The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: FT by Paul

Discernment Charts – NT Epistles: If We Don’t Love Humans, We’re Worthless

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Spiritual discernment is about being able to tell the difference between truth and lies.  It is God who teaches you how to get better at discernment, and a key part of this process is learning to think critically about the things you’re being taught.  Critical thinking is a form of questioning–and once you start asking the right questions, it’s amazing how much guff you find in the Bible.

The purpose of our Discernment Charts – New Testament Epistles series is to help you sharpen your discernment skills by showing you how to flesh out many beliefs and attitudes that a single point of teaching promotes.  These charts focus on statements that were made by apostles in the early Church.  Are the New Testament authors teaching you well or are they leading you astray?  Ask God for His opinion on these matters.  (Click the image to enlarge it.)

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Discernment Charts – NT Epistles: Imitate Me As I Imitate Christ

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Spiritual discernment is about being able to tell the difference between truth and lies.  It is God who teaches you how to get better at discernment, and a key part of this process is learning to think critically about the things you’re being taught.  Critical thinking is a form of questioning–and once you start asking the right questions, it’s amazing how much guff you find in the Bible.

The purpose of our Discernment Charts – New Testament Epistles series is to help you sharpen your discernment skills by showing you how to flesh out many beliefs and attitudes that a single point of teaching promotes.  These charts focus on statements that were made by apostles in the early Church.  Are the New Testament authors teaching you well or are they leading you astray?  Ask God for His opinion on these matters.  (Click the image to enlarge it.) Read more of this post

False Formulas for Salvation – Romans 10:9

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If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom. 10:9)

Like John 3:16, Romans 10:9 is a favorite verse among Christians which they like to use as a quick summary for how to obtain salvation.  But like John 3:16, Romans 10:9 doesn’t come close to accurately summarizing God’s salvation requirements.  This isn’t because salvation is complicated—on the contrary, it’s a very simple matter of submitting to the real Gods as the Supreme Authorities that They are.  But this isn’t where Romans 10:9 takes us, because the apostle Paul wrote Romans, and the apostle Paul didn’t personally submit to any God as truly supreme. Read more of this post

The Resurrection Myth: Why the Dead in Christ Won’t Really Rise

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The theory that we all have to lie around in the dirt for some period of time before finally being resurrected to meet the Lord is one that was very popular among certain New Testament Jews (those who sided with the teaching of the Pharisees). But it’s interesting to note that the Jews didn’t think the soul was also stuck in the dirt.  When Lazarus died, for example, the belief was that after three days of mourning over the loss of its host body, Lazarus’ soul finally went on to a spirit dimension called Hades.  Hades was believed to have good and bad sections to it–which one you landed in depended on what kind of person you’d been on earth.  It was because the Jews would have assumed that Lazarus’ soul was in another dimension and no longer with his body that Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus was such a shocking miracle.  Only a true God like Yahweh was believed to have the power to bring a soul back from Hades–yet here Jesus was doing it.  And Jesus made sure to stall around for four days in order to leave no doubt in Jewish minds that Lazarus’ soul was definitely gone from earth.  The Jews believed that the soul could take up to three days to leave, because by three days, it would be forced to face the fact that the body was decomposing. Read more of this post

Terrible Salvation Songs: BECAUSE HE LIVES (AMEN) by Matt Maher

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Rex is the proud father of two young children: Chris and Hannah.  Rex loves his kids very much and his favorite part of the day is when he gets home from work and sees them running to greet him and tell him all about their days.  Rex’s first wife died several years ago, and he just recently married another woman named Tina.  He’s anxious to see how his kids will adjust to having Tina being their new stay-at-home mom.  Well, one day when Rex comes home from work, he is concerned when he doesn’t see Chris and Hannah waving at him from the window.  When he goes in the front door, he is surprised to see them still playing with their toys on the living room floor, not even looking in his direction. Read more of this post

