Category Archives: church issue

Who is Jesus to you

 

 
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Who is Jesus? It’s a foundational question, and one many Christians struggle to answer.

In Matthew 16, Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

“Some say John the Baptist,” they replied, “others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But who do you say that I am?”

These days, increasingly odd and just plain wrong answers to Jesus’ question seem to be floating around everywhere, and churches are one of the easiest places to find them. This shouldn’t surprise us, however. As we’ve said before on BreakPoint, beliefs come in bunches. So when you see increasingly unorthodox and innovative ideas about sex, marriage, and the human person coming from religious leaders, you can bet they’re also entertaining increasingly unorthodox and innovative ideas about truth, the Bible, and even God Himself.

For example, Dr. Karen Oliveto, the first openly lesbian bishop in the United Methodist Church, recently offered this message to her flock:

“Too many folks want to box Jesus in,” she wrote, “carve him in stone, create an idol out of him. [But] the wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting one, prince of peace, was as human as you and me. Like you and me, he didn’t have his life figured out.” Jesus had “bigotries and prejudices,” she added, even sins which He had to learn to overcome.

Wait, Jesus can be an “idol”? As John Lomperis with the Institute on Religion and Democracy remarked, “[A]n idol is something other than God, usually something created by human hands, improperly worshipped as a god.” But Jesus is God. For Dr. Oliveto to suggest that it’s improper to worship God is like suggesting it’s improper to love your spouse.

And a Jesus who sinned wouldn’t have been God, nor worthy of our worship. Ironically, this bishop’s imaginary Jesus would be the idol—along with the Jesus of the Arian and Unitarian heresies, which teach that Jesus was a good man but a created being, not God in human flesh.

But before we give Dr. Oliveto too much grief, we ought to ask where our own theology is.

A 2014 LifeWay Research survey of self-described evangelicals found that while nearly all profess belief in the Trinity, one in four say God the Father is “more divine” than Jesus. That’s similar to what the Arians believed, it’s the error the Nicene Creed was written to combat.

In another survey conducted last year, LifeWay talked only with those who held core evangelical and conservative beliefs. Yet an astonishing seven in ten said Jesus was the first being created by God—again, a defining feature of Arianism. And more than a quarter held that the Holy Spirit is not equal with either the Father or the Son.

This sad mess shouldn’t just bother theological eggheads. These errors strike at the heart of Christianity, giving fundamentally unscriptural answers to the question, “Who is Jesus?”

Answering this question correctly is itself an act of worship. It’s a vital part of knowing and loving our God as He is. And it impacts Christians’ lives at the most basic level.

For example, because Jesus is equal with the Father and fully God means He can truly pardon us. As the scribes in Mark 2 correctly observed, “Only God can forgive sins.”

Yet Jesus is also fully human. In order to serve as our High Priest, He became like us in every respect, as Hebrews 2:17 says. In order to redeem Adam’s race, the Last Adam had to belong to it.

This God-Man was not only sinless, He is entirely worthy of our worship. In reply to His question, “Who do you say that I am?” We should be able to say with Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and with Thomas, who fell on His knees before the risen Jesus and said, “My Lord and my God.”

Please come visit us at BreakPoint.org.We’ll link you to books and other resources that will help you and your family walk through these essential truths and answer the fundamental questions of the Christian worldview

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What is the # 1 Problem in America ?

Listen to A Thought on the Bible, here or read it below.

 

 

 

 

 

What is the number 1 problem in America, or what is one of the top ills in this nation. 

Hi: I’m Billy David Dickson with A thought on the Bible.

   So what would you say is one of the top things wrong in this great nation today.

    Drugs: No doubt drug abuse is a problem for too many souls. It has broken up families, and destroyed too many lives.

   Abortion: No debate the taking of human life has made all  life cheap. It is sad that abortion on demand remains the law of the land in our nation.

     God, and traditional values being removed from our nation: Yes, it is sad that in much of our  culture God, along with Jesus, and the Bible has become a four letter word. In the schools kids are taught they came from apes, and that any kind of sexual relations is ok.Too many schools have removed the Ten Commandments. One of them by the way is do not murder, and today we have young people being murdered in the schools. No wonder.

       I believe these issues  however are just fruits of our biggest problem today. 

           John 17:3 reads..

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

    The biggest ill here in the good old USA, and in many other nations is too many souls don’t know Jesus Christ. Yes, souls may go to church, but going to a church doesn’t make you a follower of Christ, anymore than going to Burger King makes you a whopper. 

   To be a true follower of the Lord Jesus here is what one must do..

 Admit  they have sinned against a Holy God. 

Accept that Christ took their punishment. 

And receive Christ.

 If you don’t know if you have ever done that my guess is you haven’t done it, so why not do it today.                                                                                                                                That is a thought on the Bible.                                                                                           

  Until next time,                                                                                                                    

   I’m Billy David Dickson                                                                                                            All Rights Reserved, 2017 

 

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Billy or read  more commentary on  https://billydteacher.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

Mormons and Christians use similar language but are they defined the same

Listen to some commentaries on the Mormon Church, or read them here.

