Jake

     
I am Scotsman in the tradition of my heritage: a warrior, a poet,  a patriot, a scientist and engineer, a musician, a student of history, a defender of freedom, and a lover of Jesus Christ.

I have been an Officer, a Captain in the US Air Force.  I have served in Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

I have been a Flight Test Engineer and a Program Manager.

I am a Boeing Engineer designing the next version of the 747 passenger and freighter aircraft.

That is what I am on my own.  Jesus Christ has rescued my soul and through Him I am so much more.  Those are now my disguises.  What I really am is a bondservent of Jesus Christ.  A missionary immersed in one of the most indifferent cultures towards Jesus Christ to ever exist.  It is my endeavor to live for Christ and through Christ.  For me to live is Christ.  He is the focus, direction, and meaning in my life.  Everything I do is in Him and through Him.  I am his tool to create more and better followers of Jesus.

~ Te Deum Laudamus ~

Jake McWhirter

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43 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Chris Leab Says:

    Great to find this!

  2. Gary Ockunzzi Says:

    Mark….I am glad that I came onto your site. I’m really tired of “religion,” I’m “religioned – out,” if you will. Tired of the manipulation, turn or burn messages, in your face with tracts types of amateur evangelists/people, etc. I was saved in 1967, right after Navy boot camp. I will never un-confess my words of confession that I made down the Roman Road (Romans 10:9). Nor can I lose my salvation (God isn’t some kind of an indian giver who goes back on his promises). I have my Bible in one hand and my Relationship with Jesus in the other. That’s all that need. thanks.

  3. philippians1v21 Says:

    Hi Gary. My name is actually Jake. I am happy that you agree religion is not needed for salvation. I am a little concerned by your comment though. Some of the things you describe don’t really strike me as religion as much as people preaching hard truth and caring about the salvation of people who need to know Jesus. There is nothing really wrong with “turn or burn” sermons, as a rule. They certainly don’t have to be religious. The truth is that people must turn to Jesus or they will go to hell. Hell is really hot, and forever is a long time! Telling people that doesn’t necessarily make you religious. Also, people who use tracks or are “amateur evangelists” aren’t necessarily religious either. We are ALL amateurs, but God has called us all to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19-20). If a track helps people do this, so be it. Just because they use a track to tell someone about Jesus doesn’t make them religious.

    I am also concerned about your remark that you never un-confessed your confession of Christ. That is good, but just praying a prayer 46 years ago doesn’t make you a Christian. Just confessing Jesus as lord doesn’t make you a Christian either! Demons recognize and confess Jesus as lord (James 2:19). Jesus said that many people will say to Him lord, lord but He will respond “Depart from me I never knew you” (Matt 7:22-23).

    It is important to understand that you don’t need religion, but you DO need the Holy Spirit. If you are truly a Christian, you will have the Holy Spirit who will change your wants and desires to be like Christ’s. Is this is happening you will begin to desire what Jesus desires. This will be displayed in your life (visible to you and others). You will bear fruit (Gal 5:22). You will begin obeying the commands of God, not because you have to but because you want to. The reason you don’t need rules is that you are following them anyway because your desires are changing. You will want drastically different things than the rest of the world does. You will feel guilt and conviction when you do things that you know are wrong. You won’t be able to continue enjoying sin the same way you did before. You cannot be saved and look like the world!
    If these things are not progressively more true in your life, I would question if you actually ever were saved. This is something that you should really think on. Test yourself to make sure you are in the faith (2 Cor 13:5). Here is a great sermon on this point. I encourage you to listen to it and ask yourself, does my life demonstrate that Jesus is my God? Paul Washer Sermon

    Additionally, your relationship with Christ and your bible are not “all you need”. You need a church. You need the body of Christ. God sets up the Christian walk to be done in community with other believers. Read 1 Cor 12. Please don’t mistake my statements about religion to be condemning churches. Far from it! They are vital. They are the way God has chosen to expand His kingdom on earth. The Church is the bride of Christ. You can’t go it alone. You were never intended to. Also, if you don’t find yourself drawn to the people of God and to fellowship in a local church you should also realize that this is the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit. Not having this desire or love can be a sign of not having the Spirit. As I said above, the Spirit causes us to love the things Jesus loves. Jesus loves the Church (Eph 5:25).

    Jake McWhirter

  4. Zoltan Kurtock Says:

    The concept of a bond servant is very interesting. It was one who was a slave, and was given his freedom, but because he loved his master chose to stay and continue serving LORD JESUS. . A bond-servant is one who recognizes that he is under someone, that he has a master IN THIS CASE JESUS CHRIST.

  5. Robert Alex Says:

    I found your site this morning and appreciate your writing. My wife is a Christian and I am finding my way. Keep doing what you are doing.

  6. karen wahlenberg Says:

    Sir you speak truth that is a witness in my spirit by the Holy Spirit. GLORY TO THE FATHER. The way you lay out the Word in answering peoples question truly is a gift. Thank you
    Your sister in christ karen.

  7. Anna Says:

    Your site is the first site I have been to in 2 1/2 years that I would say is authentic in the most sincere way. My story is long but in a nutshell, raised in church, banked on “the sinners prayer”, became very disillusioned with the church and tossed it all. My life spun completely out of control and I fell deep into sin, I believe that God truly saved my life 2 years ago. My sin became too deep and too heavy to carry, I fell on my face in my living room, trembling in fear and remorse, I opened up the bible to daniel 10:16

    Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

    That day, all my never ending strivings to “be good” finally rested in His righteousness alone. I completely understood that I needed Him to be all that I could not be, and for the first time in my life, I was truly forgiven…..and needless to say, in love.

    Now please understand, I do not question Gods authority when it comes to his bride, HIS church, but I do question much about the “church” in its current state. Unfortunately, it seems like there are more true believers on the outside than on the inside. I feel very alone and disconnected, yet there’s nowhere to turn. I read and study much, trying to teach my kids, but well meaning christians keep saying “you need to be in church”……I want to scream because truly, I just can’t, I have tried and I can’t. Any suggestions?


  8. Hi there can you give me you facebook page and need also to talk to you direct on facebook you are such an inspiration unto my life, your teachings it is only election by grace that makes you to speak boldly of Jesus Christ, His life which is Christianity. my email is olditshweu@gmail.com you can contact me there

  9. Glen k Says:

    Wonderful website! Your article on Christianity is not a religion reminded me of a book I read a few years back called “Christ versus religion” by Witness Lee, its a marvelous book, actually his & Watchman Nee’s ministry is very on point focusing on Christ & the Church!
    I am also in Scotland!
    Much grace to you brother.
    Glen

  10. chichi Says:

    What a blessing to have found your blog, Thank you.

  11. Yolanda Says:

    Your blog is the best think I have ever found on the web. You have an ability to explain things in such easy way to understand. It is a joy to read. What a wonderful gift. Life in Christ makes that so simple. I have some questions which I would like to share with you. Those questions comes from my brother. He believes in Christ but he told me one day that sometime is not enough the bible so other philosophies such Buddhist may help to bring more peace when we need. I really got worried about that comment. He has been a bit confused because of Buddhist philosophies he so much care. I really really need your help to find the perfect answer in Christ to address this delicate matter efficiently. Thank you so much for taking your precious time to read this message. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. Your sister in Christ, Yolanda.

  12. philippians1v21 Says:

    Yolanda,

    Thank you for the encouragement. It is much appreciated. I would be happy to help answer any questions you (or your brother) have.
    With regard to your brother’s desire to incorporate the teachings of Buddhism into his Christian faith, there is much that I could say about this. I would perhaps start by pointing out that to believe in Jesus Christ is to accept His claim to be God. To reject this claim is to reject Jesus Christ. You are not following Jesus if you do not recognize Him as who He claimed to be.

    If one believes and accepts Jesus as God, then you must also accept His teachings as the final word on the subject. God gets the final say. The fact is that Jesus claimed that it was only through Him that a person can find peace and eternal life . . .

    “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” ~John 14:6

    This is contrary to the claim of Buddhism. In fact, virtually all of the teaching and core beliefs of Christianity are opposed to the teachings of Buddhism. Here are a few major examples:

