Sunday, October 29, 2017

Greater Influence Of The Lesser Known Women Of The Bible

            There are lessons to be learnt from every character in the Bible. However, we habitually focus on the popular characters such as Adam, Eve, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Joseph, Esther, Mary, Paul, Peter, John and the rest. (I do not want to include the Lord Jesus Christ as one of the ‘characters,’ for HE is the central theme of the Bible.)

            Examining the life of every popular character in the Bible to gain vital life lessons is appropriate, but do we then surmise that there is nothing much to be learnt from the lesser known characters of the Bible? I do not think so.

            A Christian woman is the most vital cog of the Christian family (cf. Proverbs 31: 10-31). Hence, let us examine the lives of a few lesser known women in the Bible and the potential influence they can be on us.

Job’s Wife

            Job’s wife is an infamous example of do-not-be-like-that-person. Apart from the more popular Eve, who is often crowned as the cause for the fall, Job’s wife, being lesser known, would still adorn the Biblical Hall of Shame. 

            St. Augustine referred to her as “the devil’s accomplice” and John Calvin labeled her as “a diabolical fury.” What did she do to merit such wrath? She exhorted Job to dispense with his integrity and curse God, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9, NIV). It was also quite possible that she threw a tantrum at Job during his severe trial, for Job said, “My breath is offensive to my wife…” (Job 19:17, NIV).

            We cannot curse God under any circumstance. We cannot motivate anyone to dispense with their integrity. Nevertheless, Job’s wife cannot be relegated to the Bible’s infamous Hall of Shame, for there is a very good lesson to be learnt from her life.

            The Bible narrates three devastating events that occurred in her life. These, certainly, would have inflicted severe emotional trauma upon her. Consider these events:

            (1) She experienced severe financial loss (Job 1: 13-17).

            (2) Her children died (Job 1:18-19).

            (3) Her husband Job was inflicted with extremely painful illness (Job 2:12 & Job 3).

            These events and the consequential emotional trauma could have motivated her to advise Job to curse God and die. But there is a significant point to note. God did not rebuke Job’s wife as HE rebuked Job’s friends (Job 42: 7-9). Instead, when God blessed Job, HE also indirectly blessed her. In other words, she shared in Job’s blessings:

            (1) She gave birth to ten more children (Job 42: 12-15).  

            (2) She shared the “doubled wealth” that God blessed Job with (Job 42:10).

            Hence, we deduce that she was faithfully present with her husband during his most painful period of his life, serving him, to the best of her abilities, to endure the most severe trial of his life. To not cause the spouse further emotional trauma during severe trials, and to diligently serve the spouse with faithful service and constant encouragement to enable a successful triumph over trial is a beautiful lesson taught by the life of Job’s wife.

Lois & Eunice (Acts 16:1-3; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14, 15)

            Paul, in his letter to Timothy, extols the faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother to an extent where he says that their faith has brought about Timothy’s faith, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lo′is and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you.” (2 Timothy 1:5, RSV).

            When women display exemplary spirituality, which in this instance was faith in God, that faith will certainly be rubbed off on the other members of the household. The lives of Lois and Eunice contributed to the enriched spiritual life and diligent service of Timothy. As Paul testifies, Timothy is the spiritual derivative of his grandmother and mother, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15, NIV).

             Similarly, may our faith and love for the Lord be passed on to the members of our household so that they love and serve the Lord with all their strength and mind.

Philip’s Four Daughters (Acts 21:8, 9)

            There is just one short reference in the Bible about the four daughters of Philip the evangelist (the same Philip who ministered to the Ethiopian eunuch), “And he had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.” (Acts 21:9, RSV). This miniscule detail about Philip’s four daughters may be bypassed as a mere narrative without any further implications. But the context of Philip’s existence and the presence of two key words in this narrative (unmarried and prophesied) warrant a deeper thought.

            Philip and his four daughters lived among unbelievers. Hence, the fact that all four Philip’s daughters prophesied, carries greater significance. To prophesy or to serve God amidst unbelievers is not an easy task, for persecution would have been a certain possibility. So the fact that all four of Philip’s daughters prophesied amidst persecution reveals not only their faithfulness and dedication to God, but their courage to serve God despite the persecution.

            The fact that they were unmarried could be a testimony to their celibate life, and they may even be the forerunners to celibacy in women (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:8-34). Celibacy, as Apostle Paul rightly words it, paves way for a greater service to the Lord, “the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:34, RSV).

            Although very little has been said of Philip’s four daughters, we can learn much from that very short narrative. They were faithful and dedicated to God’s work, and they displayed remarkable courage to serve the Lord. We would be better off if we possess these traits in us.

Priscilla (Acts 18:2, 18, 26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19)

            Priscilla, a Jew, was the wife of Aquila. Apostle Paul was much appreciative of their service to the Lord.

            How joyful and blessed it would be to see both the husband and the wife serving the Lord together! The Bible always mentions Priscilla and Aquila together, never apart.

            Priscilla and Aquila did not care for their life while serving the Lord. Tradition reveals that Priscilla and Aquila were martyred for the sake of Christ. Their diehard determination to serve the Lord - come what may - is a great lesson to us.  

            Priscilla and Aquila’s knowledge of the Christian truth was profound and deep, yet they were simple and humble. Their knowledge of the truth in concert with their humility, helped them to serve as mentors to Apollos, who developed as a mighty preacher of the gospel:1

The eloquent and fervent Apollos with all his brilliance and power suffered a sorry limitation as a preacher. He knew only “the baptism of John” (Acts 18:25, 26). He knew nothing of salvation through the cross and the accompaniments of salvation. The larger truths of the Gospel of Redemption were as yet unknown to him. Priscilla and Aquila followed the crowds who went to hear this most popular and persuasive preacher.
As they listened, Priscilla and her husband detected the negative defects of the preaching of Apollos. He taught no positive error, denied no essential of the faith. What he preached was true as far as it went. Apollos knew the truth, but not all the truth, and so in the quiet way, with all humility, Priscilla and Aquila set about correcting the apparent deficiency of Apollos. Inviting him to their home they passed no word of criticism on what they had heard him preach but with consummate tact instructed him Biblically in the truth of the crucified, risen and glorified Saviour. “They expounded unto him the way of God more carefully” (asv)
What was the result of that Bible course which Apollos received from those two godly, Spirit-enlightened believers? Why, Apollos became so mighty in the Gospel that he was called an apostle. In fact, he became so effective as a true gospel preacher that some of the Corinthians put him before Peter and Paul. But all that Apollos became he owed, under God, to the quiet instruction of Priscilla and Aquila. In Apollos, Christ gained a preacher whose spiritual influence was second only to Paul himself…
If we cannot be great, by God’s grace we may be the means of making others great. Quiet, unobtrusive Andrew little knew when he brought his brother Peter to Christ that he would become the mighty Apostle to the Jews. As husband and wife, and humble tentmakers, Aquila and Priscilla greatly enriched the ministries of Paul and Apollos whom God, in turn, used to establish churches.
           To conclude, our lives would be greatly influenced if we study the lives of women and men in the Bible. Our spiritual life would exceedingly be enriched if only we allow their lives to shape ours – all for the glory of God and the extension of HIS Kingdom on earth.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why Pray When Everything Happens As How God Determines?

            The question, “Why pray?” is so vital that if we do not have a reasonable answer, our prayer life may be weakened. Some of us may not have a reasonable answer to this question. Others may doubt the power of prayer because of the adversities that they have faced. Either which way, our spiritual life would crumble if our prayer is not effective.A

            Sincere Christians growing in their faith may have genuine questions. These questions should be reasonably answered to enable them to continue in their spiritual growth in Christ. So let us think through the question - Why should I pray? This question could be asked from various contexts.

            One such context is this: Why do I have to pray for my friend to believe in Christ when God knows whether or not my friend would believe in HIM? God knows, even before I pray, whether my friend would believe in Christ or not. So why should I pray?

            Another similar context is the prayer for deliverance. Only God knows whether or not I would be delivered from my suffering. Since God is the only one who has the power to deliver me, why waste time in prayer, when prayer will not play any definite role in my deliverance?

            Various contexts, such as this, could be offered to validate the question, “Why pray?”   

            Let us consider the instance of praying for a friend to believe in Christ. If we decide not to pray for our friend (because we know that our prayer will not bring about our friend’s conversion), then we are not being a genuine friend. More importantly, we need to know that our decision (or rebellion) to not pray stems out of a serious dissatisfaction in our finiteness as a human being. In other words, we want to be God (we want to know the future), this desire is subconsciously there in us, but we do not know the future (we cannot be God). Hence, in our anger and dissatisfaction, we refuse to pray.

