Sins We Don’t Speak Of

Is the church really taking holiness seriously? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday when I was in Sunday School, I don’t know how it got started, but we started talking about secret sins. These are the sins that you never really hear anything about in church. Right now, our pastor is getting ready to go through the Ten Commandments with us so it’s my hope that we’ll be hearing more about these kinds of sins.

The deal with these sins is that we don’t really like to talk about them because they hit so close to home. They are what we all struggle with. One that came to my mind immediately was gluttony. We all know of pastors who are quite rotund who are getting up telling us how to live our lives, but you can be sure too many of them are not talking about this sin.

We just went through Gay Pride Month. Now many people think the church talks way too much about homosexuality, which is odd because I honestly hardly hear anything about it from the pulpit, but when was the last time you heard something about pride from the pulpit? This is considered the chief sin many times. This is supposed to be the sin that made the devil, the devil. Do you hear about it often?

But speaking of homosexuality, our leader also gave us a statistic. I don’t know the source for it as I didn’t get to ask in class, but he said 15% of Christians in the church struggle with same-sex attraction. Even if that number is too high, some do. There is nothing said from the pulpit to help these Christians who could want to get rid of these attractions even.

Along those lines, what about pornography? It’s been said that 1 in 3 men in the church struggle with this. A large number of pastors even struggle with pornography. It’s not just a man’s problem either. More and more women are struggling with pornography. When do you hear anything about it?

It’s amazing really how many of our sins are sexual in nature. We need to talk about abortion and not just that it’s wrong, but that there is mercy and forgiveness for those who have gone this route. A number of women in the church have had abortions and some people will go to the church seeking solace after having one. We need to be able to say that abortion is wrong, but that yes, there is forgiveness available.

The church has a stigma when it comes to divorce as well. This is even the case when divorce could be justified and the right thing to do, such as in cases of adultery and/or abuse. If someone is divorced, negative thoughts are assumed about them, which is our natural tendency. Imagine going through a parking lot and seeing a car with damage on from an accident. You might assume the person was a bad driver, which is my tendency. Maybe they came in contact with the bad driver. You don’t know until you ask. Again, we need grace and mercy here.

Why don’t we talk about these sins? Are we afraid of offending people? Then we’re not really walking as Jesus did. However, if we don’t talk about them, we don’t get to have people come to the cross if it is something they have done wrong to receive mercy and forgiveness and grace, or we don’t get to give them healing from pain that has been afflicted to them in their lives.

Too many of our sermons really feel good messages to help us feel better about ourselves. Sometimes we should feel miserable about ourselves. We should so that it will drive us to repentance, which will bring us an even greater joy. If we want to be like Jesus, we need that repentance as well. The church does not do anyone any favors by neglecting the topic of sin. It’s easy to talk about the sins everyone else is doing and how bad the world is. We need to remember to clean up our own house first.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

More On Pointless Debates

What difference do some debates make? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If there’s a debate I don’t really care for on the internet, or anywhere else, it’s Calvinism vs Arminianism. I suspect my church is more in the Calvinist camp. I am not. I also don’t really care. Let’s start with some simple suggestions.

Can we as Christians please stop acting like we are more holy or righteous or take Scripture more seriously than someone else because we disagree? I am thoroughly convinced there are people on both sides of the debate that have a deep love for Jesus and Scripture and want to be faithful to the text and for whatever reason just disagree.

I remember reading years ago that Charles Simeon, a preacher of a couple of centuries ago, had said that if a Calvinist or an Arminian had been by Paul’s side as he was writing his letters, both of them would have asked that he mark out some passages he wrote. I am not saying the issue of sovereignty and free-will don’t matter. I am not saying that salvation doesn’t matter either. I am saying what is the practical difference in our primary job based on our position on these topics?

Let’s suppose that Christ has predestined everyone who is going to believe in Him like the Calvinists say. You know what? We still have the Great Commission to do because that is how we are to reach those people so let’s get out there and do it the best we can because God is worthy of our very best. If we go lax on what He commands us, then we are not taking Him seriously.

Now let’s suppose that they are wrong and that God will judge the world fairly still, as Scripture says and I think we can all agree on that, but we know that the odds of someone hearing the true gospel are greatly increased if we do the Great Commission. So what do we do? We go out there and we do the Great Commission to the best of our ability because God is worthy of our very best. In other words, whichever view is correct, we are to handle the situation the exact same way.

Now some might say the former view could lead to laziness. If that is the case, then we need to work on that ourselves. We need to learn greater discipline. Others will say the latter view will lead to anxiety. That is again a problem we need to work on for ourselves. We again need to learn greater discipline. I have heard it was once attributed to Augustine that we should work as if everything depended on us and pray as if everything depended on God.

This is not to say that we if we are studying theology should not have opinions on these issues or even discuss them, but my rule on matters that I consider secondary is that they should never be seen as a matter of division. Never should we go to those issues and use them as an excuse to bludgeon our fellow Christian with spirituality. Your neighbor could be entirely wrong and still love Jesus deeply. As I heard Steve Brown once say, “We will just agree to disagree and when we get to Heaven, Jesus will tell you that you were wrong.”

As I said, I am much more Arminian in my approach, but I would hope any Calvinist would happily be willing to put aside his personal disagreements with my theology and join hands with me when it comes to evangelizing non-Christians and answering cultists, atheists, other religions, etc. I can say on my end that I will put mine aside. My only concern will be making sure our arguments are good arguments. Yes. I have made it a point to take down plenty of bad arguments Christians put forward.

Too many of our debates that we actually divide over are really debates that are rather pointless. By pointless, I do not mean the truth doesn’t matter, but that they don’t really impact the way that we do evangelism or our orders to do the Great Commission. You can find Calvinists and Arminians both who have excellent reputations as missionaries and are devoted to Jesus.

On a similar path, I’d consider the debate about what happens to unbelievers when they die in a similar light. Some might think they want to do evangelism to help people avoid eternal conscious torment. If you hold to conditional immortality, wouldn’t that make you not be as motivated to witness to the lost? However, someone who holds to conditional immortality could agree that non-existence is a terrible fate to suffer and want to make sure people are in the Kingdom. He could say that maybe the holder to ECT gives a negative view of God, but the ECT can say the same back.

Here’s what they both have in common.

They both have the Great Commission to do. They both have the same marching orders. They both also have fates that they don’t want unbelievers to have (Or they shouldn’t want them to have) and they both have a Kingdom they want to serve and bring others into (Or they should want to at least).

Again, this doesn’t mean that in this debate the truth doesn’t matter. It means let’s try to remember that this is an in-house debate. I saw someone recently on Facebook saying that if someone wasn’t a believer in ECT, they weren’t much of a Christian. Now my view on Heaven and Hell is a bit more nuanced, but I immediately jumped in to defend my brothers and sisters who hold to conditional immortality. I would certainly hope that in any case, a Calvinist would do that for an Arminian and vice-versa, and the same for what happens when an unbeliever dies.

Again, none of this is saying don’t bother with the debate, but none of these debates are really debates that are essential to the gospel. You can believe on either end and still be a devout Christian. Perhaps it could even help our debates if we tried to realize the people on the other side are Christians like we are, maybe in some ways even better Christians. Perhaps even if we disagree with them in the end, we can still be humble and learn something from them.

And perhaps we can give a better demonstration of Christ to the world by handling our disagreements properly.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Should Revelation Be Scary?

How do we approach this book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I wrote about my mother’s concerns with weather all over the world. I asked her then if she was basing this on Revelation and she told me she had only read it once when she was a child and it scared her greatly. I can understand a child being scared by the book of Revelation, much like how on the other end the rabbis wanted a Jewish boy to wait until he was old enough before he read the Song of Songs.

Yet as adults, should we be scared of the book? In all fairness, there are some surprising aspects of this book. Years ago I read a book that asked at one point what would we know about Jesus if the only thing we had about Him was the book of Revelation? We certainly wouldn’t know about any “Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild.”

Years ago, Weird Al had a movie called UHF where he took over a TV station and brought it back from the brink with some awesome shows. One show that he had was Gandhi II. In this one, Gandhi came back and was not Mr. passive-resistance. He was a rough and tough fighter with beautiful ladies by his side toting a machine gun. Aside from the ladies, we can see Jesus being presented in such a different way in Revelation. He opens seals that bring about destruction on Earth and He comes back riding on a horse to judge and make war.

We all say to some extent we want justice. That even applies to today’s social justice warriors. What is in their name but justice? While I think it is a perverted sense of justice, they still want what they see as justice. Justice is good, but justice can also be scary. Something worth pointing out also is we constantly want mercy for ourselves and justice for our enemies. We very rarely reverse those. Perhaps we should.

Now some people reading this believe in a rapture and that Revelation describes what happens when the church is gone. That I find puzzling since why spend so much time talking about an event we won’t see? Still, if you believe that, this shouldn’t scare you because you’re not going to experience it.

I take the Orthodox Preterist approach and see the book as describing events largely happening in the first century, though some is future and one event, Revelation 12, is even a Cosmic Christmas story. These events do show justice. God takes sin seriously. The reason everything happens in Revelation in judgment is because people sin. There is a way in which justice is scary.

If we stay there, Revelation will not help us. It is not meant to just scare us. It is meant to give us hope. When Christians go through sufferings and trials, even the worst of all, God is still in charge. No matter what the Beast does in the book, it’s clear throughout who is in charge.

Often in the church today we make too big an emphasis on the devil. When it comes to what’s going on in our lives that is suffering, we blame it on the devil over and over. Whenever we are tempted to sin, it is because of the devil. After all, it can’t be that that’s our natural tendency. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need the devil to tempt me into sin. I’m quite proficient at being tempted on my own.

This fear is understood since in Revelation sealing the devil takes an army of angels to…wait….what? What did you say? The text doesn’t say that? It says one angel does it?

Huh. Imagine that.

It takes one angel to deal with the devil. Don’t practically make him the counterpart of God.

Finally, I remember several years ago being on TheologyWeb when in our chat feature on the site called the Shoutbox, someone was posting “Saints Win! Saints Win! Saints Win!” I humorously remarked that he must have just finished reading the book of Revelation. It’s a joke, but we should all really shout with joy at times. After all, the saints really do win.

In the end then, Revelation should be a comfort. Whatever the judgment that comes, God does it for the people He loves and how does it end? It ends with a wedding. It is the ultimate marriage of Heaven and Earth. It is the consummation of what has been longed for. God is with His people as He intended and all those who want to sit at the table can do so.

Come.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Is Scripture To Be Read Literally?

Do we read the text literally? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As we are going through the texts here to discuss the doctrine of God, one statement we will be given is that we are not taking the text literally. This is a favorite hangup of internet atheists. Many fundamentalists have the exact same approach. When I meet someone who says “We just read the Bible and believe what it says” then while I want to commend them for believing Scripture, I know they mean they interpret the text in a way they call literal.

Now you might be shocked to hear I think you should read the text literally. However, by literal, I mean according to the intent of the author, which is the true definition of literal. I call what many people today do reading the text literalistically.

The church fathers when reading the text asked what would be most fitting for the glory of God. Consider in Genesis 3, God walks through the garden in the cool of the day. Does that mean God has a literal body? Hopefully, we know that is not so. God is not limited in space and time. Some people could say this was an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. I could accept such a reading as well.

If we went back a little earlier even, we can read in the text that on the seventh day, God rested. Now whether you take the text as referring to a long period of time or 24-hour days or take Augustine’s doctrine of instant creation or idea of John Walton’s reading, all of these sides for the most part agree that God was not tired of creating and just needed to take a breather.

This is especially evident with some passages, especially the Psalms. God is said to be a shield and a rock in those passages. No one takes those passages to read God is literally a shield or literally a rock. The only exception might be Dake in his Dake’s Study Bible. I do not know if he went this far, but he tried to take the text literalistically and he is usually seen as holding heretical ideas.

If we went to Deuteronomy, God is described as a consuming fire. No one thinks God is a cosmic bunsen burner. Note also that none of this requires that you believe the text is true. If I approach the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon, which I do not believe, I should still try to read the text according to the intent of the author. It’s easy to read any text in any work to make something sound ridiculous, but it’s not showing charity to the author regardless, and yes, I don’t think highly of Muhammad or Joseph Smith, but I still want to try to be as charitable to their writings as possible.

Now keep in mind that I understand the followers of Islam and Mormonism respectively think that God is the ultimate author of those books. Christians believe in some way God is behind the text of Scripture, although very few hold to a dictation theory, certainly not in the scholarly world. An atheist reader will not believe that, but they still owe it to themselves to read the text fairly. If you are given a reading of the text that puts it in a bad light, but someone shows you one that puts in a better light, unless you have a strong argument against the latter argument, accept it.

A personal example of this is there is a part in the Qur’an that looks like it denies that Jesus was crucified. I was actually reading a Christian scholar of Islam on the topic once who gave a reading of that text that he thinks indicates that the Qur’an does not really argue that way. Now it would certainly be easy for me to say the Qur’an denies the crucifixion which would be a historical absurdity, but I can’t do that in good conscience. Unless I am shown a clear defeater, I will go with the kinder reading of the text. I would want them to do the same with my book.

This will happen more in the Bible when we get to passages that describe the body of God. If we take all of these in a literalistic way, God becomes quite a weird being. After all, some say if man and woman are in the image of God and that that image is physical, then God becomes a hermaphrodite.

Here’s where some people have problems. A lot of people will say, “Yeah. God doesn’t have a physical body in His nature” and read those texts accordingly, but when it comes to God having emotions, those texts are read to read God has actual emotions. I read those differently. When God is said to be angry, it means that God is acting in a way that we perceive as angry and thus can relate to and understand. I also think my position is more consistent. I don’t read either one literalistically. If you want to say one is and one isn’t, you need to give me a reason. I would actually have more respect for the person who says both are to be read literalistically, though even then I suspect they think they have to pick and choose which ones they read that way.

For atheist readers, I really hope there will be more attempts to read the text fairly. If you take a position out there and make it look absolutely absurd, odds are that you have not understood it. Most arguments against a position that are really simplistic are not well thought out and have been answered time and time again.

I also think I am reading the text fairly with all of this. For the Bible, there have been many different readings throughout history. I am not claiming to be conversant in all of them. I don’t think anyone really could be seeing as we have thousands of years of readings. You have pre-Christian thought like the Dead Sea Scrolls, post-Christian thought like Jewish writings beyond the DSS and the church fathers, medieval writings, Reformation writings, post-Reformation writings, etc., and then there are plenty of different cultures that have read the Bible differently. Still, we should strive to be as fair as we can with any text. It’s easy to go through something like the Book of Mormon and find anachronisms, but when I see something and I wonder if it was there or not in the new world at the time, I should be fair and look it up and if it was there, don’t mention it. It doesn’t mean I think Joseph Smith has an accurate account, but it means I’m being fair.

Keep this in mind as we look at the text. Will I interpret every text “literalistically”? No. Do I strive to be fair? Yes.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Does God Know What’s Happening In Genesis?

How do we read these texts? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes in the book of Genesis, it seems like God doesn’t know what’s going on. Now some of you might be thinking I’m referring to the creation passage and using that in this debate. No. I am not. I am instead referring to passages where God asks some questions or indicates He needs to investigate a matter.

Let’s start with Genesis 3. God comes walking through the garden at one point asking Adam where he is. While some might question if God knows the future, right now, this is asking if God even knows the present. Did God know where Adam was? Absolutely. He knew what had happened already. So why ask the question?

It’s asked to give Adam a chance to respond properly. As we know from the text, he didn’t. He played the blame game and blamed God and Eve both. Eve did the same thing and blamed the serpent. Unfortunately for the serpent, he had no one else to pass the buck to. God doesn’t buy any of it and punishes all of them.

Why phrase it this way? God is being presented in a way that we can understand. We will see this more when we get to impassibility. This is the language used especially in the Psalms when God is described as a rock, a shield, a hen over her young, or being told to wake up and bring about judgment. It’s not as if the Psalmist thought God was literally sleeping.

Another place to go to is Genesis 11. In this, the people decide to build a tower to the heavens. The problem with this is the flood came and the people were told to go throughout the Earth and fill it. Instead, they say they will stay in one place so that they can avoid another flood. God says “Let us go down and see what is going on.”

Why say this? It’s actually meant to be sarcasm. Here the people are trying to build something to reach to the heavens and God is in the heavens and saying “I think I see some tiny smidgen of something down there. Let’s go see what this thing is.” Consider it like Goliath talking smack to David about how insignificant an attacker he was. The text is speaking in mocking language of what God is doing to the people.

Finally, when Abraham barters with God, God seems to reason within Himself what He should do. Of course, this would mean that God would be ignorant of something. This again is not just the future, but the present. It is also God asking what the right thing to do is, which would mean God has a moral requirement and that laws of morality are above Him.

What is the purpose of this text then? It is to show Abraham as a mediator. After all, mediating is somewhat important in the Bible. Yes. God really does heed what men say. How that works will be something talked about later on. God is in charge of this deal the whole time. He sets the standards. Once a limit is reached, God says no more.

