2022: A Year of Sovereignty

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 31, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Tomorrow is New Year’s Day. There is a trend in many churches with “Word of Faith” leanings to proclaim a theme for that year in which God would do something great for you. They will call for a “year of prosperity” where you will get the job you have been looking for, or a “year of peace” where your problems will be solved. I’ve noticed that every time these proclamations are made, life never seems to do what the proclamation declares. But as I thought about what to do for starting 2022, and especially in light of what has been happening over the last two years, I want to play on this notion. I am going to declare that 2022 will be a year in which God’s sovereignty will be put on display. But isn’t God already sovereign? Absolutely. So I’m not declaring that God will come in and showcase His sovereignty and reclaim all the chaos and madness going on and settle all things. No, that’s His business. I want 2022 to be a year in which we, the church of Christ, recognize the sovereignty of God.

We may have been completely caught off guard in the U.S. with all the COVID issues, the governmental overreach, the communist take-over through the Democrat party that is nearly complete, the coup against the elections which has been going on for some time, but God put it all on display. The list goes on. Our comfortable world that we have greatly enjoyed has been turned upside down. And I am seeing people and churches blaming anything and everything for all the chaos. When the 2020 election took place, I was going through Jeremiah in my personal studies. I saw so much in common between the people of Judah in their idolatry and the U.S. today. It was startling and shocking in how close it was, with one main difference: Judah had a promise to be restored. The U.S. doesn’t. When I saw the election literally being stolen before all our eyes and no one doing anything, and seemingly powerless to do anything about it, I knew this: God was putting this country into judgment. This is not going to be a popular statement. The real cause of all this chaos is God. He is putting all our sin on full display and forcing us to see it carried out.

God is sovereign. He is in charge of everything that goes on. Every single atom obeys God at His word. It is only man who defies Him, and we do so in utter stupidity and in futility. God is going to get what He wants done no matter what we say or do. All our choices do is determine how much we drag our feet in the process and how much we get disciplined for it. God chose His heroes. Some were immediately obedient; others resisted. Noah wasn’t selected because he was a great man. He was selected because God chose him. Abraham was chosen. His descendants were chosen. Moses was chosen, even though he fought his calling. David was chosen. Jonah was chosen. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the prophets were chosen. The disciples were chosen. Paul was chosen. Not one of the guys ever would have done what they did without God not only calling them but also equipping them and carrying them through. God is sovereign. They got through because God would not let them be touched until God had them ready to be touched.

But one thing I love about God’s sovereignty is that even God’s enemies are subject to His will. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. God wanted Ahab to go to war and sent a lying spirit to convince the false prophets that they would be successful. God put restraints on Satan and then suggested he go after Job. One of my favorites is Judas. Even Jesus’ most ardent enemies could do nothing but fulfill Scripture. And the same will be true about what is happening now.

God is in control over every situation. He shuts doors, allows distractions, cuts off opportunities, opens others, and all to get whom He wants where He wants them. I had to spent 6 years as a substitute teacher trying to get in as a full-time teacher. I even did a long-term substitute job where it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get hired, and I was intentionally looked over. Guess what? Despite how frustrated I was, God knew what He was doing. He was holding me for the job I currently have and giving me time and practice to prepare me for what I am doing now. It took me letting go of the dream before God resurrected it. And God put me in position to be at my high school doing what I am doing with the administration I need and the teaching team I need to what I should do. He’ll change things around to keep me on my toes, but one thing I am learning still is that God is sovereign.

God is sovereign over the affairs in our nation, too. The election did not occur by surprise. God put it out there for all to see to show both ourselves and the world what kind of country we really have become. I believe we are in judgment, and I believe we have gone past the point of no return. But I still believe God, in His knowledge and wisdom that far exceeds my own, can still redirect things and give this nation a mercy drop like we’ve never seen before. God is in control, and He is setting things up for the great showdown in Revelation. He only “tarries” so that whoever can be saved will be saved. Things are going to get worse before they get better, but God is sovereign. One thing I know about why God lets things go to hell-in-a-handbasket: it is to separate the sheep from the goats. Jesus is returning; there’s no question about that. But He is coming back for a pure and spotless bride. A bride that is pure from false teachers and fakers. A bride that is cleansed from sin from within. A bride that is ready to join Him and love Him and serve Him for all eternity. God will put us through whatever He has to put us through to make us ready to meet Christ in eternity. So, everything we are experiencing and going through has that as the end goal.

This year, I think things are going to get much worse. We can’t rely on the retaking of Congress in 2022. There is no promise that will happen, and even if we could, it may be too late, especially at the rate things have plummeted in just one year. As Christians, our hope is not in the USA. Our hope is in Christ. We must remember this. Yes, we want freedom to win out. We want truth to end up on top. It will, but it might not be until Christ returns for it to be realized again. Yet in all that, Christ is still sovereign. He is in charge of everything, and nothing passes without His direct allowance or command. No matter how crazy things get, let us take rest that God is in control and let us seek what our next step should be. Side note: don’t read what I’m not saying. I am NOT saying we should just let things go. God raises heroes for times such as these and calls for action. But in the meantime, let us rest in God’s hands, take action where we must, and be ready for whatever God throws at our way. This will be a fun year walking with the Lord and the adventure He has for us. Get ready.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Glorifying God as an Introvert

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, December 28, 2021 1 comments

by Eric Hansen

Before I start off with this post, I feel it’s important to define what I mean when I say “introvert.” Webster defines it as “having a disposition that is taxed by social engagement and energized by calm environments, resulting in the preference for quiet solitude.” Most people I know think of introverts as one who refuses to talk and would rather be in the shadows. That by its nature is what shyness is, and since I have both qualities about myself, I feel now is a good time to discuss how someone like me can glorify God.

For years I always thought that to glorify God meant that I had to be in the trenches, preaching the Word on every street corner, or else I wasn’t serving God well enough (or at all). Ultimately I feel this stemmed from surrounding myself with people who would say “I’m glorifying God” while doing such acts and never being exposed to anything else. I was a product of my environment, as they say.

I run a ministry (He Brews Ministries) where I had the intent of focusing on helping others grow in their faith. I started a podcast in the ministry (He Brews Faith) to help deliver those messages, and I struggled with finding a right balance of God and personal accounts. I’ve also started having an increasing desire to play music again, but I’ve been struggling in understanding if it’s worth putting my time into and how it would be glorifying God. On top of that, I’ve also been trying to learn Japanese, Korean, and to a different level, Biblical Greek while having a 9-5 job. I needed to only focus on what glorified God, but none of them really seemed to fit the criteria I understood for what “glorifying God” entailed.

With my podcast, I didn’t feel confident or know how to advertise. Also, I was never really comfortable with what I had to say because of perfectionism. Everything was compared against “Is God the focus?” even when I already knew the answer was yes.

When it comes to playing music, the question was simply “Why?” The music I wanted to play didn’t fit anything I knew others wanted to play (melodic or ambient Christian stuff). This meant I would always be doing it solo, yet it’s more enjoyable when I can gather with others. How could I glorify God by playing bass in a room in my basement?

Learning languages can be very taxing when just learning one, let alone 3. For a few years now, I’ve felt called to serve God overseas in Asia, so it wasn’t so much “How is learning this glorifying God?” but instead “How can I glorify God by learning this?” We’re talking about going to countries where Christianity is between 1-15%, with the rest being mostly Buddhists or atheists.

