And judgement is turned away backward and justice stands afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. (Isaiah 59:14) In Isaiah’s day he made it clear; truth and true worship must prevail for Israel to survive. But now, as then, truth seems to have fallen in the streets.

God neither delights in our crisis nor does he waste it. COVID-19 is meant for our good. God is calling the world to attention by means of a virus. Discernment, however, is fallen sick and the church finds itself in a great debate – “How much risk shall we take in assembling again?” Put another way, “How do we manage to stay safe in this health crisis?” I propose there is a much greater danger in a safe return to sleepy churches. Sleepy churches are those whose main concern is a return to “normal.”  Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, and Jeremiah did not waste their national trials asking God for relief from calamity but rather a return to God. Please remember, the “troubler of Israel” was not Elijah, nor was it famine and drought – it was Ahab and all those complacent with idolatry. What lengths do we go to to insure safe health practices while ignoring the eternal threat to soul safety?

COVID-19 is not our greatest problem; sin is.

Barna Group suggests that a full third of church members are still opting out from live meetings since the emergence of the virus. The statistics are even higher among millennials. Fifty percent of young adults formerly accustomed to church attendance are simply “checked out” due to COVID. Businesses and schools face similar realities. Legitimate health concerns are responsible for some of those absences, but seven months into the crisis, how much fear is warranted?  

Some of this fear is very personal. By now, we all know someone who has contracted the disease and likely know some who have died from it. Many churches have had the virus infect a significant percentage of their congregations. Christians are not immune to the Coronavirus. Just as blessings fall on the just and unjust, calamities do as well. No pastor wants to put his people in harm’s way without careful thought to the consequences, but carefully consider that harm’s way has always been part of God’s way.

One legitimate fear is that risk aversion may drive some churches into extinction. The media would like us to believe the church is part of the problem. In July The New York Times touted a headline suggesting that churches are a major source of the spread. “More than 650 coronavirus cases have been linked to nearly 40 churches and religious events across the United States since the beginning of the pandemic.” Simple math shows that 650 out of 3,000,000 cases across our nation in mid-July means that 0.0216% of them were church related at the time of writing. Less than one-tenth of one percent can hardly be attributed as a major source of infection spread, but church-shaming and fearmongering has set the church on its heels. When should the church come out of hiding?

Left up to the media the answer may be never. On the whole, the American church is a force for conservative thought and a strong vote for morality. Dr. Fauci notwithstanding, maybe we need to get back to a biblical understanding of risk aversion and church attendance. What started as a health crisis has now become a political tug of war and the church is embroiled in a contest of will with local officials. In some states, onerous restrictions have unjustly targeted houses of worship. How thankful I am for the governor of Georgia and his balanced approach to the health challenges we face. As a church, how should we respond?

Let’s be responsible.

We all value good health. Not only do we not want to offend others by negligent behavior, but as believers we show the love of God by caring for the image-bearers he created. We all want to believe that what began as a protective mandate is still meant for our good months later. However, as we see signs of government “intrusion,” we need to be more aware of what God’s Word says than we are of what our government suggests. I do like what Ronald Regan said about the government. “Be wary when someone from the government shows up at your door and says, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you!” Even when the government wants us to be healthy, the compelling truth is that God wants us to be holy. COVID restrictions aside, the government has zero interest in the spread of the Gospel – we must understand that. Though there are many Christians who serve in the government, it is not their job to promote the church. When politicians align themselves with church priorities it is a gift to our country, but the role of government is not to do our job. Government’s role is to defend law and order and protect citizens. It is their duty to properly respond to the threat of Coronavirus in our country. It was wise to shelter and seek to evaluate the initial threat, but please understand that our health and safety is not a bigger prize than our responsibility to God.

Ours is a risk-taking life. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) I appreciate what missionary John Patton said to a concerned and elderly friend when he set off to minister among the cannibals in New Hebrides. “Sir, you are advanced in years now, and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or by worms.”  I am not suggesting Christians need to take a dose of stupidity and blindness to good health practices but where in the Bible does it say, “If any person will come after me, let him avoid all health risks, stay at home and enjoy his comfort zone?” Remember that the early church was surrounded by those like Saul who were “breathing out threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord.” (Acts 9:1) Health hazards and missions often hold hands. Look at Hebrews 11 and you will note the high cost of discipleship is laced with all sorts of dangers. Covid doesn’t even make the list.

At first, we did believe our government did want to protect her citizens from the spread of an unknown health threat. I do believe that was true, initially. Many within the system still do. So we did as we were told. The church went digital or met outdoors. By the end of March we were all “sheltered in place.” It didn’t mean we gave up. Far from it! Some of the most creative and far-reaching methods were discovered during the early days of quarantine. But it is not God’s purpose for the church to “disassemble” long term. Assembly is what we do – it’s in our name. Sheep need direction. Sick sheep die, wandering sheep need to be rescued, hurting sheep need counsel, and all sheep need shepherding (not just “zoom meals”). An assembly needs to care intimately for its own members. A fractured church cannot long survive without the many “one-another” ministries in the Bible. The Body of Christ must be nurtured by the fellowship and accountability of coming together. By sharing in ordinances and the service of our gifts, members can only find full expression in the context of community life. Nobody can live in a state of sustained dissection.

The Devil must have smiled as we went into our living room “shelters” this past spring. Scattered, shackled, and silent Christians are just fine with him! An old Sunday school song comes to mind, “Hide it under a bushel – NO!” As pastors, we knew we couldn’t just abandon our gospel calling, so we resorted to digital meetings and turned our empty sanctuaries into online churches. After all, we are a creative, mindful, and respectful crowd. Our audience was enlarged in some cases but not better served. Days turned into months and we tried our best to shepherd our churches from afar. Thankful for technology, we set aside the ideal for sake of the risk. But Covid persisted and still does. So what now? How much risk can we stomach?

Within the Christian community there have been a variety of responses. Some would say that the crisis facing our society is purely medical and has no real religious implications, but it’s not that simple. The church has never been called to hide long term from threats, medical or otherwise. Rather, it has always been called to buy the truth and sell it not. We have the truth about the pandemic of sin and the cure found in Christ. Ours is not only an essential service, our message is the only hope there is for recovery. Some of us need to be reminded of that. Matthew 5:14 reminds us that we are the light of the world. That passage is emphatic, meaning, we have the only light there is. If our light be hidden all hope is gone. There is no other light. I call that essential, don’t you?

Sadly, much of the church discussion surrounds the word “risk.” How risky is it to assemble? How much risk in not wearing masks? In congregational singing? In passing an offering plate? Then there is the dilemma of governmental mandates. Are they helpful or conspiratorial? How deferential should Christians be to the local regulations that are in some cases quite onerous or even confusing? What of deference and Christian liberty? What about not offending those we are called to reach? Who do we trust? As leaders we are faced with important ministry decisions.

Numbers can be manipulated, I know, but statistics do provide some hard data that when carefully examined can be helpful. As of August 16, 2020, a total of 5,403,361 people in the U.S. had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Since the pandemic began in February studies indicate that at least 170,052 people have died in America because of the virus or complications resulting from the infection, according to Johns Hopkins University. The cases tallied include people from all fifty U.S. states, Washington D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens. This virus has indeed reached most of the world and in that sense, it is truly a pandemic. But should the Church of Jesus Christ go into sustained seclusion and suspended animation? Let’s be responsible with the gospel, the world needs the church, now, more than ever.

Don’t play the blame game.

President Trump keeps pinning the virus on China. China is not to blame for Covid; the fall of man is! This blog is not intended to discover the original virus or blame shift. We know that sin originated in the Garden of Eden. Sin’s curse has infiltrated every corner of our fallen world resulting in widespread disease, natural disasters, war, pain, hostility, and general malady which came through our federal head. Before we get angry at Adam, please remember the old adage, “The only difference between Adam and you is that given the same opportunity, you would have fallen sooner!” Sin manifests itself in death. Death’s reality demands that we are prepared with the antidote which must be applied or we will all likewise perish. The statistic that should matter most is that one out of every sinner dies.

Keep things in perspective.

