A Self-Help Gospel

God has a plan for your life. You are meant to fulfill a purpose. God wants you to flourish. You don’t have to feel confused or despair… All of this is true, but when it becomes the entirety of the Christian message, then it is bad. A human-centered, me-centered theology is always a bad theology, and I see this take place in two forms. Many people with Charismatic inclinations seem to particularly  gravitate to this type of message. The message that says, “You can do it! “You’ve got it in you!” “Don’t give up!” “Don’t look back, God wants you to climb higher! He’s got good plans for you. And here’s a plan how you can know God’s plan for your life so you can be happy…” These are the voices that tend to be on Christian television or in popular Christian bookstores. And what is communicated over and over seems to be essentially this, “Is life hard? Does life have problems? Well you can fix them! God’s made you victorious. Don’t live a disappointed life. Be positive! It’s what God wants for you.” When… Read More »A Self-Help Gospel

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Is America a Christian Nation?

In what sense can we describe a nation as being “Christian?” By its leaders, or its citizens, or maybe its laws? By all these measures, America would not be considered a Christian nation. And yet, I frequently hear Christians speak so earnestly about how America is a Christian nation, and how we need to get back to our Christian roots, almost as though the United States has a special place in God’s heart. For many evangelicals in America their Christian faith is directly tied to their American identity. In fact, I have many memories of saying the Pledge of Allegiance at my Christian elementary school, or singing the “Star Spangled Banner” in church. But the truth is, America is not a Christian nation, and I’m not sure it really ever has been a Christian nation. It’s always difficult for me to hear certain Christians talk about the founding fathers as being these proud, whole-hearted Christians. It’s often said that they stood on biblical/Christian principles. I have even heard some say that they built this nation based on teachings of Jesus and the laws found in… Read More »Is America a Christian Nation?

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Christianity and Postmodernism. Friends or Enemies?

What is Post-modernism? To some Christians, it’s a scary, terrible movement destroying the culture, while other Christians embrace it as a breath of fresh air. Gary Aylesworth is right in pointing out that defining postmodernism is a very difficult, (maybe nearly impossible) task. Because it’s such a huge and somewhat ambiguous topic with each person having their own take on it, it’s difficult to talk about what it actually is (that in and of itself captures part of the mood of postmodernism). A helpful way to understand postmodernism is in this way: postmodernism is that which stands over and against modernism. The term “postmodernism” gets the name because it means after modernism. So, postmodernism is a certain philosophical practice/method/lens which stands in contrast to modernism and also critiques modernism. So, then we have to ask the question, “what is modernity?” In the history of philosophy, modernism is that period which contains thinkers like David Hume, Descartes, Immanuel Kant, John Locke. Modernity has been characterized as having a very analytical and rational (I mean using reason and thinking, I don’t mean rational as opposed to empirical)… Read More »Christianity and Postmodernism. Friends or Enemies?

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Why I Still Believe the Bible

The Bible is probably the most well–known book in the world. It’s read by all sorts of different people: men, women, young, old, rich, poor… And it’s also read for many different reasons: to bring hope, to reveal knowledge, to find comfort… Yet, at the same time the Bible is surrounded by an incredible amount of controversy. People discuss it, attack it, question it. And to make things more complicated, there seems to be as many interpretations of it as there are people who read it. As I read and study the Bible, I see it primarily as a means to an end. Before I explain what I mean, let me say a few other things first: There is no such thing as just reading the Bible. Everyone is interpreting the Bible. All the words, and verses are the same but everyone comes at it with a certain lens of interpretation. Simply pointing to “what the Bible says” is not quite enough. Take for example, John 6 in which Jesus says, “I am the bread of life…eat my flesh…” Protestants read those verses and think,… Read More »Why I Still Believe the Bible

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Inspiration

Who are the people in your life that inspire you? I don’t mean the people that you just look up to, or the ones you like. I mean the ones who spark something in you that you thought was dead, the ones that help you see everything in a new light, the ones that make you feel incredibly humbled yet empowered at the same time, the ones that make you want to be the best human being you could possibly be. For me, when I consider all the different people who have inspired  me throughout my life, I see one common thread: they all bear a strong likeness to Jesus. And the one quality in particular that stands out is love. It’s not about how intelligent or knowledgeable a person is. It’s not about how much influence or fame a person has. It’s not about how much success or accomplishments a person has. It’s about love. Do I respect those other qualities? Sure. Are they attractive? Yeah. But that doesn’t inspire me.  What inspires me is seeing a teacher reach out to a student rather… Read More »Inspiration

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The Bible, Guns, And Peacemaking

I have never had an interest in guns. I’ve never found them impressive, attractive or anything like that. I have never owned a gun, and I have no plans on ever owning a gun. And yet for many Christians, being a patriotic gun owner is synonymous with being a Christian. And I think this view is troubling for a number of reasons.  Guns, violence, and patriotism all seem to be very interconnected in some Christian circles, so that is what I want to respond to as a whole.  But first let me say that if I were not a Christian, I think the arguments encouraging gun ownership would be very compelling. However, it is my Christian faith that leads me to believe what I do about guns. So, let me offer some reasons why I am not a gun enthusiast, first by giving a framework for it: I think that the Bible is very clear on the intrinsic value of human life. It is very grievous to me that we live in a culture that disregards the incredible weight and value of a human life,… Read More »The Bible, Guns, And Peacemaking

