By In Culture, Wisdom

Food and Holiness: Part II

Before I begin my second post on food I wanted to make a note about how we eat in my household. My wife grinds our own wheat. We still eat some white flour, but we also eat a lot of wheat. We go in with some friends and buy, raise, and butcher our own chickens. We joined a CSA this summer where we bought locally grown vegetables. We eat tons of grains, beans, and other whole foods.  We grow a small amount of vegetables each year. The amount of processed food in our diet is low. Soda is a special treat, not a normal part of our diet.  I think most people would consider us healthy eaters.  However, none of this is an indicator of personal righteousness. That is the main point of these posts.

This is the continuation of an article that began here.  I will have one more post tomorrow.

Sixth, what you refuse to eat does not make you more holy than someone else. You are not more holy because you refuse to eat white sugar or white flour or buy organic. Paul makes this point in Colossians 2:20-23.  Men love to draw unbiblical lines of holiness to separate themselves from others. Paul says these false lines make us look holy and feel holy, but in end they are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. Paul tells us where true holiness comes in Colossians 3, especially verses 5, 8, 12-13. If we worried more about those things mentioned in Colossians 3, sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, and less about what type of flour we are eating or how much fat is in our food we would probably be more holy.

Seventh, it is a doctrine of demons to encourage abstaining from certain foods because you think they are sinful. I Timothy 4:1-5 are clear on this particular point. Teachers were saying you were unholy if ate certain food and got married. Paul denounces these men and calls them the voice of demons. This passage is emphatic and strong. Nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving. If someone doesn’t want to eat meat that is fine. But if they don’t eat meat because they think it is evil they are teaching false doctrine. All things can be eaten, provided they are sanctified by the Word and prayer.

Body Temple 3


Eighth, a lot of Christians use “the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” argument from I Corinthians 6:19 to argue for healthy living. However, we must remember that Paul is talking about having sex with a prostitute. So if you think drinking soda, smoking cigarettes, or refusing to exercise is “defiling the temple” then you are saying that these are the equivalent of sleeping with a prostitute. Is that really what you want to say? If not, then temper your language. There may be some downstream application of this verse to our physical well-being, but we should be careful how we use it. This is of the most misused verses in the Bible.

Ninth, to refuse fellowship with another brother over food is a perversion of the Gospel. To divide over organic vs. inorganic, natural vs. processed, meat vs. veggies, hormone free vs. hormones, exercise vs. non-exercise, white vs. wheat, etc. is to deny Christ who has made us one body in the Spirit. We lean towards self-righteousness, which means we lean towards false lines of holiness where we are on the holy side. Food is one of the ways Satan tempts us to look down on other believers. I know food is not usually a barrier between churches, but it is often a barrier between Christians. This denial of fellowship is rarely explicit. We don’t put on our front doors “No short, bald, fat guys allowed.”  But with our attitudes, who we like to hang out with, how we talk about fat people, and our treatment of men and women like this we make it clear that thin, healthy people are preferred.  Again, I know it can go the other way with fat people looking down on thin. But in our culture that is not the primary temptation.

Tenth, this one will make some people mad, but here goes. Many of the current food fads in Christendom are promoted by women. I am not sure if it has always been the case, but it is now. Most of the best-selling “Christian” exercise books and “Christian” eating books come from women. In my experience as a pastor, this has been the case as well. Certain women gravitate towards strange, unbiblical views on food.  Pastors and husbands need to teach the women in their flocks and homes a Biblical perspective on food, health, and exercise.

To Be Continued…

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By In Culture, Wisdom

Food and Holiness: Part I

Here at Kuyperian we are trying to take every thought captive to Christ. This includes economics, politics and naturally food. Food? Yes, food. Food is a source of great anxiety for our culture. What should we eat, how much should we eat, when should we eat, and where should we eat are all questions we ask. Every week it seems there is new study telling us about the evils of this food or that food. How should we think as Christians when it comes to food? Below is my brief attempt at putting up some guardrails on a road where many are currently driving over the cliff. A couple of notes before I begin:

First, I know there are Christians who flaunt their freedom and eat like pigs because they are “free in Christ.” I know it is possible for the fat person to look down on the thin. However, in the community I live in, our culture, and the Christian world at large that is not the major issue. The bigger issue is holiness by how we eat, dieting, or exercise. That is what I address primarily in these posts. That does not mean I think being a glutton is fine. It just means that the temptation in our culture leans the other way.

