Getting Ready For My Wife? I Guess I Was Wrong…

I am a guy who likes to think ahead in the game. I am not waiting to get my PhD to start teaching people, I started it long ago; I am not waiting to have more money and time to go to the gym and have a regular diet, I am doing it now; I am not waiting to have a wife to be a good husband, I want to be a good husband while I am single. What does that mean?

Guys who are not loving Christ won’t start loving Christ because they are dating you. If they are not 100% focused on the Lord right now, they won’t change because of you (if God isn’t enough to make them grow and live for Him, what makes you think you will be?). I am reflecting on these things since I started counseling people. Some girls want a bad boy, some girls have no idea what they want, some want all the boys available so they can pick one, and some want godly men. I am not wasting my time with anything less than the last option. I decided, then, to become more godly, for my wife’s sake.

Whenever I worked out at the gym I would think, “I’m doing this so that my future wife can have a healthy husband” (cardio will be good for you as soon as you get married, just wait for it and remember my words, son). I would read Scripture and pray every morning because how am I supposed to lead my wife to seek the Lord on a daily basis if I am not doing so? I would read and try to understand women so that I could understand my wife better (I have had little success in this area so far, young soldier). But that is blatantly wrong!

Remember That Promise? Me Neither…

Why on earth would I use something uncertain to guide my life? I know many girls think God has promised them a perfect prince, but that is not true. The truth is that you might have rejected your perfect prince a year ago, or that you will meet him 10 years from now, or that there will be no prince at all! I know culture presses us telling us we need to find someone to be complete, but that person is Jesus, not _______ (insert name of the guy you dream on dating here). You might have heard that you will find someone in love songs, but not from God. God has never promised us a spouse! If you live with that certainty just know, you are wrong. Some people think singleness is a problem to be solved. It is not, and Stacy Reaoch got it right in this article.

Nowhere in Scripture God has promised us a spouse! He has promised we would be hated (Lk. 6:22-23), in fact, “all who decide to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). I can list other promises here but I can not list promises that are not here. Just keep this in mind, when you act and hope that God will give you something that he never promised you, you are not acting on faith, you are just being naive and selfish. Naive because you need to read your Bible and hold God’s promises firmly while rejecting everything extra that is not in there. And selfish because you think you deserve or need a spouse. You don’t.

MM – Motivations Matter

If God ever grants me the blessed opportunity to live the rest of my life serving and laying down my life for a godly lady, that is what I will do. Believe me, I dream with that too. I just know that that might not happen, it is not necessary. If that doesn’t happen, my growth was in vain. In fact, if the reason behind my want to grow is not God himself, then it was vain even if I find a godly woman.

My motivations are important. When you stand before God in That Day you won’t be asked just what did you do, but why did you do them. Imagine me saying to God, “yeah, every time we spoke it was just because I wanted to be ready for my future queen. But we good right?” How messed up that is! I have heard from girls that my attitude was “cute” and “mature”. Well, it wasn’t. It was a huge misunderstanding I had, and God opened my eyes.

Upside Down

Dating or not, married or not, I will keep on dedicating my life to the Lord. Single or not, I will still be giving all I have to the growth of God’s Kingdom. A godly lady is an extra, it won’t change my decisions for God. I now pray every morning because I need to be satisfied by God every morning (Ps. 90:14). I read God’s Word every day because I need to walk in truth and because He has words of eternal life (Ps. 86:11 & John 6:68). If God decides to bless me with a godly damsel, I will be ready to humbly accept the task of living for her. But that can not be my motivation to grow. My motivation now is God.

So I learned that motivations matter, and although some people thought my decision to focus on my future spouse were good and honorable, I am sorry to disappoint, but my focus is Jesus. And while the only love relationship I have is with him, I will be loving him and dedicating myself to him. Now, my growth is grounded on him, not in the promises my culture made for me. I can now firmly stand in the rock of Israel. In summa, I want you to finish this reading with this in mind: whatever you do, do it for God, because everything else is uncertain. With God everything is certain (if he said so). So live for him in such a way that if someone finds you they have certainly found the Lord before.

Let your focus be God!

God bless us!

If Someone Found Another Letter Written by Paul to a Church, Would We Read it as Authoritative?

If someone finds another letter written by Paul, I certainly would want to read it. However, to say that it must be read as authoritative is not only to have a wrong view about inspiration, but a deficient idea of God’s providence, and certainly a misguided belief about canonical authority.

I believe this question uses the word “authoritative” as meaning “inspired,” for I can not think of other meaning that would make sense in this context. Give this explanation I answer the question basing myself in this assumption to be true.

If we were to believe that letter to be inspired, we would be putting in checkmate our view of God’s providence and sovereignty. Where is God’s providence to provide his word to all the peoples that lived before the discovery of this letter? Was it not necessary by then? So God’s words contained in it are temporal? That presents a big problem for Jesus, since he said that God’s words “shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31). How can one sustain a strong view of sovereignty (I am not implying the philosophical categorization of different types of view regarding sovereignty) when his sovereignty was asleep during some centuries?

Back to the matter of inspiration, Paul himself wrote to Timothy that “all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (1 Timothy 3:16-17). If that letter was not used by the church for more than 20 centuries, how could it be profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training? Could a “dead letter” be used to form complete men of God? Is it possible that a letter that was not used for more than 767.009 days be used to equip men of God to the good work? To say that it became authoritative only when they discovered the letter is to fall into a kind of “literal adoptionism.”

Paul was most definitely an Apostle of Christ Jesus, and I would not defy a man who had four personal encounters with Jesus himself (Acts 9; 18:9-10; 22:17; 23:11). Notwithstanding, I would be highly discouraged to accept all of his words as authoritative over the Church, for it was not he who was inspired, but some of his words. To say that these words in that letter are also authoritative one must answer all the questions mentioned above in a theological, philosophical, and ethical way that does not diminishes the image of God that orthodox Protestants lift up high.

I do not affirm that the letter should be considered as heretical rubbish, but that common sense and good theology must be part of the evaluation of this letter. Some might say: “but what if it cites Scripture? What if it cites other parts of Scripture?” And the answer continues to be, what about the sovereignty of God? Could not He have provided this before? Yes, he could, and as orthodox Protestant Evangelicals we believe he did, that is why we have 66 books, not 67. Justice Antonin Scalia said to Fox News, “The Constitution is not a living organism. It’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn’t what it doesn’t say.” Although Scripture is indeed a living organism, it could be regarded as being, not becoming. Scripture can not be improved because it was “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3), and to say otherwise is to assume internal contradictions.

100 Reasons Not To Fall Into Sexual Sin

As a young guy, I live with sexual temptations. Not everyone has a problem with this, some people do. Having the problem is not the greatest issue, but believing you don’t have any problems, when you actually do, is the greatest flaw one can face. Jesus came to heal the sick (Matthew 9:12), those who think are well off and free from the grasp of Satan in their lives need to double-check their hearts.

During a period in my life, I was considering falling into sexual sin with some girls. As I rationalized the issue at hand, I decided to write some reasons not to sin. My flesh said, “yes, because…”, but my renewed mind had some words to say to me. Here are my conclusions. I have found 100 reasons not to fall into sexual sin. Actually, I have found more, and I improve this list as I live.

I pray that these words help you in your journey, and that you meditate on them day and night. If you meditate on God’s word more often (Psalm 1), you will find yourself considering sin less often (great news, huh?). These are my thoughts on why not to fall, you can adjust them as you feel like. I only ask you, plead with you, beg you, that you consider these thoughts.

Before moving on, can I please ask you to share this on your social media? I don’t care about how many people follow me, I just think this can help other people. If you believe so, share with a friend!

Let’s start…

I Should Not Fall Into Sexual Sin Because:

