Confusion Breeds Dependency

This is what Paul said about Jesus providing mature “ministers” of various types to serve the body of Christ:

 

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”

 

However, in practice in the church today, I think the reality is more in line with the following from Jeff Weddle’s latest blog post.

 

“The Church has routinely made theology complex. We’re told the Bible is too hard for us to understand.
You would think the Church would get busy teaching people how to use the Bible. You would be wrong.

The Church wants you confused, because your confusion means their job security.”

 

The question I think we need to consider – is what can (and should) we do about it?

Below is a link to Jeff’s full article.

anti-itch meditation

The US tax code is a mess. It’s one of the more complicated things on the planet, even more than DNA at this point.

Efforts to simplify the tax code have repeatedly been shot down. Leading the resistance are accountants!

The US legal code is increasingly complicated. Lawyers don’t seem to mind.

Professional investors want you to be confused by the markets and dividends and bonds and stocks. It’s too much, just give me your money and I’ll invest for you (for a fee).

Football rules are becoming more complicates. We can’t even tell what a catch is anymore. Outcomes of games are determined more and more by referees.

“Keep It Simple, Stupid” is one of those phrases you hear in life that makes sense, yet why do so many do the exact opposite?

The more complicated a thing becomes, the more people in authority get power. Confusion breeds dependency.

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One More Thing I’m Not Worried About: Google Home Doesn’t Know Jesus.

More wisdom from the “anti-itch meditation” blog.
Please take the time and effort to click on the link and read the whole article at Jeff’s site.

anti-itch meditation

I’m not even sure why this is an actual news story, but a Nashville TV station reports on a person who is troubled that Google Home does not know Jesus.

Seriously, this is a news story.

Google Home is Google’s version of Siri or Alexa. A box you ask questions to that gives you answers from the internet in a computerized voice.

Apparently, if you ask Google Home who Jesus is, it replies, “I’m not sure how to help you with that.”

The complaining citizen goes on:

“I even asked Google who is David Sams? Google knew who I was, but Google did not know who Jesus was, Google did not know who Jesus Christ was, and Google did not know who God was,” Sams said.

Sam later went on to say, “It’s kinda scary, it’s almost like Google has taken Jesus and God out of smart audio,” Sams…

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God Reaching Those Cut Off From the Gospel

Hawa* had travelled hours to meet us. She had grown up in a Muslim family. Her father was a Muslim leader who travelled to different Arab countries to teach about Islam. She felt loved by her family and was engaged to a Muslim man who lived in the US. Hawa’s future looked bright.

Everything changed when she contracted a serious lung disease. The doctors feared for her life and all her dreams and plans seemed to disappear. But Hawa was exactly where the Lord wanted her. “One night in hospital I had a dream.” Hawa said to me, “I saw a man who was smiling and crying at the same time. I somehow knew he was weeping for me. I bowed down before him and asked, ‘Please help me. Show me the way. How can I be free from this disease?’”

When Hawa woke up she told her family about the dream, but no one understood it. When she had recovered and returned home, she told the mosque leader about her vision. “What you saw was Jesus, the Messiah.” He said, “I can’t talk now. It is not safe. Come back another time.”

Weeks went by before Hawa had another opportunity to speak to the mosque leader. “The one who is weeping for sinners is the one and only Jesus.” He told her, then he handed her a Bible.

full article here:

https://www.opendoors.org.au/persecuted-christians/blog/vision-of-christ/

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Several believers involved in Christian witness paint Oman as a deeply religious country. There is a lot of spiritual conflict and oppression in this country. Believers experience many barriers when sharing the Gospel; “People are very friendly and seem to be open to the Gospel, willing to listen and exchange ideas. But to actually take the step to commit to Christ is very difficult for many of them,” one worker said.

However, in the midst of that darkness, God is doing amazing miracles, “Eighty percent of the Omani believers come to Christ in a supernatural way, through dreams and visions,” shared a Christian living in Oman.

full article here:

https://www.opendoors.org.au/persecuted-christians/blog/christ-in-the-heart-of-islam/

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“There is hunger to come closer to God! There is hunger for the prayer meetings for example. Now the whole congregation comes to these meetings. The church is full of people praying.”

This hunger is not just from Christians.

“It happens more with the Muslims and the Druze. God is speaking the language of each group. Muslims meet Jesus in dreams. A woman saw a man in a dream, he was dressed in white and his face was shining. She woke up and went to church, she was very afraid of being rejected. She was accepted with love.”

full article here:
https://www.opendoors.org.au/persecuted-christians/blog/syria-pastor-alim-on-the-frontline/

_______________

 

The Apostle Paul, Bellum Romanum, and Terrorism

anti-itch meditation

Bellum Romanum is a Latin phrase used to describe the particular kind of warfare the Romans waged against the Barbarians. It means “Roman War.”

You may recognize the Bellum from the Antebellum South–Ante–Before and Bellum–War–the South before the Civil War.

If you’re familiar with the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire, you know that they spent hundreds of years dealing with barbarian hordes picking on their extremities.

These Barbarian Wars began about 100bc and went sometime into the 400’s ad.

Rome convinced its people that barbarians weren’t totally human, they were sub-human. They were uncivilized brutes. Therefore, since they weren’t official humans, any number of atrocities against them were justified.

Bellum Romanum was all out war without restraint. There was killing, raping, and pillaging. Today we would refer to what Rome did as genocide.

It was the abject destruction of societies. Not just the destruction…

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7 Thoughts on the Numerous Recent Moral Failings of Public Figures

Another very insightful article from Jeff Weddle. While Jeff refers to the political situation in the USA, the same principles can be applied elsewhere.

Please take the time to go to the link and read all of Jeff’s post.

I particularly like the last sentence – it sums up the whole issue perfectly.

anti-itch meditation

When Bill Clinton was elected president, I was cleaning floors in the Northwestern College cafeteria. My roommate’s girlfriend came in and told me, with tears in her eyes, that Clinton won.

“Oh,” I said, and went back mopping.

The Clinton years were a fascinating time to be a Christian. I will admit I got caught up in the hysteria. Monica Lewinski, rape allegations, “at least Nixon resigned” t-shirts, etc.

The moral outrage amongst Christians was astounding. Clinton was the devil incarnate.

Oh how far we’ve come, dear church.

“a new PRRI/Brookings poll says. In 2011, 30 percent of white evangelicals said that “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” Now, 72 percent say so — a far bigger swing than other religious groups the poll studied.

Evangelicals no longer think moral…

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How to Study the Bible

An excellent and essential follow-up to Jeff’s previous blog post. I strongly recommend that you go to the complete article on Jeff’s blog via the link at the end of the excerpt below.

According to the viewing stats, yesterday’s post has had 26 views and yet only 3 of those viewers actually clicked on the link to read the full article.

I wrote about similar topics in the following two articles:
Spirit, Scripture and Sholarship

and
Don’t Study the Bible

 

______________________________

anti-itch meditation

Here are some tips for studying the Bible on your own.

–Read the Bible a lot. Over and over. Cover to cover. Try at least once to read it as quickly as possible, like under a month.

–Question everything. Write down questions as you read it, then when you read it again, see how many more questions you get and how many old ones you can now answer. Don’t be afraid to question anything and everything.

–Ignore formal theology. Don’t read merely to find verses to back up or attack doctrines. Just read what it says. Otherwise you’ll miss half the message because your brain is arguing theology.

–Avoid dumb Bible study questions like, “what does this mean to me?” or “how can I apply this to my life today?” They tend to make the Bible all about you. One of the points of the Bible is that it’s about…

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Why Is Theology Confusing?

An excellent post on Jeff Weddle’s blog.

I think he really gets to the heart of most of the major doctrinal difficulties and disagreements affecting followers of Jesus.

anti-itch meditation

Biblical doctrine is much simpler than human theology.

Most confusing doctrines are confusing because they are someone’s idea of what the Bible says, not what the Bible says.

The problem is that biblical doctrine is straightforward. A little too abrupt and real. It tends to mess with life.

Theologians enter the picture to “clean up the mess” by telling you the Bible doesn’t mean what the Bible simply and clearly says.

The main job of a theologian is to impress you with their theological astuteness. In other words, they prove their doctrinal superiority by being confusing.

“You’re too stupid to understand, that’s why you need us smart theologians.” Is the attitude. We go along with them because they tell us why we don’t have to listen to all those parts we wish weren’t there, which suits our flesh fine.

You know you’re dealing with human theology when you are reading…

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ISIS – Pushing Muslims Toward Christ

This is from the Voice of the Martyrs site, describing something that I’ve now heard about from many sources.

While many in the west, including Christians, grow fearful and suspicious of Muslims in their communities and want to resist the flow of Muslim refugees from war zones like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan;  God is doing among Muslims  despite those Christian attitudes..

Islamic State (ISIS) is now believed to have fully operational branches in 18 countries across the world, not only persecuting Christians, but also pushing Muslims toward Christ.

Its efforts to create a ‘pure’ Islamic nation are causing a growing number of Muslims to examine their faith more closely and more critically. “There are a lot of people turning from Islam”, said Ibrahim Al-Jamil, a pastor in northern Iraq. “Jesus has a big net and ISIS is pushing people toward this net. What we are seeing now is like the tip of the iceberg”.

complete article here: ISIS – Pushing Muslims Toward Christ

 

While Christian fear is a disappointing response, even worse is outright Christian hostility towards Muslims, particularly those who are refugees after being driven from their homelands. I’ve written about this before. (Will hating Muslims lead them to Jesus?)

 

Such fear and hostility is working against what God is doing. Do we want to be on the wrong side of His purposes?

Fearless for Christ

Four masked gunmen charged into Mohammad Yousuf Bhat’s home on the evening of 1 July 2016, pushed his wife aside and demanded to talk to him. After he stepped forward, the gunmen escorted the 43-year-old father of three outside his home in the Kashmir Valley, India and shot him seven times, killing him. Those who worked with Yousuf describe him as being a fearless, bold and passionate believer who “would not be quiet about Christ”.

Complete article here: Fearless for Christ

How I Became Fake News by Brennan Gilmore

I think this is a very significant article (thanks to Chris for the link). I recommend you don’t just read the excerpts below, but go to the link and read the whole article.

I was initially going to post this as a comment on an earlier thread, but decided the content is too significant to risk it being missed.

Did I actually have to worry that the president of the United States might launch an investigation against me because I happened to capture footage of a white supremacist terror attack and spoke publicly about what I saw? I realized I couldn’t rule it out, and that frankly scares the hell out of me—for my family, but particularly for our country.
Over the past week, I’ve seen personally the very real damage that these conspiracy theories have on our public discourse. The danger is not necessarily that a large number of people will believe them in their entirety. Instead, it’s that they muddy the waters on issues that should be about right and wrong. This is truly dangerous. If we are to get beyond this current acute manifestation of the cancer of American racism and begin to heal, the right must join with the left to excise the malignancy of white supremacy from our politics and society. Conspiratorial thinking and confusion on what is real make this much harder.

in this story, there are not two sides.

I know what I saw on Saturday, and I know which side was responsible. I saw a man who identified himself as a Nazi purposefully drive his car into a group of protesters.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/21/fake-news-charlottesville-215514