Why Has God Called Us Not to Sin?

Why Has God Called Us Not to Sin?

In our adolescence, we usually question the validity of why sin is, well… sin. We may ask if God is just a cosmic killjoy, trying to suck all the fun out of life and keep us from doing all of the really cool things.

But, once we mature a little and get past that, the question still remains as to why has God has called us not to sin in the first place.

Or the deeper question, why are sins wrong? In other words, is God more than just a parent responding to his kids with “because I told you so”?

A lot of times, the answer we are given merely scratches the surface, with something like, “God wants the best life for you. He said that we could have abundant life. A life without sin is the ideal life—the one created us to have.”

And while I believe there is truth in that, it may go a little deeper.

Continue reading “Why Has God Called Us Not to Sin?”

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Crucifixion of Power

Crucifixion of Power

In the real world, it’s all about who know. If you know powerful people, then you have a certain kind of power yourself. The more people you know at the front of the race, the closer to the lead you can get.

Not much has changed since the world of the early Christians either. Look at this passage from 1 Corinthians 1:11-12:

For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”

Paul, Apollos, Peter, Jesus… these were big players for first century Christians. It’s likely that Christians from all across the Roman Empire knew these names. If you had connections with one of these guys, you probably felt like you were connected to a little bit of power.

Paul was the man who spread the faith all across Roman territory, Apollos was a big teacher and apparently helped grow the church at Corinth, Peter was the man God said he’d build his church on, and Jesus was, well, Jesus. I imagine the people in the Jesus camp decided to bypass all “human” streams of power and go straight to the “source.” A little bit like a friend quoting Thomas Aquinas, and you responding with the Beatitudes.

But that isn’t the way power works in the kingdom of God. Continue reading “Crucifixion of Power”

3 Ways Learning a Language Changed Me

3 Ways Learning a Language Changed Me

What usually is every high school kid’s worst nightmare turned out to be something revolutionary for me.

Yeah, I know. It sounds nerdy. I can just imagine judging a headline like “3 Ways Applied Statistics Changed Me.”

But, hear me out.

When I started to learn Spanish, it really rocked my world.

This article isn’t just about the ways that knowing a little bit of Spanish changed my life, e.g. giving me business opportunities, allowing me to travel and communicate, etc.

I’m going to write about how learning a second language actually changed me

And hopefully how it might change (or have changed) you too. Continue reading “3 Ways Learning a Language Changed Me”

We Might Not Love Jesus Like We Thought

We Might Not Love Jesus Like We Thought

Do you love Jesus? I’m not trying to get you to go from saying no to saying yes. Because there’s a very high likelihood that, if you’re reading this, you already answer yes to that question. But, sometimes the right answer can be wrong. And Jesus has a way of making us realize how the things we always thought were right aren’t as right as we thought they were.

When we look at John 21, we see this famous question asked:

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Before we can answer the question, “Do you love Jesus?” I think we have to ask the question, “What does it mean to love Jesus?” When asked, “Do you love Jesus?” we all know that we’re supposed to yes, right? But when we look at this story of Peter, I think we discover that loving Jesus may not mean what we think it means. Continue reading “We Might Not Love Jesus Like We Thought”

Finding Your (Non)Fulfillment in Christ

Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” These words are pretty profound and, even though Einstein wasn’t much a theologian, I think that this quote is packed with significance when it comes to looking at God.

One of the hallmark tenets of popular evangelical Christianity in America has been the crusade to “find your fulfillment in Christ”. Other related saying come to mind, such as John Piper’s iconic phrase that sums up his whole theology: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” This even has roots as far as Augustine, with his famous line, “My soul is restless until it rests in you.” There’s all kinds of talk about fulfillment, satisfaction, wholeness, completeness, etc. that is supposed to come when we trust in Jesus, and nothing else.

However, what if by telling people to find their fulfillment in Christ, we’ve told a fish to climb a tree? Continue reading “Finding Your (Non)Fulfillment in Christ”

How To Be Christlike Without Being Like Christ

What would Jesus do? That question from the rad 90s bracelets still haunts us today.

In reality, that’s the question that every Christian has been trying to answer, whether it’s an individual, a church, or an entire movement. And it’s funny that the answer we’ve gotten for a long time has been the same one, repackaged in different ways.

For most people, being Christlike means loving God as passionately as possible. This may mean different things. For example, for some this may mean avoiding “worldly” things, such as music, movies, drinking, drugs, etc. Others may say it’s about doing Christian things, like reading your Bible, going to church, and paying your tithes. For the really radical and spiritual ones, being Christlike isn’t about what you do, just about who you are—which usually just boils down to being really nice and accepting.

But what if being like Christ isn’t about us at all? Continue reading “How To Be Christlike Without Being Like Christ”

Why Chris Tomlin and Other Famous Christians are Pagan Idolators

It pains me to have to be the one to dispel this information. It’s not something that is easy to do. To have to call out some of the biggest names in Christian culture is NEVER something that lightly done. I don’t want to be the mouthpiece for this message, but if I don’t do it, who in the world will? I’m going to take a bold step and say that Chris Tomin, along with a number of other well known Christians, is not following the true God. In fact, they never were in the first place. They’ve subtly been leading us astray for years. Now, I’m going to reveal how.

Venture on with caution.

As the title suggests, I’ve come to the conclusion that Chris Tomlin, among others, is actually a pagan idolator.