But at the time of writing this post, I had a discussion with my fellow blog writer Katie about these feelings, which ended up giving me inspiration to write this article. In talking about these things, her response was simple but profound:

“Think about Jesus' life. Was He glorifying the Father when He went off alone to pray, when no one was around? I'd say yes, because 1) He was developing that relationship with the Father, and 2) He was preparing Himself for what was to come. I believe the same applies to us.”

Growing Closer to God

This has been a struggle for me since the beginning of my walk with Christ. I read the Bible, but that always felt like it wasn’t enough. I went to church, prayed, etc.; sometimes I felt like God was right next to me, and other times I felt like I couldn’t find Him if I tried.

My musical focus is Christian music, regardless of whether it’s fast or slow, metal or opera, or somewhere between. This means that at least on some level, I would be putting the focus on Christ, even if I just played while sitting in a little room in my basement. Daniel went to his room every day and prayed. Prayer itself doesn’t have to be something elaborate; it’s a time of just sitting with God and talking. Through that, you build up that relationship and closeness with the Lord.

Prepare For Calling

As I said, I have felt called to serve God in Asia for a while now. Learning a language is the best way to communicate with people, and both Japan and Korea are very appreciative of anyone who tries to speak their language. This is one path I have no real answers figured out besides “I need to learn the language,” and I also know I don’t need to be perfect at it. But maybe one way of talking about Christ is someone asking why does my music sound a certain way, and I talk about the influence of God and the Holy Spirit.

Enjoying God-Given Gifts

I’ve always been the most creative one in my family except for one of my uncles. While I was in high school, I used to write a lot of poetry, and when I went to college I started learning guitar (along with bass and keyboard). I even crochet every so often to help calm my ADHD.

When I started becoming a Christian, though, I boxed up all that creativity, because I felt like it was getting in the way of serving God. However, by ignoring that part of me, I’m also ignoring how God created me. I’m effectively saying, “God, I know you made me to be creative, but it’s not good enough for me to serve you.” You know how heart-wrenching that is when you realize you’re basically slapping God in the face?

The objective here isn’t to fill our available time with random or mundane actions. But we also shouldn't stifle God’s creation and blessings as well. In doing so, we’re no different than Jonah, but we may not have a whale to rescue us. I would like to say Christ is that proverbial whale, but deep down Christ already did all He could to rescue us.

Glorifying God can be through many avenues, outlets, and explorations. Not everything is going to be golden or right, but we also don’t always need to be tossing Bible verses at someone or educating them on sin to give God glory. Take a good step back, make a leap if you have to, and really analyze the situation. Perhaps even instead of asking “How is this glorifying God?” we should instead ask “How can I glorify God through this?”

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Hebrews 10:19-25

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 27, 2021 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” -Hebrews 10:19-25

At the beginning of this passage, we see a “therefore,” which often means the author is making a conclusion – and that’s what’s happening here. The author has spent a lot of words laying down the doctrine of the Old Testament and its old covenant versus the new covenant of Jesus Christ that we are now under. He’s explained why that’s important and how it works (to the best of our limited human knowledge anyway). Now, he begins to tell his readers what we are to do about this with our lives.

The events of Jesus’ life have given believers in Christ a new confidence. In the Old Testament ways of doing things, the people were afraid to be in the presence of God, which dwelt in the Most Holy Place of the temple; they knew that God cannot tolerate being in the presence of sinful human beings, so they could be struck dead at any moment. But now, verse 19 tells us that because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we have confidence that we can enter God’s presence without fear! This was accomplished only through the blood of Jesus being poured out as a sacrifice for all of humanity.

There used to be a curtain that divided the Most Holy Place from the rest of the temple. But that curtain was torn during Jesus’ death – see Matthew 27:45-54, Mark 15:33-39, or Luke 23:44-46. It’s interesting to note that all three of these gospel accounts share this detail; that shows how important it was that the way to God had opened up at the very moment of Jesus’ death.

As verse 20 tells us, the tearing of the curtain (or veil) was symbolic of Jesus’ death making a way for all people to be able to approach God. It opened a “new and living” way for us. This is completely new compared to the old way of doing things, and it is living just as Jesus is alive after His resurrection. Just as Jesus’ body was torn apart in His death, so the divider between God and mankind was torn apart.

Verse 21 connects back to the author’s discussion of Jesus as our great high priest previously in the letter – Hebrews 4:14-5:10 and chapters 7-8. The author connects the humility that occurred with Jesus’ death to His exaltation that occurred with being our great priest and being over the house of God. Jesus is both a lowly servant and a ruler at the same time.

In the next few verses, the author gives us 3 exhortations. The first is in verse 22: “Let us draw near to God.” We must draw near to God with a sincere heart; that means we need to become right with God in our innermost being. As we are sinful people, we know that we can only be made right through Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. It is through our faith in Him that we can be assured that we are able to draw near to God. He is the only one who can truly cleanse us from our sins so that we can be in His holy presence.

The reference to “having our bodies washed with pure water” may be a reference to Christian baptism. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward cleansing from our sins, but it’s the inward cleansing that is most important. Other religions of the day practiced ritual outward cleansings, but Christian baptism is the only one that would truly cleanse our innermost beings and allow us to draw near to God as the author encourages us to do.

The second exhortation is in verse 23: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.” This hope is not something that we think may happen but something that we know for sure to be true. We have hope in Jesus Christ! Because of His death and all that was accomplished in it, we have the certain hope of eternal life with God forever. We need to firmly hold onto that. We know that this hope is certain because of who God is; God is faithful to always fulfill His promises.

The third exhortation is in verse 24: “Let us … spur one another on.” This is to be a mutual activity between all Christian believers, not just from leaders to others or vice versa. The goal or this mutual encouragement is to love one another and do good deeds. This is clearly not how we are saved but our response to the saving work of Jesus Christ.

First we draw near to God through faith because of His actions, then we cling to the hope that that gives us, and then we use that to encourage one another in love. Note that we see the trilogy of faith, hope, and love here, just as Paul references in 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Some English translations make it look like verse 25 gives a fourth exhortation to not give up meeting together, but it’s a different construction in Greek. Instead, this is a further explanation of how to fulfill the third exhortation. How do we encourage one another? By continuing to meet together. It’s hard to encourage people you’re not communicating with, and in the early Church, the only efficient means of communication was in person.

Now, we do have lots of other methods to encourage one another – phone calls, text messages, emails, social media, video chats, etc. – but there is still something special about being in person together with people. Being physically apart from friends and loved during the Covid-19 pandemic has (hopefully) reinforced the value of this physical togetherness. Sure, you can communicate in many other ways, but being with other people is so much better for developing deeper relationships with them and encouraging one another.

So, how should we go about applying this passage to our lives today? Recognize the great sacrifice that Jesus made and what that brings us – opportunity for relationship with God. Take advantage of that and draw near to God, cling to the hope that is only found in Him, and live out God’s love by meeting together to encourage one another.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The Crown of Thorns

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 24, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. So why am I writing about Jesus’ crucifixion instead of His birth? The answer is simple: Jesus came and was born for the purpose of dying for the sins of the world. Back in November, I spoke at El Paso’s first Creation Conference and gave the closing keynote. When I stepped off the stage, I was greeted by a number of friends who mostly had one thing they liked about my keynote: the crown of thorns. And what does that have to do with Creation? Actually everything. If Paul’s statement about Jesus being the “last Adam” doesn’t connect the Fall of Man and the Genesis account to the cross, the crowns of thorns should remove any doubt to the honest listener.

Genesis is the historical text about the origins of the universe and the establishment of the nation through whom the Savior would come. The first eleven chapters cover 2000 years of world history, concluding with the dispersion of the nations and people groups before zooming in onto one man: Abraham. The rest of the OT centers around Abraham and his descendants, a nation that would bring Jesus Christ. It is in these first eleven chapters that we are introduced to the setting of world history, the description of how this world went wrong, and the first messages and pictures of the Gospel. This is our origins: where we came from. And if we are to have a Biblical worldview, we must have a correct view of origins.

When I teach about worldviews, I address five major questions. “Where did I come from?” “Why am I here?” “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” and “Who do I listen to?” There are others as well, some of which are answered within these questions. A big one that I’ll address is, “What is wrong with the world?” This is part of the question about origins. This world is broken. It’s messed up. How did this happen? There are two competing ideas: 1) It was always this way. 2) Man is the problem, according to Genesis 3. In case #1, this is what is behind every single model that teaches the earth is billions of years old. The earth has always been corrupted and broken; it was created this way. The models that try to include Adam say that Adam’s sin didn’t actually corrupt the Creation; it just corrupted life in the Garden. In case #2, man is the problem; this is what Scripture teaches. This is no secondary issue because case #1 blames God (or just nature) for what’s wrong with this world. The Gospel and Christianity blame man for what is wrong with the world and the curse upon all creation that followed.

When God issued out the curse upon Adam, there are several things to note. First, the ground won’t produce for man readily; man will have to work brutally for it. Next, the ground will produce thorns and thistles, and then man would eventually die and return to the dust from which he came. The earth as a whole was cursed. It would no longer operate as originally created. The implications of this are well beyond what I can say, especially in a scientific sense, but what is clear is that pre-sin, the universe operated on a different set of commands than post-sin. Mainstream scientists today struggle to grasp this notion because they believe in the uniformitarian principle that what they observe today (in a sin-cursed world) is what has always happened, so they dismiss it entirely. But I want to dwell on this point.

Jesus came and was born not just as a human, but He came from His residence in perfect paradise to a sin-cursed world. John Hyde described how this revelation hit him – even the very air that Jesus breathed was sin-cursed. So it’s no wonder why He constantly snuck out to pray. Then the fateful day arrived. Jesus, having already prayed for any other option, submitted to His Father and faced His betrayer. He faced an illegal, illegitimate trial and a Roman beating that alone could have killed Him, and part of all of that was the greatest form of mockery: the crown of thorns.

Jesus was the rightful king, and to mock it, the Romans put a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head. They put the very thing God specifically singled out to be the constant, visual, physical mark of the curse of sin – thorns and thistles – on the head of Christ. Russ Miller posted a comment on Facebook that related to the thorns being part of the curse on the world. It was a good point, but when I thought about it, it hit me. Jesus wore a crown of thorns. Jesus wore the literal symbol of sin on His head as He went to the cross. John teaches that Jesus bore the sins of the world, that He would be the propitiation for sin. That’s what Jesus came to do – to be the ultimate and final sacrifice that would not only appease the wrath of God upon sin, but also to enable the Father to be both just upon the wicked, and the justifier of those who have their faith in Christ. Jesus wore a crown of thorns. He took our sin literally, and He took it to death and satisfied God’s righteous justice. When I gave the closing keynote to the Creation conference I mentioned above, I brought this point up. Afterwards, this point was by far the point that resonated the most with those I spoke with.

Tomorrow, as you go about your Christmas celebrations, let us remember Christ over the festivities. Let us remember not just that He came, but why He had to come. He had to come because that was the only way God could save us and maintain His perfect moral righteous standards. The crown of thorns is just a small detail most of us skim over, but Jesus wore sin to that cross, and He suffered the wrath of God. In that death, mankind was given the open door to be saved. People may reject the teaching of the thorns and thistles in Genesis, and they unwittingly do that when they suggest that they preceded Adam by teaching an “ancient” earth. Their belief may not determine their salvation, but unless Genesis happened as recorded, no one can be saved. The crown of thorns is just one proof of this. Let us remember what Jesus came to do and let us be thankful that He did, because He did not have to. Merry Christmas and may we honor our blessed Savior.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Christmas Facts

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, December 23, 2021 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Editor’s note: Due to the upcoming Christmas holiday, we’re re-posting this blog post today for your enjoyment.

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Last Thursday, I released a blog post about the origins of some of our more popular or well known Christmas holiday traditions. You can read that here. Today, I wanted to look at some of the historical facts that some skeptics take issue with – things like the census that Luke reported and who was governor at the time of Christ's birth. Also, what was the star that led the wise men to Bethlehem? Why are there differences in the genealogies of Matthew and Luke? Some of these alleged issues have been covered literally for hundreds of years while others have found a more contemporary response. Either way, we can trust the Gospel story as it's written in the 4 books dedicated to the life of Christ we find in the Bible and, specifically for today's writing, the 2 Gospels that give us details of the birth of Jesus.

Read Luke 2 here.

For Bible believers, it's accepted that the Bible is very likely accurate in all it records (with a few exceptions that can be traced back to copying errors and are of no consequence at all). Luke is considered by many to be a top rate historian who was very concerned with accurately recording things in an orderly fashion so the reader may know the account is true. He didn't take things lightly and he interviewed those who were there (or he himself was there) for his historical account of the life of Jesus and the early church. It's unlikely Luke would include something of minute detail if it was not correct since he was primarily concerned with accuracy and orderliness. Let's look at some alleged issues.

The census that had Joseph take his pregnant soon-to-be-wife to Bethlehem is an area history has an issue with. It's one of the toughest to answer satisfactorily, but I'm okay with unanswered questions. There are certainly some things from God's Word that we're not 100% clear on, but none of these things are of major importance from a theological stand point. They are the details. We, as believers, must be united on the essentials but allow freedom in those things that are more preferential than essential. If we stand united on the important stuff, we'll make a great deal of headway for the Kingdom. But this issue does have some options as for an answer. The issue here is that Quirinius wasn't governor of the area when Jesus was born nor did he have a census taken during the time generally accepted as the time Christ was born—about 4 BC. His census was done around 6 AD. He also claims that Herod the Great was ruling at the time. Herod died probably early in 1 BC. Many suggest it was 4 BC, but more recently that has been questioned for various reasons. It seems to make more sense it was 1 BC. So this means we cannot assume the census spoken of was done in 6 AD and this was the census Luke wrote about for the time of Christ's birth. Early church father Tertullian indicates that Saturninus was in charge during Christ's birth, as Roman records seem to indicate as well.

There are several explanations that have been put forth for this issue. One is that Quirinius was put in charge of the census only during the time Saturninus was over the area. Another is that Quirinius finished the census, which was first imposed by Augustus over the Roman world, going from province to province. The Jews may have been allowed to use their “own town” as the text suggests rather than their Roman town. This has historical support. But it is possible the Quirinius is credited with the census because he, in fact, finished it. Another possible explanation is that Quirinius had some other official position that put him in a leadership role at the time. The text uses words that can indicate governor but also other positions are possible. There is historical documentation that indicates an official around this time held office twice. That could well have been Quirinius.

