Apostles’ Creed: Conclusion

October 24, 2014

What have we learned looking at the Apostles’ Creed? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As Christians, we’re people of Scripture, but it’s not as if the canon was closed and then lo and behold, everything just popped into place here centuries later. We have a rich tradition that we came from and we need to look at that tradition. Too many Christians really have no knowledge whatsoever of church history. They do not know who great thinkers were, what great problems the church faced, great events that shaped the church, and how their own Bibles came down to them.

How can it really hurt your Christianity, if it is true, to know its history?

The look at the Apostles’ Creed has been a start for that. I specifically chose this creed due to it being shared in my own church on a regular basis, which is one of the reasons I think my church is so wonderful. I listened to it regularly and repeated it regularly and started wondering how many of us have really thought about the creed.

As we’ve gone through it, I hope I’ve impressed on you a deeper meaning of what has been said. Naturally, I’m not claiming a perfect interpretation, but I’m hoping that I have given you a thought-provoking interpretation. Even more than that, I hope that I have ended up giving you a life-changing look at the creed and furthermore, I hope I have given myself one.

We Christians are actually people of creeds. Much of our Christian lifestyle focuses on right living, and indeed it should! We should be living a certain way if we are said to be Christians, but much of that should be based on right doctrine. What you live should be a direct outworking of what it is that you really believe.

Consider if you are your average middle-class person living today and lo and behold, you receive undeniable proof from your bank that a rich relative passed away and left you millions in your bank account. Is your lifestyle going to change somehow? You bet it will! Even if you say “I don’t really care for buying a lot of fancy things”, you will probably at least care for getting your children through college and if you don’t have those, you will hopefully care for giving away money you don’t really need to charities that you think deserve that money.

If you go to see your doctor and he tells you you have a disease and it will be terminal unless you do X, Y, and Z, then chances are you will end up doing X, Y, and Z. That is, you will do them if you want to live. In both of these cases, it is your knowledge that is affecting how you live and in the case of Christianity, it is the claim to have the knowledge of the revelation of God. That should change everything.

Pay attention to the creed and pay attention to what it is you believe and especially let the creed drive you back into the Scriptures, the ultimate authority we have for what we believe today. From there, spend some time studying what has happened in the life of the church and how it is that you got that Bible that you value so greatly.

The creed is a statement that connects you with those Christians from the past, Christians that lived in a world where their lives were on the line regularly and being a Christian carried a serious cost. They often also did not have the luxury of the fine resources for study you and I have. We have centuries of Christian though, a gold mine of knowledge, that we can draw from. What a waste on our part if we do not learn from it and benefit from it.

I encourage you to do be benefiting from it. This is your heritage. Some of you might enjoy going to a web site like ancestry.com and learning about your family history. How much more should you be interested in learning about the history of your spiritual family?

Let that journey begin today.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 10/25/2014: Marcia Montenegro

October 23, 2014

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

First off, we unfortunately had to postpone the interview we had scheduled with Matthew Flannagan. Why? I came down with a virus and I was in no condition whatsoever to do an interview. Unfortunately, my wife was a recipient of my generosity and she is just now starting to get over it. So if you’re wondering why the latest episode didn’t upload on ITunes, that’s why.

Now I am in good enough health that I am ready to continue doing the show again and this Saturday, we’re doing a show in preparation for Halloween. As you can expect, there’s a lot going on around this time of year. Many Christians wonder if they should participate in Halloween. There is also supposed to come out this weekend the movie “Ouija.” Is this just a harmless children’s game or is there something more to it?

Years ago, Gary Habermas advised me to not study the occult for myself. It can be too powerful of a draw. Instead, I should save such discussions for those who have come out of it and know it from the inside-out. I am fortunate to be friends with one such person and am honored that this Saturday I get to welcome Marcia Montenegro to the Deeper Waters Podcast.

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Prior to trusting Christ, Marcia was involved for many years in Eastern and New Age beliefs, and was a licensed professional astrologer for 8 yrs. During that time, she also taught astrology, and was President of the Metropolitan Atlanta Astrological Society. Marcia has a Masters in Religion from Southern Evangelical Seminary, Charlotte, NC, and is a missionary with Fellowship International Mission. Through her ministry, Christian Answers for the New Age, she has spoken in 30 states and is a frequent guest on radio, and has published articles in several Christian publications, informing Christians about the New Age as well as reaching out to those who are part of it. Marcia is the mother of an adult son, and is the author of SpellBound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today’s Kids (Cook, 2006).

