The Crisis Catechism

Sometimes everything seems to go wrong at once. Worse, sometimes it feels like it’s all my own fault! This can be pretty crushing emotionally. At those times, I ask myself this series of questions which I call “the crisis catechism”. It’s simple to answer, because every answer is “yes”. It’s goal is to turn your attention to Jesus, instead of to your own circumstances, shortcomings, failures or faults.


Do All Speak in Tongues?

There is a commonly held belief that whenever someone is filled with the Holy Spirit, the initial evidence of this is that they speak in tongues.  1 Corinthians 12 is the key chapter on this issue, and I encourage you to read the whole thing in context.  Context alone is enough to make it clear that Paul doesn’t expect everyone who is filled with the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues.  He argues that the church is “one body” even though it has “many members”.  He compares the different gifts people have to different parts of the body.  He writes (verse 15):

If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.

It’s a metaphor.  The implication is that if someone says “because I do not speak in tongues, I do not belong to the church,” that would not make them any less a part of the church.  God has given different gifts to different people, so that the church works together as a whole, just as he has given different functions to the hand and the foot, but they work together.

But in spite of the context being so clear, there is still some confusion.  In part, this is probably due to people taking 1 Corinthians 13:5 at face value:


The Impotence of Secular Christendom

Perhaps the most immoral of all is the injunction to love your enemies. That I will not do. I know who my enemies are. At the moment, the most deadly ones are Islamist theocrats with a homicidal and genocidal agenda. I’m not going to love them, you go love them if you want. Don’t love them on my behalf, I’ll get on with killing them, destroying them, erasing them and you can love them. But the idea that you ought to love them is not a moral idea at all, it’s a wicked idea, and I hope it doesn’t take hold… What a disgusting order, to love those people! Destroy them.

- Christopher Hitchens

This is where the difference between Christianity and mere Secular Christendom shines forth.


Hebrews 1:6 – An Argument for the Critical Text

In the field of textual criticism, there are some who advocate a position called the Confessional Textual View. This view results in the assertion that the church should adopt the Bomberg Hebrew Bible and the Textus Receptus as it’s authoritative Hebrew and Greek texts respectively. These two are considered to be the biblical texts chosen by the Reformers. Together, these two texts are held up as the truly authentic, God-given texts of the Old and New Testaments.

But Hebrews 1:6 poses a serious problem for this “confessional” view, because it shows that there is a conflict between these two supposedly-authoritative texts.