He also already does know what’s going on. It’s not as if God literally has to go and investigate. (And for what it’s worth, God is never seen going through the towns.) God is acting in a way we can relate to.

Now immediately, the objection pops up of, “But you’re not taking the text literally!” I am taking it literally in the sense that I think this is what the author intended. I am not taking it literalistically in the sense of reading it as a wooden text much like I don’t read in Deuteronomy of God being a consuming fire and think that He’s a giant cosmic bunsen burner.

All this sets us up for another such occurrence in Genesis in a passage with a lot of debate about it so we will save that for next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Immutability

Does God change? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In Malachi 3:6, God says that He does not change. This has also been a position that the church has held historically. God is the same from ages to ages. Now I know at the start there are some objections people are going to have. Doesn’t the text say God changed His mind? Didn’t God become a man? Doesn’t that count as a change?

We will get to those.

Right now, I just want to establish immutability, which means that you cannot change. This means that any change whatsoever in the nature of God does not take place. God’s nature will always stay the same.

One reason we can say this is a change is from something else to something else. We are talking about changes that change one’s nature as well, but ultimately, I would say this means no chronological change in God. God is not moving along the timeline from not being a creator to being a creator, for example. God is doing all things eternally and not moving along the timeline.

After all, God does not age. I realize some people are open theists and would disagree with my position and I plan on speaking about God and the future. For now, this is just an articulation of my position as I have said and a defense in the face of criticism will come later.

Some who are theologically inclined are wondering probably if I will say anything about impassibility. That will be a later set of posts as well as I think there are some differences there, but at the same time it is something that I hold to.

If we do hold to simplicity, immutability will also follow. God does not have several parts that can change from one thing to another. Also, if God’s very nature is to be, then that being is not changed by something else. How can what it mean to be really change? Can a limitation be put on God that wasn’t there before?

The ultimate point of much of this is to show that God is not like anything else. He is not a creature. He is not the superhero God like the Greek gods and others who are pretty much really powerful humans with superpowers. It’s also hard to say how some of this is pagan thought since no pagan gods in a polytheistic sense would be immutable or simple.

This also means that God cannot be changed by anything else. That will be either good news or bad news depending on how you see Him. If you see Him as all-loving and all-compassionate, then that is a good thing since He will stay the same and not change. If you see Him as wicked and destructive as His immutability will mean that He will stay that way.

But what about prayer? Don’t we pray to God? What about God changing His mind? What about the incarnation? Again, questions about emotions and God will come along later.

Hopefully, next time we will be able to speak on this topic.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Simplicity and The Trinity

Can God be simple and triune? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When talking about simplicity, I have said that God has no parts. This means that you cannot put A and B and C together and get God. There isn’t anything you can take away from God. We could say that what God is, He is that one something.

As Christians, we certainly don’t want to deny the Trinity. I think the evidence for that is overwhelming. However, while many of us, especially in the Protestant tradition, are good at making the Scriptural case for the Trinity, we sadly don’t often seem to go beyond that to the theology of the Trinity and how that would work with doctrines like simplicity. (Never mind your average churchgoer has never even heard of it.)

Something that we also have to avoid is tri-theism. When we talk about the three persons in God sharing one nature, we don’t mean it like having three different humans together and all those humans share human nature. That is true, but they also don’t exist in a relationship such that they’re bound up with one another. Even if you took a family of three persons, the family can still be separated.

In the Trinity, all the persons subsist within one another. They only differ by their relationship. The Father is the one who begets, the Son the one who is begotten, and the Spirit the one who proceeds. (I know Catholic and Orthodox both disagree on whether the Spirit proceeds from the Father or from the Father and the Son, but all agree He proceeds)

Because of this, we can say one of the aspects of God’s very nature is Trinity. However, the three persons of the Trinity are not three parts put together. If somehow the Son was gone, would we say we only have 66.6% of God left and He has to make up for the lack somehow? Such would imply that each person has their own exist apart from the other and when we get to that, we have tri-theism going on.

The difficulty for us here is that we can’t think of anything else in existence like this, but this should not be a shock. If God is real, why should we expect Him to be like us in this way? Too often, the view of God in modern dialogue is often God who is a superhero.

What do I mean by a superhero God? God is not a being who is not radically different from us, but He is like us except a lot more powerful, smarter, bigger, etc. Take a human and power him up enough and eventually you get to God, which is ironically what the Mormons have. God is also an agent who plays by our rules. God is a being who has to live by the same moral principles we do, as if God were subject to morality.

