Today’s heresy is related to my theory of proportional discipleship, that no Christian’s devotion to God should be more than one standard deviation above society in general. Today’s heresy suggests that God is bound by a similar rule. He will never say anything or ask you to do anything that’s more than one standard deviation outside your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is sacred and God will never violate it. Continue reading “God would never make you uncomfortable.”
Category: Common Heresies
A corollary of the common heresy of proportional atonement is the heresy of proportional repentance. That says that you only have to repent of the bad things about you. But there are many good things about you. You don’t have to repent of them.
Continue reading “Proportional repentance”
Are you holier than God?
Why do we allow deliberate mistranslations of the word of God simply because we are too delicate and pure to read it?
When Isaiah says our human righteousness is like “filthy rags,” he wasn’t talking about anything you get when you change the oil in your car.
When Paul said that he counted his previous righteousness as “loss,” he wasn’t talking about anything you’ll find in the lost and found.
The Greeting Card Theory of Biblical Authorship
To understand a passage in the Bible, you need to understand who it was written to and what it’s used for. So of course, many verses in the Bible should be understand as greeting card messages.
That means the Bible is: Continue reading “The Greeting Card Theory of Biblical Authorship”
The Purple Haze Theory of Biblical Authorship
One of the most common heresies about the Bible is that it was written by people who weren’t as aware as us or as smart as us. For example, some have taught that the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus was originated by people who didn’t know where babies come from. C.S. Lewis points out that all adults know where babies come from. Continue reading “The Purple Haze Theory of Biblical Authorship”
What Would Jesus Build?
Let’s set aside for the moment the fact that the Son of Man had no place to lay his head. If Jesus was a carpenter, a contractor, what kind of church building would he create?
Maybe a white wooden church with a steeple, so that religious people would feel comfortable.
Maybe a large modern brick edifice, so that powerful people would feel comfortable.
Maybe a sprawling metal building, so that the budget committee would feel comfortable.
After all, we all know how important it was for Jesus to make people feel powerful, or religious, or frugal.
The Hidden Gospel of Indices
Forget about the secret and lost gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalene, and Judas. If 1st century Christians thought they were God-inspired, they would have made more than one copy of them, no? (Thousands of early copies of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have been preserved, in spite of official persecution from church and state).
No, there is another gospel, a different gospel with a greater appeal to conservative American Christians – and it’s even included in many editions of the Bible. Continue reading “The Hidden Gospel of Indices”
What Would Jesus Listen To?
Not to miss any opportunity to squeeze Jesus Christ into the mold of American popular culture, let’s produce yet another intimate film of his life – and accompany each scene with a song from Christian radio. I’m sure we could make them all fit somehow.
Which scene in Jesus’s life would be enhanced by Christian hip hop? When was Jesus the most rebellious?
Which scene would be typified by gospel elevator music? When was Jesus the most passive?
Which scene should be accompanied by sweeping choral music? When was Jesus the most proud?
Okay, maybe this won’t work after all.
This heresy, which I’ve called proportional discipleship, mandates that a person’s commitment to the kingdom of God should not exceed the average spiritual level of the surrounding society by more than one standard deviation. Continue reading “Proportional discipleship”
Be half-filled with the Spirit
Being completely filled (controlled, dominated, etc.) by the Holy Spirit of God can be inconvenient and difficult. What if customarily you prefer to be filled with something else, perhaps yourself? What if you fear, with good reason, that the Lord of the Universe will guide you into personally-compromising places? Continue reading “Be half-filled with the Spirit”