Getting Married for All the Wrong Reasons

Tags: 

My husband and I have been married for 13 years, and we’ve spent 10 of those years in “ministry.” During this time, we’ve seen the most unlikely relationships blossom into beautiful, fruitful marriages; we’ve also witnessed the disintegration of more marriages than I care to think about. And that’s nothing to talk of the pain and confusion we’ve experienced in our own.

It’s no secret that our society struggles with sustaining faithful, happy marriages. And yet, no one wants to go through a divorce; no one enters marriage with the goal of simply exiting it. As a result, there’s a lot of competing advice about what you should do prior to marriage in order to make yours successful. Some folks tell you to wait until you’re “sure” and others advise getting married young. Truthfully, though, I don’t think the problem is when we get married so much as why we get married. A lot of us are getting married for all the wrong reasons.

So, if you’re not married already, here are a few things to consider:

1. Do not get married simply to get married. 

For some folks, the idea of marriage is more important than the individual they are marrying. Do not marry a woman because you want to be a “husband;” and please, do not marry a man simply because you want to be a “wife.” If you want to “play house,” buy one of these instead. Read more about Getting Married for All the Wrong Reasons

Login or register to post comments.

The Incoherence of Evolutionary Origins (Part 4)

Tags: 

Read the series so far.

After the Impossible Hurdle

Evolution is the atheist’s way out. It is his escape clause from having to face the God who created him. People like Richard Dawkins may convince themselves that it makes atheism intellectually respectable, but they must first convince themselves that naturalism is intellectually respectable.

The problem here is that, as in many walks of life, it is possible to arrange our arguments selectively and with rhetorical conviction while ignoring the issues, even the most obvious ones. So if we begin to stack up the problems: – something does not come from nothing; life does not come from non-life; the mathematics of sequence space (not enough time); the contradiction of using target-oriented computer programs to “simulate” discrete non-targeted chance scenarios; the logical fallacies (question-begging, composition, reification), etc., these problems make the intellectual satisfaction appear rather hollow. Read more about The Incoherence of Evolutionary Origins (Part 4)

Login or register to post comments.

Why I'm Not a Calvinist . . . or an Arminian, Part 5

Tags: 

Read the series so far.

If neither Calvinism nor Arminianism is sufficient explanatory devices, then how can we explain the biblical data? A series of biblical assertions is sufficient to accomplish that task.

#4 He Engages the Human Condition, Based on His Own Will

  • For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. (Romans 9:15-18)
  • All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. (Matthew 11:27)
Read more about Why I'm Not a Calvinist . . . or an Arminian, Part 5
Login or register to post comments.

Why I'm Not a Calvinist . . . or an Arminian, Part 4

Tags: 

Read the series so far.

The Calvinism/Arminianism debate considers three essential issues: (1) The degree of God’s activity in human salvation, (2) the degree of human culpability, and (3) the degree of human activity in salvation. Historically Calvin placed strongest emphasis on God’s activity in salvation, whereas Arminius tended towards emphasizing human volition over God’s volition. Ultimately the two theological traditions are trying to resolve the apparent conflict between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility, and they both attempt resolution by means of extra-biblical rationalistic constructs. I suggest it is due to the artificial nature of these arguments that there has been no historical resolution to the debate. Because the base of authority for both sides is subjective (rationalistic theology) rather than objective (exegesis), neither side can, in my estimation, claim the full authority of Scripture. Hence, the longstanding and unresolved debate.

In 1 Corinthians 4:6, Paul expresses his desire that the Corinthians “learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” In order to maintain the proper humility (and to ensure the highest degree of accuracy), it is best when dealing with the mysteries of God (1 Cor 4:1) not to expand their definitions beyond what God has revealed. This is an important principle broadly applicable throughout the Christian life, and certainly in resolving any theological difficulty. Read more about Why I'm Not a Calvinist . . . or an Arminian, Part 4

Login or register to post comments.

Myths of Faith #2 - It's About the Amazing and Unexplainable

Tags: 

“If you can explain what is going on, then God isn’t doing it.”