  1. I have got to understand that to say yes to my wife is to say no to all the other girls in this world. This won’t start in the when I get married, it starts now, as I am single.
  2. I have goals in life that will not be accomplished if I fall now.
  3. It is incoherent for me to fight against private sin but fall publicly.
  4. If I involve myself with a girl that does not have her faith solidified in Jesus, I might be doing a great evil against the little ones from Jesus, and I know very well what Jesus thinks about people like that (Hint: Matthew 18 and Luke 17).
  5. To give myself into sensuality will awake in me feelings that will not go away until I satisfy them. I might end up in pornography, or worse, I might use someone to satisfy my desires, or I will have to repent before God, and in either situation, I will have to repent, sinning physically or not. To simply look at someone with evil intentions is to wage war against my new heart (yes, new heart, as Ezequiel 36 and 37. Yes, it will wage war against your heart, as Matthew 5:28 implicitly argues).
  6. I might be awakening a genuine feeling in this girl. And I’d be doing that while I am only thinking about satisfying my own flesh. I will hurt her, and this will create profound wounds in her relationship with God.
  7. If I involve myself with her I won’t be falling alone (which is terribly bad), but I will be taking someone down with me. Worst than that, she might think I actually wanted something deeper than body chemistry, I will be using her as my toy. My conscience will carry the burden of using a girl to satisfy my needs while ignoring her needs, feelings, and even her walk with God… this is a weight too heavy for my faith to carry.
  8. To use someone for my own desires is selfish. Objects are meant to be used, not people (Check out Agustine, in Ordo Amoris).
  9. After physically involving myself with her I might believe that I had something emotional going on. This is to begin a relationship the wrong way. To drive my car in A street is to end up driving at A street; if I drive my car in A street expecting to end up in B street is illogical. To start a relationship the wrong way and believe it will end up right is a risk I do not need to take.
  10. I would see myself as a man at the urinal; a guy that looks at women as a deposit for his fluids and just that (read The Porn-Again Christian). I, in the deep of my being, beyond the superficiality of my flesh, do not agree with this, I do not want this mentality for me! To change my egocentric mentality I need to abstain myself from certain attitudes with some girls.
  11. know for certain that if I start something with her in the physical realm before praying and dating the proper way I will be setting myself up for greater mistakes. This will appeal to my sinful and carnal mind, and we both will fall together (Luke 6:39).
  12. She might not even know the Lord! Maybe she is teasing me because she doesn’t know better, but I do! I do not want to ruin my relationship with God due to something quick.
  13. Many people look up to me and follow me, they listen to what I have to say and take my actions as a role model to follow. What will happen to their minds when they see me falling into the same pit I am trying to set them free from is beyond me. They will lose their trust in me, and probably won’t see sin as this pitiful and disgusting it is (Proverbs 7), but as something that is “good for food, a delight to the eye, and [something] to be desired” (Genesis 3:6).
  14. I actually understand that is not easy for one to “fall” into sexual sin, most of us throw ourselves over it. Falling is something spontaneous, is something that hasn’t been planned out, a wrong reaction to some action. To throw yourself is not to think ahead of you, it is, sometimes, to plan to sin. You don’t measure the consequences, you just dream with the moment (moment: letting your hormones and “neediness” control you).
  15. If I resolve to say yes to every sin my body desires I will destroy absolutely EVERYONE  around me.
  16. I gotta be a deeper man. My feelings and thoughts need to be deeper. If thinking about sinning in a superficial level puts my mind in the right place, imagine how absurd sinning would seem to you if you were a little bit wiser!?
  17. She is a person, a human being, someone with a story, that has been through a lot, that needs to be satisfied in God, that has wounds in her heart, that cries when she is alone, that needs someone to help her grow (in the book of Proverbs, the fool needs a wise men to teach him how to become wise). I don’t know her struggles, and I don’t wanna become one more struggle for her.
  18. Honestly, I do not know the real motivations of her heart. Is she seeking approval? Does she lack paternity? Does she need to be pursued? Is she seeking answers for something? Is she looking for her prince acting like the opposite of a princess? Does she think she is not worth of something better? Is she trying to make me stumble on purpose? Does she even know God?
  19. I am not married, but I love my wife (if God ever grants me the privillege of commiting myself to one of his daughters). I want to give my whole self to her, no reservations and no “b plans.” My wife deserves a complete man, an actual man (there are a few of them out there, believe me), and I need to start to be this man today, not tomorrow.
  20. If I say “yes” to sin just because I am single, for what reason would I think I would say “no” in the future? Just because I am married? Marriage doesn’t change hearts! If my relationship with Christ does not prevents me from sinning, why would a relationship with a limited and sinful woman prevent me from sinning?
  21. To do this would to disrespect her future husband.
  22. To do this is to throw away my authority to address these matters. It is possible that God wants to use me to help other people in this area, and one can only lifts people up if he’s standing.
  23. She is my sister in Christ, for God’s sake! Siblings don’t kiss each other and don’t have sexual relationships with each other! This is disgusting and it sickens me!
  24. If two siblings kissing each other is skanky in my sinful mind, how offensive is that to God’s!
  25. This would harden my heart up (Psalm 95:8).
  26. I love God!
  27. Jesus died for me, she didn’t! God deserves much more from me than she does!
  28. To do this is to say that God’s Grace isn’t suficient (2 Corinthians 12:9); it is to say that I need more than God to satisfy me.
  29. Both I and God would be sad at this.
  30. I’d feel guilty, and if I didn’t feel guilty I should be worried about how my relationship with God is going.
  31. I am at war against Satan! To warm myself up in the fire of hell, to warm my flesh up in sexual sin, will not help me in my attempt to defeat him.
  32. To play with fire is to ask to get burned, maybe eternally…
  33. To fall in love for sin is to fall out of love with Jesus.
  34. There are people out there who need me. I can’t waste my time with this.
  35. I have a lot to learn, I need to grow. No one grows and learns when they give up. If I comfortably accept my carnal desires I will never grow. I have got to stand up against myself, I gotta die to myself (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:22-24; Phillipians 3:8; Colossians 3:5; etc).
  36. I cannot be dumb enough to think this will fade away as we touch each other. Sin is fire, fire spreads. Don’t be dumb, Natan.
  37. I will disappoint everyone.
  38. I will be giving credit to those who say christians are all the same.
  39. When I think about this I feel like I am punching Jesus in the face.
  40. I don’t know if what I am feeling is the result of my flesh calling me and demons working against me , but this is unacceptable!
  41. The Spirit wages war against the flesh (Galatians 5:17). To give freedom to the flesh is to decree bankrupcy on my soul.
  42. God ordained me to be as holy as he is (1 Peter 1:16). To do the very opposite of this is to wage war against the Lord of Wars.
  43. A stumbling block is not what I need at the moment, thanks Satan, I’ll pass.
  44. If I don’t come out victorious over my flesh before getting married, I will never come out victorious after getting married. I will end up tying two families up into this mess.
  45. I might awake something in her that will lead her to worse guys, and they will take her away from God’s ways, maybe eternally.
