Tag Archives: christian

A Christian Vacuum and My Prayerful Vote for America

Lines at My Local Auburn Polling Place

Lines at My Local Auburn Polling Place

I have been voting since 1988, and I really can’t remember ever waiting in line, ever. There is just something a little different about the election this time around. It seems like each candidate is already resolved to their fate, but seeing this kind of turnout is awesome. If you are an eligible voter in our country today, and you didn’t vote, shame on you, go vote. Regardless of party affiliation or particular ideology, people in our country have given their life so that all of us can freely vote our conscience on this day, and it’s our responsibility to do so. My polling station was busy. As you can see from the photo above, there were a lot of people in line, but it didn’t take long, and wasn’t too long a wait for the freedom to vote.

Over the past several months I have been trying to finish one of the greatest books ever written on discipleship, The Cost of Discipleship, by Bonhoeffer and he had some really incredible things to say about our process today. If you have access to this book, go read chapters 12 and 13 and read it in context of today’s world with the understanding that he wrote that during one of the reigns of the most evil leaders the world has ever know. His other epic book, Ethics, starts off with this explanation, which I find so pertinent to our world today.

The Christian does not live in a vacuum, but in a world of government, politics, labor, and marriage. Hence, Christian ethics cannot exist in a vacuum. The reality is not manifest in the Church as distinct from the secular world; such a juxtaposition of two separate spheres is a denial of God’s having reconciled the whole world to himself in Christ. On the contrary, God’s commandment is to be found and known in the Church, the family, labor, and government, with a responsibility for the institutions of the world.

Meaning… neither candidate we see today may be our perfect choice as Christians, but we don’t live in a perfect world, and we only have one perfect candidate, Christ himself. We have to live in the world we are placed, not stick our head in the sand. This article published by Religion Today says it very well, Evangelicals Want Moral Government But are Ignorant of the Bible, and the point is we need to become as knowledgeable about God’s word as we are about Obama or Romney.

This was my prayer for our election this morning: “Lord I pray for this election, that you will make your choice clear today, that your will be done, even if that means letting this country go deeper into the depths of hell before it finds its way out, and finds its way back to you.” For some reason David’s words when we prayed for deliverance in 2 Samuel 22 seem relevant to the state of our country at this point in history. We should do as he did and earnestly “call upon the Lord.”

I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised… for the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me, the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me… in my distress i called upon the Lord; to my God I called. 2 Samuel 22.

People Waiting to Pick Up a Ballet in Auburn

People Waiting to Pick Up a Ballet in Auburn

A Man Takes His Ballet From a Poll Worker in Auburn

A Man Takes His Ballet From a Poll Worker in Auburn

The Alabama Ballet for Election 2012

The Alabama Ballet for Election 2012

I hope you voted today, or are planning on voting today. This vote has historic consequences, as all elections do, but the world seems poised, seems to be on the cusp, of a time where we are still not too far gone, but can very easily fall over the edge. That edge, or cliff, is a combination of all kinds of things from war in the middle east to an economic crisis like we have seen in Greece.

For me, the edge or cliff is the erosion of faith in our country. A country that now receives more missionaries than it sends, where we continue to move into complete pluralism, where Christians themselves no longer stand for Gospel truths, and are no longer convicted to call sin, sin.

So regardless of who you vote for, have a reason for choosing a particular candidate, and go vote. This is not something to take lightly, nor something to brush off as unimportant. As Christians we have a call to be involved in the world we live in, to be a part of the process, not just as an armchair quarterback.

Learning Discipleship Through the Eyes of Jesus

Cornerstone Church Staff Discussing Discipleship at 3DM

Cornerstone Church Staff Discussing Discipleship at 3DM

I spent this week with some of our staff at a conference in Atlanta. The past few days for me added to or confirmed with me part of an ongoing study I have about “what is the church?” I last posted about it here: What is the Church? 10 Things the Bible Says About the Church, but this week was focused on discipleship.

This group (3DM) we started to explore months ago doesn’t have a new program, or some new secret way to make disciples, they walked through how Jesus did this. That means this was really more like a workshop than a conference, and there wasn’t a step-by-step process by those Type-A’s can take away and say “this is how you do it.” That’s what made this different than the host of Christian conferences we all love to attend.

I’m not actually sure how to completely process everything presented to us over the last three days. It was a great starting point to learning how to create disciples, not how to create the church. If there was a quote for church staff and leaders that stuck with me, it was this.

Make disciples and it will build and create the church. Build a church and you aren’t necessarily creating disciples.

This is completely backwards from what our American church is. Our consumerist church of the 21st century is certainly a place where we can go on Sunday’s to consume a church product, but is it a place we create disciples as Jesus commanded us to do in Matthew 28? It turns church on its head because it is a scary place for church staff, and a freeing place for followers of Christ. I have heard it said countless times that church is not a building it is the people, but that’s a hard thing to live out when we place so much emphasis on doing church in that traditional church building.

That’s the raw unfiltered understanding of the last few days, it’s not anything ground breaking, but creating disciples is what we are called to do, building the church building is a place where we believers gather to worship on Sunday, not the place where we evangelize the unchurched.

5 Reasons Why We Should Still Read The Book of Leviticus Today

Studying the Book of Leviticus

Studying the Book of Leviticus

I just finished reading the Book of Leviticus this morning for the second time this year on my quest to finish two canonical readings for 2012. In honor of that reading, I have finally published my next list page (see my list of lists), called the 613 Mitzvot Laws or Commandments of the Old Testament, many of which are found in the book of Leviticus.

Leviticus is one of those books that Christians tend to want to ignore, while those in the opposite camp tear it apart Hebrew letter by Hebrew letter. About a year ago I actually debated with another Christian about the worth of even reading this book, and he was convinced there was nothing of importance or worthy in Leviticus for us to read today. This was no uninformed, unintelligent Christian, he has a PhD, is a leading scientist in his field, and has a heart for important social justice issues, but Leviticus was not for him (nor really any of the Pentateuch). At that time I did a lousy job at explaining why this book, and every one of the 66 books of the canon, are all still very important and relevant to read in the 21st century. Since that conversation I’ve never really been able to rectify my lack of knowledge in Leviticus and reasons why it is important to read.

This second go-round I started reading Leviticus back on August 14th and finished up today, August 21st, so reading the entire book does not take that long if you read a little bit each day. I will say, Leviticus is not a very difficult book to read, but it is a difficult book to understand, especially in light of our culture today. We are so far removed from the customs of the sacrificial systems and just overall life during the 13th-15th century B.C., it’s very hard for us to understand, within the proper context, how to apply Leviticus to our life today without reading, study, contemplation, and meditation on these 24 chapters.

So here are a few reasons why all Christians should still read this book today. I’m going to skip the obvious reason of because it is part of the canonical Bible, and go on to others, but this is first and foremost. We should read it, because it is part of the writings given to us by God himself through Moses.

Reasons We Should Still Read Leviticus Today

1. It’s the Enemy’s Favorite Book to Tear Apart (Think Shellfish, Polyester, Tattoos, and Homosexuality)
They, the enemies of Truth, call it a book full of contradictions and hypocritical living. This is generally because they don’t understand the book in context any more than we do, but they can read the obvious to make stupid arguments like Christians still eat pork and wear polyester, therefore homosexuality is not a sin (see Homosexuality, Polyester, and Shellfish for reasoning behind this tired debate).

Apologetically speaking, we should know what this book says, because it is used as an excuse for everything under the sun in the 21st century. The book has a great narrative that is often overlooked by the fact that it is a list of laws. These “laws” range from capital punishment for adultery, to not cutting your hair, to laws on homosexuality, to not getting a tattoo because it follows the evil Canaanite tribal practices. Why is it acceptable for Christians to get a tattoo, or eat pork, but not put adulterers to death? Understanding this book in proper context shows exactly why some laws are historically customary for their culture and time, and why some are moral obligations that transcend time.

2. The Theological Holiness Code Developed in Leviticus is Still Used Today
In 1 Peter 1.15-16 the Apostle Peter says, “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” That is a direct quote from Leviticus 11.44, which is then repeated several times such as in Leviticus 19.2. In seminary circles this is called the “Levitical Holiness Code” from chapters 17-27. It mainly deals with the idea of sanctification, the idea of holiness affecting how one lives in the covenant community.

For Christians today living in the 21st Century, the New Testament applies to Christians using the same principles of life stated in 11:44, and many of the “holiness codes” still show us what is displeasing to God (cf., 19:11-18, 35-36). On the other hand, as noted above, there are also symbolic aspects of the holiness code we no longer follow such as prohibiting garments of two different kinds etc.

3. To Understand How the Work of Christ Saves the Soul
Studying Leviticus today gives us an extremely important understanding of the sacrifice that Jesus made as the Christ when he died on the cross. The animal sacrificial system may be totally foreign to us now, but this enables the 21st century reader to understand why Christ’s sacrifice is one of salvation.

4. The Festal Calendar of Israel in Leviticus Shaped the Christian Calendar We Still Use
The three main festivals, or sometimes called the national pilgrim feasts of Israel, are the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Harvest, and the Feast of Booths. Most of our modern day church denominations from Baptist to Catholic still follow these festivals. These celebrations today find their climax in the corresponding days known as Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost.

5. Because Without Leviticus the Other 65 Books Don’t Make Any Sense
Every book is intertwined with every other book. This is a huge reason to me. If you are reading Kings or Nehemiah, or one of those other “important” books, you are reading part 11 or part 16, but you never read part 3. Knowing and understanding Leviticus is crucial to understanding any of the other books, just the same as reading and studying Kings is important to reading Matthew.

What sense does Christ being crucified on the cross make without knowing how the sacrificial system works? I understand you can watch the Lord of the Rings or the Star Wars movies out of order and you can still understand them individually, but don’t they make a whole lot more sense as a whole?

So there you have it. Five reasons why Leviticus is important for us to read today. I know these points aren’t developed very extensively, but it that wasn’t really the point.[1]


[1] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008).

A Look Inside My Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day Brings Opportunity for Christians

Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day

Crowds at Chick-Fil-A Store #1445 at Tiger Town Shopping Center in Auburn

This is the last Chick-Fil-A pro marriage homosexual theological chicken eating post, promise… I think… maybe. This above photo was the scene at our local Chick-Fil-A Store #1445 today around 2:45-3:00pm(!), and what an awesome scene it was. There were lines of cars wrapped around the building, out into The Home Depot parking lot, and out into the streets. There was even a line at McDonald’s across the street to get over to the Chick-Fil-A parking lot, now that’s funny. From last word, the Chick-Fil-A in Prattville had to close after they sold out of chicken, and it’s possible ours will too. I love my Chick-Fil-A, and that’s how it feels to me, it’s not “the” Chick-Fil-A, it’s my store. I know people who work at this store, they have the best customer service hands down of any fast food restaurant in town ten-fold, and they have great food.

I have had many conversations with people about this “event” today, for lack of a better word, and it’s all across the board. Some Christians were saying don’t eat chicken today because of this and that, some were saying if you don’t eat chicken today you’re not a “Christian” and so on. From the reasonable to the absurd.

My question here, is, now what.

To be a Christian means to follow Christ, to become Christ-like. We the church body obviously have a huge reserve of people, many of which I think have been sitting on the sidelines, until eat chicken day came along. When we read the book of James we see the example Jesus’ brother gave us, to be people of action, and not just on Chick-Fil-A Appreciate Day, but 365 days out of the year, or 366 days this year. So where are we chicken eating people the other 364 days of the year? I mean here in Auburn, we Chick-Fil-A loving chicken eating people are pretty much the overwhelming majority, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to eat there again today. Don’t get me wrong, today was definitely about eating chicken, and that was what we good chicken loving Bible Believers should have done today. But what about tomorrow? How do we show the love of Christ, and support uncompromising values and truths of Scripture the rest of the week?

You probably tracking with me so far, but here’s the kickers. Ever since today was dubbed Chick-Fil-A Appreciate Day, we social people (that’s all of us) have been throwing around opinions faster than the news can actually absorb them. Today was a great example of the reason churches should embrace social media, learn it’s power, and use it to point people back to Jesus as the Messiah. While the outpouring of support for Chick-Fil-A seems phenomenal all around the country, it does give the church body a great opportunity to reach out to gay people, to show them the love of Christ.

Scripture has example after example of Jesus eating with “sinners” like tax collector and prostitutes, perhaps we should be sitting down with gay people in our cities and talking to them about Christ as well?

Many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, and when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

…and Jesus responds by saying these are the people I came here to save (Matthew 9:10-13).

It’s a fine line we walk today. If we are going to make a point to go talk to homosexuals about Christ why not our next door neighbor? The homosexual groups see some Christians as hate mongers, hypocritical people who don’t follow what Christ teaches, and we see them as a people living in perpetual sin. There are absolute truths in Scripture that should not and can not be compromised. But there are ways to follow in Jesus’ footsteps without compromising what we believe. Perhaps this is done by sitting down and having a meal with someone you disagree with on such a fundamental level that the only way to agree is to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work?

I don’t know what today means for tomorrow. Come Friday when the homosexual “kiss-in” is supposed to happen, we may see the reverse of today. When that happens the only thing we may have accomplished will be to really irritate PETA for devouring so much chicken in one week, which is ok by me. If we come out today to buy chicken for ourselves, why aren’t we Christians going to come out Friday to buy lunch for some kissing couple?

There must be something learned by all this. There are theological truths to be learned here. There are opportunities to teach being handed to pastors on a silver platter. And there are opportunities to talk to people who do not know the love of Christ, and the salvation that comes with trusting in the Messiah. Would Jesus have eaten a chicken sandwich today, or would he sit down and eat with homosexuals on Friday, or both? Scripture seems to indicate both, but it matters because this is not life or death, this is eternal life and eternal death.

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Searching Out the Reasons for Writing Religitic

This is my first actual post on this blog, so titled Religitic, in a while. The title I chose years and years ago for the life we Christians sometimes lead, one that is partly spiritual, partly heretical, and often mostly hypocritical. Therefore, I combined heretic, and hypocrite, with religion and got Religitic. The walk of any believer should be filled with trying to remove the “ic” and add the truly “religious” part, but the word religious today is as dirty as any cuss word we can use.

This blog, domain, and twitter account, was created years ago, but I am just now getting around to working on some of the content. I find myself more and more frustrated with things in our culture, our society, aspects of work, and other things that just make up life. I created this blog called “Religitic” a while back in the hopes that some day I would just start writing in a much more unfiltered way than I do on my own personal blog that has all the bureaucratic filtering of a life involved with office politics, religion, and people’s feelings. It never really happened that way, but I did create a sub-section over here with the tag Religitic, based on writing as described here, a little less filtered and polished.

I find myself so often writing with such a filter that I can’t even say the things I really want to say, not out of a fear of offending someone, but more out of expectations I have created on my other blog. The intent for this was to be able to write without as much of a filter, to generate ideas, passions, and work out my understandings of different topics.This blog is going to be filled with partial thoughts, politically incorrect ways of thinking for our society today, and theories or theologies I haven’t fully understood enough to talk about yet. It will not be filled with photos and fun, but it could be filled with posts from my personal journal, my daily devotionals, or just short ramblings. Hopefully so I can learn, and put my polished work on my main blog. I will still be writing everything from the basic worldview I hold… or that of a protestant orthodox believer in Jesus Christ as the single one and only savior of humanity. If you are looking for polished theologies and fully vetted work, look elsewhere, this won’t be the place.

