Monday, July 29, 2013

Coming in August

Dear Readers: 

It's almost August, and there are some exciting things happening this summer. Beginning Thursday, August 1, I will be back to my super-blogging ways with a new post every day for the 31 days of truth challenge. 

See you then!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works?

This is perhaps the most important question in all of Christian theology. This question is the cause of the Reformation, the split between the Protestant churches and Catholic Church. This question is a key difference between biblical Christianity and most of the “Christian” cults. Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works? Am I saved just by believing in Jesus, or do I have to believe in Jesus and do certain things?

The question of faith alone or faith plus works is made difficult by some hard-to-reconcile Bible passages. Compare Romans 3:285:1 and Galatians 3:24 with James 2:24. Some see a difference between Paul (salvation is by faith alone) and James (salvation is by faith plus works). Paul dogmatically says that justification is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), while James appears to be saying that justification is by faith plus works. This apparent problem is answered by examining what exactly James is talking about. James is refuting the belief that a person can have faith without producing any good works (James 2:17-18). James is emphasizing the point that genuine faith in Christ will produce a changed life and good works (James 2:20-26). James is not saying that justification is by faith plus works, but rather that a person who is truly justified by faith will have good works in his/her life. If a person claims to be a believer, but has no good works in his/her life, then he/she likely does not have genuine faith in Christ (James 2:14,17,20,26).

Paul says the same thing in his writings. The good fruit believers should have in their lives is listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Immediately after telling us that we are saved by faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8-9), Paul informs us that we were created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Paul expects just as much of a changed life as James does: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). James and Paul do not disagree in their teaching regarding salvation. They approach the same subject from different perspectives. Paul simply emphasized that justification is by faith alone while James put emphasis on the fact that genuine faith in Christ produces good works

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This article was reprinted with permission and was originally published at

Sunday, July 14, 2013

What is the Definition of a Cult?

On February 15, 2012, guest blogger, ME Anders gave a secular perspective on the definition of a cult. For today's blog, I am posting on the same topic from a Christian worldview. I would love to hear your reactions and opinions to this definition. 

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Question: "What is the definition of a cult?"

When we hear the word “cult,” we often think of a group that worships Satan, sacrifices animals, or takes part in evil, bizarre, and pagan rituals. However, in reality, most cults appear much more innocent. The specific Christian definition of a cult is “a religious group that denies one or more of the fundamentals of biblical truth.” In simpler terms, a cult is a group that teaches something that will cause a person to remain unsaved if he/she believes it. As distinct from a religion, a cult is a group that claims to be part of the religion, yet denies essential truth(s) of that religion. A Christian cult is a group that denies one or more of the fundamental truths of Christianity, while still claiming to be Christian.

The two most common teachings of cults are that Jesus was not God and that salvation is not by faith alone. A denial of the deity of Christ results in Jesus’ death not being a sufficient payment for our sins. A denial of salvation by faith alone results in salvation being achieved by our own works, something the Bible vehemently and consistently denies. The two most well-known examples of cults are the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons. Both groups claim to be Christian, yet both deny the deity of Christ and salvation by faith alone. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons believe many things that are in agreement with or similar to what the Bible teaches. However, the fact that they deny the deity of Christ and preach a salvation by works qualifies them as a cult. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and members of other cults are “good people” who genuinely believe they hold the truth. As Christians, our hope and prayer must be that many people involved in the cults will see through the lies and will be drawn to the truth of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

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This article was reprinted with permission and was originally published at

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Old, Boring 40 and Happy about It

Tomorrow is my 40th birthday, and I’m kind-of excited. I’ve been looking forward to my 40s since I was 31. No kidding. I remember the moment exactly when I realized that 40 was a magical number – the time when life would finally be manageable.

I was in graduate school and working in a group with three other women (all in their 40s). Another group of students always claimed the best work area for themselves. On this particular night, my group finally got it together and one of the other women saved the space for the rest of us. Well the other group came and crowded her out. No kidding – this is how adults behaved. I was livid! I wanted to do something about it! But my group members stayed calm and just peacefully moved to another area.

I couldn't believe they would allow others to treat them this way. One of the ladies was so patient with me: she placed her hand on mine and said, “When I was your age I would get fired up over these little things too.” It was then that it hit me: older women had it together. I couldn’t wait to be like them.

Good night friends. I go to sleep content tonight knowing that tomorrow I will join a league of wise, older women. I'm so ready.