Category Archives: Radio Show

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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A death row inmate changed, and like him we all have a need

Listen to a commentary.

BreakPoint: Chuck Colson’s Conversion One Night in a Driveway

Listen to the commentary or read it below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Chuck Colson’s birthday. To hear Chuck talk about his “born-again” day, stay tuned to BreakPoint.

Today, October 16, is the anniversary of Chuck Colson’s birth. He would have been 86 years old.

Most of you know about his life, how God used President Nixon’s former “hatchet man” to take the Good News of Jesus to prisoners around the globe, and become one of the great Christian leaders of the past hundred years.

But today, I want you to hear Chuck tell how his life changed forever—one night in a driveway. Here’s Chuck.

Thirty years ago today, I visited Tom Phillips, president of the Raytheon Company, at his home outside of Boston. I’d represented Raytheon before going to the White House, and I was about to start again.

But I visited for another reason as well. I knew Tom had become a Christian, and he seemed so different. I wanted to ask him what had happened.

That night he read to me from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, particularly a chapter about the great sin that is pride. A proud man is always walking through life looking down on other people and other things, said Lewis. As a result, he cannot see something above himself immeasurably superior—God.

Tom, that night, told me about encountering Christ in his own life. He didn’t realize it, but I was in the depths of deep despair over Watergate, watching the president I had helped for four years flounder in office. I’d also heard that I might become a target of the investigation as well. In short, my world was collapsing.

That night, as Tom was telling me about Jesus, I listened attentively, but didn’t let on my own need. When he offered to pray, I thanked him but said, no, I’d see him sometime after I read C. S. Lewis’s book. But when I got in the car that night, I couldn’t drive it out of the driveway. Ex-Marine captain, White House tough guy, I was crying too hard, calling out to God. I didn’t know what to say; I just knew I needed Jesus, and He came into my life.

That was thirty years ago.

I’ve been reflecting of late on the things God has done over that time. As I think about my life, the beginning of the prison ministry, our work in the justice area, our international ministry that reaches a hundred countries, and the work of the Wilberforce Forum and BreakPoint, I have come to appreciate the doctrine of providence. It’s not the world’s idea of fate or luck, but the reality of God’s divine intervention. He orchestrates the lives of His children to accomplish His good purposes.

God has certainly ordered my steps. I couldn’t have imagined when I was in prison that I would someday be going back to the White House with ex-offenders as I did on June 18; or that we’d be running prisons that have an 8 percent recidivism rate; or that BreakPoint would be daily heard on a thousand outlets across the United States and on the Internet.

The truth that is uppermost in my mind today is that God isn’t finished. As long as we’re alive, He’s at work in our lives. We can live lives of obedience in any field because God providentially arranges the circumstances of our lives to achieve His objectives.

And that leads to the greatest joy I’ve found in life. As I look back on my life, it’s not having been to Buckingham Palace to receive the Templeton Prize, or getting honorary degrees, or writing books. The greatest joy is to see how God has used my life to touch the lives of others, people hurting and in need.

It’s been a long time since the dark days of Watergate. I’m still astounded that God would take someone who was infamous in the Watergate scandal, soon to be a convicted felon, and take him into His family and then order his steps in the way He has with me. God touched me at that moment in Tom Phillip’s driveway, and thirty years later, His love and kindness touch and astound me still.

 

 

 

 

 

Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Tim Murphy and the soul of America

The United States recently witnessed a tragic example of hypocrisy in high office on the question of the s anctity of human life.   Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Tim Murphy has a voting pattern of defending the sanctity of human life and only lately was amongst those who voted to ban abortion after 20…

( Read, or listen to the commentary here. )

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: The Catastrophic Vision of Hugh Hefner

The man who embodied the sexual revolution has died. We’ll talk about the consequences—and victims—of his vision.

Back on September 27th, Hugh Hefner the founder of Playboy, died at ninety-one.

An ancient Roman maxim says that one shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but it would be irresponsible to not take note of his ideas and cultural influence, along with their consequences and victims.

Much of the coverage of his death has been admiring or even adulatory. The New York Times’ obituary, while mentioning Hefner’s feminist critics mostly in passing, emphasized how successful and influential he’d been. There’s been a lot of “he changed the game,” “he lived on his own terms,” and “he lived life to the fullest” sort of language about him.

CNN said that while “Some critics dismissed him as a relic of a sexist era, especially in his later years . . . many men envied his adolescent-fantasy lifestyle.” The Washington Postcalled Hefner’s legacy “complicated” and then proceeded to quote gushing tribute after gushing tribute. This sort of adulation for a man best-known for wearing his pajamas all day and spending nights with women young enough to be his granddaughter should embarrass even the media.

Eleven years ago, Chuck Colson put Hefner’s legacy into proper perspective. On the occasion of Heffner’s 80th birthday, Chuck said that “Hugh Hefner did more than anyone else to turn America into a great pornographic wasteland.”

Hefner’s journalistic eulogists are celebrating his rebellion and ultimate triumph over the “puritanical elements of the [1950s].” You know, that “dark and joyless time in America,” as writer Matthew Scully put it, “when one could actually go about daily life without ever encountering pornographic images.” Without Hefner’s pioneering vision, “American males could not avail themselves of hundreds of millions of obscene films every year—as they do now.”

That our pornographic wasteland is filled with so many victims is also part of the man’s legacy, which can only be fully understood in light of the larger story of the sexual revolution.

You see, Hefner once claimed to have changed America, and it’s hard to argue that he didn’t. He took Alfred Kinsey’s ideas of sex separated from morality and embodied them in images and words, making them seem glamorous, sophisticated, and respectable.

Along with the birth control pill, porn was the other tangible artifact of the sexual revolution and catalyzed the separation of the sexual act from its God-given purpose. Instead of a self-giving, life-giving act in the context of marriage like God intended, sex became an act of selfish pleasure in the cultural imagination.

Porn turned image bearers into objects to be enjoyed instead of subjects to be respected and honored, while giving the illusion that there were no consequences or guilt. Hefner was what I call “the artist” of the sexual revolution, granted a loosely-used modifier here. Ideas alone can’t change culture; they need champions, and the most effective champions are artists and educators.

The problem, as my BreakPoint This Week co-host Ed Stetzer often says, is that no one even won the sexual revolution, but everybody lost. Ideas have consequences and bad ideas have victims.

Hefner’s legacy includes fatherless homes, objectified women, porn-addicted and trafficked children, and the sexualization of all aspects of culture. And in a supreme bit of irony, a decreased interest in sex with real-life women by addicted men.

All of this is the result of what Hefner called the “Playboy Philosophy”: ultimately the divorcing of sex from its God-given context—marriage—and its God-given consequences—children.

 

I posted about Hefner’s legacy on Facebook soon after his death, and one commenter quoted Jesus, “For what will it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” And thanks in large part to Hugh Hefner, the same might be asked about our entire culture.

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.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had freedom even though he lived in Germany under Hitler

Dietrich Bonhoeffer resisted Hitler because of his faith in Jesus Christ, and as a result of standing up for the Jews, he died in a concentration camp. His bravery left a legacy throughout the generations.  He spoke often about freedom, and he was living under one of the most evil, repressive regimes in all history. He knew that true freedom could only be found in one place- Jesus Christ.

He had an opportunity to flee to safety. When the Nazis were hot on his trail, he had a brief trip to America. He could have stayed. He could have “saved” his life. But he knew the words of the Scriptures to be true, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). He also knew that because of Jesus Christ he was, “free indeed.” So he was faithful to God’s direction- he knew he needed to lead his fellow Germans through their darkest hour. No matter the cost! He knew his freedom was in Christ- not in the safety of a free country. So he returned to Germany, and he would die, but upon his death he spoke these last words, “This is the end, but for me it’s the beginning of life.” What a testimony! His eternal perspective allowed him to absolutely change history. What about you, my friend? Are you free indeed? Are you eternity-minded? Just imagine how God could use you now.

 

This is Luis Palau.