How the NT Epistles Define Christ: Not God, Just Another Flawed Human

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Our Gods are obsessed with variation, and because of this, we find Them relating to us in different ways.  Today the Holy Spirit relates to you in a different way than He does with your neighbors, friends, and family members. But why?  Why does God talk to some people in dreams but not others?  Why do some people see God while others never see Him?  And of all the people who have seen God at one time or another, why aren’t they all seeing the same image?  To some, Jesus shows up wearing a tunic and sandals, but to others He looks very different.  To some, Jesus never shows up in any visual form, but instead He communicates to them in non-visual ways.  Some people say they talk to God all the time, while others feel God never speaks to them.  Everywhere we look, we see endless variation in the way that our Creators interact with us, and this has been true from the very beginning. Read more of this post

Misapplying David: How Psalm 8 is Used to Insult Christ

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If you are serious about pursuing God, then at some point all of the things you’re using as substitutes for God in your life need to be cleared away.  For many Christians, the Bible and its highly exalted human authors are being used as stand-ins for God.  Rather than pray directly to God when you have a question, you turn to a book—a book which you’ve been taught is infallible.  Well, once we are placing material objects and the ramblings of mere mortals on the same level as our three glorious Creators, we have a major problem.  Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit detest idolatry and They are very jealous by Nature.  And yet even though our Gods hammer this point from Genesis to Revelation, and even though we are taught to obsess over the Bible, somehow we’re failing to see what is right in front of our faces.  No, it is really not okay to act like a book is God.  And it’s not okay to take the idiotic ramblings of humans who were so obviously not listening to God and exalt their lies as “God-breathed.”  As a Christian who really wants to get closer to God, you really need to stop worshiping the book.  To help you get there, we have written many articles which point out specific examples of some terrible teaching and straight up lies that exist in the Bible.  Read more of this post

Romans 8: Pretty Promises for Perfect People

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In Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 of Romans, the apostle Paul clearly defines a Christian as someone who is behaviorally perfect.  Once we understand this, it really takes the joy out of the many famous promises of Romans 8.  This chapter starts out with that famous line:

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Rom. 8:1-2)

But as we learned in our previous lesson, the only ones who qualify as being in Christ Jesus are those who never sin.  When Paul talks about being set free from the law of sin and death, he means you should no longer be struggling with sin if you are truly saved.  As the apostle John says: Read more of this post

Salvation According to Paul: If You Sin, You’re Damned (Romans 7-8)

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As we start Romans 7, we are continuing in our study of Paul’s theology of sin and salvation.  Back in Romans 5, Paul laid out some absurd theories on where sin came from.  In Romans 6, Paul said that once we Christians get baptized, we are magically changed so that our basic nature is no longer depraved, and this makes it possible for us to now live sinless lives.  Not only is it possible for us to be perfect, but perfection is what Yahweh demands of us.  Read more of this post

Romans 6: Paul Baptizes Christians Into Despair

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The New Testament epistle of Romans was written by the apostle Paul to believers in Rome.  The audience he’s talking to is a mix of Jews and Gentiles, and he rotates which group he’s speaking to as he moves through this letter. Sometimes he speaks of general concepts which both Jews and Gentiles would grasp, but most of the time he speaks of concepts which only followers of Judaism would understand, such as all of his talk about sin coming through Adam that we dealt with in our study of Romans 5 (see Romans 5: Paul Leads Us Astray on Sin & the Character of Yahweh).  Realize that the whole Adam and Eve thing originated from the Torah.  It was a part of Judaism, and Judaism is just one of many religions that are being adhered to in the Roman Empire of Paul’s day.  Every religion has its own explanation of how the world came to be, and such creation accounts vary widely.  This means that a Gentile who comes to Christianity with no background in Judaism isn’t going to know the Jewish Scriptures, nor will he be familiar with the many quotations from those Scriptures that Paul peppers his letters with. So whenever you find Paul quoting Scripture or referring to Old Testament characters like Noah, Abraham, and Adam, realize that in his mind, he’s addressing folks who are familiar with Judaism.  And because Paul believes that his own ethnic group is far superior to all others (see Romans 11), often it is only ethnic Jews who he’s talking to, and we can tell that by how exclusive his language becomes.  Read more of this post