On Christmas, we give thanks and celebrate Christ humbling himself and being born a baby boy. That is the greatest gift and message of Christmas; may Christ humility, which made the Christmas message possible, be seen in us.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who . . . humbled Himself” (Phil 2:5, 8).
He who had no beginning was born.
He was born of a woman he created.
The served became the servant.
The sovereign became the sacrifice.
He came from the halls of heaven to the hell of Golgotha.
He became a part of his creation.
He was taught to eat, although he created the digestive system of humanity.
He was taught the ABCs, although he created all the languages.
He was taught to start and finish things, although he is the Alpha and Omega
He was taught to make animal harnesses out of trees he created.
He was taught how to make a wheel, although he created the earth a sphere.
He is the Lord of creation, yet he was called the Lord of Flies.
He is Truth, yet he was called a liar.
He is the King of Kings, yet he was denied the throne of Israel.
He exchanged the crown of glory for a crown of thorns.
He existed in eternity and was killed in time.
He who knew no sin became sin for us.
He was God but appeared as an ordinary man.
He who is life died.
He delivered man from God’s Judgement but not himself.
He is the light of the world, but he was buried in the darkness of God’s wrath.
He gave up the infinite and took on the average.
He endured the unthinkable.
He helped the ungrateful.
He delivered the unholy.
He sacrificed his sovereignty.
He sought true servanthood.
He sacrificed his self.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5–11).
“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).
The Christ of Christmas!
Although I do not accept Calvinism as reflective of God or his plan of salvation as depicted in Scripture, I do maintain the following. Whether God chose to save man according to the teachings of Calvinism or Extensivism, salvation is all by grace. I further believe he could have chosen either way; since, in either scenario, he would have sovereignly and freely chosen the plan including all of its components, each would be totally by grace; however, most Calvinists are not so kind regarding the possibility of Extensivism. Continue reading →
The following resources provide an understanding of the social justice movement of our day, and why many Christian leaders reject it as culturally defined. These resources expose and explain the basis of social justice ideology and vocabulary. The social justice movement is not sanitized just because it is accepted by some Christian leaders and uses Scripture, nor should it be confused with Biblical justice. Continue reading →
Calvinists seek to make Calvinism more biblically compatible by contending that regeneration is only logically prior to faith and not temporally prior to faith; I believe their attempt fails. Continue reading →
Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Some say yes. I say no. Those who say they are the same do so based upon similarities between Allah and Jehovah. Those who hold the sameness position say Muslims worship the same God as Christians but do so with errors in their understanding of God. That is to say; they simply need some correction in their understanding of God because they already worship the right God. In support of the same God theory, they would point out that Christians and Muslims each believe their God possesses similar attributes, both are monotheistic, both accept the Old and New Testament scriptures, although Islam says there are errors, and both have similarities in their recounting of history. Continue reading →
Calvinism’s endeavor to exalt God by emphasizing compatibilism, unconditional election, and monergism actually diminishes God. One simply cannot diminish the work of the Creator without diminishing its Creator, which Calvinism does by strapping man with compatibilism, whereby man was created to inevitably sin and be totally passive prior to regeneration. Continue reading →
Ethical decisions are a part of everyday life, and it is incumbent upon Christians to make moral and ethical decisions based upon the teaching of Scripture. Some of these decisions seem very easy; for example, murder, lying, and stealing are wrong, and truth-telling, mercy, and sacrifice are good. As clear as those seem to be, real-life experiences, recorded in the Scripture or lived out today, can create some nuances that becloud the issue.
For example, confusion can arise when a certain act that is condemned in Scripture has features similar to other acts that are not condemned and because of the similar features between that which is condemned and that which is not, the two acts are unjustifiably equated as being the same. An example of this would be the difference in being a martyr and committing suicide.
In The Round Table in Ethics, I have noticed a few things that tend to create confusion for Christians trying to understand and apply biblical ethics. This primarily revolves around making similar acts identical or equating God’s commendation of some elements of an event with God’s implied approval of all the elements of the event even when those elements are without exception said to be sin everywhere they are explicitly mentioned in Scripture. An example of this would be lying.
Consequently, in the second week of my Round Table in Ethics, I present something I call “Ethical Considerations and Clarifications”. In this presentation, I seek to address some distinctions that can be helpful in avoiding ethical dilemmas. The issues addressed in this paper do not address every relevant issue, but only those that seem to present problems when considering various ethical issues in The Round Table. I address the relationship of similarities and dissimilarities, the difference between intrinsically good or evil acts and extrinsically good or evil acts, the Is-Ought fallacy, the Sin of Omission, arguments from silence, and then I explain what a lie is. Continue reading →
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16)
The church in the New Testament has replaced the sacred Old Testament temple. The New Testament says that Christ’s body is a temple (John 2:19–21), the universal church is a temple (Eph 2:20–21), the individual Christian’s body is a temple (1 Cor 6:19), and in this verse the local church is a temple of God. The you is plural in this passage, signifying the corporate local body of believers. Consequently, every local New Testament church is a temple of God. Continue reading →
As our Father, God has delighted himself in granting us some things without our asking him in prayer. He does this out of love. He also withholds some things until he is asked, and this is also done out of love. This latter aspect of prayer relates to things God has made conditional; that is to say, if we ask, he will answer, but if we do not ask, he will not work in these specific areas. James says, “You do not have because you do not ask” (Jas 4:2). We can miss God’s blessing because we do not ask. Continue reading →
The Bible is clear that God loves righteousness and holiness, abhors sin, and desires his creation to choose righteousness and holiness. This is evident prior to the fall (Gen 2:17), immediately subsequent to the fall as seen in his swift judgment upon sin (Gen 3:14–24); the repeated calls for holiness prior to his covenant with Israel (Gen 7:1, 15:6, 18:19), to Israel (Lev 11:44, 19:2, 20:7), in the gospels (Matt 3:2; 5:6, 20, 48; 6:33; 11:20), and to the church (Eph 5:3–9; 1 Pet 1:15–16). Calvinists unwaveringly claim to believe this as much as Extensivists do. However, their commitment to decretal theology and compatible freedom of mankind with its resultant micro-determinism, upon closer scrutiny, does seem to eviscerate such obvious teachings of Scripture. Continue reading →