Denominations, Speaking in Tongues, and Atheism

I just read an article posted on Facebook reporting that the Southern Baptist Convention will now permit its missionary members to exercise the Spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. This practice was actually banned by the SBC ten years ago. Click here for the article.

This propelled me to consider the different Christian denominations and the diversity of friends I have who seem to come from all kinds of Christian backgrounds. I’m friends with Baptists, Pentecostalists, Bapticostals, Methodists, Catholics, and others. I even met an Amish guy recently and we had a lengthy conversation about our views of Christianity. That was really fun. He (Clay) was a great guy to talk to. As for me, I consider myself strongly non-denominational for many reasons, but that’s not my point here.

Sometimes an atheist or skeptic will use denominational groups within Christianity as an argument against the truth of Christianity. They will claim that their differences and disagreements are proof that Christianity is some kind of man-made fiction. I think I have a good way to answer this charge by using a sports analogy similar to one used by John Lennox.

I have a four-year-old who is playing his first year in T-ball. I’m an assistant coach on his team. Among the coaches on the team, we all have our own personality and our own ways of teaching the kids. While not changing who we are, we sort of conform to the way the head coach does things and we have been able to really coach these kids to be some really good, young players.

As the season has proceeded we have played several different opponents and each team’s coaches have a different style of coaching and you can see it on the field. Some coaches are very passive and overly nice. Some coaches scream a lot (that wouldn’t be me…or would it?). One team has been coached to pester the other team, distract the batters, be loud, and talk smack. And other teams are absolutely out of control with no order or discipline. I can even detect the early stages of rivalries forming. Some teams just don’t like other teams for some reason or another. It’s nothing personal. It’s just the way humanity and sports works. Differences arise.

But aside from all the glaring differences in the makeup of the various teams, we are all doing one thing and it’s the same thing: playing baseball. The Christian church is a lot like this.

As Tim Keller writes about in his book, “The Reason for God,” Christianity has always been able to cross cultures and cross any kind of human personality and still be a message of truth and good news to humanity. So yeah, there are many denominations. But that in no way disproves the truth of Christianity. At worst it may show that Christians make up a broad spectrum of people with different cultural backgrounds and different worship preferences. But at best, it shows how malleable Christianity can be without compromising its message. Christianity is confronted with a wide diversity of people all over the globe. It reaches the ultra-spiritual African tribal people, to the pantheistic Asian people, to the people influenced by the “Enlightenment” of the western European world and in America, and many other cultures.

So remember this when someone tries to say denominational groups prove Christianity false. That’s simply wishful thinking and the charge proves absolutely nothing.


Thoughts on Morality and Slavery

I believe in objective morality which is the reality that behaviors are moral or immoral regardless of a person’s subjective opinion about the behavior. 

An evolutionist would say (among other things) that morality has evolved and is constantly changing. They love to use slavery as an example. They will cite the abolition of slavery and say, “see, there is proof that morality evolves.”
I do not accept that notion. Just because a group of people have an opinion that slavery is permitted does not make it right. The Nazi’s thought it was permissible to murder Jews, but at the Nuremberg Trials, the world decided otherwise. Everyone accepted the fact that morality is grounded in something objective. 
The bottom line is that accepted morality is quite different from objective morality. The belief that people once thought slavery was permissible never actually made slavery permissible or moral. It was always wrong. 
Moral law is never created. It is only discovered. 

Quick thought

Oh sure, we can feed our minds only one side of a story and if that’s all we ever hear then that’s all we’ll ever believe. I’ve spent five years investigating and studying two worldviews i.e. Christianity and a disbelief in God. 

After spending time with all the evidence, (not just the evidence I wanted to hear), the only logical conclusion I can come to is that disbelief in a Creator God is almost always a very deep-seated, willful, volitional decision, based on experiences that make belief a tough thing to hold. Disbelief is rarely seated exclusively in scientific evidences, though that’s the excuse that’s the easiest to pass off. 

And you know what? Satan wants nothing more than that. Nothing more.