Tag Archives: christianity

Always Tell a Child Jesus Came to Heal the Broken Hearted

This is the other side of Never Tell a Child They Are Personally Worth the Sacrifice Jesus Made.

The side I seem perfectly incapable of articulating. So much so I actually need someone else to write it to get it right.

The person who knows my blind spots inside and out. And protects me against their dangers like a champ.

See, I knew yesterday’s post deserved a balanced treatment. I was just exploring a fraction of God’s majesty. Tinkering with but a fragment of the whole counsel of God.

So not long after I published it I began to nurture today’s post in my mind. To toy with text like  and an idea about “self-worth” versus “God worth.”

Then my wife commented. And wrote the post for me. So much better than I ever could have.

Here is an excerpt:

Maybe it isn’t our job to bolster self-esteem (and maybe it is), but it is certainly our job to point to the One who desires to bind up those hurts enough to allow a person to love others AS he LOVES himself. We don’t want to be too glib about the deep hurts that abuse cause. Christ obviously wasn’t. He came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. If abused children aren’t counted among the brokenhearted and the captives, I can’t imagine who is.

Read the whole thing here.

If you liked what you read . Then share on Facebook and Twitter.

Your Simple Statement of Faith (2012 Update)

Back in 2009 I wrote a post in the Curmudgeon’s Guide to Sharing the Gospel on creating a simple statement of faith.

The point behind this exercise was to create a one-word sentence that defines you.

That defines your faith.

That serves as a compass in tight situations when you have to think fast or answer hard questions. Or serves as a filter to run through all of what is competing for your attention.

And then defines you in the future when you are dead.

In other words, how people remember you.

That year I chose as my simple statement “Christ and Christ crucified.”

That’s served me well. And it still serves me today. But…

Fast Forward to 2012

Last November I stumbled across a similar idea in Daniel Pink’s book .

Pink shares an anecdote where Carol Boothe Luce confronted John F. Kennedy with this statement:

A great man is one sentence. Abraham Lincoln’s was ‘He preserved the Union and freed the slaves.’ What’s yours?

My mind was off to the races.

Throughout December and the early part of 2012 I sketched some ideas. Here are three of the more memorable ones (memorable is debatable):

  • “Nobel prize winner of literature and professor.” How insanely self-serving, right? Not even punctuated with a verb. Fail.
  • “Innovated literature and raised a godly family.” Okay, half of it seems to be on track. But raising a godly family, while noble, is not all-encompassing. It is, in the scheme of Christianity, short-sighted. Let’s try again.
  • “Slave to Christ and walking New Testament concordance.” All right, much better, don’t you think?

This is actually how I have it written in my journal/daily calendar:

That is how I would like my grave stone to read.

The first half is obvious and sound, but the second half I think may come off like I want to be a warehouse of biblical trivia. That is, an .

Not so.

The purpose of becoming a walking New Testament is established on these three verses:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

In other words, I want to renew my mind. I want to encourage and exhort believers. And I want to share a sound faith with unbelievers.

Things impossible to do with out a solid foundation in God’s word.

By the way, this is not to neglect the Old Testament. This is just a recognition that  will be more than I can handle.

Your turn: Do you have a simple, clear statement of faith? Please share.

By the way, if you liked what you read please .

Then share this post on Twitter and Facebook.

The Blind Men and a Queer Animal


In the Buddhist version of the , a young man approaches Buddha with a dilemma…. Part of a series on truth.

Dozens of hermits and wandering scholars are making contradictory claims about reality.

Some claim everything is infinite.

Others claim all is finite.

Then some claim just certain artifacts are infinite while other artifacts are merely finite.

Who’s right?

In response Buddha tells a story:

Once upon time a great king told a servant to round up all the blind men in their province and let them feel an elephant.

The servant does so. And each blind man inspects the elephant.

One reports an elephant is like a pot–he inspected the head.

Another reports an elephant is like a winnowing basket–he touched the ear.

Another suggests an elephant is a plowshare–he felt the tusk.

Yet another reported the animal was a plow–he ran his hand along the tusk.

