Category Archives: Issues

“My People Are Destroyed”–Lack of Discernment in Modern Christianity

by Peter Ditzel

To Old Covenant Israel, God wrote, “Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land…. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:1, 6). A lack of knowledge was destroying the people of God’s physical nation, Israel; and because they neglected to teach the people, God rejected Israel’s leaders. Could something similar be happening among God’s spiritual people today?

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Q. Why is Christianity hated by so many while other religions are more tolerated?

A. The answer has two aspects which I’ll address separately. I want to begin, however, by briefly stating my agreement with the basic premise of the question. There can be no doubt that some people use a different measuring stick determining their toleration of Christianity than they use for other religions. If you criticize Christianity for its defense of traditional marriage, they will cheer you. But if you criticize Islam for its demeaning treatment of women or for whipping homosexuals, they will accuse you of Islamophobia. Why?

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What Would Jesus Have Said in Response to the Terrorism of September 11?

by Peter Ditzel

The shocking events of September 11, 2001, have stamped horrific images indelibly into our minds. But those airliners turned fireballs and towers atomizing their way to earth may also have altered the very course of human events in such a way as to plunge civilization instantly into an age of uncertainty or even chaos.

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Q. What are your thoughts on Jennifer Knapp’s disclosure that she is living a gay lifestyle?

A. Jennifer Knapp is a Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) singer who has disclosed that she is living in a lesbian relationship (see Christianity Today, “Jennifer Knapp Comes Out“). The bottom line of Knapp’s announcement seems to contain the triple ideas that the only Scriptures against homosexuality are in the Old Testament, that there is a spirit that “overrides” the question of whether homosexuals should be allowed in the church, and that living a gay lifestyle and being a Christian are not at odds.

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Are you concerned about what your child is reading– Some Facts and Fiction About Reading, Truth, and Knowing

by Peter Ditzel

This article is far-sweeping, and I hope it will be helpful to readers with children and without. It discusses whether fiction is truer than facts, whether knowing someone is different than knowing about someone (such as whether knowing Jesus is different from knowing about Him), why we should monitor our children's reading, and why we should all be more careful when reading fiction than nonfiction. Along the way, we'll grind the truth out of Thomas Gradgrind, meet poisonous snake dealer Bill Jones, get thrown into a dungeon, learn some facts about the Wotton Electric Picture House, and gyre and gimble in the wabe—so hang on!

Catchy slogans, colorful posters, and summer reading programs at public libraries all try to get kids to read. So do school teachers and homeschooling moms and dads. But while we are encouraging our children to read, how much thought are we giving to what they read? And, as odd as it may seem to those parents who can hardly convince their child to pick up a book, some parents might also consider whether their children are reading too much, or at least too much of certain kinds of books.

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Should Christians Seek to Be Magistrates?

by Peter Ditzel

It is not often questioned now whether a Christian should be a magistrate, hold a political office, or work for the government in some capacity. In fact, in recent years, the question in the United States has rather been whether it is right to vote for someone who is not a Christian. But this was not always the case. In past centuries, the question of whether Christians should be magistrates was one that many took seriously. In this article, I want to show how I came to this question, give a little historical background to the question, and point out some Scriptures that I believe answer it very clearly.

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Q. Should Christians participate in Halloween celebrations?

A picture of two trick-or-treaters. One is dressed as a faceless specter, the other as a witch.
Trick-or-Treaters

A. Halloween is celebrated on October 31, typically by children dressing in costumes and going house-to-house trick-or-treating (also called guising) and having parties. There is no “Thus saith
the Lord” in the Bible concerning Halloween. But I do believe that it is possible to come to a conclusion about it that is in harmony with Scripture. When considering whether we should participate, we should ask ourselves some questions. 1. What are the origins of the day? 2. What do people think of the day today? 3. What Scriptures apply to the situation? Let’s try to answer these questions.

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Peace on Earth, or a Sword?

by Peter Ditzel

December 2016: One Scripture we’re likely to hear at this time of year is Luke 2:13-14: “Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to Peanuts character contemplating the apparent contradiction of Jesus brining peace and a sword. He concludes with the question, Why not a blanket?God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men.'” The angels were announcing the birth of Jesus Christ to the shepherds, and what they said about peace on earth is true. Yet, what, exactly did they say? Years later, Jesus Himself said, “Don’t think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn’t come to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). This would certainly seem to be the opposite of the angels’ good news. Is what Jesus said a contradiction of the angels’ message? If not, how can both of these things be true?

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Musings About Ebenezer Scrooge and Modern Wealth and Poverty

by Peter Ditzel

I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!

Wouldn’t you like to hear your employer say that to you? The other day, we again watched the old A Christmas Carol/Scrooge movie starring Alastair Sim. Dickens wrote his Ebenezer Scrooge character as the epitome of miserliness, and “scrooge” has even become a dictionary word that means “a miserly person.” Nevertheless, before his conversion, miserly, stingy Ebenezer Scrooge gave his clerk, Bob Cratchit, Christmas day off with pay.

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Q. Don’t you think that your article, “Do you think Bible-believing Christians should keep Christmas?” is double-talk? I think that attending a Christmas dinner or having anything else to do with Christmas is observing the day and is an unacceptable compromise with pagan practices.

A. I want to point out that I was not promoting the observance of Christmas in any religious way. Under the New Covenant, there are no days, whether commanded under the Old Covenant or practiced by pagans, that Christians must keep. Day keeping is one of the “weak and beggarly elements” and “rudiments of the world” (Galatians 4 and Colossians 2). Paul clearly taught against such observations. But he also said that even an idol is nothing, his point being that he knew he could even eat meat that had been offered to an idol (see 1 Corinthians 8). In other words, it’s not the thing but what is in our mind. Yet he would not do it if it offended his brother.

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