Trying to make Christian morality palatable to those in moral rebellion against God is like trying to make civil law palpable to criminals. They will never like God’s laws no matter how reasonable we demonstrate those laws to be. Defiant children do not care that eating too much candy will make them throw up or give them diabetes. They simply want candy. Likewise, those who want their sexual sin, their abortion, and a myriad of other sins do not care about the wisdom in God’s laws. They want what they want, and they will ridicule and deride those who say otherwise. This is not to say that we should not attempt to explain the reason for and benefits of God’s law. It’s just to say that we shouldn’t be surprised when this fails to change their behavior.
November 20, 2015
March 3, 2015
Many Christians wonder whether God will forgive them for intentional sin – particularly premeditated and habitual sins. It’s easy to believe God will forgive us for accidental sins, but not for sins that we plan out in advance or choose to do over and over again.
So, will God forgive such sins? Before we answer that question we should be clear about what God thinks of these sins. He hates them because He hates all sin. Sin is contrary to His holy nature. Sin ruptures God’s relationship with us, and this grieves Him. He has given us the power to choose righteousness (Romans 6; 8:1-4), and yet we choose unrighteousness instead. (more…)
February 24, 2015
Now that Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, more Christians are asking whether smoking marijuana is truly immoral. After all, it’s legal. Joe Carter has a thoughtful article on this issue that I found extremely helpful. He argues that smoking marijuana is immoral. Here is Carter’s argument in a nutshell (with some ad-lib on my part at certain points): (more…)
December 5, 2013
Christians often disagree regarding matters of personal holiness. Those defending themselves against the charge of sin for some X will often respond by saying, “It’s not that bad.” Of course, to say something is “not that bad” is tantamount to saying it’s “not that good” either. In such cases, we should be honest with ourselves and others and just admit that X is not spiritually advantageous for us, even if it is morally tolerable. Would we be better off if we abstained? Perhaps. Are we sinning if we don’t? No.
July 29, 2013
We should not confuse permissiveness for grace. Grace says, “I love you and forgive you, so you need to stop this sin,” not “I love you and forgive you, so it doesn’t matter what you do.” We are living in a culture that thinks love and forgiveness mean we should permit people to continue in their sin while we continue in our silence. This is not grace, and this is not love. Grace and love will always confront sin, because grace and love are the remedy for sin, not the license to continue in it.
February 21, 2013
Almost everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, knows of Jesus’ teaching, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Mt 7:1). I have addresses the proper interpretation of this passage elsewhere in my treatment of judgmentalism, but I recently read some brief comments by J. P. Moreland on the matter that I found helpful as well. Moreland writes:
[W]e need to distinguish two senses of judging: condemning and evaluating. The former is wrong and is in view in Matthew 7. When Jesus says not to judge, he means it in the sense that the Pharisees judged others: their purpose was to condemn the person judged and to elevate themselves above that person. Now this is a form of self-righteous blindness that vv. 2-4 explicitly forbid. Such judgment is an expression of a habitual approach to life of avoiding self-examination and repentance and, instead, propping oneself up by putting others down.
The distinction between moral condemnation and moral evaluation is an important one. We cannot and must not avoid moral evaluations. Such are necessary and good. What we must avoid are moral condemnations of people that elevate our own sense of moral superiority and blind us to our own moral inadequacies.
J. P. Moreland, “On Judging Others: Is There a Right Way?”; available fromhttp://www.jpmoreland.com/2012/12/19/on-judging-others-is-there-a-right-way/; Internet; accessed 31 January 2013.
October 17, 2012
One of the distinguishing marks of the new atheists is that they not only think religion is false, but that it is dangerous and immoral too. Even God himself is not above their judgment. They regularly chide the God of the Bible as being a moral monster! They accuse Him of being pro-genocide, anti-women, pro-rape, pro-slavery, etc. Rather than the paradigm of moral goodness, God is an evil despot that is to be shunned. You know it’s a bad day when even God is evil!
Is what they say true? Is God – particularly as He is portrayed in the OT – morally evil? Many Christians are sympathetic to this charge because they themselves struggle to understand God’s actions and commands, particularly as revealed in the OT. Thankfully there have been some well-written responses to the problem of “theistic evil” written in recent years to dispel this negative portrait of God.