And another said it was a grainery–he made his way over the side of the elephant.

Some held the foot and said an elephant was a pillar. Some climbed on the back and decided it was an overturned mortar.

Others messed with the tail and pronounced the animal a pestle. Then others ran their fingers through the tuft of the tail and asserted the beast was a brush.

It wasn’t long before the blind men fell to blows with each other.

At this point, the king explained to his servant that the preachers and scholars who fight and argue for their limited view of reality are simply blind and unseeing.

And, in typical Buddha fashion the story ends. The student is required to figure out the conclusion on his own.

Not a bad educational strategy. In fact, it’s an exceptional strategy.

The only problem with Buddha’s conclusion is that he doesn’t interact with the original problem: Men argue, yes. But is what any of them saying true?

Just because they are bigoted, blind and quarrelsome doesn’t mean they are wrong.

Buddha’s answer amounts to an attack on character. But not a reply to any of the truth claims presented.

Blind Men and a Queer Animal [Indian Version]

In the Indian version of the Blind Men and the Elephant parable, the conclusion makes another bald assertion: All religions lead to the same God.

You’ve more than likely heard this parable before.

The argument goes like this: each blind man is feeling the same part of the same elephant. All are partly right. But in their limited view, all are wrong.

Another way to say it is like this: All paths lead to the same mountain. Or like this: Religion is a wheel whose varied disciplines are spokes that ultimately lead to the same peace and harmony at the core.

In other words, no one has a superior view of religion.

Here’s my point: This assertion is leveled at Christianity all the time. [Frankly, it’s leveled at pretty much all religions, but since I’m a Christian, I’ll interact with the Christian side.]

It’s meant to convey that we have no right to claim an exclusive hold on truth: Who dares anyone say they have a superior view of religion?

To suggest they do would be inflammatory and offensive.

First off, why should I believe that all religions lead to the same God? Second, isn’t that a superior view of religion–in itself inflammatory and offensive?

While such an assertion is clothed in humility, it demonstrates an undercurrent of arrogance and imperialism.

It says “I have the superior view of religion. Not you.”

It’s an appearance of truth. But that’s all. It’s nothing more than an arrogant claim that needs to be backed up.

In fact, any close inspection of world religions will reveal that all religions DO NOT lead to the same God.

Spelling Out the Uniqueness of Christianity

For instance, in the monotheistic three alone you have vast disagreements about who God is. Judaism and Islam reject Christ as God who Christians embrace as the one part of the Trinity.

While the prevailing slogan might be “Unite or perish!” by those committed to a religious consensus in the name of tolerance, to do so means watering down Christianity [all religions, in fact].

But in the end, it indicates a refusal to interact with the veracity of Christianity’s truth claims.

So, if you are sincerely interested in an introduction to the unique nature of Christianity, read Erwin Lutzer’s . Leslie Newbigin’s . Or Ravi Zacharias’ .

And listen, spelling out how Christianity fundamentally differs from other religions is not an invitation to fight. Rather, it’s an invitation to explore who we feel–based on the evidence–is our only messiah, Jesus Christ.

Your Turn

What other versions of the blind men and the elephant parable have you heard? Can you suggest any other books on comparative religion? On the uniqueness of Christianity?

Hell: What’s at Stake If We Neglect It?


What happens when orthodox Christians neglect the doctrine of hell? We begin to tinker with orthodoxy in some unhealthy ways.

Hell doesn’t get much press.

Blame it on the  and its fear of all things supernatural.

To be fair, Enlightenment writers were reacting to a gross abundance of commentary on hell.

In fact, this environment forced  to remark that some Paris theologians wrote so well about hell that they evidently had been there themselves!

However, contemporary Christians have lost their backbone on this important biblical doctrine. That’s troubling for many reasons. Let me show you what I mean.

Hell: A Ghastly Nightmare

The doctrine of hell is a repulsive doctrine. In fact, it’s hard to believe someone just made it up. But the Bible says a lot about hell. Mostly in the words of Jesus himself.

First off, what is hell? The orthodox meaning is eternal punishment for those who reject God and His grace.

