Why I Hate Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Myspace?!?

Okay. Admittedly, no one uses Myspace anymore. At least I hope not. Either way, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. As of right now, the only social media outlet I use is Facebook. However, I would use all of the ones I mentioned. Bit by bit I started dropping each one as everyone around me in my age group (I’m 21) would use them more and more. To be honest, I don’t even like social media many times. Here’s my reasons.

  1. It depresses me

I can admittedly say that I had a very bad technology habit. Every time I would get on my phone, one by one, I would check each of these outlets to see if I had some sort of notification and to see mostly the unimportant issues of those around me. I started doing this a lot. I used it every time I woke up, and every night before bed. Now listen, a lot of young people are doing exactly these things but in this case, it started getting to me. It actually started depressing me. For almost half of last year, I wanted to make the switch to a basic phone. The question was, would I actually do it? No one believed I would do it. I didn’t even believe I would do it! But I remember telling my wife (before she became my wife) “I hate the feeling of feeling victimized by my own phone.” Which leads me to my second reason.

2. It victimized me

I had the feeling that my phone had a certain control over me and I hated it. I felt enslaved to my own phone. “Well David, why didn’t you use some self-control?!?” That was the problem, I felt it was already lost. I attempted various times to use my phone less, but very slowly and surely, I would go back to using it like before. Back to the outlets of social media. Eventually, outlets like Instagram and Snapchat began to bore me. I didn’t even take the time to delete them. That’s how much I didn’t care about them. I like Twitter very much, but no one I hung with would really use Twitter. Bit by bit I would cut myself off. Yet, with some sort of feeling of enslavement to my phone. Eventually, I did make the switch to a basic phone, to the surprise of everyone and myself. I was very happy with my decision.

At last, this made my love/hate relationship with social media. I told my wife that if my ministry contacts weren’t on Facebook, I probably wouldn’t use it anymore. I know that eventually, I’ll go back to a smart phone, when I have some self-control! But today isn’t that day, and it probably isn’t soon. And I am quite happy about that.

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The Demon Problem

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This isn’t the introduction to a series (or maybe it is), but in the past weeks I’ve felt the need to refresh myself on my demonology. This is a very complex issue, even within Christendom. The first thing I want look at is what was the biblical worldview on this topic. Let’s look at a couple of verses.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. -Ephesians 6:11-12 KJV

Similar to the topic of God and other spiritual beings such as angels, the Bible doesn’t try to prove the existence of demons; it already presupposes their existence.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, -1 Timothy 4:1

The definition of demon is a malevolent spirit being, a fallen angel, or an unclean spirit. The word “demon” comes from the Koine Greek language, which was “δαιμόνιον” (daimonion).

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day -Jude 6

The traditional story is that Satan and his demons were once angels under God’s command. Through their rebellion, they were punished and condemned as evil spirits who will face God’s wrath and judgement for eternity.

Now we must note from these passages, and many others, that the biblical authors and characters believed in the existence of such beings. Even Jesus himself affirmed their existence with having the very first Christian exorcism ministry (Matthew 12:43-45, Luke 10:17, Mark 3:11, Luke 4:33-36, etc.). What we must notice is that the people of this time believed in the effects of such beings. They actually believed that these spirits had effects on their daily lives.

For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, did, again and again–but Satan blocked our way. -1 Thessalonians 2:18 NIV

How should the Bible’s teachings on this subject affect our way of thinking, especially in this modern age?

We’re living in the age of new psychological development and discoveries. Certainly, studies in mental health have gone a long way from what we previously knew. Because of this, many mental health specialists have been able to successfully treat mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety issues (though not in all cases). Even cases of schizophrenia, which was previously, and still is, thought by many to be caused by demonic forces, are now being treated in various ways by psychiatrists and other specialists. Apart from this, we must recognize Christianity’s huge influence on mental health. Christianity is a driving force of mental health, of which no other religion shares the same influence that it has. So with with new discoveries and developments in psychology, and Christianity being a force pushing that, have we as Christians left demons without a job? When was the last time you heard a sermon on demons? When was the last time you’ve heard a Christian counselor or therapist tell you that you might have a demonic problem? How many pastors have you met that have actually casted out a demon from someone? Not only that, but with the rise of modern media and Christianity trying to be relevant to the millennial generation, I’ve heard virtually no talk whatsoever on the subject of demonic beings. No one seems to be really concerned about that anymore. That subject has been left to the more fundamentalists groups who don’t allow drinking, tattoos, and other stuff, who are seen as less “sophisticated” and “cultured”. Yet, it seems to me that their way of thinking is more in line with Jesus’ teachings than most evangelicalism has taught on the subject. Though, obviously everyone can lend themselves to extremes.

One extreme is seeing demons behind every bush; the other one is seeing them no where.

Some Christians have tried to fix this by saying that no where in Scripture are we commanded to cast out demons, at least not in the epistles, and that this was only a command followed by Jesus and the early church as a sign of their ministry. Because of this, demons no longer possess people or cause supernatural things to happen like they did in the gospels, they just implicitly tempt you to the point where you can just “resist” them by prayer, bible reading, and going to church. So you shouldn’t expect exorcisms or “rebuking” demons anymore since the canon is finished and somehow, the canon being finished limited demons to only, again, implicitly tempt you.

My response to this teaching is simply as stated: no. This is not biblical teaching nor is it faithful to the biblical witness and the authors’ intentions. The Bible, nor experience, affirm such a teaching. This teaching, I believe, was damaging because it took away weapons from the believer’s arsenal; weapons such as the believer’s identity and authority over demonic beings. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t “resist” the devil by being faithful to our devotions and church attendance, as we must remember that the battlefield is in the mind. However, we must remember that we have an authority given to us by God to cast out demons and over “serpents and scorpions”. I can’t go too much in this topic now. However, questions arise.

How should we as Christians deal with the subject of demons? How come, it seems that the West has suffered a lot less from demonic oppression than other countries? If you were to encounter a demon or a demon possessed person, what would you do? If we affirm their existence as believers, then how do demons gain influence over people’s lives? Are encounters with demons only limited to people who’ve delved in the occult, or do demons have more influence than that? What is the occult? (I ask this question because practices such as yoga are considered by many to be part of the occult). If you believe you had a problem with demons, who would you go too? A pastor, therapist, priest, psychiatrist, etc.?

I didn’t bring up this subject because I’m obsessed about the devil nor to make Christians afraid of him. The reason I bring up this controversial subject is because the devil doesn’t play games with us; we shouldn’t either.

7 Benefits of the Blood of Jesus

“But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:11-12 NIV)

 

The concept of the blood of Jesus is based on the Old Testament model of the sacrificial system that God placed in order. The blood of animals was shed for the people of Israel to make atonement for their sins. This mystery, that became revelation in Christ, shows us the redemptive benefits that we get from the blood of Jesus. Here are 7 of them.

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  1. Justified

Romans 5:9  “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath”

We can imagine this like a courtroom. We are the defendant and we are being declared guilty. However, the blood of Jesus justifies us, making us righteous before God’s eyes.

  1. Redeemed

Ephesians 1:7  “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”  

We were we lost in our sins, but Jesus redeemed us with his precious blood. As a result, we have the forgiveness of sins.

  1. Purchased

1 Peter 1:18-19  “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

Silver and gold could not buy our salvation, so we were bought with the precious blood of Jesus.

  1. Peace with God

Colossians 1:19-20 “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

When we were living under the power of sin, we were enemies of God and under his wrath. However, through the blood of Jesus, we can have peace with God.

  1. Propitiation

Romans 3:25-26 “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

Jesus became our sacrificial lamb. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement that we receive by faith. As result, we have atonement.

  1. Relationship

Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Through Jesus’ blood, we are brought near to God and can have a personal relationship with God.

      7. Eternal life

John 6:54 “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Finally, we will live forever!

Should Talking about Abortion Put Us in the Fetal Position? (Interview)

1. What is your name and what is The Fetal Position?

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My name is Elijah Thompson. I am a follower of Christ, husband, father, podcaster, writer, videographer/marketer, and aspiring biologist. The fetal position is a bioethics podcast dedicated to defending the right to life of the unborn. Although I am a Christian, my podcast is secular; in that I do not rely on my Christian convictions in order to make the case for life.

2. Is this podcast and what you stand for really worth all this controversy?

Anytime there is a group of human beings being systematically slaughtered, it is a cause worth fighting. There is no doubt in my mind that I am doing good with the podcast/blog.

3. How would summarize the pro-life position?

I’m going to steal straight from Scott Klusendorf for this, because he does a great job summarizing it in a way that is memorizable. He says, “I am pro-life because the science of embryology teaches that from the earliest stages of development, you were a distinct, living, and whole human being. You weren’t part of another human being (like these skin cells on the back of my hand), you were yourself, a distinct, whole, living member of the human family. And you know what else? There is no essential difference between the embryo you were and the adult you are today that would justify killing you. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not good reasons for saying you could be killed then, but not now.” (you can find it here https://www.facebook.com/scott.klusendorf/posts/10154523133854780)

4. Is there scientific evidence for this position?

When there is science to consider, 100% of the science is on the pro-life side. Not all arguments about abortion are exclusively scientific, however. Some rely on philosophy (rights, bodily autonomy, etc). But the science is clear on what the unborn is. The unborn is a living, distinct, human organism from the point of conception forward. If a pro-choice advocate claims that the unborn isn’t human or alive or an organism, they are simply denying basic facts of biology. For this reason, I think all pro-choice advocates ought to argue philosophically, and avoid the science altogether.

5. Much of the pro-life argument is based on the assumption that the fetus is a person in the philosophical sense. Do you have any arguments supporting such a position?

There are a handful of arguments that support the personhood of the unborn child, and I go into much more details on this topic during my podcast. I believe the pro-life position ought to be the default, for a fairly simple reason. When we look at a crowd of people, we recognize that they have certain rights, but why? They differ in so many ways! Sizes, shapes, locations, ages, intelligence levels, etc. What exactly makes all of them equal? Well, it’s because they’re all human beings. The fact that they are human beings means they have a certain set of natural rights. Anyone within the human community ought to have those same rights, and those rights ought to be respected and upheld. Given the biological fact of the unborn’s humanity, we ought to recognize that they too have natural rights; and the most important natural right is the right to life. Without the right to life, we cannot ground any other right. If I have the natural right to life now, as an adult, I had that same right to life as a teenager. And as a child. And as a toddler. And as a newborn. And as a fetus. And as an embryo. I am the same entity today as I was the day after my conception.

6. What about the argument that since a woman is the one that’s pregnant, she has the right to decide what happens over the baby’s life?

This is often understood as the “right to bodily autonomy”. I cover this is great detail in episodes 8 and 9 of the podcast. But in summary, we have to recognize that the unborn child’s right to life is, in fact, in conflict with her mother’s right to bodily autonomy. We cannot ignore this. For this reason, we are in a moral dilemma. Simply ignoring this moral dilemma will make us seem like we don’t care about the woman involved, and obviously we do. But just because we recognize the existence of a moral dilemma doesn’t mean we autonomically assume that the unborn is the person whose rights ought to be violated. We can start by comparing the rights that might be violated, and it seems obvious to me that a woman’s bodily autonomy being temporary violated is morally superior to another person’s right to life being violated. Additionally, we have to ask the question, “does the pregnant woman really have 100% bodily autonomy?” This may seem controversial, but hear me out. Does a woman have the right to choose to take drugs that will disable her unborn son? It would be hard for me to find anyone who would say “yes” to that question. If a pregnant woman does not have the right to mutilate her unborn son, then she does not have 100% bodily autonomy. And if she can’t mutilate her unborn son, why is she allowed to kill him?Image result for fetus pregnant in womb