  46. Those who need the “hots” that sin provides are cold. If my flesh wants to warm itself up in the fire of hell, this shows me that I am spiritually cold. Logically, I need to warm my sould up. My flesh called me because my soul is cold. When my sould is warmed up inside the flaming love of God the requests of my flesh don’t make any sense at all, for they present no benefit for what actually matters: my spiritual life.
  47. Peter was warming his hands up in enemy fire (Mark 14:67). Maybe, my “fall” won’t be when I actualize my desires, but when I first deny Christ in my mind. To say yes to sin is to say “no” to Jesus. Dang…
  48. Those who deny Christ on earth will be denied in Heaven (Matthew 10:33).
  49. To be honest, I love my relationship with God, with my Bible, I love my moments of love with the Trinitarian God, way more than I love this girl! Priorities, Natan, priorities…
  50. To be longamonous is the act against how I want to act (Galatians 5:22). I cannot be guided by my feelings and momentaneous desires, I need to be guided by what the Word says!
  51. I want my mind to be saturated with God’s word, not full of temptations and accusations.
  52. This will prevent me from hearing God’s voice in Scripture, and I hate to live without his voice.
  53. It will be very hard for me to repent and forgive myself than it will be to sin again. This can make me a recidivist very easily.
  54. To be very honest, I do not even know how long it would take me to forgive myself.
  55. I am no longer a child, I do not need to be guided by my desiders. I am a grown up man who can control himself. Am I a slave? Yes! But I only obey my Master.
  56. I cannot use my freedom in Christ to sin (Romans 6:1-2; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16).
  57. I might be leading more people into sin, and this worries me. It would be painful to watch more people falling because of me.
  58. This is simply the result of my non-satisfaction in Christ. I should seek to be satisfied in Him, not to turn my back against him.
  59. Animals cannot control it’s impulses, I can :)
  60. I should flee sexual temptation, not run after it (Genesis 39; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:22).
  61. If I am not radical with myself, it will be useless to be radical in my preaching, “for what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).
  62. I really wanna help other people in this area, and this will not be possible if I give up now.
  63. I do not have freedom or free will to choose what my body needs (yeah I know you’ve been taught free-will is the greatest attribute one has. I’m sorry, they taught you wrong). I have been bought, “tetelestai!”, said Jesus in John 19:30. Words that were written in documents of purchase of a slave (yep, they taught you you are God’s servant, right? Incorrenct, you are his slave. Sorry buddy). Check out 1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:21; 1 Peter 1:18-19; and Revelation 5:9.
  64. I hate this attitute in other people. It logically follows that I must hate it in myself as well. To desire what I abhor is illogical.
  65. I am a mess without this sin, it wouldn’t be smart to shuffle the pieces of a puzzle when you’re trying to put it together.
  66. I wanna be an honorable man, and this mistake would make my journey into biblical manhood harder.
  67. I would be using someone else’s daughter. If someone ever uses my daughter this way I would get genuinely pissed, and hosnestly I don’t know what I would do.
  68. She needs to understand that the only way for her to receive the approval she seeks is in God. To get sexually involved with her won’t contribute to her life at all.
  69. She has got to be satisfied in God. To be involved with her the wrong way is to take her away from her main goal, I might make her think that she can actually be satisfied with boys.
  70. What both me and her actually need is the Gospel of the cross, not physical contact and sexual temptations.
  71. The renewal of my mind won’t happen if I keep my mind the same way (Romans 12:2).
  72. The unclean and the impure engage in such immoral acts. If I can act just as an unbeliever I might be following some other religion, because Christianity implies in acting differently from the rest of the world (1 John 2:15-17 and James 4:1-6).
  73. The pure of heart will see God (Matthew 5:8), the impure won’t. On a simple scale, my desire to see God is greater than my desire to satisfy my flesh.
  74. I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Light cannot lose its bright, if it does it becomes useless; light without brightness cannot be distinguished from darkness. My God didn’t die to bring me into the empire of darkness, but into his glorious kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13).
  75. Him who loves his neighbor does not deny him food. If I say I love my relationship with God, yet neglect feeding it, I am not eating the Bread of Life (John 6), I am acting against what I love, this is irrational.
  76. To say that I follow Jesus but to go against what he teaches is millennial, I mean dumb, sorry my typo :)
  77. This will not bring me any spiritual benefits. To grow in my spiritual life is my greatest desire.
  78. What if the heart is not to be trusted because we don’t know our own hearts (Jeremiah 17:9)? I want to understand my heart, and to act against it will make this journey impossible.
  79. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us,” Romans 8:18. Memorize this.
  80. I know that there are other Christians out there fighting these same battles and they are coming out victorious (1 Peter 5:8-10).
  81. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me, I am able to say “no” to sin (Check out this song).
  82. Those who need help can’t be helped by someone who also needs help in this same area.
  83. The winner gives the speech, he gets the right to speak. Losers can’t teach, they need to learn. I need to win if I want to teach others.
  84. It is extremally immature of me to trade my eternal desires for some momentaneous desires.
  85. This would relativize a lot of this in my mind. A relativist mind is not “yes or no,” it belives in “in-betweens,” in grey areas, and they simply don’t exist (Matthew 5:37).
  86. I am called to hate sin (Psalm 97:10), not to hug it.
  87. I lost my freedom for the flesh when I became a slave of Christ.
  88. Jesus considers me his friend, it would not be loyal to betray him (John 15:12-17).
  89. This only displays my lack of knowledge and comprehension of God’s omnipresence. I would sin sexually before my pastor’s eyes, but I think God doesn’t seem me if I’m alone with her. Truth is, God, “if I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139).
  90. I have done this in the past. I know for certain that this will not satisfy my heart.
  91. My flesh is insatiable (Proverbs 27:20; Habakkuk 2:5), its desires will only grow larger. It is like drinking water from the sea, you think it will kill your thirst but it will only increase it.
  92. I KNOW where to find satisfaction, and I know that there is no one on this earth that can satisfy me besides God’s word (Psalm 119).
  93. I should carry the weight of my youth in silence (Lamentations 3:27). To throw this away is to reject learning and growth, and those who love God ought to “bear fruit in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10; also, check out 2 Peter 3:18).
  94. Actually, I don’t want to sin, I actually want to be satisfied in God, I am misreading my urges…
  95. To remember of what Jesus did at the cross blocks me from sinning
  96. Because it is sinful. Period.
  97. My body is not mine. It is the Spirit’s (1 Corinthians 6:19), it is God’s (3:16).
  98. I lost my life when I won Christ’s, I can’t try to recover my old life because I cannot lose my salvation (John 10 and Romans 8:35-39)! To try to go back is to ask to get hurt, it is to invest on a bankrupt company (Read this book, please).
  99. God does not come back in the words he declares. If he promised me an escape from these situations (1 Corinthians 10:13), and I must faithfully wait and accept this his ways in honor and fidelity, even if his escape route means losing my freedom (Genesis 39, Joseph’s escape route led him to jail).
  100. To engage on a pursuit after fool’s gold is stupidity, considering I have the greatest treasure one can possibly want: eternal salvation from sin.

