Blog Archives

God’s Christmas Gift to Humanity


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

“God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life.For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek
him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church.

To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.”

May you receive Him with open arms!  Merry Christmas everyone.

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Christianities Family Tree


“As  You sent Me into the world,  I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I  sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be  sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one;  even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us,  so that the world may believe that  You sent Me.

John 17:18-21 NASB

Teach Us How to…Live? The Early Churches Take on “The Lord’s Prayer” Part 2


“Lord, teach us to pray…”

You would have reacted the same way, I suppose. The disciples had seen Jesus do incredible miracles. They also watched him pray a lot. They put two and two together and surmised that Jesus’ power was a result of his prayer. Now, every first century Jew knew how to pray. But nobody could do the miracles that Jesus was doing. The disciples wanted to know how to do that!

So they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. That inquiry resulted in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” A short lesson on how to pray that the church has held dear ever since.

But is it a lesson on how one should pray?

“Yes, but”, is how I think I would answer that.

Yes, Jesus taught the disciples how to pray here. But if you look closer at what Jesus taught, I think He was actually Read the rest of this entry

What Do You Believe?


As I have grown in my relationship with Christ, I have had ample opportunity to define and re-define what it is I believe about Christianity. Over the years, my list has become shorter rather than longer. It is not because I don’t hold strong beliefs in other area’s, because I do. I simply hold these views to be non-essential to the Christian faith. For too long, we have allowed our in-house theological disagreements over these non-essential matters to divide Christ’s body and dishonor Christ’s name. Read the rest of this entry

Have You Read the Oldest Christian Sermon Outside of the New Testament? Part 2


I have listened to a lot of sermons in the past 25 years. I have also read many old sermons from the great preachers of the past. I have amassed a huge library of books from great authors, both past and present. Many of these works have impacted my life in big and small ways. But none more than the writings and messages of the early christian church leaders.

In my quest to figure this thing called Christianity out, I have found it helpful to go back and read how the earliest Christ followers understood Christianity. For some reason unknown to me, many of my contemporaries Read the rest of this entry

Our Top 11 Most Discussed Posts of 2011


We had a lot of interesting discussions over at Not For Itching Ears in 2011.  We have listed our Top 11 most discussed posts below.  They cover a wide range of topics from the Seeker-Sensitive Church movement, Calvinism, Solo-Scriptura, Worship, The Best Salsa Recipe in the Blogosphere, American Idolatry and more.  It’s never too late to join the discussion.  Jump into any you may have missed.  Happy New Year Everyone.   Thank you to all who follow us! Read the rest of this entry

The Top Ten Most Read Posts of 2011 from Not For Itching Ears


That’s right, my friends.  The following post contains our own version of the Top 10 list:  The most read posts from Not For Itching Ears this year.  You may be very surprised at the#1 post.  It is not only our number one post for the year, it is #1 of ALL TIME.  Far surpassing anything else!  It is clearly out of character with the rest of the blog and reveals a spicy secret about me… I dare you to try it out.  You won’t be disappointed. Read the rest of this entry

The Bottom 5: Our LEAST Read Posts from 2011


Yes, it is that time again.  The “Best of” posts are all coming out.  Tomorrow we will have our top 5 posts of the year.  Today, as an act of humility, we present our Bottom 5.  They are our least read posts of 2011.  Go ahead and read one.  They can’t be all bad!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Read the rest of this entry

Could the Doctrine of Total Depravity be Totally Depraved?


Over here at Not For Itching Ears we like to discuss issues that challenge our view of Christianity and the Church.   It is healthy to consider what one believes about the Christian faith and how we express that faith in our corporate church life.  If all we ever do is listen to ourselves, we can inadvertently become the kind of people Paul warned Timothy about:  People who surround themselves with “teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear.”  Today’s post is an attempt to counter that tendency among us as we discuss the Doctrine of  Total Depravity.  To do this, we turn to a passage from  “Reconsidering Tulip” by Alexander J. Renault.  It is written from an Orthodox perspective.

Like many of you, I have always assumed that Total Depravity was a doctrine universally accepted by the church of all ages.  But I was wrong.  It is a rather new concept.  In fact the early church fathers, categorically rejected the idea.  That troubles me a lot.  If Paul understood humanity to be totally depraved or to have a total inability, why did his disciples and the disciples after him flat-out deny it?  Calvinism doesn’t work without this idea, so I can see why we would hesitate to even discuss it.  It wasn’t until Calvin that this idea became the unquestionable doctrine it has become.

I don’t think this article settles the question, but the author does bring out some interesting things that most of probably have not considered.

So, let the Discussion begin…

Read the rest of this entry

A Strong Argument Against Calvinisim? Part 3 You Decide….


Over here at Not For Itching Ears we like to discuss issues that challenge our view of Christianity and the Church.   It is healthy to consider what one believes about the Christian faith and how we express that faith in our corporate church life.  If all we ever do is listen to ourselves, we can inadvertently become the kind of people Paul warned Timothy about:  People who surround themselves with “teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear.”  Today’s post is an attempt to counter that tendency among us as we discuss Free-Will and Determinism.  To do this, we turn to an extremely interesting email exchange between Father John Whiteford (an Eastern Orthodox priest) and  some proponents of Calvinism.