            Conversion is effected by the activity of God (HE loved us and died for us) and man (he should freely believe in God). As a good friend, we may share the good news or testify about God and HIS goodness to our friend. We may even resolve his doubts. God will also do everything possible to draw our friend to HIMSELF. However, the decision to believe in God is our friend’s decision. We cannot force our friend to believe in Christ.

            We question the efficacy of prayer because we are ignorant of our friend’s future – whether or not he will believe in Christ. We are dissatisfied that we are not omniscient (omniscience is a necessary attribute of God and not man). We are dissatisfied that we are not God. Hence we refuse to pray for our friend.

            Think about this. Is this a good reason to not pray?

            No! We should pray. But why?

            First, we pray because we can ask for that which we need. Just as how a child requests a parent, we can ask our Heavenly Father. It’s our prerogative to ask and it’s God prerogative to answer. Second, we need to be humble enough to accept whatever God offers us, for we know that God is just, good and loving. Hence, HIS decisions are always correct.

            But you may still ask, “What would one learn here that otherwise would not be possible without prayer?”

            We pray to love, trust, and understand God in a growing measure. When we pray we get spiritually closer to God. Significantly, when we pray, we are at peace with God. We will be at peace with God even when our prayers are not answered or when things do not go our way (e.g. betrayal, death, joblessness etc) despite our fervent pleas. 

            But you may still ask, “Do our prayers of asking God to change the situation make any sense? How then should we pray? Moreover, how do the prayers in Old Testament make sense (e.g. 2 Samuel 12:16)?

            Yes, it does make sense to ask God to change the situation, for no one wants to exist in an adverse situation. Even the second person of the blessed Trinity, the Son, asked the first person of the blessed Trinity, the Father, to change HIS situation, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me…” (Luke 22:42, NIV).

            The second part of this verse offers an answer to the question, “How should we pray?” The second part of Luke 22:42 states, “…yet not my will, but yours be done.” So let us pray for God’s will to be done and let us pray according to the will of God, “And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (1 John 5:14, RSV, Emphasis Mine).

            (This does not mean that God does not hear any prayer that is not offered according to HIS will, for God, as an omniscient being, knows what we will say, even before we say it.) 

            How do we make sense of the prayers in the Old Testament? Consider the prayer of David in 2 Samuel 12, “…the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground.” (v15b, 16, Emphasis Mine). David’s understanding of God was impeccable in this instance.

            David prayed to God for seven days for the healing of his child. God refused to heal the child. The child died. David’s response to his child’s death was fascinating, for he submitted himself to God’s will, “On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”” (2 Samuel 12: 18-23, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            So let us pray continually. There is nothing wrong in asking, so let us ask God, according to HIS will. Ask God to spiritually enrich our life, and God will certainly do it, for this is God’s will that we know, love, and grow in HIM. But if we ask God to enable us to be the next Billy Graham or a famous Christian evangelist, HE need not fulfill our request. This request need not be according to God’s will.

            Finally, there’s a problem with my title, “Why pray when everything happens as how God determines?” My title is incorrect because God does not determine everything that happens in this world. It is not difficult for God to not control everything. God, who is maximally great, is all-powerful, so God can control everything. But God refrains from controlling everything that happens in our universe.

            For instance, it is my decision to write this blog now. (Of course, I cannot write this blog unless God blesses it. I need to live, be sane, and have a fair amount of understanding of the Scripture to write this blog. My life, my sanity, and my understanding of the Scripture are God’s blessings in my life.) I could have written this blog later, but I decided to write now. Similarly, you are reading this blog out of your own freewill. (It is also our decision to not smoke, drink or to steal. We can go on and on.)

             Last but not the least; we have an adversary – the Satan, who tempts us. However, prayer is the God given means to overcome temptation (Matthew 26:41). When we pray fervently, God will strengthen us to overcome our temptations (Hebrews 2:18) and HE will enable us to cast Satan out of our lives (Mark 9:29).


A What is an effective prayer? A person’s prayer would be effective, if he/she places absolute trust in God. When a child asks or pleads with the father, the child believes that the father has the ability and the power to provide. In other words, if the child doubts the father, then the intensity of his request would be weak.

Think about this, a weak request is not a genuine request; a weak request is a disingenuous request. A disingenuous request (a request that is not genuine) need not be requested, because our request is to God, who is the maximally great being (all-knowing & all-powerful). (Since God knows that our request is not genuine, HE need not answer our request.)  

