Articles that discuss the empirical proof for the authenticity of the Christian faith

Is Homosexuality Sinful (Part II)

Is Homosexuality sinful? This is Part II of a five part series that attempts to answer that question.

Objection: The New Testament doesn’t specifically refer to homosexuality, rather it addresses male prostitution and promiscuity. As far as Paul’s commentary on the issue, he also said that women are to remain silent and never assume authority over a man. Those notions are obviously antiquated and have no place in contemporary society, therefore his views on homosexuality should likewise be discarded.

Overruled: The New Testament does reference homosexuality specifically in Romans 1:27. While other passages elaborate on sexual perversion in more general terms, to imply that homosexuality isn’t included in those verses is to turn a deaf ear to the obvious verdict that God vocalizes throughout the Bible.

In addition, the Bible tasks men with being the spiritual leader in the home as well as the spiritual leaders in the church. But to say that that Bible commands women to be silent and that they are never to occupy positions of authority is incorrect. The Bible contains several examples of women who wielded significant authority and influence over men. Their role in the home and in the church is subordinate to the role of their husband, but both sexes are equal in Christ and considered qualified to occupy leadership positions.

Homosexuality is Specifically Referenced in the New Testament

Romans 1:27 specifically references men having sex with one another, which is homosexuality. While promiscuity and male prostitution could be categorized as, “shameless acts” and other translations differ in their specifically mentioning homosexuality as opposed to, “pervert” or, “effeminate,” the bottom line is that the degradation of man often shows up in the way he deviates from the healthy and holy sexual relationship God intended to exist between a husband and wife. Anything contrary to that is sin and that includes same sex relationships.

So the New Testament does specify homosexuality and it also lumps it in with any one of a number of perverse expressions of man’s inclination to rebel against God (see also 1 for 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10.)

Women as Leaders and Subordinates

As far as women never being allowed to have authority over a man, that is true but only in the context of a worship service and in the way a wife is to interact with her husband.

After the Fall, God established a hierarchy as far as the relationship that would exist between a man and his wife:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (Gen 3:16)

You see that reiterated in Ephesians 5:22:

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. (Eph 5:22)

By no means does this give the husband to take advantage of his wife in any way in that he is to love his wife as Christ loved the church:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:25 [see also verse 28, 33])

Bear in mind that Christ loved the church by dying for her, so in order for a husband to be consistent with the Biblical model for the way in which he is to love his bride, he needs to subordinate himself to her welfare to the extent that he would be willing to lay down his life for her. You see Paul elaborate on that imagery throughout this particular text.

But while a wife is commanded to submit to a loving husband who is completely devoted to her, that doesn’t mean women cannot occupy positions of authority and influence over men.

Deborah is a great example of that as she was a judge over the nation of Israel as seen in Judges 4. Huldah, the prophetess in 2 Kings 22:14 as well as Philip’s daughters in Acts 21:8-9 and Phoebe, the deaconess in Romans 16:1 are all examples of women who wielded authority and power.

Deborah was married as was Huldah and Phoebe. While they occupied roles characterized by civic and judicial authority, they were still subordinate to their husbands in their respective homes and would’ve yielded to the authority of the spiritual leaders in their lives when it came to worship and discipleship.

So, women do have the capacity to lead and to teach. But, in church it is different. Men, and only men, are to fill the role of pastor and teacher. The foundation for that hierarchy was established first in Genesis, not just in the context of the Fall of Man, but also in the order that male and female were created.

Men and Women as Equals

It should be noted that when God said that it was, “not good” that the man be alone, He was not implying that what He had created was less than perfect, as much as He was looking to the perfection that would be accomplished once man and woman were created and until then, it was, “not good.”

The woman was created from the man and created to help the man.

For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. (1 Cor 11:8-9)

That doesn’t speak to woman’s insufficiency as much as it points to man’s inadequacy. Mankind, as an institution, cannot flourish without both sexes working side by side. From that perspective, both genders are equal, and that can be seen in Galatians:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28)

Paul elaborates on that further in 1 Corinthians 11:11-12:

In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. (1 Cor 11:11-12)

The Distinctive Roles of Men and Women

But while they are the same in spiritual essence and worth, they are nevertheless assigned different roles in worship and in the home. This is seen throughout Scripture:

women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. (1 Cor 14:34)

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. (1 Timothy 2:11-12 [1 Tim 2 pertains to orderly worship. Also, 1 Timothy 3 lists the qualifications of a church leader and there is no reference to women at all])

Paul’s commentary on the role of women can be categorized under two headings: Distractions and Discrepancies. In verses like First Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:1-12, you see the issue of, “distraction” being addressed in that people were talking over themselves, specifically women speaking out of turn, which was leading to an improper climate for a worship service. Reminding them of their submissive role before God and their husbands was an appropriate admonishment in that it went beyond simply asking them to be courteous, rather it framed what their conduct needed to be according to the Absolutes articulated in Scripture.

The, “discrepancy” dynamic is covered in the way Paul states how it’s not appropriate for a woman to have authority over a man. Again, in every instance where Paul makes this statement, the context is orderly worship. Men are to be the spiritual leaders in their home and in the church. When a woman proves herself to be more qualified to teach and lead in the sanctuary, while her spiritual maturity is to be applauded, it is ultimately an indictment against those men she would hypothetically instruct in that they should be capable of teaching her rather than the other way around.

Godly women who have the gift of teaching and leadership are extraordinary people that God uses in a variety of ways – Business women, artists, Conference Leaders, Principals and the list goes on and on. In church, they can be seen as teachers and lay leaders, but not in those instances where they are leading or teaching men.

Those who process the Biblical way in which authoritative roles are designated in Scripture with a feeling of either resignation or resistance are forgetting verses like Psalm 37:4 where it’s made clear that the amount of fulfillment you experience in your life is in direct proportion to the degree of obedience you deploy in response to God’s Instructions.

As a woman you are not held accountable for the spiritual health of your husband, nor are you tasked with having to teach other men. If you insist on taking that responsibility upon yourself, despite the fact that God has made it clear that it isn’t your job, your efforts will fall short of God’s Ideal if for no other reason in that you’re standing in the place that has been reserved by God for someone else.

Moreover, the sort of leadership and submission that is being commanded in Scripture is not the assignment of the qualified over the unqualified. Rather, it is an infrastructure that is established first for the sake of promoting the proper regard for God and then to foster the kind of Divinely empowered productivity that can only occur when each person is subordinating themselves to the authority that has been placed over them, much like a team of all stars has a captain who they follow as well as a coach that they all answer to.

So, while men and women are equal in Christ, they do have different roles and that is a good thing. By attempting to discredit the way in which Scripture has assigned authority in the home and in the church by insinuating that women are prohibited from occupying any position of authority is incorrect and indicative of a very limited knowledge of God’s Word.

God’s commands are freeing in that they open up the path that leads to success. To perceive them as limiting or inaccurate is to buy into a lie that ultimately leads to a world of unrealized expectations that, left unchecked, will culminate in a very dark and spiritually destitute demise.

Therefore, as far as those who would insist that the Biblical template for the way in which women are to fulfill their role as wives and leaders is obsolete, thus making the New Testament commentary on homosexuality something that can be ignored in a similar fashion – they are wrong in both instances and are denying themselves the advantages that go along with being receptive and obedient to the Word of God.

To proceed to Part III click here

Is Homosexuality Sinful? (Part I)

There’s a graphic floating around facebook that’s entitled, “So You Still Think Homosexuality is Sinful?” and it goes on to use a flowchart to suggest that it’s both logical and sensible to embrace Homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, even from a Biblical standpoint.

The first red flag is that it doesn’t reference any specific chapter or verse. Beyond that, there’s some stuff there that sounds plausible, but after you pop the hood and do some digging, you discover that it’s not credible at all.

Here we go:

Objection:  Jesus Never Uttered a Word About Same Sex Relationships.

Overruled: Jesus endorsed the Law as being valid and in so doing established homosexuality as being a sin. In addition, Jesus was God in the flesh and in light of the fact that God dictated the whole of Scripture, it is therefore nonsensical to claim that Christ had nothing to say on the matter.


Jesus Endorsed the Old Testament as Being Valid

Correct. Jesus never taught on the subject, but Jesus endorsed Old Testament Law as being valid in Matthew 5:17 and that would include God’s specific outlawing of homosexuality. Take a look:

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. (Lev 18:22 [see also Lev 20:13])

Homosexuality is Referenced as a Sin Throughout Scripture

In addition, it’s referenced in the New Testament which demonstrates that this is a moral sin that rates a special emphasis in God’s mind in that it shows up throughout Scripture and not just in the New Testament.

In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Rom 1:27)

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
(1 Cor 6:9)

We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for kidnappers,[a] liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching (1 Tim 1:9-10)

Jesus is God

Another thing to consider is that Jesus is God in the flesh:

I and the Father are one. (Jn 10:30 [see also John 1:1-2; 5:17-18;Heb 1:3])

When Jesus says, “I and the Father are One,” He’s saying that He and God are the same thing. The Greek word means “one and the same,” not “one person, “ but akin to two different names for the same thing. That’s why Calvary worked because it was God Himself Who was paying the penalty for our sins and not just a noble substitute.

