The Gospel

Carmageddon, Eruvs, and Working for Salvation

First appeared at The Cripplegate in 2011.

Carmageddon came and went, with no serious delays or deaths attributed to the temporary pause on LA’s car-craved culture. But of special note, Carmageddon did not even disrupt LA’s elaborate eruv network.

There is perhaps no contemporary illustration of the folly of man-made religion as absurd as the eruv, and if you are unfamiliar with an eruv, you are missing out. Because God forbid the Israelites from working on the Sabbath, the Talmud—not content to simply leave the concept of work up to the conscience—created an elaborate system to protect people from accidentally working on the seventh day.

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Two Lessons from Two Radically Different Funerals

By Jordan Standridge. Reposted from The Cripplegate.

Funerals are a gift from God. I know that sounds crazy, but they are a God-given tool to force us to reflect on the brevity of life, and how finite we are as human beings. I truly do believe that humans should attend as many funerals as possible during their lives. It is that good for your soul.

I had the privilege of attending two recently, and they could not have been more different from each other.

The first was that of a believer. One of the sons (who is an elder at our church) gave the eulogy, and the other son, who is a Presbyterian pastor, gave the message. At least 100 people were there. The second was for a non-believer. I had the privilege of giving the message at that one to a crowd of 10 people at the local funeral home.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the incredible difference between the two funerals. Both individuals were in their 80s, both had lived long lives full of experiences, and yet, the outcome of their funerals could not have been more different. Two reminders were very evident as I reflect on this particular “funeral Friday.”

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#MeToo Invites Us to Consider More Than Just Behavior

The #MeToo movement brought needed light to the darkness of sexual abuse and assault, and underscored a dark principle of human nature: people will often try to get away with whatever they think they can. The public unveiling of sexual selfishness and other evils that typically accompany this brand of egocentrism invites all of us to consider what is good, and why we should do it.

Plato tells a parable of a man who discovers a ring that makes its wearer invisible. With this newfound power, the man kills the king and takes the queen for himself. The ring represents the ability to do whatsoever a person would like to do without accountability (visibility). The point of the parable is that a person will do whatever is in his or her self-interest if there is no accountability. J.R.R. Tolkien later borrowed the ring of invisibility metaphor, offering an alternative interpretation. The power of no accountability (invisibility) was supremely corrupting, but there was a source of goodness that would lead some to destroy the temptation to do wrong when no one was watching, and so [spoiler alert] the one ring to rule them all was destroyed in the fires of Mt. Doom. But what is that source of goodness?

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How to Honor Christ in our Apologetics

By Jordan Standridge. Reposted from The Cripplegate.

There was a man who thought he was dead. In fact, he told all his family members that he was dead. Finally, after months of being unable to convince him, they dragged him to a doctor. The doctor, also unsuccessful, finally asked him, “Do dead men bleed?” The man responded, “Of course not!” The doctor promptly took out a knife and cut the man’s finger, and as the man watched the blood run down his hand he exclaimed, “Wow! I guess dead men do bleed!”

This man had presuppositions he brought with himself to that doctor’s appointment. He believed that he was dead and no evidence was going to change his mind. In a similar way, every one of our evangelistic encounters happen with someone who has preconceived notions and presuppositions.

Understanding why people don’t believe the gospel is key. Either they lack the evidence and are just waiting for the perfect argument to come along or they are blinded by their sin and need the gospel. As believers, we are called to make a defense. 1 Peter 3:15 gives us our calling. Peter says,

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

This verse gives us three keys on how to do apologetics that we should apply in our everyday conversations as we “make a defense” with unbelievers.

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The Young Roman Catholic Man Who Clenched His Fist

From The Cripplegate, with permission. By Jordan Standridge

Let me tell you about a gospel conversation I had recently that left an impression on my heart.

Tim was a very polite guy.

He was cordial and respectful. He listened carefully and was obviously raised well by his parents. He was well dressed and was very articulate. Tim was also very religious.

I start off every conversation with the same question I ask everyone, “If it applies, what are two reasons you stopped going to church?” Tim answered that he goes to Catholic mass every week.

So I asked him my second question, “Coming from a Catholic perspective, what would you say the gospel is?” He said it was the Bible. When I asked him what the “good news” of the gospel was, he said that it was the possibility to live a better life and to go to Heaven.

So I asked him a third question, and I let him know that I ask this question in order to really get to the heart of what someone believes about how they are going to Heaven. I asked him, “If you were to die tonight, and were to stand before God, and He were to ask you why should I let you into Heaven? What would you say?” He thought about it for a few seconds and said, “I don’t think I’d say anything. I would expect the Lord to know whether I deserve Heaven or not.”

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Pastor Greg Locke Slams Evangelicals Who Believe There Are Multiple Ways to Heaven

"Two months after the Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner, leader of the second-largest congregation in the Presbyterian Church USA, declared that Christianity is not the only way to Heaven, popular internet preacher Greg Locke is firing back" CPost

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