When I Criticize “the Church”…

I feel this is a post in which I will stray and wander, both while I write it and while I try to apply it in my own life. Please forgive me for both. Define “church.” This is a subject that has been covered by many, but it has not been covered by me. Given my insatiable need for clear and precise language, I thought it best to explain the possible meanings of the word “church” when I use it. My Definitions “Church” can mean 4 different things in my vocabulary: The Universal Body. Unalterable, immutable, clothed in white, stretching … [Read more]

Christians Don’t End Up in Heaven

  I said off-hand in a different blog post that Christians weren’t going to heaven, and I got some lip about it. But before I start explaining myself, let me narrow the audience for you. This post is directed at Christians. The “yous” in this post are “readers who have believed the gospel that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ of God, and by believing, have life in His name.” Okay, lets get back to the point. Christians don’t end up in heaven. “Of course we’re going to heaven!” you say. “That’s the gospel, Stephen! We’re going to go to … [Read more]

A Christian response to ISIS

The question I received prompting this post: “I would be curious to hear what your thoughts are on how we should respond to ISIS? I’m fully aware of what an American response looks like… But what should a Christian response look like – how should our faith dictate our response, especially with what just happened in Brussels (although there is a long list of atrocities that have been committed).”   I’ve been asked to write a post about how Christians should respond to ISIS. To be honest, this prospect terrifies me. It terrifies me because I fear that I might … [Read more]

The Gate is Small (Pt. 3)

This is a continuation of an allegorical tale begun in The Gate is Small (Pt. 1) and continuing through The Gate is Small (Pt. 2). I suggest reading both posts prior to embarking on this one. Edging my way along the mountainside and grasping the rope tightly, I made steady progress along the path. It was slow going at points, but patient persistence and the occasional pause to pull myself together made for a pleasant hike. Eventually, the cliff side to my right smoothed out and a strip of soft green grass ran along that side of the path instead. The grass … [Read more]

Yes You’re a Sinner and No It’s Not “Okay”

  There are two parts to this title and each reflects some common rhetoric I hear among Christians. I think the entire statement needs to be hammered into people’s skulls. Yes You’re a Sinner and No It’s Not “Okay.” It’s such a basic truth that I wonder why it needs saying, but we have to address the issues as they arise. Let’s look at the first half first. “Yes, you’re a sinner” Christians today usually fall into one of two camps on this, either they refuse to ever acknowledge sin, or they never get off of sin to talk about … [Read more]