So if Jesus is God and vice versa, then to suggest that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality is pointless. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says the entire Bible is God-breathed so Jesus’ perspective on the subject is well represented throughout the Bible in that it is God’s Word and Jesus is God.

Objection: The OT also says it’s sinful to eat shellfish, to wear clothes woven with different fabrics and to eat pork? Should we still live by OT laws?

Overruled: God’s condemning of homosexuality is not limited to the Old Testament Law as has already been mentioned. In addition, the portion of the law that is being referenced here is the judicial law which was fulfilled in Christ. The moral law, however, endures and that includes the condemnation of homosexuality.


Homosexuality is Referenced Throughout Scripture

Two things: First off, homosexuality is condemned throughout Scripture so to limit one’s scope to the Old Testament alone and attempt to justify homosexuality by saying it’s an Old Testament law and therefore obsolete is to ignore the way in which it is addressed in the New Testament:

In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Rom 1:27)

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:8-10)

We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching. (1 Tim 1:9-10 [HCSB])

While the Old Testament Law Pertaining to Ceremonial and Judicial Specifics Were Fulfilled in Christ, the Moral Law Still Applies

In addition, it’s important to realize that while the ceremonial and judicial aspects of Old Testament Law having been fulfilled, the moral law still applies.

Here are the OT passages that are deal with the wearing of clothes made of two different fabrics and the eating of shellfish:

Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to detest.
(Lev 11:9-10)

Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals.
Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. (Lev 19:19)

And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you. (Lev 11:7-8)

Why God prohibited the consumption of some animals or the wearing of certain types of clothing is speculative. But there are a couple of things about what was going on historically that allow these directives to make some sense.

Israel was surrounded by pagan nations whose practices included the combining of fabrics and different types of seed as part of religious rituals. Moses Maimonides (1135 – 1204) wrote that: “the heathen priests adorned themselves with garments containing vegetable and animal materials, while they held in their hand a seal of mineral. This you will find written in their books.”1 So there’s good reason to believe that one of the reasons that God directed the Israelites to not mix seed or fabrics or different kinds of animals is because by doing so you were engaging in behaviors that were recognized as idolatrous.

As far as why you were to not eat marine life lacking in fins or scales, again it’s possible that due to the diet of the typical pagan, which included shellfish, God was putting up some guard rails that would make it difficult to even eat with those who despised the Lord.2

The point that’s being made the “So You Think Homosexuality is Sinful?” crowd is that if all of these instructions were valid in antiquity, yet not relevant in today’s world then why should God’s command pertaining to homosexuality be any different? If we no longer concern ourselves with combining different types of fabric or abstaining from eating certain types of food, why should homosexuality be an issue?

In the New Testament, Jesus addressed the dietary restrictions that had been established through Moses by saying that it wasn’t what went into a man that made him unclean, rather it was what came out of him that reflected the true condition of his heart.

Consider the following:

17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) (Mk 7:17-20 [see also 1 Tim 4:3-5])

Jesus often qualified the Law by quoting it and then elaborating on it in order for people to get beyond the letter of the Law and instead obey the spirit and the original intent of the Law. That’s what he was getting at in Matthew 5:17:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matt 5:17)

Some will mistakenly interpret Jesus’ quoting the Law as His having a disdain for what He had Moses document centuries before in that He would often add some commentary to what was on the books.

Here’s the thing: The word, “fulfill” doesn’t mean to fill out, as in to add something that was lacking. Rather, it means to fill up. In other words, the law was perfect in its content and purpose which was to identify sin. Paul states that in Romans 7:12 when he refers to the law as holy, righteous and good. Without the law, we wouldn’t recognize sin for what it is nor could we appreciate the need for a Savior and that was the ultimate purpose of the law. When Jesus said that He wasn’t seeking to abolish the law, He was highlighting the fact that He was the Savior that law had been pointing to since its conception. He says in Matthew 5:18:

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matt 5:18)

In this one verse, you have an amazing collection of Truths that represent the substance of the gospel. When Jesus died on the cross, the ceremonial part of the Law was fulfilled in that no sacrifices would ever be needed again to atone for sin because Jesus was God’s one time, sacrifice for sin. You see that in 1 Peter 3:18:

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, (1 Pet 3:18)

The judicial aspect of the law was the way in which God uniquely dealt with Israel (Lev 26:46; Ps 147:19). It’s in the context of this law that you find the dietary restrictions and instructions pertaining to apparel. But when Israel rejected the Messiah and put Him to death, that was the end of Israel’s distinction as “God’s people” and the beginning of the church which was comprised of both Jews and Gentiles. Hence the abrogation of judicial law, not that it was destroyed but fulfilled in Christ.

Take a look at some of what John MacArthur offers in the way of commentary on this issue:

Look at it this way; this is thrilling. Look at the judicial law and all the various rules that governed the behavior of Israel, all their legal codes, all the things they were supposed to do. Leviticus 26:46, “The statutes and ordinances and laws which the LORD made between Himself and the children of Israel.”

God made special laws with Israel. In Psalm 147:19, “He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt so with any nation.” In other words, God had peculiar laws for Israel; this is His judicial law which set them apart. They had certain dietary laws, certail laws of dress, of agriculture, laws within their relationships with certain things they had to do. These set them apart.

You say, “How did Jesus fulfill that?” When Jesus died on the cross, that was the final, full rejection by Israel of her Messiah, right? That was it. And that was the end of God dealing with that nation as a nation. The judicial law that He gave to Israel passed away when God no longer dealt with them as a nation anymore and Jesus built His church. Praise God, someday He will go back and redeem that nation again and deal with them again as a nation. But for this time, when Jesus died on the cross, the judicial law came to a screetching halt. There was no more national people of God. There would be a new man, cut out of Jews and Gentiles, that would be called the church. The judicial law came to an end. That’s why Matthew 21:43 says, “Therefore I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you.” (

The one aspect of God’s Law that still applies, however, is His moral law. Not that we need to concern ourselves with the penalty that comes when you disobey His moral law, but as far as how it defines what is right and what is wrong – that aspect of God’s moral law is still binding.

John MacArthur elaborates on that point when he says:

The same thing is said in Romans 6:14, and we could spend forever on this principle. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law.” What does he mean, that you don’t have to do anything any more? Do you not have to live a moral life or obey God? No! What he means is that you are no longer under the power of the penalty of the law. It can’t kill you anymore; you can only die once. That’s all, only once. Christ died on the Cross, and you, by faith, died in Him. That pays the penalty, so in that sense, you are no longer under the law. That is, the law has no power to slay you. The law had a penalty, the wages of sin is death, and Christ took the penalty. (

The whole judicial system was only good as long as Israel was God’s people. When that was over, the system was over. The ceremonial system was only good until the final sacrifice came, and when it came, then the system was done away. That only leaves one element of God’s law abiding still, and what is that? The moral law. That’s what undergirded everything. That will be with us until we see Him face to face. (

So to imply that the Old Testament laws which no longer apply to the New Testament church include God’s ruling against homosexuality is neither Biblical let alone logical.


Proceed to Part II by clicking here

He Loves the Sin, but Hates the Sinner…Really?

Crucifix-1.jpg~originalGod is love, but God is just. Both characteristics are represented perfectly and completely in Him.

I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. (Lev 11:45)

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.(Dt 32:4)

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 Jn 4:16)

So however love and justice might sometimes appear to be at odds with one another, with God they co-exist in perfect harmony.

The same can be said for His regard for sinners. On one hand, He loves sinners:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 Jn 4:10)

…but because He’s Perfectly Just, He also hates sinners:

The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. (Ps 11:5)

This is important to recognize. We often hear how God loves the sinner, but hates the sin. The Lord does hate, “those who love violence” and on Judgment Day, it will be sinners that are cast into hell and not sin (Rev 20:15).

Some read that and recoil. That doesn’t sound like the merciful God that we all know to be in place. After all, it was His mercy that prompted the cross and the empty tomb and the subsequent “good news” that has been preached for the last two thousand years.

Yes, that is true and it’s a good thing because otherwise there isn’t any hope for anybody. David acknowledges that in Psalm 143:2. We’re all lost apart from God’s grace.

But that grace needs to be received and in order for it to be received it needs to be valued. And grace has no value if the person seeking it believes themselves to be tolerable in the sight of God apart from a humble and a penitent disposition. Maintaining the false notion that God loves those who adore the very thing that he hates is nonsensical.

Here’s the bottom line: It’s not so much that God hates sinners as much as He hates those who love sin. To try and distinguish the behavior from the person exhibiting the behavior is an accurate approach, but only to a certain point. It’s only the one who is truly repentant that receives God’s grace. A prideful and / or an indifferent heart cannot hide behind a token acknowledgment of God.

Here’s the bottom line: It’s not so much that God hates sinners as much as He hates those who love sin. To try and distinguish the behavior from the person exhibiting the behavior is an accurate approach, but only to a certain point. It’s only the one who is truly repentant that receives God’s grace. A prideful and / or an indifferent heart cannot hide behind a token acknowledgment of God.

