Most Christians are Illogical & Irrational

Most Christians are Illogical & Irrational
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Yup, that is another provocative title. Why would I make such a statement? What do I mean by this? Well first I make this statement because people in our western society have forgotten (or never knew) how to think logically. Do you realize basic logic is taught very briefly in today’s schools? Some schools don’t even teach it anymore. Because of this Christians have no idea how to think about what they believe in a systematized way. People can now accept two competing arguments as true. For example I know of several “Christians” who will tell you the Word of God is inerrant (no errors) but will say that abortion and homosexuality is alright. This is a travesty! How did we get here? The answer is something called Post-Modernism. Most people don’t know what this is and most people aren’t looking for some talking head to explain it to them. So today, albeit briefly, we will explore what it is, why it is bad, and what our response should look like. As the terminator said, “Come with me if you want to live.” Let us embark on a spiritual journey together.

 

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth”
-2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

 

A lot of people will say that they don’t need to know this stuff. Those people are dead wrong. Our scripture says to study to present ourselves to God as one approved by God in order to combat error. So let us do that today.

 

What is Post-Modernism?

We are not looking for just another definition here; we are looking for a working understanding of what post-modernism is about. In order for there to be a “post” there must be something that came before it, which is “Modernism.” Modernism was a prevalent school of thought in the late 19th to early 20th century (some people may disagree with me on this time-frame but I think it is the best time frame seeing as how it was in full swing). Modernism was a time when people looked at the world through the telescope of the scientific method. If it could not be categorized and explained then it did not exist.

Post-modernism is a way of looking at the world without the scientific method and saying that there must be more to this life than what we are able put into the arch of science. So what is wrong with that? Well post-moderns have rejected Christianity as viable. They look to other religions and ways of thinking.

 

What is wrong with Post-Modernism?

Post-modernism has come to the point that the western culture no longer cares about two competing ideas that cannot exist together. No, they have decided that both are right. Why? Because they have adopted the following statement, “All truth is relative.” In other words if it works for you, go for it! The problem with that statement is that it is an absolute truth statement. All truth is relative is an absolute stamen? Yes! It says “all.” Therefore that statement falls apart because it is giving an absolute statement saying that truth is relative. Ridiculous! Folks, there is an absolute right and an absolute wrong.

Today when you talk to people they will agree with you that Jesus is the only way of salvation and then they will agree with the Buddhist who says that Jesus is not the way. So which is right? To the post-modern both are right. Remember they can accept two completely differing world-views under the statement that truth is relative. This is dangerous! This is a warped way of thinking and should be addressed in our churches. The churches need to stand up and do something.

 

What should our Response be?

So what should the churches do? Listen, it is the responsibility of the church to pick up the slack. Teach people how to think for themselves applying logic and reason to the Scripture. (Unfortunately some churches won’t do that, they want to keep the masses oppressed. But that is a topic we aren’t going to explore here.)Without that, what are we doing? We are just spinning our wheels. What can you do personally? You should study in order to understand what you believe and why you believe it. Have a logical and well thought out response when people ask you why you believe. Our faith is not a blind faith. It is built on evidence.  Learn about that evidence. This is called the study of Apologetics. It isn’t hard to read articles and learn about your faith, just start doing it. One great resource is CARM.org.  There are many other resources out there as well. Another great Apologist is Ravi Zacharias, his site RZIM.org. If you want more, e-mail me. The point is that you don’t sit around not doing anything. DO SOMETHING! LEARN!

So what are you going to do today? Will you just sit there and do nothing, or will you do what God has called us to do? Have an answer when people ask you why you believe something, now that you know a little bit of what you are up against. The Choice is yours.

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Too Many Christians are Out-of-Order

Too Many Christians are Out-of-Order
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Today we go around being so busy that we tend to compartmentalize everything. We allot so much time to watch TV, so much time to work, so much time for dinner and so much time for God. Did you ever think that maybe God doesn’t want to be put into some kind of allotment of time? Perhaps God wants more than that from you!

11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
-Deuteronomy 8:11-14 (NKJV)

Today Christians have become guilty of this very thing. We are told to beware in verse eleven to not forget God. It means by not living out what we say we believe. How does this happen? We find that in verses twelve and thirteen we find that this happens because people begin to get blessings and are doing well and they feel as though they don’t need Him. So when that happens, in verse fourteen, people become prideful and forget God, who gave them all that they have.

To put this into perspective, in America we have wonderful churches! They are beautiful and clean with power, water, electricity, and (in most cases) computers with internet access. Now go overseas. Most of the churches in Africa, for example, don’t have all these amenities. They are lucky to have buildings with some kind of water. People walk for miles to come to church. If people in America today had to walk for miles, they just wouldn’t go! What does that say about you and I? Perhaps we need to thank God for what we have and give Him a priority in our lives.

Israel became guilty of this time and again. You know what happened? God allowed hardships to come upon them so that they would recognize Him. Do you think that this could not happen in our country today? In our state? In our personal lives? Yes, while God won’t purposely send evil to you, He may just remove His hand of protection to get your attention. If you get rid of God’s hand you can find yourself in a world of hurt!

Now let us turn our attention to something Jesus said.

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’
– Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

We tend to not only forget God when we are doing well, but we forget that everything we have came from Him and it is temporal, meaning He can allow it to be taken away it is not permanent. We should be like the Apostle Paul. He stated that he had learned in all things to be content. We need to remember that the most important thing in our lives today is not what we have. It is not even what we have in our churches! It is what we have in our Bibles. God’s Word is the only thing that brings true and truly satisfying life to our lives. We must remember to keep Him first, and in so doing we will stop things from being out of order in our lives. What is the proper order for life? (1) Our Personal relationship with God is first. (2) Our relationship to our families is second. (3) Our relationship to our daily work is last. This includes “your ministry.” If you keep this in mind you will find God’s blessing in your life.

How about you today? Have you forgotten God? I can hear it now! People yelling at me, “NO!” Really? Remember that actions speak louder than words! What do your actions say? Perhaps you have forgotten where all good things come from? Perhaps because of your attitudes today your life is out of order. If this is the case then you need to repent! If this is you, ask God for forgiveness today. The choice is yours.

Christians Today Tend to be Inconsistent in Their Lives

Christians Today Tend to be Inconsistent in Their Lives
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

You know Christians today are too busy with things that don’t matter. They are too busy in-fighting and living out of selfishness to worry about how to live. Today Peter addresses Christian behavior with the world that they are sojourning on their way to heaven.

 

(13) Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, (14) or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. (15) For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—( 16) as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. (17) Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
-1 Peter 2:13-17

 

In verses thirteen and fourteen, depending on your translation, it starts by saying “therefore.” Therefore means that we need to keep in mind what we just read. Peter is saying because you are not a permanent resident of this world, therefore do the following.

Peter tells us to submit to the worldly authorities; those that have authority within the land we sojourn. We should obey every law of the land so long as it does not directly go against scripture. Peter says that we should do this for “the Lord’s sake.” We need to remember that in all we do, we do it for Jesus Christ, not for any other reason (c.f. 1 Corinthians 10:31). This would have been a hard pill to swallow for these people reading this letter in the first century. They were being persecuted by the government, but Peter calls them to a higher level; he tells them to submit. Why?  Because it is in times of persecution and hardship in Christian’s lives that their faith is truly shown to others. It is during these times that Christians give their strongest witness for Christ or their strongest statement of hypocrisy. So it is up to Christians to decide, by every action they take during these times, as to how they will represent Christ. Peter admonishes them to chose Christ and come under the authority of the leaders of the land.

At the end of verse fourteen it states that governments have a divine right to punish evildoers and honor those who are good. Which governments do to the honor of God, unless they are evil and corrupt themselves. In that case they need to honor what is not in direct contrast to God’s Word.

In verse fifteen, it says that this is the will of God so that when Christians do good things it will silence the ignorant and foolish. The word silence has with it the idea of a muzzle! You literally muzzle people’s bad mouthing of you and Christianity, if as Christians you do good things. When Peter talks about these people being foolish he is referring to their mental state of laziness. Rather than try to find out what Christianity is really (supposed to be) about, they just bad mouth it because they could care less about trying to understand something. Christians are not immune to being lazy minded either. There are a lot of people professing to be Christians who do the same thing. So this thought of people being foolish is also used in Ephesians 5:17 to describe believers. As Christians we should study to show ourselves approved to God to rightly understand His Word (2 Timothy 2:15).

Peter says in verse sixteen that we need to act as free individuals. We should not use this freedom to promote sin and vice but liberty in the Spirit of Christ. There are a lot of people out there that use this freedom as a justification for sin, Peter tells us here that this is wrong and we should not practice sin and evil. We are supposed to be servants of Christ, living sacrificially and helping others come to a saving relationship with Jesus. Far too often though Christians will use this freedom to give a perception of self-righteousness and this turns people away from a relationship with Jesus. We need to be mindful of this and do our best, in prayer, to not be a reproach to the cause of Christ.

Now Peter brings this line of thinking to a close in verse seventeen with a series of four commands that he gives us. (1) Honor everyone, (2) Love other believers, (3) Fear God, and (4) Honor the government.

The first command was to honor everyone. In the context of the scripture Peter is saying that we must remember that all people are created in God’s image. Because all people are made in God’s image we need to live in such a way that will attract non-believers to Jesus Christ that they may become believers.