7. If we establish that the fetus is a person in the philosophical sense, would killing it constitute murder?

This initially seems like a bit of a tricky question initially, but I think when we examine the definition of murder, the answer is obvious. Murder is the unlawful premeditated killing of one human by another. Is the unborn human? Yes. Is abortion premeditated? Yes. But is abortion unlawful? Well… it depends on where you are and what the laws are. So the answer to the question might be yes, but it might also be no. If abortion is legal, then it is not murder. If abortion is illegal, then abortion is murder. Someone might object and say that there is a moral dimension to murder, and I don’t deny that. However, if we want to be accurate with our language, we should avoid saying that all abortion is murder. Plus, saying that abortion is murder implies that women who’ve had abortions are murderers. And while that may be true, we really have to make sure we tread carefully in this area because we don’t want people to become unnecessarily defensive. And I can think of few things more damning than being called a murderer.

8. http://wkrn.com/2016/01/28/baby-dies-after-mom-accused-of-using-meth-while-pregnant/ (Read article) This is a case that happened last year in my state. Would you say that any court would contradict itself in the sense that an abortion would’ve been perfectly fine but because she used meth while pregnant, it is now considered murder?

This is a hard question for me to answer, because I am unfamiliar with the abortion laws in Tennessee, as well as the circumstances in which this woman found herself when she engaged in the drug abuse that killed her child. In order to determine whether or not Tennessee would be hypocritical, we have to know the laws that we in place at the time of this event, as well as the woman’s situation. Murder has different “degrees” because circumstances play a role in determining whether or not someone is guilty of murder or manslaughter or neglect or whatever. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an expert on law. From a brief examination, Tennessee’s laws say that a woman must undergo counseling 48 hours before she obtains an abortion. She did not see any counseling, so in that area she is certainly going against state law. However, whether or not she used meth in order to kill her child is not clear from the article. It may have been accidental, which would place it outside of the “premeditated” category, and would therefore fall outside of the definition of murder we discussed in question 7. As you can tell, whether or not this particular case throws up any major flags isn’t something we can easily discern. So far, this question has taken me 3 or 4 times as long as any of the above questions, simply because of the complex nature of the case and the law. So I would exercise caution before diving into any conclusions about this case, or any other similar case.

9. We don’t need religion to argue for this position, but how come Christianity has become almost synonymous with the pro-life position?

I think it’s awesome that Christianity has become synonymous with being pro-life, and I am convinced it is because Christians believe that all human beings are created in the image of God and have a God-given right to life that ought not be violated, except under extreme circumstances. There is also somewhat of a group-think issue here too. If someone grows up surrounded by people who think a certain way, odds are they will also think that way. Obviously this isn’t true all the time, but there are statistical reasons to believe that people who “do life together” will have a similar answers to questions about abortion (and other similar topics). So I believe it to be a combination of a handful of things. Christian teaching of the value of human beings certainly plays a role, but that doesn’t mean all Christians are pro-life because they explicitly accept Christian teaching on the dignity of humanity.Image result for christian pro life

10. How should Christians respond?

Christians ought to respond with love. Obviously science and philosophy and persuasion, but ultimately we ought to respond to abortion with love. Not love for the act of slaughtering millions of children every year, but love to those who have had abortions, who believe abortion to be permissible, and yes… even to those who have performed abortions. This doesn’t mean that we ought to replace truth with love, but we ought to convey the truth with love. Oh and all Christians should listen to my podcast too. That seems obvious 😉

I’d like to thank Elijah Thompson for taking the time to answer these questions. Check out his podcast at www.thefetalpostion.com

The Anxious Christian

 

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Anxiety

What is anxiety?
anxiety- a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Anxiety is a feeling that no one enjoys and yet, it seems that the majority of the world are anxious about something. Why wouldn’t they be? There is a lot to worry about. Money, bills, relationships, politics, school, health, family, jobs, wars and much more. Though this emotion is seemingly negative, we tend to find a way to keep it within ourselves. It feels like a pending doom that looms over our minds, even if the outcome of our worries don’t come about. The writer was correct when they wrote these words. “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”

This quote places a certain reality in front of us. Essentially, worry is fruitless and it achieves very little.

