The journey of a nerd who loves the Lord

Salutations.

I love to listen to James White.  For those who do not know, James White studies and teaches Christian theology and Calvinism.  For the most part, James supports orthodox Christianity.  While I do not agree with him on numerous points, I enjoy how carefully he works his arguments, and respect how he approaches others in a loving, Christ Like manner.  He has a podcast/show called “The Dividing Line,”  where he dives deep into a multitude of theologies, carefully calling out those public figures (and Christian speakers) whom he does not agree with, utilizing carefully worded arguments. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

 

Generally, I really enjoy playing and discussing older and retro-style games.  In fact, I plan to write more than a few articles about them over this year.  However, as you may have read in my 2018 resolution’s list, one new game definitely has my full attention, Monster Hunter World.

The Monster Hunter series sells like hotcakes in Japan, with 40 million sold, worldwide, over the years.  Essentially, Monster Hunter is their version of Call of Duty, with a new iteration coming out nearly every year.  However, most western gamers, myself included, found it unapproachable in the past.  What makes Monster Hunter World worthy of my attention?  Let me give you five answers.

Read the rest of this entry »

2018 Resolutions

Heeeeyyy…it’s that time of year again!  I truly believe in goal setting.  “My people parish for lack of a vision.”  If you do not plan, do not be surprised you got nowhere!  With that in mind, here are MY goals for 2018!  Remind me to actually blog how far I got with these goals at the end of the year.   Let’s do this. Read the rest of this entry »

My Top Games of 2017

Everyone is doing top 10 gaming lists.  Why shouldn’t I?   However, I tend to be lazier than most when it comes to this kind of stuff, so here’s my top six games of 2017!  And, before you ask, Yes, I included older games on this list.  I’m mostly a retrogamer, after all.  Rest assured, I played these games this year, even if they come from the way back when.

Read the rest of this entry »

Unchurched

Salutations!

I decided to try something new, heading into 2018.

Those who know me know that while I have been a member of Christ’s Church for decades, I have not attended a church in some time.  The reasons are many, deep, and the subject of another long post or three down the road.  Suffice to say, I count myself as one of the ‘unchurched,’ which I define as those who do not attend traditional, institutional weekly gatherings.

churchTo clarify, I do believe that Christians should gather with other Christians.  Clearly, Christians did so back in Biblical times, setting a pattern we should follow today.  However, I tend to disagree with some who believe that the New Testament laid out exact rules on how those gatherings should look and operate.  I also do feel that the institutional and traditional trappings have replaced much of the authentic fellowship experience God intended to have for us.  I do agree with most brothers that if you have a Christian who never wishes to fellowship with other believers, you have a concern on your hands.

With that said, many believers have left the traditional, institutional ‘church’ for a myriad of reasons.  Unfortunately, many do not find other ways to partner up regularly with other believers.  They become isolated, and alone.  This brings up many, many concerns.  And, my heart goes out to those who feel disconnected.

Discord picSo, yesterday, I created a website/blog called Unchurched where authors and editors can share wisdom, encouragement and love for these sheep.  I set up a Discord server where we can chat via text and voice.  Feel free to drop by either one!  I would love to talk with you, even if you attend a traditional church.  🙂

For me, it means I will likely double some of my theological posts on both blogs, while keeping some posts to one or the other. If you want to catch all of my posts, make sure to follow both blogs, or just subscribe to my Twitter feed for the latest.  If I feel that Unchurched does not have much of an audience, I will pull the blog in a year, and consolidate all of my postings here.

Even if you do not join us on the blog, or in Discord, please keep these Christians in mind and in your prayers.

 

Salutations!

warnThe other night, I read a critique of a ministry from the point of view of a Calvinist.   He did not approve of this ministry, as the teacher held quite a different standpoint on many theological items from most mainstream Christian denominations.  At one point, the author asked whether we could even consider this man a brother, because, after all, if his theology separated from orthodox views so significantly, then he may only worship Jesus in name, but not in truth.  The author then pointed to other religions that Christians often consider heretical, even though they worship ‘God’ or ‘Jesus,’ such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or the Jehovah Witnesses.  They agree that these faiths are false voices that lead sheep astray, rather than to a saving faith in Jesus Christ because their theology differs so greatly from orthodoxy, despite confession of Jesus name in their teachings.

I have had the same argument used against me.  In speaking with a Presbyterian pastor some time ago, I mentioned that I did not attend a local church.  I gave him a surface level overview of the many, deep reasons why I struggled to do so.  From the point forward, he made a point to make it clear that he could not consider me a brother.  His reasoning went that Jesus clearly said in the Bible that Christians must attend an institutional, traditional church.  And, if a person said they followed Christ, yet did not follow this clear teaching, then they were not following the true Jesus.  They are following a Jesus of their own imagination.  Such a ‘faith’ as it were, is completely misplaced, and would not lead to salvation.

bible3I have heard these arguments used numerous times, often by Reformationists when they talk about those people who do not believe in Calvanistic doctrine.  It is also utilized by numerous pastors who want to ensure that you attend their denomination, and not others.   Finally, I have heard it said by closer brothers when I ask them this simple question.  “Can a person with faith in Jesus, yet does not believe in the idea of a Trinity, be saved?”  (Spoiler: most say “no, they worship a different Jesus.”)  I have heard this “different Jesus” argument used so many times to proclaim that people are not saved, and/or as a reason to divide us into tons of denominations.  Not surprisingly, I have a problem with this view.

I have often  shared my belief that Jesus does not give theology tests before allowing people into heaven.  The Bible makes it clear that one must only be born again, and that comes from placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Salvation is not based on good works, perfect theology, or anything in between.  The thief who died on the cross did not know the first thing about the holy trinity, Calvinistic theology, or even the Lord’s prayer in all likelihood.  Yet, Jesus accepted him because he had faith in Christ.  Paul talks about faith being the key metric in determining whether an action is even considered a sin, when he discusses how some brothers celebrate certain holy days, or claim some food as unclean.

breadAs you may guess, I refute this line of argument.  In my very humble opinion, the main challenge with some religions is not that they teach faith in a ‘different Jesus,’ but, that they teach faith in something other than Jesus despite using his name.  Many, teach faith in their organization or leader over faith in Jesus.  They may use Jesus or God’s name to draw people in.  They may even preach about Jesus or God on occasion.  However, if you study their theology closely, or attend their churches for a prolonged period, you will see a distinct focus on the leader, the organization, and/or the tradition over the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As somewhat of a test, I often ask such followers why they feel God would allow them into heaven.  Their answers often focus on their good works, or accomplishments in their church organization.  Unfortunately, the Bible clearly teaches that faith in self, one’s works, or one’s organization, does not lead to salvation.

And, ultimately, that’s what I care most about when I talk to someone about God.  Have you been born again?  Have you repented of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross?  Often, denominations say that we only need to divide on the critical or core matters of theology.  Clearly, this is the heart of the Christian faith.  Outside of that, I do not know if other matters of theology really fall under that umbrella.  I hope you follow this Jesus with me!

Are You A Good Person?

goodpeepSalutations!

Try an experiment today.  Ask a dozen people the question, “Do you think you are a good person?”  Chances are, 11 of the 12 well answer that question in the affirmative.  As Americans, we have a high view of ourselves.  When asked this question, most of us immediately compare ourselves to people in prison, murderers, thieves, or even those who have hurt us in the past.  In our mind’s eye, we compare and contrasts ourselves with them and think “I AM a good person!”  Unfortunately for us, God does not share that same perspective until we have been born again.  Romans 3.10 points out that there are none who are righteous.

And, if we allow ourselves to think through the topic for a bit, it completely makes sense.  Think about it.  If you break a law, you are guilty of a crime regardless of how much good you did before or after.  If you kill someone in cold blood, you deserve a harsh penalty no matter what.  We understand this with our human, imperfect judicial system.  Yet, somehow, we do not connect the dots when thinking of ourselves standing in front of a perfect, holy judge who know EVERYTHING we have ever thought or done!

judge

If we honestly think we are super awesome, we only need to compare ourselves next to some of God’s standards.  Take the 10 commandments, for example.  Have you ever lied?  Ever stolen?  Ever taken the Lord’s name in vain?  There are three laws right there that just about everyone has broken multiple…even countless times.  If we compare ourselves to Jesus, and some of the criteria He pointed out, we find ourselves in bigger trouble.  Jesus showed us that it was our heart, and not just our actions, which truly defined our standing in God’s eyes.

Mat 5.21 You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to the fire of hell.

When we think through this for only a moment, we quickly realize that the idea that we are ‘good’ people is nothing more than our pride and ego getting in the way of truly evaluating where we stand.  We can clearly see that we stand guilty, and ultimately, condemned.

acts

This appears bleak.  We all deserve judgement from God.  Thankfully, God provides the solution to this profound problem of guilt.  John 3.16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  When we repent of our sins, and put our faith in the finished work of Christ, we become born again, new creations, through Him.  God no longer sees us as guilty people, for the price of our penalty and debts were paid by the redemptive work of His Son on the Cross.  The old is washed away, and we are new creations through Him.  Amen!!