Second, I am not saying what we eat is irrelevant. But I am saying it does not matter as much as our culture tells us it does.

Third, each person has to make choices about how they eat and what they eat. I understand this. However, too often our choices become a source of holiness for us and a way of dividing between Christians. I am not saying we should not think about what we eat. I am saying this has very little bearing on our own righteousness and holiness and should not be a source of division in the Body of Christ.

Fourth, there is a lot more that could be said. I do not address feasting, hospitality, drinking good beer (or bad beer) or even how important the simple act of eating together can be.  Perhaps in the future I will address some of these.

With those qualifications out of the way, here are my points. I will post more tomorrow.

Pig Roast 2First, the Old Testament laws about food have been done away with. It is hard to understand what else Acts 10 can mean, especially 10:28. Any Christian who tells you, “Don’t eat pork or shellfish because the Bible forbids it” has failed to understand the New Covenant and is leading you back to the shadows of the Old Covenant. I have heard this from parishioners, from pastors, in conferences, etc. This idea dies a hard death.

Second, the Old Testament food laws were not about health.  This idea gets a lot of mileage in our health obsessed culture despite it not being true. It makes men sound holy for being healthy. However, God never uses health language when giving the laws. He tells them to do this because they are to be holy, separate from the nations. (Leviticus 22:26) The OT dietary laws are not a manual on healthy eating. They were a reminder to the Old Testament saints that they are to be separate from the nations. In the New Covenant those OT dietary laws are broken down as God is making one new man out of two. (Ephesians 2:14-18)

Third, two of the major food sins in Scripture are gluttony and drunkenness. We understand drunkenness.  But we think gluttony equals being fat or eating too much. However, having an extra piece of pie does not qualify as gluttony, just as having two beers does not qualify as drunkenness. Having some extra pounds on you does not make you a glutton. Gluttony, like drunkenness, is not hard to spot when we know what we are looking for.  Primary verses on gluttony are Deuteronomy 21:20 and Proverbs 23:19-21. The picture here is not of someone who overeats and is overweight, but of someone who leads a riotous, drunken life and squanders their money and time. (c.f. Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34) Gluttony is linked with a particular way of living, especially of wasting resources, sloth, poverty, and often theft.  (Mark Horne does a great job explaining gluttony in this article.)   My point is simple. Gluttony is a sin, but gluttony is not what most Christians think it is.

Fourth, natural food is not necessarily better than processed food. I understand that a lot of processed food today has been stripped of its nutrient value. However, it is important to not overreact. Nature is fallen just like man. The wheat has felt the effects of sin just like we have.  God put us here to take dominion.  Just because greedy men tear down what God has created does not mean we should just take nature as it is. We were made by God to take up the things in the world and transform them for our good and for his glory. This means we should be trying to make the wheat better, the cows fatter, and the apples bigger.

Buy Local

Fifth, where your food comes from does not matter that much. As Americans we have been taught that it is our duty to make sure our food does not come from a tainted source such as a corporate chicken farm or an overseas processing plant. But in I Corinthians 8:8 Paul says it is not a sin to eat meat offered to idols. If it is not a sin to eat meat that has been put on an altar, chanted over, and offered up to the gods, then it is not a sin to eat non-organic chickens, produce harvested by underpaid workers, and beef filled with hormones from the packing plant in Iowa. This is an argument from the greater to the lesser. Sometimes this argument is focused around buying locally. We should buy from a local farmer instead of from a corporate farm in California. Other times people cry out that justice demands that we make sure our food comes from a place where the workers are treated rightly.  Whatever the argument, Paul’s point in I Corinthians 8:8 effectively blunts it.  You can decide not to buy food from a certain place, but don’t make it a sin to when someone else does.

To Be Continued…

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By In Theology, Wisdom

Witness-Bearing & Prosecuting God’s Case (Trusting God & Reasoning about Him)

paul mars hillBy Mark Horne

As Christians we all want to see non-Christians convert to faith in Christ by the grace of God. Even more, we probably want to be instrumental in such a conversion–for that would be a special blessing. But let’s be honest: we all hope that such an opportunity will be a peaceful encounter between us and someone who has never heard and/or understood the Gospel. We would like to see someone receive the Good News from us and immediately respond with joy, repenting and believing.