Marcia has now come out of the New Age movement and has devoted her life to helping others to come out of it. In fact, many times I have messaged her about something that sounds as if it was New Age to get her opinion on it. Unfortunately, much of this can also be found in the Christian church as many of the notions that are seen as popular today are actually quite occult in their mindset. (Consider the Word of Faith movement as an example of this.)

I hope you’ll be listening as you and your family prepare for Halloween just as ours is. You want your children to be fun and safe this time of year and you also should want to know about any dangers of the occult that you might not be aware of. Please be watching your podcast feed for the latest episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast featuring Marcia Montenegro.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Book Plunge: God’s Design For Man And Woman

October 22, 2014

What do I think of this book by the Kostenbergers? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I wish to thank Andreas and Margaret Kostenberger first off for sending me a copy of this book for review purposes. Ever since my marriage, I have been interested in reading material that can help me improve in that area. The book certainly starts off with a gripper. Andreas talks about coming home from being overseas and going through his old home and realizing his Dad’s things were gone. It hits him then. His parents were no longer together. His Dad had moved out.

That is a good motivator to make sure you get marriage right. No one wants to have that.

Now let’s be clear about something at the start. While this book is directly applicable to those of us who are married, the Kostenbergers have plenty to say for singles and it’s not just about how to get a mate. When they go through the Bible, they point out people who served God faithfully and who yet were never married. This includes men and women both.

They definitely go through the Bible as well! They start with Genesis and then give a look all the way through the Bible to see how the relationships between men and women are described. They note that the consistent position throughout the Bible is that in the family, the man is to lead and that this would apply to church and government as well. This does not mean women play no role whatsoever of course, but that the main position has been given to the men.

It’s towards the end that they say how this all works out and this is one area I would have liked some more expanding on. For instance, let’s go with the house rules of Ephesians 5 and the Kostenbergers argue for male leadership here. That means that a husband is to love his wife definitely as Christ loved the Church, and a wife is to submit to and respect her husband.

Okay. How does that work?

Because we know too often that there has been the abusive husband who has used the submission passage like a whip. I am absolutely convinced the Kostenbergers want nothing to do with that. There is never a place for a husband to abuse his wife. Yet knowing the misuse of the passage does not tell us the proper use. How would they recommend this be lived out? I would like to have seen more on this.

I was also surprised there was not much said about the sexual relationship between the two persons in marriage. How should they approach this? In light of Biblical submission, this is a topic that is important too. We wouldn’t want to say a husband has a right to sex on demand of course, but then there is the passage in 1 Cor. 7 about not denying your bodies to one another. Perhaps the Kostenbergers have written on this more elsewhere. If so, I would like to get to see it.

I also found the appendices to be quite helpful. The history of feminism was fascinating and it’s certainly led to where we are today. I had no problem seeing them go after Rachel Held Evans either for her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, which I also found to be severely lacking. The Kostenbergers explain the hermeneutical mistakes that Evans makes quite well.

To which, it’s great to see a section on hermeneutics as well. They make it clear that this is not a science per se, but rather a methodology. After all, we may not reach 100% certainty on what a text means, but we can reach a case of high likelihood of what it means. It is not to be seen as an all-or-nothing game.

If you’re someone who disagrees with their view on male headship, you will find your position is treated fairly as well. The Kostenbergers are gentle on those who disagree with them. The book is highly approachable and you do not need to be specifically trained in Biblical studies in order to get a lot out of it. In fact, getting this book could be a great beginning to Biblical studies.

Those interested in male/female relationships and what it means to be a man or woman should get this book and learn it well.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: Amen

October 21, 2014

Do we really believe the creed? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The Apostles’ Creed ends with the word amen. That’s short and sweet and most of us probably don’t think about it. For a Jew saying a prayer, an amen was a way of saying “So be it.” It was an affirmation of what was just said. Something that made Jesus unique in His ministry was that He actually said amen about His own statements.

Bart Ehrman has said before that if he went through the Apostles’ Creed, the only line he could say with certainty was “Suffered under Pontius Pilate.” For those of us who are Christians, we should really consider that. If Ehrman is doing that and is really living it out accordingly, he could be in some ways taking the creed more seriously than we are. What does it mean if we go to a church service, say the Apostles’ Creed, and then live the rest of the life like none if it was true.

If we end it with an amen, we are saying that we believe all of it. As was said at the start, we believe some stuff that is utterly fantastic and we do have to realize that many atheists are right on this point. These claims we make are extraordinary. Too many of us have grown up so much with the story of Christianity that we no longer allow it to shock and amaze us. We have read the Scriptures so much that our minds can just go over the words. How many of us can quote John 3:16 so easily without really thinking about what it would mean if John 3:16 was true?

Certainly, none of us are going to live out what we say we believe perfectly, and that goes with most any position that we take. We will always have some inconsistencies in how we live, but we have to ask if the rest of the world sees our lives as truly reflecting what we believe about Jesus and the Christian claims or if they don’t.

After all, if Christianity is true, and hopefully you’re convinced that it is, it is simply the best offer that you could ever get and the greatest news that there is. The good news is that God is reclaiming this world for Himself and that His Kingdom is coming to cover the Earth. The good news is that evil is being dealt with and will be dealt with ultimately. The good news is that the promises that we read in Scripture really are for us.

In summation, when we say amen to the creed, let us really think about it. These aren’t just words we’re saying. They’re claims we’re making not just about reality, but what we say we believe about reality. We really believe that the second person of the Trinity came and lived among us and that He died and rose again. Those who respond with disbelief could sadly be realizing the impact of what we say more than those of us who say we believe it and deny it practically by our actions every day, and those actions speak louder than any words we say in a service.

At our church, we regularly recite the Apostles’ Creed. I happen to quite enjoy and appreciate that. It connects us to a tradition where many Christians have gone before us and we are sent back to an earlier time and realize that those Christians are indeed our brothers and sisters. We believe what they believed. They believed what we believe.

Let’s make sure we do. Next time you say the creed really pause and ask yourself if you really do believe what you are saying. If you do, are you going to live accordingly?

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: And The Life Everlasting

October 20, 2014

What awaits those who trust in Christ? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Death is something we often don’t really care for. It’s such a finality to matters. I have been to two funerals this year for instance. One was for an aunt who died. The other was for a neighbor who lived just down the street from us and whose death we were not at all expecting. My wife has lost her grandfather this year as well.

When someone dies, we are suddenly filled with grief if we knew the person well and cared for them. When I walk past my neighbor’s house for instance, I can know that in this lifetime, I will never see him out there tending to his garden and have him wave at me and have my wife and I talk to him about the plants in our garden.

Scripture gives us the promise of life everlasting as does the Apostles’ Creed, but here is another area where we have misunderstandings. This is often done at funerals. As I mentioned in an earlier post, too often, we have made it seem like the goal of Christianity is simply to get to Heaven. That’s a goal very much about us.

Yet the Bible is about what God is doing with His creation for His glory and part of it is redeeming the creation. It is not as if he says “Dang it. Looks like the devil screwed up that Garden of Eden plan. So much for that planet.” Too many Christians have this idea. This world is not our home supposedly. God did not make it to be our eternal dwelling.

Wherever that idea comes from, it is not Scripture. It is more a Platonic sort of idea of an otherworldly experience apart from this world. In fact, Scripture says the opposite. Heaven comes down to Earth in the book of Revelation. It is not the case that people go to Heaven. God comes to dwell with His people. His people do not go to a far off place where He is. In fact, if we are true believers of Scripture, we should realize God is here right now. We are just waiting for His presence to be more manifest and I would suggest the problem is not with Him, but it is with us. After all, it can never be with Him.

Part of that promise is not just going back to Eden, but going beyond Eden. This will be a place that is far better than Eden. This will be life everlasting and of a kind that will eternally satisfy us. Thankfully, it will not be like what we often see in the cartoons. For most of us, if Heaven was simply sitting on clouds and playing harps, most of us would wonder if we had instead gone to Hell. It is why some youth growing up have asked the question of if Heaven would be boring. With our descriptions of it, we have not given them much to be excited about.

Of course, the biggest excitement is that God is there and we interact with Jesus. Now if some of you don’t get excited as you should at that, could it be because we have not made the topic that exciting? We have turned God into some detached far off being that is not really interacting with our world, aside from as a friend of mine said yesterday, to perhaps send a hurricane to judge homosexuals and people attending casinos and I could add perhaps answering that prayer for a miracle and finding that parking space every now and then.

And as for Jesus, well we’ve made Jesus this nice approachable figure from our Sunday School lessons that doesn’t really challenge us which leads to an obvious question. Why would someone crucify this Jesus? For instance, as I read through Five Views on the Historical Jesus, I found Crossan’s essay quite interesting with the ending that Jesus would be seen like someone providing social renewal with a message of love. Okay. Perhaps He did. Here’s my problem. A Jesus like that is not a threat. At the worst, He’s an annoyance. There’s no reason to crucify Him.

Do we really think about Jesus? Do we think about who He is and why He came? For instance, last night I read Psalm 86 with the prayer in there of thanking God for saving them. Now isn’t this interesting? The knowledge of salvation and forgiveness before the cross? But on what basis? Because people were keeping the Law to show their faithfulness to God in response of His faithfulness to them.

Did Jesus really come into a world where the Jews were looking for a way of salvation? It doesn’t look like it. Most of them had a way that seemed to work quite well for them. Yet still He came to show them a new way. What a strange message this must have been. Instead of righteousness with God being found on the basis of the Law which came from Moses, it was found on the basis of this man who just showed up and did some miracles and spoke in these strange parables? Look at it this way, and you can understand why Jesus was not received as well by the leaders of His day. We must all honestly ask ourselves before we condemn them if we would do any better.

Then you can ask also how John the Baptist fit into this. Why did John the Baptist speak out against the actions of Herod? Was he just a political agitator? Or was he concerned about the righteousness of the people and people getting their hearts right in preparation? If he said nothing about the leader of the people openly disobeying what was righteous, then how could He be taken seriously?

These are the kinds of questions we need to be asking. Who was Jesus? What kind of world did He come into? What difference did He make in it? What difference does He make in it? What does He tell us about God? Remember, Jesus is the revelation of God. He is the one through whom we are to see and interpret the Father. To know Jesus is to know God.

If the prospect of eternity with the Trinity does not excite us, it is because we have not come to fully know them as they are, and indeed this certainly applies to my own self who often does not get excited enough. None of us will have that kind of excitement until we pass over into eternity as we are all still bound by our sinful natures.

The good part is that we will have all of eternity to discover the wonder that we have missed and the wonder that we were meant for. It will never be interrupted. It will never be painful. It will never be sorrowful. It will never be boring. This does not mean we will be passive. We will be incredibly active. We will be working in Heaven, but it will be worthwhile and enjoyable, unlike most of our work today where most of us can’t wait to get home from the evening shift.

To see the analogy, go back to the Garden of Eden. As David Lamb says in his book “God Behaving Badly”, man is placed in the garden and given a job and he is given what many men have called the greatest commandment God ever gave man. “Go forth and multiply.” As Lamb says, he is told to eat a lot of food and have a lot of sex. Now men, imagine going through CareerBuilder or a Monster.com and seeing a job description like this.

“I have a garden that I want a husband and wife to attend to for me. I will cover all of their expenses. I will handle their dental, health, and any other insurance coverage. Aside from one tree I choose, they may eat anything they grow in the garden that they want. I will make sure their clothing and living arrangements are provided for. I will make sure their children are provided for. Oh. One more thing. I also expect the husband and wife to have a lot of sex with each other in the garden. No credentials or skills in gardening needed. I will teach you all you need to know.”

Personally, if I saw a job application like that, I would be applying immediately. In fact, I would probably be reapplying to it every day.

It’s my suspicion that our work in Heaven will be jobs tailor made for us. I suspect someone like myself could be assigned to do research and teaching and I will have the best library of all with all the books ever written and I will get to do that research alongside people like the Apostle Paul and Thomas Aquinas and just think of the conversations we can have.

Also, I do fully believe that this will take place on this Earth. What all that entails for us I cannot say. I get suspicious of people who claim to give detailed accounts of what Heaven is like when Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12 that he could not speak of what He saw. Whatever it is, it is made for us to enjoy and it will be enjoyable because it is our place in God that we find. We find our total completion in Him when we get there.

As I write this, I can confess I do get a hint of that joy and that desire. To use the parallel given earlier, and every man can understand this, imagine being at work one day and it being tedious and boring and you find out on your break you have a voicemail from your wife. You turn it on to listen still kind of in a moping mood and hear something like this.

“Hey honey. I just wanted to let you know it’s been really lonely here and I’ve been thinking about you a lot and how much I appreciate what you do. I sent the children over to grandma and grandpa’s to spend the night with them. I am as we speak fixing your favorite dinner right now and we’ll share it together when we get home and then, we can go to the bedroom together. I went out and got a new outfit today and I think you’ll really enjoy it. I can’t wait to see you when you get home and I hope you can’t wait to really see me.”

I can assure you if I was that husband, my mood would have gone straight up for the rest of the day and I could not wait to get home in the evening. Some of you women might be thinking “Won’t my husband be worried about how much the outfit cost?” I can assure you that will be one of the last things on his mind. In fact, the desire that he has is in fact enjoyable in itself. Anything he goes through for the rest of the day will be worth it in comparison to the joy that he knows awaits him when he gets home.

This is why the Bible compares things so often to a marriage. We are awaiting the full consummation of what is to come. Remember also we are the bride. We are the ones that will have the life of God given to us. What you see happening in a marriage is meant to be a picture of what happens between Christ and the church. This is in fact why we must take marriage seriously as Christians and must take sex sacredly as Christians. To do anything less is to dishonor God.

Keep the faith Christian, and someday, you will be in the manifest presence of God celebrating His great love and never again to be absent or apart from it.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: The Resurrection of the Body

October 17, 2014

Does the body really matter? Let’s dive into Deeper Waters and find out.

I was at a funeral and hearing the pastor really mess up the eulogy he was giving for the deceased. Unfortunately, I’ve heard this kind of talk before, yet I got some hope as we got to 1 Thess. 4 being mentioned. Surely, this is where the pastor will redeem himself. The pastor started speaking about 1 Thess. 4 and said we have the same hope as the apostle Paul.

Yes! Yes! Go on please!

“We have the hope that we will see our loved ones again in Heaven.”

And there I’m deflated again.

Am I against seeing loved ones in Heaven? Not at all. What am I against? 1 Thess. 4 is not about that. 1 Thess. 4 tells you specifically what it’s about. It’s about the Lord and His return and the resurrection of the dead that will happen then. It’s about how we do not mourn like those who have no hope and that our bodies will one day come out of that grave.

If you skip ahead to Heaven without mentioning the resurrection, then you do not have a completed victory of God.

You see, in overcoming death, Christ shows that nothing has any power over us. Death is the ultimate destroyer ripping our souls from our bodies. Those bodies are good! We often lose sight of that! God did not create us to be angels. He created us to be humans and part of being human is living with a body.

This is why the resurrection of the dead is so important and why I think that anyone who denies the future bodily resurrection has stepped into heresy. Our bodies will be resurrected the same way Christ’s was. He is the first fruits. He is the exemplar of what we have coming. If we are not raised physically, then Christ was not raised physically.

At another funeral I was at once, one preacher spoke about the deceased and said that right now, she was experiencing the resurrection. I had to look and say to myself “Sorry Pastor. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure that her body is still in that casket.” We too often think that once someone has died and gone on to be in the presence of Jesus, then that means that things are done with them. No. They are happier than they were of course, but they still await being reunited with their bodies.

When Christ comes to redeem, He does not redeem just us. He redeems all of creation as well. He comes to release it from its bondage. He will not allow the devil to ruin creation so much that it is irredeemable. He will not let the devil have a victory even over the human body. His goal is to bring redemption for all.

Funerals unfortunately are hot beds for these kinds of mistakes, but let us not make them any more. We are not just people who are awaiting life in a Heaven to come. We are people who are waiting an embodied life in a physical creation that God has waiting for us. He did not make a mistake with giving us bodies. He has them for us for a reason. (This is also why we honor God with our bodies including sexually. What you do with your body matters.)

Celebrate and honor your body today and remember that as you live a righteous life, so your body will show that in the future.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 10/18/2014: Matthew Flannagan

October 16, 2014

What’s coming up on this week’s podcast? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

War. It’s a sad reality in our world and we look forward to a day when it is no more. We often take it as a sign of evil, so what a shock it can be to so many when we find God in the OT sending the Israelites into war to destroy the enemy. Aren’t we supposed to be serving a God of love? How can a God of love order the massacre of the Canaanites? Not only that, how can he allow institutions like slavery to exist? These are questions we need to have answered.

And for these questions, we need someone with a keen mind able to handle the historical and philosophical issues.

So why not Dr. Matthew Flannagan?

In his own words:

“Dr Matthew Flannagan is a theologian with proficiency in contemporary analytic philosophy. He holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Otago, a Masters (with First Class Honours) and a Bachelors in Philosophy from the University of Waikato; he also holds a post-graduate diploma in secondary teaching from Bethlehem Tertiary Institute. PhD, University of Otago) he currently works as an independent researcher and as teaching pastor at Takanini Community Church in Auckland, New Zealand.”

In fact, Dr. Flannagan along with Paul Copan has a new book coming out on this topic called Did God Really Command Genocide? This book is due to be out next month from Baker and will cover many of the topics that we will be discussing on our show. So what kind of topics are open for discussion on this episode?

What about the conquest of the Midianites in Numbers 31? This is one of the favorite ones to use, especially since there’s this strange idea in there that the people can keep the virgin girls for themselves. Isn’t this just a great big rape fest that is going on? Would a God of love have really ordered such an attack where the men got to keep the young women for themselves who were virgins?

What about the conquest of the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15? Note also that Saul is told here, as God orders in other places, to completely destroy everything. Not even the animals were to be spared in this conquest. Samuel wasn’t even pleased with the idea of sparing the animals as an act of sacrifice to YHWH. Why would God order such a massacre to take place and on top of all of that, not even spare the animals in it? What did they do?

Fortunately, Dr. Flannagan is highly equipped to answer these questions and indeed they will be answered. I hope that you will be joining us this Saturday to listen. If you want to listen the show will normally air from 6-8 PM EST on the Universal Pentecostal Network with the recording taking place from 3-5 PM EST. Of course, you can also be checking your ITunes feed. I look forward to it and I hope you do too!

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: The Forgiveness of Sins

October 15, 2014

Do we recognize what forgiveness is? Let’s dive into Deeper Waters and find out!

C.S. Lewis has a wonderful essay in his book The Weight of Glory on the forgiveness of sins. Don’t we all believe in that? Oh we say we do. But do we really? Lewis points out that many times when we say we want to be forgiven, what we really want is to be excused. Many times when we come to God in prayer, we list our sins and we often tell about how it happened and why we did what we did and how we tried so hard to resist a temptation and we just gave in. Then we ask for forgiveness.

When we ask for forgiveness, we really mean that we want it treated as if it never happened. Too often however, we ask not for forgiveness, but for our sins to be excused. We want God to simply understand why it is that the sin happened. We want Him to overlook what happened, but when we do that, then in essence, the sin is still there. (Of course, I do think God truly forgives it, but for us, it is there.)

Forgiveness is not excusing however.

You see, there are realities many times that can make it harder to resist a sin. A guy with sexual addiction for instance could have a hard time driving past a store selling pornographic supplies even if he is a Christian. Now someone like myself who is someone who very much enjoys sex, really has an attitude of wanting to avoid that as much as possible and wanting to honor my wife with my eyes. Can there still be a temptation? No doubt, but that temptation is not as strong as it is for someone with an addiction. I would be more prone to fall short in other areas, like losing my temper unnecessarily with my Allie or in a struggle with pride.

So let’s suppose someone with the addiction goes in anyway and then later confesses. The reality is, God knows all the excuses the man can give. In fact, He knows them better than the man does. He also knows what a struggle it has been for the person. He knows there are several factors at play. But He also knows one thing on His own. He knows that there is a sin. There can be no excuses for the sin. In the end, the person did do something wrong even if it was harder for him to resist and that part cannot be overlooked. That part is a blight on the face of God.

You see, sin is in many ways a sort of divine treason. Let’s look at all the things we implicitly say when we sin.

We deny the goodness of God because we think He is keeping something good from us.

We deny the love of God because we think He is being unloving keeping something from us.

We deny the omniscience of God because we think He doesn’t know that this is something we should do.

We deny the omnipresence of God because we think He doesn’t see.

We deny the omnipotence of God because we think He won’t judge.

We deny the righteousness of God because we think He has no place to judge.

We deny the rule of God because we are rebelling against Him.

In fact, we are committing divine treason. We are saying that God should not be on the throne. We should be. We want to be deity.

I have a theory also on seeing sin as uncreation. In creation, God makes a world good and beautiful. Our sin changed much of that and whenever we do sin, we are undoing the work of God. When we do that which is righteous, we are extending the work of God. We are being traitors to our own side and we will be held accountable for that.

Unless we are forgiven.

So really think about that. God does what we think could not be done. He really forgives us. He knows there is no excuse for what we did. There is no justifying it. Nothing can ever make what we did right. Yet despite all of that, He willing to treat it as if it didn’t happen and He is willing to restore us to a place that we don’t even deserve in the first place, in fact, to a place even better than the garden.

God never justifies sin. He cannot. He will not. There is no justification for anything that is done wrong. God justifies sinners. His hatred and disgust of sin will never change. But so also, His love of those of us who struggle with it will also never change. You cannot do something to make God love you less. You cannot do anything to make Him love you more. It’s constant.

Because God already loves you, He will forgive you when you ask. You do not earn forgiveness. You never could. It is a gift and it is a gift that is freely given. When God forgives you, He truly does. He no longer holds your sins against you. Too often it is we who still hold them against ourselves. If only we could grasp for a moment even the forgiveness of God and live with it for the rest of our lives.

Rest assured Christian. If you have confessed, you are forgiven, but go and sin no more. Yet when you do, confess and be forgiven. God is with you in your struggle.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

The Christian Who Cried Pagan

October 14, 2014

Are some Christians overplaying the danger in a field? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

In the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf there is a little boy tending the flocks and he gets bored so he cries out that there’s a wolf coming. Twice the people of the town come out to help him deal with the wolf, and twice they find out that he was making it up. The third time he cries, he does so because there really is a wolf, and no one heeds the call, and the boy has to take responsibility for a destroyed flock.

A lot of Christians are like that boy, especially as we get closer to Halloween, although to be fair, most are certainly not intentionally or even unintentionally pulling a prank. What they are often doing is getting it so people will either not listen at all or will listen too much.

Let’s start with the danger of listening too much. How is that possible? What happens is often a pagan paranoia is developed where it is seen that most everything is pagan and we must avoid any mixture of Christianity with paganism. Now of course, I’m not for combining Christianity with pagan beliefs, but let’s make sure that’s what is really being done.

When it is said too often, a Christian unprepared will see paganism in everything around him and especially think that the Christians stole ideas from the pagans. What about Christmas? It was pagan! What about Easter? It was pagan! All this is believed usually on someone else’s say so. Halloween can easily fall into that category. What’s a possible end result?

Ever heard of Mithras?

If you go this route, then what is going to happen when Christians meet internet atheists who will be more than happy to tell them that Jesus is based on pagan myths of the time like the story of Mithras? They’ve believed you on Christians copying from the pagans in every other area so why not believe you on this one? The constant cry of pagan has led them to believe that indeed, everything is pagan.

Now what about the other end? I don’t deny there are some real dangers out there with people really trying to contact other spirits, like the usage of the Ouija Board, but the danger in this one is it does become a boy crying wolf and after awhile, people just don’t really listen. There are many things in my life that I assure you many well-meaning Christians have told me are pagan/demonic/etc. It has reached the point where it gets so bizarre I don’t even really listen any more.

That’s not as much to worry about if you think the person has discernment, but if they don’t, then when you make claims they are sure are absolutely ridiculous, they will be less prone to hear you on other claims. “Yeah. I know that person said that Transcendental Meditation is dangerous, but they also told me that watching that Disney movie was dangerous as well. They’re just scared of everything.”