What Now?

Now I pray that you will print this out and take this with you wherever you go. That when you sit on the toilet you will read this instead of browsing in your facebook account. Feed your soul with truths and you will hate lies.

God bless you! Share this with everyone you know!

Why her? Why him?

For the past few months I have been studying love. Yes, what love is for our society, how does it look like inside our brains, how pop culture has shaped our view of love, what movies have most influenced us when it comes to this subjetc, etc. One thing has shocked me a lot, we do not know why we do the things we do. Confessions, by Saint Augustine, is a good example of someone who knem himself. How many of us can answer the simplest (yet most complicated) questions of life? I remember sitting down in my History of Ideas I class and hearing dr. Quinn asking us “is the number 2 real?” I have never thought about this! How is this important? Well, if it exist, how does it? Is it necessary? Can I think of a possible world without the number two? If it is necessary, how can God have created it?

Well, before jumping into platonic philosophy, let’s go back to our subject. Do you love someone? That pretty girl from school, beautiful hair, soft voice, incredible talented, loves the same TV shows you do, listens to the same bands you do, and has a crush on you. Remember her now? What about that boy? 6-pack on point, tons of products in his hair, V-shape, expensive clothes, and that smile (don’t tell me about the smile). Remember him? Well, let’s suppose you want to commit to him/her. Why would you wanna do that? I mean, after Jesus explained some things about marriage the disciples concluded it would be better not to marry at all (Matthew 19:10). God, through Paul, says that if you want to serve Him better you should not marry (1 Corinthians 7:8). So what is your reason to get married? “wow, wow, wow! Slow down Natan! I’m not talking about getting married, I just wanna date.” Scripture is nowere close to recommend recreational dating, or as my friend would say, Scripture does not support using someone to fill the “girlfriend void” up. So I assume you want to date because you wanna put a ring on her finger.

You love her right? What does that mean? It means you have a subjective feeling that might indicate that you like her. Ok, but what does that mean? Have you ever stopped to think about that? Well I have, that’s why I have started my book (I hope to release it in the fall of 2017, God willing). Ask anyone why they want to marry their loved one and the answer will probably be something like: “Well she is simply amazing! The most beautiful girl I have ever seen in my life! We love to talk about the same things, and we also have the same hobbies!” If this is what you have in mind, I would strongly recommend that you run away from that relationship brother. This simply means you are marrying her to make you happy because you think you guys are a “match.” Why would you marry someone based on what they might have to offer you? Isn’t that selfish? In part, it is.

Getting married because of love is a terrible idea. What is love if not the feeling that the other provokes on us? They spoil us, so we love them. They look as great as that girl from the magazine, so I love her. She makes me horny, so I love her (sorry to be raw, believe me, your kids know what this means). We only love because we are spoiled! Love for us is nothing, it has no meaning! It is an abstract force that hits us and we can do no other! Joe used to love Mary but as soon as he saw Joanna he fell in love for lil Jojo, is this story familiar to you? How many divorced couples can sign under this ridiculous idea?

The fact is that we do not know what “love” means or is. We do not know love. This has got to change! And I am dedicating myself to help people understand what love is. I do not want to see you broken and divorced a few years from now. “We fight a lot but we love each other” is an oxymoron, I do not want that for you. I do not want weak girls that fall for any douche with a 6-pack and soft words, nor a bunch of young guys full of hormones that can’t distinguish love that leads to marriage from love that leads to brotherly community! Although my time is limited, I want to help you, so you can expect to read more about this subject. If you intend to get married in the future follow this blog. We will explore love as it ought to be explored: in God.

To be continued…

What is Christian Theology?

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Christian theology is a culture appropriate retelling of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Scripture. Theology, being an ordered articulation of faith, must be articulating some kind of faith. In the discipline of Christian theology, the theologian is engaged in articulating his faith concerning the Christian God, the Christian Triune God. Theologians seek to bring forth a detailed presentation of theology, anthropology, Christology, Pneumatology, ecclesiology, and eschatology, all of which are interpreted in light of the source of knowledge of the Christian God: the Bible.

A cultured appropriate retelling of the Gospel of Jesus Christ consists in communicating accurate beliefs about the Gospel in a manner that our culture is able to understand and respond to our call. Since we cannot avoid the culture in which we are doing theology, and since we are not trying to get out the context of the world, Christian theologians are looking forward to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that will simplify the understanding of the unbeliever. Christian theology, therefore, seeks to bridge the abyss between the culture of the time Jesus lived and the XXIst century culture that we live in.

Christian theology is retelling the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Theologians are telling the same story of the Bible in a culture appropriate way in order for people to understand what the Bible truly means. Theologians, then, make use of symbols and acts to retell that story.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the focus of our theology. Since Jesus Christ is the cataclysm of the Christian worldview in history, everything must be done around it. And since Jesus spoke that the Old Testament was all about him (Luke 24), and since the New Testament is done around him, theologians must have Jesus in the center of their theological method.

