Taking the Apostles off the Pedestal: Power Struggles in the Early Church

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Have you ever found yourself in the company of Christians whose commitment to God is so great, and whose good deeds are so innumerable, that you feel reduced to a carnal dirt clod just by being in proximity to them?  How do you feel when you’re sitting in a prayer group, waiting for your turn to speak, and some spiritual superstar speaks out a prayer that is far more eloquent than anything you could ever come up with?  Makes you want to pass when it’s your turn to pray, doesn’t it?  Continue reading

Debunking the Impact of Adam: Unlearning Lies About How God Judges You

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If my father hadn’t been an alcoholic, I wouldn’t be so messed up today.
If the coach had let me play, I would have won a scholarship.
If that stupid doctor hadn’t misdiagnosed me, I wouldn’t be dying right now.

Ever hear people talk like this?  Have you ever talked like this?  Blaming our current problems and miseries on the choices of other people can feel like a satisfying way to illicit sympathy while shirking all responsibility for our own choices.  After all, some jerk raped you, and that means you now have a free pass to wallow in a victim mentality for the rest of your life.  Or maybe you feel you can trace back your current health problems to the fact that your mother tried to have you aborted when you were still in her womb.  Now you can blame her for everything while you play the part of the eternal martyr.  See how it works?  It’s fun to blame other people.  It’s satisfying to point the blame in any direction but towards ourselves and make up all kinds of fantasies about how perfect our lives would have been if other humans hadn’t sabotaged us with their rotten choices or malicious actions.  But here’s the problem with playing the blame game: if God doesn’t agree to play as well, then we’re going to end up in a heap of trouble.  You see, we don’t get to judge ourselves. God is the One who judges us, and that means that we need to get an accurate understanding of how His judgment system works.  Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading