Category Archives: Christianity

Why I gave God my iPhone.

When I was 11-years-old, my Sunday school teacher told my class and I that she had a magical gift – she knew what would happen before it happened. As she spoke about her God-given gift, I sat thinking about how awesome it was to have a superhero as a teacher. Church didn’t seem so boring anymore.

Growing up in a pentecostal Christian home exposed me to many more people like her that claimed to have the same powers. It was in my early teenage years that I understood these people were not modern-day marvel characters but modern-day bible characters. These prophets were followers of Jesus Christ that believed they heard directly from God. It was God that generated their fortune-telling abilities.

Yet, no matter how many pastors told me what my husband would be like or what job I would have, I grew-up struggling to believe the validity of prophet’s revelations. That struggle ended when my former Sunday school teacher (who had become a pastor) spoke to me one evening after a mid-week church service. I was in my first year at university and living away from home for the first time. I had lost the luxury of food shelves magically being restocked without my help. Without my darling mother around, buying cereal became as important as buying textbooks. So, when the service ended, I tried to hurry out to buy my beloved breakfast choice.

Alas, my plans were foiled by my smiling pastor who evidently wanted to continue preaching. As she spoke to me about something I’m sure was God related, I thought about how annoying it would be if the supermarket closed before I bought some cereal.

“Wow, God’s telling me you really like cereal,” she said.

What the…

I’ve haven’t told this story to many people because the first time I shared it, it sounded silly. Why would God take time to tell someone I like cereal? I only think about what happened that day when I’m faced with someone who has a message from God, especially when it’s about me.

That wasn’t the first time someone shared information about me that they believed came from God. A pastor once told me that God said I would get a B in my GCSE Maths exam but I didn’t for a second believe I would. I used to sit next to one of my friends in my maths class who was as talkative and playful as I was. In fact, I’m not sure who distracted who the most out of the two of us. I’ll never forget the day when my teacher told both of us (and the class) that we would fail the paper, get a D and have to redo the exam in sixth-form. Although my maths result was the lowest GCSE grade I achieved, getting the B that I had been told I would get, made me the most proud.

I’ve since been told by a prophet that I would work for the BBC, which I did – twice. The terrible stomach pain I used to constantly endure was revealed to a pastor and eventually stopped – just as the pastor said it would. Yet, until the cereal occurrence, I remained a ‘doubting Thomas’ in regards to believing people who claimed to hear from God.

Perhaps being told I would get a grade B motivated me to work harder? Maybe hearing I would work for the BBC encouraged me to work through their painfully long applications? Could someone have told my pastor about my stomach aches?

It’s possible. But I still can’t explain how my pastor knew I was thinking about cereal that day in church. So, as “silly” as the cereal revelation sounds, I’m sharing it with you because I now realise that’s the day when I not only started to believe God speaks to people but also when I truly began to believe in God’s existence.

There isn’t a rational explanation for someone being able to read my mind. That is, unless believing something supernatural happened is included in the explanation. I’ve decided to pin what happened to the big being upstairs.

So, a few months ago when a prophet here in Nigeria revealed an extremely intimate detail about my family to me, I believed him. I wasn’t the only person that indirectly heard from God. Affairs, promotions, marriages and even deaths were revealed to my church congregation during his three-day visit. We were all amazed.

At the end of the service the prophet told us that God told him to tell 30 people to drop their phones on the altar as a sacrifice to God. I watched people rush forward to do so. I sat down, crossed my arms and whispered, “God forbid.”20130201-110352.jpg

The next day, the prophet preached, got everyone excited with prophesies and closed the service. Just as I was about to leave, the bishop (my uncle), told me the prophet wanted to speak to me.

I slowly walked up to him – terrified at what he might tell me and waited for him to speak. He asked me what I wanted and I told him that I didn’t want what he had told me the previous day to happen. He asked me what I would sacrifice to persuade God to answer my prayer. Money I thought – I’m accustomed with giving money to church. But to my horror, I heard myself say that I’d give God my iPhone!

God knows how much I loved my iPhone. It was my first one (always been a Blackberry babe) and I had only used it for two months. I was surprised when I told my deeply spiritual mum what I had done that instead of being commended, she told me,

“God doesn’t need an iPhone.”

I guess thinking about what God had revealed all those years back about me liking cereal had something to do with me accidentally giving my phone away. This was the second time in my life that I felt certain that God was speaking to me through someone else. Only this time, I lost more than food.

Now, I’m not sure where my ex-iPhone is. Perhaps it was sold and the money was used to further God’s work here on earth… That’s what I’d like to think but who knows, the prophet could be out there somewhere asking Siri where he can find another church congregation that gives precious items to prophets.

I’m not too fussed about what happened to my phone. In the bible, in most cases, an offering to God was a sacrifice only presented to God. In reality, the offering was used as provision for those involved in it – priests and prophets, etc.

So, I’m glad I symbolically gave my iPhone to God. Whatever it’s used for, I’m glad to know despite how difficult it was to give up, I have enough faith in God to believe I’ll be blessed for doing so. After all, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” (Psalm 126:5 KJV).

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Should Women be Bishops?

The Church of England (CoE) decided on Tuesday that women should not be permitted to serve as bishops and I couldn’t be more displeased with their decision. The proposed legislation, which would have paved the way for female bishops needed to gain two-thirds majority support in each of the synod’s three houses – bishops, clergy and laity – but fell short by just six votes in the House of Laity.

When I first read an article about the vote I assumed that the I’s would have it. As a female Christian, I am eager to see the consecration of women as bishops approved. Since the line between the church and state is blurred, I am interested in the decisions that determine who holds authoritative positions within the church and you should be too.

Whether or not you’re female or a Christian, the General Synod‘s decisions are your business (in the UK) because 26 bishops are allocated seats in the country’s legislature; the House of Lords. The measures approved by the Church’s Synod are part of the law of the land and this powerful body sits on a portfolio of investments worth a staggering £8 billion. It’s a national institution whose supreme governor (ironically a woman), reigns sovereign over everyone in the country. In my opinion other churches that are not CoE and do not have political power, should have the right to decide if they want to be backwards thinking and not have female bishops. The CoE however has too much power and political privileges to be left to their own devices when they can make terrible decisions that impact the whole country.

It’s no surprise that Members of Parliament and campaigners are now undermining the case for bishops to have a say in making laws. Some have even called for bishops to be thrown out of the House of Lords altogether, while others want to see the powers of the CoE reduced. Labour MP Chris Bryant, a former vicar, tweeted,

“Would be nice to see men refuse to be consecrated bishops till women included. And pm refuse to nominate. And lords refuse bishops.”

The fact is, if priests and the head of the CoE can be women, it makes no sense that bishops can’t be. It appears a huge majority of the Church’s bishops and clergy agree with me as while 324 synod members voted for women bishops, Church voting rules meant that just 122 votes against were enough to block it.

The role of women in the Church had been a thorny issue for the CoE since the Church’s inception. There are countless rational reasons to believe women should be able to be bishops and just as many sexist reasons why they shouldn’t. I can not ignore the fact that the votes reveal there is a general consensus in the CoE, which began ordaining female priests in 1994, that the role of a bishop should also be open to women. I naturally believe women should be able to hold any office in the church. This is largely due to the fact that I was baptised in a church that is lead by a woman and also because I am an undercover feminist. So I appreciate I am perhaps biased in my thinking.

Radio 4’s Today programme posed the question a few days ago: “What would Jesus do?” In other words, would Jesus support of oppose female bishops. This question is brilliant because despite our personal beliefs, it’s wrong to completely ignore the theological arguments in this debate.

So what does the bible have to say?

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:11-14). The apostle Paul, restricts women from serving in roles of teaching and/or having spiritual authority over men because of the way mankind was created and the way in which sin entered the world. Yet, the bible presents many women who held positions of leadership in both the Old and New Testament.

Priscilla and Phoebe in the New Testament are presented as faithful ministers for Christ. Priscilla and her husband Aquila brought Apollos into their home and they both discipled him, explaining the Word of God to him more accurately:

“And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.” (Acts 18:24-26 KJV)

Paul himself writes that Priscilla and her husband Aquila had a church in their house. This means that contrary to his own instruction for a woman not to teach, a woman who in her church taught biblical principles to a man, “more perfectly,” was worthy of Paul’s praise. Was Paul confused on what the role of women in the church should be? Perhaps but I believe that Paul was in fact only restricting the women of Ephesus from teaching.

The book of Timothy was written by Paul to Timothy, who was the pastor of the church in Ephesus. I was taught in church that the city of Ephesus was known for its temple to Artemis, a Greek/Roman goddess. Women were the authority in the worship of Artemis so this could have triggered Paul’s conviction that women should not teach. Although Paul does not mention Artemis worship as a reason for the restrictions I believe that context should never be ignored when interpreting the bible. If context is to be ignored, then why do most Christian churches bring context into explaining why Paul said women shouldn’t braid their hair, or wear pearls or gold in the same passage? “Then in like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” (1 Timothy 2:9 KJV)

I know I’m not the only female Christian that dresses in costly array both inside and outside of church. I was taught that Paul said this because the women at Timothy’s church cared more about their appearance than the teaching from the bible. Context is key to understand biblical scripture in this day and age.

I’ve read and heard so many different views on whether a bishop should be a woman. When I read 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the description of a bishop helped me to better understand why people who apparently follow the same faith as me, believe it is wrong for a woman to be a bishop:

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

Hmmm, pretty clear here that Paul either assumed only men would want to be a bishop or he believed it to be a post to only be held by men. Yet, there are many examples in the bible that Christian males and females follow irrespective of the gender the speaker is addressing:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27, 28 KJV)

So I guess since I’m a woman, I’m free to lust after guys without the burden of committing sin? No? Jesus was led by the spirit of God, not by religion. He broke protocol and spoke to, touched and even dined with people He shouldn’t have; according to Jewish customs. But He did everything in love. He accepted the stones the builder rejected. I believe that if Jesus had voted on Tuesday, He would have voted in favour of female bishops.

I remain convinced that a woman should be able to be a bishop. Female priests have become indispensable, making up a third of the Church’s 11,000 clergy including in senior positions as archdeacons and deans of cathedrals. If the church wants to remain influential in the legislature, then it ought to look more like the people it’s meant to represent. We’re not just talking about religion here in this debate, we’re talking politics. The CoE isn’t a typical church so we shouldn’t be blasé about their business – it’s our business too.

On that note, I’ll end by saying that the CoE’s history in my opinion is nothing to be proud of. It’s a product of government interference, established by naughty King Henry VIII who appointed himself as head of the Church in order to divorce his wife. The CoE this week had a chance to really make history and prove that it’s legislative role is justifiable. I’m saddened to say that until the CoE decides women deserve to be bishops as much as men, I don’t think the Church deserves to have the political privileges it currently has.

Is May 21, 2011 the end of the world?

Summary: NO!

Longer(ish) summary: Family Radio evangelist Harold Camping (the man responsible for #iftheworldendsonsaturday and #judgementday trending on Twitter) does not believe that the world is ending tomorrow. Camping believes that the rapture — the day Christians, dead and alive meet Jesus in the sky, will take place tomorrow.

Post: The first time I walked through the NYC subway tunnel between Port Authority and Times Square Station, I noticed a depressing series of plaques affixed to the steel beams that held the ceiling up:

So tired…

Why bother?

Just go home…

Whaaa?!

Those were a few of the messages I could read because each sign is placed on every tenth roof-beam or so and it’s hard to read as the tunnel is usually packed with people.

A few months ago when my friends came to visit me from London, I managed to read each sign as we walked through the tunnel. The poem (I noticed it rhymed) was definitely as depressing as I had guessed it to be:

OVERSLEPT, SO TIRED. IF LATE, GET FIRED.WHY BOTHER? WHY THE PAIN? JUST GO HOME, DO IT AGAIN.

After reading the poem and coming to the end of the tunnel, I saw a few tables with Christian leaflets and CD’s on them, placed by people wearing t-shirts with bible passages on them. Ahhh, could this be the purpose of the signs — No hope without God? Maybe.

I admired the people out there daily to evangelize. I wouldn’t do it but I thought, God bless them — they are doing what they believe they are called to do.

My opinion of these people has drastically changed.

Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Not so long after walking thorough the tunnel with my friends from home, I noticed a change in the Christian’s uniform. The date of Jesus’ return! Oh boooooy.

It’s so annoying when the crazy Christians get under the spotlight. Due to their failure to understand the bible, all Christians alike look crazy. Now I’m seeing comments on Facebook, Twitter and all over the gaff about; Christians are so this and so that — usually attached to “LOL” in some way or the other. So I’m going to share what the bible says about the rapture that I’m sure more Christians than the Christians waiting for the rapture tomorrow believe/know about.

If more people read Matthew 24, all this end of world baloney would be attached to the crazies instead of all Christians. Some of us Christians actually study our faith! Here are some key verses taken from the Matthew 24:

3And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8All these are the beginning of sorrows.

11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

23Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of

Case closed? Well, not entirely.

I have to admit that it is possible that, while the chapter indicates that no one at that time could know the timing of Jesus’ return, there’s room to believe God could reveal the timing in the future.

Personally, I don’t believe God has revealed the date to anyone. Camping has manipulated scripture to calculate the date of the rapture despite the fact that no scripture in the bible encourages anyone to try to determine the date. Rather, we are to “keep watch, because we do not know on which day our Lord will come.”

The dude isn’t even credible! He previously predicted that Jesus would come back in 1994. Obviously, he was wrong.

I just spoke to my mum on the phone about this whole saga and she told me she hopes no one will kill themselves when the rapture doesn’t happen. I told her I’m putting my money on the May 21st folk hiding because they want to trick us or because they’re embarrassed!

I’m tired of hearing about May 21st and I’ll be glad when I wake up the next day (God willing)! On Sunday, May 22nd, I shall be going to church and then to a cool organic food place my roomie told me about. What will you be doing?

What happened to Bishop Eddie Long?

Eddie Long is pastor of the 25,000-member New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia, Ga.

*Update: Thursday May 26 2001* — The lawsuit involving Eddie Long has been resolved.

Around the same time “Pastor” Terry Jones was threatening to burn Quran’s, news broke that two men had accused Bishop Eddie Long of coercing them into a sexual relationship with him when they were in their teens. Great, I thought, Christianity is headline news now because of an ill-versed crazy man determined to corrupt the bible’s teachings and an alleged pervert who abused his position in his church.

After a six-hour trial — put together by Mr. Jones — featuring a Christian convert from Islam as a prosecuting attorney and an imam as a defense lawyer, a jury made up of 12 church members and volunteers reached a verdict – guilty. Stupidity prevailed. Although this man’s 15 minutes of fame is over Eddie Long’s presence in the mainstream media appears to be also. I found myself wondering:

What happened to Eddie Long?

I knew that four sexual coercion lawsuits were filed against Long who denied the allegations but I wasn’t sure if the suits had been settled out of court. I found out today that the lawsuit had not been resolved and a judge is preparing to hear the case in court this fall — TGFG, (thank God for Google)!

I do not know if Long is guilty but I do believe in being innocent until proven guilty. I read a lot of comments by readers on stories to do with Long that said that there was no way that these allegations were true. Long seems to have the support of most of his church. Watch the video below of Long addressing his church last year, five days after the first of four lawsuits was filed against him:

I’ve read many comments by people angry with much of Long’s sermon, especially when he compared himself to David in the bible:

“I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”

Long’s ministry has been damaged by these lawsuits and the damage is likely to be permanent,  whether or not the allegations are true. It’s unlikely he will ever be able to command the same level of fame he had before, even if he is proven innocent. The world is full of skeptical people and I’ll admit to being one of them. However, I read in an article posted on ThyBlackMan.com that Long had:

“…forfeited any chance at returning to the top when he opted for a private settlement instead of public vindication.” 

I can completely understand where the writer is coming from but as a Christian, I couldn’t disagree any more. In the bible, Matthew 5:25 says:

Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

According to this scripture, Long kept with biblical teaching regarding disputes but not everyone agrees with the bible’s teachings. So perhaps I should retract my statement – Long probably wont return to “the top” because he tried to settle in court but anyone that applies biblical principles to their life should not hold this against him as many do.  I just thought of Michael Jackson! Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse and settled out of court for a reported $22 million but he didn’t die a pariah….I definitely don’t hear about Long as much I used to prior to the suits but time will tell where his fame will eventually be.

If Long is guilty, he should go to jail. Politicians, Pastors and CEO’s and the like, rarely receive punishment for their crimes but, if you do the crime, serve the time.

Who knows if Jackson or Long or even Dominique Strauss-Kahn are guilty of their alleged crimes… we’ll have to wait and see what the jury decides.

Jesus: Son of God or Son of Man?

Today is Good Friday and despite it being common knowledge that today is probably not the actual day of Christ’s death, today is the day that many people around the world (including myself) think about that special day. So, happy Easter because I wish everyone at all times joy so why stop now?

I have been thinking about God in a completely different way recently and that has a lot to do with the book I am currently reading – The Shack. It is mind-blowing! I won’t talk about it further because I’ll probably put a post up about it as soon as I finish reading it.

What I will share about the book is that it beautifully illustrates the trinity (although difficult to grasp at times). I’ve found it difficult over the years to understand the trinity. I accepted it but I didn’t understand or should I say, I didn’t want to really understand…

It seemed easier to understand an all-powerful God that sits on the throne of judgment demanding a righteous life from his followers than understanding this all-about-love Jesus guy! I now know I didn’t truly regard Jesus as God himself so my mind was all over the place…#readtheshack

I want to share an article I wrote back in 2008 while I was studying at the London School of Economics. I had the task of tackling a highly disputed question about Jesus Christ and I had to delve deep into the bible to come up with an answer. It’s great writing about a topic you are confused about. If you successfully write coherently, you’re unlikely to become less confused than you were before. That’s what happened in my case.

You can view the article on the relijournal site here.

——————————————————————-

Prepared for the usual flood of unwanted mail courtesy of LSE’s associates, I opened my mailbox a few days ago not expecting to find anything in particular other than “junk” mail. In all honesty, I only opened an email from the Christian Union out of guilt from all the unread mail I had received from them that was present in my inbox. To my surprise, I read a message that was far from junk and one that left me eager to read ALL of my messages from the CU! There was going to be a talk held by Robert Hutton from Bloomberg on journalism and writing for student media, in particular about faith-related issues. Unfortunately it clashed with one of my classes. However, after responding to the message and explaining that although I was unable to attend, I wanted to be involved in future writing on faith issues, I was given three days to produce an answer to; “Jesus: Son of God or Son of Man”?

I took a good half an hour just looking at the question and thinking about it. This was going to be harder than I had initially thought. What struck me about the question was the use of the word “or”. The question seemed to imply that Jesus was one or the other and my job would be to state which one He was. However, as the bible states on many occasions, Jesus was both the Son of God and the Son of Man — I will elaborate further in the rest of this article.

Jesus is not God’s Son in the sense of how we think of a father and a son; God and a female did not conceive him. Jesus is God’s Son in the sense that He is God made manifest in human form. John 1:1 declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The chapter goes on to say in John 1:14 that, “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” Jesus is this word, which was God himself. How so you may ask, well imagine if you were able to separate yourself from your words in a sort of cloning manner. If you then put your words in a baby growing in a womb, that baby would grow to be a clone of you — made up of you, from you and thus; you. As John 4:24 states, “God is spirit.” so in order for God to dwell among us He needed a body to inhabit because I don’t know about you, but I would be pretty freaked out if I heard words coming from what I could not see! Hence, the word came in human form. Jesus was the Son of God because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, (Luke 1:35) and came from God.

As I researched scripture in the Bible to help me answer the question at hand, I was amazed to notice that Jesus was declared the Son of God on numerous occasions not just by his followers and Himself, but also by people possessed by evil spirits and even the Devil himself. In the story where Jesus drives demons out of two demon-possessed men into a herd of pigs the demons shout, “What do you want with us, Son of God?…Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Matthew 8:29) When Jesus is tempted by the Devil in the desert, the Devil asks him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (Matthew 4:3). Both the evil spirits and the Devil acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God. The evil spirits feared what Jesus would do to them because of their knowledge that Jesus was the Son of God. The Devil tempted Jesus because he knew he was the Son of God and foolishly believed he could play mind-games (gosh, how totally childish) and make Jesus sin in the process of proving he was the Son of God.

Having said this, Jesus is referred to as the “Son of Man” eighty-eight times in the New Testament of the Bible. So what does this mean? Is the Bible contradicting itself? If the Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God, how can He also be the Son of Man? The phrase “Son of Man” is ambiguous and both meanings apply to Jesus. The first meaning of the phrase is as a reference to the prophesy from the prophet Daniel in the Old Testament. Daniel 7:13-14 reads, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven…And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” The description “Son of Man” was a Messianic title, so when Jesus used this phrase in relation to himself, he was assigning the “Son of Man” prophesy to himself. Though this language isn’t common to us today, the Jews in Jesus’ era would have been intimately familiar with the phrase and to whom it referred. The Jews would have understood that Jesus was proclaiming himself as the Messiah.

The second meaning of the phrase, “Son of Man” is that Jesus truly was a human being. In the book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament, God calls the prophet Ezekiel “Son of Man” ninety-three times. God was simply using this title for Ezekiel because he was a son of man — a human being. As discussed, Jesus was fully God (John 1:1), but he was also a human being (John 1:14). 1 John 4:2 tells us, “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” So, Jesus was the Son of God — He was in His essence God. Yes, Jesus was also the Son of Man — He was in His essence a human being as well. Thus the Phrase “Son of Man” indicates that Jesus is both the Messiah — the Son of God and that He is truly a human being.

On that note I will end with a verse spoken by a Jewish centurion present at Jesus’ crucifixion that saw Jesus’ death and in my opinion, fully answers the question;

“Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).

Should Christians tithe?

I have just discovered an amazing blog that I’m amazed I’ve never heard of – The CNN Belief Blog. The blog covers faith related issues and tackles  the day-to-day big news stories you would expect any news blog  to cover. I definitely recommend checking it out.

The first story I came across on the blog was tweeted by @PerezHilton – Mr. Gossip boy. He tweeted,

“CNN: How the Bible was used to justify slavery, abolitionism http://bit.ly/hFgRUb And it’s STILL used to deny equal rights!”

What interested me more than the story and the 150+ (mostly aggressive) comments was another story on the blogs homepage. In a tab on the side of that page I saw a story with the headline, “Should Christians tithe?” Good question.

I happen to have discusd the same question with my group last week at my church’s new believers class. I have attended the class every Friday evening for the last 11 weeks (this Friday I graduate) not because I am a new believer but because it’s required of everyone that wants to join a church department. Hopefully I’ll be telling you folks about my choir, media and sign language activities soon…..So back to the tithe question: to tithe or not to tithe? That was my groups study point last week and we concluded by answering: yes.

Below is a link to the story I found on CNN’s blog by one of my favorite reporters, T.J. Holmes.

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=bestoftv/2011/04/11/exp.nr.tithing.debate.cnn

If you didn’t watch the video: A survey conducted by the national association of evangelicals asked 100 member board of directors if tithing is optional for Christians.

  • 58% believe tithing is not required.
  • 42% believe that the bible requires church members to tithe.

Two pastors apparently on opposing sides of the debate seemed more in agreement than I was expecting and dreading to see. What’s interesting is that 95% of those in the survey said that they do tithe even though they don’t think its required. Although both Pastors have different tithing beliefs, both agree about the blessings associated with giving 10% to God’s work.

I do tithe, not as often as I should do but I try to. I’ve heard different teachings on the tithe and the wonderful thing about confusion (if there could be) is that it allows for God to make things clear. Afterall, James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” I don’t keep all the practices found in the old testament, including the multiple tithes in the old testament that would push the total to more than 23%. Not the 10% that is generally considered the least amount Christians are to tithe today.

But, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over…” Luke 6:38. So my usual stinginess makes no sense according to this scripture as I should be left with more than I had every time I give right? Yes.

I do believe in setting aside money,  “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2), as Paul suggested but I do not believe in any kind of curse for not paying 10% of my income to church. I’m moved sometimes to give more than 10% but there are times when I can’t. I give from my heart as God loves a cheerful giver, (2 Corinthians 9:7) “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

These are just some of my thoughts.

What do you think?