What does that punishment look like? . Weeping. Gnashing of teeth. .

Fire, no doubt, is symbolic. But this shouldn’t comfort the lost because fire is symbolic of something much worse.

How much worse? We just don’t know.

We do know that hell will last forever and in addition to physical agony, occupants will experience unrelenting guilt and regret due to their decision to reject God’s offer of mercy in Christ.

Objections to Hell

As noted above, some people simply dismiss hell as superstition. These are your skeptics and atheists.

Then there are your evangelicals…

Some evangelicals–Unitarians, for example–believe in universalism–the idea that everyone will eventually be saved. But Jesus’ words are unmistakable: “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” 

Others believe in postmortem evangelism. These evangelicals insist the dead will be given another opportunity to repent after death. Again, the Bible doesn’t support this notion. Just the opposite: “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

Finally, you have your annihilationists who believe that the wicked are exterminated at death. But annihilationists must hold this belief in the face of ample biblical reference to .

Now let me ask you: Why are so-called evangelicals busy reducing, revising and removing the biblical doctrine of hell when those who were evangelicals in the past would’ve ferociously resisted such ideas?

Here’s your answer: Hell is marked by so much awkwardness and embarrassment evangelicals are looking for anyway out of this doctrine.

The Logical Reason Behind Hell

Yes, hell is terrible. But NOT the least bit unfair. It is simply a gesture by God to honor those who reject him, his love and his offer of grace through Christ.

In essence, he gives them what they want: separation from God.

However, because of sin everyone deserves hell… including both those who accept God’s offer of rescue through Christ and those who reject it.

Yet hell is not a fate God wants people to experience:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

The Benefits of the Doctrine of Hell

Yes, even though hell is a horrifying doctrine, it does provide certain benefits.

One benefit is a sense of relief and gratitude for God’s mercy and forgiveness and promise of heaven. Mercy and forgiveness and heaven are meaningless if there is no depth…

We would certainly respond one way to a friend who kept us from stepping into a puddle. Quite another way to a friend who kept us from stepping off the edge of a cliff.

Another benefit involves our future and reminds us how important life decisions are here and now. The doctrine of hell motivates us to share the gospel when we know the outcome for those who reject Christ or remain in their sins is eternal physical agony.

Why We’ve Lost Our Backbone Over Hell

Yet, in spite of these benefits, contemporary Christians have lost their convictions about hell. There is at least one good reasons for this: Our view of the nature of God has changed.

In an attempt to shed any repulsive concepts attached to God, we redefine him to suit our preferences. Here are four ways we’ve done that.

1. We redefine God’s love so that it resembles sentimentalism and indulgence minus God’s hatred for sin. In turn, we love the sinner and ignore his sin.

2. Hell seems so excessive, so we limit God’s holiness. However, the traditional doctrine of hell argues that eternal punishment is a just penalty for an insult against the infinite holiness of God.

3. We limit God’s knowledge to suggest that he doesn’t stop decades of megadeath simply because he didn’t see it coming. This is the heresy of .

4. We minimize God’s justice by arguing that it would be easier to persuade a skeptic to embrace a God without wrath and righteousness.

But what’s more important: That we properly market God to our culture? Or that we stand up for orthodoxy–no matter the cost?

What’s at Stake if We Neglect the Doctrine of Hell?

Here’s the deal: The Bible presents hell as a concrete reality. It’s existence is not up for Debate. Revision. Or vote. To do otherwise is to pervert the truth, reduce the sting of sin and minimize the threat of hell.

So WHAT if hell is scandalous or too out of step with the contemporary mind?

That won’t make it go away.

We must deal with it. As Christians, that means defending it’s classic treatment. If we don’t, what’s at stake? Our very concept of God and the gospel are diluted.

And where does this end? Our culture gets to define our model of God? To do so would be to feed on lies. And I don’t want that to happen. Do you?

Contending with Christianity’s Critics (A Review)


Want quick answers to objections the New Atheists, Bart Ehrman and Open Theists bring against Christianity?

Then  is your book.

Now, William Lane Craig [editor and contributor] says the book is both accessible and apologetically cutting-edge.

