It was a normal day at my little Baptist school kindergarten. We had colored and napped, ate our snacks, reviewed numbers and letters, and even spent a lesson on telling time. We had just put away our sleeping mats when my teacher, Mrs. Edna, called us to attention.
“Children, I want to take a few moments to tell you about Jesus.”
I perked up. Jesus? I had heard about him at home and at church, but I hadn’t concerned myself much with him. He was that guy the adults prayed to and talked about so much. What did he have to do with me?
When I started Revolutionary Faith two years ago, I knew I would face some blowback at some point. I knew that some would accuse me of liberalism and that others would claim I was twisting scriptures and preaching a false gospel. You can’t poke holes in the sacred monoliths of fundamentalism and American evangelicalism without someone coming down with a case of hot head.
Well, it’s finally happening.
But what I find fascinating is that the people accusing me of presenting a false gospel cannot correctly articulate the gospel themselves. I mean, it’s a bit like someone pointing at my car and saying, “Your cow is broken.” True, but only if that thing they were pointing at were a cow. The first rule of critique is, if you’re going to claim that something is wrong, you must first have a clear understanding of what that something is.
So today, I’m going to help my critics by defining what the gospel is…and isn’t. Continue reading
“You know what I dislike about church these days?” a reader of mine recently asked. “Preachers just don’t talk about sin anymore. I mean, when was the last time you heard a sermon where a preacher said, ‘This is a sin. That’s a sin.’ I bet it’s been a while.”
Well, he’s right. It has been a while. On the one hand, I’m grateful. On the other, I’m concerned. I’ll explain what I mean. Continue reading
You heard Him, folks.
I’ve been seeing a lot of blog posts in the past month addressing the topic of whether Christians should be “nice.” After all, there is no command in the Bible to be nice to anyone. And Jesus certainly wasn’t nice when he called the Pharisees hypocrites or flipped the tables in the temple. Sometimes, the truth can come out sounding just plain mean.
But apparently nowadays, we’re being plagued by a host of “nice” Christians. They’re “soft on sin.” They don’t want to “offend anybody.” As a result, people aren’t hearing the gospel and are destroying our clean, civilized society with all their depraved behaviors. (Those deluded hell-bound sinners!)
Of course, we shouldn’t just run out into the street and start screaming at people. We have to be careful to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Many people have spread much ink with those words. However, they never actually explain what it means to speak the truth in love. What should that look like? Sound like? Maybe I can shed some light on the matter. Continue reading
As you may recall from my last post, I mentioned the verse in Malachi that talks about God’s desire for food in His house. In modern times, many pastors have portrayed “food” in a figurative sense, meaning spiritual sustenance on the level of a sermon or discipleship. When we take a closer look at the scriptures, however, a more literal application comes to light:
At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the…foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied…(Deuteronomy 14:28-29).
We also see Jesus himself feeding people. In Matthew 14, he feeds a crowd of over 5,000 men (not counting their wives and children) with only five loaves of bread and two fish. In Matthew 15, he feeds 4,000 with seven loaves and a few other fish. Jesus obviously cared about people’s physical nourishment. Still does.
Then we read in John 21 about his command to Simon Peter: “Feed my sheep.” Again, this verse has been interpreted to mean that Jesus was calling Peter to preach the gospel. To be clear, I think this is a reasonable interpretation. After all, Jesus called himself the “bread of life,” and said that whoever “eats this bread” will live eternally. But I think ministers have unfortunately been too quick to separate the physical aspect from this spiritual command. Continue reading