Basically, Christian theology stands out from other disciples from its starting point. Philosophical theology starts with the purpose of apologetics, answering questions like “why is there something instead of nothing?” Historical Theology, on the other hand, seeks to understand the history of the world in a way that it shows that God is transcendent in creation, yet immanent in history and redemption. Historical theology is more focused on how people acted and talked about God than trying to determine what is the right thing to say. Systematic theology, different from all two cited above, is proposing and ordered and systematic organization of the truths of Scripture. Systematic theology, also known as concordance theology, is focused in organizing the truths of Scripture in a way that can be used like a concordance, and that is one of the reasons of why it carries that name. Ethical theology, similar to philosophical theology, is a study of the virtues based on the true claims of Scripture. Philosophical theology is different from Christian theology because Christian theology already assumes that there is a God out there and that this God is the Triune God who revealed himself in Scripture; it is different from historical theology because it is focused on the communication part of the logos, it seeks to help believers communicate, live, think holy under God; it is different from systematic theology because it is not done in a vacuum, if you will, for it seeks to engage culture and apply the true claims of Scripture in a way our culture can understand and respond; it is also different from ethics for it is also focused on the communication of the Gospel through words, not merely actions.


Photo by Aaron Burden

Why is the Creation Account the First Narrative in the Bible?

The biblical narrative introduces itself with a couple of enormous presuppositions: God is real and YHWH is the only God who deserves worship. It is undeniable that Scripture affirms other gods. It does not affirm that they exist, so to speak, in some sort of spiritual location where they fight against each other. Scripture affirms that these other gods are real, but not true. To give them some credit, they exist, while YHWH is. God’s own being should be enough reason to awe and wonder before his existence. He is the essence of being, the supreme structure of all that there is. As if that was not enough for us to trust him, one more other reason can be given: he is the Alpha (A) and the Omega (Ω).

God is the Alpha, the beginning, the origin of all things. While pantheism affirms that everything is an extension of the gods, Christianity affirms that YHWH is the origin of all that there is. The merism “heaven and earth” found in Genesis 1:1 expresses that there is nothing that has been actualized that does not find its grounding origin in the Alpha. Paul also states that all things, both visible and invisible, came from Him (Colossians 1:16-17), affirming John’s words concerning the Son of Man in John 1. His creatorship is included in the well-known fact that every act God performs is intentional. God created all that there is because he wanted people to have a relationship with him. This creative act is proof of his libertarian freedom, for he could have created different, and could have restrained from creating, and yet nothing would be considered as loss or gain to him. God is transcendent in his way to create, but immanent in the intentions and relations with created things.

When the Bible depicts God as the Omega it is clarifying God’s role in the end of history since the beginning. World history has found its cataclysmic apex in Christ, the Redeemer of all. It logically follows that redemption is inherent in God’s being and role. God redeems all that was lost in the fall, which he passively decreed in order to display his glory through the Messiah. The New Heavens and New Earth are just two examples that God is actively involved in his plan to redeem all peoples to himself.

It is very important, then, for the Bible to start with these two ideas and flourish its message from there. If Genesis 1:1 affirms that God created all that there is (time, matter, and space), the question “why?” is inevitable. The answer is provided later on, and the reader can see God’s desire to be among his people when he graciously provides clothing for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). In a very anthropomorphic language, God creates clothes using matter (for the first and only time in the Old Testament) in order to cover their sinfulness and implicitly predict what Christ would do: to definitively cover the sins of all who accept Him by faith.

Scripture starts with creation to preset God’s intentions with it, and doing so, it implicitly prognosticates God’s plan to redeem a people for himself, in order to have a relationship with them in the heavenly Eden (Revelation 22:1-2). It is a two-chapter introduction that sets the scenario to everything that will take place. This theological treatise presents a God who is in control of everything, who is the structural foundation of everything, and who is willing to redeem all who have sinned against him.

God Is Father, So What?

Alvin Plantinga defines God as a necessary being; Benedict portrays God as the supreme logos; Aristotle talks about the Unmovable Mover; Hermetic calls him “The All;” and the Bible calls him differently in several places. To call the Godhead of God “Father” is not only to ascribe a name to someone. This is done in order for we to recognize who God is.

“God has many names, yet God has no name” is a common phrase among theologians. This is a useful and simple way to introduce us to the idea that God can not be fully grasped by human senses. God, since he is spirit (John 4:24), can never be grasped by our material senses. Created things can not experience uncreated things (and that is one of the reasons, I believe, of why God gives us a spirt, so that we may experience Him). Because of this, Wayne Grudem rightly asserts that “God has many names in that we know many true descriptions of his character from Scripture, but God has no name in that we will never be able to describe or understand all of his character” (Systematic Theology, p. 160).