    • Buddhism asserts that there is no God. It is an atheistic religion. The universe has always existed and there is no creator. Jesus claimed to be God, the creator of the universe. That’s a pretty major difference. It is hard to comprehend how one could expect to learn anything from a religion that doesn’t even get the source of wisdom and knowledge correctly.
    • Buddhism teaches the oneness of the whole universe. We are all part of one being. Jesus taught that there was a distinction between the created and the Creator. The Creator is separate from that which He created. The created is not divine or part of the Creator.
    • Buddha’s quest was enlightenment. His teaching is that his followers should pursue enlightenment as their primary goal. Jesus’ mission was to conquer sin. Jesus taught that the primary problem facing mankind is sin, not unenlightenment. He taught his followers to pursue Him and thus become more righteous. The primary goal of their teachings is drastically different. A good question you could ask your brother is “what is the biggest problem with mankind?” How he answers that question will tell you a lot about where he is. Buddhism and Christianity offer two completely different (and incompatible) answers to that question. Thus they have two totally different paths and means of pursuing their goals. To pursue one is to walk away from the other. You cannot pursue both at once, since they are diametrically opposed.
    • For and example of what I mean, the way to reach “Nirvana” in Buddhism is the “Eightfold Path”. This is essentially acting and thinking better. Buddhism boils down to a plan to better oneself by our own willpower and effort. It must rely on us, since Buddhism denies the existence of a transcendent God. In stark contrast to this, Jesus teaches that man cannot better ourselves by our own effort. Christianity is unique in this sense. Jesus taught that it was only God who can improve us. It is only God who can earn righteousness. Jesus came to accomplish this task. To way to peace and paradise in Jesus’ teaching is only through Him and His life and death substituted in place of yours. This is completely different from Buddhism. Instead of an Eightfold path, Jesus presented one path, placing your trust and in Him as Savior and Lord. Jesus taught that He alone was the path (the way). To pursue and Eightfold path (or any path other than Jesus) is to deny Jesus’ authority and to walk away from His path.
    • Buddha also taught that there is no such thing as “self”. Individuality is an illusion. We are one with creation and everyone around us. As a result, Buddha taught to harm nothing and eat no animals. Animals are one with us. Therefore harming and animal is the same as killing a human being. Jesus taught that we are independent souls who are each responsible for our unique choices. Jesus taught that man was created higher than other created beings, and He regularly ate animals.
    • Buddha taught that everything continually changes. Jesus taught that God never changes and that truth does not change. Christianity provides a fixed moral compass. It provides an answer to why things are right or wrong. This doesn’t change based on our mood, since it is grounded in an unchanging God. Since Buddhism is atheistic, it has no basis to set any firm definition of right and wrong, good and evil. There is no such thing as something being objectively wrong in Buddhism. All a Buddhist can say is that something doesn’t seem right to them, today. There is no basis to condemn the evil actions of anyone.
    • Even though Buddhism doesn’t establish a justification for why anything should be right or wrong, Buddha nonetheless taught that nothing bad or evil happens to us unless we deserve it (karma). In contrast to this idea, Jesus routinely pointed out that bad things happen to everyone, regardless of what they have done (Jn 9:1-3, Lk 13:1-5). Jesus was the ultimate example of this, enduring extreme suffering and dying at the hands of unrighteous men while He committed no sin. The message of Jesus Christ is the opposite of karma. He taught that our works and our good deeds accomplish nothing. He taught that it was only by accepting His sacrifice and His righteous in place of ours could we be reconciled to God.
    • Jesus claimed to be Truth (John 14:6). By claiming this, He was claiming to be the end-all, be-all of truth. He is the source of all truth. Apart from Jesus there is no truth. To seek truth beyond what Jesus can offer is to seek for light in a black cave. There is no taking Jesus + something else. Following Jesus is all or nothing. Jesus demands to be Lord, the Creator of the universe, The One who was before time, The Alpha and Omega (Beginning and End), The Creator and possessor of all knowledge and truth. To deny this is to deny Jesus outright. As Jesus Himself said, “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” ~ Luke 11:23 (NLT)

    In virtually every sense that matters, Christianity could be described as anti-Buddhist. They claim truths that are simply incompatible. To pursue one is to abandon the other. They both make exclusive truth claims that are in clear contradiction. They are like roads heading in completely different directions. If one is right, the other must, necessarily, be wrong. Jesus Christ cannot both be God (the claim of Christianity) and not be God (the claim of Buddhism). Contradictory religious claims have opposite truth value, meaning that they negate or deny each other. Therefore, exactly one is true and the other false. Thus, according to a formal law of logic, the “Law of Non-Contradiction”, they cannot both be true. And, accordingly, Jesus Christ must either be God or not be God; no middle position is possible (either A or non-A). Being a Christian Buddhist is like claiming to be an atheistic Christian, a drunken teetotaler, a talking mime, or a married bachelor. The two belief systems are simply incongruent.

    Your brother must wrestle with these conflicting truth claims and ask himself which one does he actually believe? Which one makes the most sense? Which truth claim fits best with observable reality? Which one has the most supporting evidence? I think the answer to this question is pretty straightforward and clear. Christianity stands tall under this kind of scrutiny, where Buddhism falls flat.