“What about true worries?” Granted! There are people in this world that are thinking about when their next plate of food will come. How in the midst of the West’s prosperity, we are at times blinded to the poverty of a suffering world. There is men and women around the world that are starving and poor, not because they chose to be this way, but this was what life granted to them. However, even these genuine worries have lead to very negative outcomes. For example, we see the grand truth that poverty breeds crime. This is true in all nations.

When we look at the nature of anxiety and the outcomes it produces, how should we as Christians look at it? I believe we should ask a very important question.

Is anxiety a sin?
“So do not fear,” Isaiah 41:10
“Do not be anxious about anything,” Philippians 4:6
“Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,” Matthew 6:34
“So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” 1 Peter 3:14

Are you starting to see the pattern now? Do not fear and do not worry are among some of the hardest commands to follow in the Bible. Some ministers have said that worry is a lack of trust in the sovereignty of God. Others simply state that it is a lack of faith. For people who already struggle with anxiety, hearing this sometimes causes even more anxiety! Imagine reading Matthew 6:25-34 with an anxious heart!
But, in short, yes; fruitless anxiety is a sin.
However, we shouldn’t worry about this (how ironic). The bible is gray in many areas, but not this one.

The biblical cure for anxiety

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25

We can always look to the word of God and see what it speaks to us. The Bible offers many promises that we can so easily forget at the sensation of stress and worry.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

This one is probably the most famous one out of all the promises. It repeats the command to not be anxious about anything but it also offers a remedy. First, in every situation present your request to God. I remember reading Corrie ten Boom saying if something is enough to worry about, then it is enough to pray about. Whatever you are worried about, no matter how big or how small, is enough to take to God in prayer. It also states that we are to give this prayer with thanksgiving. How do we thank God in the midst of our worries? By remembering his faithfulness towards you. You are alive; you are breathing, and even if you are going through a situation at the moment, God is with you every step of the way. Thank him for that.

I remember when my mom was going through cancer, the majority of 8 months of my life were spent in a hospital. I was only a teenager as I sat there waiting in complete silence; my mother was placed in a surgery-induced coma, various times. Once, she went 2 weeks without waking up. I sat there in ICU, watching and listening. I saw families in the other rooms brokenhearted because their family member had just died. I watched a woman in tears calling her family to announce to them that they were taking her family member off life support. A couple of times I watched the cold corpses of people be taken out in rooms next to ours. Before one of the many surgeries that my mother had, she gave us her will in case she didn’t make it. I had a friend who’s mother was also battling cancer; she didn’t win. If someone had a reason to be anxious, it was me. I had every reason to be anxious at that season of my life. My worry would have been justified. But when this entire episode of life started, the Holy Spirit gave me a word that I’ll never forget.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1 (NKJV)

Based off this verse, and a belief that God had orchestrated a plan with this circumstance, I was comforted. Seldom did I struggle with anxiety throughout this entire period. Only twice, I wept about this entire situation. The first time was when my mother announced her will to us, out of sadness. And the second as I poured out myself to someone else. Only once did I ever do that. I wasn’t even moved when she announced to me that she had cancer. I believed God had a plan. Every time I read this verse, it always brings me back to that moment when my faith was at its strongest, even though it should’ve been at its weakest.

Space doesn’t permit me to give many verses but I’ll leave a link here for when you need them: http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/debbie-mcdaniel/33-verses-to-remind-us–we-do-not-have-to-fear.html

What about anxiety disorders?
This is an interesting case, for many people struggle with mental disorders. This case is hard because though worry is in essence a spiritual problem, in this case we are also seeing a psychological, and sometimes biological, problem. Studies have shown the certain people can be more prone to anxiety simply because of genetics. I seem to sometimes think that this could be the case with me. My dad was always a really tense guy; I inherited that from him. Unfortunately, this is a result of our fallen nature. So what could we do here?