Still another possible explanation is the text itself. Reading ancient Greek can be tricky. It's possible the text doesn't say it occurred during the reign of Quirinius but prior to the reign of Quirinius or prior to the census of Quirinius. We need to understand how the grammar works here. The census of Augustus was not a one time, empire-wide event but multiple events over a longer time period. Luke indicates this with his use of the present tense in reference to Augustus's census of the world (the Roman world that is). It was ongoing. Then he hones in on the area known as Syria. It's also likely from the text that Luke is referring to one of two censuses that took place near that time. He indicates it was the first census, rather than the more commonly referred to one of 6 AD. Any of these, or some other explanation, could adequately deal with the skeptic's complaint. Some other historical documents may be found to further confirm the accuracy of Luke's narrative.

Let’s look at another question. Joseph should not have had to go to Bethlehem but to his current home town, and Mary should not have been required to accompany him at all since she wouldn't need to register. This is not so. There Egyptian records that indicate Rome frequently allowed local cultural traditions to be used during certain things. There is no reason to suggest it wasn't okay in this instance. In Jewish culture, property (which Joseph may likely have owned in the area of Bethlehem since his family was from the area) was passed down through the father. This would have demanded Joseph go to his own town and register. Why did his pregnant fiance join him? A couple good reasons, I think: 1) she was about to give birth and wanted to be with Joseph at the time, and 2) she and Joseph were aware of the Messianic prophecies indicating where Jesus would be born. They knew the child she carried was the prophesied Messiah, so she needed to get him to Bethlehem. Watching the Lord work out the details that not only allowed for her to be in Bethlehem but even required her to be there was probably a faith builder for the couple.

What was the star the Magi saw? I don't know. Many have suggested a few different things that, to me, don't follow. A common thought is a conjunction of multiple planets that made some sort of super star in the night sky. Another is the idea that a comet may have been in the sky, leading the wise men on their journey. Still another possible explanation is a supernova—an exploding star. None of these work for me. The star rested over a house and led the men on their journey. A conjunction of planets or exploding star in the sky wouldn't lead them. A comet wouldn't lead them. It's likely it was a supernatural event, like the pillar of fire at night and pillar of cloud during the day that led the Hebrews as they left Egypt. The text seems to tell us that only the Magi saw the star and that it led them from Jerusalem to Bethlehem which is north to south. Normal objects in the sky travel from east to west.

The apparent differences in the genealogies of Jesus from Matthew to Luke are very simple to address. Luke was referencing Jesus’s mother's lineage while Matthew was highlighting Joseph's—Jesus’s legal father. However, Mary's lineage through David was not cursed while Joseph's was. Christ could not have been the King if his real father was Joseph due to Jehoiachin. The grammar used in Luke's list indicates he was giving us Mary's line up until Joseph, who was indicated by the text as the son-in-law.

I'm sure there are other issues skeptics have, but that's what they do: they seek out reasons to not believe rather than accepting the obviousness of the accuracy and authority of the Bible to proclaim God's Word to us. This Christmas, praise Him for His amazing acts. He became flesh and dwelt among us. Christ's birth is, in my opinion, the second greatest event in the history of the universe only topped by the Resurrection. Celebrate and worship Him! Rest in the facts of the day—Jesus was born! God sent us the greatest gift of all—that of His Son. God is with us.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


ADHD Christianity Part 2: What Are the Blessings?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, December 21, 2021 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

In my last article, I mentioned some (mostly hidden) struggles that a Christian who has ADHD may run into. Like my theology, I respect the issues but would much rather look to the solution. As a Christian, our solution to all of our problems is Christ, but ADHD can put a damper on believing that. So what about ADHD can be considered a blessing?


While it is true that hyperfocusing can be an issue, it can also be a blessing. There have been days I sit and read the Bible, study it, and meditate (read: think) on it. I first realized I could do this back in high school, and thought it was a superpower more than anything.

When we hyperfocus, we can get to a point where everything around us is silenced. We drill into what it is we are doing. I imagine it is close to the times Jesus went alone to pray. He didn’t want any distractions when talking to the Father, and He knew what to do.

Granted, it can be difficult to turn it on or off, but when used with aides to keep aware of what time it is (i.e., so we remember to eat), we can truly give God all of our attention and be attentive to Him.

Emotional Dysregulation (Mood Swings)

How can emotional dysregulation (lets call it EmD for short) be positive? I feel this is definitely one of those elephant-in-the-room elements.

The linked article makes it sound like it’s a horrible thing, and it can be (as with most worldly things). But, once we start putting it into the frame of “God blessed me with this because through Him, He knew great things can happen,” then the world becomes a bit less dark.

One thing that people can often forget is that a Christian is still human. Having EmD exposes us to extreme emotions, but that allows us to experience humanity that much more. If you join a Christ-centered group like Celebrate Recovery, for example, you’ll be exposed to people going through a lot of emotions, too.

Having been through Celebrate Recovery myself for food addiction, I saw people come through with addictions mostly to drugs and alcohol. These emotions would often make them feel alone or in a dark pit. One of the best gifts God can ever bless us with while on Earth is the ability to use ourselves as a vessel to spread His love. By this I mean that a connection can be made based on such raw, vulnerable emotions, which can then let you express how Jesus’s blood brings you rest.


This is definitely one that can be annoying. I can give you a list longer than time it feels like where I’ve procrastinated. But this can be a positive in the Christian world as well. But let's also group running late into this as well, as it’s usually a byproduct.

The end result when I procrastinate is “I wish I didn’t waste my time!” The more I realized just what I was (not) doing, the more I asked myself why:

  • Why don’t I just do it?
  • Why do I wait so long?
  • Why can’t I get that time back?
  • Why don’t I make better use of my time?

This brought me to realize that the same applies to my faith. I can’t sit around and wait for the “perfect opportunity” to come along to serve God. I need to be doing what I can now to prepare for what He’s laid on my heart, even if I have to pivot halfway through. It’s helped me realize the value of my time where I spend it.

Imposter Syndrome

It’s common to feel like you don’t deserve something or that you could work harder. This is basically what imposter syndrome is, where you reject praise and accomplishments because you feel undeserving of them.

The greatest part about this feeling is that it’s exactly the story of the Bible. The Old Testament is full of the moral law (working harder for grace) and showing that it’s not work that gets you that grace. We then get to the New Testament, where God’s redemption of His people comes about, and we realize that we don’t deserve that grace to begin with. Yet, even through our faults, He gives it to us anyway.

This not only allows us to express the gospel in a relatable way, but we also gain a much deeper, relational, and personal understanding of God’s love. I feel that those without imposter syndrome can spend years achieving what those with it can discover in a fraction of that time. It’s not a race by any means, but it helps us connect the dots faster, quicker, and easier.

Comparing Yourself

I ended the struggles article with this, and I feel it’s fitting to end the blessings with it as well. At its core, I feel that this is the epitome of an ADHD’s internal struggle and encompasses everything above and more.

On an almost daily basis, it feels like I recall commenting on a post on a Reddit forum on Christianity saying that we should always try to be Christ even though we’ll never achieve it. The person I was responding to gave me a paraphrased response of, “Haha! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!”

Given our EmD, perfectionism, procrastination, hyperfocus, and a myriad of other adjectives, we can greatly model Christ’s humanity. We’ll never achieve it fully, but already outlined here are models of who and how Christ is. While He never compared himself to anyone, He did have great empathy, focused solely on God, had bouts of frustration, and felt not just pain but glory.

I’m a fan of Tony Evans. In his book Kingdom Man, he talks about how Christ entered his family. The long story short is that Tony’s dad came to Christ first, and that drove a deep wedge between father and mother. His mother would constantly try to push his dad away, and his dad would not fight but love. One night, his mom came to his dad, crying and asking why he’s not rejecting her while she is him and she wants what he has. At that point, a family came together in Christ out of love and modeling Christ.

I wouldn’t suggest trying to cast out demons, but I would definitely suggest grabbing a friend if you can and go tell someone about Christ. Look at how Christ talked to certain people, and try to model that. He didn’t go to the well and immediately tell the woman she was a sinner; first, He asked her for some water (John 4). He also didn’t go to the Pharisees and immediately tell them they were sinners, but when they spoke, He spoke the truth.

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to glorify God. Read the room, but also make the opportunity. If you see someone looking distraught, don’t be afraid to speak with them. If you see someone happy, don’t be afraid to ask them what brings them so much joy.

ADHD is often categorized as a disability, placed under the same umbrella term with things like amputation, bipolar disorder, etc. Realistically, though, something is only a disability if we can’t see the blessings it gives us when it comes to helping our Father. As of this writing, I’m 34 years old, and for 20+ of those years I felt like I was un-human since I struggle to do some things I see others do without thought. That was before I accepted the way I’m designed and truly appreciated that God made me in such a way that He knew that through Him, I can serve Him fully. I hope to continue sharing my experiences of this walk through life with everyone, and so I’m also treating this as a running series where I can share such matters with you.

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Hebrews 10:8-18

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 20, 2021 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“First he said, 'Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them' —though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, 'Here I am, I have come to do your will.' He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 'This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.'
Then he adds: 'Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.'
And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.”
-Hebrews 10:8-18

This passage is continuing the author’s thought from the previous section, and you can read about that here before proceeding. The “he” at the start of this passage refers to Jesus Christ from back in verse 5. In verses 6-7, the author quoted Psalm 40:6-8, and now he moves on to more Old Testament references and quotes to continue making his point.

But first, in verse 8, the author refers to Mark 12:33, which says, “To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” These are not words of Jesus, but Jesus does agree with the person who said them. You can read the context of that here. Jesus is conversing with a teacher of the law, and after Jesus tells the teacher the greatest commandments, the teacher replies with the words above. Jesus affirms that this is “not far from the kingdom of God.”

That teacher of the law understood whthe point that the author of Hebrews has been trying to make for many verses now – that loving God and loving others is what it’s all about, not following rituals of burnt offerings and sacrifices. That is summarized in what the author of Hebrews says next in verse 9 – “I have come to do your will.” That is why we are following Jesus, to do God’s will. God does not desire for us to offer up sacrifices, but He desires that we do His will. God takes away those rituals that He had previously established so that we can follow the new way of doing things in Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of Jesus means that those ritual sacrifices are no longer necessary.

As the author has been pointing out many times now in these last few chapters and again in verse 10, because of Jesus following the will of God, we are all made holy through His sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice truly was once and for all!

This once and for all sacrifice is in contrast with what the priests did according to the Old Testament law, explained in verse 11. They would daily offer sacrifices, again and again, but those could never truly take away the sins of the people. The finality of Jesus’ sacrifice is contrasted to the continual sacrifices of the priests.

Verse 12 turns the focus back to Jesus. After Jesus completed His sacrifice for all of the sins of all people for all time, He sat down at the right hand of God. The posture of standing indicates work or movement, whereas sitting signifies that His work was done. Note that in verse 11, “every priests stands” whereas in verse 12, Jesus “sat down.” He completed the work that He came to do, so He sat down at the right hand of God. This is the place of highest honor! Even angels are not suited to that honorable place; in Luke 1:19 the angel Gabriel said, “I stand in the presence of God.” This verse tells us both that Jesus finished the work and that He is due the highest honor because of that work.

Now that His work is done, Jesus waits for His enemies to be made His footstool (verse 13). It doesn’t tell us who these enemies are, but perhaps the author leaves that vague on purpose so the reader questions whether he or she is among those enemies and will take steps to make sure that’s not the case.

Yet again in verse 14, the author emphasizes the finality of Jesus’ sacrifice. “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Jesus did it; the work is done!

In verse 15, the author sets up two more Old Testament quotations. It’s interesting to note that he calls out the Holy Spirit as testifying about these things. While the author clearly believes that the Bible is inspired by God, he often ascirbes the words to their human authors and/or “God.”

The passages quoted in verses 16-17 are from Jeremiah 31:33-34. He previously quoted from this same chapter of Jeremiah back in Hebrews 8, but he emphasizes that passage again here to remind the reader that the old covenant is no more and the new covenant is now in place. Jesus Christ has established this new covenant, and it truly does provide for the forgiveness of sins.

Finally, this section is concluded in verse 18 by the author making his point yet again that the people no longer need to make ritual sacrifices because Jesus’ sacrifice took care of all that.

So what can we today take from all of this? While we’re pretty far removed from the days of making literal sacrifices to please God under the old covenant, it is important for us as followers of Jesus Christ to remember that His sacrifice is still sufficient for us and our sins even today! We may not need to see the contrast between the old and new covenants like the early believers did, but we need to see the contrast between following Jesus and going against Him.

Once Jesus came, those old ways of sacrifices were no longer necessary, so the people needed to turn to the ways of Jesus instead. If you had a life of following this world’s ways before you met Jesus, those ways are no longer necessary; instead, you need to put your faith and trust completely in Jesus and in His sacrifice that is truly sufficient for all.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Apologetics 20: What if They Got Saved?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 17, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

This is my 20th and final post in this series on apologetics, my longest series for Worldview Warriors. After finishing my study on 2 Timothy 2:24-26 and the verses immediately surrounding that passage, last week I addressed those who likely won’t get saved. But that raises a question: what if they did get saved? Would that not change our mindset in how we approach people? Would that not affect our motivation in evangelism and witnessing to others?

Looking back at writing about how a “servant of the Lord” should be regarding witnessing and doing apologetics, the times where I truly was my best in carrying out the character traits and behaviors of not quarreling, being gentle, being able to teach, and being both patient and humble are when I really wanted to see someone get saved. I would still be firm with them when I needed to, but where these things are displayed the most is when my motivation is to see said person get saved. So, guess what that means when these characteristics are not present? It means I’m not thinking about their soul as I ought. Sure, I talk about the condition of their soul if they are not walking with Christ and not living for Christ, but it’s purely in a fact-driven mindset. One thing I am telling myself more and more is to stop with the head-to-head facts only but to really start praying for the soul of that person, and even more so that God would change my attitude towards those I fear are not saved. We must protect the sheep from the wolves, but what if that wolf were to get saved?

As I am writing this post, my personal devotions have put me through 1 Timothy 1, and I just got through verses 12-17 where Paul identifies himself as a former blasphemer, persecutor, and violent, all against Christ. But he did so in ignorance. He didn’t know Whom he was persecuting or even why. Then he met Christ. Paul identified himself as the worst of all sinners. It may be difficult to tell if he was just seeing the weight of his own sin or really was the worst of all sinners, however when you intentionally go up against Christ and His followers, you are pretty high on the ‘worst sinner’ list. Yet Paul was saved. He even declared that his salvation was for the purpose of being an example of what the saving work of the cross does. If Paul could be saved, then there is hope for anyone to be saved. It was told that when William Booth went to evangelize with the Salvation Army, he taught his people to hunt down the worst sinner of the neighborhood. Why? Because if that guy got saved, then the rest would be easy pickings in comparison.

What if Richard Dawkins got saved? What if the Muslim acolytes got saved? What if the town drunkard got saved? What if the child porn producer got saved? You know what your city’s sins are. Here in El Paso, we are known for three major sins: drinking/drugs, sex/adult clubs, and the occult. What if the owner of the sex clubs got saved? What if the cartel leader got saved? What if a coven leader got saved? Would that not turn El Paso upside down? Would that not wreak havoc upon the “normalcy” of such wickedness? What an opportunity for the kingdom of God to take action!

If people were to see the truth, come to their senses, and break free from the deceptions of the enemy, they would be powerful tools in the hands of the Lord. However, while it is great to think along those lines, there is the current reality. The lost are still lost, and the lost are still being used by the enemy to send themselves and as many as they can to the path of destruction. So, while we can talk with them and hope for the best of them, we still have to keep them at arm’s length. Why? Because they carry with them baggage you do not want in your circles. Still be gentle, still be kind, still be acquaintances, but they are still an enemy in their sin.

When dealing with someone in the church, one of the commands often made in church discipline (which sometimes needs to be enacted immediately, but often it a later step in church discipline) is to cut off fellowship. That doesn’t mean you never talk with them, but you can’t go about business as though there is nothing going on. Paul is not being mean here; he has a purpose for it. It’s so they learn not to blaspheme the name of God. The end goal is restoration. Paul told the Thessalonian church that the purpose of loving them is to that they may be holy. We don’t love for love’s sake; we love for God’s sake, so that the person may be made holy in the sight of God. That means dealing with sin. The idea is when the discipline has done its work, then you can restore that person, hopefully with a much stronger relationship than before. However, any such relationship should never be restored without clear indications of repentance. Otherwise, we invite an Absalom into the church.

David invited Absalom back into Jerusalem after the murder of Amnon, but there was no repentance. As a result, David was caught off guard when Absalom through a coup that nearly succeeded. David longed for Absalom to be restored. He had dreams of him being saved. He hoped for the best, but he failed to face the current reality that his son was a lost man with a severe anger problem. As long as Absalom was unrepentant and refused to do things God’s way, the only safe place for him was to be kept away from everyone else. Despite this, David never treated Absalom as an enemy. Paul even tells the Thessalonian church that when we discipline and need to force people out for a season, we are not to have fellowship with them during that season of discipline, but we are not to treat them as an enemy either. This advice should only apply to dealing with believers in the church. It does not apply to those outside the church whose goal is to undermine us.

If we have the mindset of “What if they got saved?” then our engagement will be about the Gospel and how God can save them. This applies to those in the church as well. Even though the born-again believer is indeed born again, there is always something more specific that we need saving from. We still need to be saved. What if we got saved from our lying, our cheating, our unjustified anger, our envy, our pride, our addictions to drugs, drinking, porn, or anything else? We believers still need to be saved.

I had a few other thoughts I wanted to address on this series, but as I wrote this up, I felt that the series was done. I really hope you enjoyed this five-month journey with me through 2 Timothy 2 and in the context of apologetics. Next week’s post will be on Christmas Eve and I’ll write about why Jesus came.

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Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, December 16, 2021 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Editor’s note: Due to the upcoming Christmas holiday, we’re re-posting this blog post today for your enjoyment.

As we approach the day that Christians (and many non-Christians) celebrate called Christmas, I wanted to clear some things up as to the origins of many of the traditions we hold so dear when we honor the birth of the Savior of mankind. Some have said that Christians should not celebrate this day because it's actually pagan in its origins, as are many of the traditions associated with it. Some have left churches or been estranged from family or friends because of this misunderstanding. I'd like to look at a few of these traditions and where they come from.

I, too, had been told and even accepted the fact that many of the things we do for Christmas had pagan beginnings, but I brushed it off as something Christians took from their pagan cultures and made their own. I was wrong. But in reality, I don't feel that these traditions, even if they did have pagan origins, would be an insult to our Lord. His grace is sufficient and, as Paul tells us, much of these things are meaningless anyway. We are not celebrating pagan things here. We're celebrating Christ Jesus! And keep in mind that God has filled the Old Testament with celebrations that are to honor the Lord and bring glory to His Name. Those listed in Leviticus 22 are Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Now, Colossians 2:16 tells us that we are under no obligation to observe these days or times, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to know what each of them was about. But the point of me bringing this up is to demonstrate the fact that God clearly feels remembering great events is important.

That's why, for me anyway, Christmas (in my estimation the second greatest event in all of history behind the Resurrection) is an obvious time to celebrate what God has done! It's been tarnished for many by the commercialization and other unimportant things that people have added onto it, but it's still one of the greatest events the world has ever known. And I wouldn't think that we would be honoring God by throwing out this celebration simply to not participate in the nonsense that others have applied to it. Just don't participate in the nonsense. It began and continued for centuries as a celebration pointing us to Christ. Let's look at a few traditions and where they come from. There is no question that Christmas has its origins in the Church.

Firstly, I'll just say that Christmas has many traditions that actually predate the pagan equivalent in many instances, so this would make it impossible to have its origins in paganism. The word Christmas comes from Christ and mass. This is not a reference to a Roman Catholic meeting. The word “mass” is from Latin and means to be sent on a mission. So Christ-mass was when God sent Christ to the earth to fulfill His mission, becoming a human and dying and Resurrecting as our Savior.

Christmas was celebrated as early as AD 202 (possibly earlier) and we know this from the writings of Hippolytus of Rome. He stated that Christ was born shortly before January and that He was resurrected shortly before April. Tertullian also confirmed this. This goes along with the Jewish tradition called the integral age that a prophet was conceived on the same day he died. This tradition is not Biblical, but it give us an important look at where the dates for Christmas and the Resurrection come from. This states that Christ died on March 25th (the early Church determined this) and would be the same day He was conceived, exactly 9 months before December 25th. This is why we celebrate on December 25th. There is controversy as to whether this Jewish tradition was real. I can't say as I'm not an ancient Jew. But it makes sense as to the timing/dates of the events in question. Was this the actual date Jesus was born? Most likely not, but that's not actually the point at all. We're celebrating the birth of Christ, whether we know exactly what day that was or not. We celebrate the Resurrection every Sunday! It's okay.

The issue some have erroneously placed on the date we celebrate is that the Romans, too, have a holiday honoring the sun god on December 25th. That seems like a slam dunk, right? Obviously the Christians stole this date so they could make the celebration easier for the Romans to accept. Wrong! This Roman holiday is called Sol Invictus. It was first made a holiday by Aurelian in 274 AD. That's at least 72 years after Christmas was first recorded as a Christian holiday. This not only means that December 25th was not taken from the pagan Sol Invictus holiday but, in fact, the Roman holiday was created at least 70 years after December 25th was chosen as Christ's birthday to hijack the Christian observance of the birth of Jesus.

What about Christmas trees? Those things must be taken from some ancient pagan ritual or symbol, right? Not even close. The Christmas tree is also not a pagan tradition. In fact, it's a very recent tradition (relatively speaking) and has a very solid connection to the Bible. This may have started as early as the 1400's but possibly not until the 1600's. It's unclear. However, Christmas Eve, December 24th, was the day Adam and Eve acquired sainthood according to some Christian groups. Adam and Eve were honored this way as our first parents. Plays, called mystery plays, were performed of Adam and Eve and their creation, sin, and banishment. The play would end with the promise of the coming incarnation of the Savior to redeem mankind from their sins. A prop in this play was an evergreen laden with apples (the only green tree to be found on December 24th in Germany most likely) which was the common representation for Adam. This tradition originally came from the Germans and became popular after Queen Victoria brought it to England. There are records from the 1600's of decorations being placed on the trees. This tradition is not pagan but stems from a tradition connected to creation and the Bible.

Then there's Santa Claus. Santa Claus is a distortion of the name Sinterklaas, the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas, a real person. He was considered a saint of the Greek church and lived during the 3rd and into the 4th centuries AD. He was known as a very generous person, frequently giving gifts, often in secret. This, as well as remembering the gifts of the “Wise Men” or Magi, is why we celebrate Christ's birth by giving gifts. Saint Nicholas also blessed 3 sisters with money in their stockings while they hung them over the fire to dry. This is where we get the tradition of the Christmas stocking. It's true that there are many things that have been added to this character. Saint Nicholas didn't fly around in a sleigh pulled by magical reindeer. He didn't go down people's chimneys to drop off gifts. To my knowledge, and judging from his pictures, he was not a fat man. He never even visited the North Pole, let alone lived there with little people with pointy ears. I don't believe any of these things has a pagan origin, although I could be wrong. But they're clearly embellishments or just plain made up things that were added over time to make Christmas not be about Christ and more about gift giving or receiving.

Wreaths are another tradition that was not taken from paganism. In Rome, a wreath was a symbol of victory. To Christians in the Roman world, the wreath symbolized Christ—the Victor over sin and death. Christmas lights have an origin with deep Christian roots as well. Trees were once decorated with candles, symbolizing Christ being the light of the world. These candles became strings of lights in the 20th century and there you have it. It’s another Christmas tradition that is clearly all about Jesus and has nothing to do with pagan traditions. Christmas carols are beautiful songs written with such deep and powerful lyrics. Oh Come All Ye Faithful, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, What Child is This, O Holy Night, and so many others are very meaningful, powerful worship songs that we sing every Christmas season to worship and praise God for the glorious gift of His Son. How can God be unhappy with such a thing?

What's troubling here is that many have been duped to believe that Christmas is a pagan holiday and if you search on Google for answers, you'll find that this is the widely publicized view. But the facts don't line up with this idea at all. In fact, it doesn't seem like there are any pagan influences whatsoever to the celebration of Christmas. I didn't find any, anyway.

In the end, the fact is the Bible does not condemn nor does it condone celebrating Christmas—the birth of Christ. So, like many other things not specifically mentioned in the Bible, the choice is yours. If you have issues with celebrating Christmas, that's fine. However, I hope I've made it clear that Christmas has literally no connection to any pagan traditions. If you are not comfortable with it, don't celebrate, but don't alienate yourself from believers who do want to celebrate one of the greatest events in all of history. It's not important enough to build a wall. Merry Christmas!

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Do You Trust a Sovereign God or Not?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, December 15, 2021 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” - George Washington

In the United States of America, we the people have been given a very unique responsibility and place in our government. I believe that the terms set forth in Romans 13 must be defined in order for its citizens to understand what this text is saying for our time and our culture.

Without reading into the text and making it say what one wants it to say, let’s just take a look at two terms from Romans 13 that I believe need to be defined. Those terms are “governing authorities” and “subjects.”

Who are the “governing authorities” in the United States of America? Well, it’s really not difficult to figure out when one takes a look at our founding documents.

The U.S. Constitution’s preamble makes it quite clear:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

That’s right – “We the people.” We The People are the governing authorities.

The next term we need to define is “subjects.” Who are the subjects in our form of government?

When I was a youth, I was taught that being elected to serve the people of this nation was the ultimate act of service for our country. In our form of government, those elected to governmental office are the subjects to the people.

The subjects, the servants = those who work for “We the People.”

Let’s keep this in mind. We the People are ultimately the earthly “governing authorities” in the United States. We the People elect our representatives and even the office of president and our state governors to serve us.

According to Romans 13, God is the one who establishes earthy governing authorities. In our form of government, God has established We the People as the earthly governing authorities in this nation, which is an incredible responsibility. He also establishes those who are subjects.

If the elected officials (including those who are appointed into positions and those who work for them) are the subjects, and they decide to rebel against the governing authorities (We the People), then we see in Romans 13 that they are rebelling against what God Himself has instituted. They will bring judgment onto themselves.

So, I’d like to ask you a question. If Almighty God is sovereign and He is the one who institutes and ordains kings, princes, and in our case We the People as the governing earthly authority, with inalienable rights, do you trust Him that He knew what He was doing when He instituted our nation’s government in the late 1700s with what we find in the U.S. Constitution? That word “inalienable” has a powerful definition.

The definition for the word inalienable is: unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor. So, inalienable rights are rights that are unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor. We the People have been given a great responsibility from Almighty God. Do you realize what God Almighty allowed at the founding of our nation? He ordained that even if someone wanted to take away our God-given rights OR if we would decide to try to shirk our responsibility as human beings and citizens of this nation and try to give our God given rights away, we could not. Why? Because He allowed and ordained inalienable rights!

Inalienable rights, by definition, are unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor. We the People are not being selfish in the least by claiming these rights; we are being responsible by living them out in our very lives. God ordained them.

So, to not live them out or to try to shirk our duty by not taking responsibility in living them out is actually being selfish and goes against what God Himself instituted back at the founding of our nation.

The following is a quote from Clarence Manion:

“Government does not create liberty; on the contrary, government is the one persisting danger of human liberty… This role of government as the enemy of liberty was well understood by the Founding Fathers of the Republic. They wished government to have sufficient power to ‘restrain men from injuring one another.’ But beyond that, they tied it down securely with constitutional limitations, separation of powers, bills of rights, and other legal barriers and barbed wire entanglements.”

This is just one reason why I am so adamant about the importance of The Way Forward Is Back. The way forward in our nation is not giving the state more and more power. The way forward is to get back to living out what this nation was founded upon and allowing We the People to live in our God-given liberty, with limited government. We need to promote individual responsibility so individuals we can choose to decide he or she wants to do with the life so graciously given to them and their family.

“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual… Continue steadfast, and with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, no man ought to take from us.” - Resolution from the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, 1774

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Hebrews 10:1-7

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 13, 2021 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, my God.’’”
-Hebrews 10:1-7

In the previous chapter, the author of Hebrews has been setting up how the blood of Jesus Christ is a sufficient sacrifice for the sins of all of humanity for all time. But considering the emphasis that the Jews put on their ritual sacrifices, and the Jews are the primary audience for this letter, he feels the need to continue to emphasize that point. Jesus Christ is the real thing! Ritual and routine sacrifices are no longer necessary now that Jesus Christ has come and has been the perfect sacrifice that truly brings about forgiveness of sins.

Verse 1 sums up this point well. The law, referring primarily to the Law of Moses but also to the entire Old Testament, is like a shadow, whereas Jesus Himself is the reality. A shadow can tell you about an object vaguely, but not specifically like the real object itself. The law can only vaguely accomplish God’s purposes, whereas Jesus is the real deal.

Those sacrifices required by the law can never make people perfect, just as you can never perfectly tell all of the details of an object just by its shadow. You can make ritual sacrifices year after year, as the people of Israel did, but those will never truly make people perfect in the moral and spiritual sense of being without sin.

The author uses a rhetorical question in verse 2: If those ritual sacrifices would make people perfect, why are they still being offered? They would no longer be needed if they did help people achieve perfection and true forgiveness of their sins. If killing animals as sacrifices truly worked as a perfect sacrifice, that action would not need to be repeated because everyone would have been truly cleansed of their sins.

Instead, God commanded that those sacrifices continue to be offered every year to remind the people of their sins (verse 3). When we remember our sins, we also remember our need for a Savior. In the case of the Jews who lived before Jesus’ time, that remembrance would keep them looking forward to the Savior who was promised to come.

In our case, looking back to Jesus’ sacrifice, the remembrance of our sins reminds us of why Jesus had to come and die. But we no longer need to sacrifice animals every year, which is why we have other annual celebrations instead, such as Christmas to remember Jesus’ birth, Good Friday to remember Jesus’ death, and Easter to remember His resurrection. Good Friday especially points us to remember our sins as the reason why Jesus had to be put to death for our sake.

Again in verse 4, the author emphasizes that these yearly sacrifices and rituals are not satisfactory to take away sins. He uses a strong word in Greek that’s translated as “impossible” to provide extra emphasis for this point. The Greek word used for “take away” refers to the complete removal of sin. The ritual animal sacrifices clearly could not provide true forgiveness.

As the author of Hebrews often does, he quotes Old Testament Scripture in verses 5-7. In this case, he quotes Psalm 40:6-8. Because the old sacrificial system was not sufficient, a new solution had to come, and that solution was Jesus Christ coming into the world. He perfectly fulfilled the prophecies in this passage of Scripture. Jesus existed as God before He came to earth in a physical body (see John 1:1-14 and Colossians 1:15-20), but He did have a body that was prepared for Him. God did not desire ritual sacrifices and offerings but instead prepared Jesus Christ to be that perfect body. Jesus came to do God’s will on earth.

Verse 7 seems to refer to what is recorded about Jesus in Luke 4:16-21. Jesus went into the temple, read from the scroll containing the words of the prophet Isaiah, and proclaimed that He is the one to fulfill those prophecies. Jesus came to do the Father’s will. Even if He did not like what was going to happen to Him and the brutal and violent way that He was going to die, He still followed the Father’s will (see Matthew 26:36-46) because that is why He came.

While the intended original audience of this passage was the Jewish people who had been living with the ritual sacrificial system for their whole lives, this passage is important for us today as well. We often place great importance on things that are not truly important in God’s eyes. While we don’t kill animals during our worship services, we do have other rituals that we feel are required in order to worship God. But we need to remember that the only reason we even have worship services is because Jesus Christ came to the earth to be the perfect sacrifice for us once and for all, to accomplish the will of the Father. Nothing else will save us, and nothing else really matters!

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Apologetics 19: When They Don’t Listen

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 10, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I looked at the preceding verses that introduce 2 Timothy 2:24-26. This week, we will look at the verses immediately following this passage:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
~2 Timothy 3:1-5

The servant of the Lord must not quarrel and must be patient, gentle, and able to teach, so that those who oppose us may be granted repentance, that they may know the truth, come to their senses, and so they may be freed from the devil and his control of them. However, we must do so knowing that in our time, the days will grow more and more evil. Men will do all sorts of wickedness. But take notice in verse 5 that Paul really isn’t referring to the heathen. He’s referring to those in the church. These men will proclaim and boast a form of godliness, but they are going to deny the genuine. They will boast a counterfeit faith that makes them look good, but it won’t come at the cost of their sinful lifestyles.

Paul is warning Timothy that many of those whom he will try to preach to are going to oppose him and not listen. These people are not just sinful people who do their own pet sins, but they have a particular means of deception described in verses 6-9. They go through the churches and look for women, usually widows or single mothers, and use the command towards hospitality to take advantage of them. They come in as a good person who can help these women and then use the problems they face as blackmail and guilt trips, seducing them into their control and blaming them for their previous problems, all the while tricking them into thinking they are the solution to them. They are narcissists, and it would not be unjust to call such people sociopaths. Their agenda is to get power and to corrupt the church.

John warned Gaius of such a man: Diotrephes. Much of this I am getting from John MacArthur’s sermon on this text in 3 John. Diotrephes was a church leader, but he did not get there by genuine spirituality. He was someone who had an agenda and sought both power and pre-eminence. He didn’t need the head-pastorate position because then the spotlight would be on him. But he had a position of influence where he could direct all the affairs of the church, ultimately kick out any potential threat (those who spoke the truth), and prevent anyone who could bring truth from coming in. These are the kinds of people who proclaim a form of godliness, but they have an agenda; that agenda is self and self’s glorification.

These are the kinds of people who do not tolerate sound doctrine. Paul continues to warn about them later in 2 Timothy 4:3-4. These people will sound educated, but they will not hear truth, especially sin-piercing truth. But they will always be seeking truth, or rather knowledge. One of the key features of the Gnostics, whom Paul and the other Apostles faced in the early church, is the cult’s namesake: “Gnosis” or knowledge. These people search and seek knowledge but not truth. Paul dealt with these people directly in Athens when he went to preach on Mars Hill. The philosophers of his time loved to talk about all the newest theories, which is why Paul intrigued them. They thought he was crazy and brought him in for entertainment purposes, but weren’t exactly expecting what they got. They want to learn. They want knowledge. But they don’t want truth. I can’t think of a greater moment of this on display than with Bill Nye in his debate with Ken Ham in 2014. Nye mocked Creationists for stopping research when they found their answer and said we have to be always on the look for new answers. That is 2 Timothy 3:7 in a nutshell. If we found the answer, why should we keep looking? Solve that problem and move on to the next one.

In all their attempts to find knowledge and in all their attempts to silence the truth, they will fail. We don’t just serve a saving and merciful God; we serve a sovereign God who controls all circumstances. As the sinful heart is in such rebellion against God, we have to remember that we cannot pierce it. Only God can. There is no heart too strong for God to pierce. Just ask Paul himself. He was the worst of them all. He was the least savable person, yet God chose him and made him the best example of a Christian for all of us (besides Christ Himself). Remember that repentance is not merely a work we can do (not saving work, but action), not only is it a fruit of God’s work in our lives, but it is first and foremost a gift. So, it is not our job to convert the person. We can only operate with the standard forms of persuasion: logic, ethics, or pathology. But this can at best only reason someone into the faith. Anyone who is reasoned into the faith can be reasoned out. That’s one thing that I am shying away from in Christian apologetics in general – an over-reliance on logic and reasoning. We need them; don’t misread me on this. But logic etc. won’t save anyone. It takes the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to do that. Our job is simply to preach the Word as given and let God take care of the results.

Jesus knows rejection better than any of us. He had 20,000+ people see His previous miracles and had just witnessed Him doing the feeding of the 5000, so Jesus took them to task and challenged their motives. When they began to get offended, Jesus didn’t back up and soften His tone. He only upped it even harder. They all left Him, and Jesus turned back to His disciples to see if they wanted to go, too. But Jesus said all this not with nonchalant apathy. Rather He likely said it with tears. He knew the crowds were uncommitted; He knew they just wanted the show and the free food. He knew they weren’t willing to give up what was needed to follow Him. And it grieved Him. But He did not let that grief stop Him nor let it get in the way of His message. Instead, He relied on the fact that the ones who would be saved were those His Father had chosen and let the rest walk away. When people don’t want to listen to us, we want to make sure they leave knowing what it is they are rejecting, but we don’t need them wasting our time either. At the same time, what if that person were to be saved? Would that not change our mindset? I’ll address that next week.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.