“And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
Matthew 5:30, ESV
This immediately brings to mind the notion set forth firstly by Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” This is the idea of living a Christian life without discipline, repentance, and confession. In terms of analogy, ponder someone welcomed into a rehabilitation clinic without any effort to recover. They talk up becoming a better person, but never bother to actually put an ounce of effort into this lasting betterment. Sadly, this is so often the case for the Church, and especially me as well. I look into heady theology and talk about God while my life is in shambles, and it is a true shame as we will come to discover.
“…reckless breeding,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.” – Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood)
Even hearing the name Planned Parenthood immediately brings a flood of thoughts to nearly all individuals’ minds. To some, Planned Parenthood is merely somewhere that offers free birth control and access to a woman’s right to abortion. For others, this title may be far more than that. Some may see what Planned Parenthood is doing as not merely questionable, but downright evil. Here, I will simply present the ugly history of this institution, its founder, and finally demonstrate how the original, twisted mission is still thriving today.
“The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress.”
– Joseph Joubert
No, I am not contending that this statement is heresy. No, I am not trying to argue that people who say this do not know Christ, or that they are intentionally leading people astray. Rather, I am simply intending to provoke more thought to such a bold statement. When something new and daring is said such as this, it is sometimes healthy to take a step back and critically think about something so profound.
“No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” 2 Peter 2: 20-21, ESV
This post is not an attempt to ration the historical validity of Scripture. To reason such an argument would demand more than an exposition. Though I do indeed steadfastly believe in the reliability of Scripture for reasons outside of the Bible itself, this post is not dedicated to that argument. This post is intended to call those who proclaim Christ back to viewing the Bible as the final authority on all matters pertaining to life and godliness just as 2 Peter states.
John Hopkins University states that if NGOs were a country, they would “have the fifth largest economy in the world.” This being said, it is clear that nonprofits and NGOs have a clear, real influence and effect in Haiti. From the immediate response to crisis, it extends prolonged existence within hundreds of countries, these organizations have countless effects, for better or for ill. Immediate effects of NGOs are overwhelmingly positive, but the long-term effects lead to dependence upon said organizations as well as the perpetuation of poverty in the country of Haiti.
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8, ESV
Surely these are convicting words for me. As I have personally had many, many doubts in my life, this caused great worry within me. In fact, I have heard other wise sayings such as “Doubt is what keeps faith a living thing.” This leaves us with a predicament that is often debated about within the church. Above all, we must find the definition of doubt in the context of this letter versus how we discuss the notion of doubt nowadays.
“Truth by definition excludes.” – Ravi Zacharias
Universalism and pluralism are on the rise according to the Barna Research Group (2011). In fact, the Barna Research Group (2011) indicated that now 25% of born again Christians believe that all people will eventually go to heaven regardless of religious affiliation in this life. Moreover, the reasoning behind this belief is due to the assumption that most religions have the same teachings, and that they the main differences is the means by which the same things are taught (Barna Research Group, 2011). Though universalism seems to be widely accepted by both the Christian and secular populous in some manner, it is not difficult to discern the clear, even fatal flaws in this form of philosophy.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7, ESV
As writer for Christianity Today JoHannah Reardon discusses, the occurrence of the word fear in reference to God is found throughout the Bible a mind-boggling 300 times. If this is the case, then surely the fear of the Lord is a biblical principle that is of relatively large importance. After all, it is the foundation of the entire book of Proverbs. However, the use of the word fear and God in the same sentence does not compute well with our minds. Is not God loving and approachable? In fact, Hebrews encourages us to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence.” There is room for both of these concepts to not only coexist, but to also to live in harmony. The fear of God is often ignored due to the confusion that can arise from it, but with deeper investigation, the point of this principle can become abundantly clear.
Now, my fellow Christ Followers, before you go and get defensive or overly offended at what you think this title means, let’s both have some wisdom and practice this proverb:
Proverbs 9:10 (NIV) – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” –
This verse always reminds me of a man that I will inevitably have to mention named Socrates. Socrates was famous for many things, one of them is the assertion of this statement:
– “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” –
There are a few variations of this quote due to the several interpretations through only secondhand sources, some of which even substitute the word “knowledge” with “wisdom.” Either way, there is a common theme between what Socrates observed as well as the formerly mentioned verse from Proverbs, and that theme is humility. Socrates, in my opinion, was not trying to say that wisdom was attained through knowledge but rather the prerequisite to knowledge which is inquisitiveness. You cannot seek the knowledge of something without admitting you don’t know that knowledge. In a similar way, Proverbs teaches us that wisdom is enabled by “The fear of the Lord.”