“Freedom and a Fruitful New Year”

On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed Congress on the state of the war in Europe. Much of what he said that day has been forgotten. But at the close of his address, he said that he looked forward “to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.” He named them: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. These words are still remembered, even though their ideals have not yet been realized everywhere in the world. Continue reading ““Freedom and a Fruitful New Year””

“Two Ways Only”

One of the worst things that can be taught in religion is that all roads eventually lead to heaven. It is not true, of course, which is bad enough in itself, for all lies are harmful. But in addition to being false, the idea that all ways are equally good is damnable [“worthy of divine condemnation”] since the one who follows any way other than that laid out by Jesus Christ will perish in the life to come. Continue reading ““Two Ways Only””

“Judging Others and Three Reasons Not To Worry”

The chief reason we are so preoccupied with our possessions and with acquiring more of them is that we worry about the future and do not trust God to care for us. This is why Jesus discusses worry. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. … For the Gentiles [pagans; non-Christians] seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well” (Matthew 6.25-34). Continue reading ““Judging Others and Three Reasons Not To Worry””

“Christians and the World”

Up to this point in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has spoken almost entirely about the spiritual character of those who would be His disciples and of the relationship they must have with God. But Christianity is not just a vertical relationship between us and God. It also has horizontal dimensions because we are material as well as spiritual creatures and live in a space-time, physical universe populated by other people.

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“Food, Forgiveness, Evil and Fasting”

Halfway through the Disciples [Lord’s] Prayer in Matthew 6, we come to the fourth petition, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We turn from prayer for the advancement of God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will to prayer for our personal needs: (1) life’s necessities, (2) forgiveness of sins, and (3) deliverance from temptation and the devil. Continue reading ““Food, Forgiveness, Evil and Fasting””