A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 6)

(From Maranatha Baptist Seminary Journal; used by permission. This installment continues Part 5’s examination of the question of whether the Hebrews 6 warning is aimed at believers or unbelievers.)

Context determines? Compton argues that the wider context argues in favor of the view that those in Hebrews 6:4–5 are unsaved.1 The only parts of the context that Compton uses are those verses that follow 6:4–5.2 He makes three points. First, “fall away” in verse 6 means apostasy. Second, the judgment mentioned in verses 7–8 refers to eternal condemnation of the unsaved. Third, verse 9 can be paraphrased, “In spite of the fact we were talking about things that belonged, not to salvation, but to divine condemnation and judgment, nevertheless, we are confident that you are saved.”3 Read more about A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 6)

Who Defines Love?

I get frustrated when people flip-flop about the meaning of words in the midst of a conversation. This is not usually intentional; we may not even notice. I label these words as “slippery.” They take on multiple meanings or auras in our society, and their definitions are particularly subjective or floating.

For example, when I speak of our church, I am talking about the people, our church family. If I say, “I think we have a wonderful church,” I mean, “We have a wonderful group of people who participate in church life.” But the average person on the street—and many Christians—think I am talking about our church building. Others, who advocate a secular society, define church as “religion,” as in “separation of church and state.”

This confusion intensifies when we talk about emotionally charged words, like “passion,” “worship,” or even “faith.” One particularly slippery word is “love,” the focus of this article. Read more about Who Defines Love?

Three Days that Changed Everything

A man named Jesus hung on a cross. Prior to that point, this man had endured the rejection of his people, arrest on false pretenses, an illegal trial in which he was falsely accused, beaten and abused, and ultimately condemned to die because of the spiritual arrogance of his accusers.

To the eyes of many, this man was a good teacher, perhaps even a prophet; certainly a healer, and a remarkable leader. But he claimed to be something more—much more. And then this—he hung on a cross to die among the lowest of criminals.

His followers abandoned him for fear of their lives. In the end it appeared he died in complete failure. There was no kingdom, no deliverance. To many it appeared he died humiliated, broken, and completely alone. He even cried out to the God he called his father: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me!?” This Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. But to him belonged the fate of crucifixion. Read more about Three Days that Changed Everything

A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 5)

(From Maranatha Baptist Seminary Journal; used by permission. Read the series so far.)

Interpretation of Hebrews 6:4–8

The interpretation of Hebrews 6:4–8 must address the three issues raised at the beginning of this article. First, are those mentioned in verses 4–5 truly saved or not? Second, what is the exact nature of the “falling away” mentioned in verse 6? Third, what is the judgment described in verses 7–8?

Saved or Not?

There are several descriptive phrases in verses 4–5 used to identify the person who “falls away.” Each of these phrases is evaluated individually first. Then the context of the phrases is discussed to aid in their interpretation. Finally, a conclusion will be offered for the question of whether or not they are truly saved. Read more about A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 5)

The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part2)

(Read Part 1.)

The Bible’s Opening Verse

As has often been observed, the opening verse of the Bible does not give an argument for the existence of God. In line with its claim to be the Word of God, it assumes a position of Divine authority immediately. Scripture has the right to tell us! It does not pander to our fallen desire for proof. The proof is in the address. God will eventually reveal Himself as the “I Am”—the self-existent and self-contained One. He does not argue His creatures into admitting that designation. It is assumed at once.

When we open the Bible we are straight away presented with a choice. The choice is between the claims of God as Creator or the claims of our own autonomy. This claim to higher authority never desists in the narrative, and in every place where autonomy is portrayed, the consequences of getting our authorities mixed up is dire. Read more about The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part2)

The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part 1)

Creation & Communication

Without the creation of Adam and Eve the whole sequence of days which preceded them would be a rather futile exercise. If the sequence found in the Bible’s very first chapter is to signify anything as a sequence, it had to be an actual seven day sequence. Otherwise it is hard to see why ordinal numbers would be used to describe the process.

Also, without observers capable of recognizing and wondering after God’s wonders around them, God’s disclosure, and with it what we call theology, would be a moot: and so would everything else beyond the Divine Eternity.

God did not have to create to satisfy any longing within Himself. Although the ideas within the mind of the Creator which led up to Him becoming a Creator are not vouchsafed to us, we must realize that since love is communicative at its core, any creation by the God of love would be language-based. This is why the creative days lead up to man and God’s speaking to man. Man is communicative through language for the main purpose of talking back to God in love. A loving Creator will make a talking creature; someone to converse with and who will talk to Him. This is what human beings are. This is our status, our purpose in the world. Without mankind the world is just a great museum. Read more about The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part 1)

Christ & the Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church

(Read Part 1 and Part 2.)

It was a warm spring day in DC, and my Catholic friend explained with great earnestness that if I were to be ordained prior to converting to Catholicism, then I might be able to be a priest and keep my wife and kids. Dispensations can be obtained.

My heart and mind toyed with the thoughts: the great creaking beauty of the medieval liturgy, the pageantry and fancy dress, the history, architecture, the universities, libraries, philosophy, and Latin. The specter of the Mass rose before me. Worshiping bread and the wine, bowing and kissing statues of saints excused with the thinnest of theological distinctions, Pilipino adherents nailing themselves to crosses. No, this is not the Way.

And I said, “The problem is that one of us is a blasphemer. Either I blaspheme Christ by not worshiping him at every available Mass, or you commit an act of idolatry by worshiping bread and wine. There is no middle ground. In heaven if allowed or required I will kiss and pray to Mary; in heaven I will adore the body of Christ, but until heaven or when Christ returns I will trust the Bible and my conscience.” Read more about Christ & the Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Homosexuality, Changing Times, & The Bible (Part 4)

(Read the entire series.)

The Church’s Response

As the LGBT agenda has gained traction in America, and specifically after the Supreme Court legalized homosexual marriage, the evangelical church has been scrambling for a response. Unfortunately, there is not a united front representing the church. For example, within many major, relatively conservative denominations and organizations, there have sprung up movements actively lobbying for acceptance of LGBTs and homosexual behavior including same-sex marriage and even ordination of homosexuals.1 Others have been more ambiguous. Andy Stanley, for example, preached a message in 2012 that seemed to embrace homosexuals in a committed same-sex relationship or marriage. Al Mohler’s thoughts are in the following post:

He [Stanley] told of a couple with a young daughter who divorced when the wife discovered that the husband was in a sexual relationship with another man. The woman then insisted that her former husband and his gay partner move to another congregation. They did move, but to another North Point location, where they volunteered together as part of a “host team.” The woman later told Andy Stanley that her former husband and his partner were now involved as volunteers in the other congregational location.

Read more about Homosexuality, Changing Times, & The Bible (Part 4)