Ted Kluck and Ronnie Martin are the authors of "Finding God in the Dark: Faith, Disappointment, and the Struggle to Believe." They spoke with The Christian Post about their own personal struggles with faith and how they hope the book will impact others.
"I can earn my way to heaven."
"If I don't think about the afterlife, it won't ever reach me."
"A loving God would never send people to hell."
"Almost everyone is going to heaven anyway."
"Heaven and hell are not real places."
"My sin isn't bad enough for me to deserve going to hell."
"All religions lead to God and heaven."
"The only heaven and hell are the pleasant things and the horrible things people experience here right now." "Spending eternity in hell is a myth."
What do these 9 notions have in common, in addition to all being false? Each of them is part of the pavement on the highway to hell. It is a wide road, and many are on it. That by the way is what Jesus said about it. (see Matthew 7:13,14)14 comments
"Going to church weekly is good for you," argues T. M. Luhrmann, a professor of anthropology at Stanford and the author of When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God.
"One of the most striking scientific discoveries about religion in recent years," she says in a recent op-ed published in The New York Times, "is that going to church weekly is good for you. Religious attendance – at least, religiosity – boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life."
Democracy is a good thing, but the persecution of Christians that can result from democracy is not.
On Holy Thursday, the National Geographic Channel aired a three-part series about the rise of Christianity entitled "Jesus: Rise to Power." For those of us who are familiar with the history of the period, it was a mixed bag. After all, how can you tell the story of Christianity's "rise" without once using the word "resurrection"?
Still, one of the talking heads made a point well worth noting: many more Christians have died for the faith during our lifetimes than died for the faith between the first Easter and the AD 313 Edict of Milan, which ended Roman persecution of Christians.
A very sad example of this pattern took place this past week in Egypt. Coptic Christians protesting the killing of four Christians were attacked by a mob as they left a funeral at St. Mark's Cathedral.2 comments
Recently, my son and daughter were having an argument over the appropriate age to carry a cell phone. This was one of those times that I just held back and listened. My son argued that since he had to wait until he was twelve to receive his iPhone then so should she. The response of my nine-year-old daughter Abby was curt but clever. Negotiating she asked, "Daddy, if I get a less expensive phone, could I receive one when I am eleven?" Before I could answer, my son's response was quite revealing. "By the time you receive a cellphone," he said, "there will be something even better and less expensive than an iPhone." He went on to describe an elaborate array of new features to be anticipated on future models limited only by his creative imagination.
My son revealed a belief that has been common to our culture for the last century – a belief in progress. Like so many Americans, he has come to assume that progress, especially with regard to technological advancements, will always be forthcoming. Take a minute to remember the earliest electronic device that you can recall from your childhood. I can remember my fascination with the VHS machine which revolutionized the way we watch movies.
The city of Boston is like a family in a way, and this family has just been through the ringer. They welcomed a couple of guys into their fold who in turn decided to stab their fellow Bostonians in the back. Dzhokhar and Tamerlan betrayed the very community that had opened their arms to receive them. It seems unbelievable that this could happen, and yet it did.
Likewise, Jesus welcomed Judas into the ranks of His disciples. To repay Him for this kindness, Judas decided to hand Jesus over to death in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. Betrayal beyond belief, like the bomber brothers who brought death, injuries and pain to many innocent people. Judas couldn't care less for the close-knit group of disciples he had entered, or the Savior who had loved him. Judas was only out for himself.
The bomber brothers chose to be consumed with evil. When a person makes that choice, there is no telling how far he will be willing to go to fulfill the raging desires of his heart. Evil leads man to hate God and to hate others. It unleashes its fury in unpredictable ways. And innocent people tend to be the victims of this dangerous fury.
LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Evangelist Greg Laurie filled in for Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren during worship services over the weekend and is the first of a string of well-known Christian leaders scheduled to speak from the pulpit while Warren continues to grieve his son's passing. The list of pastors planned includes Francis Chan, Mark Driscoll, Pete Wilson, David Platt, Craig Groeschel, Wilfredo De Jesús, and Doug Fields.
During the sermon series featuring the pastors, they are scheduled to answer the question, "What Does it Mean to Follow Jesus?" Chan, an author and popular speaker at Christian conferences, is planned for next weekend at Saddleback.17 comments
It is hard to overstate the importance of functional awe of God to your ministry. Awe of God is one thing that will keep a church from running off its rails and being diverted by the many agendas that can sidetrack any congregation.
Awe of God puts theology in its place. Theology is vitally important, but our awe of theology is dangerous if it doesn't produce practical awe of God. Awe of God puts the ministry strategies of the church in their proper place. We don't put our trust in strategies, but in the God of awesome glory who is the head of the church. Awe of God puts ministry gifts and experience in their proper place. I cannot grow arrogant and smug about my gifts, because unless those gifts are empowered by the glorious grace of the God I serve, they have no power to rescue or change anyone. Awe of God puts our music and liturgy in its proper place. Yes, we should want to lead people in worship that is both biblical and engaging, but we have no power to really engage the heart without the awesome presence of the Holy Spirit who propels and applies all we seek to do. Awe of God puts our buildings and property in their proper place. How a building is constructed, maintained, and used is very important, but buildings have never called or justified anyone – only a God of awesome sovereign grace can do so. Awe of God puts our history and traditions in their proper place. Yes, we should be thankful for the ways God has worked in our past, and we should seek to retain the things that are a proper expression of what he says is important. But we don't rest in our history – only in the God of glory who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The American society and public policy need to be much more authoritative about communicating the norm because certain behaviors and lifestyles are undesirable, one of the nation's leading experts on poverty and welfare said, adding that out-of-wedlock births needs to be "stigmatized."
David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values and the host for a discussion on "Is the Marriage Gap Driving American Inequality?" at the Center for Public Conversation in New York City on Thursday evening, showed a public-funded poster saying if you finish high school education, get a job and marry before having children, you have a 98 percent chance of not being in poverty.
Do you realize just how dramatically your lifestyle influences what you believe? It really does, just like your beliefs greatly influence your lifestyle. It is a cycle, and a circle. It keeps going around and around, unless you get off that merry-go-round and get on a new one.
Oswald Chambers described it this way: "The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience."