The Great American Bible Challenge

Bible Pages

I had the privilege of writing a guest post for Seventy8 Productions today.

GSN has launched a new game show “thirty-four hundred years in the making.” Hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, The American Bible Challenge offers contestants the chance to show off their knowledge of Bible trivia and win money for their favorite charities.

There seems to be plenty to like about this show. No doubt it will be a fun, clean program for families to enjoy. It’s great that the contestants aren’t just earning prizes for themselves. And perhaps a few folks will even be introduced the God of the Bible as a result of all this. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder if such a show is not an indicator of a widespread problem among Christians today.

Continue reading at Seventy8 Productions.

Do We “Accept” or “Receive” the Word?

Sower

Unfounded Claims

Sometimes well-meaning Christians make claims which simply are not accurate. Their intentions are good, but their conclusions are based on their own reasoning rather than the Bible.

I have heard many say that it is wrong to use the word accept when speaking of salvation. Rather, they say, we must use the word receive.

Their thinking is that the word accept places too much emphasis on man, while receive keeps all the focus on God. This is admirable, but it is not biblical.

In fact, Jesus made quite the opposite distinction.

Did Jonah Die in the Belly of the Whale?

Jonah

Jonah

People have long wondered how Jonah could have lived for three days inside the belly of a fish. Upon being swallowed, he would have faced being crushed, digested, and suffocated.

It would have truly taken a miraculous intervention for Jonah to survive.

I have absolutely no doubt that God could have overridden the laws of nature to allow Jonah to stay alive during that time. But I wonder if that’s really the best explanation.

The Gift of Tongues in 1 Corinthians 14

Paul

1 Corinthians 14

This is the fifth post in an ongoing discussion about spiritual gifts. I started by explaining why I am neither a cessationist nor a charismatic. I then established the biblical definition for tongues in from Acts. Yesterday, I examined the gift of tongues as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12–13. And today I will go through each reference in 1 Corinthians 14. Please read the previous articles before continuing.

In chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians, Paul really focused on the prideful use of the gift of tongues (languages). The gift was intended as a sign for unbelievers first and for building up the church second. Yet the Corinthian believers were doing neither of those, seeking rather to selfishly build up themselves.

The Gift of Tongues in 1 Corinthians 12–13

Paul

1 Corinthians 12–13

This is the fourth post in a series on spiritual gifts. I would recommend that you read the previous posts before reading this one, “Why I Am Not a Cessationist,” “Why I Am Not a Charismatic,” and “The Gift of Tongues in Acts.”

At the very least, please do read the post about Acts, as it is essential to have a biblical definition of tongues from Acts before trying to understand tongues in 1 Corinthians.

The Gift of Tongues in Acts

Pentecost

Acts

This post continues a series on spiritual gifts. If you have not yet done so, please read “Why I Am Not a Charismatic” as an introduction to this post.

Today, I am going to examine the gift of tongues as found in Acts.

The Day of Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech. (Acts 2:1–4, HCSB)

Why I Am Not a Charismatic

Hands Raised

Tongues

This post is a continuation from my earlier post, “Why I Am Not a Cessationist,” and it is in participation with another post on Donald’s blog, Covenantal Organic Christianity [no longer available].

Over the next few posts, I will present my understanding of the gift of tongues and why I believe they must be intelligible languages. This is why I do not consider myself to be a charismatic.

Please note that while we may have different understandings about this, I consider the issue of tongues to be a relatively small matter. In no way do I wish to demean those who believe they speak in them, nor do I feel any need to break fellowship with such people.

Why I Am Not a Cessationist

A Gift

Spiritual Gifts

This post came about in part as the result of a discussion in the comments of a post on Alan Knox’s blog that transferred into a post on Donald Borsch Jr.’s blog [no longer available]. Expect more to follow on the topic of spiritual gifts.

Cessationism

Cessationism is the idea that certain spiritual gifts, such as tongues and healing, though given to the church in the past, are no longer given today. I do not hold to this idea for the simple reason that I see no scriptural basis for such an assumption. We have the same Spirit inside us today that the early Christians had, and God is just as capable of giving the same gifts.

How to Get (Almost) Any Book Free

Books

Update: I started a new blog with daily updates for free Christian books. Check it out at www.christianbooksfree.com!

Books

I love reading books.

I love reading the Bible, first and foremost, but my next favorite things to read are non-inspired books.

The problem is that books usually cost money.

Thankfully, I’ve found several ways to get free books. So I’d like to share a few of them with you now.

Why Don’t I Capitalize Divine Pronouns?

Writing

Can Pronouns Be Divine?

A “divine pronoun” is simply a pronoun (you, he, etc.) that refers to God. Quite a few people believe we ought to capitalize such pronouns out of reverence for God. I am not one of those people.

It is not my purpose to attack those who who hold to this belief. Nor do I intend to convince you against capitalizing divine pronouns. Rather, I would just like to explain why I have chosen not to do so in my own writings.

The Kingdom According to Jesus (Book Review)

The Kingdom According to Jesus

Gregory Johnson has a passion for the kingdom of God. He desires to see the church truly live according to kingdom principles. But as stated on the back cover of his book, The Kingdom According to Jesus, “Church today is not always what Christ intended it to be.” I could not agree more with his premise, and Greg has done a great job of fleshing it out in a number of specific areas.

He started by answering the question, “What is the Kingdom of God?” Johnson wrote, “God did not define His Kingdom to us in the old covenant, nor has He revealed His Kingdom to us through church doctrines and traditions. Instead, God revealed His Kingdom to us in the person of Jesus Christ.” He continued, “We must explore Scripture, which enlightens us to the teachings and the life of Christ, developing in us a solid understanding of the Kingdom.”

God’s Attributes as Defined by His Actions (Not the Other Way Around)

Attributes of God

God

God is loving. God is just. God is gracious. God is holy.

These and more are absolutely true of Yahweh, the God we serve. We know that these attributes belong to God because they have been revealed as such in the Scriptures. We know what these attributes mean based on God’s actions revealed in the Scriptures. Yet so often it seems that we try to assign actions to God based on his attributes.

Brothers, we dare not do so.

I Blame Traditions

A Cathedral

I want to highlight an excellent post by Alan Knox today. The title is a mouthful, but it’s well worth the read. “Unity – like love – is part of God’s nature – but not always part of God’s children: Why do God’s children struggle so much to demonstrate that unity – or love?” In it, he wrote the following:

The problem is not with our traditions or their traditions. The problem is not with our hierarchy or their hierarchy. The problem is not with our denomination or their denomination. The problem is not with our system of theology or their system of theology.

The problem is with submission to God as his child and living in the power of the Spirit in order to demonstrate the nature of God – which includes unity with God and unity with his children.

Why Do You Read the Bible?

Reading

Reading the Bible

I had a brief discussion on Twitter this morning about reading the Bible. Someone I follow posted a quote by John Piper saying, “If you are having trouble reading your Bible with deep and affecting meaning, imagine that you will die in about eight hours.” I found this to be a rather odd statement. If I knew I was going home in eight hours, reading the Bible would be the last thing on my mind.

Now please remember, I’m as committed to God’s revealed word as they come. I absolutely believe that children of God should be reading the Bible and reading it often. But I fear that many do so for the wrong reasons.

Free Book: Dreaming of More for the Next Generation

Dreaming of More for the Next Generation

Free eBooks

David C Cook gives away a free eBook every week. The one for this week is called Dreaming of More for the Next Generation by Michelle Anthony. I have not read it yet, but it looks like it may be good enough to be worth sharing. I may review it at some point, but I’m going through several other books right now, and the giveaway only lasts for a week.

Dreaming of More

The website describes the book as follows:

Filled with stories from one ministry professional to another, Dreaming of More for the Next Generation includes practical ways to equip parents to partner with the church in faith formation, inspiration and ideas for incorporating remembrance and celebration, creative ways to motivate children and teenagers to step out of their comfort zones and rely on the Holy Spirit, and insight into how God uses each person’s life as part of a unique story that is told throughout the generations.

“Give to Everyone Who Asks of You”

Give

A Command

“Give to everyone who asks of you.” (Luke 6:30, NASB)

What if we actually obeyed this command from Jesus? What if we obeyed it all the time?

The command is very simple. It’s perfectly straightforward, requiring no level of hermeneutical skill to interpret and understand. Yet among many who claim to follow Christ, this command is almost entirely ignored.

What If Someone Never Hears the Gospel?

Tribesmen

Recap

Yesterday, I addressed the question, “Is the Age of Accountability Biblical?” I concluded with the idea that the answer depends upon having a right view of the atonement. I believe, based largely on 1 John 2:2, that atonement was made for all mankind. Christ’s sacrifice has already provided forgiveness for all of our sins, thus we are not eternally punished for them. Rather, such punishment can only be the result of rejecting Jesus and the salvation he provided. If you have not already done so, please read my post from yesterday before continuing.

After posting, I received many excellent comments. I really do appreciate the feedback, so thank you! I’m now going to address one of the questions that was raised.

Is the Age of Accountability Biblical?

Child

Age of Accountability

This is a response to a question I received on Facebook. Kevin asked the following:

I have always wondered about the idea of “The Age of Accountability.” As I have younger ones, I read Scripture and study with them. I am just curious as to the origins of this idea.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, the age of accountability (hereafter referred to as AOA) is the idea that children who die before a certain age (or maturity level) do not go to hell, since they never had the chance to choose Jesus for themselves.

Happy Chick-fil-A Day!

Chick-fil-A

You can blame Dan Cathy for my short blog post today. I didn’t have a chance to write one last night, and that always means writing one on lunch break. But my lunch break today is going to being taken at Chick-fil-A!

I’m not normally one to get caught up in boycotts or support movements, but I really do appreciate the stand that the Cathys are willing to take on the biblical definition of marriage. I also worked at a Chick-fil-A for a summer, so I suppose I still have a bit of loyalty from that. But do you want to know the real reason I’ll be dining there today?

They make great food! (Seriously, who doesn’t love those waffle fries?)