BreakPoint: Let’s Talk About the Talk

There’s a battle raging right now over sex education, and our kids are in the line of fire.

“Your teacher told you what?” These are the first words of too many parents when they discover what their teens and pre-teens are learning in health class. Happily for Ashley Bever, the mother of an 11-year-old in San Diego public schools, she found out before class started.

The curriculum was called “Rights, Respect, Responsibility,” and it was put together by a group called Advocates for Youth, which unsurprisingly, is affiliated with Planned Parenthood.

Among other things, this course uses non-gender-specific pronouns, taught students that they can be attracted to any gender, and described in vivid detail sexual practices I cannot mention on air.

Worse still, this course informed middle-schoolers that they can self-refer to a clinic “like Planned Parenthood” without telling their parents, and warned that abstinence education websites lie.

This is the new face of what’s called “comprehensive sex education.” As Emily Belz explained at WORLD Magazine, it’s not just a problem for ultra-liberal school districts in California. Progressive and LGBT organizations are pushing to implement such standards nationwide. By “comprehensive,” it seems these groups mean curriculum that actively encourages sexual experimentation among teens.

School districts around the country are locked in a battle between groups that prioritize abstinence as the only 100-percent effective method of protection, and groups that teach casual sex, gender ideology, and abortion. “Sex ed curriculum,” Belz explains, “is often determined through a battle of PowerPoint presentations at the school board meeting.” Frequently, all it takes is one vote to transform your child’s school from a place of education to a place of sexual indoctrination.

In response to all of this, some churches are stepping up and offering alternative sex education that’s consistent with a Christian ethic and worldview. That is great, and I applaud the pastors doing it. They have a vital role to play in “equipping the saints for the work of ministry.”

But we should also recognize that sex ed is not primarily the church’s job. As Abraham Kuyper might have put it, the church is only having to step in because the sphere that’s most responsible for rearing children is failing. And that sphere is the family. It’s here we learn to walk, to talk, and what love means. It’s also here that kids should be learning what it means to be male and female, and what God’s intention was when He created image-bearers in two sexes.

So we parents have to do the thing we dread: give our kids “the talk,” (which should really be “talks”—many of them, over several years). In the process, we have to avoid the mistake common to virtually all modern sex education, even some well-intentioned, abstinence-first programs. When teens are taught about sex, what they usually hear is a list of dos and don’ts. They learn about “the birds and the bees.” But they seldom learn what sex is for. 

As T. S. Elliot said, before we decide what to do with something we need to know what it’s for. And that’s what good sex education—real sex education—must do.

 

As parents, we’re responsible to teach our kids more than how not to get pregnant. We’re charged with teaching them God’s design for marriage, procreation, human flourishing and community, and how all of this reflects Christ, the Church, and the central place of love in creation. It’s in these truths that parents must ground their children’s understanding of sexuality. And it’s in these truths that they’ll find the arguments and will power to stand up to “comprehensive sex ed” and the culture behind it.

Mormons believe the death of Jesus made Salvation possible but his death alone is not the way to salvation

Read the commentary, or listen to it. 

TODAYS MOMENT DANIEL’S FOCUS

Listen to a Bible/doctrine commentary by Dr. Charles Standley, right here.

BreakPoint: Martin Luther Eric Metaxas Tells the Story of a Very Human Man Who Changed the World

To understand how the Reformation changed the world, you have to understand Martin Luther. Which is why the new biography by Eric Metaxas is a must read.

October 31st marks the 500thanniversary of the event regarded to have started the Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

Now, as my BreakPoint co-host Eric Metaxas writes in his outstanding new book, Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World, Luther’s theses probably weren’t posted on the church door until two weeks later, and even then,  it may not have been that defiant act it’s often portrayed to be. Still, what did happen on that date was that Luther sent to the Archbishop of Mainz a letter expressing his concern about the selling of indulgences.

As Eric relates, Luther had no idea how that letter and the events that would follow in its wake would change the world.

Even today, most people, apart from some historians, fail to fully appreciate the impact of Luther’s ideas and actions. Protestantism is, as the title of Durham University’s Alec Ryrie’s book puts it, “The Faith that Made the Modern World,” and without Luther there’s no Protestant Reformation.

The problem is that history is too often told in dry and inaccessible ways, at least to non-academic readers. What’s been needed to appreciate Luther and his legacy more is a book that takes the history seriously by situating Luther in his historical and theological context while still being enjoyable, even fun, to read.

And that’s where Eric’s book succeeds.

In many ways, “Luther” is a kind of sequel to Eric’s “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.” Both books are about world-shaping historical Christian figures who, motivated by their conscience and conviction, took enormous risks against the most powerful institutions of their time.

And not coincidentally, both Luther and Bonhoeffer were from eastern Germany, as is Eric’s mother. I note this fact not in any way to detract from his accomplishment. On the contrary, Eric’s personal connection is one of the book’s strengths.

As is, of course, Eric’s trademark engaging style, full of clever turns of phrase and humor that makes the incredible story of Luther all the more accessible. Often, biographical subjects don’t feel human. They are, as was famously said of Robert E. Lee, “marble men.”

But not Eric’s Luther. He’s quite human, for better and for worse. Early on, you practically feel Luther’s anxiety and dread over his own sinfulness. Which helps to make sense of the terror he felt during that fateful thunderstorm that ultimately led him to become a monk, abandoning the legal career his father had mapped out for him.

All of this is important backdrop to understand why Luther’s study of Romans and the idea of justification by faith was more than an academic exercise for him. For Luther, it was more like getting water from a rock in the middle of a desert.

And yet throughout Eric’s book, we learn that Luther was far from being an angel, or for that matter, even pleasant a lot of the time. He was someone who, as a church historian once put it, never knew a moderate moment in his life. Eric writes of Luther’s “execrable fireworks” that were not only directed at his enemies, which included Protestants as well as Catholic prelates, but also at innocent parties, in particular Germany’s Jewish population.

As he did telling the story of Bonhoeffer, Eric depicts Luther’s humanity while simultaneously putting it in its proper historical context, one in which there was a perfect storm of church corruption, political instability, and technological change. Eric gives us a feel for both Luther the man and his world. Both are necessary to understand if we are to see how Luther changed the world.

 

Obviously, Eric’s a personal friend and a BreakPoint colleague. But I promise it’s nowhere in my contract to promote his latest book! This recommendation is driven only by the simple facts that Luther is too important a historical figure and Eric tells the story too well not to recommend this book.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Today is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. For Christians, it’s a reminder that repentance is more than an event. It’s a lifestyle.

Among the most striking images in Christianity is that of God the Judge, presiding in a courtroom where each of us will stand trial for everything we’ve done while in the body. For most Christians today, it’s an image of something far in the future—an eschatological moment following the resurrection and preceding the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

That’s all true, of course. These are distinct, future events. We confess every time we recite the creed. But the reality of a coming judgment can sometimes obscure the fact that God is even now the Judge of all the earth, and we—guilty of offenses against Him—must seek and acknowledge His forgiveness regularly.

That’s an area where we could learn something from our Jewish friends, who recently marked Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and who celebrate Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement—beginning this evening.

Writing at the Wall Street Journal, Orthodox rabbi and theologian Jonathan Sacks reflects on the meaning of these High Holy Days, which are rooted in the commands of Leviticus 23.

The ten days of repentance following Rosh Hashanah, explains Rabbi Sacks, are the “holy of holies” on the Jewish calendar. They open with a blast on the shofar—a ceremonial ram’s horn—announcing that God’s court is in session. Faithful Jews use this time to reflect how God judges each according to his or her life, and inscribes their fate in the Book of Life.

It all culminates on Yom Kippur, when the repentant recite alphabetical litanies of prayers, “throwing themselves on the mercy” of the Judge. Many Jews spend all day in services, refraining from work and pleasures until the shofar blows once more, marking the adjournment of God’s court. It’s a time of “cautious hope,” writes Rabbi Sacks. “We have admitted the worst about ourselves and survived.”

This concept of a merciful God who is our judge is the unique contribution of the Hebrews—a transition in history “from fate to faith.” For ancient polytheists, the gods were cruel and capricious, often more interested in making mortals suffer than in forgiving them. The best one could hope for was to appease the fickle deities.

The God of the Jews, however, was different. Not only did He readily forgive His worshipers for their offense, but He was actively fighting for them. He loved them, because they were each created in His image, bearing moral responsibility and freedom like His own. More important still, the Israelites were his covenant people.

This unique idea of a righteous, forgiving God also changed the way the people of Israel thought about their own moral standing. Unlike the pagans, who saw their problems as primarily external, or “out there” in nature or with their enemies, Jews came to understand mankind’s problems are chiefly internal, or “in here” because of their moral guilt.

“The key fact about us, according to the Bible,” write Sacks, “is that uniquely in an otherwise law-governed universe, we are able to break the law—a power that we too often relish exercising.”

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are beautiful reminders that God forgives those who repent of their sins.

But Christians believe that the ultimate picture of God’s forgiveness is found in the Person of Jesus Christ, who is both the agent and the means of God’s mercy—the Priest and the sacrificial Lamb. Christ atoned for our sins not simply by dismissing them, but by taking them on Himself along with their due penalty.

His work is once for all, the just for the unjust, and He calls us as His followers intentionally and regularly to remember that the Judge forgives, and that we ought turn from our sins in regular repentance, especially when we gather around the communion table.

 

God’s court is in session, the Book of Life is open, and so let’s throw ourselves on the mercy of the Judge who has entrusted all judgement to Jesus, who sacrificed Himself once for all (Heb 7:27).

“What Are You Willing To Do”

Listen to a short commentary about the church of Jesus Christ in the Middle-East.

35K members left U.S. Episcopal Church in ’16

Nearly 35,000 members left the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States last year – continuing a decade-long downward spiral for the Left-leaning Christian denomination.

 

The steady decline in membership was divulged through a 2016 statistical report recently released by TEC.