Watch your Tongue

I recently read a comment by a liberal that said “The worst part is that he ended the debate civilly instead of being petty like other Republicans.”

I know from personal experience that it can be difficult to stay civil when you are debating someone who seems more comfortable with name calling, and lies, then they are the truth. I also believe that the comment above illustrates just how important it is that you try. You may feel that the person has earned a snippy comment or two, and I don’t blame you, because I have felt that way myself. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what is more important, giving the person the attitude adjustment that you feel they deserve, or getting them to see the truth?
If they do reject your words, make sure it is the topic that they are rejecting, and not your snippy comments.

Compassion

Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.
Beecher, Willard

I have often written about judgement sometimes being necessary, but it is something that we must be very careful with.  You can judge someone without being mean. When we judge, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are sinners too! I am made ill by the nasty comments I often see by people claiming to be Christian.
I recently heard a story on the show “Gutsy Christianity” about a man who created a questionable piece of art. Christians from all over the area were protesting, send him death threats and one even came to the place it was being displayed with a tire iron and busted up the glass that protected the piece and ripped it up. Meantime a brand new Christian pastor was being pressured to make some comments about the “art”. Instead of flying off the handle he wrote a polite note to the artist asking him to interpret the piece for him.

It turned out that the piece wasn’t about Christianity in general, it was a statement on the sex scandle of the Catholic Church. This pastor and artist became friends.  The pastor asked the artist if he would create another piece depicting a more respected Jesus for this pastor’s church, and in the process of describing Jesus for the author he also shared the Gospel with the man. This artist hasn’t yet given his life to Christ, but he did present the Church with an awesome piece of art. Because of the kindness this pastor showed this man his outlook on Christianity is a lot more friendly then it was before, and multiple artist in his community are now Christians.

Hate chases people away from Christ. This man wanted nothing to do with a Christ that would endorse the kind of hate that was being aimed at him, by people claiming to be Christ representatives. But when faced with the Christ of compassion he became more compassionate, and so did many others.

Jesus isn’t just the God of love, he is the God of judgement as well. When we interact with the world we must do our best to be like him.
Judging when necessary, but NEVER overlook compassion.

Are Christians Narrow-minded?

It seems that in some circles all you have to do is mention Christ without an attached profanity and you are called all sorts of names, narrow-minded , and intolerant come to mind.

Are we Narrow-minded?
Well in one sense they are right, we think what we believe is true, but doesn’t everyone?  If you don’t believe that your beliefs are true, then why bother believing them at all?  It turns out that someone who wants you to accept all beliefs, and will reject you if you reject any of those beliefs is just as intolerant as they claim that Christians are.

If a cancer patient said to you “I HATE chemotherapy so I am going to take a shot of vodka instead.”  would it be tolerant to let them do that?  Under the modern day definition of tolerance, which is really total acceptance yes it would, but that “tolerance” would end up killing them which is an act of HATE! While ultimately it is their choice I will not tolerate someone going to their death without a good stern talking to. I will tell them repeatedly that cancer kills, and vodka will do nothing to prevent it from doing so. They need Chemo!

It may be narrow-minded to believe that in order to get to Heaven that you have to first seek admission from the creator of Heaven, but if it is true , so what that it is narrow minded? Truth is narrow.  2+2=4 not 3, and not 5  but if a child were to tell me that it was 5 I would correct, but still love that child. And that is what true tolerance is, the ability to see error, but love that person anyway.

Suggested for further reading
Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air

by Francis J. Beckwith , Gregory Koukl

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

Are Birthday’s Evil, like the Jehovah Witnesses say that they are?

Jehovah’s Witnesses in good standing do not celebrate birthdays. They will not even let their children eat birthday cake when someone brings it to their child’s school.  They believe that Birthdays are evil. Mostly because of two passages in the Bible.

The first one is in the Jewish Testament

Genesis 40:20-22 NIV

20 Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— 22 but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.
While this is most certainly horrific to think of  what happened to the baker, ask the Jehovah’s Witness is it the birthday or the Pharaoh that is to blame here?  If they say it is his birthday that is to blame ask them if the Pharaoh was a good man for the rest of the year.
Then remind them that the cup bearer was forgiven and restored to his position on the Pharaoh’s Birthday, so the Pharaoh also did a good deed on his birthday.  If an evil event makes the entire day evil, then would not a good event make the day good?

The other passage that they use is in the New Testament

Matthew 14:3-11 (NIV)

 3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.  6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.

Once again something bad happens on a birthday, but it did not begin then. Herod wanted to murder John ever since he was arrested.
He didn’t do it right away, not because he a man who was sleeping with his brother’s wife suddenly got a conscience.  He was afraid of the people. He knew the Jews hated him, but loved John, and he was worried that John’s death would cause a riot, which would get him into trouble with Rome.  Birthday or not he would have eventually have killed him. This isn’t a prohibition of Birthdays it is the description of an historical event.  If it is a prohibition against anything it is against making open ended promises like he did with his niece.

The birth of someone you love should be a special event, and birthdays are a way to make a person feel special in a way that would be impossible if you had to do it all year around.  EXP. Most people can’t afford to buy their child an expensive gift every day of the year, nor should they, but they can afford to buy them a bike for their birthday.

Birthdays are not an essential part of our faith, so please don’t get into a big fight over this with them. Try not to fight at all, but if things get more heated then they should, it should be over bigger issues then birthdays.

       Suggested Reading

Kingdom of the Cults, The

Walter Martin , Ravi Zacharias (Editor)

Disagreements

Disagreement is refreshing when two men lovingly desire to compare their views to find out truth. Controversy is wretched when it is only an attempt to prove another wrong. Religious controversy does only harm. It destroys humble inquiry after truth, and throws all the energies into an attempt to prove ourselves right – a spirit in which no man gets at truth.

– Frederick W. Robertson

I don’t always follow this myself, but I should. When disagreements get nasty no one learns anything.  When someone lords their intelligence over another like a cobra ready to strike, they often get so put off that they quit listening. Whenever possible apologetics should be done like two old friends sitting down for a cup of coffee.