“There is no one better than God to tell us who he is”

A reliable way to know God is not by what we think God is, nor is by trying to understand who he is by modal logic or Greek philosophy. Plantiga’s definition might be great for apologetics (and I am a huge fan of the second ontological argument proposed by him), but it lacks the relational side of who God is. The same can be said about different definitions of God made by philosophers and thinkers.[1] There is no one better than God to tell us who he is. Now that we get this point, we might ask ourselves: “what does it mean that God is Father?”[2]

It would be scary to see Jesus saying “Pray then like this: God who is in heaven,” in the Sermon on the Mount. Why? Because we would be talking about a distinct, transcendent, and distant God. The relational aspect of prayer would be lost, maybe all of the objectives of praying would be lost.[3]    When we pray for a God in heaven, reverence comes into the game. But when we pray for a God who abides in heaven and we recognize that he is our Father, everything changes. We can now, with confidence, “draw near to the throne of Grace” (Hebrews 4:16 [ESV]). Seeing who God is in Systematic Theology might scare us, for his holiness is way above ours. However, seeing his holiness in light of Christ will lead us to have confidence in Him. A holy God who is our Father would never sin against us. If we, bad parents who sin all the time, can treat our sons well, then knowing that God considers us His sons will give us great confidence (Matthew 7:11).

“Seeing His holiness in light of Christ will lead us to have confidence in Him”

“From whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,” is what Ephesians 3:15 tells us. God being the Father also connotes the idea of the Creator. God’s love for his creatures and his lordship over creation are explicit in this verse.[4] While ancient Near Eastern cultures would portray goddess giving birth to creation from themselves, and therefore, making creation an extension of that goddess, Christianity portrays God as the Father in order to help us with our doctrine of creation.

Christians should seek to understand who God is in light of Scripture, not by themselves. If God had not revealed himself to us we would have been left in a dark place seeking for a hidden light that was dim. God’s revelation is a safe way to know who God is. If we are not defining God in the same way the Bible does, are we even talking about the same God at all?


 

[1] “The Supreme Logos” of Benedict is useful to define Jesus, since John uses the same language and John’s writings are revelational. Aristotle’s definition came from his answer to Thales’ question, and I believe it lacks Biblical support for non(radical)-determinists like me. “The All” misses the point of Paul’s speech in the Areopagus, since Paul quotes Epimenides to explain that there are two types of things: created things and God. To say that He is “The All” might miss Paul’s point although I might grant that Hermetic’s point was a different one and that he did not intend the definition that I am going against. Anyway, I do address his result, not merely his intentions, for no dish is tasted and appreciated because of the cookers intention in fabricating, but for the taste (the result) itself.

[2] It is necessary to say that God being the Father does not imply that this characteristic is not present in the Son or in the Holy Spirit. The Father is called God (Phil. 1:2), the Son is called God (John 1:1, 14), and the Holy Spirit is called God (Acts 5:3-4). It would be foolish to conclude that what is present in the Son is not present in the Holy Spirit, since all three are defined in quite similar ways (compare Isaiah 64:8, John 1:3, and Job 33:4 for “Creator,” for example).

[3] If there is no relationship in prayer, prayer would be nothing more than addressing a pagan god who is interested in created things for mere selfish interest.

[4] To see a more in-depth study of this see http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/july-august/why-we-call-god-father.html

Christian Without the Trinity?

Romans 10:9 guarantees us that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (NKJV). It seems, at first, that if you simply confess (i.e. repeat or say something) Jesus and you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, then you are good to go, right? Well, not so fast.

Is it possible for one to confess Jesus as Lord without knowing what the word “Lord” means? I would argue that yes. If that confession fits the guarantee of Romans 10:9, I will bet to differ. To confess Jesus as Lord is to publicly affirm that he is your master, and you are his slave. Jesus, then, has all authority over your life, heart, emotions, desires, passions, etc. If this person fails to provide testimony of his or her words, then his testimony was false, and should not be regarded as having truth value. If is not possible to confess Jesus if we do not understand his role in our relationship with him, how would it be possible for someone to be Christian without believing in the Triune God?

“Well, ‘believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead’,” seems very simple. The matter here is, who raised Christ form the dead? Was it the Father, as Galatians 1:1 indicates? Or was Jesus himself, as John 2:19-21 asserts? Could it be the Holy Spirit, as Romans 8:11 affirms? The One who raised Jesus from the dead was the Triune God! All three were deeply involved in this action. If one affirms that one God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, he would be ignoring Biblical passages.

The God of Scripture is the Triune God. Any worship or serving to other type of God is idolatry. If one recognizes that there is a God because of creation, he too is a heathen. Why? Because he worships a “creator god” and not the Triune God. “Unless you believe that I AM HE you will die in your sins,” said Jesus in John 8:24 (ESV). The ESV adds the word “He” to the regular “ἐγώ εἰμι.” This adding is unnecessary, for other passages like Deuteronomy 32:39, and Isaiah 41:10, or even verse 58 in this same chapter, affirm that “egō eimi” refers to God, and therefore affirm his deity. If one denies that Jesus is God, he is not doing heterodoxy, as some like to identify themselves, but he is going against what Jesus himself taught. If to us that is unacceptable, I see no Biblical reason for why the Triune God would accept that.

I would argue, though, that the doctrine of a person might not always be as accurate as his or her faith in his or her heart. One might believe in the Triune God, yet having a weird speech regarding how he organizes that in his mind. Praise God that we are not saved by the accuracy of our theological communication, but by our faith! Most of us, if not all, would be damned if we were to be judged by that standard. I do not know, however, how far God’s mercy goes in this matter. I prefer not to take any unnecessary risks.

One thing is not to understand the Trinity but accept it by faith, another thing is to deny it when you have knowledge of Scripture. Perfect articulation of this doctrine is not necessary, faith in the God revealed in Scripture is.

Revelation or Record of Revelation?

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong,” once said H. L. Mencken. I do not believe this question is as simple as it looks. Of course, I could offer a simple answer to this question without wholly believing in it, but I do not believe that would be ethical. Beyond that, I have the challenge to answer this tough question in only 600-625 words, so do not expect my text to be exhaustive or complete in the sense that I premeditated all possible rejoinders.

To answer this question, the theologian has to face at least two questions: (1) if the Bible is merely the record of God’s self-revelation, then were is the rest of it? Can we trust natural revelation to tell us about God, in the same way we trust Scripture? If God has not ended his revelation, where is he revealing himself now? Other writers? How do we know if we can trust them since they seem to say different things about God? And he has to answer (2) if the Bible is the revelation of God, how do we answer questions regarding deeds that the Word of God performed on earth that are not recorded? Were they revelation as well? If the Apostle’s miracles recorded in Scripture are revelation, why are the other miracles they performed not? If the Bible is the revelation of God, scientific data recorded in Scripture ought to be interpreted as literal? Again, I must stress that this is not my opinion, but questions that must be answered before developing an elucidation of this issue. I will restrain myself from answering these questions given the space that I have to answer the main question.

Orthodox Protestant Evangelicals will argue that Scripture is the Revelation of God, even though sometimes their interpretation of it will not rightly reflect God’s character. I include myself in this category. The reason why I believe the Bible is the revelation of God is because of (1) His intention with it, (2) the revelation found in the world is only accurately understood if we have Scripture, (3) the Scripture answers this question saying that revelation is completed, and (4) because is the only reliable source we have to know God.

  1. God intended to reveal himself in Scripture so that we could understand him and know Him in all matters he wanted to reveal.
  2. Natural revelation is only understood correctly through passages like Romans 1:20. If Jesus is the creator of the world (John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:16-19; Hebrews 1:1-3), creation must tell us something about Jesus. However, with no special revelation from God I doubt someone would look at the moon and think, “I believe Jesus Christ was born of a virgin to fulfill Jewish Scripture.”
  3. Jude 1:3 asserts that faith, or doctrine if you will, was “once for all delivered to the saints.” I take his words as speaking about Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God the Father. Jesus delivered the revelation to the writers once for all, and the word once (ἅπαξ) incites that no other faith will be delivered. How that applies to the cannon, is another story.
  4. Jude 1:8 also addresses this by saying that dreams are not reliable. Contrasting with Scripture that was once for all delivered to the saints (v. 3) it becomes clear that written revelation is reliable and experiences are doubtful.

 

 

What is the Starting Place of Christian Theology?

The starting place of Christian theology is found in the written records of the Gospels. The content of Christian theology is found in the whole Christian Bible; however, its method could be understood in the act and language of Baptism. God’s self-revelation found in Scripture is the basis and the foundation of Christian Theology. Baptism is an accurate summarization of this field of study. A detailed explanation of this act and language is found at the very end of the Gospel of Matthew.

The written records of the Bible, however, is a scope too great for us to summarize in one or two sentences. The Westminster Confession of Faith clearly asserts that “all things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all” (I. VII.), yet some things are necessary to be revealed not only to Bible scholars but also to the simplest and most ignorant of the saints. So it is believed that Matthew 28:18-20 provides a detailed summarization of the Bible so that all can properly understand and apply Christian theology in their own lives. The “Great Commission verse” is not a detailed explanation of all purposes and ends of the Christian life, but a rough command of the mission that Jesus’ disciples are to obey. That being said, it follows that the starting point of Christian theology is by agreeing and acknowledging that what is written is “the Lord’s command,” not man’s (1Cor. 14:37 [HCSB]).

By this understanding, the Christian ought to pledge alliance to this command, therefore presenting himself as one who is striving to obey the words of the God incarnate, which are to “be kept diligently” (Ps. 119:4). The individual, then, is absorbed into this task by immersion in the waters of baptism. To be baptized is to “ἐξομολογέω”, that is, to confess openly and joyfully that he is part of the Christian family, therefore committing himself to the Christian mission, promising faithfulness to the one and only God, and agreeing with the Christian statements of faith that he verbalizes in the act of baptism. To confess in the act of baptism is to recognize that he was bought with a payment of blood by his New and Holy Master, and now is a slave of God (c.f. 1Cor 7:23).

The language of baptism symbolizes one’s death to his old self and life to one’s new identity. The old has passed away, and new things have come (2Cor. 5:17), is what is declared in that act. A burial, however, is not a good description of the language of baptism, for not many people are buried into the waters. Noah and Jonah are of great usage here. Noah’s flood represented death, Jonah’s story represents life, for he was brought to life after coming out of the waters. What baptism is symbolizing is: when one is immersed in the waters he is declaring his death and the judgment that he should receive, and when he comes out he is symbolizing the life that has been given to him by the same God who paid his deathly debt. The Christian, already out of the water is now ready to fulfill the vows that were professed before his baptismal act.

In one single act is declared (1) allegiance to the Triune God by confession; (2) death to the old self and old passions by immersion; and (3) what Christ did on the cross, atoning for his sins and

bringing him into the Christian community. Therefore, the act and language of baptism are and asserted explanation of the first step into the task of Christian theology. His theology, that was before confessed may now be lived out, proclaiming God’s glory to “all nations” (Mat. 28:19).