Archive for September, 2009

John Shore’s incontrovertible take on modern Christianity

September 27, 2009 Leave a comment

I agree with this statement 1,000%. It’s a call for ultra-conservative Christians to try thinking outside the box and warning other Christians about the dangers of being too condescending on Christians with stricter standards:

“Too many conservative Christians’ lives are too limited; too many liberal Christians too readily dismiss fundamentalism.”

One has to wonder if a happy balance can be achieved. In conservative Christianity, my observation has been that preferences often get mistaken for convictions through a misinterpretation or misapplication of scripture. Among liberal Christians, while they understand the preferences-conviction confusion better, I think they are too quick to scoff at any beliefs the conservatives have. Maybe it’s because they confuse some convictions with personal preferences. They might be surprised at the conservatives are more correct on what scripture teaches than what they, the liberal, might imagine.

I spent several years in independent, fundamental Baptist churches and while I now consider myself a mixture of Baptist and non-denominational/IFCA, I do believe that “fundamentalists” are absolutely right on salvation: grace alone through faith alone; God offers it to all, and it’s up to us to accept or reject God’s free gift.

One thing I do think is a misunderstood part of fundamentalism is “legalism”. Some believe legalism is following a strict set of “Biblical” principles (no pants for women, no long hair for men, no TV, no alcohol or tobacco) as a way of earning one’s salvation.

The real definition is to follow a strict set of Biblical principles as a way of becoming closer to God and becoming more, well, pure in your thinking and actions. The problem is, the principles are very much subject to interpretation. Some are preferences that evolved into convictions.

Richard Zowie runs several blogs besides this one. Send comments to

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Does God care who wins sporting events?

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment


When Kurt Warner won a Super Bowl as St. Louis Rams quarterback, he enthusiastically yelled “THANK YOU, JESUS!!!” when receiving the Lombardi trophy.

Football players of various teams often will kneel in the end zone and pray after scoring a touchdown.

Baseball players will point to heaven after hitting a home run or after striking out a crucial hitter.

Other athletes, after winning a game, will credit God with the win.

Some wonder if it’s right to give credit to God for a win while others have been criticized for attributing a loss to “God’s will”.

I believe God gives professional athletes to excel, and if they do, it’s an opportunity to glorify Him and spread the good news.

However, don’t expect to find God in heaven with a March Madness bracket or discussing with Michael or Gabriel which teams should be allowed to win. Or trying to figure out which team the devil likes and letting them lose. After all, haven’t the Duke Blue Devils won national championships? Haven’t the New Jersey Devils won Stanley Cups? Yes, the Los Angeles Angels won the World Series a few years ago, but how come the New Orleans Saints haven’t won a Super Bowl.

I see God working to do two things in the world: evangelize and edify. If certain teams winning championships can do that, great. But I don’t think He looks at a team and decides, because He’s a fan, that He wants it to win.

Richard Zowie runs several blogs besides this one. Send comments to

Goodbye, My Two Shekels, hello, Richard’s Two Shekels

September 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Meet Richard’s Two Shekels.

Someone registered the domain name My Two Shekels. And since I prefer .com names, I decided to change the name of this blog to something unique.

Of course, “My Two Shekels” is a Christian pun of the famous saying “My Two Cents”, when a person wishes to give their opinion.

Granted, a shekel isn’t technically a cent: it’s the Israeli equivalent of a dollar. The Israeli equivalent of a cent is an agora: 100 agorot (agora in the plural form) equals 1 new shekel. After discussing it with my wife, I felt that Richard’s Two Shekels had a far better ring to it than My Two Agorot.

Enjoy, and be encouraged and blessed.

Today's Verse of Encouragement: Romans 8:18

September 16, 2009 Leave a comment

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Wonderful words to live by–especially if you’re a Christian having a tough day.

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R.I.P., Patrick Swayze

September 15, 2009 Leave a comment


Patrick Swayze, 1952-2009

You will be missed, and your family will be in our prayers.

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Getting back to basics: reading the Bible

September 1, 2009 Leave a comment

I struggle mightily with procrastination, and someday (if I haven’t already) I plan to post an old column about how procrastination is the eighth deadly sin.

A week ago, I got back into reading the Bible on a daily basis. It was very refreshing and made me realize how much I’d missed by not doing so before. When it comes to God’s Word, my minimal goal is to encounter one of the writers of the 39 Old Testament books and 27 Old Testament books and be able to converse with them about their work. How embarrassing would it be to encounter Nahum* the Minor Prophet and say, “I know your book’s in the Old Testament and it’s near Jonah, right?”

I’ve heard two songs about the Bible, children’s songs that contain incontrovertible facts about scripture. One says if we read God’s word and pray daily we’ll grow, and the other says if we neglect His Word and forget to pray we’ll shrink. Been there, done that. Another says simply this: “The Bible will keep you from sin, and sin will keep you from the Bible.”

I visualize reading the Bible, jotting notes and summaries of what’s been read, studying the Word and praying as food for the soul. Just as we shouldn’t quit breathing or eating food, we most certainly should not quit reading the Bible.

*In a Bible drill at Alvin, Texas’ Kings Row Baptist Church in 1982 or so, the passage we had to look up was in Nahum. One kid asked the teacher where Nahum was, and the teacher deliciously replied: “It’s between Genesis and Revelation.”