Monday, 29 February 2016

When Should We Judge?

This post is in answer to my friend Joseph Gudz's question regarding judging. People often quote Matthew 7:1 without knowing the context. They assume the verse means not to be critical of people's actions. Does not judging lest we be judged mean what they think?

Look at the context and the audience to whom Jesus spoke. In what Christians call the Sermon on the Mount, Christ addressed the external religion of the Pharisees and the lay people of first century Israel. They were so busy performing works to demonstrate their conformity with it that they forgot about the condition of their own hearts.

One fault which those people had was judging by external appearances. Anybody seen doing religious rituals in public was assumed to be holy. Consider this parable Jesus told about the Pharisee and the tax collector.

Luke 18:11-14 KJV) "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, 'God be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

Consider how many times the religious establishment condemned Christ for keeping company with the riffraff of society. Luke 7:34 (KJV) reads, "The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, 'Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!'"

As a result of this law-keeping attitude, the people of Christ's time neglected to examine their hearts. Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that if a person even looked lustfully at a woman, it was as if they committed adultery. Hiding hatred in one's heart was akin to murder as well. Jesus took the law to its extreme in order to show the utter impossibility of keeping it.

Additionally, I've found that when people quote, or more often misquote, Matthew 7:1, it's an effort to shut me up. For example, if I criticize a politician for wasting tax dollars on a boondoggle, I'm often admonished for hypocritically judging that person. However, I condemn the actions of that politician, not them personally. Many people can't separate the two.

There are also occasions when I recognize a fault in somebody else of which I was once guilty. Is it judge mental to warn that person in order to spare him or her future embarrassment or chastisement? Often times that person doesn't realize what effect his or her actions have on others.

Most importantly, we are called to discern good from evil and righteousness from wickedness by lovingly applying what scripture says. Being censorious isn't the way to correct people, as the legalists of Christ's time did. Rather, we should listen instead of shooting our mouths off. What we might assume to be a fault is instead our misunderstanding of people's motives.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Have You Changed?

I wrote last time about how we have only two choices for our eternal destinies. Either we choose to be with the Lord forever or spend the rest of eternity with Satan.

Having written that, I also understand that many people think they're born again but they actually aren't. They made a "decision" but they weren't committed to following Jesus all their lives.

So, how can we tell the difference between the true and false followers? Jesus said in Matthew 7:16 (KJV) "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" People who truly follow Christ naturally exhibit good deeds and conduct their lives honourably. False believers remain unchanged and therefore continue to live like the world does.

Many folks do good works and act nicely to supposedly gain favour with God. As I've pointed out before, Matthew 7:21-28 shows that those who performed acts of kindness weren't doing them to show off. They genuinely cared for the sick, the imprisoned, the widows, and the rest.

What then must we do? Heed the warning Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV). "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"

Run a  metaphorical diagnostic program on your motives for being a Christian. Pray a prayer like Psalms 26:2 (KJV).  "Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart." God knows your mind so you can't keep any secrets from him.

I'm writing my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven?, because I want nobody to end up on the left side of Christ on Judgement Day. Meanwhile, I'll continue to blog on the subject of salvation.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Why Should I Worry?

In my previous posts, I've written about truth's universality and how it relates to the Bible. To many people, it's all academic. They feel that they'll deal with the matter of their eternal destination when they're old and grey.

So, what's stopping people from surrendering their lives to the rulership of Jesus now? Pride is the main culprit. Human beings naturally want to be the masters of their destiny. Becoming a follower of Christ seems irksome because they can't do whatever they want.

What people don't realize is that we're in a war with only two sides. God and all those faithful to his wise leadership are on one side while Satan and his rebels are on the other. Simplistic as it might seem to some, you're either on God's or the Devil's side. There's no middle ground.

As Jesus said in Matthew 12:30 (KJV), "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."

You can disbelieve this dichotomy but it's true. Just look at all the other belief systems and you'll see that they're an attempt to reject the Lord in favour of gods which humans can handle and use.

A time will come when God will withdraw our privilege to choose him or to go our own way. As the Apostle Paul wrote about Christ's return in 2 Thessalonians 1:8 (KJV), "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"

So, what's your decision? Have you surrendered your life to Christ or are you headed toward an agonizing eternity in hell? This is a serious matter, not something to laugh about.

Next , I'll write about how to determine if you're really saved or not. This too is a crucial question.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

"Isn't That Just Your Truth?"

 When talking to non-Christian people, I often hear this question. They assume that what's true for me isn't true for them and visa-versa. What they call "truth" is mere experience.

For example, vacationers to the same location could hold different opinions. One could say it was lousy while the other could rave about how wonderful the place was.

Truth is true for all people. We know that light travels at the same speed throughout the universe. Gravity operates the same way too. All main sequence stars burn using the nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium. Truth is what is, not what we experience.

An excellent Bible scholar named Ravi Zacharias told a story about an argument he had with a man who doubted that truth was true for all people. Ravi finally got through to him that we all avoid being run over by cars in whichever land we live. Therefore, a person's philosophy won't protect them from a collision.

Much of the "your truth - my truth" argument is mere wishful thinking. People don't want to admit that they're born wicked. Nobody, including me, wants to honestly face their evil acts and impulses. This is why human beings fight so hard against Christianity.

My next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? will delve much deeper into this matter than I can on my blog. I've only written a few pages but I hope to finish the work by the end of the year. Like announcers say on the radio, "Stay tuned."

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Why Do Gospel Accounts differ?

This is one of those questions which atheists use to stump Christians. They think that because there are differences in numbers of people or different dates which events happened on that it invalidates the gospels.