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Why I Won’t Let My Kids Play Video Games

Growing up, my brother and I never played video games because we didn’t have any. Our parents never got us any consoles or games, so we just never had them in the house. Of course, we’d go to friends’ houses and they would have video games, and we would sometimes play with them, but other than that I pretty much grew up without video games…and I think I turned out fine. In fact, I’m really grateful that my parents didn’t get me any video games as a child because it helped me learn a lot of different things, and ultimately shaped me into the person that I am today. My wife and I both strongly believe that we don’t want our kids playing video games either. Here are 8 reasons for why I won’t let my children have video games. 1. They’re expensive. Simple as that. This is the essential reason my parents didn’t get me video games as a kid; they just thought it was a waste of money. And I think that’s true! Not only are the video game consoles expensive, but the… Read More »Why I Won’t Let My Kids Play Video Games

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Why Man of Steel Was Disappointing

I absolutely love Superman. I want to be clear about that. I grew up watching Superman on TV and reading the comics and so forth. But Man of Steel was not Superman, it was some misfired execution of a bad idea stormed up in the minds of Zack Snyder and David Goyer (with Christopher Nolan’s permission). I was so eagerly anticipating the release of a really good, new Superman film, Man of Steel (especially after the flat and awkward Superman Returns) trusting it would be amazing because it seemed to have a great creative team (Nolan, Goyer, Snyder). Man of Steel was the most disappointing film of the year for me. There are number of reasons for why I thought the movie was bad but let me list 5: 1. The setup on Krypton felt long but also too fast, and was just awkward overall. I would have either liked to see more of a backstory with Jor-El, the Council, and Zod, that didn’t feel rushed (like what was done in Superman The Animated Series) or none at all. 2. We never saw Jonathan and… Read More »Why Man of Steel Was Disappointing

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Theology AND Ministry

Theology and Ministry are not mutually exclusive. They go hand in hand. It’s not like there’s theology AND ministry as though the two were two completely separate and unrelated categories. Theology and ministry are as two sides of the same of the coin. I think it’s absolutely crucial that we keep this in mind whether we are “doing theology” or “doing ministry.” In order to do either properly, you have to do both. Recall the greatest theologians throughout the Church. Paul: Think of all the theological material and rich literature found in the letters of Paul. So much of our Christian theology comes from Paul and is developed by Paul. And there are very intelligent, academic, scholars who study all the intricacies and minutia of Paul’s letters and Paul’s theology, and write giant books about it. But Paul himself was a pastor and a missionary. He was a minister! Paul was not some lofty academic theologian at a prestigious institution sitting and writing in an office full of books, who only cared about academia and scholarship. (Some of the time he wrote from prison.) Rather,… Read More »Theology AND Ministry

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Why I Hate Horror Films (And Think You Should Too)

I believe in objective goodness. I believe in objective truth. I also believe in objective beauty …and horror films are not beautiful. They are (objectively) ugly.  Strangely, many Christians have no problem believing in the objectivity of goodness and the objectivity of truth, but many of them don’t consider beauty to be objective. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” right? No, of course not. Just like truth and goodness isn’t up to me to decide, neither is beauty. When we see a mighty waterfall pouring down a cliff, it moves us (as something independent of us)  not just to feel like the waterfall is beautiful to me, but to say, “That is beautiful!” When we hear an amazing symphony by someone like Mozart or Beethoven, we say, “It is beautiful.” Similarly, if we saw rats eating and defecating on another, the response we would have is something like, “Eeeww! That is gross. That is disgusting,” not just “I’m having feelings of grossness.” Or what if someone looked at heinous sin, and found it beautiful, would they be (objectively) wrong? Or what if someone… Read More »Why I Hate Horror Films (And Think You Should Too)

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Why I Am A Dualist

Contemporary defenders of dualism include great thinkers like Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, and J.P. Moreland. And yet it seems increasingly popular these days among some Christian scholars to deny the existence of an immaterial soul. “The idea of an immaterial, everlasting soul, is a not a Jewish idea. It is a Platonic idea,” some will say. I was shocked when I first came across this idea in college, and I found myself starting to believe that perhaps there really isn’t such a thing called a soul. However, more recently I’ve come to think that surely that can’t be the case. And I want to offer some reasons for why I think so.   But before I do that, let me be clear that I think the physically body is very important, and I think many Christians do have a tendency to overemphasize and prioritize the soul or the spiritual above the physical as though the two were competing with each other and I don’t think that’s quite right. Christians absolutely should recognize the importance of physical reality. After all, we believe in the physical, bodily resurrection… Read More »Why I Am A Dualist

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Why I Believe in God – Part 3

I wanted to share some of the philosophical arguments for the existence of God that compel me the most. Click to view Part 1 and Part 2.

The Transcendental Argument. This argument primarily comes out of the work of Cornelius Van Til and other presuppositional apologists, and I find it to be incredibly powerful. I think it goes much deeper than a lot of the other arguments for God’s existence.
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Why I Believe In God – Part 1

I think it’s valuable to have good reasons for believing that God exists, and some of those reasons include philosophical arguments. Though I don’t think it’s necessary for Christians to know all the philosophical arguments for God’s existence, I do think that it proves incredibly beneficial and assuring for the Christian person’s faith; and I think most Christians particularly in North America and Europe really don’t have an excuse for not knowing the arguments. That being said, I want to explain the arguments for belief in God which  compel me the most:

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