How did I come to the conclusion that Chris Tomlin was a pagan idolator? It was right in front of our faces the whole time. Chris Tomlin, in fact, doesn’t worship the true God of the Bible. He worships a god that goes by a different name. Now, surely, you’re thinking, “I’m sure I would have noticed if someone as popular as Chris Tomlin were doing such an obvious idolatrous thing.” That’s where you’re wrong. The fact is Chris Tomlin hasn’t obviously been doing an idolatrous thing. He’s inoculated the evangelical masses with his idolatrous doctrine in a very conspicuous and subtle manner.

So what is the name of this god that Chris Tomlin worships? It’s a pagan god with a simple name: ARGOD. Continue reading “Why Chris Tomlin and Other Famous Christians are Pagan Idolators”

Should We Celebrate Reformation Day?

Today, as I write this article, millions of Protestants across the world celebrate a certain day. And I’m not talking about Halloween. I’m speaking of Reformation day. Yes, it was on this day in the year 1517 that Martin Luther posted his 95 theses and launched what we now know as the Reformation. Someone had been brave enough to stand up against the Roman Catholic Church in the midst of all her lies and deceit and had translated the Bible in the language of the people. Luther was, and still is, seen as a valiant hero by many. And we all celebrate the day that, in essence, he flipped a big middle finger to the Catholic Church.

But, is this really a day we should be celebrating?

Maybe Martin Luther didn’t exactly flip a bird to the Catholic Church, but he did make a huge impact in Church history. Let me put my cards on the table. I’ll let you know that I am a Protestant, more specifically an Evangelical. You should know that I believe that, at the time, the Catholic Church was involved with a lot of stuff that needed to be reformed and rethought. I, actually, see the Reformation as something that probably needed to happen. However, I’m not sure that we should set aside a day to celebrate the Reformation. Because, in the end, the Reformation resulted in disunity, something that was discouraged throughout the epistles of the New Testament. So why do we see the disunity that resulted from the Reformation as something to be celebrated, instead of being, perhaps, a necessary evil?

I think about a marriage that ends up in divorce. No one ever hopes that any marriage will end in divorce and a severed relationship. However, if the husband was, for instance, beating his wife or cheating on her sexually without remorse, then a divorce would be necessary. It’d be something that we all see as an evil, merely a result of the fall, but necessary nonetheless. I don’t know of any children who mark the day that their parents got divorced and then set aside that day every year to celebrate it. The child will most likely see it as something that had to happen, but that doesn’t mean that she rejoices at the fact that things had to come to that.

Yet, I think we do exactly that with Reformation Day. Celebrating disunity. And I think this kind of attitude has permeated Protestant and Evangelical culture at large.

The recent conference hosted by John MacArthur seems to me to be proof that we love celebrating disunity. The “Strange Fire” conference was an entire conference whose goal was to expose Charismatic churches as heretics. While I, as a Charismatic, acknowledge that there are a lot of problems and things that need to be addressed within that subset of Christianity, having an entire conference where people simply point and laugh is not the way to go about it. Which Charismatics were really going to benefit from that conference? None. It simply served to make Charismatics more angry and to stroke the ego of those who attended. “We’re the ones who are right.”

I think that celebrating Reformation Day does the same exact thing. It does nothing but to stroke the ego of Protestants. To remind ourselves that we’re the ones that got it right. It’s nothing but tribalism. If we truly were concerned about having a biblical Church, we wouldn’t be attempting to celebrating the thing that split us, but we would be working to desperately work to unify it. That doesn’t mean sacrificing doctrine or theology, but it means at least trying to meet people where they are and understand them. Pointing our fingers and laughing does nothing at all.

In Mark 9:38, John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” I want you to notice that last word. “Us”. The reason that they tried to stop this man wasn’t because he was casting out demons. The disciples did that all the time! They didn’t stop him because he was casting out in a name other than Jesus. It was clear that it was in Jesus’ name. The reason that they tried stopped him was because they claimed that he wasn’t following them.

Too many times, if someone isn’t a part of our theological tribe, our doctrinal camp, or our denominational affiliation, we want to discount them, even if they are doing things in the name of Jesus. I’m not talking about those who deny essential, historically orthodox doctrines. I’m talking about things that we’ve historically been able to disagree about. Too often, people are more concerned about whether others are following them, rather than following Jesus. The “Us vs. Them” mentality is already bad enough when it’s involving the Church and the World, but it’s a million times worse when it’s within the Church herself.

What happened to the unity that we were called to maintain? Even if disunity was a necessary evil, why do we celebrate it as some sort of valiant, heroic act? We should pursue unity as much as we can and never cause disunity where it is not necessary. But, when we do have to resort to disunity, may it tear our hearts up. May it cause us to shed a tear, not shout for joy. May it cause us to feel pain, not delight. Let us think twice before we celebrate a “holiday” like Reformation Day.

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This is an excerpt from my book, “Church Kid: Restoring Your Faith After Being Raised in Church,” now available for purchase here.

New Direction

Most of my blogging was done on tumblr, which is less of a blog site and more of a site for short blurbs, gifs, and personal thoughts. So, Johnny Graham inspired me to move more of my more serious blogging and lengthier dissertations here to WordPress. I’m hoping that it will push me to get more of those type of posts written. I love blogging and I love writing, but tumblr sometimes allows me to sacrifice deep, insightful posts for short blurbs that may get a lot of “notes”, but aren’t what I really could make them.

So, I hope to really utilize this blog to be what I know that I could make it. Thanks for joining me on this journey as I take my writing in a new direction. I appreciate you all!

Be blessed,

Blake