The journey of a nerd who loves the Lord

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Do You Worship A Different Jesus?


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?


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!


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.


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!!

Following Jesus, Literally


In today’s day and age, it seems so much grabs at our attention.  Television, news, commercials, etc.  I see the challenges in myself.  Jesus commanded us to not concern ourselves with the future.  Yet, I do so often.  Whether I worry about my finances, or read reviews to figure out what the next, exciting game I will purchase, I break Jesus’ commands, found in the Sermon on the Mount, in multiple ways. (more…)

What Do I Write About Next?


For a few years, I have written somewhat regularly to this blog.  Here you can find my thoughts on theology, creative writing exercises and so much more.  I have always told others that I do this for myself.  I rarely check the stats on the site.  If someone benefits from what I do here, I count that as an unexpected blessing.

Yet, as I push ahead here, in the middle of the whirlwind that is my full time career, I wonder if I could better focus my efforts.  Along those lines, I find myself curious as to what y’all, who frequent my blog, think?   Below is a poll.  Please share your thoughts, and feel free to leave comments, as well.  I really do appreciate any time you can spare to do so.  Thank you and God bless!

Think Outside Your Box


When we, as a country, voted Obama into his first term in office, a number of my conservative friends went through some negative emotions.  One withdrew into silence while another expressed anger and frustration to me for days.  With Trump going into office, my more liberal friends are running through those same emotions, but so much more so.  While I can come up with a number of reasons for this, my mind wonders into another territory as I think through the issues of our time, rather than about the candidates themselves.

boxWithin his first week in office, Trump made huge waves with a number of landmark decisions impacting immigrants, and support for international organization supporting women’s health (specifically, abortion).  While I find my friends reaction interesting, I find their reaction to my reactions even more so.  For example, I disagree with Trump’s desire to build a physical wall along the border.  While I agree that we, as a country, must take steps to curtail illegal immigration, we simply cannot afford to build a massively huge wall to address the concern.  Other options, such as stricter enforcement of proper higher processes may help (higher wages attracts those from other countries).

When  I bring this up, however, I find myself attacked from those who do not support Trump.  Why?  Because without hesitation, they label me a ‘conservative’ or ‘religious nut.’  Therefore, I have nothing intelligent to contribute to the conversation.  Ironically, I have found myself on the receiving end of conservatives accusing me of liberalism.  I have found, even within my own family, that once people have slapped a placed me in such a box, it can be extremely difficult to get them to listen…even if I agree with them on a particular issue.

And, I believe that this happens because people, themselves, fall into these two boxes, and do not think outside of them very often.  More importantly, they do not think through each issue that faces us today.  Perhaps they do so because they have limited time to think on such matters.  Or, for some, they may struggle with the complexity of some of the issues.  After all, throwing your hat into the ring with a group proves easier than thinking through a myriad of challenges.

constructiveconThat’s a shame, really.  Liberals often presume that, as a religious conservative, I go to (or went to) a church where I simply accepted everything taught… walking out a brain washed, conservative nut.  Ironically, I find that many non-church going people, both liberal and conservative, have basically handed over their free will and critical thinking skills to the media.  I cannot tell you how many times I have challenged my friends and peers on subjects to find that they have not given serious, personal thought to the matters.  They know what they believe, but they do not know WHY they really believe it…outside of an emotional reaction.  They have put very little serious contemplation into the matters.

And, that should really give us cause for concern.  Because, when we vote for our public officials, we speak to the issues of our day.  And many of them impact lives directly, such as the topic of abortion.  Our forefathers worked hard….some even giving up their lives, so we could have the right to free speech and vote.  Perhaps we should honor their sacrifice and get our head in the game.

Logical Ramblings

Unfortunately, my paying job continues to plague me with additional responsibilities sucking up massive swaths of my time.  This, of course, makes it hard to get a lot of creative, personal accomplishments knocked out…like blogging!  Nevertheless, I wanted to take a few moments today to share a few questions and thoughts dancing around in my noggin.   (more…)

Jim Carrey is Wrong

Today, the above video popped into my Facebook timestream, with responses such as “So true!” and “He absolutely NAILS life!” replies.  They are hardly the only ones.  The original video has garnered over 10 million views on YouTube, with 46,000 likes and less than 700 dislikes. However, I disagree with those who applaud this one minute slice.  Below is my (lengthy/edited) response. (more…)