Not All Opinions Are the Same

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Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 11.38.29 AM.pngEveryone is entitled to their opinions. However, not all opinions are the same.

I have coronary heart disease. I have had open-heart bypass surgery, multiple stents, too many angiograms to count. Without modern medicine and medical procedures I would not be alive.

My mom loves me. She has all kinds of opinions about how to “fix” my disease. Every time she reads something on the internet about heart disease, she’s on the phone to tell me if I drink this tea, eat this mushroom, or stop eating this or drinking that, I would be all good.

I love my mom. I know she loves me. She wants what’s best for me. But her opinions don’t have the same weight as the cardiologist or heart surgeon. Even though I know my mom loves me more, when it comes to dealing with my heart, my cardiologist and heart surgeon’s opinions have way more authority than my mom’s.

Sorry mom.

Every Christian is entitled to their opinions. However, not all opinions are the same.

For the Christian, there are three tiers of authority.

First tier have to do with two things that are non-debatable, non-negotiable. There are two things that Christians cannot disagree about:

  1. Jesus is the only way to salvation
  2. The Bible is our only authority

To be a Christian literally means to be a follower of Christ. That’s what “Christian” means. To follow Christ, means that he has to be leading. The only way we can know who to follow, what Christ stands for, who Christ is, what Christ taught is the Bible.

If one does not believe these two things, one cannot be a Christian. 

These are two things that Christians cannot disagree about. But then, what can Christians disagree about? Well, pretty much everything else. And Christians do.

The second tier of authority are things that are very important, but where people who love Jesus and stand under the authority of the Bible can disagree.

  1. Historic Confessions of the Church
  2. Books of Order – Constitution of the Church
  3. Manual and Policies of the local church
  4. The teaching of the local church

Christians can disagree on these things. These differences show up in multiple ways:

  • The way we order the church as Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Assemblies of God, Independent, etc.
  • Modes of baptism
  • Women’s ordination
  • Biblical sexuality
  • Divorce
  • Capital punishment
  • War against terror
  • Immigration
  • President Trump

The second tier is important, but it is not essential. These are things which Christians who love Jesus and love the Bible can and do disagree.

The final tier of authority is personal interpretation. “What I think…” “What I believe…” That’s on the same level as drink this tea and it will rid you of coronary heart disease.

The problem is our culture has placed personal interpretation above all else. We would never do that when it comes to our medical issues. We would not do that with financial issues. We would not do that with technical issues. We would not do that with pretty much anything else.

But it is absolutely puzzling that we do this all the time when it comes to morality and spirituality.

  • I know what the Bible says, but I believe….but I think….
  • I know what the historical church has said for 2,000 years, but I believe….but I think…

It is ludicrous for creatures to say to to the Creator that we know better. And this is happening all the time.

Every Christian is entitled to their opinions. However, not all opinions are the same.

Christians submit to God’s authority by standing under Christ as the only way to salvation and the scriptures as the only authoritative way we can come to know Christ.

Christians stand under the authority of the Confessions of the church

Christians submit their personal opinions under the authority of Christ and the Scriptures.

Choose Wisely

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I choose what I think about.

I choose what I want to give my attention to.

What I think about and what I give my attention to has my heart.

I choose what or who gets my heart.

These are absolutely true statements. Everyone is free to choose what they want. Everyone has total freedom to choose as they wish.

HOWEVER…every choice comes with a cost and its own consequences. And choices made without considering the cost of those choices always end up being very costly and painful.

So, yes. You are absolutely free to choose what you want. But the wise understand that there are consequences to every choice we make. And the wise choose wisely.

Still having difficulty choosing what is right?

You will never go wrong by choosing to let go of everything that is outside the will of God. And hold on tightly to those things that fall inside the will of God.

Choose wisely.

 

The Earth is Flat – When Personal Experience Becomes the Sole Authority for Reality

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Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 4.11.32 PM.pngThis past weekend was the NBA All Star Game Weekend. One of the items that made the headlines had nothing to do with basketball.

Kyrie Irving is legitimately one of the most talented basketball players playing in the NBA. Kyrie was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first pick in the first round after playing a year of basketball at Duke University. And Kyrie Irving honestly believes that the earth is flat.

Kyrie Irving was quoted as saying:

This is not even a conspiracy. The earth is flat, the earth is flat.

For what I’ve known for as many years and what I’ve come to believe, what I’ve been taught, is the earth is round. But if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move, and the fact that – can you really think of us rotating around the sun and all planets aligned, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these planets?

How can an intelligent young man possibly believe that the earth is flat?

When we live in a world where one’s personal experience and one’s own personal perspective is the highest authority for what is reality, this makes perfect sense.

Kyrie Irving is simply saying, I’ve never personally seen anything to tell me anything other than the “fact” the earth is flat. That’s what I see. The only earth he’s ever seen is perfectly flat.

And since personal perspective is the ultimate authority, everyone that’s telling him otherwise are liars.

While most reasonable people can see the absurdity of this when it comes to science, reasonable people do this all time when it comes spiritual realities and morality. We, somehow, fail to see how absurd it is to make ourselves the supreme authority of reality.

Things You Can’t Do When You’re Giving Thanks

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Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good…(Psalm 136:1)

In the Hebrew, this is written in the imperative.

Hmmm. You’re telling me this is a command?

Yup. This is a command. It’s not a suggestion. It’s not just a good idea. This is a command. “I COMMAND THEE…GIVE THANKS!” (read it in a deep thunderous voice)

Why would God command creatures he created to give thanks to Him?

Seems kinda pathetic…create a bunch of creatures and make them go around thanking you. “Thank you God”, “yeah, thanks God,” “gee, you’re awesome. Thank you God” (read it in a squeaky mousy voice)

What can this be about?

I want to suggest that God commands us to give thanks because giving thanks has more to do with making our lives better than it has to do with making God feel good.

I suggest that we are commanded to give thanks, for when we do our lives significantly improve.

You see, think about all the things you can’t do when you’re grateful. Think about all the things that are impossible to be when you are giving thanks.

When you are giving thanks:

  • It’s impossible to be angry
  • It’s impossible to be jealous
  • It’s impossible to be sad
  • It’s impossible to be critical
  • It’s impossible to be cynical
  • It’s impossible to hate
  • It’s impossible to be fearful
  • It’s impossible to fill in the blank

There are so many things that are simply impossible to do and be when you are giving thanks.

Now look at that list…wouldn’t your life be better without those things?

Wouldn’t our world be better without those things?

So who is the command for?

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!