Thankfully, we’re not the ones who are tasked with identifying those who are reverent as opposed to those who are not. But God can and He does (Gal 6:7; Heb 9:27). Hence the fallacy represented by the phrase, “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.” The sinner who mourns his wrongdoing can expect the grace of God (Heb 4:14-16), but the sinner who revels in his rebellion should not expect anything other than the wrath of God (Matt 7:21-23).

There you have it!


One Day and a Wakeup

Judas RepentsToday is Wednesday. Things will begin to pick up speed from this point on.

The Problem with Judas

Judas has agreed to betray his King. It’s tempting sometimes to wonder how Judas, someone who had been witness to so many things that constituted undeniable proof that Jesus was more than just a charismatic teacher – Someone Who personified supernatural Power – how could a person stand so close to all that and still be inclined to betray Him and see Him handed over to those who wanted to see Him die?

When you pop the hood on Judas Iscariot, he’s a problem child from the very beginning. But there’s still something to learn from his situation that’s both profound and necessary.

When he’s first introduced in all four of the gospels, he’s referenced as the one who would become a traitor. So, right from the beginning, it’s understood that he’s destined for trouble.

“Iscariot” literally means “a man from Kerioth” which would mean that he was the only one of the twelve disciples that was not from Galilee. So, he’s an outsider, but not just in terms of where he grew up.

John spends the most time on Judas, as far as referencing him throughout the disciples’ time with Christ leading up to the Last Supper. The first time he’s mentioned is in chapter six when Jesus is affirming the disciples as a group for having gotten their mental arms around the idea that He’s the Son of God. Jesus responds by saying, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (Jn 6:70). You’ve got to wonder if Judas heard this and what his reaction was.

In the twelfth chapter, John relays how Mary poured an expensive container of perfume over Jesus’ feet, which was a gesture of worship. Judas objects by saying that it was a terrible waste in that the same perfume might’ve been sold and the profits gone to the poor. John elaborates by saying that Judas didn’t particularly care about the poor and that his only reason for objecting was so he could better access the money for himself. Apparently he was a thief and it was common knowledge that he often helped himself to the disciples’ corporate fund which he as in charge of.

John 13 has Jesus washing the disciples’ feet during the Passover meal. This doesn’t happen until tomorrow, but it’s appropriate to mention here because in verse 10, He’s making a point to Peter about the symbolism of what He’s doing and Peter responds by suggesting that Jesus wash not only His feet, but his whole body. Jesus explains that His act of washing the disciples feet is more about service than it is cleanliness. He elaborates by saying that everyone at that table was “clean,” to mean that everyone at the table was not only practicing good hygiene, but also maintaining a proper spiritual disposition. That is, everyone except Judas (see verse 12).

The Last Supper

It’s now 6:00 on Wednesday. The Hebrews defined 6:00 PM as the beginning of a day so we’re now technically looking at Thursday and the clock is winding down.1 Come Thursday, 3:00 PM, the Passover Lamb would be slaughtered and what amounts to the Super Bowl of the Jewish Calendar would begin – the Passover Celebration.2

In Matthew 26:14, Judas is reported as having put the key into the ignition and starting up the judicial machinery that would produce the trial and proceedings that would result in Christ’s arraignment and conviction. In less than twelve hours, Jesus would be having His “Last Supper” with His disciples that would include Judas. Judas had to get moving.

At one point, Jesus said that it would be better for Judas had he not been born (Matt 26:24). It’s not just the fact that Judas betrayed Jesus, it’s the fact that he was, by definition, one of Christ’s closest companions. When Peter asked who it was that was going to betray Christ, Jesus responded by saying that it was the “one whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.”3

According to Middle Eastern custom, when you ate with someone, you were being admitted into a social circle where it was understood that you were a trusted friend.4 There’s more to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus than what might appear to be on the surface in that it his actions required more than a momentary lapse in good judgment. Judas planned, thought, considered and decided. However one might attempt to rationalize Judas’ behavior and somehow minimize the heinous rating of his actions, there’s not getting around the fact that his was a despicable and unconscionable crime.

But Wait

Judas would commit suicide (Matt 27:5). There’s a part of us that reads that and a subtle sense of moral superiority stirs within us. We feel better about ourselves as we survey the landscape of Judas’ character and conclude that we’re not “that bad.” I mean, seriously, “How could anyone do such a thing?”

But wait. There’s a lesson that the example of Judas teaches, at least it’s the “take home” for me.

Romans 7:14 says:

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. (Rom 7:14)

The NIV commentary on the phrase “I am” says that the personal pronoun and the verb, taken together, suggest that Paul is describing his present (Christian) experience.”5 That means that every believer has the capacity to sin. And not just those sins that result from a momentary lapse of self control or good judgment. Paul says that there is a constant compulsion to do wrong in the mind of the believer (Rom 7:21-23).  Left unchecked by the Power of the Holy Spirit, that inclination can, and will, produce a harvest of rebellion that even today’s paparazzi might find difficult to print.

The only thing that separates us from our unsaved counterparts is that we have a choice. We are neither blind nor hopeless (Rom 7:24-25; 2 Cor 4:4), but while the power to resist and flourish is available, it must be chosen (Rom 12:2; Eph 6:12-18; Col 3:12).

You can see examples of people who had every resource they required in order to stand, but instead chose to stoop and imprisoned themselves in a cage of consequences and shame (1 Cor 5:1-5).

The Lesson of Judas

This is the lesson of Judas. Every day represents a series of decisions that either keep us moving forward or start us down a road that leads to a lot of wasted time and opportunities. We’ve got to own our mistakes and be willing to alert others to the blind spots in their rear view mirror (Matt 18:15; Lk 17:3; Jn 7:24; Eph 5:11; Gal 6:1; 2 Tim 4:2; Jas 5:20). But in the midst of all that, we need to bear in mind that the same poison that drove Judas to initiate the machinations that put Christ on the cross exist in the mind of every believer and it’s only the One Who lives in our heart that can prevent us from choosing the same mindset.

One day and a wake up.

It’s going to be a long day for Judas, but we can be looking forward to a lifetime of great days if we heed the lessons his decisions teach us.

Let’s get moving!

Click here to ready “Maundy Thursday | Part I



1. at twilight – Lit, “between the two evenings.” Since the new day was reckoned from sunset, the sacrificing of the lamb or kid was done before sunset while it was still day 14 of the first month. “Twlight” has been taken to signify either that time between sunset and the onset of darkness, or from the decline of the sun until sunset. Laster Moses would prescribe the time for the sacrifice as “in the evening at sunset” (Dt 16:6). According to Josephus, it was customary in his day to kill the lamb at 3:00 PM. This was the time of day that Christ, the Christian’s Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7) died (Luk 23:44-46). (text note on Ex 12:6, MacArthur Study Bible, p110 [emphasis added])

2. Ibid

3. John 13:26

4. dipped his hand into the bowl with me. It was the custom – still practiced by some in the Middle East – to take a piece of bread, ora  piece of meat wrapped in bread, and dip it into a bowl of sauce (made of stewed fruit) on the table. will betray me. In that culture, as among Arabs today, to eat with a person was tantamount of saying, “I am your friend and will not hurt you.” This fact made Judas’s deed all the more despicable (cf. Ps 41:9) (NIV Text Note on Matthew 26:23, p1484, NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1985)

5. Ibid, p1716

Cognitive Dissonance – Where Did That Vacuum Cleaner Come From?

zz0003In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.

It’s sometimes used by critics to describe born again Christians, believing that their convictions are maintained despite credible scientific evidence that reveals their “faith” to be less than intellectually sound, and therefore a source of mental discomfort.

In other words, I’ve got to shut down a part of my brain in order to maintain my ridiculous grin while singing hymns in light of the fact that, while I want to believe the words are true, deep down I know that I’m actually verbalizing ancient fiction and pointless fantasy.

Well, let’s take a moment, examine the facts and let’s see just who’s brain is truly hurting.

Where Did That Vacuum Cleaner Come From?

If I were to go to my closet and find a vacuum cleaner that hadn’t been there before, how would you attempt to explain that?

You would probably tell me that someone put it there.

But then, that would be inconsistent with your perspective on the origins of the universe. In the absence of a Creator (aka Intelligent Design), all of the raw materials along with the laws that govern the way in which they interact simply popped into existence thanks to a fortuitous collection of circumstances and an incomprehensible amount of time.

Just imagine that! All of the inner workings of not just the electric motor and the various belts and hoses that comprise the vacuum cleaner, but even the infrastructure that exists at the molecular level – the exquisite elegance of the atomic strata that forms the various materials, surfaces and forces that make that vacuum cleaner come to life with the mere switch of a button.

What are the odds, huh?

Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? But dress that notion up with several degrees and multiple layers of scientific sounding verbiage and you have Natural Selection, Evolution and the primordial soup you insist birthed the intricacies of life as we know it.