This isn’t your typical argument!  Father Whiteford brings another line of argumentation to his view that is almost entirely absent from the typical back and forth between Calvinists and Arminians:  What did the early church fathers teach about this?

I recognize that there are three groups of people who will read a post like this:  1) Strong Calvinists who will want to defend their view.  2)Strong Arminians who will want to find ammo for their view and 3) those who don’t have their minds made up but may lean to one understanding of things.  My hope, is that all three groups of people will be challenged and encouraged.   It’s a long discussion so I will be breaking it up into three posts.  Read Part 1 Here, and part two here.  The third and final post …… Read the rest of this entry

A Strong Argument Against Calvinisim? Part 2 You Decide….


Over here at Not For Itching Ears we like to discuss issues that challenge our view of Christianity and the Church.   It is healthy to consider what one believes about the Christian faith and how we express that faith in our corporate church life.  If all we ever do is listen to ourselves, we can inadvertently become the kind of people Paul warned Timothy about:  People who surround themselves with “teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear.”  Today’s post is an attempt to counter that tendency among us as we discuss Free-Will and Determinism.  To do this, we turn to an extremely interesting email exchange between Father John Whiteford (an Eastern Orthodox priest) and  some proponents of Calvinism.

This isn’t your typical argument!  Father Whiteford brings another line of argumentation to his view that is almost entirely absent from the typical back and forth between Calvinists and Arminians:  What did the early church fathers teach about this?

I recognize that there are three groups of people who will read a post like this:  1) Strong Calvinists who will want to defend their view.  2)Strong Arminians who will want to find ammo for their view and 3) those who don’t have their minds made up but may lean to one understanding of things.  My hope, is that all three groups of people will be challenged and encouraged.   It’s a long discussion so I will be breaking it up into three posts.  Read Part 1 Here;  here’s part 2: Read the rest of this entry

A Strong Argument Against Calvinisim? Part 1 You Decide….


Over here at Not For Itching Ears we like to discuss issues that challenge our view of Christianity and the Church.   It is healthy to consider what one believes about the Christian faith and how we express that faith in our corporate church life.  If all we ever do is listen to ourselves, we can inadvertently become the kind of people Paul warned Timothy about:  People who surround themselves with “teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear.”  Today’s post is an attempt to counter that tendency among us as we discuss Free-Will and Determinism.  To do this, we turn to an extremely interesting email exchange between Father John Whiteford (an Eastern Orthodox priest) and  some proponents of Calvinism.

This isn’t your typical argument!  Father Whiteford brings another line of argumentation to his view that is almost entirely absent from the typical back and forth between Calvinists and Arminians:  What did the early church fathers teach about this?

I recognize that there are three groups of people who will read a post like this:  1) Strong Calvinists who will want to defend their view.  2)Strong Arminians who will want to find ammo for their view and 3) those who don’t have their minds made up but may lean to one understanding of things.  My hope, is that all three groups of people will be challenged and encouraged.   It’s a long discussion so I will be breaking it up into three posts.  Now, let the Discussion begin… Read the rest of this entry

What Does God Want From the Human Race?


What Does God Want From the Human Race?

Does He want us to believe the right things or act the right way?  Is His primary concern that we believe the right doctrine or that we behave the right way?  Does He want us to hold to and defend until death the “correct” teaching about Him?    Or is God more concerned with how we choose to live our lives?

Does it please God more when we give ourselves to study every facet of his character, diving into the deep end of the pool to contemplate God in all his glorious ways or when we devote our lives to living according to those ways?  Put another way, do you think that God was more pleased with John Calvin Read the rest of this entry

A Compelling Alternative to Calvinism?


“What shall a Christian do who is convinced of certain central tenets of Calvinism but not its corollaries?  Specifically, what if I am convinced that God elects individuals to salvation but I am also compelled by the evidence of Scripture to reject the notion that Christ died only for the elect?  What if I am also convinced that the Calvinist doctrine of irresistible grace – that God gives saving grace only to the elect while withholding it from others – has little or no biblical foundation?”

“Calvinism has at least three dilemmas:  (1) reconciling God’s sovereign election of individuals with His genuine desire for the salvation of all; (2) adhering to a deterministic view of sovereignty without blaming God for the fall of Adam; and (3) adhering to limited atonement and irresistible grace while also affirming that the gospel is genuinely offered to everyone.  There is an alternative to Calvinism – called Read the rest of this entry

The God of Calvinism and A Calvinists translation of John 3:16-18?


I thought I might stir things up a bit today.  A friend wrote this story and titled it “The God of Calvinism.  He didn’t add the question mark, that was my addition.  Is this the God that true Calvinism depicts?  Read this story by Kurt Dahlin and share your thoughts. Read the rest of this entry