Posts

Christians who don’t know the Holy Spirit.

Image
Shouldn’t be such creatures, but there are.Recently I was checking out a local Baptist church’s faith statement on their website. These faith statements come in handy when you wanna know what an individual church emphasizes. Not all Baptists are alike, y’know. Pretty much the only thing they have in common is they’re Protestant, and they insist you gotta believe in Jesus before you’re baptized; they won’t baptize babies. Beyond that, they could be liturgical or loose, run by elders or by popular vote, Calvinist or Pelagian, egalitarian or sexist or racist—any stripe of Christian you can imagine.In this specific Baptist church, turns out they don’t know the Holy Spirit.I know; you’re thinking, “What Christian doesn’t know who the Holy Spirit is?” Well, heretic Christians. And you’re gonna find this particular heresy is surprisingly common. Too many Christians don’t understand who the Spirit is and what he does in their lives—that he’s probably the only person of God’s trinity they’ve e…

“Out of Egypt I called my Son.”

Image
The Lord called Israel out of Egypt… and 15 centuries later, called Jesus out of Egypt too. Hosea 11.1.When we fulfill scripture, we’re doing as it says. When Jesus says “Love one another,” Jn 13.34 and we do it, we’re fulfilling it.I know: When people usually talk about fulfillment, we assume it means someone’s doing as predicted. When Jesus fulfilled the scriptures, we assume this means the scriptures prophesied specifically about Jesus, and Jesus did as the prophesies foretold. Sometimes that’s absolutely true. But sometimes it’s really not, and this confuses Christians all the time.Confused me too, when I was a kid and first learned about taking the scriptures in context. Because I actually read the Old Testament, and read those passages in context… and wondered, “How on earth is that a prophecy about Jesus?” Well, turns out it wasn’t. The author wasn’t writing about Jesus at all. Nor was the Holy Spirit secretly dropping clues about stuff Jesus would eventually do.Yet Jesus did f…

The star coming out of Jacob.

Image
Christians list it among the verses predicting Jesus. It really doesn’t. Numbers 24.17.The Hebrews of the Exodus weren’t the only Hebrews in the middle east. There were other Hebrew nations, who probably spoke Hebrew same as the descendants of Israel whom Moses led. Namely:The ISHMAELITES, descended from Abraham’s oldest son Ishmael.The MIDIANITES, descended from Abraham’s sixth son Midian. (What, you didn’t know Abraham had more sons than just Isaac and Ishmael? Ge 25.1-2 Lots of people don’t. See what happens when you skip parts of the bible?)The MOABITES and AMMONITES, descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot.The EDOMITES, descended from Israel’s brother Esau.Plus Abraham’s son fourth son Yoqšan is the grandfather of “Ašurím and Letuším and Lehummím,” Ge 25.3 names which have a plural -im ending, which therefore means they’re not individuals but tribes.Israel’s family went to Egypt to dodge a famine, but Ishmael, Lot, Esau, Midian, and Yoqšan’s families had stayed in the area and become…

You must be born again.

Image
What “born again” means to pagans and Christians. BORN AGAIN |bɔrn ə'ɡɛn| verb: Become Christian.2. Convert to a stronger faith in, and a more personal relationship with, Christ Jesus.3. Become a zealous [or overzealous] Christian.4.noun: A Christian who underwent one of the above experiences.Certain Christians insist you’re not a real Christian unless you’ve been “born again.”These same Christians look at me funny whenever I talk about Christians who weren’t born again: “There’s no such thing,” they say. Actually there are: Some of us grew up Christian. From as far back as we can remember, we were raised to believe in Jesus and follow him, so we did. We went straight from childhood faith (where you trust Jesus because you’re told to) to personal faith (where you individually choose to trust Jesus) without any abrupt born-again experience at all. It was seamless… well, if there is a seam, Jesus knows where it is, but we don’t.For me there was a born-again experience; I was a littl…

The prophet like Moses.

Image
Yeah, Moses meant any prophet. But this passage especially applies to Jesus. Deuteronomy 18.15-19.In the 15th century BC, God saved the Hebrews.Their ancestors had moved to Egypt to ride out a famine, and settled in a land called Goshen. (Which we nowadays call the Sinai Peninsula, even though Sinai’s actually on the other side of the Dead Sea, in Arabia. Ga 4.25 If the maps in your bible say otherwise, the mapmakers oughta actually read their bibles.) But some years later the Egyptians decided to press the Hebrews into slavery, and that was their situation when Moses was born… and 80 years later when the LORD sent Moses to lead ’em out of slavery. Ten plagues later, Moses led the Hebrews across the Dead Sea into Arabia, and the LORD drowned the Egyptian army behind them. And that is what Jews today celebrate every Passover.Moses tried to lead the Hebrews to a land the LORD originally promised to Abraham; they called it Canaan, Israelis call it Israel, Palestinians call it Palestine, …