Wednesday, May 30, 2012

If Same-Sex Marriage is Legalized Then All Forms of Marriage Should Be

With President Obama endorsing same-sex marriage I am waiting for him to endorse polygamist marriages. Since love is the reason given to allow same-sex marriages then the government must allow any other form of marriage where those involved say they love each other.

Most believe that polygamy is a belief only held by Mormon’s but that isn’t the case, Muslims also practice polygamy (Muhammad had 11 wives). That is a wide swath of people. Shouldn’t they get their wishes as well since we are allowing same sex couples to marry?

I would even take this a step further. What about the marriage between a human and an animal? Seems ridiculous but the wealthy all the time leave fortunes to their pets (see here). Just ask a dog lover about their pet and they will tell you that they love their dog and the dog loves them. And isn’t that what marriage is all about - love?

Allowing plural marriages or humans to marry their pets is the only logical and consistent view of those who endorse same-sex marriages.

Many who support plural marriages point out many examples in the Old Testament of plural marriages (Abraham, David, etc.). One must understand that Scripture never endorses that behavior. God told Adam and Eve that marriage was to be between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24), a view retaught by Christ (Matthew 19:5). Those in Scripture that engaged in plural marriages were living in sin.

Using the Old Testament as support of polygamy isn’t a valid argument.It should be our desire to have a Biblical view on all our beliefs, including marriage, which Scripture is very clear about.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review - The Truth About Forgiveness by John MacArthur

The Truth About Forgiveness by John MacArthur is one of three books in a trilogy on the topics of grace, the lordship of Christ and forgiveness (Here is my review of The Truth About Grace). Like the book on grace this book on forgiveness is taken from sermons MacArthur has preached over the years and collected in the small book that a person can read quickly while gaining a better understanding of the topic at hand.

The book begins by debunking the popular idea that the reasons we do wrong is because of some medical or physiological problem inside of us and that guilt is an emotion we need to overcome because it isn’t helpful to us. MacArthur explains those ideas this way:

Guilt functions in the spiritual realm like pain in the material realm. Pain tells us there is a physical problem that must be dealt with or the body will suffer harm. Guilt is a spiritual pain in the soul that tells us something is evil and needs to be confronted and cleansed. To deny personal guilt is to sacrifice the soul for the sake of the go.
Where there is no recognition of sin and guilt, when the conscience has been abused into silence, there can be no salvation, no sanctification, and therefore no real emancipation from sin’s ruthless power.

MacArthur begins the book with those truths because if we don’t understand that we are sinners that need to be saved then there is no salvation for us to be had. And when we realize that we need to be forgiven we have to understand that it is God that we need to seek forgiveness from.

He spends the rest of the book on two main stories found in Scripture - the story of the paralytic in Luke 5 and the prodigal son in Luke 15. I think his commentary on the paralytic, while a great teaching on forgiveness, he belabors the point. He seems to rehash some of the same material he had wrote just a few pages earlier. This is my one and only complaint in the book.

His treatment of the prodigal son is amazing. He wrote an amazing book on that parable titled A Tale of Two Sons. If you haven’t read that book you need to very soon. It will give you a better understanding of your role in forgiveness and God’s. You will be changed. If you can’t read that book the few chapters in this book will whet your appetite for it.

If you are one who struggles with forgiveness or you just want a better understanding of that amazing truth then pick up this book and you will be bless, encouraged, convicted and transformed.

You can purchase it at Christianbook or Amazon.

Disclaimer - I received this resource free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Sneeze book review blogger program. All that was required of me is that I review it, positively or negatively, on my site.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review - Making the Most of the Cross by John Chapman

The cross is the central message of our Christian faith. It is our hope of salvation. To meditate on all that it is would take a lifetime. To help us understand the cross in a deeper way God has given us godly people who have written much concerning the cross. Making the Most of the Cross by John Chapman is one such book that attempts to do that for us. Unfortunately Chapman isn’t always successful.

Chapman’s intent is to give the reader a survey of the marvelous cross in short and to the point chapters (17 in just 99 pages). While I admired the scope of the book I found the brevity of it left much unsaid. Points weren’t thoroughly fleshed out and even though Scripture was used throughout it is lacking in others (chapter 16 as an example).

