Is theology arrogance?

“Doing theology” often implies that we understand God better than the apostles or their disciples, and Jesus would really have benefited from a background in textual criticism. But has everything orthodox already been taught? Read the rest of this entry »

Subtract before adding

We think we need God to add, but instead, we need to subtract. We need to turn around, to go home, to go back to become the people we were meant to be. “Fill my cup, Lord,” we sing, except that we’ve already filled it ourselves. “Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,” we sing, except that we’re already guiding ourselves.

Spreading the gospel of Jesus and American pharmaceuticals

Though American Christians may not believe that our culture is inspired, we often act like it. Some missionaries have actually helped reduce belief in the supernatural by teaching their Western worldview in contradiction to the Biblical worldview: “You don’t need to pray much about that, because we can give you a pill.”

I like what one village chieftain said when a Westerner explained that disease was not caused by evil spirits, but by germs that enter the body. He smiled and replied, “Okay, then what makes the germs enter the body?”

On a related note, some Bible teachers explain the Levitical test for an unfaithful wife by theorizing that a guilty person might be more likely to get sick.

In a real sense, the villagers had it right even before the missionaries arrived. Sickness is caused by spirits.

Don’t get specific with me.

What makes the gospel offensive is sometimes not its message but its specificity. We aren’t bothered by generalities about spirituality, but we bristle at specifics about our own lives. Read the rest of this entry »

How glad I was that I had kissed you once more.

“It is now all over, I soon shall have conquered my last enemy… Oh my dear sister, how glad I was that I had kissed you once more.”

– Janneken Munstdorp, Martyrs Mirror, p. 990

False conversion

Baptists usually believe in eternal security or persistence of the saints. That is, once you are saved, you’re always saved. Yet a Baptist prison chaplain says that he finds the same percentage of Baptists in jail as out of jail. Same percentage of Methodists, same percentage of Catholics.

So what’s the problem? A Baptist preacher once said, “We’ve spent too many years telling people they can never lose what they never had.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t be contented.

“Complacency is the deadly enemy of spiritual progress. The contented soul is the stagnant soul.”

A.W. Tozer

Marionettes without a puppeteer

More than anyone else, I guess, I’m concerned for people who seem to have no motivating force in their lives. They remind me of marionettes without a puppeteer. In the hands of a master, nearly every string of a marionette is taut, ready for action, ready for movement. In the bottom of his box, every string of a marionette is slack, not only unmoving but unready to be moved. People who are empowered by the Holy Spirit seem ready to respond to their master’s slightest motion, without the slightest warning.