya." These footprints are reported to be 1.5 million-years-old.

At least the report was honest about one thing, saying, "Exactly how that more ape-like foot developed into its modern version has remained unclear." As with the rest of evolutionary theory, much remains unclear. This is, of course, because it's not true.

To read this "news," click here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Helpful Creationism Resource

If you or anyone in your family or church body has questions related to creationism, evolution, intelligent design, science, etc., there is a helpful place to look for answers. Answers in Genesis is a Christian ministry that holds to a literal interpretation of the creation account of the bible. AIG has a helpful link on its website called simply Get Answers. I encourage you to check it out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Evolution Leads to a Meaningless Life

In this 200th year after the birth of Charles Darwin, it is helpful to ask what evolution, if it were true, would lead us to. If life is nothing more than random chance, natural selection, survival of the fittest, and a series of meaningless biochemical interactions, then what do we have to live for?

If Darwin's theory is correct, then we are absolutely alone in this universe. If he is correct, then life has no higher meaning. If Darwin had life figured out, then life has no meaning whatsoever. We are a mistake that begins when we are conceived and ends when we die. Our lives have no significance at all.

If Darwin is right and life is meaningless, where does this leave us? When our circumstances are going well and life is relatively easy, then we might be able to ignore the insignificance of our existence. But what about when things go badly?

When our lives take a turn for the worse and we lose our job, a loved one dies, we get sick, our spouse runs away with someone else, we go bankrupt, etc., what then? If Darwin was right, then we have no hope outside this world. Evolution automatically demands that we are living a meaningless life. This is a life that has no hope of getting any better based on the influence of any higher power. Therefore, at the most basic level, when things go badly for us we have no hope of things getting better unless someone here rescues us. What do we do if we have no one here who is powerful enough to help?

The combination of the meaninglessness of life and the lack of hope should logically lead to abject despair. Abject despair ought to logically lead to suicide. This may sound like an overstatement to some readers, but it appears to me to be the logical endgame of evolution.

Evolution is part of a worldview that has no hope.

As Christians, we have hope. This hope is based not on desire or dreams, but on fact. The fact is the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our hope also rests in the fact that Jesus is going to return. Titus 2:13 tells us, "...waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."

Let us continue the discussion with evolutionists. May we proclaim the truth in love. We have the facts on our side.

We also have hope.

Powerful Video on the Persecution of Christians in India

In August 2008, terrible persecution broke out against Christians in the Orissa state of India. Despite being innocent of any wrongdoing, the Christians in Orissa have faced the wrath of radical Hindus.

Watch this short, powerful video to see what happened and how the Christians there are dealing with it.

Let's remember to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who face persecution as part of their daily lives. "Remember the prisoners as if chained with them -- those who are mistreated -- since you yourselves are in the body also." Hebrews 13:3

Monday, February 23, 2009

Missionary Knows His Former Religion is "Absurd"

When we lived in India, we knew many devout followers of the Hindu faith. Despite their sincerity and devotion, their religion seemed empty, impersonal, and ridiculous to me.

One missionary in New England, who is a former Hindu, agrees with me. In fact, in this article he refers to Hinduism as absurd. Now that he knows Jesus as Lord and Savior, his goal is to share Christ with Hindus (and Muslims) in the Boston area.

Simply Blessed

Yesterday as our church family gathered for worship and edification, we were greatly blessed by the Hitch family of Martell, Nebraska. The Hitches are an extremely talented family of musicians who travel the country proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in song.

Jim and Kathy Hitch's family ministry is named Simple Grace. This is an appropriate moniker for this godly family of two parents and eight children. Five of their kids (Avery, Lucas, Sterling, Havilah, and Bristol) still travel with the family.

The aspect of the Hitch ministry that impresses me the most is not the talent (although that is impressive), but is instead this family's humility. Even as they showed us just how good they are musically, their focus was steadfastly on Jesus Christ. They also put their money where their mouth is by trusting in the Lord to provide for their needs.