My Vacuum Cleaner’s Going to be a Drummer

As nonsensical as it may be to think that an Electrolux can materialize out of nothing and find its way into my closet, just imagine that vacuum cleaner developing a sense of self to the point where it knows right from wrong and even develops a personality of its own.

Now, I’m not talking about programmed responses to specific stimuli, I’m saying that vacuum cleaner is alive! That’s how some very learned individuals attempt to explain the difference between the mind and the brain.

Some scientists maintain that consciousness and the subjective elements of the mind came into being once the human brain reached a certain level of complexity. The problem with that, however, is that they’re declaring that matter has within it the capacity to become both material and non-material. At that point, they’ve redefined the essential constitution of matter and while panpsychism is not a new theory, it borders on the absurd given the lack of evidence to support it.

But that’s alright. In the atheistic world, logic and reason can be dismissed with nothing more than a wave of an academic looking hand and just like that, we’ve entered into an arena where true science is sacrificed at the altar of metaphysical preferences  and vacuum cleaners can evolve into poets and pop musicians.

My Vacuum Cleaner’s Definition of “Clean”

Lothar von TrothaIt’s amazing how my vacuum’s definition of clean has evolved. It’s a little bizarre, actually.

My vacuum specializes in hard wood floors. It got together with some other vacuums and formulated some ground rules that they could all agree upon as far as what constituted “clean.” Thing is, carpeting didn’t fit well with their criteria and they actually started to eliminate those vacuum cleaners that were set up for carpet, believing them to be inferior. Kind of sad, but it makes sense if you’re of the mindset that says linoleum requires a more advanced level of complexity and machines that can’t handle that are destined for extinction.

That’s how the Germans viewed the Herero tribe in South Africa in 1903. The Hereros staged an uprising against the German taskmasters who had set up a colony there.  The Herero disposition was understandable given the cruel and inhumane way in which the Germans treated them based on their feeling of racial superiority. In response, the German government deployed General Lothar von Trotha along with 14,000 troops to not only defeat the Herero tribe, but to exterminate them completely.

Von Trotha was ruthless, but what made his actions even more heinous is the Darwinian doctrine he used to justify his actions. In a local newspaper article, General von Trotha expressed how much of his thinking had been influenced by Darwin by saying, “At the outset, we cannot do without the natives. But they finally have to melt away. Where the climate allows the white man to work, philanthropic views cannot banish Darwin’s law ‘Survival of the Fittest.’”  (click here to read more about Darwin’s view on race, ethnic superiority and how it all ties in to Natural Selection).

 Can You Smell That?

That’s not the smell of stupidity, but it’s awfully close.

The Christian Doctrine is as unique as it is profound. But even without popping the hood on all that Christ brings to the table, there is a dramatic insufficiency in the “god-less” explanations for the origin of the universe and all of the intangibles that constitute the human experience. In other words, you don’t need to understand the cross and the Resurrection to appreciate the obvious Signature of God on His creation. And to ignore that Signature is both belligerent and nonsensical.

It is the atheist that has to squirm and adjust in order to overlook the disconnect between their theories and the gargantuan elegance of the cosmos along with the exquisite intricacies of the cell and the atom. Standing on the Foundation of a God-centered perspective, the universe is understood as His handiwork and one’s life as a purposeful journey that transcends business cards and checking accounts.

Clinging to Darwin and humanistic mantras, you’re no different than a vacuum cleaner and if that doesn’t inspire some “cognitive dissonance,” I don’t know what would.

Don’t forget to roll up the cord…

“I Dare You” – Part Two | The Resurrection

i_dare_youIII) The Resurrection

   A) Show Us the Father

In John 14, Jesus is briefing His disciples, preparing them for the task of taking the baton of the gospel to the masses. He’s getting ready to be crucified and after His Resurrection. He’ll be headed home and it will be up to His disciples to ensure that His Message continues to be proclaimed.

In verse 6, Jesus states that no one can come to the Father except through Him. For those who’ve been brought up in Sunday School, this is familiar territory. But for the disciples, these are still uncharted waters and you can see that in Philip’s response to Jesus when he says, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Philip articulates what we all want to see and know. While creation very eloquently proves the reality of a god, it doesn’t provide a definitive picture of the face of God. We want to know God. We want to hear His Voice, we want to experience His Company, we want to feel His Power. But in order for that to happen, we have to have an address.

Jesus was an impressive figure. He didn’t teach as a mere educator. Rather, He spoke as the One Who actually wrote the textbook He taught out of (Mk 1:22 [see also 2 Tim 3:16-17]). Throughout His ministry, He was constantly underlining Himself as God Incarnate. He was here to give God a specific address in history so that people could better understand the Nature and the Message of God.

As logical as that all sounds as far as a Divine strategy is concerned, it’s still a stretch for anyone to embrace the idea that the Person you’re sitting next to is the Creator of the Universe and the Redeemer of your soul. Philip had been with Christ since the beginning of His earthly ministry. We find him first in John 1 and at the time, he’s so confident that he has found the Messiah, he says as much to Nathanael in verse 45.

His confidence was probably bolstered in John 6 when Jesus asks him for his thoughts on how they should go about feeding a crowd that included 5,000 men plus whatever women and children were in the mix. Philip had to be inspired as he watched Jesus use two fish and five barley loaves to feed a group that Philip himself had said would require eight months wages to facilitate.

Philip is the one who some Greeks approached in John 12:20 with a request to interview Jesus which shows that Philip was recognized as one of Christ’s cadre even to those who are on the outside looking in. Perhaps that’s why Jesus expressed a little surprise at Philip’s request in John 14:8 when he asked Jesus to show them the Father.

No doubt, Philip was thinking of something along the lines of God’s appearance on Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:16-19 [see Ex 20:18-21] or Exodus 33:22 when God manifested Himself in the context of something obvious and dramatic.

By this point, Jesus had performed in a way that qualified as obvious and dramatic. Making the blind see, healing those who had been paralyzed and bringing Lazarus back to life were all significant indicators that Jesus was more than just a charismatic educator.

But miracles lose their luster after a while. It didn’t take the Hebrews long for them to completely forget and / or rationalize away the obvious Reality of God even after they had been led through the Red Sea. Exodus 15 has Miriam celebrating the demise of the Egyptians. Three months later they’re at the foot of Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:1. By this time, the miracle celebrated in Miriam’s song isn’t the only extraordinary thing that has occurred. The crossing of the Red Sea (Ex 14:21-22), the destruction of the world’s most formidable military force (Ex 14:27-28), a miraculous provision of water, meat and bread (Ex 15:25; 16:13-36; 17:5-7) and a successful stand against the Amalekites (Ex 17:8-13) – all of these things now are etched into the minds of the Israelites as Moses heads up to the top of the mountain and stays there for 40 days and nights. But at some point while he’s gone, the Israelites decide that the God Who has been leading them isn’t God at all. Rather, their god is this cow made out of gold they decided to whip up using the jewelry they were wearing at the time (Ex 32:1-4).

Miracles are conclusive, but only for a season. At least that’s the way human nature affects their significance over time. Still, Jesus responds to Philip’s request by reminding him of the miracles that He had performed up to that point. Not only were they obvious indicators that a supernatural Someone was present, but those same miracles were fulfillments of specific prophecies that had been articulate centuries beforehand because that was all a part of the prophecy that pertained to Christ which He had fulfilled to the letter (Is 9:6; 29:18-21; 35:5-6; 61:1).

   angel-announcing-the-resurrection-of-christ-to-the-three-marys-1609.jpg!BlogB) One Particular Miracle

There was one miracle in particular, however, that Jesus had highlighted as being especially compelling and that was the miracle of His Resurrection which He spoke of in Matthew 12:39-40. He’ll refer to it again as He responds to Philip and the rest of the disciples now in the context of what is documented in John 14-17.

The Resurrection is huge! H.P. Liddon says: “Faith in the resurrection is the very keystone of the arch of Christian faith, and, when it is removed, all must inevitably crumble into ruin.”7 The Resurrection is what Jesus would have on His business card if He carried one at all because He is the only religious figure in human history to not only claim that He was God, but proved it by voluntarily dying and coming back to life. That was the one miracle He put on the table when He was pressed for some kind of definitive sign. You see that in Matthew 12:39-40 and Paul reiterates it in Romans 1:4.

So, in a way, this all becomes very easy in that Jesus’ claims are very unique when compared to every other religious system. He does not claim to be a messenger, rather He claims to be God (John 8:58; 10:30), and then He proves it by His Resurrection. So if His Resurrection is an event that can be validated, then the platform of the cynic has just become very unstable.

   C) He Really Did Die

But how do you prove it? There’s no film to refer to, all of the eyewitnesses are long gone so what’s left as far as a credible source of information? And let’s take this a step further. Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that the Bible is not admissible as evidence, apart from those things that can be regarded as historical events.

The approach that we take then is the same approach that is taken in academic circles when seeking to establish the historicity of a particular event or person. You assemble all those things that mention that person or event and then draw your conclusions based on the substance of their testimony.

First of all, the fact that Jesus died and that His body was never recovered is not a matter of conjecture or speculation.

