Does the Bible Say the Earth is Flat?

Does the Bible say the earth is flat? No. (Do we really have to cover this topic?) Scoffers twist the Bible into saying the earth is flat. Now a growing number of professing Christians are doing it, too.

Flat earthers use 1 Samuel 2:8 and Psalm 75:3 which mention the pillars of the earth, and how God has "set the world upon them." But this is poetic, meaning that God has created all things and established them.

Flat earthers use Job 28:24 and Psalm 48:10 which refer to the ends of the earth. But this is symbolic for a great distance or all people. Acts 13:47 says the Lord has commanded us to "bring [the message of] salvation "to the ends of the earth."

Flat earthers use Isaiah 11:12 and Revelation 7:1 which speak of the four corners of the earth. Still symbolism, referring to something happening in all directions: north, south, east, and west.

The Bible doesn't explicitly say the earth is flat or round, although it does allude to its spherical shape. Job 26:7 says that God hangs the earth on nothing, and Isaiah 40:22 says He sits above the circle of the earth. If you think the Bible says the earth is flat, you put that in the text. You did not pull that from the text. Flat earth cosmology is derived from paganism, not Christianity.

Whatever you believe about the shape of the earth, it doesn't have any bearing on your salvation. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). Nonetheless, the Bible says avoid irreverent, silly myths. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies, when we understand the text.

Is God's Love Reckless?

There's a popular Christian song entitled Reckless Love, sung by Cory Asbury of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. The first verse goes like this:
Before I spoke a word, you were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, you breathed your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me
So far, or should I say so, so far, the song is alright. Psalm 139:4 says that "before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it altogether." Romans 2:4 says that God shows His kindness toward us to lead us to repentance. But then we get to the chorus, where he sings...
Oh the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Uh, what? The love of God is reckless? A word that means "without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action?" Not only is that an unbiblical description of God's love, the artist contradicted himself.

In the first verse, he sang, "Before I spoke a word and before I took a breath, you were good and kind to me." But then he sings that God's love is thoughtless and careless?

The Bible says that God chose His elect "before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace" (Ephesians 1:3-6).

That's not reckless. That's foreordained. Don't sing this reckless fluff. Praise God for who the Bible says He is, when we understand the text.

Are You a Pharisee?

Two people are having a spiritual or ethical discussion, one is a conservative Christian and the other more liberal. The conservative calls a popular teacher false, or says a culturally accepted behavior is sin, and points to what the Bible says.

The liberal responds by playing the Pharisee card. "You're so unloving and legalistic clinging to the Bible and your doctrines. You're a Pharisee!" Bam! The conservative is instantly discredited, and their arguments are invalid. But more than likely it's the other way around.

During the time of Jesus, Jewish communities were governed by the Sanhedrin, made up two factions known as the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Sadducees took a very literal interpretation of Scripture, to the extent that they denied the resurrection of the dead because they didn't believe it was in the Scriptures.

The Pharisees were more liberal with the Scriptures, and gave oral tradition equal authority to the written word of God. So you could say the Pharisees added to God's word while the Sadducees subtracted from it. Both were self-righteous and believed their works made them good.

If someone calls you a Pharisee for being faithful to Scripture, they do so in ignorance for the Pharisees weren't faithful to Scripture. Jesus said of them, "They honor God with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:8-9).

Jesus didn't call people who were faithful to His word Pharisees. He called them disciples. In John 8:31, He said, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free," when we understand the text.

What is Burning Man?

Burning Man is an annual week-long festival held in the middle of a dessert, and gets its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy.

When you go to the Burning Man website, it says, "Burning Man is not a festival." Oh, my bad. It must have been the costumes, live music, and celebration that threw me off. So Burning Man is "a temporary community, based on 10 practical principles" which include, "radical inclusion, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression," and there are "radical rituals."

Also, decommodification. Advertising and the selling of goods are prohibited at Burning Man. (But admission will cost you over $1,000 on your Visa or Mastercard. All sales are final, and no refunds will be issued for any reason. Someone's making bank off of this flimflam!)

So tens of thousands of people gather for an annual event in the middle of no where, encouraging self-expression, rituals, and dancing around a large wooden idol. What else will inevitably happen at this pagan gathering? Yup, drug use and sexual immorality. Burning Man is a pagan, drug-riddled, orgy.

1 Peter 4:3-5 says this is not new. People have been doing these pagan things for millennia, which include "sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you don't join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you. But they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead."

And they call their festival "Burning Man"...? Unless you repent of this culture and follow Jesus Christ, your radical self-expression is actually self-destruction, when we understand the text.

Jesus Declared All Foods Clean?

In Mark 7:18-19 Jesus said, "Are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.)

Now, what's with the parentheses? Cynics will say that modern translators have added this portion. The NIV, ESV, NASB, they all say, "Thus He declared all foods clean." But that's not in the King James. Therefore, it's a translation addition. It isn't in the original text!

Actually, yes it is. All of the earliest Greek manuscripts say this.

If you look in the New American Standard, you might notice the words "Thus He" are italicized. That's because a direct Greek-to-English translation would not include these words, but they are implied. So to make sense in English, the words "Thus He" are required in order to clarify the text.

Jesus' quote ends at ἐκπορεύεται ("goes out" or "expelled" in English), and then Mark, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, says that Jesus declared all foods clean. Origen in the third century and Chrysostom in the fourth century understood this passage the same way. It isn't a recent translator's invention.

"The completion of the ellipsis by making καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα grammatically dependent upon καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς in verse 18 is almost certainly correct. This interpretation was first proposed by the Greek Fathers (Origen, Chrysostom, Gregory Thaumaturgus) and has won almost universal support." The Gospel According to Mark by William L. Lane (Pg. 253).
Just look at the context. Jesus said, "Whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him." Even if you ignore the parenthetical reference, the message is still clear: nothing that goes into a person makes them unholy: not steak or fish, not pork or shellfish, even a Twinkie or a Lego!

What makes you unclean is your sinful heart, and only Christ can purify you. Ask forgiveness for your sins, and He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), when we understand the text.