Blessed

One of my wife’s and my favorite Bible passages is commonly known as the “Aaronic Blessing,” “Aaronic Benediction,” or “Priestly Blessing.” If you have a religious heritage based in Judaism or a liturgical Christian denomination, such as Methodist or Episcopalian, you have certainly heard it pronounced over the congregation by the rabbi or pastor, usually at the end of the service:

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
‘The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.’

So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27

I feel led of the Holy Spirit to unpack this passage and others to explore just what it means to be blessed by God.
Continue reading “Blessed”

The Plague of Pietism #1:
Pietism vs Christianity

The Barna Group recently found that 80% of professing Christians do not know how to apply their Christian beliefs to their everyday lives.

This condition is called “pietism.” The NT calls it by another term: carnality.
Pietism divides human existence between the “spiritual” and the “unspiritual” aka the “sacred” and the “secular,” therefore pietist Christians do not believe God’s Word has anything to say about laws, government, economics, education, or popular culture. This results in pietists conforming to most aspects of secular political ideology and pop culture.

Why?

Because they view Christianity as what you do on Sunday and having nothing to do with influencing or controlling every nuance of our daily lives. It also opens them to strong delusion because our psychopathic enemy knows otherwise and is perfectly willing and able to exploit such a crucial weakness to achieve his own ends in both the lives of those pietists as well as the societies in which they live and — most importantly — vote.

As a result, we are observing in our day the results of pietistic Christianity. Because pietists have retreated from functioning as “salt” in popular culture, our cultural and governmental institutions have been annexed and overtaken by pagan men and women openly hostile to Jesus and His followers. Truthfully and tragically, there is little observable difference between pietists and the lost regarding political ideology/party affiliation, voting habits, work ethic, and other controversial hot-button issues such as abortion, secular feminism, Marxism, and LGBTQ.
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Pietism vs Christianity”

Divine Prosperity: Heresy or What? # 10:
Were Jesus’ His Disciples Actually Poor?

One of the common objections raised against the prosperity message is that Jesus, as our perfect earthly Example, and His disciples were all poor folks who didn’t have two shekels to rub together. This article will hopefully put that myth out of our misery once and for all.

One of my favorite non-fiction authors is Rodney Stark, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences at Baylor University and Co-director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He is one of the foremost authorities on church history as well as its impact on history and modern society, exploring how Christianity was crucial to the development of Western Civilization, why non-Christian religious/philosophical systems lacked the ideological framework to achieve similar developmental inroads, and debunking many myths concerning church history in general.

One of my earlier articles here at Miscellaneous Ramblings entitled The Rise of Christianity deals with facts presented in his book by the same title and their implications for modern-day believers. That book covers the timeframe starting with Christ’s resurrection and ending with Emperor Constantine in the 3rd century.

In his sequel to that book, The Triumph of Christianity, Stark expands his timeframe to include the era leading up to Jesus, followed by His birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection, and what followed during the ensuing millennia up until today.

One of the chapters I found fascinating in this book debunks traditional claims that Jesus and His disciples were financially impoverished. While Word of Faith (WoF) preachers have been proclaiming that fact literally for over two decades, Stark — a professor at a Baptist university — can be considered something of a neutral party in the controversy over the so-called “health and wealth gospel,” having no doctrinal axes to grind one way or the other. We will examine his assertions, citing references, and you can see for yourself. Rather than trying to reword and summarize what he wrote, I’ll just quote him directly and let him speak for himself.

Let’s get started!
Continue reading “Divine Prosperity: Heresy or What? # 10:
Were Jesus’ His Disciples Actually Poor?”