  1. Pray for healing. If this problem is rooted in our psychology or biology, then surely we can pray for healing. Yahweh Rapha, the Lord is our healer. Trust God for healing.
  2. Learn what the Bible says about anxiety. We must learn and then believe it as the word of God.
  3. Should a Christian go to counseling? I believe all true healing is God’s healing, even if he does it through doctors or evangelists. Many Christians feel ashamed about going to counseling but the mind has a system in place, like the body. Christians don’t feel ashamed about going to a medical doctor, so they shouldn’t be ashamed about going to a therapist. However, do try finding a good and Christian one.
  4. Should a Christian take medications? I am not a mental health professional, so you don’t have to necessarily take my word for this but my response is this; as a last resort. I don’t have moral concerns against medications but I think anyone, especially Christians, should try staying away from them simply because they could bring a new set of problems. Plus, medications don’t address the root issue, they just relieve symptoms. Work on finding and addressing the root issue.

Encouragement
Anxiety is a world’s problem. Christians shouldn’t have to deal with it. That encouraging word probably discouraged a lot of you but hear me out. You are a child of the God of the Universe; a God who promised would never leave you no matter what. A God who loves you with so much unconditional love that he sent his Son to die for you. A God who is merciful, kind, and compassionate. A God who is good and faithful to us even we aren’t good and faithful to him. He will be with us no matter where we go.

“’For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:13-14

What is Heresy?

Heretic! Heresy! False prophet!

Those words get thrown around a lot, and I mean a lot! I feel however that this is one of the most misunderstood words that is spoken in many christian circles. In this article, I want to point out a few things

  1. Confusion of many believers

Many believers are confused about these words that are thrown around. Some christians are quicker to say these words than preach the gospel to someone. There is even such thing as discernment ministries dedicated to pointing out “heresy” from ministers, churches and denominations. I am not a huge proponent of “discernment” ministries as many of them tend to spread misinformation. I am not saying that are liars or don’t make good points sometimes, but I believe it causes more problems than it fixes. I will explain later. These words have been spoken so many times that I believe that christians have lost the meaning.

2. The name-calling of many ministers

Ministers of all times have been called everything, even to this very day. Liars, charlatans, heretics, false prophets, false teachers and many other things. At the church I go too, my pastors have been called these things. One time that our church had a youth event that I was speaking at, a women sent us a letter that said that our event looked like a gathering of witches. The other problem is that people will condemn others for the smallest of things like using the wrong version of the Bible. Do you pray for healing? You’re a charlatan. Do you believe in five fold ministry? You’re a false teacher. I know of a pastor in Central America with a big church that gets accused for everything. Instead of people rejoicing of how many people are saved in his church, they condemn everyone to hell! When the Azusa Street Revival happened, which is the beginning of pentecostal denominations, a well-known respected Baptist theologian called it the “last vomit of Satan!”

These exaggerations have to stop. I believe people should never attack people, no matter what their ideas are. Ideas are allowed to be attacked or criticized but never people. Any statement that I say in public is allowed to be criticized by anyone, but to attack my person and integrity is wrong. Many people can not stand that someone does not agree with them on every doctrinal point. You must learn to accept it because many christians disagree with you on almost everything.

3. What is heresy?

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

1 John 4:1-3 (NIV)

We must answer this question. This great confusion that I’ve been speaking about lies in our definition of heresy. Some ministers and churches have defined it so narrowly that anyone who disagrees with them are heretics and false. This is an erroneous view. So what is it?

Let me ask a question. If I was an unbeliever who has never heard of the gospel or the bible, how would you explain christianity to me? What do Christians believe? We believe that we are sinners and God sent his only Son to die for our sins and on the third day he was raised again. I think the best formulation of christian beliefs is the apostle’s creed. Based on those basic beliefs, we define heresy. What does this mean?

It means that if someone holds to these beliefs and lives a life consistent with theses beliefs, then they are a Christian. The majority of doctrines that don’t have to do with these beliefs are secondary doctrines. A secondary doctrine is a doctrine that Christians can differ on and still be genuine Christians.

“Do you believe in modern day apostles?” That’s a secondary doctrine. “Are you a calvinist or arminian?” That’s a secondary doctrine. “Should Christians tithe?” That’s a secondary doctrine. “Are the spiritual gifts for today?” That’s a secondary doctrine. “Is God a trinity?” This is a primary issue; if one denies this one, then they are not true christians (ex. mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals).

If I believe that a minister is wrong on an issue like this, for example maybe he believes that the will of God is for you to be rich; I don’t turn and condemn him as a heretic. I can lovingly correct him if I know him personally. If I don’t know him personally, then I can’t do much other then pray for him and correct people who follow that erroneous teaching. However, that minister is still my brother in the Lord.

4. False ministers

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.

2 Peter 2:1 (NIV)

There is false ministers in the world today. I believe that pastors that are allowing same-sex marriage in their churches are false ministers. They permit sin and allow others to do it. There is religions and cults that are rising up with many false teachings.  We must be careful and “test the spirits.” There is real charlatans and people who are deceiving others. We must call them out on their false ideas without attacking the person. Attack the idea, not the person. When we do this, let’s call them back to repentance because we must remember that God still loves them, even though they spread false ideas about him.

5. A Theology of Love

Finally, we must learn the greatest theological lesson, and that’s the lesson of love and humility. I rejoice in the diversity of Christians because I know we all have the common goal of preaching the gospel. Rejoice with me and take my hand as we bring the kingdom of God around the world. Jesus said that the world will know his disciples by their love for each other. Have you spoken evil of those who are your brothers? Repent and ask for forgiveness. Love those who differ with you and pray that God may guide them to all truth and that they may be used for his kingdom.

¿Que Creen Los Muslumanes?

mosque-is-original-place-prayer

¿Por qué un evangelista cristiano está escribiendo sobre el Islam? Quiero presentarle algo nuevo. Según la investigación, el Islam es la religión que más rápido está creciendo en el mundo. Ya dominando el Medio Oriente, está alcanzando partes de Europa y naciones Occidentales [1].

Hasta hay gente convirtiéndose en países hispanos [2, 3].

Creo que los cristianos tienen que ser  gente entendida y que tenemos que saber sobre esta religión que está creciendo al rededor el mundo. Sin embargo, lo que he visto es que muchos cristianos hispanos tienen pocos recursos y son realmente ignorantes del Islam y el Corán. Debemos aprender de esta religión para poder entender y saber cómo traer la luz del evangelio de Jesucristo a sus vidas.

Yo oro que esta pequeña lista nos ayude en nuestra jornada y que será una bendición para la Iglesia. Mientras conocemos más de esta religión, vamos a orar que los musulmanes al rededor de todo el mundo encuentren a Jesús y confiesan que él es el Señor y Salvador. ¡Todo para la gloria de Dios!

 

Estos son los 6 artículos de fe que todo musulmán tiene que creer. Son las creencias básicas del Islam.

  1. Tawhid

Los musulmanes creen que hay solamente un Dios (Alá es la palabra árabe para Dios). Esta creencia en el monoteísmo es una fuerte creencia compartida también por los cristianos y los judíos ortodoxos. Sin embargo, esto no es la única creencia que tienen sobre Dios. Para el musulmán, Alá es uno y único. Tiene todos los atributos de Dios como omnipotencia, omnisciencia, etc. la soberanía. Él es el único Dios verdadero; no hay ningún otro.

“Ese es Alá, vuestro Señor. No hay dios sino Él, el Creador de todo. Adoradle pues. Él es el Guardián de todas las cosas”. (Corán, Sura 6:102)

Porque Islam es una religión abrahámica, muchas personas creen que musulmanes y cristianos creen en el mismo Dios, así cómo los cristianos y judíos. Sin embargo, el Islam tiene diferencias esenciales en su concepto de Dios en comparación con la del cristianismo. Una diferencia vital es nuestra creencia acerca de la naturaleza de Dios. Los cristianos son Trinitarios, lo que significa que creemos que dentro del un ser que es Dios, hay tres Personas: el Padre, el Hijo y el Espíritu Santo. No somos politeístas, cual es la creencia que hay varios dioses; una creencia que el cristianismo y el Islam rechaza. Es un solo Dios y tres Personas en Dios.