Well, it is fine for us to hope for a chance to share the Gospel without having to deal with conflict and confrontation, but that does not usually happen. No one has ever knocked on my door because an angel of heaven told him to come to my address and hear an important message from God. In real life people don’t often ask about the Gospel, and when they begin to get the gist of the message, they usually try to change the subject. The reason for this should be obvious; the good news of the Gospel is an offer of forgiveness–an offer which presupposes that all people are sinners against their Creator and deserving of His wrath.

Witnessing for Christ inevitably involves some level confrontation. While a Christian must do all he can to speak peacefully with unbelievers, trying to entirely evade the fact that there is a conflict involved will probably mute his message.

Defense & Offense

Confronted with the claims of the Gospel, people typically respond to our message by saying that it is not true or that it is an interesting hypothesis which MIGHT be true. It is at this second point that I personally am usually most tempted to compromise the claims of Christ. Perhaps you are too. Not wanting to give offense, we can easily be derailed from offering “a ready defense.” How does this happen?

In my experience, a person who is sharing the Gospel will almost invariably want to “prove” to the non-Christian that Christianity is true. “Let us reason together,” he might say to the unbeliever. “I don’t want you to accept the Gospel on ‘blind faith’.” And then he will go on to present arguments and evidences which he thinks, if his friend will consider them, will lead him to the conclusion that God exists.

While it is true that people should reason in order to believe the Gospel, and that our faith is not supposed to be blind, defending Christianity in this way involves a fatal compromise. It treats the person as if he is a “neutral” observer who has the right to evaluate the claims of Christ for himself and decide whether or not they are worthy of acceptance. This simply will not do. According to the Gospel, people are creatures who ought to submit to their Creator in ALL of their thinking, and are sinners who are ANYTHING but neutral regarding the true God.

A cursory study of Biblical terminology will reveal that “bearing witness” for Christ has judicial implications. We are bringing an accusation against the world. It is the creature and sinner who must be cleared before God’s judgment seat, not Jesus who stands awaiting the judgment of any mere man.

Without Excuse

But does this mean that the Christian faith is irrational–that it is to be believed without evidence? Far from it. All people everywhere are already confronted with evidence that God exists. They may say that they are unsure of God’s existence, but in fact they are surrounded by God’s personal testimony. God never “left himself without witness” to anybody (Acts 14.17). Each person without exception is especially confronted with the revelation of the true God in his own person. God

made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for

“In him we live and move and have our being”

as even some of your own poets have said,

“For we are indeed his offspring.”

Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. (Acts 17:26-29, ESV)

Every single fact in human experience undeniably shows forth the face of God. And all unbelievers without exception are suppressing this fact in this experience. They do this, not only by disbelieving the Bible, but by denying His general revelation (in nature and history) and coming up with rationalizations to justify themselves–rationalizations that we know as false philosophies and false religions—“the art and imagination of man.” Instead of admitting that God is personally present with them, they insist that reality is ultimately impersonal. The only “god” they will accept is a finite being in the same impersonal surroundings. Or else they insist that “God” is a word to cover over the ultimately impersonal nature of reality.

By arguing as if an unbeliever is legitimately ignorant of God, by treating him as a neutral seeker of truth, we can deny the real situation and undercut the Gospel. For, if a person can be legitimately ignorant of God, then he cannot be sinning against Him. The Gospel is unnecessary. A person has an excuse for unbelief. Indeed, we are implicitly agreeing that reality is not a personal revelation of God, but an impersonal environment.

But if God is self-evident, and if the Bible is recognizable as the voice of the true God, then the Gospel makes sense. The fact that seemingly sincere people deny that it is true also makes sense. The Bible explains that people practice self-deception. Sinners don’t ultimately need new evidence to be persuaded of God’s existence. That need may arise because, as part of the process of suppressing the truth, there is disinformation that has been from generation to generation. But ultimately, people need a new ethical orientation so that they will stop suppressing the evidence they have and “seek God.”

They need a new heart.

A More Excellent Way

Does all this mean we cannot argue with unbelievers in any constructive way? Not at all! It only means we have to argue in a way that does not compromise the Gospel. We must argue in a way that does not undermine the universally evident truth of God’s existence and the sinful disposition of people to deny the His personal revelation in nature and history and in Scripture. Much more could be written about the various more specific ways we are tempted into such compromise, and the various ways we can avoid it. For the moment, consider a brief general explanation of how we might defend the Faith without compromising.

