At Advancing Native Missions we are now in a period of mourning. We have just recently lost one of the oldest members of our staff. The Reverend Gordon Shira was a part of ANM from the very beginning. Following a successful and varied ministerial career, he had spent the past 25 years doing volunteer work in our offices. He served as the mission chaplain for decades. He also did clerical work in our receipting department since the earliest days of this ministry. He was a generous, kind-hearted and deeply devout man of God. We will miss him greatly.
Being conscious of Gordon’s passing has made me aware of the issue of death, of the mortality that we all face. And it prompts me to write about death itself, and what happens when we die. May I tell you that this is an area where there is an abundance of myth and misunderstanding. Even in the church I often hear Christians make assertions about those who have died that are simply not true. We do not know everything about what happens when we die. But we do know quite a bit. The Scriptures are very clear on a number of things. Continue reading →
I am convinced that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is foundational to all Christian truth. This is a rather bold statement. Indeed, it is rather controversial. There are some Christian teachers who would adamantly disagree with this. They may accept the Trinity as a biblical doctrine, but they argue that acceptance of the Trinity is not essential in order to be a Christian. While I honor their privilege to believe as they do, I must differ with this position most stringently.
I have dealt with this issue in an earlier post. You can read for yourself regarding the question of the necessity of belief in the Trinity. Allow me to summarize my argument for you. First of all, we understand that salvation is experienced in a person’s life by that person repenting of sin, accepting Christ, and coming into a personal relationship with the Lord God. Thus, relationship is at the heart of the Christian experience. In this light, it is important to note the words of Christ in John 17:3, where He declares that eternal life consists of knowing the true God and the true Son of God. In other words, without a relationship with the true God, there is no eternal life. And thus, whether or not God is triune in His nature is necessary for salvation. You cannot have a relationship with a false god and have eternal life. If God is a monarchial, monolithic deity—one God, one Person—then to assert that you have a relationship with a triune God is a false premise. You cannot have eternal life if you have a relationship with a deity that doesn’t exist. Continue reading →
This is a common question. Many Christians think that the Latter-day Saint Church is simply another denomination, just like Southern Baptists or United Methodists. It is simply one branch of the Christian tree. This is not surprising. The LDS Church has spent a lot of money in the past several decades to promote this idea. They changed their logo to emphasize the words “Jesus Christ.” They promote the Book of Mormon as “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” They have TV ads and promotional materials that present Mormons as clean cut, family-oriented, conservative Christians. And their marketing campaign has worked. Many, if not most, people think that Mormons are Christians. Continue reading →
Just this past week I was teaching a Bible study, addressing various trends in our culture. One of these trends is the prevalence of the occult. We are a society beguiled and fascinated with witchcraft, sorcery, vampires, ghosts, zombies, paranormal powers and psychic phenomena. This is a very perilous trend. The Bible is explicit in its condemnation of all forms of the occult belief and practice. There are scores of verses that address this matter. The most comprehensive is found in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. Here God expressly forbids His people from any involvement in the occult.
After my lesson was over, a lady came up to talk to me. She was very concerned about a friend. Her friend is an elderly woman who is a devout Christian believer, and has served the Lord for many years. However, she has begun experiencing a new kind of spiritual experience. This woman claims that the spirits of dead people have been visiting her, and communicating with her on a regular basis. She talks with them, and they relay all sorts of information to her. Indeed, in this woman’s neighborhood she has become somewhat of a celebrity because of this. Someone loses their keys, they consult her—and she asks some spirit to reveal the keys’ whereabouts. Someone has a problem, the spirits give counsel and advice through their matronly channel. The woman has become the resident local medium for all sorts of help from the spirit world. Continue reading →
On Good Friday my wife and I went to see a new Christian film, The Case for Christ. This is the true story of Lee Strobel, a Chicago crime reporter whose world turned upside down when his wife became a Christian. Before this, they were both avowed atheists. Strobel decided that the only way to win his wife back to reason was to disprove Christianity. And the way to do this was to disprove the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as an historical event. The film traces Strobel’s investigation into the nature and evidence about the Resurrection. It is an excellent film, which I highly recommend. Continue reading →