The resurrection of Christ is an event in history where in God acted in a definite time-space dimension. Concerning this, Wilbur Smith says, “The meaning of the resurrection is a theological matter, but the fact of the resurrection is a historical matter; the nature of the resurrection body of Jesus may be a mystery, but the fact that the body disappeared from the tomb is a matter to be decided upon by historical evidence.8

Jesus did exist and He did die and His body was never definitively accounted for after He was laid to rest. That much can be determined from the wealth of literature, art and even the presence of the Christian church as an institution in that it is based on the historical as well as the theological reality of Christ.

What happened to Christ’s body is the question. Critics have either been looking for a corpse or insisted that one did exist for over two thousand years. But they make that assertion in the face of an overwhelming amount of evidence that cannot be overlooked without the risk of being less than objective in your analysis.

   D) Josephus on the Resurrection

Josephus was a Jewish historian that lived from 37 to 100 A.D. He was employed by the Romans and he mentions this about Jesus in his “Antiquities of the Jews”:

At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive.9

nero_mus_munchenIn many ways, this one quote is a slam dunk. Here’s a man who had access to people who were contemporaries of Christ. He was born only seven year after Jesus died and the fact that he mentions Jesus’ resurrection in what would be considered a secular text is equivalent to Christ’s Resurrection being reported in the news. Some have very vehemently attempted to discount this quote as something that Josephus could not have written. However, this same passage written by Josephus was quoted by Eusebius in the fourth century and is included in the most recent Loeb edition of his works.10 It is credible.

E) Tertullian’s Apology

Another example of a secular text that references Jesus’ resurrection would be Tertullian’s Apology. Tertullian lived from 160 – 220 AD. He was born in Carthage, Africa when it was a Roman province. By this point, Rome had become violently opposed to Christianity thanks to Nero who blamed the great fire that decimated most of Rome on the Christians in 64 AD. Subsequent Caesars followed suit and while much of the more heinous persecutions had faded by the time Tertullian was championing the Christian faith, local proconsuls still made it very hazardous to claim Christ as Savior.

It was in this cultural climate the Tertullian wrote his Apology. It was a letter written to the Roman government basically challenging them to consider the logic of their predisposition against Christianity. He crafts a very compelling defense and at one point when he is describing the Christian faith, he says:

But the Jews were so exasperated by His teaching, by which their rulers and chiefs were convicted of the truth, chiefly because so many turned aside to Him, that at last they brought Him before Pontius Pilate, at the time Roman governor of Syria, and, by the violence of their outcries against Him, extorted a sentence giving Him up to them to be crucified…At his own free-will, He with a word dismissed from Him His spirit, anticipating the executioner’s work. In the same hour, too, the light of day was withdrawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze. Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it was an eclipse. You yourselves have the account of the world- portent still in your archives. Then, when His body was taken down from the cross and placed in a sepulcher, the Jews in their eager watchfulness surrounded it with a large military guard, lest, as He had predicted His resurrection from the dad on the third day, His disciples might remove by stealth His body, and deceive even the incredulous. But, lo, on the third day there was a sudden shock of earthquake, and the stone which sealed the sepulcher was rolled away, and the guard fled off in terror; without a single disciple near, the grave was found empty of all but the clothes of the buried One. But nevertheless, the leaders of the Jews, whom it nearly concerned both the spread abroad a lie, and keep back a people tributary and submissive to them from the faith, give it out that the body of Christ had been stolen by His followers. For the Lord, you see, did not go forth into the public gaze, lest the wicked by delivered from their error; that faith also, destined to a great reward, might hold its ground in difficulty. But He spent forty days with some of His disciples down in Galilee, a region of Judea, instructing them in the doctrines they were to teach others. Thereafter, having given them commission to preach the gospel through the word, He was encompassed with a cloud and taken up to heaven, – a fact more certain far than the assertions of your Proculi concerning Romulus.11

Again, this is not “biblical.” This isn’t a Bible study. Rather, this is a concerned citizen appealing to the Roman decision makers on the basis of logic. In his explanation of the Christian faith, He refers to Jesus’ death and resurrection as things that happened as opposed to things that are merely believed to have happened. The fact that he punctuates his account of Christ by referencing the eclipse that happened when Jesus was killed highlights how some of these things can be verified by referring to their own records. He is not laboring to convince his audience based on mere conjecture. Rather, he’s providing an account of what happened and how those events provided the basis of the doctrine that Christians subscribe to.

   F) Ignatius’ Last Words

The eclipse that happened around the time that Jesus was crucified was documented by the Romans and you can read more about it by clicking here. Greek historian Phlegon wrote: “In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad, there was an eclipse of the Sun which was greater than any known before and in the sixth hour of the day it became night; so that stars appeared in the heaven; and a great Earthquake that broke out in Bithynia destroyed the greatest part of Nicaea.”

Another example that demonstrates the historical reality of Christ’s resurrection that comes from a secular source would be the account of Ignatius who lived from 50-115 A.D. He was the Bishop of Antioch, a native of Syria and a pupil of the apostle John. Enroute to a martyr’s death, he wrote his “Epistles,” and this is what he said of Christ:

He was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate. He really, nad not merely in appearance, was crucified, and died, in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. He also rose again in three days…”12

   G) The Martyrs Speak

Martyrdom is a significant piece of evidence at this point in the discussion because there have been many people who have voluntarily died because they refused to recant their belief that Christ rose from the grave.

While many religions have been harassed and persecuted, what makes the Christian dynamic so extraordinary and thus so credible is that the initial disciples were eyewitnesses to Christ having risen. This would be the thing that would embolden them to spend the rest of their lives not only promoting and publishing the Gospel Message, but to die a martyr’s death because they refused to deny the centerpiece of their creed, that being that Jesus – God Incarnate – had arose.

Again, there have been many people throughout history who have voluntarily given their lives for something they believed to be true, but very few, if any, have forfeited their lives for something they knew to be false.

254189398_origChuck Colson’s testimony and his experience during the Watergate trial demonstrates this dynamic. First of all, for those who are not familiar with Watergate, President Nixon was forced to resign his Presidency in 1974 due to what was revealed as a criminal act perpetrated by members of his team illegally breaking into the Democrat campaign headquarters at the Watergate hotel. Chuck Colson was Special Counsel to the President and he was the first member of Nixon’s cabinet to serve time in prison for actions related to the Watergate scandal.

He later became a Christian and went on to accomplish some extraordinary things in the context of his “Prison Fellowship” ministry.13 His steadfast confidence in the reality of Christ’s resurrection was based in part on the reaction of His disciples in the aftermath of His being arrested. In a speech delivered to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in 1984, he said:

Ehrlichman, Haldeman, Mitchell, myself and the rest believed passionately in the President. We had at our fingertips every imaginable power and privilege. I could phone an aide’s office and have a jet waiting at Andrews Air Force Base, order Cabinet members of generals around, change the budget.

Yet even at the prospect of jeopardizing the President, even in the face of all the privileges of the most powerful office in the world, the threat of embarrassment, perhaps jail, was so overpowering and the instinct for self-preservation so overwhelming, that one by one, those involved deserted their leader to save their own skin.

What has that got to do with the resurrection? Simply this: Watergate demonstrates human nature. No one can ever make me believe that 11 ordinary human beings would for 40 years endure persecution, beatings, prison, and death, without ever once renouncing that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead.

Only an encounter with the living God could have kept those men steadfast. Otherwise, the apostle Peter would have been just like John Dean, running to the prosecutors to save his own skin. He had already done it three times.

No, the evidence is overwhelming. Those men held to that testimony because they had seen Christ raised from the dead. And if indeed He was resurrected, that affirms His deity. As God, He cannot be mistaken in what He teaches and cannot lie. An infallible God cannot err. A holy God cannot deceive.14

Human nature prohibits men from willingly sacrificing their lives for something they know not to be true. And yet, history is full of men and women who have sacrificed their well being and even their lives for the cause of Christ. Why? Because they knew Jesus rose from the grave. Beginning with the disciples who were eyewitnesses and continuing with the martyrs who based their certainty on the evidence that history and nature provides, believers have stood by their convictions even to the point of death.

And it’s because of that certainty that the church has endured and it’s the fact that it has endured – despite the death sentence that has so often been associated with being a believer – that provides significant substance to the claim that “He has risen, He has risen indeed!”

   H) Nothing Else Matters

Simon Greenleaf, famous Harvard professor of law, says: “All that Christianity ask of men…is, that they would treat its evidences as they treat the evidence of other things; and that they would try and judge its actors and witnesses, as they deal with their fellow men, when testifying to human affairs and actions, in human tribunals. Let the witnesses be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as if it were being given in a court of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to rigorous cross- examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability and truth.”15 Jesus really did live, He really did die and He really did come back to life. By doing so He proved His claim to Divinity and the moment that a person recognizes this fact as a historical truism, it changes everything.

The great Methodist preacher, author and missionary of the past generation, Dr. E. Stanley Jones, described how he was once addressing an Indian University on the verities of eternity. When he sat down the thoughtful Hindu president stood up and sonorously solemnized, “If what this man says is not true, then it doesn’t matter. But if what he says is true, than nothing else matters.”16

Jesus really did live and He really did die and He really did come back to life. Compared to Christ’s Resurrection and the claims to Deity that were validated as a result, nothing else matters.


