Would Pope Francis let the Mormons preach in the Vatican, too?

The theological and social liberals love Pope Francis. For some of the things, like owning up to some of Catholicism’s mistakes and taking a generally humble approach, they’re spot on. This is not one of those cases.

Francis is having Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican to “rekindle” peace talks between the two, which is fair. What’s insane to me is that Francis is allowing readings from the Koran and Islamic prayers in what amounts to the church building in which he pastors.

No word yet on if the Muslim gets to sit on the shiny throne.
The liberals will cry out about how great this is, but they clearly have no grasp about what Christianity is and what Islam is. The two are mutually exclusive, particularly in regards to the divinity of Jesus.
Imagine with me for a minute. How big would the outcry be if President Obama invited, say, Ted Cruz to speak at the Democratic National Convention? It would be enormous, because their ideas are mutually exclusive; you can’t have simultaneous have government expansion and contraction.
The same is for Islam and Christianity. Christianity says that Jesus is God and came to earth in order to fulfill the Law by living a perfect life and absorbing the wrath of God for those who would trust in him. Islam relegates Jesus to prophet status and says that Mohammed was the last and greatest prophet.
No matter what Mohammed or any Muslim says, these constructs don’t worship the same God. The characters and means of salvation are entirely different. They are very much polar opposites.
Which is why no one should have freaked out when Irish pastor James McConnell railed against Islam as “satanic,” “heathen” and “a doctrine spawned in hell,” because that’s exactly what Christianity says it is.
Jesus himself claimed to be God in the flesh, he accepted worship as God and accepted the title of Lord over everything. He didn’t give you or anybody the option of saying he was just a good guy who was a prophet. If he was just a prophet and not God, then everything he said about himself was either gold plated narcissism or he was off his rocker.
The Bible goes on to say that any other claims about Jesus, whether it be a different gospel or saying he was just a dude or that he didn’t really come in human form, are the work of demonic forces and the advocate of said claims is going to be cast into hell (On a side note, there’s no reason that making a basic claim of what you believe should lead to a police investigation, as is the case with McConnell.).
But Francis, overly concerned with being “loving” and “social justice,” is allowing a false teacher to come in and spread what Jesus himself calls evil, that being that Islam relies on one’s own righteousness to become right with God.
Go ahead and mark this (and the Reformation) as the official beginning of the end of the Catholics. Bad theology has blinded their leader to the point where he thinks his job is to just help people get along, instead of pointing them directly to Jesus.
Catholics, feel free to start leaving in droves for greener, more theologically sound pastures.

Fred Phelps kicked the bucket, but you missed the point

Infamous Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps assumed room temperature today. Most people’s responses have generally been along the lines of, “Good,” “Rot in hell,” “He was a douche,” etc.

I’m not arguing that he wasn’t a douche.

Lost among the “God hates fags” signs, general assishness and media attention, however, is the fact that their very, very, very core theology is actually pretty solid Reformed theology. The problems arise when they start working out from the core and applying and communicating it.

You don’t say.

In fact, they actually made some good points. Allow me to explain before you take metaphorical and literal dumps on my doorstep.

1) Repentance is vital to the Christian life. – This often gets lost, especially in the mainstream/liberal Christian crowd. They’re not just ripping on gay people; they’re calling people to turn from sin and trust in Jesus. That’s a good thing. It’s all in the delivery, kind of like Aroldis Chapman (shameless plug).

2) America is a corrupt nation. – If you don’t believe that, you haven’t been paying attention for the last couple hundred years or so. We’ve endorsed treating people as property, cheating people out of their property, murdering babies, unjust wars, etc.

3) America will be destroyed sooner or later. – Before you go all GOD BLESS MERICA on me, just understand that we’re a nation full of corrupt people doing corrupt things in corrupt ways. It’s bound to happen one day.

4) People are inherently evil. – Yes, this partially goes back to the first point, but they actually do understand that God must do the regenerating. Salvation isn’t based on what we do, but we do choose to give God the finger and send ourselves to hell.

5) God is sovereign over every single event in human history. – God didn’t send someone to shoot up a school, but he had to allow it in order for it to happen.

6) God finds sin and the sinner hateful. – A lot of people trip over this. God is love, but he’s not all-loving. He can’t love sin, since it spits in his face. There really are verses in the Bible about God hating people, but we have to remember that his hate is different than our hate. Our hate creates bitterness, but God’s hatred of sin spawned his eternal plan to send Jesus as an atonement for our rebellion. Really, God’s hate is rooted in love.

7) God’s sovereign grace through Jesus is the only hope for anyone. – Believe it or not, this is actually what drives WBC. They claim their tactics have worked in bringing about repentance and trust in Jesus. If they believe it works, then of course they’re going to do what they do. They may act like a bunch of dicks, but they at least have the core message down: The only hope for anyone is in Jesus, but most of us are content to fart in his general direction while playing in our own filth.