The second command is to Love other believers. In-fighting amongst believers is not only shameful, but despicable and gives Christianity a black eye. This should not be happening in Christianity. Peter is trying to bring back to our remembrance that love is what defines us as Christians. You have probably heard it said that God is love. How awful it is for Christians to not even show the nature that they claim to have inside them.  Only through dealing with people out of love for others will people come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

The Third command is to fear God. This is not talking about a fearfulness that you are completely terrified of God, but it is talking about showing God reverence. If we are showing God reverence and respect then this command becomes the glue that holds the other three together.

The fourth and final command is honor the government. Remember that the government has great power and we must obey the laws of the land of which we are sojourning on our way to heaven. We must remember to not violate the law of the land unless they are in direct contrast to the Word of God.

Remember that this passage of scripture is all about how we should live, especially while we are being persecuted. Why? Because these are the times that show who Christ really is and what He is about. If we can remember the four commands above then we can win the world to Christ and bring unity to Christians in spreading the Gospel to a world that needs Jesus.

How about you today? How is your interaction with the world around you? Are you honoring Christ in Your actions? If not, you need to ask God for forgiveness and start acting properly in your witness for Christ. The Choice is yours.

Why is There Evil?

Why is There Evil?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

This is an interesting topic that comes up time and again, so let us ponder it today. Evil is something that most people haven’t really defined. Oh we will say something is evil and have an example of evil, but to truly define it? No we really don’t try to define evil in the general sense, much less the Biblical sense.

After consulting a few Biblical Dictionaries (Naves, NBD, Harper’s etc.) I would like to put forth a simple and succinct definition, which is as follows.

Evil is simply rebellion against God and His authority.

You see the Hebrew word that we get evil from has a root meaning of “to spoil.” Which means that evil is something good that has spoiled. The Bible speaks of two kinds of evil, moral and natural. The one precedes the other. Moral evil first came into being when Adam entered into the world and sinned, so because of sin entering into the world the whole of creation is now marred by sin. Romans 3:23 tells that all of us have sinned and fall short of God’s standard which is perfection, this why He made a way through Jesus Christ to come to Him to begin the process of repair. We must remember that the cross of Christ is not the end, but the beginning, this world, and our bodies, are still marred by sin. Our hope, however, is in the resurrection that is promised to come later. So without spending too much time here let us continue on our topic.

Without Adam breaking the moral law we would never know evil and have no concept of it whatsoever. Now it is all around us and we are even born into sin. This is known as original sin, we carry sin in us because of our ancestors’ actions so long ago. The question then becomes, “What is a Christian supposed to do about evil? What is our response?”

Well first we find that the Bible addresses evil a great deal. The Bible says to not do anything that would cause another person to stumble. It says to not repay good with evil, not to repay evil with evil, and says to stay away from evil. This is a tall order! But indeed how do we do this? The answer is simple, LOVE. LOVE! Yes LOVE. It sounds so simple, but often times it is so hard to accomplish. Do You know what the dirty little secret is? IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU TO DO!

I know, I made another inflammatory statement! But follow me here. It is impossible for anyone to truly love someone because they are sinful. This makes for an interesting circle of events doesn’t it? You can’t stop evil without love and you can’t love because of evil! So what do you do? Nothing! God has already done it for you! Yes He has! How?

You see there are three different words we translate into love in the English language. (1) The first is eros. This is a fleshly sensual kind of love. I love you because of how you make me feel. Enough said on this one… (2) The second is Philos. This is a kind of brotherly love. One that says I love you because you love me. (3) The third, and highest, is AGAPE. This kind of love is unconditional. I love you regardless of what you say, do, or think of me. I love you period. Many a paper/book has been written about love, but I think we now understand the basics, so let us move forward.

God says He loves AGAPE. As roman 5:8 tells us, while we were still far from Him, He loved us enough to put a stop to the cycle of evil (rebellion) in our lives. He came down and took your punishment on the cross, a punishment that you and I dissevered, in order to stop the cycle of evil for all time. He then rose on the third day to show us that there is hope and only by surrendering our lives to Christ and trusting Him for our salvation can we truly be made right with God.

Only because of what God did can evil be broken. So only by coming to Him can we stop the cycle of evil in our lives. The question is why do you still dole out evil to others in your life? You say to me, “I Don’t!” Really? You truly have not done this since you came to Christ? I think you better ask God to show you an instance in which you have doled out evil, and trust me He will. You want to stop evil in the world, first stop it in your actions. Then one by one, Christian by Christian, not only will our churches start to fill up again we will see the world improve as well. Until you start asking God to help you stop the evil in your life and start drawing near to Him, then you won’t see the results of evil diminish in your life. The choice is yours. Will you truly draw near to God on a daily basis or will you just go on doing your own thing?