Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2011

Jim Bob, Michelle, and Jubilee Duggar

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, whose family is chronicled on the hit TLC show 19 Kids and Counting, recently lost the baby that Michelle was carrying. Jubilee Shalom Duggar was stillborn on December 11 th when she was 19 weeks along; she weighed just 4 ounces.  This family is obviously mourning the loss of their daughter, and they should be given time to grieve. I have debated blogging on this issue because I believe in privacy, but yet it is the need for privacy that has compelled me to write this. I have been disgusted by the criticism this family has received. This family has many critics for the same reason Tim Tebow does: they are successful Christians, and non-believers can’t stand that. They passionately love Jesus, live holy lives, and enjoy life. They are proof that Christians don’t need filthy TV, sexual music, or alcohol to have a good time, and for that, liberal Christians have become their critics as well. The 19 th Duggar baby, Josie, was born early an

Was Jesus Born on December 25th?

Christmas is the Christian holiday that remembers the birth of Jesus Christ, but was this whole idea just borrowed from other religions? I was told last week that Christianity is a hoax that has taken bits and pieces from other religions and created its own. Consider some of these other ancient gods: Dionysus (Greek) was born on December 25 th . He was known as the son of Zeus, and his followers symbolically ate his body and drank his blood in the form of bread and wine. Attis (Roman) was born on December 25 th to a virgin. Attis was sacrificed through crucifixion on a tree, and he spent three days in the underworld. On the third day, Sunday, he rose again. Later, his body was symbolically eaten in the form of bread. Osiris (Egyptian) had his birth announced by three wise men, and his followers ate his body in the form of cake. Other gods claimed to have been virgin-born, like Ion, Pythagoras, and Hercules. If these things are true than it would seem as

Rachel Dowd Book Sponsorship Program

Several times over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to sit down with people and hand them a free copy of Asleep in Heaven’s Nursery. These people were parents who had recently lost children to infant mortality, and I was directed to them by mutual friends. While there are no easy words to say in these situations, it is an honor to be able to provide a free book that will hopefully answer some questions they are facing, and that will definitely present the gospel. Even though I am the one sitting on their couch and giving them a free book, I am not the only one who plays a part. These books that I have donated have been paid for through the Rachel Dowd Book Sponsorship Program. Rachel Dowd was stillborn on May 31 st , 1995, to Chuck and Carol Dowd in Alabama, and their story can be read in the Testimonies section of Asleep in Heaven’s Nursery. The Rachel Dowd Book Sponsorship Program was created to provide free books as a ministry to those who have lost a

Mark Driscoll: A Leader We Shouldn't Follow

(Please read Mark Driscoll, Apology Accepted here ) As a young pastor I keep getting told that I need to learn from the leadership training of Mark Driscoll, who is the leader of the Acts 29 Network and pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. He is considered to be a leadership guru for young church leaders, but I believe that his methodology is dangerous. To Driscoll’s credit, he teaches a lot of good theology. Most of Driscoll’s fans seem to be in the emerging church, but Driscoll himself is no fan of the emerging church. He is the first to point out the fact that they do not believe in absolute truth, and that they care more about handing out “muffins and hugs” than they do about preaching the gospel. In a day where the emerging church spends more time giving happy pep talks, Driscoll is a teacher of theology. And while I do not agree with all of his theology, I do appreciate that he is teaching it. Unfortunately, it is guys like him that say just enough good

Literal Translation vs. Dynamic Equivalence

When it comes to deciding which Bible to purchase, use, or trust, there is a good test to use. Since a new translation seems to come out about every fifteen minutes in this country, there is no way to have a memorized list of which translations to trust. The test is simple: open the Bible and see if it is a literal translation or if it is a dynamic equivalent. This information will be located somewhere on the inside cover or in the first couple of pages. This final installment of the Bible Blog will show the difference between the two. Literal Translation For the last 2,000 years the textus receptus, also known as the majority text, has been one the most trusted and accepted set of documents that we have. In the first century the Bible was just our Old Testament, which was written in Hebrew but was already available in Greek. So as the New Testament was written, it was written both in Greek and Latin. Therefore, the earliest Bibles were written mostly in Greek. Some o

