The carpenter on the other side of the table

“Which of these three…was neighbor?” (Luke 10:36, NASB).

Did you hear about Lizzie Velaquez from Austin, Texas, a.k.a., “The World’s Ugliest Woman?” who was searching YouTube and stumbled upon a video (which had been viewed over 4 million times) urging her to kill herself because she was so ugly?

She decided to leave her self-pity behind, and parlayed her new-found fame to become an anti-bullying advocate all over the nation! What an admirable way to turn the tables on her bullies! Continue reading “The carpenter on the other side of the table”

The idolatry of tradition

Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3).

The distinction between law and tradition in religion is a perpetual struggle. My feeble attempt to illustrate my understanding is not without flaw, but I hope it will be of some help.

A law is something with a definitive boundary. You can put a circle around it. If something is authorized by God, then it is law. To make no attempt to conduct oneself inside that circle is to sin. To draw a new circle and do something different is to sin. To function within that circle, but with the wrong attitude, is to sin.

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Continue reading “The idolatry of tradition”

Jesus, and rebellion against the British

“…then shalt thou see clearly” (Luke 6:42)

“The Bible [or Jesus] says you shouldn’t judge.” This is a favorite phrase of many. But what does it really mean? By way of illustration, permit me a couple paragraphs as a lead-in.

The founding fathers of America faced a great challenge with respect to law. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t hard to write. Grievances were amassed, organized, written, and delivered. It took very little time and effort, and signers were easy to find who would put their honor, blood and fortune on the dotted line when they signed their John Hancock’s on the bottom of that page. The actual independence part was very costly, yes, but the rebellion? That was the easy part. Continue reading “Jesus, and rebellion against the British”

Covenant faithfulness and kindness

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4 – ASV).

I often wonder what Bible critics are reading when I read their conclusions about God, especially in the Old Testament, being a surly, arbitrary brute. I wonder how they miss the connections being made in the Old Covenant and its relationships. Had Israel kept the covenant, they would have found the highest ethical standard of living known in the ancient world, especially when compared with other such “codes.” Continue reading “Covenant faithfulness and kindness”