Is True Christianity Represented on CNN, Discovery, and History Channel?

CNN Belief Blog

Can we really know the true meaning of Christianity today? The answer of course, is an emphatic yes, of course we can, but the answer always seems to change depending on who you ask. Our culture is filled with blogs and news articles like the CNN “Belief Blog” and the Washington Post “On Faith” section, which constantly adjust the meaning of Christianity to suit their own needs, mostly to be politically correct. Make no mistake, these are secular institutions, writing for a single collective purpose and goal in mind, to make a monetary profit. These are businesses, and in business to make money (nothing wrong with that).

These news blogs ask good theological questions like Are Mormons Christians?, because they are hot-button topics, but they often give politically correct answers, ones rarely correct to true Christianity. The Mormon question is a great example, where the press wants to find some way for Christianity to accept Mormons as Christians. If they knew the differences between Christianity and what the Mormon’s say they believe, they would understand why this is just never going to happen (see a good article A Comparison Between Christian Doctrine and Mormon Doctrine). To a learned Christian, Mormons will never be considered “Christians,” even if the Mormon’s say they are, and that is just one small hot topic today of thousands.

I love the Discovery Channel series “Who is Jesus,” and the History Channel’s The Shroud of Turin, but taking serious Christian spiritual or doctrinal advise from these places would be like determining the true meaning of Christianity via the Discovery Channel and History Channel. Sadly, I’m guessing this is where many people in our culture today decide what true Christianity is and isn’t.

The truth of Christianity of course is only found from Scripture, period. If that’s so can a true biblical view also be presented to our culture by means of a secular for-profit company? I think Charles Schultz was one of the first to try and answer that question in our current day when he had Linus read from the book of Luke. After reading another blog post this morning asking “Can we really know the true meaning of Christianity today?”, it made me think… how quickly could you/we/me answer the question? Would the answer come from our deep seeded bias’ we all carry, or would it be a Biblical answer?

There are almost countless ways to answer that question in truth, but here are two quick ways to explain the true and real meaning of Christianity. It’s simple… we make it complex.

  • John 13:35 Jesus says :: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (something also expanded on by Paul in Romans 12:9-21)
  • Romans 10:9-10 Paul says: That is the outpouring of our decision for Christ… “because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved”

Those are just two quick ways to answer that question, there are many more.

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross :: Photos

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Last night was our Good Friday service, one that contained a combination of worship and examining confession at the foot of the cross. It’s hard to put into words what that means, and Brian said it best when he told everyone that the cross speaks for itself, and it does. There really aren’t words that are sufficient enough to describe the power of the cross and what Christ did on that day. So, in keeping with words aren’t needed, I’ll let the photos here speak for themselves as well, which is one of the reasons I love photography as much as I do.

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

5 Great Thought Provoking Daily Devotionals for the New Year

I started looking around for a new daily devotional for 2012, and I ended up coming across too many. I came across some really good ones I haven’t read yet, but now have always had all intentions to read. This list, to some, may be a little too high church for them, but the wisdom put forth into these devotionals is pretty amazing, written by some pretty amazingly committed Believers.

I will state the obvious that none of these below will take the place of reading the inspired Word, the wisdom placed into God’s own book far outweighs any of the books below, so if there is only time in the day to read one book, for only a short period of time, make it the Bible instead of any of these books below, and I’m sure each of the authors below would agree with that. With that said, the best online Bible reading plans are located on YouVersion, so check those out as well.

The list below is all linked over to the Kindle version on Amazon, but each has a corresponding paper version. I just gave up on trying to have books shipped, the availability, and usually lower cost, of Kindle books just far outweighs the hassle of paper now, to me, for the most part anyway (see Printed Books vs iPad or Kindle eBooks and the Future of Books from back in March, or this I wrote back in 2009).

