Archive for March, 2012

My personal statement of faith

March 22, 2012

What I Believe
Section 1 – I affirm my confidence in God’s inerrant preserved Word. I treasure its truths and respect its reproofs. I believe it to be supernaturally inspired, therefore the only complete and final revelation of the will of God.
Section 2 – I express my belief that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons, all equal in divine nature and personality; set forth in Scripture as: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(a) I acknowledge the Creator-God as our heavenly Father, infinitely perfect, and intimately acquainted with all my ways.
(b) I claim Jesus Christ as our Lord – very God who came in human flesh through a virgin’s womb – the object of my worship and the subject of my praise.
(c) I recognize the Holy Spirit as the third member of the Godhead, who indwells and seals me unto the day of redemption.
Section 3 – I believe in the reality and personality of Satan, who is the open and declared enemy of God and man and who is destined to the judgment of eternal justice in the lake of fire.
Section 4 – I accept the Genesis account of creation and believe that God created the universe in six literal days.
Section 5 – I confess that Adam’s fall into sin left humanity without the hope of heaven apart from a new birth, made possible by the Savior’s death, burial and resurrection.
Section 6 – I believe the offer of salvation is God’s love-gift to all. Those who accept it by faith, apart from works, become new creatures in Christ, and that they will persevere, kept by His power, never to be lost again.
Section 7 – I anticipate our Lord’s promised return to rapture His church, which could occur at any moment. I believe that the tribulation period which follows is the fulfillment of Israel’s seventieth week and that it will be climaxed by the pre-millennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth to set up His kingdom.
Section 8 – I am convinced that all who have died will be bodily resurrected – believers to eternal communion with God in heaven and unbelievers to everlasting separation from God in hell.
Section 9 – I acknowledge that all true believers make up the church universal, but believe that Christ has ordained the local church, His visible body, over which He is head, to proclaim God’s truth, to administer the two ordinances of believer’s baptism by immersion and the Lord’s supper, to equip the saints and to reach the world with the gospel. I hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government free from any external authority or control other than the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.
Section 10 – I believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him or her, is obligated to support his or her local church financially.
Section 11 – I affirm that God has ordained marriage to be between a man and a woman, and intends for that marriage to last a lifetime and that all intimate sexual activity is to be enjoyed within the bonds of marriage.
Section 12 – I affirm that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being.

Review of “Imaginary Jesus”

March 19, 2012

My Imaginary Jesus: The Spiritual Adventures of One Man Searching for the Real God
©2010 by Matt Mikalatos
Published by BarnaBooks an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers
258 pages

What are we to make of a book whose cover says, “Think Monty Python meets C. S. Lewis”? Even after reading it, I’m still not sure. This is an entertaining book. I found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions.

Imaginary Jesus is of course Jesus as you perceive him to be. Mikalatos not only describes his own but encounters many others. In fact I lost count of how many others, but recognized each one. I’ve seen them in my own expectations and in the expectations of others. There is Magic 8 ball Jesus, Harley Davidson Jesus, Perpetually Angry Jesus, Testosterone Jesus just to name a few. They range from Legalist Jesus to You-Should-Get-a-Divorce-and-Marry-a-Younger-Woman Jesus.

My favorite was King James Jesus. “King James Jesus dries a hard bargain. It was centuries before he even allowed New King James Jesus to exist.” After kidnapping a talking donkey that guides the author in his search for the real Jesus, “King James Jesus laughed heartily and cried out, ‘Thine ass is mine!’”

When Testosterone Jesus starts “blubbering like a baby” Mikalatos “had to start quoting lines from Braveheart to calm him down.”

Along the way the author befriends two Mormon missionaries and attends an atheist Bible Study (both real events).

This book will make you think. Realizing that this isn’t a theological treatise will help you get the most from this book. To find the real Jesus of course follow the author’s advice and look to the scriptures.

Review of “Christians Get Depressed Too”

March 15, 2012

Is it a sin problem or a sinus problem? I have noticed that when I am sick, so is the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit seems to spoil when I don’t feel well. I am not saying that it’s ok to sin because I don’t feel well. Sin is not ever justified. Sin is always a choice. However, we are complicated creatures. The physical, emotional and spiritual are intertwined. Sometimes there are physical reasons I don’t feel spiritual. Sometimes there are emotional reasons I don’t “feel” good. And sometimes there are spiritual reasons why my emotions are off. How does this play into depression?

This is the theme of David Murray’s small book Christians Get Depressed Too. Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Although he is a professional theologian, he writes with a pastor’s heart. Anybody who has ever struggled with depression or has cared for someone who has been depressed should read this book. In six chapters, Murray deals with the crisis, complexity, condition, causes, and cures of depression and concludes with some advice for caregivers.

Murray advises balance. He wants to avoid dogmatism. “Unfortunately, Christian preachers and writers have often taken a dogmatic attitude into areas where the Word of God is not dogmatic” (p 11). We should seek humility. There are two extremes when it comes to dealing with depression. One extreme is that the causes are all physical. This leads to medication being the preferred solution. The other extreme is that the causes are all spiritual. Jay Adams, the founder of the Christian counseling movement, popularized this. A more middle of the road approach is best represented by (according to Murray) the CCEF (Christian Counseling and Education Foundation).

The fall brought sin and sickness. If other parts of our body can get ill, why can’t our brains? Isn’t it an organ just like our hearts and livers? We take medications all the time to fix chemical imbalances. Sometimes this is necessary for the brain. However, sometimes the problem isn’t chemical, it is spiritual. The challenge is to discern which is which. This book strives to help us ask the right questions.

Certainly there are more in depth books on this complicated subject. However, I would recommend this book as a good primer.