Don’t You Dare Quit


It’s official; the year 2015 has been written and is forever recorded in the annals of time. During 2015 there were many good things and many bad things that have taken place. Most seem to focus on the bad because it seems the bad things have had significant impacts on those concerned. The bad is rehearsed over and over in the minds of the hurting causing feelings of depression, weariness and hopelessness. This is going on even while there are a number of good things that have also taken place.

It is true that the hurts and disappointments of life have lingering effects. Consider, for instance, the loss of a job. The impacts of such a loss are reciprocal. Or, perhaps, jobs applied for were met with the resounding sound of “no” despite being well qualified. It could also be that present jobs just do not suffice. And, the matter of the work force is not the only matter of concern. What about those of us who have lost loved ones through death? What about that unwanted and undeserved divorce? The list of hurts and disappointments goes on and on causing melancholy to be the order of the day. But, don’t despair. Don’t give in and don’t you dare quit.

It is common for people to look to new years as the beginning of new things in their lives. Often new ventures are sought and new ideas are implemented. And, while there is nothing wrong with the new there is much to be said for the things already in existence. For instance, those that have take time to further their educations might find it difficult to lose earned degrees. Those having vocational skills might never forget how to do manual labour. And, these are good things. These things are good and have been placed in individuals not only for their own well-being but also for the good of those served. It is suspected there are good things in you as well. Don’t you give up on those things in you. Soon room will be made for the gifts God has been developing in you for years. No, don’t you give in and don’t you dare quit.

The fact that you have soaked your pillow with tears only means that you have been broken. Do you not realize that God uses the brokenness of one man to bring healing in another? This brokenness means that God has not ignored you; instead it means that God loves you and has enveloped you with His compassion. Now, that compassion that has been born in you can be used to bring another into the loving arms of Jesus. Your brokenness is really a source of strength to stand in the face of things that have sought to, well; break you. It did not work. You are still here. So, don’t you dare quit. No, don’t do it.

It has been difficult and it has been hard. Suicide, however, is not the answer. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God did not make a mistake even though your parents may have. Your life is more than worth living. Don’t let the discouragements and hurts of this world cause you to miss out on what God has for you. No, it will not be easy in 2016 – it will be worth the struggle. You are beautiful and are a child of God. Don’t cheat yourself of the victories God has stored for you just because of past hard times. No, don’t you dare quit on yourself and don’t you dare quit on God.

Some of the people in the Church at Philippi began to get discouraged. Paul realized this and sought to remind the people that God was not finished with them. His words in Philippians 1:6 make God’s intentions very clear. The words, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” give credence that while God may do a new thing He will not forsake that things already in you. This is to say, the old brokenness can be renewed to minister to someone unable to see their way. Learning had in years past can be used to build confidence in someone today. Yes, God has begun a good work in you therefore you must not quit. God is faithful concerning His promises. Therefore, if the promise has not yet been manifested there is great need to push forward and work toward the promise of a faithful and just God.

No, don’t you dare quit this year. Don’t put your head in the sand hoping that it will all go away. No, don’t do it. Keep on moving. Keep on pushing. Keep on trusting in the God of your salvation. God is not finished with what He started in you. You will succeed. You will accomplish that mission. You will be what God has called you to be. Remember that faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things of not seen. Just don’t give up and you had better not give in. God is far from finished with you so don’t you dare quit!

Peering Into Academia


Academia: Through the Eyes of a Preacher

Now, it is true that most of my writings are not designed to be academic in nature. However, that does not mean that I have veered from what has caused me to grow and understand more concerning the things of God. In my recent book Academia: Through the Eyes of a Preacher I examine a number of academic disciplines associated with Christianity. Those disciplines range from history to evangelism; from discipleship to missions and everything in between.

With that, please peer into the book and see what you can glean. The below is an additional portion of the essay “The Nicene Creed: The Trouble that Caused It.” Please remember this work is copyright protected and and all rights remain reserved. Now, let’s peer into academia again.

Despite the company Athanasius found himself in there was also grave opposition to his stand against heretical teachings. Saint Hilary of Poitiers was born in 315 with an uncertain Christian heritage.[1] Even though Hilary was appointed Bishop of Poitiers and eventually made a saint questions concerning his Christianity are brought to question in that he was seen as a pagan.[2] No matter the issue of Hilary’s Christianity his writings clearly show that he did not recognize Jesus as being coeternal with the Father rather clearly states that Jesus is a creation of God. In this vein Hilary states “He is not eternal or co-eternal, nor was He uncreated at the same time with the Father…”[3]

The calling of the synod included more than discussions on the substance of Jesus. Little is said in respect to the Holy Spirit even in the Nicene Creed but there was argument against His divinity which was part of the controversy at large. The problem was even though the Holy Spirit was associated with the Godhead there was considerable uncertainty as to His nature. The matter of His nature brought to the center of the argument supposed that He was a mere person and the Arians saw Him as being subordinate to the Son who was counted as being subordinate to the Father.[4] The confusion was so great that Basil expressed “Of the wise men among ourselves, some have conceived of him [the Holy Spirit] as an activity, some as a creature, some as God…”[5] With this lack of understanding as to who the Holy Spirit was it obviously brings into question not only His substance but also His divinity and authority.

This instability in respect to the Holy Spirit becomes more compelling when His divinity is purposely stripped away. Some Homoiousians (those subscribing like or same substance to Jesus) refused to afford the Holy Spirit His rightful place in the Godhead.[6] This denial of the divinity of the Holy Spirit was part of the heretical teachings of Arianism.[7] The Deity of the Holy Spirit was also denied by Macedonius who declared that the Holy Spirit was nothing more than a “minister and a servant”.[8]

Now, to put this segment into context you will have to read the entire essay. No to worry, there are other studies that will catch the attention of all scholars. For instance, “The World of Islam,” “Diverse Gifts,” and “Looking at the Evidence” are three of the essays included in this work. You will also find an exhaustive bibliography to aid in research. So, go ahead, get you a copy and put on your seat belts. There will be surprising academic twist and turns as you learn academia through the eyes of a preacher.

[1] The Catholic University of Puerto Rico, The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1954)V

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., 102

[4] Richard E. Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight Over Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999), 205

[5] Ibid., pg 206

[6] Everett Ferguson, Church History: From Christ to Pre-Reformation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 207

[7] Ioannis Karmiris, “The Second Ecumenical Council” in The Ecumenical Review 33 (July 1981):244-248

[8] Earle, E. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954), 129

Perpetual Thanksgiving


preachercarter

It is official, the day set aside to give thanksgiving is over. Turkey has been eaten and potatoes mashed. Pies and cakes have been devoured causing many to sit back in easy chairs unable to move in that gluttony has taken over thanksgiving allowing only for deep breathing and occasional sighs of relief as the mounds of food finally settle within the bodies of many. 

Now, there is no suggestion here that there should be no enjoyment of things God has provided for us. But the real attitude of Thanksgiving has little to do with the plenteous foods now being stored in refrigerators and freezers. In fact I would venture to say that attitudes of thanksgiving actually fall short of the meals that we eat. 

Let me explain. When I woke this morning it was more than evident that I did not wake under my own power. In fact I…

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Beans Done Spilled


OK, I have to tell the truth. I have been very busy these past several months. One of the things I have been working on is my book. Yes, I am about to release my second book and it is quite different than my first book Down the Via Dolorosa. This book I have been working on is now in the design phase with Westbow Press and is one sure to bring attention to Christianity at large. I have spilled the beans about this work to some and now it is time to bring it to the attention of everyone. Yes, I done spilled the beans about my next book (grammatical error intentional).

Oh, I did not tell you the name of the work. Well, it is called Academia: Through the Eyes of a Preacher. This book contains a number of my seminary essays as I worked my way through Master of Religion and Master of Divinity programs at Liberty University. Many hours of research and untold hours of other writing and studying went into this work. It contains multiple references with over four hundred footnotes. It is an academic work that will prove to be an excellent tool for any clergyman or layman that wants to sharpen his theological sword.

However, this book is quite unique. When preparing the essays I made some minor mistakes. The papers were submitted for grading with those mistakes remaining in the essays. I have intentionally kept those mistakes in this work because I want seminarians to carefully scrutinize the essays in an effort to better themselves. Now, the errors are not grave errors yet they are errors. Experts will be able to quickly point to them. So, seminarians go ahead and use my work as a source of inspiration as well as learning. Clergy members, there are untold lessons and sermons in the text of this work. So, go ahead and see where you can be stretched.

The following is a taste of one such essay. Please remember, as always this is copyrighted work with the ISBN number 9781512718300. All rights are reserved for this document as well as Academia. Please look at this excerpt from “The Nicene Creed: The Trouble that Caused It.”

Another adherent to Christ being less than Devine was Paul of Samosata. This heretical bishop espoused the notion that Christ was a created being thereby making Him purely Man and if Christ was merely man He would have no equality with the Father.[1] While this belief may not be counted as Arianism in the strictest since it certainly has the overtones of pulling Christ from the same substance as the Father. Additionally Paul’s Christological views were along the lines of Monarchianism which led to the idea of the Trinity being a Trinity of names only.[2] Subsequently Paul’s teachings were the impetus of the doctrine of Adoptionism.

This brief background provides a picture of why the church was at the point of turmoil. The very essence of God was being attacked in the Person of the Word and by extension the Holy Spirit. This heretical treatment of the Godhead was not taken lightly by some of the leading clergymen of the day. Among the dissenters of Arianism was Athanasius (c. 298-373). He was ordained as a deacon by Alexander during the time of disputations with Arius.[3] Athanasius traveled with Bishop Alexander to the Council of Nicaea where the heretical teachings of Arius were denounced.[4]

Despite the company Athanasius found himself in there was also grave opposition to his stand against heretical teachings. Saint Hilary of Poitiers was born in 315 with an uncertain Christian heritage.[5] Even though Hilary was appointed Bishop of Poitiers and eventually made a saint questions concerning his Christianity are brought to question in that he was seen as a pagan.[6] No matter the issue of Hilary’s Christianity his writings clearly show that he did not recognize Jesus as being coeternal with the Father rather clearly states that Jesus is a creation of God. In this vein Hilary states “He is not eternal or co-eternal, nor was He uncreated at the same time with the Father…”[7]

This work should be ready around Thanksgiving and will make wonderful gifts for those that enjoy good exegesis. Yes, that was a shameless plug. What can I say? I am trying to get the word out! So, sit back and enjoy the academic ride.

[1] New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 11, 34

[2] Ibid.

[3] Encyclopedia of Religion

[4] Ibid.

[5] The Catholic University of Puerto Rico, The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1954)V

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 102

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