  1. The Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
  2. I decided to choose the “updated version” of this classical devotion since it is better annotated on the Kindle version at this point than the “traditional” version (first published in 1935). I think there is a lot of value in the original language of the traditional version, but having read neither in full, I decided to go with one that has a little easier language to start. Oswald Chambers was gifted with extracting the essence of biblical principles and condensing them into potent, thought-provoking, and life-changing devotions.

    They don’t take a lot of time to read, but they can infuse you with the timeless truths of the Bible. In this edition of My Utmost for His Highest, you get updated-language daily devotionals that have become an enduring favorite because Oswald Chambers used his spiritual gifts so wisely and generously. Compiled from lectures given at the Bible Training College in London, to nightly talks in an Egyptian YMCA during World War I, My Utmost for His Highest will lend a powerful spiritual dimension to your walk with God. (some excerpts via Amazon)

  3. Disciplines, a Daily Book of Devotional by The Upper Room
  4. The Upper Room is a publication that is, in part, produced by the United Methodist Church. The Upper Room is a global ministry, which is technically interdenominational, dedicated to supporting the spiritual formation of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully. While they now produce far more than The Upper Room devotional, this devotional publication has stood the test of time more so than many other devotionals. For more information about their ministry you can visit them at upperroom.org.

  5. A Year with C. S. Lewis by C. S. Lewis
  6. This devotional is a fascinating find to me. It is a publication that C.S. Lewis never put together himself, but editors have taken pieces of his writings to place them in one daily reader. This book of daily readings, culled from C.S. Lewis’s major nonfiction writings like The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, Miracles and A Grief Observed, might be called the thinking Christian’s devotional: it is deeper and meatier than most other devotionals on the market.

    With 366 entries (including one for Leap Year) that are typically one or two paragraphs each, Klein has managed to distill some of the most memorable passages from Lewis’s famous corpus. Interestingly, she includes a bit of Lewis trivia for each day of the year, and often pairs the reading with the biographical information: for example, we learn that on March 21, 1957, Lewis married Joy Davidman Gresham, and the entry for that day is about their marriage. Three separate indices list the sources by book, by day and by selection title or theme. (some excerpts via Amazon)

  7. I Want to Live These Days with You: A Year of Daily Devotions by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  8. This is the classical Bonhoeffer daily reader. Bonhoeffer put together this set of devotionals upon the closing of his seminary, Finkenwalde, when it was declared illegal and closed by the German Gestapo. The treatise contains Bonhoeffer’s thoughts about the nature of Christian community based on the common life that he and his seminarians experienced at the seminary and in the “Brother’s House” there. Bonhoeffer completed the writing of Life Together in 1938. Prayerbook of the Bible is a classic of Christian spirituality. In this theological interpretation of the Psalms, Bonhoeffer describes the moods of an individual’s relationship with God and also the turns of love and heartbreak, of joy and sorrow, that are themselves the Christian community’s path to God. (some excerpts above are from Amazon)

  9. Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This collection of inspirational writings from Dietrich Bonhoeffer is drawn from his many works and presented here as a series of daily meditations to last throughout the year. Organized under monthly themes, these prayers, sermons, meditations, letters, and notes offer readers a new glimpse at how Bonhoeffer understood the meaning of faith and discipleship. Featuring selections from classic works such as The Cost of Discipleship and Letters and Papers from Prison, this set of writings follows the church year, making it ideal for year-long devotional use by readers seeking to be challenged and enlightened by Bonhoeffer’s call to find God at the center of their lives. (some excerpts via Amazon)

I guess this is where it gets really high church, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of value in this book. This book, especially this highly annotated copy on Kindle, provides everything from daily prayers to events on the Christian calendar. The Kindle TOC (table of contents) in this book is so extensive, making it quite an impressive Kindle book, and it’s price can’t be beat at only $2.99.