To visit the Simple Grace Ministries website, click here.

We thank God for the Hitch family's visit to our church, and look forward to it again next year.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Absurd, Sad, and Scary: Obama More Popular than Jesus

In a recent poll, President Obama came in ahead of Jesus in popularity. I realize Obama is new and hip, but can he save people from their sins, too?

This is just another sign of the downward spiritual and moral direction this country is headed.

Even more troubling is that God (who this poll differentiated from Jesus) placed 11th. This falls below the likes of John McCain, John F. Kennedy, U.S. Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger, and Mother Teresa.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Death Before Sin?

With this being the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, there will undoubtedly be much discussion this year (there already is) of his impact upon modern society. Since 2009 is also the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species, Darwin will be difficult to ignore.

It does not surprise me that secularists in general and atheists in particular believe in evolution. It only makes sense that people who do not know Jesus Christ will also hold faulty views about the beginnings of the universe.

It does surprise and trouble me that some Christians believe that God used evolutionary methods to bring His creation into existence. I've heard this many times from people who I have no doubt are followers of Jesus Christ. I believe that these Christians mean well. They are trying to in some way reconcile the differences between Christian theism and secular-naturalistic beliefs about the beginnings of the world.

Despite their good intentions, Christians who believe in some sort of evolution (macroevolution, not microevolution) have a big theological problem on their hands. The big problem is this: in their view, death MUST come before sin. If plants and animals existed for millions of years prior to the first humans, then there must have been a great deal of death before any humans walked the earth.

Romans 5:12 makes this clear. Paul writes, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned..." (ESV)

The bible tells us that death is a consequence of sin. Death comes from sin. In fact, this is what we see when we give a literal reading to Genesis 1-2.

A related problem for Christians who hold to evolution is this: if death comes before sin in Genesis 1-2, then to be consistent it seems that death must still exist in Revelation 21-22. Is the Christian/evolutionist ready to say that death will exist after sin is done away with by Christ? We certainly can't believe that this will be the case.

It saddens me that many Christians are willing to sacrifice theological truth on the altar of secular scientific theory. Christians must realize that evolution today is pushed and promoted by secularists. It is secular scientists who are trying to force their beliefs on our culture. On the other hand, many scientists who are also Christians believe that the objective scientific data corresponds closely with a literal reading of Genesis 1-2.

It is a great biblical truth that death only came after sin. We also know that after sin is gone, death will be gone as well.

I have never once heard a good answer from a Christian/evolutionist as to how death can come before sin.

I'm still waiting.

(For a great deal of excellent information on Creationism, go to

Monday, February 16, 2009

What is a Pilgrim?

When we as Americans hear the word "pilgrim," we may think of the brave souls who ventured across the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower in 1620. After all, a pilgrim is someone who is traveling through a place and is on his way somewhere else. This could certainly apply to those on the Mayflower.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all pilgrims. This world is not our home. Paul tells us this in Philippians 3:20. Peter also makes this clear as he begins his first letter. In I Peter 1:1, Peter writes (NKJV), "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." Other translations use "exiles," "aliens," "strangers," "sojourners," and "temporary residents." Peter's point is that this world is not our home. As Christians, we should not feel at home here. Considering the persecution the recipients of this letter were facing, we can guess that they were not too comfortable here.

What about us? How comfortable are we in this world? If this world feels very welcoming and pleasant to us, what does that say about our walk with Christ?

The title of this blog (A Pilgrim's Progress) was inspired by John Bunyan's classic novel The Pilgrim's Progress. As Christian in that story was not comfortable in this world, may we not be comfortable here either.

Back to Blogger

A few months ago I stopped using Blogger because our church began a new website. I wanted to incorporate where I blogged with that site. Well, it turns out that the blog function connected to the church website is limited in what it can do. Blogger can do much more. Therefore, I'm back to Blogger.