Saturday, April 27, 2024

Can believers speak things into existence?

Have you ever heard someone say, while praying, "We're going to call those things that are not as though they were"?

It sounds biblical, and even full of faith, but it's actually not.

The wording used here comes from Romans 4:17, which I am citing here in various translations:

(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. (KJV)

As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. (NIV)

That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. (NLT)

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Could Samuel Make It Today As A Prophet?

I recently saw a video of a service where the preacher said the following:

"This may sound strange to you, but in our school of ministry, our students are actually required to get it wrong. If they don't fail at least three times in the first year, we won't let them in the second year." 

I guess the prophet Samuel wouldn't have been allowed to advance to second eyar at that ministry school.

The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. (1 Sam. 3:19)

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Does questioning an "anointed" person lead to spiritual ruin?

I recently heard a prominent preacher say the following:

Here’s the thing. You have to be careful that you do not criticize people who have the anointing of God on them. Better to say nothing. Because what happens is, once you begin to criticize somebody who has the anointing on them, you’re in the flesh. And once you’re in the flesh, then you’re moving toward unbelief. And once you move toward unbelief, then you live a barren life spiritually. And that’s the danger. See, you can go out of here...chattering, and what happens is, it poisons your spirit, and it leads you to a place of unbelief.

Pastors, televangelists, and modern-day "apostles," when someone raises legitimate concerns about their doctrine or actions, will frequently warn those asking questions to "touch not the Lord's anointed." Not touching the Lord's anointed is a phrase we see frequently in the life of David, especially in the book of 1 Sameul in the Old Testament. But to paraphrase the film The Princess Bride, "You keep using that phrase. I'm not sure it means what you think it means."

Monday, April 8, 2024

What is a Christian Book Editor's Job?

I just started reading Nadya Williams’ Cultural Christianity in the Early Church during the past week. The introduction lays out the structure of the book, looking at the interactions between Christian faith and surrounding culture in the New Testament era, in the era of persecution between the New Testament era and Constantine, and then in the period where Christians went from being persecuted to privileged. Sounds like a very interesting read, and the podcast author interviews I have heard have been good.

Chapter 1, “More for Me, Less for Thee,” talks about Greco-Roman attitudes toward wealth and how it should be used, and how that seems to have influenced some people in the early church (Ananias and Sapphira selling some property and giving part of the proceed to the church, while claiming to have donated all the proceeds, in what seems to be an attempt to gain status as generous benefactors, rather than out of true generosity).

Williams says that Barnabas, a Levite from Cyprus, “appears to have previously been a cultural Jew. In particular, did you catch the contradiction in the idea of a Levite with property?” She goes on to mention how the tribe of Levi received no inheritance when the Promised Land was allocated to the tribes of Israel and “thus had to depend on the largesse of the other tribes in exchange for their work as teachers of the law and leaders of worship in the temple. A true Levite should have owned no property, so this anecdote shows just how far the Jewish community had drifted at this point from its roots” (p. 7).