Don’t fall prey to the word “unprecedented.” Has anybody read Ecclesiastes lately? There is nothing new under the sun. History itself should rise in objection to our willful ignorance of the past. We may be the generation that is driving without a rearview mirror. This is the third pandemic in my short lifetime (and I am only pushing 60!) Here is a list of the pandemics in the last 100 years and the U.S. death toll in each:

1918 Pandemic (H1N1 virus) – 675,000 deaths in the U.S. / 50-100 million worldwide

1957 Pandemic (H2N2 virus) – 116,000 deaths in the U.S.

1968 Pandemic (H3N2 virus) – 100,000 deaths in the U.S.

2009 Pandemic (H1N1pdm09 virus) – 12,500 deaths in the U.S.

2020 Pandemic (2019nCoV) – 170,000 deaths in U.S. and counting

People have indeed walked this road before and can provide helpful lessons for those of us walking it now. All is not lost and the end is not yet. While this is certainly a harbinger of the end, God will not destroy the world by virus but by fire (II Peter 3:10-11). Christ will build his church in every season. Especially during the hard ones.

The good news is that you have about a 98% chance of surviving Covid-19! You could say that’s the “survivability rate” of the disease. While it is true that the morbitity rate of the disease is much higher than the rate of the common flu, the survivability rate of Covid-19 (cases versus deaths) is encouraging. Keep that in perspective.

Of course we all want a cure, but historians tell us that previous pandemics ultimately found their solution, not in isolation, but in community immunity, sometimes called “herd immunity.” The answer was not found in a vaccine or improved hygiene but in growing immunity by prolonged community exposure to the virus. As population groups were exposed to the diseases of the past, natural antibodies were strengthened against it. There are communities in Cambodia that have experienced an extremely low death rate since the start of Coronavirus. Virologists speculate that it is because of a former epidemic that built immunity to this strain of the virus in that part of the population base. Time and exposure to the disease proved to be a healer.

Be reasonable.

Risks are ever-present and our church is not exempt. Covid is, indeed, among those risks that should be carefully measured. Church leadership should commit to negotiating local guidelines with wisdom. And you should walk wisely, too. The most vulnerable (elderly and infirm) should continue to be careful. Wash your hands. Stay home if you are sick. Social distance when you can. Take health precautions, but not out of fear. Germs are out there. They always have been and always will be.

In some states, government officials have cancelled public assemblies, stopped the public schooling of children, closed all non-essential services, and mandated mask-wearing. Hugs are out and handshakes are reserved only for those related to you. Hospitals aren’t allowing visitors, and families are forced to say final words to dying loved ones over the phone. We, who were made for human contact, have become suspicious of everyone. If you want some space these days, just sneeze! The vacuum sound of people running from you will be deafening.

In God’s Word we find that Daniel made the costly decision to pray in public to a God who hears in secret. At great risk to his personal health he opened his window and worshipped. Go with him to the lion’s den and ask him about fear and risk aversion. Stand with Jeremiah as he faced religious leaders who demanded his death. Listen as he says, “Do with me what you must but I can’t change my message.” Look with Stephen into heaven as he is stoned to death. Peter said we must obey God rather than man. Jesus spent countless hours among the “unwell.” Some Christians tell me, “Well, if this were real spiritual persecution, I would resist. This is not spiritual oppression, it is a health risk and we must be really, really careful about this.” As churches reopen, how many of those are persisting in worship? Countless church members have disappeared for good. Seven months have passed and we, in some cases, are still hiding from each other. Business has slowed drastically, churches have gone completely virtual, travel has been curtailed, school bells ring in empty halls, and unemployment has reached levels not known since The Great Depression. And speaking of depression – suicide, unemployment, and divorce rates are rising. Is it possible that the “cure” is also killing us?

Abortionists will stop over 800,000 beating hearts this year. That number amounts to four times as many as have died from Coronavirus so far, but where are the government announcements about the obvious prevention of this pandemic? Such a slaughter has a simple solution.

Cancer will claim 606,000 lives in the U.S. this year. We bring untold dollars to the table to study prevention, mitigation, and cures and yet cigarettes fill our convenience stores. Where is the government official who is begging us to wear masks around smokers? Or one better – to outlaw tobacco?

Alcohol related deaths will take another 88,000 lives by this year’s end. We tried abolition and prohibition in the 20s with little success. While the church used to champion such preaching, today it has been reduced to a whisper. Who is trying to protest in front of liquor stores?

Cars kill 37,000 people a year, and yet we take the risk every day.

Let’s not lose our minds over risk. Come back to worship with the Body of Christ. The just shall live by faith.

I often harken to St. Augustine’s wise saying about nonessential issues that tend to divide us, “In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas” which translated from the Latin means, in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things, charity. Great quote if we could only live by it.

So far, we have looked at three controversial topics: versions of the Bible, divorce and remarriage, and tattoos. These are just a sampling of issues that often create opposing opinions in the church. To varying degrees these topics are either essential or non-essential considerations.

All we have to do is remind ourselves of Philippians 4:2 and the quibbling girls in the church at Philippi whom Paul gently reprimands with these words, “I entreat Euodias and Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” (I would like to know what the girls were fighting about, wouldn’t you . . . probably who made the best falafels?) I know God will erase all sense of improper curiosity from our minds when we arrive in heaven, but imagine being called out in the Bible for a spirit of division and being stuck with that legacy for 2000 years!

My father, who was not known for joking in the pulpit, could never resist calling these gals, “Odious and Stinky Cheese.” After pastoring now for over 25 years, I do wonder if the majority of our battles have been dispositional and not positional. Odious personalities have burned down more churches than dogma. Paul reminds the Galatians, “Take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” (Galatians 5:15) As it regards the foibles of the faithful, we do need to bury our bitter bones in the sea of God’s forgetfulness.

Did I say bury our bones . . .?

We continue our series of topics that tend to create more “heat than light” and quite literally this issue is one of those debates – cremation vs. burial.  As Christians, should we burn or bury our dead?  Of course, we do know that God will resurrect all the dead, both small and great, for the final judgements of man. (Revelation 20:12-13) So whether eaten by sharks, or by worms, or vaporized by explosives, God will find a way to reconstitute the dead for a final appearance in his court.

So some say, “Does it really even matter? Dead is dead, and the important thing is what happens while you live. Who cares?”

As a pastor, I want to be transparent in saying that I have and will continue to perform funerals for those that choose to use cremation as a means of the final disposal of their loved ones. To me, though there is enough biblical consideration to prefer burial over incineration, I do not see this as matter of conviction but of conscience. Due to the scarcity of space in some countries, they simply do not allow the option of bodily internment. Japan is nearly totally given to the practice of cremation (99% are cremated in Japan). In our country, the rate of those that bury their dead versus those that incinerate the deceased is now nearly equally divided but will, by the year 2030, approach projected rates of 80%.

When a person dies in the United States, there are three legal options for putting the body to rest: burial, cremation, or medical donation. Burial in the U.S. has long been the method of choice for those contemplating their inevitable end, but things are quickly changing. Cremations are now more popular than they have ever been in America, surpassing the rate of burials for the fourth year in a row.

What seems to be driving this cultural shift in how we have traditionally cared for the dead?

ECONOMICS Traditional burials (which include the cost of preparation and embalmment of the body, caskets, vaults, grave sites, funeral home fees, transports, police escorts, and religious services) are currently estimated to range between $6,500 and $10,500 compared to the typical cremation service which costs between $500 and $1,500. These costs are rising as the demand for cremation increases, but there is still a significant variance in end-of-life costs where burial and cremation are considered.

CONVENIENCE With burial there is always the need for a timely embalmment and interment of the body, not to mention, of course, the space needed to bury the dead. The question is, how long can the world afford sprawling graveyards to display and house the dead? Such matters are not as much of a concern when cremation is used. Typical crematoriums incinerate bodies at temperatures reaching 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. This leaves only 4-6 lbs. of bone and fragments which are then pulverized and placed in a box or urn for families to keep, bury, scatter, or store as they choose.

TRADITION As a people, we are no longer deeply rooted in stable family connections. Where, exactly, we choose to be buried after a life of multiple jobs, multiple moves, and in some cases, multiple spouses, is not as much an issue now as it was in the past. Our mobile culture has created a growing disconnection to the family graveyard by Grandma’s church. We are less tied to a single place, person, community, church, or city than ever before. Cremation rates also increase in states with relatively large transient populations, where many people lack connections and the means to consider burial options. “Bury me at home, where I grew up” is less and less a definable quantity when compared to the more stable and agricultural lives of past generations. Roots are not as deeply connected to the soil of the past. In my case, “my people” (i.e., my branch of the Regier clan) are mainly buried in Oklahoma, but I feel no inner compulsion to join them there. At least not any time soon. (I’m more concerned that I meet them in heaven!) 

APATHY Not to sound too cavalier here, but, once dead, does it really matter if you wind up in a pine box or a copper urn? Do the dead really care about their remains, and for that matter, do our survivors really care that much about our remains? “Absent from the body is present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8) As believers, we know the leftover shell of our earthly body is just that – a shell that can’t be preserved. After death, it returns to its kindred elements. In a “now is all that matters” world, the dismissal of the dead soon becomes a license to quickly move on and forget the past.

This is not the case in the stories of the Bible.

In Deuteronomy 34:8, we are told that the children of Israel observed a customary mourning period at the departure of the dead. “The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.” In Jewish culture, the normal period for mourning the dead was seven days, followed by a means of disposing the body by either entombment or burial.

Sadly, our culture today does not abide such a long look at death or the departed. We turn our face much too soon from its great realities. I am reminded of one boy who visited a museum and then asked his father, “Can’t we go somewhere where the animals and people are alive?” Who can long abide a prolonged view of the dead? Yet death is an integral part of life. In the mind of Solomon, it is the most vital moment as it represents the threshold to our eternal home. (Ecclesiastes 7:1) No one is prepared to live who has not prepared to die. Funerals force us to look at dead bodies. That is good for us – we need sobering moments. Sacred realities like death must not be marginalized from life.

In a real sense, a funeral ceremony should be our best moment. It is a tribute to our purpose and a harvest of good memories.  It is our life reviewed, our legacy respected, our hope remembered, and our vision recast. As believers, death represents the final reality of victory over the constraints of a sinful body. A former pastor of mine used to remind us, as we leave our bodies in death, it will be as a spring calf leaping and running from the stall in April! Yes, our last enemy is death, but death is also the golden doorway to a life free of the body of death. Newness awaits! We sorrow not as others. Such a mixture of sorrow and joy are more difficult while looking at a vase of human remains. It takes away our last look at loved ones departed and fades our lasting hope of a coming reunion.

Rebellion from religion is probably the most contributing factor in the new trend away from burial. People are less religious, and therefore less concerned about preserving old traditions. The Catholics were convinced that the burning of the body after death was a desecration or dishonor. While a 2016 document released by the Vatican referred to cremation as a “brutal destruction” of the body, it also confirmed that Catholics can still opt to be cremated if their ashes are not scattered afterward. Baptists have typically buried their dead, too, but more and more I am seeing the trend toward cremation take hold in fundamental and evangelistic circles. Again, this is not a sinful trend, but in my view a sad trend away from biblical patterns.

  1. Bryant Hightower Jr., the secretary of the National Funeral Directors Association says, “Most funeral directors have seen a lot of families move away from burial traditions, and those that do tend to move away from religious ceremony, as well. In their minds, since religious ceremony and tradition are tied to burial they are saying, ‘I want it [my final disposition] to be simple and I don’t want it in a church or a synagogue and I don’t want a rabbi or a minister, so I want cremation.’” Faith and burial in America have long been normative in the end of life narrative. Not so much anymore.

Biblical Considerations – As believers, what should direct our end-of-life decisions about this matter? What does the Bible say?

  • Death is a picture. In I Corinthians 15 and Romans 6, we see the burial of the believer as a picture of a future harvest. Just as the farmer plants a seed by faith, the body of the believer is planted in prospect of the future resurrection . . . God will return, his shout will wake the dead, the trumpet of God will sound, and then with the voice of the archangel, the graves shall burst forth with life and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and glorified! (I Thessalonians 4:16) Believers will be caught up together with the Lord from the grave and the picture be completed when we are forever with the Lord! Jesus in his resurrection from the tomb was a type of first fruits of all that sleep or die in Christ. First fruits is a clear indication of more harvest to come. As Christ came to life again bodily in glorified form so shall we who believe. He will come for his harvest unto eternal life.
  • Burial was a biblical practice. Jesus was slain and buried in an earthen tomb. Such was the Biblical pattern. Old Testament saints like Joseph, Jacob, Elisha, Rachel, Abraham, Sarah, and countless others were placed in tombs, caves, or burial grounds. The New Testament continues the practice of bodily burial with Lazarus, Stephen, John the Baptist, and many others. The angels at the tomb of the Lord told the disciples, “He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come see the place (not vase) where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:6)
  • Cremation’s origin is paganistic, while burial is biblical. Greeks and Romans cremated their dead to avoid the desecration of their dead by enemies. Greeks especially practiced cremation to free the “pure spirit” from “evil bodies” (Gnosticism). Hindus burn their dead and scatter the ashes along the Ganges River in hopes of expediting their reincarnation. These are pagan rituals laced to hopeless beliefs in dead gods.
  • Cremation, biblically, carries a negative connotation. In the Bible, God in a very real sense connected fire to judgement. He cremated Sodom and Gomorrah. Fiery judgement was cast upon Jericho, Achan, Ai, King Saul, and Nadab and Abihu. Fire will be the final judgement upon the earth at the end of time. The eternal home of all those who do not believe God will be a place where the flames are never quenched. It is best to argue not that the Bible is silent about cremation, but rather that it does not cast such a disposal of the body in a generous or positive light.