The reality is that we are to be careful, but we are not to live in fear. Jesus is Lord of all and is claiming the world for Himself. That includes the days of the year. (By the way, those days of the week are named after pagans but I don’t see these Christians making a loud cry to change the names of the days of the calendar.) The main question I want to ask you is about your intent. Who do you want to serve?

For instance, let’s suppose you told me and convinced me that wedding rings were really pagan in origin. Let’s suppose you told me they were used to commemorate a pagan deity in a covenant.

Okay. That’s nice.

I’m still wearing mine.

Why? Because I know why I wear it. I wear it to honor my wife and to proclaim to the world that we are married. I didn’t make a covenant before a pagan god. I made it before the God of Scripture and fellow believers. I say the same for Halloween. If today on Halloween what we do is dress up in costumes and get candy, I think any pagan deities would be insulted. Here a day meant to worship them has turned into getting candy in costumes?

Sounds like if that were the case (And I’m not saying Halloween is a pagan holiday. I doubt that very much in fact.) then we’ve made a spectacle.

If you want to say something is pagan, make sure you have some real solid evidences for that. It can’t just be speculation. We’re to be people of truth, that includes not just representing ourselves, but representing others. To claim something is pagan when it is not is in fact to bear false witness and can only lead to more trouble.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

The Titanic Museum

October 13, 2014

Can the Titanic have anything to teach us about Christianity? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Today, my wife and I spent all day in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area and the first place we stopped at was the Titanic Museum. We wish to thank our friend Michelle Fahidy, who let us come in for a month designed to apppreciate those in ministry and also provided us with a copy of a book by someone who was speaking there who tells the story of one man on the Titanic and how his faith impacted him. She told us that the man who wrote the book decided to into ministry upon hearing about this story.

When my wife and I came up there, we were each given a boarding pass to represent someone who was on the ship. My wife got Kate Herman, who was supposedly 24 at the time when she got on the ship. (The pass we got said 24 though the online information seems a bit different.) I got Lawrence Beesley, who I got told was 34. That was quite odd for both of us seeing as at the time of writing this, my wife is 24 and I am 34. Even more amusing is that Lawrence was an avid reader who when he heard the ship was going down went back to the cabin to get his books.

Yeah. Sounds like yours truly here.

The museum has several artifacts from the Titanic and you are given a listening device at the start. When you see a number written somewhere, you key it in and you can hear a recorded account concerning what you are seeing. Sometimes, you can hear some added commentary if you push in additional numbers that are given to you during a recording. There are even numbers that can be used for youth.

When you get to the iceberg part, things change drastically. Immediately, the atmosphere is colder to match what happened. You can put your hand in the water which is set at 28 degrees. Why that temperature? Because that’s supposed to be the temperature of the water the night the Titanic hit and sunk. I could hardly bear having my hand in such water for a minute, and I wanted to have it in as long as I could to impress my wife. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to have to stay floating in that water.

So what does this have to do with Christianity?

A number of people got on that boat expecting to get to their destination safely. After all, it was unsinkable. A number of ministers were on the boat and as the ship went down, they were urging people to get right with God and giving away their life jackets and seats in the life boats. There were husbands and wives that refused to part at all and if one died, the other died as well. The ship that was supposed to be safe due to being unsinkable was not.

Of course, a lesson we get out of that immediately is pride. 1 John warns us about the pride of life. None of us is promised another day normally and too many of us have the idea that we are too big to fail. We are not. We are all prone to various weaknesses and struggles. Some thought the Titanic was in fact challenging reality by claiming nothing could sink it. Perhaps they were right on the motives of some and perhaps that’s something that led to sinking.

The second point is that since no one is promised another day, the time to do that which we ought to do is today. Today is the day to be a good spouse to your spouse. Today is the day to be a good parent to your children. Today is the day to serve Jesus the way that you’ve always wanted to serve Him. Celebrate every day. You not only know what tomorrow will or will not bring, but you do not know if tomorrow will ever come.

The Titanic Museum if you’re in the area any time is a great place to go to. You will learn plenty about the Titanic and I found it gripping as well thinking about all these people who died on that fateful day. The Titanic museum brings it all home. Let it be a reminder of how suddenly life can be gone. We are but a mist that is here today and gone tomorrow. Let’s make a difference today.

In Christ,

Nick Peters


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