Tag Archives: heresy
Some Musings on Hebrews 13 (Part 6)
Today’s Challenge: Strange teachings abound — and wait to carry away the follower of Jesus. Get your heart strengthened by grace — and feast on His saving mercy!
Some Satire from the Babylon Bee!
HOUSTON, TX—On a video posted to his Facebook page Thursday, a relieved Joel Osteen announced that he’s tested negative for biblically faithful Christianity.
A nervous Osteen had accidentally come into contact with the Bible several days prior and feared he had contracted the gospel.
“I’m relieved to announce that I’m 100% gospel-free,” the smiling pastor said. He’d been quarantining himself from friends and family for a few days just in case he was gospel-positive, not wanting the gospel to spread to anyone else. “My hand had briefly brushed against the Bible, as I thought it was one of my books. We’ve disposed of it, of course, and I’ve notified all the people I’ve come into contact with since then so they could quarantine.”
“I’m just glad I’m still safe from the truth that I’m a hopeless sinner in need of a savior.”
Osteen has, however, tested positive for a novel prosperity gospel virus — a new but still very deadly mutation of an ancient heresy.
Habits of Holiness: #5- Engaging with Unbelief?
“Sorry, only six months!” “SIX MONTHS TO LIVE, Doc?” “That’s right. Say, you could use some of that time to engage with some unbelievers who are attacking the Christian faith!” “Okay, Doc,” I said, as I left his office with only 180 days left on this earth.
What if I, what if you, had only six months to live? How would your life be different over the next 180 days?
Several holy habits ought to mark each of us if we are followers of Jesus. We must spend time in His Word; we must take prayer much more seriously than we do; we must follow Jesus’ example and be a friend of sinners; and we must look for opportunities to disciple others!
Another holy habit, I would suggest, applies to those who have been believers for a while. There are some strong challenges to the gospel, the reliability of the Bible, and the exclusivity of Jesus. Titus 1:11 says, “They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.” False teaching and teachers must be confronted. And Christian leaders need to read books they know will boil their blood before they get past the preface (my definition of a “boiling book”).
Here are some of the books I’ve read that challenge my Christian convictions. I don’t read these books for spiritual nourishment (much of their content is spiritual poison).
Here are a few books by the false teacher Spong:If you’ve been a believer for a few years, you need to read some books that don’t agree with your Christian convictions, especially if some of your unsaved friends are being influenced by them. Faithful readers of this blog know that I did a 22-post review of Michael Thielen’s book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?
Here’s an assignment: Ask your unsaved friend what he or she has been reading. Unless it’s a novel, tell them you want to read the same book and discuss it sometime. Then do it!
A Spiritually Healthy Family (A Study of the Epistle to Titus) (Part 2 of 5)
Family Camp at Camp Elim in Woodland Park, Colorado, is taking place on May 25-27. We’re thinking through the five messages that I will share with those families who attend.
The Bible, of course, has much to say about being spiritually healthy. We are a health-obsessed culture, aren’t we? I love the little book by Dave Barry entitled Stay Fit and Healthy Until You’re Dead! But what about our spiritual health?
God’s Word has so much to say to individuals and families about being spiritually healthy. If all 66 books of the Bible are the Word of God, and if God cares about our families, then it is reasonable to pick any book of the Bible and ask, “How can the truths of this book help me lead and develop a spiritually healthy family?” We read in 2 Timothy 3:
Let’s take a second look at the first chapter of Titus:
We have already seen that the spiritually healthy family cares deeply about the local church. Let’s notice a second truth from this passage and it is this —
The Spiritually-Healthy Family —
II. Recognizes False Teaching in Its Many Forms and Opposes It (vv. 10-16)
A. Not All Will Believe the Truth of the Gospel (v. 10)
How we respond to unbelievers is critical! We are here for them — but we protect ourselves from their rebellion by being faithful to the Word.
B. Disruptive Error Must Be Confronted and Corrected (vv. 11-14)
Those who are moving on in spiritual maturity must confront false teaching among God’s people, because ideas have consequences!
C. Unbelief Corrupts! (vv. 15-16)
Unbelief in God’s family is not innocuous. Those who claim to know God must be trained in the truth.
(We will continue this five-part series over the next few days)
The Heresies of Bishop John Shelby Spong
Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 2 Part 2)
Going to Korea! (I wonder if they will use me in their peace talks?!). I get to teach the book of Galatians to undergrads at the Word of Life Bible Institute on Jeju Island (see red circle below)!
Working our way through this six-chapter letter, we have noticed the first theme in chapter two, Paul’s sense of accountability to leadership (vv. 1-10).
Let’s now see a second theme: We should oppose any compromise of the gospel! We get Paul’s report of his confrontation with Cephas [why does Paul refer to Peter with that name?)]. Paul “opposed him to his face”! What was Cephas’ sin?
The answer is that he was compromising the gospel by not eating with Gentile believers! Cephas was unduly influenced by some in the “circumcision group” and other Jews (including Barnabas) were “led astray” (v. 13).
This compromise led to “not acting in line with the truth of the gospel” (v. 14). The primary point is that of justification. Is one justified by faith or by the works of the law (v. 16)?
The law brings DEATH (vv. 19-20), but Christ brings LIFE (v. 20). Trying to be justified by keeping the law means that one “sets aside the grace of God” — and that is something no missionary should ever do!
Back to the Basics! Introductory Matters #4 Heresy!
Before we study the areas of Bibliology (revelation and the Scriptures), Theology Proper (the doctrine of God), Christology (the doctrine of Christ), etc., we need to talk about some preliminary issues.
We’ve talked a bit about faith, the need to struggle for the truth, and the concept of belief. Belief in the Bible is not gullibility, but a reasoned decision to align oneself with God’s reality.
The opposite of truth, of course, is heresy, a word that means “choice.” Why are Jehovah’s Witnesses heretics? They affirm the existence of God, the inspiration of the Bible, and the need of salvation. They are heretics because they choose to deny the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of the Lord Jesus, and salvation by grace alone through faith alone.
“Heretic” is a strong word conjuring up images of people being burned at the stake. But heresy, untruth, is all around us. It may take the form of a formal denial of biblical truth or the spirit of the age which tells us to live for ourselves.
Jude writes to urge us “to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” And that sometimes involves dealing with heresies.
(I’ve written a short booklet entitled Whatever Happened to Heresy which you can order here).
Time for a Great Cartoon (Reading)
What have you been reading lately? READING is a Christian discipline which needs to be cultivated and practiced. It is so easy to allow others to do our thinking for us, don’t you agree?
I’m all for reading good Christian books — and I’ve written a few over the years. But I believe it is also important to read books that are not from a Christian perspective. Brand new believers need their reading diet to be from strong and sound books that help them grow in their Christian lives.
For those of us who have been believers for a while, it is quite likely that some of our non-Christian friends are reading books that we too need to read. Some of those books are direct attacks on our Christian faith. I call these “books that will boil your blood before you get past the preface”! Here are some of those books which I’ve read over the last few years:
Each of these books challenges some major areas of Christian faith. What books are YOU reading that challenge you to think more deeply about your beliefs?