This pastor’s conclusion: In some cases, we do not get to choose how our bodies are removed from the rolls of the living, nor how our remains are laid to rest (shipwrecks, explosives, abductions, Holocaust, martyrdom, natural disasters, etc.) In cases where we do, I believe the Bible strongly presents a case that Christians, in the same manner as the saints in the Bible, should be laid to rest bodily in the grave as they await the bodily resurrection of the glorified saints at the return of Christ for his church. I do not believe the choice to cremate a believer results in the loss of one’s fellowship or salvation, but I do think it’s a missed opportunity to testify to a future resurrection.

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory.” I Corinthians 15:54

13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.14 But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:13-16

How good is your memory? Who was your third grade teacher? Your first pastor? The name of President Nixon’s vice president? Not so easy is it? Why? We forget things. God does not.

My grandson visited our home recently and was, of course, a joy to our hearts. Two–year-olds are charmed with good looks, charm, and an unusual ability to mimic words and phrases they hear – albeit imperfectly. The language of 2 & 3 year-olds is precious and one of the phrases our Callan was using a lot was “memerdat.” Memerdat is not the name of some newly discovered island or rodent in Namibia it is baby talk for remember that?


Tattoos are all the rage! And just like anything that is popular in our culture it’s not long before the latest rage arrives in a church near you. Even a few preachers are getting “inked up” to connect with the culture. In the back of my mind I can hear my mother’s sweet voice when I came to her with my desire to jump on passing bandwagons, she would say, “Just because everybody else is jumping off a cliff, doesn’t mean you have to!” She saved me a lot of embarrassment and pain, not to mention, heartache.

I know you have seen the trend develop. Maybe you have even jumped on the band wagon yourself. Sometimes the body artwork is small and understated, at other times it is bold and nearly wraps the entire body in ink. Indelible ink. Tattoos like any form of art always say something. They speak about causes, and cares and they also say a lot about the person who wears them. The messages range from silly to scriptural and the art itself ranges from crude to creative. Like bumper stickers they convey a message but unlike bumper stickers or text messages these statements upon human flesh are stamped in a medium that will live as long as you do. They don’t get lost, erased or deleted until you do. As long as you live, they live, and in some cases, I am told, they live even longer.


Can reliability and readability co-exist in a modern translation of the Bible?
“Pastor, with so many Bible versions available today, how can I choose the best one? What should I tell a friend who is looking to buy a bible she can read and understand with more ‘up to date’ language?”
Dear Friend, Thank you for your honest questions about translations of the Bible. It’s a great question and certainly one that deserves a thoughtful reply.  I know I am probably going to give you much more information than you ever wanted, but I hope it helps. The long answer that follows may read more like a book than a blog but I wanted you to understand my heart on this. It is very important to “get it right” when it comes to the Bible we read. You may have your personal favorite version of the Bible or you may know a new believer looking for a Bible they can read and follow in their walk in Christ.


What we feel or think about marriage (or any topic) needs to be subjected to the Word of God. The real issue here isn’t whether we sense that things might work out better in a new marital relationship; the real issue is what does God say about this? Our opinion is not the issue. Culture is not our standard. God’s Word is the final Word on all matters of faith and godliness. Here are some guiding principles:
  • Marriage is good and instituted by God (Gen 2:24). He is the Author/Designer of it.
  • Marriage is a covenant purposed by God to be life-long. (Matt 19:6)
  • Stay Married! Marriage broken by any reason other than death is hated by God. (Mal 2:16)
  • He takes the vows seriously because it is a covenant “until death”. It is a picture of God’s unconditional and sacrificial love for his bride. (Eph. 5). Problems in marriage must be traversed together without the option of escape.
  • Because of the hardness of sinful hearts, God allows only 2 exceptions to break the marriages vows. I say allows because even in our differences and frailties, God’s ideal is to stay married and reconcile if at all possible. Here are the two biblical exceptions: