Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Do not misquote, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing..."

In most sermons there is all mention of praying for enemies and forgiving them, but no mention of repentance on the part of the wrongdoer.
This twists what the Bible says. Abusers use this as their favorite quote so that they do not have to repent.

Consider:


  • In the quote above from Luke 23:34, Jesus was actually "praying for his enemies". On the cross, Jesus prayed for his enemies, but did not say, "I forgive them". He was in fact, asking God to not zap his crucifiers but to allow them to live to repent and be forgiven.



  • Jesus did not harbor bitterness and hatred against his murderers.



  • On the cross, Jesus forgave only the thief who repented, and gave him eternal life. He did not forgive the thief who mocked him and refused to repent.



  • Jesus mentioned we are to forgive when our brother repents (Luke 17:3,4).



  • God forgives us only when we repent (Acts 3:19).



  • He also prescribed a process in Matthew 18.

Why is this such a big deal?

By false teaching, everyone who has sinned against another - every child molester, every wrong doer, simply has to tell his victim, "you have to forgive me, even if I don't repent".

It is easy to repent before God because you cannot see God and whatever you tell him is private - say a quick prayer, and you are forgiven. However repenting to your victim requires humility because there may be humiliation. It requires a willingness to set things right, because you may have to pay (even go to jail) if there is justice involved.

God requires wrongdoers to repent to their victims for forgiveness and reconciliation to happen.

Unfortunately because of this evil and false teaching, many Christians do not repent nor admit wrong to those they have sinned against.

See also:
Radio Bible Class Should I Offer Forgiveness Without Repentance?
Luke 17 ministries "If No Unconditional Forgiveness, Then What About 'Father Forgive Them'?"



Monday, September 15, 2014

An Observation on Parents and Grandparents

I do not know if this is specific to Eastern cultures, but after observing multiple sets of parents, I came to the realization that:

  • parents and grandparents do not want to repent for wrongs and sins they have done to their children or grandchildren. Parents do not want to apologize to their children.
  • parents and grandparents do not want to have honest discussions with their children or grandchildren where their wrongdoings and sins are opened up for discussion.
  • parents and grandparents do not want to be held accountable by their children, for their wrong attitudes and actions.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Christian and the death penalty

This used to be my written opinion on the death penalty:

God supports the death penalty. Not just because He prescribed it as punishment in the Old Testament, but because that is how He chose to have His Son Jesus, die for us. Jesus did not die in an accident, nor was he murdered, die of natural causes or disease. God did not waive the penalty.
                                               

In the Old Testament, God prescribed the death penalty to pay for sin. Bulls and lambs were sacrificed for the sin of the people. To pay for our sin, Jesus was executed. To me this affirms God’s support for it.

I still have the same opinion yet... I have been wondering about what happens when there was a wrong death penalty decision in the Bible. 
For instance...


Deuteronomy 21:18-21
New International Version (NIV)
A Rebellious Son18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

What if the parents were wrong? There is no indication of a fair trial, nor do we see instructions for a fair trial.




dwell on the positive

Last Sunday, we attended Life Changers Church, a mega-church in Hoffman Estates. The sound volume was so loud that we could not sit inside for fear of damaging our hearing. During the offering, the pastor used manipulative tactics to pressure people into giving 10% of their salary. He told a story of a businessman who was going to give a check to the pastor when someone came and gave him bad news. He reached out and took back the check and tore it up. Then he wrote a fresh check for double the amount, saying 'this is what it will take to get me out of this mess'.

However, I must say that two ushers were very helpful and understanding. They were in obvious fear of saying anything to the leadership about the damaging sound. Yet, there was hospitality - first time guests receive a free sandwich lunch.

I realized something important. Both are facts, Good and Bad. I will never visit that church again because it seems to be a church that exploits its members.

One must not deny the truth - both Good and Bad. However there is a choice in what one dwells on. I often would have been stewing over the negative - and ruin my mind. The Bible says, "As a man thinketh, so is he". One must also look for positives in one's experience. In other words, acknowledge and briefly discuss the negatives in this case, but allow ones mind to dwell on the positives.


Friday, April 25, 2014

article: "Cashing in on Jesus"



"Does the church teach tithing to scam us into overpaying staff and constructing lofty cathedrals?" Glen Guyton.

I was frankly amazed to see a church official a Chief Operating Officer (of the Mennonite church), no less, say this.
Here is the link to his article but since it may not last long, I am quoting the entire article.

CASHING IN ON JESUS

Glen Guyton is director of finance and convention planning for Mennonite Church USA.
Glen Guyton is chief operating officer for Mennonite Church USA.
By Glen Guyton
“You give your tithe as a spiritual duty, the same way you breathe. When you give without looking for results, you are giving openly. That giving is rewarded secretly. That secret rewarding may come as a flash of insight into the heart of God.”
— John-Roger, DSS
I must confess that views on tithing and church stewardship have changed. For years when people asked me, “Why should I tithe?” My reply was, “Because God said so.”  If you are reading this blog I am sure you have very strong opinions about tithing and stewardship.
The lead-off quote has probably made you furiously sort through the file cabinet of your theological knowledge to come up with arguments against mandatory tithing. Is tithing really a spiritual duty?  Does paying 10% of income to a church guarantee that God lets me behind the velvet rope to His secret blessing room? Does the church teach tithing to scam us into overpaying staff and constructing lofty cathedrals?
While writing this blog I came across two tithing websites that approach the issue from two very different angles.  Tithing.org approaches tithing from the viewpoint that God’s is our partner and we need to “cash-in” on that relationship. The tithe, or 10% of your income, is the magical key into unlocking those benefits.
Tithing.com says that their goal is to “help inform and encourage Christian believers about following biblical giving that is not bound by tithing, but is sacrificial and cheerful… [breaking] from the bondage to legalism and encourage[ing] everyone to embrace sacrificial giving led by the Spirit of God.” Who knew tithing was so controversial?
In Mennonite Church USA we don’t use the “T-Word” much. We talk more about stewardship and as an Anabaptist I like how that feels. Stewardship is about the 100% of who we are.  C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:
“Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.”
We don’t owe God 10% we owe God 100%. As good stewards we are called to manage all resources responsibly, not just our money, but our health, time, and talents as well. We unlock the power of God by giving Him our best, not a tenth of it.
My old football coach used to ask for 110%, but I don’t think that was even possible. In some sense stewardship expresses our obedience regarding the administration of everything God has placed under our control, which is all encompassing. Stewardship is the commitment of one’s self and possessions to God’s service.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Apostle Paul worked with his hands, Lord Jesus worked with his hands.

The only time when Apostle Paul and Lord Jesus did not work with their hands, is when they were working on the gospel, day in and day out.

Acts 20 at Ephesus, to the elders
33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Acts 18 at Corinth
1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

1 Corinthians 4:12
We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;

1 Thessalonians 4:11
11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

In Thessalonica, worked with his hands, also received from Philippians
Philippians
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need.

2 Thessalonians 3
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.

Ephesians 4:28
Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

-----Jesus--------
I have a book with the interesting title, "Our Work Loves Our Neighbor: Did Jesus Waste Most of His Life?" I do not agree with some of it, but it says some interesting things: for example, Jesus spent probably 80% of his career doing a secular profession - carpentry. Perhaps God considered it to be important enough that His son Jesus spent so much time in a secular profession?

1) when he sent out disciples, he told them to accept food and shelter in return for their work; he said workman is worthy of his wages.
2) Jesus also needed food and shelter and clothing
3) Jesus was a tekton
'To be clear, we don’t have any record in the New Testament about Jesus working with wood, laying stones, or helping his pop out in the shop. The only references we have to Jesus’ vocation are the two times when He’s called a tekton or the son of a tekton (the word often translated “carpenter”).
“Is not this the carpenter (tekton), the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?” (Mark 6:3).
“Is not this the carpenter’s (tekton) son? Is not his mother called Mary?” (Matt 13:55)
Now, tekton could refer to a carpenter or a stonemason, but the word simply refers to “one who works with his hands.” If someone wants to describe a carpenter, the phrase they’d use would be “a tekton of wood;” if a mason, then “a tekton of stone.” The absence of either stone or wood as a modifier indicates that the gospel writers didn’t specify which occupation Jesus and his father were engaged in. Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55 simply say that they worked with their hands—they were laborers who performed physically demanding and socially shameful jobs.
And I think this is the point. In highlighting Jesus’ occupation, the point is not that Jesus was a carpenter and not, say, a fisherman or a mason (or a mason and not a carpenter, etc.), but that Jesus was a blue-collar workerand not a white collar worker; a peasant and not a noble; a man of humble origins and was not born into a family of high social standing.'