“I Dare You” – Part One | Creation

i_dare_youI) Intro

As a Youth Pastor, I was always challenging my students to be able to articulate what they believe and why. It’s important to be able to clearly state what it is that shapes your perspective and determines your values, especially for a Christian. Otherwise, much of what a relationship with Christ brings to the table is never accessed due to an overly casual approach characterized by Biblical illiteracy and a secular mindset.

For me, I’ve got a collection of facts and truths that, taken together, form the basis of what compels me to embrace the cross and the efficacy of Scripture. And the more I study and the more I learn, the more compelling the substance of those Truths become.

Recently, it’s gotten to the point where some things that I’ve learned about creation inspired me to put some additional thoughts down on paper. The result was a “dare,” more or less, extended to those who either discount Christianity as an ornamental inconvenience or a system of myths that have somehow endured over the last 2,000 years.

It’s broken down into three sections: Creation, the Resurrection and Ambition. Each segment brings to the surface a body of empirical evidence that makes it very hard to maintain the posture of a cynic. In short, I dare you to not believe…

II) Creation

Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

While some want to view creation as a cosmic accident that just happened to land in a good place, science and mathematics testify to something very intentional.

caseforcreator1In his book, “The Case For Creation,” Lee Strobel interviews Dr. Robin Collins, who has degrees in both mathematics and physics from Washington State University as well as a doctorate in physics from the University of Texas in Austin. After serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, he has spent the last decade doing research, writing, and teaching at Messiah College where he is currently serving as an associate professor of philosophy. At one point in the interview, he says:

Over the past thirty years or so, scientists have discovered that just about everything about the basic structure of the universe is balanced on a razor’s edge for life to exist. The coincidences are far too fantastic to attribute this to mere chance or to claim that it needs no explanation. The dials are set too precisely to have been a random accident. Somebody, as Fred Hoyle quipped, has been monkeying with the physics.1

An aggressive invitation to consider the practical Truth of Scripture

The bottom line is that while some will theorize how life was initiated apart from an Intelligent Designer, they do so in a way that requires a certain precision to be in place that cannot be explained. While there are several examples of the “precision” that needs to be in place in order for life to exist, the cosmological constant is especially compelling.

   A) Cosmological Constant

The cosmological constant is a mathematical value assigned to what astronomers call “dark energy.”

When you look at the universe, you see things moving in a way that doesn’t make sense in that they’re things are being pushed and pulled around despite the fact that there is nothing around them. In other words, when you see a moon orbiting a planet, that makes sense because the planet has a gravitational pull that maintains that moon’s trajectory. But there are objects in space that are moving as though they’re being influenced by a gravitational force, yet there’s nothing visible to provide that force. Hence the term “dark energy” was coined to describe the obvious force being exerted upon these objects by seemingly invisible entities.

Fact is, this dark energy accounts for over 70% of our universe. And what makes that significant is that if this dark energy was characterized by a gravitational dynamic that was pulling everything in, then the universe would ultimately collapse on itself and life in general would cease to exist. If, on the other hand, this dark energy wielded a gravitational force that was too weak to temper the way in which our universe is expanding, then our solar system would unravel as would the entire cosmos.

This, then, is the cosmological constant: The value assigned to this force that continues to allow the universe to expand and therefore not collapse on itself, yet not spin out of control.

Initially, astronomers believed that the cosmological constant was very large. After all, you’re going to need a big broom to move planets around. But that is not the case. The cosmological constant is actually very small. How small? One part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion. That’s a ten followed by fifty three zeroes.

Contemplate the precision of that number. And if you move the dial or change the settings in even the most incremental way, the end result is something that no longer sustains life because of the way the universe would either collapse or unravel.

   B) These Are Not Random Processes

I’ve read several arguments proposed by people who want to eliminate the need for a Designer. They’ll argue that there are natural processes in place that allow for evolution. The problem with their argument is that they don’t attempt to explain the origin of those processes. They simply point to the way in which things could conceivably flow, without explaining how that flow was initiated.

Dr. Ian Musgrave is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide in Australia. He has a website called and his arguments are obviously very well thought out and substantially reinforced with his academic credentials. In his article “Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations” he offers a very credible sounding rebuttal to the often quoted impossibility of an enzyme forming by chance.

He proposes that the theory of life being able to start by itself should not be based on the formation of enzymes; rather it should be analyzed according to the construction of much simpler life forms. He suggests that the attention should be focused on the manufacturing of monomers or polymers – something that can be arrived at in a way that doesn’t involve the sort of mind numbing probability values associated with the fortuitous appearance of an enzyme.

At the beginning of his argument, he says “Firstly, the formation of biological polymers from monomers is a function of the laws of chemistry and biochemistry, and these are decidedly not random.” I would agree. These are not random processes. But the fact that it’s not random necessitates structure and order – dynamics that do not and cannot appear apart from being intentionally established by a Designer. It’s almost comical that he’s so dogmatic about how a simple life form can develop as a result of the chemical and biochemical laws that naturally exist, yet he doesn’t attempt to account for how those laws came about to begin with.

Stephen Hawking is a very well known physicist and mathematician who retired in 2009 from his position as the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University after 30 years. The position was once held by Sir Isaac Newton. In his most recent book, “The Grand Design” he challenges Newton’s belief that creation necessitates the work of God by saying, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to … set the Universe going.”2

While you can’t help but be impressed with Hawking’s credentials and accomplishment, his theory seems fundamentally flawed right from the beginning in that he’s presuming the existence of gravity and from there builds his platform. But if there is no gravity, than he has no platform.

It seems to me that there are a great number of lettered individuals on both sides of the spectrum when it comes to explaining the origin of life. But the thing that tips the scales in favor of those who champion the idea of a Creator is that the individuals who passionately search for a plausible sounding explanation apart from God inevitably base their assumptions on complex processes that need to be present in order for their theories to work.

It would be like me standing in front of an ATM with a random debit card attempting to determine the correct PIN in order to access the accounts associated with that card. You could only speculate how long it would take me to figure out the correct sequence of digits, but let’s suppose I did. Could I walk away with whatever cash I was able to withdrawal and say that all that was required were the four numbers I happened upon? No. The numbers are secondary to the technology necessary to process those numbers. Yet, in many instances, this is what some of these brilliant individuals will do when it comes to postulating their theories pertaining to the origin of life. They’ll focus on the PIN and ignore the ATM. In other words, they’ll speculate as to how certain elements came into being, but will base their models on things that, while they are foundational to their theories, are either assumed without explanation or accounted for using a level of speculation that borders on something ridiculous.

My point is that if you start with nothing, you have no gravity, you have no chemical law, you have no physical property. Your starting point consists of absolutely nothing. Scientists who assert the possibility of any kind of life form appearing as a result of random processes require the presence of these processes which, according to Dr. Musgrave, are not random in and of themselves. Hence the need for an ordered structure even in the context of the mechanisms that produce theses lucky accidents of creation.

   81884C) Another Set of Rules

Another example of this would be Dr. Martin Rees who is an amazingly accredited astronomer that became professor of astronomy at Cambridge when he was in his thirties and has since accumulated several prestigious honors in the fields of Cosmology, Astronomy and Astrophysics.

He wrote a book entitled “Just Six Numbers” that identify six mathematical values that underlie the fundamental physical properties of the universe. He describes these numbers as being intricately choreographed, to the point where if they were altered “even to the tiniest degree,” he said, “there would be no stars, no complex elements, no life.”3

One writer summarized what Rees was saying by explaining it this way:

For the universe to exist as it does requires that hydrogen be converted to helium in a precise by comparatively stately manner – specifically, in a way that converts seven one thousandths of its mass to energy. Lower that value very slightly – from 0.007 percent to 0.006 percent, say – and not transformation could take place: the universe would consist of hydrogen and nothing else. Raise the value very slightly – to 0.008 percent – and bonding would be so wildly prolific that the hydrogen would long since have been exhausted. In either case, with the slightest tweaking of the numbers the universe as we know and need it would not be here.4

Dr. Rees is a spiritual skeptic, so rather than allow the facts to point to the most obvious conclusion as far as they’re having been put in place by a Designer, instead he asserts that our universe is but one of many universes that have been generated through the ages, ours just happens to be the one where the settings are calibrated correctly.

But even if what Dr. Rees is suggesting is true, you still have to have a process that’s producing these universes. You cannot effectively refute the need for an Intelligent Designer to explain any aspect of creation by proposing theories that necessitate an impetus that is ordered in any way, shape or form.