Los musulmanes son unitarios. Ellos creen que Alá es uno y sólo uno. Alá no tiene socios; no hay ninguna persona dentro de él. Él es uno. Muchos musulmanes creen que un concepto trinitario de Dios nos lleva al politeísmo, que es idolatría y shirk (blasfemia contra Alá, que es considerado uno de los peores pecados que uno puede cometer en el Islam).

“No creen, en realidad, quienes dicen: «Ala es el tercero de tres». No hay ningún otro dios que Dios Uno y, si no paran de decir eso, un castigo doloroso alcanzará a quienes de ellos no crean. ¿Aspor se volverán una vuelta pidiéndole, perdón? Ala es indulgente, misericordioso. Resplandores de el (Jesús), hijo de María, no es sino un enviado, antes del cual han pasado otros enviados, y su madre, veraz. Ambos tomaban alimentos. ¡Mira cómo les explicamos los signos! ¡Y mira cómo son desviados!” (Coran, Sura 5:73-74)

 

  1. Creencia en los profetas

Los musulmanes creen que todos los personajes bíblicos desde Adán a Jesús, eran profetas enviados por Alá que enseñaron el monoteísmo estricto y que Alá es el único Dios. Ellos creen que el último Profeta es Mahoma y que Alá le dio a el la última revelación.

“Mahoma no es el padre de ninguno de vuestros varones, sino el Enviado de Alá y el sello de los Jesucristo. Ala es omnisciente.” (Corán, Sura 33: 40)

 

  1. El Corán

Los musulmanes creen que Alá ha revelado libros a sus mensajeros para guiar a los seguidores de Alá. Muchos musulmanes creen que Alá ha revelado verdades sobre sí mismo en la Torah (Antiguo Testamento) y en el Injil (los Evangelios). Entre los libros revelados es el Corán. El Corán es creído ser varias revelaciones que Alá le dio a Mahoma que luego fueron anotadas. Los musulmanes creen que el Corán se ha mantenido lejos de la corrupción.

“Somos Nosotros Quienes hemos revelado El Coran y somos Nosotros sus custodios.” (Corán, Sura 15:9)

 

  1. Jinn

Los musulmanes creen en la existencia de los ángeles (llamados jinn) y que son criaturas honradas. Los ángeles adoran y obedecen solamente a Alá y actúan sólo por su orden. Entre los ángeles es Gabriel, que es creido a ver traído abajo el Corán a Mahoma. Jinn es la palabra que incluye todos los ángeles, buenos y malos.

 

  1. Día del Juico

Los musulmanes tienen una escatología similar en algunas cosas a los cristianos. Según la escatología islámica, Jesús va a regresar, similar al cristianismo. El día de juicio es una creencia fundamental en el Islam. Dios levantará a los muertos y juzgara a la humanidad según sus obras. Los que confesaron la Shahada (esto es una declaración musulmana para los que se convierten al Islam, como una oración de salvación oficial) y hacen buenas obras según Alá y el Corán irán al cielo. Los incrédulos y los hipócritas se van al infierno.

 

  1. Creencia en Al-Qadar

Los musulmanes creen en Al-Qadar, que es la predestinación divina, pero esta creencia en la predestinación divina  no significa que los seres humanos no tienen libre albedrío. Por el contrario, los musulmanes creen que Alá ha dado a los seres humanos libre albedrío. Esto significa que pueden elegir el bien o el mal y que son responsables de sus decisiones.

La creencia en la predestinación divina incluye creencia en cuatro cosas: 1) Alá sabe todo. Él sabe lo que ha sucedido y qué va a suceder. 2) Alá ha grabado todo lo que ha sucedido y todo lo que va pasar. 3) lo que Alá quiere que sucede va suceder, y lo que él quiere que no ocurra, no ocurre. 4) Alá es el creador de todo.

 

 

  1. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/23/why-muslims-are-the-worlds-fastest-growing-religious-group/
  2. http://fusion.net/story/241983/the-muslim-latinas-of-southern-california/
  3. http://wlrn.org/post/why-so-many-latinos-are-becoming-muslims