Category Archives: Christian Beliefs

Update/Apology (sort of)

Recently I received an email from a reader who, in essence, dropped a pebble in the well and asked, “Anybody there?” I know that I haven’t posted anything in over a month, and while not a full apology, I guess I need to at least account for myself, as I do see blogging as a responsibility now. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Beliefs

The Church and Porn, part 3

porn3

This is the last of a three-part series: here are the links to part 1 and part 2.

Okay, to summarize my two previous posts: Paul Byerly, of Generous Husband, started a discussion among CMBA bloggers about pornography and the efficacy of the Church’s response. This is something I’ve been thinking about, and so did my first post on making the main thing the main thing, and not wandering off on crusades. My second post was a brief (for me, anyway) look at some examples of how Christians have affected society in the past.

Today, I want to try to tie those two posts together in a suggestion/rant (take your pick.) Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under Christian Beliefs, Marriage & Sexuality

Explanation of Today’s Tweet

One of the items in the sidebar of this page is my Curmudgeonly Librarian twitter feed, and I feel I need to explain why the picture of Donald Trump appeared there, today.

Last year, in addition to my regular posts on marriage and sexuality, I indulged myself by writing about some of my other interests. However, I decided around the first of the year to create a second blog for those interests, which include theology and today’s political scene, so that this space could be completely devoted to Christian marriage and sexuality.

That new blog is entitled CSL On The Bible, and today, I did a post about creedalist Christians vs. notionalist Christians, and this year’s election. Since I only have one Twitter feed at this time, I pushed today’s post out on my feed. For the time being, those of you who are subscribed to my Twitter feed will receive tweets when I do a post on my other blog. I hope this is not burdensome to you, as I find that I am not writing as much over there, at this time. Maybe by the time I start doing more, I will have solved my dilemma.

One can only hope. 🙂

CSL

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Beliefs, Theology Stuff

Bad Teaching: “What God Has Joined…”

bad teaching

(A month later, I did a follow-up to this post which can be read here.)

Okay, I’m thinking that this has the potential to get ugly, real quick. I’ve written a number of posts on Bad Teachings in the church, concerning marriage, and I want to address another one that I keep coming across.

It’s no secret that, for decades, the topic of divorce and remarriage has been one of the hot-button issues in the church, even longer than the same-sex debate. Hester Prine wore a scarlet letter for having a baby out of wedlock; for much of the 20th century, anyone who was divorced felt that they were wearing a scarlet “D”, for divorce, in Christian circles. Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under Christian Beliefs, Marriage & Sexuality

Valuing Tradition: All Saints’ Day

Today is Nov. 1, and in the Church calendar, this is All Saints’ Day, the day designated for the remembrance and celebration of the saints of God who have gone before us. I must confess that for most of my life, I cared nothing for church tradition, and gloried in being an iconoclast. But I’m finding that the man I have become is growing in appreciation for Tradition. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Christian Beliefs

The Apostle’s Creed, #20

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;*
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty.
from thence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic** Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,

   the resurrection of the body,

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Cor. 15:19)

When I was going to college, I read materials by people who pass for “Christian scholars” by today’s standards, in which they argue that resurrection was a Christian invention, created by the Church, with no basis in the Old Testament or in Jewish thought.

I wondered how they could even teach that to be true, in the light of several OT passages. After all, it was while he was preaching in the synagog at Antioch that Paul cited Psalm 16:2 to show that Messiah was resurrected:

Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ (Acts. 13:35)

If resurrection was foreign to the Jewish mind, why would Paul be citing Psalms to Jews in a synagog to show the validity of Christ’s messiahship?

The clincher for me is a portion that appears in what is considered to be the oldest book in the Bible, the book of Job. Job, in facing down his accusers, confesses his belief in resurrection:

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flees I shall see God. (Job. 19:25-26)

I’ll soon be turning 66. Many who come to read this blog have many more years left to live than I do. And yet, I have a hope, shared by Christians down through he ages, that when I close my eyes for the last time on this life, I will open my eyes and see God. This hope of resurrection is the source of the joy that is expressed in sacred and gospel music. “We shall behold Him.”

CSL

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Beliefs, Theology Stuff

Bad Teaching: “Like Christ Loved The Church”, pt. 2

bad teaching

In my last Bad Teaching post, I wrote about the abuse of Eph. 5:25, in particular, the use of the phrase, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ love the church” as a cudgel to pound on husbands. In that post, I took issue with pharisaical teaching that laid heavy burdens on the shoulders of husbands, but didn’t lift one finger to help them.

As I said in that post, husbands are told that if they love their wives as Christ loved the Church, then all will be well, that their marriages will suddenly become Heaven on earth. When pressed to define what that means, the most common teaching is some variation of Servant Leadership. After all, Jesus, for the sake of the Church, became a servant and submitted to death on the Cross, and husbands should be willing to become servants to their wives and live sacrificially for them. (If you have read any of my posts, you probably know what I think of that.) Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Christian Beliefs, Marriage & Sexuality, Marriage and Sexuality, Theology Stuff, Uncategorized

The Apostle’s Creed, #19, Redux

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;*
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty.
from thence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic** Church,
the communion of saints,

   the forgiveness of sins,

After my rant in my last Creed post, about how society is trying to do away with the concept of sin, I knew that I would need to revisit this line of the Creed and write about it.

To begin, this is the only line in the Creed that speaks to the reason for the Creed at all. Go back over the Creed, above, and you will see that there is nothing that speaks to why Christ came: all the “born”, “suffered”, “crucified”, “ascended” statements are declarative sentences of “what” He did, and don’t point to the “why” that motivated the “what.”

We know, however, that the “why” is so that we “should not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn. 3:16) God sent Jesus to save the world. (Jn. 3:17) And this line is the only line of the Creed that speaks to our need, salvation. Those who hate Christianity are wont to speak of Christianity as a “joyless religion”. However, when I survey the world around me, I don’t find joy there; merely desperation. It seems to me that those who aren’t living a subsistence-level life, but actually have time to think about the world and themselves are trying to find as many ways as possible to keep from thinking about their joylessness. We fill our lives with amusements, which, in the Greek, literally means ways to avoid thought.

But when we Christians think of our sin, and the reconciliation that Christ’s sacrifice provides, joys wells up as our guilt is removed, and we enter into the fellowship with God that was intended from Creation. The world is joyless; the Christian lives this verse:

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Isa. 12:3

CSL

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Beliefs, Theology Stuff

Apostle’s Creed, #19

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;*
the third day he rose from the dead;

he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty.
from thence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic** Church,
the communion of saints,

   the forgiveness of sins,

Of all the words in the Creed, I believe “sins” to be the most hated.

The world hates the very concept of sin; even contemplating the reality of sin would mean that right and wrong exist, and of course, nothing is ever wrong, today! I take that back. There is one thing that is a complete and total offense to today’s sensibilities: a belief in right and wrong, and possessing the cojones to say so.

Okay, rant time. Back in the 70’s, there was a popular psychobabbling self-help book entitled, I’m Okay, You’re Okay. That title gave me the fillip I needed, years ago, to delineate the “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” Social Compact™. Sociologists define “social compact” as the contracts that peoples agree to abide by, in order to normalize social interaction in a community. If you smile, shake hands, and pat one another on the back, you’re abiding by the compact, and are accepted by the group. If you gibber maniacally and fling dung, you aren’t living by the compact, and quite likely will be sanctioned for your violation of the compact. Possibly locked up, or receive a rock upside the head; who knows. But violate the Social Compact and you will be sanctioned by the group.

The way that the “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” Social Compact™ works is that different groups, (identity groups, political groups, what-have-you) agree that all the other groups are okay. “If you will say that I’m okay, I will ay that you’re okay. And we will band together and stomp the pudding out of anyone who upsets our applecart.”

And then come Christians with their Creed, who, by believing that sin is real and is a violation of God’s laws, violate the “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” Social Compact™, and so must be attacked, shouted down and silenced. But here’s the thing: If one is a true Christian, God’s word and will matter than desire for societal approval or fear of societal opprobrium. God is real. So is sin. All we need to do is to look around us to see the truth of that.

*deep cleansing breath**   Okay, rant over.

CSL

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Beliefs

Bad Teaching: Unconditional Love

I’m writing about bad Church teaching, and this week, I want to discuss a popular teaching about God: His Unconditional Love. I truly believe that when the Church starts taking its teachings, doctrines and beliefs from pop songs rather than the Bible, it has lost its way. The problem with today’s teaching about the Love of God is that it has its roots more in the sappy lyrics of Billy Joel than the Bible.

Here are the first and last couplets of Just The Way You Are, by Billy Joel:

Don’t go changing to try and please me
You never let me down before

I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are Continue reading

9 Comments

Filed under Christian Beliefs, Theology Stuff