Thank God for a dead Fred Phelps, if only so we can reorient the discussion.

Christians need to stop gushing over Matthew McConaughey’s Oscars speech

Matthew McConaughey floored everyone last night at the Oscars, and it wasn’t because he was wearing a shirt (which is amazing enough in itself). Nay, it was because the oft shirtless man actually acknowledged God in his speech after winning Best Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club.

Pardon the crappy volume, but that’s apparently the only way for the Oscars to not file a copyright violation claim on YouTube. Here’s the video.

“First off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to,” McConaughey said “He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or of any other human hand. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates… When you’ve got God, you’ve got a friend, and that friend is you… So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to and whoever it is we’re chasing – to that I say, ‘amen.’”

The mere fact that McConaughey mentioned God set Twitter on fire. The atheists/agnostics/liberals generally chastised and told him to keep that “God shit” to himself. The conservatives/generally Christian crowd started gushing about how nice it was for an attractive young man to acknowledge God for his success in a way that hasn’t been seen since Tim Tebow was still on an NFL roster.

Tebow also has a tendency to show up shirtless.

I actually have no problem with the former group’s response. That’s very expected. I do, however, have a giant problem with the latter’s response.

Christians are so caught up in finding their next celebrity to acknowledge some vague entity that they’ll completely ignore the actual substance of a statement when it happens. If one actually listened to what McConaughey said, it’s nowhere near Christian and just as damnable as someone thanking the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

This one’s funnier too.

Since no one else has actually examined the theology behind what McConaughey said, I will.

“First off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to.” – There’s absolutely nothing wrong here. There’s really no substance, but that’s what most Christians are after these days here. It’s just acknowledging some bearded guy in the sky.

“He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or of any other human hand.” – This is the most theologically accurate statement he made. Whether it’s common grace or special grace, Christian and pagan alike are given grace instead of being immediately cast into hell. That’s a pretty cool thing.

“He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” – Here is where Mr. Abtastic goes astray. The entire notion of karma is, put plainly, stupid. Jesus blows it up in Luke 13. Let’s also take into account that Jesus never wronged anyone, but he was still murdered for claiming he was God. That would mean that for the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, karma would have failed him. If karma can’t work in that instance, it can never work.

Just, no.

“When you’ve got God, you’ve got a friend, and that friend is you.” – Apparently God is in all of us, and we’re all God’s children. That’s entirely unbiblical and sounds a lot like this guy.

No amount of facepalms will suffice.

So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to and whoever it is we’re chasing – to that I say, “amen.” – This universalism on an Oprah Winfrey scale. Chase whatever your heart desires, including yourself. You’re awesome. You’re worthy of whatever good things come your way because I feel like having a perpetual warm, fuzzy feeling.

Don’t forget that this is the same guy who played a stripper in Magic Mike and he’s going to do it again for a sequel. There’s no fruit there.

Let’s be clear. If these statements are truly indicative of what McConaughey believes, then he’s not talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. His God is not Jesus, who is called the Christ. And he’s definitely not referring to the Helper sent by Jesus.

Dear Christians, stop freaking out at the mere mention of God by a celebrity. If he isn’t for Jesus, he’s against Jesus, and any basically discerning mind would immediately see this statement for the hollow social religiosity that it is.

Steven Furtick confuses the crap out of me

This isn’t your typical blog that rags on a megachurch pastor.

Still, Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte has been making waves in the press for all the wrong reasons. Again.

Oops.
This time, reports have surfaced that he plants people to move for their “spontaneous” baptism services in order to grow their numbers. I don’t think it’s too bold to say that this is entirely jacked up.

Of course, anyone among the ranks of Craig Groeschel, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Rick Warren, Perry Noble, et cetera, is going to face severe criticism for pretty much anything they say or do (Note: I’m not comparing them theologically. They just all pastor huge churches.).

But then I was introduced to this.

Wat.

I have nothing against pastors having a vision (as long as it doesn’t get in the way of this Jesus guy), but to say a church is united under the pastor’s vision is theological nonsense. The church is to be united under Jesus’ vision for the church. You know, since the church is his bride and such. It might be a good idea to do what he says.

And seriously? Coloring pages promoting you and not promoting Jesus? That’s 1) creepy, 2) really creepy and 3) very well could be bordering on cult-like behavior.

I really, really want to defend Furtick here. If people legitimately love Jesus at his church, then that’s awesome, but ol’ dude needs to get his ish together and quit doing stupid stuff. We can only hope and pray that he doesn’t go full theological retard and turn into a feel good Joel Osteen type and that it wasn’t about him all along.

But even if turns out that Furtick was only out for Furtick all along, that doesn’t negate that God may have used his potentially evil intentions to bring about something infinitely better than what some jacked up human could dream of.

Remember that.

Blue Ridge Christian Academy is in the middle of a controversy that shouldn’t even exist

So there’s been a little controversy lately about a certain fourth grade science test at a private, Christian school that happens to be about 20 minutes from my house. It looks like so.

Image

The backlash on the school, Blue Ridge Christian Academy, has been pretty harsh, particularly from atheists. This school also happens to be where my little cousin is educated, so I may or may not be somewhat biased.

And, as usual, I think I’ll blow up everyone involved.

Seriously, science is based on what one can measure and replicate within an experiment. It’s about what we can observe.

In fact, Creationism is not scientific, as we can’t observe it.

We have not observed that the universe is not, in fact, billions of years old.

We have not observed that the dinosaurs didn’t live millions of years ago.

We don’t know for sure that animals only ate plants.

On the other hand, Evolution is not scientific, as we’ve never observed it.

No one was around to see and record the universe when it was first created, except God.

We have no records of dinosaurs and people living together or not living together, largely because written records from that long ago are remarkably scarce.

As a Christian, I have serious problems with Evolution. Not only has macro-evolution, where one species turns into another, never been observed; it doesn’t even make genetic sense.

But I also have a problem with teaching this as science. It’s simply not science and a lot of it rests on seriously shaky theology. Saying animals with sharp teeth didn’t eat other animals? The only backing for that is that God made garments for Adam and Eve out of skin, and that’s the first mentioned death in the Bible. Does that mean nothing else died before, ever? What about bacteria or plant cells in stomach acid? That’s stuff dying.

Obviously, the Richard Dawkins of the world routinely take it upon themselves to act like they know everything. Let’s not stoop to their level by saying that this is the only way it could have possibly happened.

Instead, let’s look at what’s really important.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-11

What does Paul say is most important? Jesus and the grace he extends. That’s it. Everything else is secondary.

Mark Driscoll (and others, I’m sure. I just heard it from him) uses an analogy of the closed fist and open hand. We hold onto the core things in the closed fist and the secondary things in the open hand, because you don’t want to bludgeon people with things that aren’t essential.

We’ve allowed this to be a distraction for too long. If someone thinks God took his time or used a slightly different method to make things than you do, does that does that really undermine the Gospel? Does that really change the fact that we’re jacked up and need grace?

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Stop Putting Your Hope in Government

Just in case you were comatose yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare on entirely unconstitutional grounds.

How was it entirely unconstitutional/illegal/immoral?

Because Chief Justice John Roberts made the asinine decision that even though the Obama administration and Congress itself pushed the individual mandate as a penalty and not a tax, that it could somehow be construed as a tax. They allowed the Justice Department’s lawyers to argue both for the penalty and the tax, allowing them to contradict themselves.

So, now we’re forced to buy a good, even though we may not want to. The Commerce Clause wasn’t even invoked or approached, but since Congress has the power to levy taxes, they can tax us for things we don’t purchase.

It’s seriously that stupid.

But what are to expect from people in authority?

They are, after all, people. People are, by nature, corrupt. Roberts, whether he wanted to be acclaimed by the New York Times or whether he didn’t want to seem activist (and ended up becoming an activist judge anyway) or whether, as Michael Savage contended, he was affected by his epilepsy medication, is just as and yet no more corrupt in his nature than Barrack Obama, Eric Holder or even my beloved Ronald Reagan.

He also knew how corrupt Thomas Jefferson was.

The thing Christians, whether they fall onto the conservative or liberal side, have absolutely failed at recognizing is that in the end, however you manipulate the government into controlling people is now what matters.

It matters in that humanity was created with an inherent longing for freedom, and governments should be held accountable, but when was the last time you saw Christians geek out over the fact that people are dying and going to hell in a similar fashion to a Tea Party protest?

Those of you who know me know that I’m a staunch libertarian-leaning conservative. I will fight you for my gun-carrying rights, voting rights, property rights, etc. What I personally have sucked at is showing off what Jesus has done.

What he’ll do in the future is pretty hardcore as well.

I love politics. I love baseball. I love music.

I say I love Jesus. I just suck at it. A lot. Even though that’s ultimately the only thing that actually matters.

Christians in America have gotten spoiled in that the gospel is assumed nowadays. That needs to stop immediately.

We need to stop relying on government and BS group salvation theologies (even if it’s subconscious) and start trusting in Jesus. He won’t let you down.

And even if everyone manages to officially hang out with Jesus, we still shouldn’t rely on the government. They’re still people, and people do stupid things. They will let you down.

So, yes, be pissed off about the horrendous decision offered yesterday, but there are much bigger things at stake here. Keep those at the forefront.