This is the Episcopal version of the Catholic Missal (which is absent on Amazon Kindle in the same version as above), and the book that the Episcopal Church uses in its services. I have only recently been introduced to this book, and it has an amazing amount of wisdom. This Kindle version contains both versions from 1979 and 1789, which contains The Book of Common Prayer, Administration of the Sacraments, Other Rites, Ceremonies of the Church, and The Psalter or Psalms of David. Worth the read no matter what your denomination.

An Old Argument: Academic Theologian vs Discipleship and Bonhoeffer

We Christians seems to be in many pendulum debates amongst each other that have no clear resolution, but this is one of them I hear more than others at times. Those who are deeply involved in discipleship speak about the evils of seminary or staying in a continued state of theological study. Those in higher education (seminary specially) talk about how we are raising a generation or two now that know nothing about their own faith. To me, Jesus is the ultimate example. He was a discipling theologian. He could go toe to toe with the smartest theological minds of his time (see Luke 20:19-40), and he could raise up the “lowly” of his day to become incredible disciples for Christ (see a fisherman named John and a few others).

To me, it has never been an either-or. It has always been both, even if I stink more at one than the other (or quite possibly at both), I think the true follower has to look at the example Christ gives us where both knowledge and discipleship are equally important in the Christians life. We live in an interesting time in history due to the technological advances we have, and this is perhaps widening the gap between theology and discipleship. It has never been easier to be able to get into higher education if you are called to do so, although the work isn’t any easier once you get in there. You also no longer really need that piece of paper that says you know what you are talking about (CT on Why People Aren’t Going to Seminary), to be a good leader or pastor, just ask Perry Noble, and you certainly don’t need a seminary degree to be great at discipleship.

I say all this, because last night I was trudging through the Bonhoeffer biography late last night, and came across Bonhoeffer’s statements on this very subject from way back in the 1940’s. In Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, he said:

Bonhoeffer had in mind a kind of monastic community, where one aimed to live in the way Jesus commanded his followers to live in his Sermon on the Mount, where one lived not merely as a theological student, but as a disciple of Christ. (Read more at location 5056)

Bonhoeffer saw that a large part of the problem was Lutheran theological education, which produced not disciples of Christ, but out-of-touch theologians and clerics whose ability to live the Christian life—and to help others live that life—was not much in evidence. (Read more at location 5065)

I called it a pendulum debate because throughout time it has swung back and forth with the landscape of history. I’m sure someone, somewhere, has a great chart of church history and the rate of seminarians to discipleship, but just common sense tells you it swings back and forth. I don’t know that much about Bonhoeffer yet, but the more I learn about him, the more I understand that he, in at least some respects, got it right. Most couldn’t argue that he wasn’t a great theologian, but he was also a man devoted to discipleship.

Reminder Why Christians Shouldn’t Habitually Judge Others

Matthew 7 is the classical section that all non-Christians pull out every time they feel they are being “judged” by others, especially other people who claim to be living as a Christian. But of course Matthew 7 was not written to say that judgements should never be made, only that as Christians, we shouldn’t be “habitually critical or condemnatory of a speck of sawdust in a brother’s eye” (BKC, Matthew 7:1-6), and of course it does specifically say “brothers”, so this is flip flopping beliefs and faith in judgement. Not only does it say we should be restraint in our judgement but it is speaking about other believers, not other people in general.

Anyway, I came across this passage from “The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks“, which came from the book “25 Books Every Christian Should Read” by Renovare. I just loved how this Desert Father put it to his fellow believers.

A brother at Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which Abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to say to him, ‘Come, for everyone is waiting for you.’ So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug, filled it with water and carried it with him.

The others came out to meet him and said to him, ‘What is this, Father?’ The old man said to them, ‘My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.’ When they heard that they said no more to the brother but forgave him. [1]

I just love that. Such a great reminder of what Matthew 7 is really talking about, with great context into viewing our own sin and need for the forgiving grace that God provides.


[1] Renovare (2011). 25 Books Every Christian Should Read (Kindle Locations 839-843). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.