Dr. Robin Collins elaborated on that kind of practice in Strobel’s book when he said, “…the skeptic needs to invent a whole new set of physical laws and a whole new set of mechanisms that are not a natural extrapolation from anything we know or have experienced.”5

   D) Mathematical Elegance

At the end of the day, when you make these kind of assertions that are inevitably contrary to everything we can observe in the physical universe, you no longer have science as much as you have metaphysics posing as a very weak brand of science. Yet it is not uncommon among those who would diminish those physical realities that showcase God’s handiwork. Consider the words of George Sim Johnson:

Human DNA contains more organized information than the Encyclopedia Britannica. If the full text of the encyclopedia were to arrive in computer code from outer space, most people would regard this as proof of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. But when seen in nature, it is explained as the workings of random science.6

The bottom line is that the universe is exquisitely and intricately engineered to the point where the mere notion of it all coming together by chance is utterly ridiculous. The beauty and mathematical elegance of creation is so compelling in terms of the way it points to God, that to dismiss Him with theories that require massive probability values in order for them to be plausible is simply not reasonable.


Two Days and a Wakeup

It’s Tuesday of Passion Week. Below you’ll see a timeline that’s available from that follows the collective story told by the gospels as far as Christ’s activities leading up to the trial on Thursday nite and the crucifixion which would happen at 9:00 on Friday.


What’s amazing to me is that Christ’s calendar wasn’t random. When you look at all of what transpired, there’s an enormous amount of spiritual / prophetic significance attached to every event.

ancient warning sign

Fragment of stone originally positioned at the entrance to the Temple warning Gentiles not to enter the Temple under pain of death. (Archeology of the Bible)


The first day of the Jewish week is actually Sunday. Sunday became the “sabbath” for Christians in light of it being the day the Christ rose from the grave (see Acts 20:7). Today’s the day Christ came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. From our perspective, that might look a little strange, but it resonated as a declaration of royalty to anyone living in that culture (1 Kings 1:33). The thing that made it profound is that Zechariah predicted it in Zechariah 9:9.

As a quick aside, some get distracted by the way in which the gospel writers will sometimes document the same event differently. For example, Matthew references two donkeys, the colt that He actually rode on and its mother. Mark, Luke and John all refer only to the “foal” that Jesus rode upon as He made His triumphant entry into the City of David. It’s not a conflict as much as it’s a situation where Matthew provides more detail than the other writers. Fact is,it would’ve been typical for the mother to walk ahead of the colt that had never been ridden before to provide some emotional stability for the foal given the noise of the crowds etc.

Thing is, Jesus’ grand entrance wasn’t acknowledged by only a few eccentrics. The Jews knew Who He was. Even if they didn’t understand His Divinity, by this point His Name was well known given the way in which He had taught and miraculously healed on so many occasions. He was a phenomenon. Couple that with the way in which some wanted His popularity to translate into a political deliverer, His star was definitely on the rise. When you look at the way John describes the scene in John 12:17-19, it’s a spectacle and it wasn’t until after He had risen from the dead that his disciples would be able to look back on what had happened and realize that this wasn’t so much a well received assertion of Christ’s claim to the throne of David, it was an intentional and a very public fulfillment of prophecy.


Monday Jesus continues to make a statement that reverberates with substance the more you study the symbolism of what He was doing. The highlight today is Jesus walking into the temple and driving out those who were seeking to make some money by offering for sale the animals that a Hebrew would need in order to offer up a lawful expression of worship. It’s one thing to offer a resource as a service, but’s another to exploit another’s need in order to facilitate a personal gain. It was just one more indicator of Israel’s spiritual depravity and the fact that it was happening in God’s House made it all the more offensive to the Son of God.

The Temple was indeed the place where God had “placed His Name” (1 Kings 9:3), but many Jews in their hearts had willfully rebelled against Him by replacing the Authority of God with the Temple itself – a representation of God. Israel’s false sense of security and blatant disregard for God’s Word had been identified by multiple prophets and ultimately punished by God via the Babylonians (2 Chron 36:15-19). The city was sacked and the Temple was totally destroyed.

Years later, a Second Temple was constructed under the supervision of Zerubbabel and then renovated by King Herod during his administration. This was the Temple that existed during the time of Jesus. But the problem of it being embraced as a substitute for personal piety persisted. That Temple would be destroyed as well. This time God’s instrument would be the Romans under Titus – an event Jesus describes in Matthew 21:6. In this instance, however, God’s allowing His House to be destroyed was also symbolic in that His dwelling was now in the hearts of men as opposed to an imposing structure with limited access.

This isn’t the first time that Christ got angry with the commercialization of worship that was going on in the temple. John reports a similar event in chapter two of his gospel (Jn 2:12-17). At that point, He made a whip and drove all the animals out of the temple area and did it a way where His motivation was understood as being a holy zeal for the sanctity of God’s House .

Now it’s three years later and while the actual event is recounted a bit differently by the gospel writers, the message is the same but with even more prophetic substance. Matthew and Luke state that Jesus went to the temple immediately after making His grand entrance into the city. But Mark offers more detail by stating that while Jesus did go to the temple after His grand entrance into Jerusalem and saw what was going on,  it wouldn’t be until the following day when He would repeat His performance of cleansing the area, only this time He would quote Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11.

In John, the disciples recognized His actions as being a manifestation of Psalm 69:9 (“zeal for my house will consume me…”). But this time, Jesus referring to the passage in Isaiah emphasizes not only the appropriate, prayerful tone of the church, but the fact that “all nations,” and not just the Jews, will be beneficiaries of God’s grace. In addition, the seventh chapter of Jeremiah emphasizes the pointlessness of false religion which is the natural outcome of a person defining their personal piety as being present at the Temple, rather than obeying and worshiping the God of the Temple. That problem would be solved by God establishing His home in the hearts of men through the Holy Spirit – a solution facilitated through the death and resurrection of His Son.

Do you see what’s happening here?

Jesus isn’t just randomly quoting bits and pieces of Scripture. He’s bringing in passages that give context to the current situation so that the events that are getting ready to unfold in the next couple of days can be better understood and appreciated as a fulfillment of prophecy and the validation of a supernatural event that would change the very fabric of the human experience.

Tuesday – Two Days and a Wake Up

Luke 21:37 says:

Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple and each evening he went out to spent the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. (Luke 21:37)

Jesus was not letting any opportunity to teach and to influence others slip away. Given the weight of anxiety that was weighing on Him, knowing that in a matter of days (two days and a wake up), He would be enduring some excruciating pain, that says a lot for His mental disposition – that He would still be that committed to serving those that would be demanding His death in less than 48 hours.

C.S. Lewis coined the phrase “Liar, Lord, or Lunatic” as a way to illustrate the only options one has when considering the Identity of Christ. The only option that makes any real sense is “Lord,” simply because in order for Him to be a liar, He would have to be outrageously evil given the way in which He taught others to trust Hm for their temporal fulfillment as well as their eternal destiny. Plus, He would’ve been a fool because He died for a lie knowing that it was a lie. Christ’s sanity is beyond question. The way in which He reasoned and responded to the greatest religious minds of the day, the mental disposition He maintained in the midst of horrific circumstances makes the idea of Him being anything less than sane utterly ridiculous.

An example of His being amazingly “sharp,” as far as His mental faculties is concerned can be found here, on Tuesday. While He was in the temple courts teaching, He was approached by the Pharisees who were looking for any opportunity to trap Him in a way that could justify arresting Him and putting an end to His Influence. They asked Him about paying taxes to Caesar, knowing that if he “slipped” just a little bit, as far as saying anything against the Roman government, they could arrest Him as an insurrectionist. His saying “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” was a brilliant response in that was utterly correct and at the same time deftly strategic in the way it shut down the Pharisees’ attempt to corner Him (see Matt 22:18-22).

Here Everything is Extraordinary

Jesus said in John 20:29:

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (Jn 20:29)

I would like to hope that if I had seen Him and listened to Him, I would’ve been among the few that would not be clamoring for His death in a couple of days. I want to believe that, but I don’t know.

Isn’t it amazing?

There was a day when you could’ve sat down with someone and listen to them describe what the sand felt like between their toes as they walked across the dry ocean bed of the Red Sea. You would’ve noticed a change in the look on their face as they recounted the appearance of God’s fire hovering over the tabernacle at night. Fast forward several centuries later and you could’ve talked to that person who had been blind since birth and, after being miraculously healed by Christ, could tell you what it was like to see the color blue for the first time.

You read about these things, but it’s sometimes easy to forget that they actually happened. There was a time when you could’ve made eye contact with Jesus and you could hear the way His Voice sounded as it echoed over the area where crowds had gathered to hear Him speak. You could’ve heard the masses shouting “Hosanna” as Jesus made His way into Jerusalem and you could’ve heard some of those same people demand that the individual Who they were honoring a few days ago be put to death.

The smell of salt in the air that lingered around the area of the Sea of Galilee, the foreboding vibe that surrounded Golgotha and the deafening roar of the crowds voicing their convictions as Pilate struggled to decide Jesus’ fate.

When you pause long enough to capture the practical realities of what actually occurred, it’s almost unsettling because of the way it brings into focus the distinction between the way we typically view ourselves from the perspective of what’s normal and expected and the way things are truly ordered according to a spiritual paradigm.

And standing center stage is Jesus.

That’s the Lord.

Napoleon Bonaparte was once quoted as saying:

I know men; and I tell you the Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions the distance of infinity…Everything in Christ astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and His will confounds me. Between Him and whoever else in the world, there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a being by Himself. His ideas and sentiments, the truly which He announces, His manner of convincing are not explained either by human organization or the nature of things…The nearer I approach, the more carefully I examine, everything is above me – everything remains grand, of a grandeur which overpowers. His religion is a revelation from an intelligence which certainly is not that of man…One can absolutely find nowhere, but in Him alone, the imitation or the example of His life…I search in vain in history to find the similar to Jesus Christ, or anything which can approach the gospel. Neither history, nor humanity, nor the ages, nor nature, offer me anything which which I am able to compare it or to explain it. Here everything is extraordinary.1

That’s the Lord, teaching and healing. That’s the Lord debating with the Pharisees and playing with the kids in the street. That’s the Lord remaining silent before Pilate and that’s the Lord hanging on a cross, enduring an outrageous amount of pain and dying for me.

That’s the Lord.

Here, everything is extraordinary.

Click here to read “One Day and a Wake Up!”

1. “Evidence That Demands a Verdict”, Josh McDowell, Here’s Life Publishers, San Bernardino, CA, 1972, p 106

Three Days and a Wakeup

stock-footage-stop-motion-animation-showing-passage-of-time-through-a-calendar-month-track-down-across-and-tiltIt had to be tough, as the Son of God, to recognize that every morning of your life was bringing you one day closer to an event that would be nothing short of horrific.

It’s one thing to view something from a distance and have a vague idea that it could be a difficult circumstance. It’s another thing entirely to be certain of what lies ahead – the inevitable and necessary torment that would have to be endured in order to accomplish what had to be done.

This morning He woke up and, whether He really thought about it or not is speculative, but if He were marking off the days of the calendar, this particular morning He would be looking at Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and…a day that would be known as “Good Friday” centuries later. Three days and a wakeup.

Of course, He knew the “wakeup” wasn’t going to be Him slowly getting up to the sound of birds chirping and the sun gently peeking over the horizon. Friday morning would be an extension of all night spectacle featuring Jewish religious authorities desperately assembling a loosely concocted collection of “facts” in order to convince the Roman governor that their nemesis was worthy of the death penalty. It was going to be exhausting as well as excruciating and it wouldn’t be limited to a manageable timeframe.

Three days.

That’s a common timeframe in Scripture. That was the length of time that Abraham would have to travel in order to get to the place where God had asked that he sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen 22:4). Jonah was in the belly of the earth for three days (Jonah 1:17) and Jesus would be without a pulse for three days (Matt 12:40).

It’s significant that in all three scenarios, you had a huge victory on the other side of some very trying events. But God didn’t spare Abraham the three day journey to the place he would later call the “mountain of the Lord.” Jonah would be able to describe what it was like being inside the belly of a huge fish only after enduring it for three days and Christ’s quoting of Psalm 22:12 – symbolic of the His triumphant conquest of sin – would only be relevant after having quoted verse 1 at the tail end of His having suffered close to 12 hours of non-stop beatings and unimaginable pain.

Romans 8:28 is often quoted by those who want to remind you that “it’s going to be alright.” And they’re right. But that doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to travel down some dirt roads in order to get to the  expressway. While it’s easy to lose heart sometimes and wonder if God’s even listening, that’s a good time to remember “three days and a wake up.” Abraham had to walk for three days pondering the severity of his son on the threshold of losing his life, and it would be his hand that wielded the knife that would do him in. Jonah wasn’t able to secure an abbreviated stay in the innards of said fish nor would Jesus be able to fast forward either the three days that stood between this morning and the trial, nor the three days He would remain in the ground.

Sometimes you just have to endure that time, but you can do so knowing that you have every reason to trust in a positive outcome.

Hebrews 12:3 sums it up well:

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:3)

God’s in charge and aren’t you glad that He is.

Three days and a wakeup…

Good morning!

Click here to read “Two Days and a Wakeup!”

Christianity vs Islam: A Facebook Conversation

muslim_christianRecently a buddy of mine was comparing the Bible to the Koran in the context of commenting on some of the atrocities being committed by Isalmic terrorists. A couple of specific quotes fired me up and I wrote the following.

Bear in mind, he and I sit on different sides of the aisle when it comes to Christianity in general, but there are people who sit in a pew every Sunday who can’t tell you what they believe and why. It’s their casual regard for their creed and their lack of basic knowledge when it comes to Scripture that can lead to a less than informed perspective when it comes to processing Islam, especially the way some will assert that the same kind of terrorist actions have been commited under the heading of Christ. When you take the time to pop the hood on what’s being said, while it may not be a call to arms, it is certainly an admonishment to be wise.

Bring it!

If you’re going to going to compare my creed and my King to Mohammed and Islam, let me help you out with a couple of specifics that you need to be aware of.

First off, you mention how the Bible says to “stone your daughter and other barbaric acts too numerous to mention.” The passage you’re referring to is Deuteronomy 22:13-30. Jewish Law can be broken down into three sections: Judicial, Ceremonial and Moral. The passage you’re referring to is categorized under the “Judicial” heading. Adultery – having sex with someone other than your spouse – was a capital offense (Lev 20:10). In this instance you’ve got a young woman who’s engaged, and while the ceremony has yet to happen, she’s considered betrothed in light of her having accepted her fiancé’s proposal. Knowing the penalty and being fully aware of the shame she brings on herself, her family her husband to be and her God, she decides to accept and inflict all of that in exchange for a moment of pleasure. That’s not mere promiscuity, that’s a pathologically twisted and selfish perspective.

You’re right in saying the New Testament changed things in that the Ceremonial and Judicial Law were no longer binding and situations like what’s referred to above were not punished in the same way (see Jn 8:1-11). That doesn’t mean that daughter above was any less wrong. God puts up varying levels of boundaries in proportion to the damage that can be done should you cross that line. Lying and stealing required some kind of recompense (Lev 6:1-5; Dt 19:19). Adultery and Murder were handled differently in that you were put to death (Num 35:16). That’s not barbaric, that’s wisdom given the way those actions can ruin lives and it’s the severity of the punishment that we can look at now, not so much as a guide for how to administer justice as much as it’s an alert to the kind of behavior you want to stay clear of.

As far as the “Lords and Kings that murdered all non-believers in the name of the Pope and Jesus” consider this: In 638, Omar took Jerusalem from the Jews. It wouldn’t be until 1096 that the Pope would call upon the people of Europe to liberate the Holy Land. If it was the Islamic control of Jerusalem that was the central reason behind the Crusades, then it follows that a military effort would’ve been launched well before Urban II declared that Christ had commanded it. But the Muslims’ control of the Holy Land was never an issue to the Pope until the Seljuk Turks made it clear that they were planning on expanding their influence to include Constantinople. At that point, Alexis I, the emperor of the Byzantine Empire humbled himself before the Pope and offers him the opportunity to assume control over the Greek Orthodox Church (the respective popes of the Roman Catholic church and the Eastern Greek Orthodox church had excommunicated each other).3 This was an unprecedented act of submission and demonstrates the sense of urgency Alexis I felt as he looked over the horizon and saw the coming of the Turks. But it was the way they threatened his kingdom and not his worship that drove him to seek help from Rome, and it was Pope Urban’s quest for power that drove him to respond to Alexis’ request for a band of mercenaries with an immense host of European soldiers.

In short, the “Kings and Lords” you refer to weren’t believers championing the gospel as much as they were leveraging the “look and feel” of the gospel in order to achieve their own ends.

As far as Islam being a “peaceful” religion, Bush wasn’t wrong when he said that the “face of terror is not the true faith of Islam” in that many Muslims will focus on passages in the Koran such as:

There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (sura 2:256)

and sura 15:94:

Then declare what you are commanded and turn away from the polytheists. (sura 15:94)

The problem however, is that later passages were written that some interpret to be nullifications of the previous texts. Verses like:

And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. (sura 2:191)

That’s the plight of Muslims in that while they can legitimately claim to be peaceful, the fact is they’re hard pressed to condemn those who are not because the militants will respond that they are merely being obedient to other sections of the Koran.

The fact is, Islam and Christianity are NOT the same. My God doesn’t expect people to get their act together before He’s willing to consider them. He sent His Son to bridge that gap while Allah simply expects you to pray and be pious. Unless you really want to win his favor – at that point you need to engage in the lesser jihad which is killing in the name of Allah. Should you have any question about that, feel free to peruse the Fawah authored by five Islamic caliphates on February 23, 1998 which includes the following statement:

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, “and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,” and “fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah.”

If you’re interested in reading the whole thing, head out to

Bottom line: Mohammad’s last wife was six years old and the union was consummated when she was ten ( Much of Islam’s growth has been promoted under the heading of “die for Allah” whereas my Savior lived a sinless life and died for me. However butchers and so called saints have abused Scripture in order to substantiate their actions, it was an abuse of Scripture, not an application of it.

Is this a call to arms? Not necessarily, but it is certainly an admonishment to be wise. George W. Bush did well to emphasize the peaceful tenets of Islam ,but at its core is a doctrine of terror and that needs to recognized for what it is.