The Parable of the Prodigal Son

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In Luke 15, we find Jesus’ famous Parable of the Prodigal Son.  This story is a favorite among Christians, but as is often the case with favorite Scripture passages, this parable is rarely taught in its original context.  Once we strip away context and start treating portions of Scripture as stand alone thoughts, we often start reading meanings into the text that the original author never meant.  This is certainly the case with the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and today you can find Christians squeezing all kinds of absurd lessons and promises out of this parable that aren’t at all valid.  You see, as magnificent as our glorious Lord is, He simply isn’t speaking to any of us in Scriptures. Instead, He’s speaking to folks who lived thousands of years before us—folks whose cultural values, customs, and priorities differed from our own.  Continue reading

Understanding Jesus: The Bread of Life (John 6)

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To understand many of the bizarre things Jesus says in the Gospel books, you need to start by understanding that Jesus spends a lot of time pushing people who are content with their current religious beliefs to change those beliefs.  To understand how uncomfortable this is, consider how you would react to the idea that God lies, or that He intentionally creates tumors in the brains of some babies, or that He likes Hell, or that He is the One who has helped the sadistic ISIS terrorists pull off countless torture fests without interruption.  You see, once you have an understanding of God that works for you, you’re naturally going to resist having that image changed.  And once you refuse to have your view of God changed, you will reject any new truths about Him that make you uncomfortable.  In other words, you decide that God is only going to function as your woobie—something you value only for the comfort that it gives you.  Today many Christians are in a woobie mentality with God, which is why they get very hostile to any teaching about God which makes Him seem less cuddly than a kitten.    Continue reading

Understanding Jesus: What does it mean to be born again?

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Do you refer to yourself as a “born again” Christian?  If so, why?  Because that’s what it says in the Bible, right?  But have you ever looked up the passages in which that term is used and studied the original context?  Probably not, so let’s do it now, because it’s really quite interesting. Continue reading