Saturday, August 20, 2022

The Dangers of Meme Theology

In the weeks and months after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Dobbs case, with the result being the reversal of Roe v. Wade, many of my fellow pro-life advocates have shared the following meme on social media:

The meme is somewhat clever, and it makes the point that an unplanned pregnancy is not necessarily a tragic thing.

The problem is, the meme is also false.

Monday, August 8, 2022

First Love and the Church in Ephesus

In spite of all the good things about the church in Ephesus, Jesus makes one charge against them in Revelation 2:4. Different English translations word it in various ways:

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. (NIV)

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (KJV)

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (NKJV)

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (ESV)

But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! (NLT)

Most people usually seem to interpret this loss or abandonment of the Ephesian church's first love as being about their love for Jesus. But notice how the New Living Translation includes the possibility that Jesus could be talking about the Ephesian believers' love for one another.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

On the need for discernment

It seems from my experience (and from what I have heard others say) that possibly the most neglected and underappreciated gift of the Spirit is the gift of discernment. Tim Alberta, himself the son of a pastor, cites Michigan pastor Ken Brown, writing, “'Discernment'—one’s basic ability to separate truth from untruth—'is a core biblical discipline. And many Christians are not practicing it.'”

Now I'm not talking about so-called "discernment ministries" that seem to do nothing more than pick out certain individuals, churches, ministries, or movements as "enemies of the faith" and then go over everything those people say or do with a fine-toothed comb to find the smallest mistake they can use to raise a charge of "HERESY!!" I'm talking about real, Spirit-guided thinking.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Is this really the life God planned for me?

I recently saw the following quote posted on social media.

I understand that the person who posted this meant for it to be inspirational, and as a reassurance that God knows what is going on in our lives, even when they seem out of control.

The problem with it is that, when carefully examined, the quote espouses a deterministic view of how God interacts with His human creatures, that God foreordains and sets in motion every single detail of each person's life. It implies that the untimely death of a child was orchestrated by God and part of what He wanted for that child's family. It would seem to indicate that the horrific events of mass shootings in the spring of 2022, including the deaths of 19 elementary school children in Uvalde, Texas, were "exactly the way God planned" for those families' lives to be. 

From another angle, the sentiment expressed in these words could be interpreted as meaning that even when we make bad, sinful choices that result in painful consequences, it was somehow God's will and plan that we would make those choices in order to suffer those consequences.