I’ve already mentioned that, as witnesses for Christ, we are in a courtroom situation. We are pressing charges against sinners who need to seek clemency before it is too late. As everyone knows from watching fictional courtroom dramas or even real court cases, the primary objective of a defense lawyer is to present a plausible reinterpretation of the prosecution’s evidence. Sometimes this involves some key piece of new evidence, but usually both parties have an agreement at the outset about the evidence at hand for the case. One’s conclusion mainly hinges on how one interprets the mutually-acknowledged evidence. This non-Christian reinterpretation results in untrue “worldviews”–the false philosophies and religions I mentioned above.

As witnesses for our Lord, we must attempt to show unbelievers that their supporting false beliefs are insufficient and incoherent. An impersonal world, after all, is ultimately unknowable. By showing that only the Christian teaching of God, creation, and human destiny makes any sense at all, we will press home to the non-Christian that he is evading the God Who has surrounded him with testimony to His own existence.

Ambassadors of Peace

As we do this, it is important we never be unnecessarily combative. A person raised in an unbelieving environment is different from someone who walked away from knowledge of a Gospel. We do need to account for the fact that many people are not self-consciously aware of where they are going or why when they walk away from God in daily life. The fact that all people are sinning in how they evade knowledge of God does not mean they are all self-conscious enemies. Depending on who we are talking to, we can function as helpful counselors rather than debate gladiators.

While we need to not support ultimate neutrality when we make our intellectual case for Christianity, we also need to not treat people as self-conscious rebels. The deep mystery of self-deception is that one is somehow both the deceiver and the deceived. In many cases the “deceiver” has been helped by years of deceptions from an unbelieving culture. So nothing in what I am saying above is intended to justify a hostile style of witnessing as necessary to faithfully defending the Gospel.

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By In Theology, Wisdom

If You Clean Up As You Go, The Mess Never Spreads

messy office 03

by Marc Hays

This morning I woke up with a plan. I was going to come downstairs, put the coffee on, come into my office and clean it before I did anything else. No Facebook. No Blog and Mablog. No email. No phones, no pools, no pets. The state of disarray in my office had gotten awful. There were papers that needed to be sorted; many more papers that needed to be trashed; books that needed to be reshelved; drawings from the children that needed a museum to house them. And that was just my desk.

As it became cleaner, I noticed that the contrast between my now-clean-desk and the floor and tables around it was becoming starker. There were papers stacked everywhere! More books underneath them, and still more drawings from the kids. My entire office was atrocious, and until one part was clean, I didn’t notice the rest being in such disarray.

Recently, a friend called me and confessed a sin to me that I might pray for him throughout the day. It was a sin in his mind. He hadn’t acted on it yet- not with his eyes, his mouth, his hands, or his feet, but he knew where his heart was, and he knew this thought was a work of the flesh. He knew that man cannot take fire into his lap and not be burned. He knew that these types of thoughts spread like wild fire until there is no controlling them. He also knew that these types of thoughts wasted the life and breath that God had given him, and he didn’t want to waste those things. His heart was soft and humble and wise.

My office, being a negative example, and my friend’s confession, being a positive example, remind me of the same thing: If you clean up as you go, the mess never spreads.<>rpg mobile gameреклама в директе

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By In Wisdom, Worship

Does Praying More Times Make God More Likely to Answer?

Jupiter (St Petersburg)

Jupiter – someone who won’t expedite your prayers.


A friend wrote me a question, and I think the answer might be beneficial to many of us.

Does praying a lot make God more likely to act?

I think the answer to the quantity question raised by “you have not because you ask not,” is that God is not impressed with quantity for the sake of quantity – but that he looks for faithfulness that happens to express itself in many prayers. It is found in the faithfulness to ask about everything that you need. You will either be a person who goes to God, or a person who goes elsewhere with your needs and complaints and desires.



When James says “you ask not,” he isn’t saying that they are not ever trying to get any needs met by anyone – I believe he is indicting them for asking elsewhere. He indicts them (in 1.8, and 4.8) for “double-mindedness.” Which is a term for idolatry. It is spiritual two-timing. We know this because James 4.8 is referring to a pair of images in Psalm 24.


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