It’s a great sound byte. Several respected Christian leaders have taught it. And it certainly feels true. In many congregations it would be a reliable “amen!” line. However, not only is the statement itself false but it reflects a damaging and unbiblical way of thinking about faith and Christian living.

Distraction

Just as focusing on the “how much” of faith distracts us from the “what” and “Who” of faith (Myths of Faith #1), so an unbalanced focus on God’s hand in the unexplainable and dramatic distracts us from His very real and powerful activity in the ordinary and every-day. The problem should be fairly easy to see if we take off our “feels true” glasses and put on our “teach me Thy way” lenses instead. The idea that God is only at work in the amazing and unexplainable forces us to accept another conclusion. The sequence goes like this:

  • God is only at work in the extraordinary.
  • By definition, “extraordinary” is what is not happening most of the time in life.
  • Therefore, God is not involved in a meaningful way in my life most of the time.

Tragically, many Christians—including myself, all too often—actually think this way, though more as attitude than as a conscious thought process. And the attitude has devastating results. Read more about Myths of Faith #2 - It's About the Amazing and Unexplainable

Login or register to post comments.

Caving In

Tags: 

One rare but serious problem during a rainy-weather graveside services is the danger of a cave in. I know a funeral director who heard the rumblings of a cave-in and ordered everyone away from the tented area; a moment later the ground gave way! The reason the ground caved in is because the foundational soil had become too soft.

The term “cave-in” has become the up-to-date term for what we used to call “compromise.” It is a picturesque replacement and especially accurate. Compromise sometimes can be good thing, especially in relationships. Compromise is an art to develop (ideally before marriage). “Caving in,” however, implies making an improper concession because of pressure; we surrender a conviction, for example.

This kind of surrender is particularly bad when the conviction originates from a straightforward interpretation of Scripture. Sadly, many agenda-driven scholars work diligently to persuade us that the straightforward meaning of Scripture is not what is really intended. They are trying to pave the way so that we cave in with a clear conscience. Our answer must be, “Thanks, but no thanks!” Read more about Caving In

Login or register to post comments.

The Tragedy of Self Deception: Relationships

Tags: 

Posted by permission of Think on These Things and Voice. (Read Part 1.)

The only means we have to free ourselves from habitual self-deception is the mirror of the Word of God.

Anger

Scripture never condemns anger per se. As a matter of fact we are given examples of appropriate, godly anger in the life of Jesus and a number of His followers, and we are actually commanded to “be angry” at times (Eph 4:26a). Obviously if God is angry at sin it cannot be wrong for believers to be angry at the same sins. Righteous anger reacts against actual sin, not against inconvenience or violation of personal preference. Righteous anger, instead, is concerned about the Lord and His glory. It is focused on what offends God and injures others, not about what harms the angry person. Righteous anger is self-controlled and concerned for the good of others. Read more about The Tragedy of Self Deception: Relationships

Login or register to post comments.

The Tragedy of Self Deception: Finances

Tags: 

Posted by permission of Think on These Things and Voice.

“The power of the human mind to deceive itself seems infinite”1 The Greek philosopher Demosthenes said, “Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be truth.”2 In his confessions Augustine wrote, “Man’s love of truth is such that when he loves something which is not the truth, he pretends to himself that what he loves is the truth, and because he hates to be proved wrong, he will not allow himself to be convinced that he is deceiving himself. So he hates the real truth for the sake of what he takes to his heart in its place.”3

The fact that we are easily self-deceived should surprise no Christian for, as the inspired prophet Jeremiah wrote centuries ago, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, who can understand it” (Jer 17:9)? Jeremiah quickly adds, I, the Lord, search the heart and I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.” (v.10). However, this deceitful heart, which each of us inherits as a result of the fall, leaves us in a bit of a quandary. How are we supposed to function so as to walk authentically before the Lord? If even the best and most sincere can be deceived by their own hearts, then how can we have confidence that any of our actions, thoughts or motives are pure? How can we be sure that we are not deluding ourselves no matter how hard we try to live in integrity? Read more about The Tragedy of Self Deception: Finances

Login or register to post comments.

Pages