Monday, October 16, 2017

Could We Change God’s Mind?

            We prayed for many years that God would heal a terminally ill friend. He continued to deteriorate despite our prayers. The doctors, finally, gave up hope. Then a few friends requested a famous faith-healer, who happened to be in the city, to visit and pray for our ailing friend. The preacher visited and prayed. Lo and behold, the terminally ill man was miraculously healed!

            Did God change HIS mind when a more righteous or a spiritually gifted faith-healer prayed for this ailing person?

            Can God change HIS mind?

            There are two diametrically opposite answers to this question. Some Christians believe that God can change HIS mind, whereas others assert that God does not and cannot change HIS mind.

            Let us briefly study their assertions.

God Changes HIS Mind

            Some Christians think that God can change HIS mind, “…advocates of a theory called open theism have argued that God can and does change and that we can cause that change. They find their support for this in passages such as Genesis 18, where Abraham intercedes before the Lord for Sodom and Gomorrah, and God seemingly changes His mind. They claim further support from passages like Jeremiah 18:7–10, Jonah 3:10, and Genesis 6:6, which speak of God repenting or relenting or being sorry.”1

            These Christians, upon reading these verses, believe that God changes HIS mind:

            “The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.” (Genesis 6:6, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.” (Exodus 32:14, RSV, Emphasis Mine).

            “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it." (Jeremiah 18: 7-10, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

God Cannot Change HIS Mind

            Pastor, theologian, and author, R.C Sproul, unpacks this dilemma from the vantage point of God’s omniscience.2

There’s one sense in which it seems God is changing his mind, and there’s another sense in which the Bible says God never changes his mind because God is omniscient. He knows all things from the beginning, and he is immutable. He is unchanging. There’s no shadow of turning within him. For example, He knows what Moses is going to say to him in Numbers 14 before Moses even opens his mouth to plead for the people. Then after Moses has actually said it, does God suddenly changes his mind? He doesn’t have any more information than he had a moment before. Nothing has changed as far as God’s knowledge or his appraisal of the situation.
Is God confused, stumbling through all the different options—Should I do this? Should I not do that? And does he decide upon one course of action and then think, Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea after all, and change his mind? Obviously God is omniscient; God is all wise. God is eternal in his perspective and in his full knowledge of everything. So we don’t change God’s mind. But prayer changes things. It changes us. And there are times in which God waits for us to ask for things because his plan is that we work with him in the glorious process of bringing his will to pass here on earth.

            Similarly, Dr. William Lane Craig explains this theme from the perspective of God’s foreknowledge and the need for us to understand the literary genre’s of the Bible and the literary devices used by the biblical authors for an effective narration. If we understand these details, we will be able to accurately interpret the Bible. Thus we would possess a proper understanding of God. Here’s William Lane Craig:3

I don’t think that God can change his mind, because as an omniscient being, he knows everything that will happen, including his own decisions. God has foreknowledge not only of everything that creatures will do, but also knowledge of his own acts…If God knows the truth value of all true future tense propositions — then he will know the truth value of propositions about his own actions — like God will part the Red Sea; he knows that. So, God would have knowledge of everything in the future, and therefore there could be no basis for changing his mind. An omniscient being cannot change his mind, it would only be an ignorant being, a being that is ignorant, that could acquire some new reason for doing something that would cause him to change his mind…
There are some Scriptures which, at least superficially to a layperson, looks like God’s changing his mind. Jonah and the whale and Nineveh where God was going to destroy the city unless something happened, and he seemed to change his mind.
It’s vital that we understand the literary genre, or type, of most of these biblical stories. The Bible is in the form of narratives. They’re stories about God told from the human point of view. And so, a good storyteller will tell his story with all the vivacity and color that he wants to enhance his narrative.
And so, you’ll find stories in the Bible about God, told from a human perspective where God not only lacks knowledge of the future, but even lacks knowledge of what’s going on presently. God comes down to Abraham and says, “I’ve heard the outcry in Sodom and Gomorrah. I’m going to go see if what I’ve heard is really happening there.”
Well, that would deny not only God’s foreknowledge, but his knowledge of the present. And there are other passages where God is spoken of in anthropomorphic terms of having nostrils and eyes and arms and other sort of bodily parts—wings. If you take all of these literally, God would be a sort of fire-breathing monster.
And so, these are anthropomorphisms. They are literary devices that are part of the storyteller’s art, and shouldn’t be read like a philosophy of religion or systematic theology textbook. There’s just a naïve view of the type of literature that Scripture is.

Need For Proper Interpretation Of The Bible

            Unless we understand the Bible as how God – the author of the Bible – desires us to understand, we will subscribe to a faulty theological position, which, at times, could be detrimental to our salvation. Hence it is imperative to interpret the Bible accurately, “…while the above texts talk of God as changing, there are numerous texts in the Old and New Testaments that tell us that God does not change in His being (Psalm 102:25–27; c.f. Hebrews 1:10–12; Malachi 3:6; James. 1:17) and that He does not change His mind (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:17–18). This is not to play different texts against each other but to know that we need some interpretive principles to help us understand the Bible. There are two reasonable interpretive principles that can help us understand these passages:

            1. Difficult passages should be interpreted in light of other clearer passages.

            2. Passages which are found in the historical narrative in Scripture should be interpreted in light of the didactic (instruction/teaching) passages (such as the epistles.).”4

Can My Prayer Change God’s Mind?

            If our prayer can change God’s mind, then there would exist an overabundance of confusions and contradictions that would effectively destroy our spirituality. If our prayer can change God’s mind, then God cannot be a maximally great being, but let’s not even go to such stupendous theological dilemmas.

            Consider this rather simplified dilemma. If I pray for rain and if you pray for no rain (because your home is in a low lying flood prone location), and if God answers my prayer and not yours, then would you not consider God to be partial and cruel?

            Numerous theological complications, such as this, could be offered, but there is no need, for God does not change HIS mind, “…people often ask whether prayer can change God’s mind….How could a prayer change God’s mind?.... Is it that when Abraham (Genesis 18:16–33) came to God, he came to Him with information that God lacked apart from what Abraham told Him? Obviously Abraham didn’t teach God something that He didn’t already know. In fact, God knew that Sodom would have fewer than ten righteous people, whereas Abraham did not. God’s mind doesn’t change because it doesn’t need to change. He knows everything, and He knows the end from the beginning. God has no plan B because there are no deficiencies or flaws in His plan A.

            Does prayer change things? Yes. Does God use prayer as a secondary means to bring His work to pass? Yes. Does God not only invite us to pray but command us to? Yes. Does the effective prayer of righteous man accomplish much? Yes. But do these things change God’s mind? No. Why? Because God has never had to change His mind from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:11).”5







Websites cited were last accessed on 16th October 2017.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Is The Music Ministry Destroying Other Ministries In Your Church?

            “How was the worship at your church?”

            “Oh, it was awesome! The worship team was amazing!”

            “Wonderful…how was your personal worship experience?”

            “Very powerful indeed; the worship leader is certainly anointed!”

            Ask any young person about their worship experience, and I am so sure that a vast majority of them would, innately, refer worship to singing in the church. In today’s church parlance, singing means worship and worship refers to singing.

            Thus the dilution of “worship” raises its ugly hood in the church. This then is one of the many problems prevalent in the church today!

Glorified Music & Marginalized Worship

            There are churches that do not allocate more than 10 minutes for preaching or the exposition of the Word of God. Scripture reading would never exceed 5 minutes, even on a day when long passage(s) are read! But their singing would go on and on for more than 30 minutes. Why this imbalance?

            A pertinent point emerges to the forefront when the local church glorifies the music ministry more than the other ministries. When preeminence is bestowed upon singing, and when music ministry is glorified beyond conceivable proportions, at least a few of the other equally important ministries in the church tend to be ignored or marginalized.

            A glaring example would be the absence of the ministry of Christian apologetics (offering a rational defense for the Christian faith) in the churches today. Apologetics would generally be a non-existent ministry in your church, and a good number of church leaders tend to think that apologetics refers to offering an apology for the Christian faith!

            Dr. William Lane Craig speaks of this malady in the local church, albeit from the perspective of the church ignoring the need of a seeking mind, which leads to an intellectual impoverishment of a sincerely-questioning-Christian-mind, “I think the church is really failing these kids. Rather than provide them training in the defense of Christianity’s truth, we focus on emotional worship experiences, felt needs, and entertainment. It’s no wonder they become sitting ducks for that teacher or professor who rationally takes aim at their faith.”1

            I am not saying that the music ministry is eating up other ministries. But I am indeed claiming that the churches are ignoring equally pertinent ministries, such as the ministry of Christian Apologetics. This is a sad existential occurrence because the church leadership invests all its efforts only into a few ministries.    

            When churches ignore the ministry of Christian apologetics, and when apologetics is not intricately woven into the fabric of your church ministry, your church would be grossly ineffective to answer the questions of a seeking Christian or a non-Christian. Some pastors even have the audacity to claim that the questioning mind is a stupid mind. Little do they realize that they are the stupid one, for not having an answer for the hope that they have in Christ (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).

            Why do churches ignore the ministry of Christian apologetics?

            “The great revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries brought with them an emphasis on quick conversion of individuals to Christianity without sufficient attention to instruction in biblical doctrine.  The Christian life became more about the experience than the intellectual assent to the teachings of Christ and the apostles.  Without intellectual grounding, many Christians fell prey to the rising philosophical views alleging that only empirical evidence can support truth claims.  Higher criticism began to cast doubt on the inerrancy of the Scriptures.  Darwinism challenged Christian teachings on the origins of man.  The evangelical church largely responded to these challenges by abandoning rational inquiry altogether.  Philosophy, as a whole, became rejected by the fundamentalists, who stood by the truth of the Scripture.  Mainstream denominations, on the other hand, accepted modern philosophy and rejected the inerrancy of Scripture, viewing it as a spiritual guidebook only, not propositional truth.  Instead of engaging the secularists, the fundamentalists retreated to the margins of society.  As a result, the church has largely adopted a blind-faith position regarding the knowledge of spiritual truth.  Rather than faith being seen as a response to reasoned evidence of the truth of Christianity’s claims, it has become contrary to reason altogether.  It amounts to believing despite all the evidence. Ultimately, the absence of apologetics in the church has to do with intellectual laziness, which is sometimes made a virtue in the name of “faith.”  The effects of anti-intellectualism in the church have been disastrous,”2 says an article in

            Ignoring the ministry of apologetics is synonymous to ignoring the intellectual needs of the young people. When pertinent ministries are consciously ignored by the local church, the worship experience is meticulously diluted.

True & Effective Worship  

            Every mature believer understands that worship in the church includes singing. Singing praise and worship songs are as important and pertinent as the reading of the Scripture, preaching of the Word, offertory, and even the announcements. Everything that happens during the worship service is an act of worship.

            True worship does not merely refer to singing, “The apostle Paul described true worship perfectly in Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.” the passage is a description of the manner of our worship: “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.” Presenting our bodies means giving to God all of ourselves. The reference to our bodies here means all our human faculties, all of our humanness—our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, attitudes—are to be presented to God. In other words, we are to give up control of these things and turn them over to Him, just as a literal sacrifice was given totally to God on the altar. But how? Again, the passage is clear: “by the renewing of your mind.” We renew our minds daily by cleansing them of the world’s “wisdom” and replacing it with true wisdom that comes from God. We worship Him with our renewed and cleansed minds, not with our emotions. Emotions are wonderful things, but unless they are shaped by a mind saturated in Truth, they can be destructive, out-of-control forces. Where the mind goes, the will follows, and so do the emotions. First Corinthians 2:16 tells us we have “the mind of Christ,” not the emotions of Christ.

            There is only one way to renew our minds, and that is by the Word of God. It is the truth, the knowledge of the Word of God, which is to say the knowledge of the mercies of God, and we’re back where we began. To know the truth, to believe the truth, to hold convictions about the truth, and to love the truth will naturally result in true spiritual worship. It is conviction followed by affection, affection that is a response to truth, not to any external stimuli, including music. Music as such has nothing to do with worship. Music can’t produce worship, although it certainly can produce emotion. Music is not the origin of worship, but it can be the expression of it. Do not look to music to induce your worship; look to music as simply an expression of that which is induced by a heart that is rapt by the mercies of God, obedient to His commands.

            True worship is God-centered worship. People tend to get caught up in where they should worship, what music they should sing in worship, and how their worship looks to other people. Focusing on these things misses the point. Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means we worship from the heart and the way God has designed. Worship can include praying, reading God's Word with an open heart, singing, participating in communion, and serving others. It is not limited to one act, but is done properly when the heart and attitude of the person are in the right place.”3


            Ask yourself this question today. Does your church excessively glorify its music ministry? Does this excessive glorification hurt the other ministries of your church?

            Is there a ministry of Christian apologetics in your church? If not, why?

            May all our faculties be sensitive to hear and follow God’s voice, now and always.


1William Lane Craig, On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision, (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010), 20.



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