KJV Only

Is the King James Version of the Bible the only translation of the Bible that we should read? As a child I was taught that it was the only accurate Bible, and my BA degree in Bible came from a KJV only college. I love the KJV, and it is the only translation I have ever taught or preached from. But is it the only Bible we should read? Before I begin, I want to be clear that this is by no means an exhaustive review of this topic, for that could go on and on. This is just designed to point out a few surface level points. The KJV only crowd likes to criticize the newer translations by asserting that they are leaving out words, phrases, or verses, and that they change words. The problem with this line of thinking is that they are comparing these newer translations to the KJV and not to original texts. For example, when the KJV-onlies criticize some for leaving out verses 9-20 of Mark 16, they are missing the fact that those verses do not appear in any ancient texts. Those verse

The Message by Eugene Peterson

The Message by Eugene Peterson brands itself as “The Bible in contemporary language,” but is it really a trustworthy easy-to-read Bible? I intend to show you why this book is dangerous and should not be considered the Word of God. Every English Bible had to have come from somewhere; that is, they had to be translated from something since the Bible was Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin long before it was English. The opening pages of each Bible will tell the potential reader where this translation drew from. For example, translation like the KJV, NKJV, and NASV are literal translations from the textus receptus, meaning that they are literal word for word translations from Greek to English, Hebrew to English, etc. Translations like the NIV are dynamic equivalents from English Bibles, meaning they took someone’s English Bible and simply updated words. There is no literal word for word translation, just taking the general idea and tinkering with it. I have long been critical of th

Repent: The Shortest (and Best) Sermon Ever Preached

The word repent means “to change one’s life for the better.” It carries with it the idea of making a 180 degree turn, of totally changing directions in your life. In short, repentance is a command for the thief to quit stealing, the drunk to quit drinking, the fornicator to quit fornicating, the gossiper to quit gossiping, etc. But that doesn’t sound like a good sermon. Aren’t sermons supposed to make the listener feel good? Maybe talking about repentance every now and then is ok, but just during an invitation or somewhere near the end of the message. We should never begin a sermon with a call to repent, and we should never harp on it the whole time. After all, won’t all that repent talk offend the lost or turn them off from Christianity? For starters, if a person is not a Christian, a sermon, no matter how bold, cannot make that person any more lost. But what about the claim that we have to warm people up to the idea of repentance? Let’s look at how some of the greatest preache

Asleep in Heaven's Nursery: Why Every Christian Needs to Read This Book

“I believe in the traditional Baptist doctrine on that subject.” That answer came from a pastor when I asked him what the Bible says about the age of accountability. He clearly had no idea what he believed, and instead of taking time to research the matter, he simply deferred to the Baptist doctrine. Asleep in Heaven’s Nursery is not just for people who have lost children, although that is a major part of it. I want Christians to know why I wrote this book, and why I think it can be helpful to them. This might sound self-serving, like I am writing this to just sell books. But I never would have written the book if I didn’t think it would serve a purpose. And as a not-for-profit ministry, I don’t make a penny off of these books, so this is not about financial gain. This book looks at the age of accountability to see if it is biblical. It also lists the major criticisms for the age of accountability and gives a rebuttal for them. For example, if Jesus said that no one gets

Alicia's New Kidney

As many of you know, my wife Alicia had a kidney transplant last week in Charlotte, North Carolina. I wanted to take a few minutes to brag on God and record some of the details that are nothing short of miraculous. When Alicia was 12 weeks pregnant with Reagan she was diagnosed with a specific kidney disease called FSGS, or focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which is hereditary. This disease was thought to only be passed on to males, so we were shocked to learn that Alicia had it. I have reported before that Alicia’s doctor thought that an abortion would be the best plan because the pregnancy would fast-forward the kidney disease, but we both have strong convictions against aborting a baby. The fact that Alicia’s kidney function level stayed the same from the time she was diagnosed until the time she delivered (33% function) is a miracle in itself. But after Regan was born the disease began to pick up speed, and we began the process of getting approved for the transplant list. A

Alcohol for Revenue

This was an article I wrote for the Union County News. I have heard some talk lately about the possibility that our county will increase alcohol sales to raise revenue. In this economy we should certainly explore options that might increase revenue, but are we willing to compromise our standards to do it? The state of Minnesota recently contemplated the same issue. Just last year the state put out a fact sheet to see how much revenue was brought in through the sale of alcohol, and it was a staggering $296 million. But the interesting part came when they calculated how much the sale of alcohol cost them. After they calculated the cost on the state from alcohol related homicide/suicide, falling and other accidents, drowning, cancer, liver disease, other chronic illnesses, vehicular accidents, unintended pregnancies, birth defects, and alcohol dependence programs, Minnesota found out that they paid out $5.06 billion because of alcohol sales. That is 17 times the amount of “r

Is "Heaven is For Real" For Real?

In Todd Burpo’s new book Heaven is For Real he recounts his son Colton’s medical problems, which included an emergency surgery that almost ended his life. According to Burpo, his four year old son later told his father that the angels sang to him during his surgery. From there, the rest of the book is devoted to the father retelling the son’s story of his trip to heaven. This book was very well written and the story was captivating. Anyone would have to be heartless to accuse this cute toddler of lying or being wrong about what he claims he witnessed. While I am not prepared to accuse him of lying, there were some questions that I have. According to Burpo on page 66, his son’s story “matched Scripture in every detail,” and in order for this story to have been true, it would indeed have to match in every detail. One of the first things that Colton told his father is that Jesus rode on a rainbow colored horse. To match Scripture in every detail, it should be noted that Scripture ne

Tortured for Christ

The Voice of the Martyrs founder Richard Wurmbrand wrote about the 14 years he spent in a Communist prison. In his book Tortured for Christ he recalls the night that he and his wife were in attendance at a special congress called by the Communists to discuss Christianity. At this congress Joseph Stalin was elected as honorary president (Stalin, who was a mass murderer of Christians, was currently “serving” as president of the World Movement of the Godless). The leaders of this congress declared that Communism and Christianity were one in the same and that the church should tolerate Communism and all its evils. Wurmbrand’s wife, Sabina, told him, “Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ. They are spitting in his face.” What would you have done if you were in his situation? Richard knew the penalty for standing up and speaking out against Communism. “If I do so, you lose your husband,” he told her. His wife’s reply was, “I do not wish to have a coward a

Free in Christ

As our nation celebrates her freedom I cannot help but to stop and think about my freedom in Christ. That is an expression we might hear in our churches—freedom in Christ—but I hope we understand what it means. For over a hundred and fifty years the United States of America understood what freedom meant. Free speech meant that no person could be censored by the government for talking to or about God. Free exercise meant that government could not force a single religion or denomination onto the people, and that the people were free to worship as they saw fit. Freedom in general was understood to be God-given, and therefore used to be God-honoring. But beginning in the ‘60’s, thanks in no small part to the very liberal Warren Court, our nation began to redefine freedom. Freedom of speech changed to mean that we can say or do the most immoral or perverted things, but we dare not pray to or talk about Jesus. The only exceptions would be to take His name in vain or to insult Him. Fre

Bring Your Bible

Bringing your Bible to church is becoming a lost art. Do we really need our Bibles at church? Imagine that I invited you over to my house for a dinner that I prepared. After the main course I pull out the recipe and begin to read you all the ingredients; it all sounds good until I get to the last one: rat poison. You think I’m joking, but I insist. Or maybe I mention some ingredient that I know you are severely allergic to. Or maybe I mention something that violates your diet. The only one of us that knows the truth is the one who is holding the recipe. And when we are listening to a sermon, the only ones who know the truth are the ones who can follow along in their Bible. In many cases the preacher is the only one with a Bible, and is therefore the one who posses all access to truth. But wait! His text is on the projector screen. Which was typed by a person. Possibly the preacher himself. I’m not saying that he his trying to deceive anybody, but he is human and capable o