One of the strongest chapters in the book is the chapter that deals with Christ as our substitute (chapter 2). Chapman has a wonderful explanation on the substitutionary death of cross on page 24. Then on page 26 he debunks the idea that God killing his Son is immoral by showing us that God is God and we are not and since he is God he has every right to establish limits for how we are to live because he made us. Another chapter that I thought was particularly strong is the chapter on Jesus’ death turning away God’s anger (chapter 4). By defining what propitiation means we see clearly how God’s wrath was turned from us by Christ’s death on the cross.

As I read the book the glaring issues with it seemed to override those wonderful chapters. The first that comes up is in chapter explaining Christ’s death as a ransom. On page 30 Chapman says that the Bible isn’t clear on who the ransom was paid to. I believe that understanding that a ransom is paid to who the debt is owed shows us who received the ransom. Christ died in our place for our sin that demanded a payment to be made to the offended party. Who is the person that is offended by our sin? God is. Christ paid the ransom to God since God is the offended party.

Other places that puzzled me was in chapter 5 he uses the metaphor of chariot races to explain Christ’s death. The metaphor was never fully explained nor connected completely to Christ’s death. He also says on page 43 that Christ’s death wasn’t legal, which is wasn’t, but doesn’t explain to the reader why. Then on page 49 Chapman says that at the Lord’s Supper when Christ was washing the disciple’s feet that he was explaining to Peter that the foot washing was an “acted parable of his death.” This is the first and only time I had ever heard that this act was to explain his death.

I found myself torn. The points he made that I liked were overshadowed with the points I had issues with. So I can’t recommend this book even though I would like to.

Disclaimer- I received this book for free from matthiasmedia for this review. All that was required of me is that I review it, positively or negatively, on my site.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review - The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn is the first book I have read on the Bible’s view of money. I was quit eager to read it to see if how I use the financial resources God has entrusted me with is aligned with Scripture. I wasn’t disappointed. This book is encouraging and convicting, showing the immeasurable joy that comes when one gives of their money as God wants them to. I enjoyed this book thoroughly.

Katrina and I have discussed and prayed over our finances especially our giving and feel like we are dispersing them as God desires. This book affirmed our decisions, showed other areas we can improve in and the many blessings that come from giving.

What you won’t find in this book is a how-to on gaining wealth. Alcorn doesn’t tell you how to play the stock market, which as we have seen is very volatile. He doesn’t tell you how much of your check to put into savings each week or the exact percentage you are to give to God each month (He does address tithing but from the standpoint that tithing is the least amount you should be giving). The point of the book is how we are to gain treasure in heaven. This is based on Christ’s teaching found in Matthew 6:19-21:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In six short chapters, 120 pages, Alcorn will change your view of giving. He begins by calling us God’s money managers meaning God has entrusted us with His money. All that we have in the bank is God’s, not just what we give to the church. And since the money is God’s we give Him what He asks us to give and who to give it to. That is a special responsibility God has given each of us, taking care of His money. What we do with it carries blessing or judgment. I am for the blessing.

Some points that Alcorn makes are quite convicting. He shows us that if we don’t give to the needs of the poor then God won’t hear our prayers (Proverbs 21:13). In his discussion on tithing he does maybe the best job I have read or heard on the issue by stating that tithing is the floor, not the ceiling, on our giving. He makes the point that in the New Testament God doesn’t lower the standards found it the Old Testament but raises them, including tithing. This book has changed my view of tithing (in case you are wondering Katrina and I give more than 10%).

Some of you may be put off by me stating how much me and Katrina give each month. Alcorn points out that in I Chronicles 29:6-9 King David tells us exactly how much he gave to the building of the temple. If it is wrong for us to tell what we give then David sinned by telling us how much he gave (Alcorn goes into greater detail on this in chapter six).

I could go on. This short book covers many other topics concerning giving that you will need to read to discover. All of them are founded in Scripture. If you have been wanting some teaching on Biblical giving, this is the book for you.

Disclaimer- I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.