On that point, let’s be clear that what God does is good, but we cannot say it is moral as if God has an obligation to do something for us. God by virtue of being God and the ground of all being can do things that we cannot. Hence, one of the first questions I ask an atheist in this kind of dialogue is “Who does God owe life to?” The only obligations God has to us are those He has promised to us.”

God is not a superhero. God is someone different from us radically. We have lost often in the church this kind of deep theology. Many of us are ready to get the Trinity off of the bookshelves when it comes time to debate Jehovah’s Witnesses, but then we don’t really think about the doctrine outside of that.

So why do I hold to simplicity and the Trinity? Because the other options lower God and I just prefer to say God has existence (Or rather is existence as that is His nature) in a way greater than I realize and that way is triune. The other options are heretical in some way such as tri-theism, unitarianism, or modalism.

I plan to from here on look at other attributes of God and why they matter.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Seven Stupid Things People Do To Mess Up Their Lives

What do I think of Beau Adams’s book published by Crossover Communications?

I don’t know a single human being who has lived a substantial amount of time on this Earth who doesn’t have something they’ve looked back on and said, “How could I have done something so stupid?” That includes me. That includes Pastor Beau Adams, who wrote this book. I also think it’s really refreshing to see a pastor openly use words like stupid.

Pastor Adams takes his material from the book of Proverbs and looking at Solomon, who sadly also did stupid things to mess up his life even after acquiring so much wisdom. Of course, none of us will be perfect at this and we will still make stupid mistakes. Still, at least we will have some advanced warning and hopefully, we can make less stupid mistakes. Adams gives us seven basic categories.

The first is to not get caught up with the wrong crowd. We all know that bad company corrupts good character. Today we hear a lot about race relations and one aspect of this we hear about often is fatherlessness in the black community. This really is a problem because when young men don’t have fathers or at least father-figures, what do they do when they want to know they’re men? It can often be gangs.

The antidote to this? Choose friends who are going to build you up and not bring you down. This doesn’t mean just choose friends because of what they will do for you, but make sure your friends are friends of noble character.

The next is thinking we know it all. Just yesterday, I was in dialogue on Facebook with an atheist who was being tripped up by Thomistic philosophy. I was blunt telling him he wasn’t familiar with what he was critiquing and recommended he read Feser’s Aquinas, especially since Feser used to be an atheist himself. He told me he was tempted to respond to my last point, but thought he might say something foolish again and so would go and read the book and then come back.

Props to you. Really. Props to you.

Too many of us don’t go that route, and it shows. A Christian can argue against evolution and they don’t know how to do a Punnett Square. Note fellow Christians that I am not telling you to not argue against evolution if you think it’s false, but I am telling you to come with an informed position. If you aren’t informed, you come across like a Christ-myther who only reads Richard Carrier.

The secret is to avoid thinking you know it all. This doesn’t mean you have to study everything as no one can do that, but it means you really try to only talk about what you have studied. Study also refers to not just watching YouTube videos. Read books.

The next is an obvious one. Sexual immorality. Yesterday, I got a message from someone asking if you were to preach on something apologetically oriented for two months and wanted to avoid race and politics, what would I preach on? My answer came immediately. Sex and marriage. The person responded saying that it did need to be for two months. I told him that should last for two years. Our youth especially get six days a week of the world’s view and we only have one day a week and we don’t even say anything.

Sexual immorality can easily ruin your life. How many pastors have fallen because they got too close to the opposite sex, including Ravi Zacharias. It can all start more innocent enough, but every relationship with the opposite sex needs to be guarded closely.

Now as I go through this, I realize I could say more about each point, but then I realize that would get lengthy and you need to have something to get you interested in the book, which you should read. Other topics include laziness, dealing with debt, controlling your tongue, and handling anger.

Pastor Adams’s book could be seen as having a harsh tone to it, but the whole of the book speaks with a pastor’s heart. He’s begging you to not make these mistakes. Some of these might be easier to recover from, as most of us have lost our temper at one point. Others are much harder, such as when we fall into sexual sin. I still get a sting anytime I go through my library now and see a Ravi Zacharias book.

Final word then is simply to get the book. You’ll likely learn something from it and hopefully you can put it into practice. You want to avoid doing something stupid after all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)