While I’ll concede cutting-edge, I have to resist “accessible.”

I’ll show you what I mean in a minute.

Here’s the deal: Contending is made up of 18 essays divided into three categories: The Existence of God, Jesus of History and Coherence of Christian Doctrine.

What follows is a SHORT review of each essay. Nano-reviews, if you will.

Dawkin’s Delusion

In under 3 pages Craig demonstrates that Richard Dawkin’s doesn’t have “a very serious argument against God’s existence.” Instead, he’s got an invalid syllogism.

At Home in the Multi-Verse

All I have to say is that James Daniel Sinclair lost me  at sentence one. Go figure.

Confronting Naturalism: The Argument from Reason

Victor Reppert’s argument in a nutshell: Meaning is ambiguous if naturalism is true. However, meaning is NOT ambiguous. Thus, naturalism is false.

Belief in God: A Trick of Our Brain?

Psychological experiments about a God-sense hardwired in our brain simply demonstrate what we already know: We’ve got an instinct for God.

The Moral Poverty of Evolutionary Naturalism

Mark D. Linville starts his essay like this: “Darwin’s account of the origins of human morality is at once elegant, ingenious and woefully inadequate.” He then defends that thesis in 16 pages of playful, Rob Powellesque language.

Darwin’s Best Argument Against God’s Existence

Gregory Ganssle uses four counter-features to show that Dawkin’s best argument–that features of this life fit a naturalistic explanation better than a theistic one–simply doesn’t deliver.

Criteria for The Gospel’s Authenticity

When positive evidence accumulates…and one affirms a universe open to miracles…the Gospel’s authenticity is strongly attested. That’s Robert Stein’s argument.

Jesus the Seer

Ben Witherington makes an exquisite case for Jesus’ self-understanding as God by exploring his use of the phrase “Son of Man.” Must read.

The Resurrection of Jesus Time Line

Gary Habermas works back from the composition of the Gospels to Paul’s conversion to show that Jesus’ bodily record was taught as early as 30 AD. In other words: It’s always been a creed with the church.

How Scholars Fabricate Jesus

Craig Evans argues that the scholarly track record with respect to the use of extra-canonical gospels is embarrassing. Take note, Crossan.

How Badly Did the Early Scribes Corrupt the New Testament

Dan Wallace takes Misquoting Jesus to task, stating the author [Bart Ehrman] esteems provocative positions over honesty, excitement over boredom.

Who Did Jesus Think He Was?

Michael Wilkins makes a plain-Jane case that Jesus knew he was God. The only innovation appears to be Wilkin’s use of Peter’s messianic proclamation as a test case.

The Coherence of Theism

Taliaferro and Marty look at six specific attributes of God and their seamless interaction to prove God simply makes sense.

Is the Trinity a Logical Blunder?

Paul Copan makes a case for a simple understanding of the Trinity–yet with room for mystery and worship.

Did God Become a Jew?

Copan next argues that it’s NOT absurd to think about God becoming man. One way he does this is by warning us to start with the Scriptures–not Greek philosophy–when we talk about the Incarnation.

Dostoevsky, Woody Allen and the Doctrine of Penal Substitution

Christopher Hitchens complains that Jesus’ death as vicarious atonement makes zero sense. Steve Porter’s essay will fix that.

Hell: Getting What’s Good My Own Way

Very creative case for hell by Stuart Goetz based on libertarian free will, life plans and ultimate-good-seeking decisions. C. S. Lewis would be proud.

What Does God Know? The Problems with Open Theism

David Hunt tells us that open theism doesn’t have a scriptural advantage over classical theism because it fails four truth tests.

As you might’ve noticed, Richard Dawkin’s and Co. and their ideas get a lot of work. That’s intentional.

Thus, if you want answers to this new wave of objections to Christianity,  is a good buy. You’ll be happy to foot the $14. I was.

Monergism.com: A Quick and Dirty Guide

Did you know that there’s a massive archive of all things reformed in a single place on the web? Discover it here.

Monergism is the name for the doctrine that the Holy Spirit acts independently of the human will in the work of new birth.

It’s also the name for one of the best online resources for all things reformed: .

In many ways, it’s the reformed communities best kept secret.

But it’s not likely to stay that way for long.

The Birth of Monergism

Around the year 2000, web developer  by the growth of heretical information on the web.

At the same time he also noticed that there wasn’t anywhere online you could go to find sound doctrine in a single place. Naturally, he felt like he should use his God-given creativity to spread the gospel.

So, in his spare time, he built Monergism.com to help recover the true biblical doctrines of the historic faith by collecting and centralizing reformed resources across the web on one site.

And what began ten years ago as a small website with a handful of links has grown into a mammoth directory of all things reformed.

Five Things You Can Do at Monergism.com

Monergism.com amounts to a vast archive of online articles, PDFs, books and mp3s. So if you’re new to monergism–whether the doctrine or the website–…

1. With over 80 links to topics on regeneration, the will of God, justification and biblical devotion you’re likely to be busy for awhile–especially if you settle into the 26-part .

2. The second great way to use Monergism.com involves the exposition of Scripture. Simply pop in any Bible verse into the search box, press submit and voila: a stout list of written and audio commentaries on that verse.

3. The third great feature at Monergism.com is it’s biography pages. Take , for example. On his bio page you get a professional summary then a long list of resources.

4. Then there’s the –a  massive archive of sermons and lectures on just about any topic under the reformed sun. Name a living theologian or pastor–like  or –and you are likely to find all their available sermons.

5. Lastly, Monergism.com has developed into a  where you can find classic Puritan works by Flavel, Edwards and Newton to current works by Francis Chan, Kevin DeYoung or Adrian Warnock–often at reduced prices.

Keep This in Mind

Monergism.com is a non-profit organization. That means Hendyx and Co. work off of donations and book sales…

Anyone who’s worked in non-profit knows that this often amounts to dirt, which should give you an indication when you consider the size and quality and longevity of Monergism.com that this venture has a lot to do with one man’s unrelenting vision to see the historic confession of Jesus Christ dominate the theological landscape…

Something I can wholeheartedly get behind. What about you?

How to Deal with Religious Conflict

What beliefs create peaceful behavior and deal with the discord of religion? Here’s the answer. Part of a series on truth.

There’s no getting around it: Everybody has an exclusive set of beliefs.

Moralists look down their noses at unbelievers as filthy, undisciplined misfits.

Secularists snub religious people as psychopathic nut jobs.

And pragmatists demand we shed our religious beliefs when we debate matters of life.

All privileged–but partial–views we hold over others.

Which View Is Right?

What we need to do [and what really matters in the long run] is to discover which set of beliefs create peaceful, inclusive and loving behavior…

…will radically change you into agents of reconciliation for the world…

…and deal with the discord of religion.

I know this sounds counter intuitive, but the set of beliefs that will do that are found in Christianity–and the uniqueness of the Christian gospel.

Here are three major ways Christianity is unique to other religious views.

1. Origin of Salvation

The founder of Christianity is not a human–he is God. God who came in the flesh. All other religious founders are human.

2. Purpose of Salvation

 That God came in the flesh is important. Most Eastern religions tend to teach liberation from the flesh. And most Western religions tend to condemn the flesh.

However, through the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christianity teaches that the flesh will be redeemed and renewed.

3. Method of Salvation

All other religions teach you to perform the truth to be saved. They put salvation in the hands of humans. Christianity, in contrast, puts salvation squarely in the hands of God:

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

Jesus lived the life that we should have lived and died the death we deserved. He suffered for people who didn’t love him. And this is the highest act of love.

Is There One True Religion?

I believe so.

How can I say that in a flat, pluralistic world where every religious flower can bloom? And how does that deal with religious conflict?

In the next post I’ll explain how holding these unique truths of Christianity seals people off from religious superiority, transforms them into agents of peace and produces humble, patient and compassionate behavior…behavior that ultimately shuts down religious animosity.

Pragmatism: Where It Breaks Down [and Why You Should Care]

Pragmatist argue that it’s necessary to check our religious beliefs at the door when we debate issues. Unfortunately, that can’t work. Part of a series on truth.

Richard Rorty, the leading American philosophical pragmatist–who I wrote about in The Problem with Your Personal Testimony post–argues that when you come to the public square to debate issues like divorce, abortion or civil marriage, you should leave your religion at home.

That’s pragmatism.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem with that approach.

The problem exists in the nature of religion. Religion, at its core, is a set of beliefs about the hard questions of life.

Hard questions like what is really real? What is a human being? Why is it possible to know anything at all? How do we know what is right and what is wrong?

What Pragmatism Looks Like in the Public Square

Let’s pretend for a moment that the issue on the table is population control via contraception, abortion and infanticide.

Someone who believes [based upon their religious view] that a person becomes a human at inception would see abortion and infanticide as legislated manslaughter–no matter its practical impact on society or economics.

Yet, a person who doesn’t hold that belief–say, like utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer–might argue that abortion and limited infanticide is a reasonable mechanism to control population and decrease economic strain on the health system.

As you can see, the question becomes, “Who throws out their belief?” Both arguments emerge from their answers to hard questions of life.

Where I’m Going with This

But my point here is not to argue the merits of one case over the other.

My point is simply that it’s impractical to remove one’s religious view from the public square–even if they are controversial and faith based.

In fact, to say “Please, leave your religious views at home” is in itself controversial and faith based.

It smacks of anti-religion. And exclusivity.

It’s equivalent to saying “My views are privileged above yours.” In other words, my beliefs hold sway over yours…

And my beliefs are exclusive to truth.

What Comes Next

So, in the end, it’s not a matter of practicality or exclusivity when we debate issues in the public because we’ve seen that the pragmatic argument is equally indicted as making an exclusive claim to truth…

And we’ve also seen that you can’t determine what’s practical until you determine which world view you hold.

So, in the end, it’s not a matter of who’s views are religious or not. It’s a matter of who’s right and who’s wrong.

And it’s best to decide that with evidence.

With that in mind, tomorrow we’ll explore why it makes sense to embrace Christianity’s exclusive claim to truth.

13 Quick Facts on 13 Christian Cults and Sects

What’s the point behind this series? Intellectual pleasure? Satisfaction? An odd curiosity?Thought I forgot about this series, eh? Nope. Just let her simmer on the back burner.

Anyway, I still want to round her out with 13 posts.

So, I thought now would be a good time to pull all the articles out there into one tidy, little post…

And show you what’s on the horizon.

And just so you know, the point behind this series: Intellectual pleasure. Satisfaction. An odd curiosity?

See, until I started this series I knew very little about the differences between cults like Scientology or sects like Fundamentalism.

So, it’s good ground to cover.

Anyway, here’s where we’re at and where we’re going. Hope you’ll stay along for the ride.

Intro: Revising the American Religion Most of what you know as American Christianity is scarcely Christian in any traditional way.

Unitarians Secrets on Unitarianism–from what they think of the Trinity to famous Unitarians.

Rosicrucian File this under controversial. Conspiratorial. Bizarre. Trivial. Wherever you file it, know this: This is serious stuff some people lock-in on.

Fundamentalism Take a peek at this North American phenomenon.

Pentecostals Want to know who the 13 most famous Pentecostals of all time are? Read on.

Seventh-Day Adventists Why they observe Saturday as Sabbath and their connection to David Koresh.

Theosophy Their original purpose was to investigate, study and explain mediums and their claims. It’s changed a tad since 1875.

Scientology Quite likely the most ruthless, terroristic, litigious and lucrative cult the country has ever seen. [Good comments on this one.]

Spiritism 13 disturbing facts about this ancient religion.

Swedenborgians Founded in the 18th century after rationalist and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, this cult enjoys a small, but exotic following.

World Wide Church of God Normally, cults crop up and just got creepier. The Worldwide Church of God, on the other hand, took a shocking turn for the better.

Mormons List of 13 must-read websites dedicated to exposing the differences between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Thirteen key doctrines clothing store owner Charles Taze Russell taught through his religious society know as Jehovah’s Witnesses.