Archive for 'Theology'

[Not] Going to Heaven, Part III

[Not] Going to Heaven,  Part III

Having performed countless funerals over 30 years, I can say that the idea of not going to heaven is one that rarely occurs to most people anymore. Most Americans think that all we have to do to go to heaven is to expire. The idea that accountability for sin, absent repentance, extends beyond this life is becoming rare. In the Bible, however, it is clear:


“Each of us will give an account of himself to ...

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Going to Heaven, Part II

Going to Heaven, Part II

The same professor who told me it is egocentric to want to go to heaven when you die (see Going to Heaven, Part I) proceeded to ask me where heaven is—not that he wanted to go, mind you. It’s not often a man asks for directions, so I opened up my “map” to help me reply. The thoughts below are adapted from my response.

Picturing Heaven

Sometimes, the Bible uses fixed terms for heaven (a ...

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Going to Heaven, Part I

Going to Heaven, Part I

This came to me in a personal e-mail from a Stanford University professor:

    I view the focus on going to heaven as a selfish aspect of Christian faith that I refuse to embrace…l I’m not convinced that what matters MOST is going to heaven, not if that leads to hell on earth.

A Polarizing Preacher

A Polarizing Preacher

Preaching was Jesus’ passion. “That is why I have come,” he said (Mark 1:38). He was also a miracle worker and healer, but that’s not what got him killed. His enemies resented the popularity that his healing ministry attracted but it was his preaching that exasperated his enemies. Jesus’ disciples inherited his passion for preaching and, for most of them, it took years off their lives too.

Jesus was a polarizing preacher, especially when telling ...

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Pulling Weeds

Pulling Weeds

I learned the art of weed discrimination at an early age. Pulling weeds was my main livelihood as a boy, at fifty cents an hour.

A weed is a plant that grows where it’s not wanted. Usually, it grows rapidly and reproduced with ease. My parents wanted crabgrass and dandelions out of the lawn so they were weeds. Thistles, pennywort, pigweed, pokeweed, ragweed, hemlock, stinkweed and tumbleweed also had to go. I lived in weed ...

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The Agency of the Holy Spirit

The Agency of the Holy Spirit

(A ‘Top Ten’ list, plus two, by Joel Solliday)

The Holy Spirit is…

    1. A Free Agent! We cannot contain the Holy Spirit nor do our expectations control Him. Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8). And He freely distributes spiritual gifts “as he ...
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Correcting the Record

Correcting the Record

If the celebrities and talking heads you like most taught you that religion is the source of all bigotry, you might learn to dislike religion. If TV and popular culture only pointed you toward heroic atheists and despicable Christians, you would avoid Christianity. If all you were taught of Christianity were Constantine’s rule, the crusades, the Inquisition and witch trials, you would detest it without understanding it.

The truth is, Christianity has ...

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Oh Holy Night (My Conversion Story)

Oh Holy Night (My Conversion Story)

My earliest memory of the Holy Spirit was on a summer night in 1963 when I soaked my pillow with tears. I was in my sleeping bag staring at the night sky, filled with the Milky Way galaxy, from my cabin window in the Angeles Crest Mountains of Southern California.

I was enjoying Bible camp. I loved the pancakes for breakfast, getting caught with my elbows on the table and beating all the ...

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Heading Off Repentance at the Pass

Heading Off Repentance at the Pass

President Barack Obama, using the full power and prestige of his political high office, issued the following signed declaration on June 1, 2009:

Now, therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride ...

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Top 10 People Who Impressed Jesus

Top 10 People Who Impressed Jesus

Jesus was sometimes disgusted with people, from the Scribes and Pharisees to his own disciples. He could get mighty miffed over hypocrisy, self-righteousness, greed, and inexcusable faithlessness. But what sort of people and attitudes impressed Jesus? Here are some examples (listed in no particular order):

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