Christians who haven't studied scripture and listened to excellent Bible scholars such as Hank Hanegraaff and John MacArthur are at a distinct disadvantage. They don't realize that two of the gospels were eyewitness accounts and the other two were written by friends of eyewitnesses.

As I tweeted to one atheist, "think court. Judges look for similarities in witness testimonies, not discrepancies." Only prosecutors seek inconsistencies but that's not the way to understand scripture.

It doesn't matter that there were one or two demon-possessed men from whom  Christ cast out the legion of evil spirits. The point is that it happened.

Some atheists stump naive believers with the two names for where Christ was crucified. The fact is that Calvary and Golgotha are the same names for the location of Christ's crucifixion but they are derived from different languages.

The purpose for including or not including stories must be understood as well. Matthew wrote to Jewish believers while Mark wrote to Gentiles. John sought to show Christ's deity while Luke was an investigative reporter.

This post is getting long so suffice it to say that the gospels don't contradict each other. Had they been exact copies, people could cite collusion between the authors.

Thanks to good Bible scholars and their radio shows, I've learned so much. Learn what I learned, and what I had to unlearn, by purchasing How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Written in narrative form, it shows how I was led out of error and into truth.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Isn't Christianity a Cult?

 My previous post dealt with cults but some folks could claim that Christianity is one. After all, one man originated it. This isn't the case for Christianity, as I explain below.

Christ fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. Being of the lineage of King David and born of a virgin, he fulfilled many messianic prophecies.

Jesus also perfectly fulfilled the law of Moses, the only one to do so. The Pharisees tried to dig up dirt on Christ but they couldn't find a single thing which would disqualify him from being the long-sought saviour.

Jesus often referred to the Old Testament. Never once did he disparage or misquote those scriptures. Instead, he said that they spoke of him.

Neither did Jesus write a book. Mohammed, Joseph Smith, and others have claimed to have had special revelations but their writings were flawed.

Though Christ instituted holy communion and baptism for Christians, the moral code of the Old Testament is a part of the Christian faith.

Two writers of the New Testament wrote eyewitness accounts of Christ's life, death, and resurrection. Had they made it up, they would never have kept to their story in the face of execution and torture.

Cults refute many basic tenets of the faith they originated from. Apart from ceremonies which were types and shadows of Christ's work on Earth, the New Testament upholds the Old Testament.

Many people don't understand this difference. This is why I wrote How I Was Razed. Be sure to check out this glorious story of God's providential guidance.

In my next post, I'll deal with why the four gospel accounts differ. Atheists think it proves they aren't true.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

How Do Cults Get Away With What They Do?

I'm sure many genuine Christians, as well as concerned non believers, ask this all the time. The crazy teachings we hear on various radio stations from these preachers make us wonder what they're smoking.

Thanks to African pastor Conrad Mbewe, I have a concise explanation which I offer here.

Many of these cults and errant churches aren't affiliated with major denominations. Either they split off from them or somebody decided to start their own church.

The founders of the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses formed their denominations by starting new churches.

Likewise, Mohammed invented Islam because Jews and Christians

House churches also lack accountability to a central ecclesiastical authority. This fact allows the leaders of these congregations to become dictators.

In my How I Was Razed book, I wrote about a control freak house church minister who claimed to be a prophet and that his "revelations" were not to be challenged.

But is Christianity a cult since it was started by one man? I'll answer that in my next blog post.

rejected his ideas. Though the world calls it a major religion, it's still a cult because one man taught that his "revelation" was divine.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

How Do Cults Twist Scriptures?

 As I've blogged before, there's a proper way to read the Bible. When we take culture, history, and genre of each book into account, we won't go wrong.

Unfortunately for many new Christians, they don't know the difference between studying the Bible and twisting it to fit one's own ideas. This is why cults seek out new believers since they're easy to fool.

Here's one of the most-often-twisted verses:

(Matthew 18:18 KJV)  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Charismatic preachers and deliverance ministries take this to mean that we have the power to bind and loose demons. That's completely wrong. Look at the context and you'll see that Jesus was speaking about disciplining errant believers. Nothing in that verse even hints at demons.

Some fools have even taken the following verse to mean that they should cut off limbs that "offend" them:

(Mat 5:30 KJV)  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Christ used that as a graphic metaphor to say that whatever lures us into sin should be shunned. Sadly for some, they took the verse literally instead of literately.

I was one of those naive seekers who ended up in a cult. Nobody taught me how to read the Bible correctly. Check out my account of finding out the truth in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. You'll easily see  that the false teacher taught me complete rubbish.

In my next blog post, I'll explain how cults get away with misleading people.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Is Christianity "All in the mind?"

This all depends on your view of Christianity. Atheists assume it's all a fable while true disciples believe it's the truth.

I wrote in a previous blog regarding the Bible being true. When readers understand the culture, history, and literary genres, all sixty-six books make sense. Having the Holy Spirit teach you also helps illuminate the scriptures to you.

Christianity not only is proven true through archeology, prophesy, and its internal consistency but it is logical. How so? God encourages people to use their minds.

Here are a few scriptures which demonstrate this:

(Romans 12:2 KJV) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

(Acts 17:11 KJV) These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

(Luke 10:27 KJV) And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

(Isaiah 1:18 KJV) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

I could show many more verses which appeal to a person's reasoning ability but this post would become far too long. Suffice it to say that God gave us minds and expects us to search out the truth with them.

Sadly, many believers assume that searching the scriptures is only for the pastor to do. If I had done my homework, I would have discovered that the false teacher I wrote about in my How I Was Razed memoir was a fraud.

Next time, I'll deal with how cults twist scriptures to push their wicked agenda.