    God bless,
    Jake M.

  13. yolanda Says:

    Brother Jake, glad to hear from you and thank you for your swift response. Very strong and valuable message.

    I have heard of this quote which goes by “Never deprive someone of hope, it might be all they have” and you did that beautifully by sharing the good news thro Christ. It saves lives and it is priceless. By the way, could you kindly tell me where is your new church since i wish to pay a visit soon.

    If only you allow me, I truly would like to share more questions which never got clear cut answers without exhausting your page. Therefore I have added my email in the system. Again, thank you for caring so much. It shall never be forgotten.

    Much Grace to you.

  14. Master Atheistic Says:

    For all your obvious intelligence and experience, when it comes right down to it, you sound like a totally deluded arse hat. As a REAL Scotsman, I deplore your gullibility and childlike idiocy.

  15. philippians1v21 Says:

    Master Atheistic,
    Thanks for the chuckle tonight. I needed it. I never thought I’d actually witness someone use the “No True Scotsman” logical fallacy to literally refer to being a true Scotsmen. That’s hysterical…and ironic, given your attack on my intelligence.

    You may certainly deplore my “gullibility” and “childlike idiocy” if you want, but why do you care? What is it to you? If I am gullible and childlike, why does that anger you? It does not anger or upset me that you do not believe in Jesus. It simply doesn’t affect me. Do you always feel a compulsion to hate and deplore anyone who is fooled by something or who isn’t as smart as you? Why does this produce such a reaction in you? I am sure that you believe differently than many people on other things that don’t illicit this vulgar and critical of a response from you. There is something unique, though, about this particular issue, isn’t there? It is never enough for atheists to not believe in God, themselves. They seem to always feel the need to shame and bash anyone who doesn’t agree with their view. But why, I wonder.

    I might suggest that there is something else below the surface here that creates this visceral reaction in you. As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “He doth protest too much, me thinks!” Is there perhaps even a nugget in what I have written that you know deep down is true, and that you are trying to overcome by your attack of anyone who accepts this truth? It’s something for you to think on and consider. If you say this isn’t the case, how do you explain to yourself why it upsets you that I believe in Jesus? You and I may disagree on other points as well (like who’s the better football team, or if the dress is white/gold or blue/black, or if Coldplay is a good band, or if Lost is a good TV show, or who should win the next American Idol contest, etc.). But I doubt any of these issues would cause you to write a complete stranger calling them a “gullible, childlike idiot” and an “arse hat.” The fact that a complete stranger disagreed with you on any of these other issues would probably not affect you that much. Just something to ponder.

    You are welcome to share your perspective and opinion here as long as you can do so in a manner that displays mutual respect and civil dialog. It is natural and expected that we don’t all agree on these issues. This is ok, and everyone should be entitled to their opinion. You won’t see me attacking another individual for their beliefs here. I will not allow others to do so, either. If you can’t contribute intellectually, or within the framework of logical discourse, then I will certainly not allow your comments to be posted here. It is NEVER fair or valid debate to claim someone’s ideas are untrue, and to support this claim by merely attacking their character, their intelligence, or their person. This is called “Argumentum ad Hominem”. It is a well established logical fallacy.

    I certainly don’t hate you or wish you ill will. I wish you the best, and desire nothing but good for you. I don’t deplore you for not believing the same way as I do. I’m sure that I am indeed an “arse hat”, in many ways. It may be very true that I am a childlike idiot. I welcome open discussion and I would like to hear what you believe and why.

    God bless,
    Jake M.

  16. Paula Says:

    Jake, you are a blessing to so many of us who are encouraged by your passion for Christ. I so appreciate your God-given intellect and eloquence. Keep speaking the truth in love and continue to humbly walk with our Lord.

  17. John Graham Says:

    Well Jake, at 64 years and a born-again -Christian I rejoice that I have found your website. It is never to late to learn more about God, never too late to see truths from a different angle and to receive enlightenment, never too late to appreciate someone gifted by God able to explain truths with an easy clarity and to thank God and them for their time and willingness to share. May God bless you and your work.

  18. Larry Latta Says:

    Iam so glad to find your Web site.
    To God be the Glory.
    God is good. Jesus is wonderful!!!

  19. Kathy Says:

    Isn’t what you are saying about Christianity also talking about “a religion”?

  20. philippians1v21 Says:

    Kathy,
    I’m not sure what you mean. As I have repeatedly explained on this blog, whether or not you can call Christianity a religion or not depends on how you define the word “religion”. If you definition is any faith in a god, then yes, Christianity fists that (but Buddhism doesn’t). However, all the rest of the world’s religions have something in common that Christianity doesn’t. Christianity is alone in one very important aspect. In this regard it is unique and separate from the rest: it is not based on human effort. It is not about us living a holy, righteous, or pious life and earning our future state of happiness, joy and peace. This is unlike any other religion in the world! Therefore, the very heart of what these religions are based on is missing from Christianity. Thus, I believe it is fair to classify Christianity separately. It is a faith in God, yes. But it is a faith that is not religious; that is it is not based on human work.

    God bless,
    Jake

  21. Renae jones Says:

    I am thrilled to have found your site. The holy spirit stirs in my heart validating truth in your message. Thanks to your explanation of being saved by grace through belief and faith in Jesus Christians the power of the death and resurrection of Christ for my sins – I was raised a baptist then joined the Mormon church in my 30’s I have prayed for forgiveness of my sins as an elementary school child the later but was never baptized until I joined the Mormon church and they laid hand on me to confirm the gift of the holy spirit I thought the church would save my very unhappy marriage but it didn’t I committed in my opinion an unforgivable sin – adultery and thought I could never ask for forgiveness as I hadchosen that act in spite of my background and religious learning I read your posts and the spirit witnessed to me that heavenly father is omnipotent from beginning of time and there is nothing that I have done that God didn’t know was goig to happen in fact what is totally amazing is that Jesus bore that sin and any other sins that I or anyone else has ever done or ever will do How painful it must’ve been to carry that burden for all of us and God turn his back on Jesus before he laid down his life. I prayed to my God and recommitted my life and this time I am turning it all over to Jesus . I fail and will fail to be sin free but thanks to heavenly fathers love for me – a path has been revealed for me to talk with God through prayer ask forgiveness of sin and be found clean thanks to the Jesus Christs love and sacrifice for me. I thank him and praise him

  22. Billy Says:

    Jake great answers full of biblical knowledge and Spirit.
    Can you give me your thoughts/knowledge opinion on the sabbath?

  23. vanadonai611 Says:

    Hi Jack,

    I felt so blessed to be able to find this website. Felt like God has finally answer my questions.

    I thought I am always a weirdo in most of my Christian friend’s eyes and I finally realised that I am not!

    What you mentioned about ” why Christianity is NOT a religion” is so true and I am so glad that there are people out there who have similar beliefs too..

  24. sylvia Says:

    I told some people a few days ago, that Christianity is not a religion. When I got home I tried to figure out weather I had said the wrong thing or not, and tried to find something on the subject. I never did any good. Today I opened the internet and typed in the letter c and you message came straight up. What a joy, you wrote exactly my thoughts on the subject. The Holy Spirit has done all that. Thank you so much. May God bless you greatly.

  25. Siyabonga Duma Says:

    Hi Jake

    As an African man and South African, to be precise, it pains me to see all the suffering through hunger, civil wars, poverty and disease killing my African brothers and sisters. What biblical hope can you give to us in this continent through all this suffering? I hope my question made sense to you sir.
    Keep up the good work. Christians like myself are truly blessed by your work.

    Regards
    Siyabonga Duma

  26. philippians1v21 Says:

    Siyabonga Duma,
    Thank you for writing. I sympathize with you in grieving over the suffering around you. I know that it grieves our Lord even more than it does us. He sees every tear that falls and every hateful and harmful action that is taken.

    Fortunately, there is much encouragement I can offer. Christianity, unlike any other worldview, is unique in the fact that it provides and ultimate answer to the problem of evil in this world. It is unique in the fact that it gives us hope. The Christian God is the only answer to the problem of evil. If He does not exist, we are locked in a world filled with gratuitous, pointless, and unredeemed suffering. But, if He exists, then He is the final answer to the problem of evil; for He offers to redeem us from evil and take us into an incommensurable good, which is fellowship with Himself.

    Additionally, Christianity tells us that God is not some sort of distant or impersonal being. Rather, He is a loving father who shares our sufferings and who hurts with us. We worship a God that actually experienced suffering. Some people can’t believe God would create a world in which people would suffer so much. Isn’t it more remarkable that God would create a world in which no one would suffer more than He?

    “As the Christian sees things, God does not stand idly by, coolly observing the suffering of his creatures. He enters into and bears our suffering. He endures the anguish of seeing his son, the second person of the Trinity, consigned to the bitterly cruel and shameful death of the cross. Christ was prepared to endure the agonies of hell itself in order to overcome sin and death, and the evils that affect our world, and to confer on us a life more glorious than we can imagine. He was prepared to suffer on our behalf, to accept a suffering of which we can form no conception.” ~ Professor Alan Plantinga

    “God might say to us, “I have intimate understanding of what it is to be in your place. You have no clue what it is to be in my place. If you’d experienced Gethsemane and the march to Golgotha and the horrors of the Cross, you’d not question for a moment either my understanding or my love.” ~ Randy Alcorn

    Additionally, God promises to walk through suffering with us.

    “God, like a father, doesn’t just give advice. He gives himself. He becomes the husband to the grieving widow (Isaiah 54:5). He becomes the comforter to the barren woman (Isaiah 54:1). He becomes the father of the orphaned (Psalm 10:14). He becomes the bridegroom to the single person (Isaiah 62:5). He is the healer to the sick (Exodus 15:26). He is the wonderful counselor to the confused and depressed (Isaiah 9:6). “ ~Joni Eareckson Tada

    Also, God uses evil and suffering in the lives of believers to create reliance and dependence on Him. I love how C.S. Lewis said this. . .

    “Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call “our own life” remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make “our own life” less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness? … He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is “nothing better” now to be had. “ ~ C.S. Lewis

    We need to remember that this life is only a small part of the eternal story. And, all good stories involve conflict, hardship, sacrifice, and difficulties. We value in story the conflict we avoid in life. The existence of evil enables some good things to exist that could not exist if there was no evil. For instance, a world without personal tragedy or natural disasters would produce no heroes. Without the presence of evil and suffering we would never experience: compassion, mercy, sacrificial love, patience, camaraderie, courage or strength of character. Paul’s description of the “eternal weight of glory” outweighing our temporary sufferings (2 Cor 4:17) shows that if God eliminated temporary evil and suffering He would also eliminate eternal good.

    “A redemptive story (e.g., Les Miserables ) must by its nature involve extreme conflict, severe loss, and evil and suffering, followed by glorious intervention, usually at great cost, and leading to restoration and a transformed life.”

    “If I were to write a book about lives without conflict, where the characters get everything they want, where life marches on predictably and no one ever loses anything, no one would read it. Who likes a boring story?

    “In my novels, the main characters face great conflict, turmoil, uncertainty, and suffering. Some die. So who am I to say God shouldn’t write such things into his story, including my part? God created all the characters in his story. He loves a great story, and he has made us to love it. Before we fault him for the plot twists we don’t like, we should remember that Jesus has written this story in his own blood. “ ~ Randy Alcorn

    God can use pain and suffering to bring people to God. Broken hearts more readily recognize their need for God’s grace. Death serves to draw our attention to what really matters—the state of our souls, and the God and people who will outlast this life. One of the great paradoxes of suffering is that those who don’t suffer much think suffering should keep people from God, while many who suffer a great deal turn to God, not from him. For example, a Washington Post survey of Hurricane Katrina survivors who wound up as refugees in Houston found that 81% said the ordeal has strengthened their belief, while only 4% said it weakened it.

    “You won’t find the strongest Christian churches in the world in affluent America or Europe, where the problem of evil has the most traction. In Sudan, Christians are severely persecuted, raped, tortured, and sold into slavery. Yet many have a vibrant faith in Christ. People living in Garbage Village in Cairo make up one of the largest churches in Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of India’s poor are turning to Christ. Why? Because the caste system and fatalism of Hinduism give them no answers. So they turn to a personal God who loves them and understands suffering. I have interviewed numbers of people who take comfort in knowing that this life is the closest they will ever come to Hell.” ~ Randy Alcorn

    As Christians, we need to remember that this life is just training for eternity. God is more interested in the long-term goal of you knowing Him and enjoying Him forever than He is about your short-term happiness. The dysfunction of the present is the exception, not the rule—a small fraction of our history. Knowing Him and enjoying Him forever is SO much better and more fulfilling than being happy and content now (Hebrews 12:5-11). Humans are not only body but also soul. We are created to exist forever. God promises that, for those who are His children, trials and hardships in this life will be rewarded in heaven for all eternity (Philip 1:21-24, 1 Pet 1:6-7, 2 Pet 2:9, James 1:2, 12). Our current afflictions are accomplishing something. They are working toward something. Our sorrows will not just lead to joy, they will “turn into joy” (John 16:20). Compared to our future eternity of joy, our current suffering is not worth comparing (Rom 8, 2 Cor 4:17).

    “A book on suffering which says nothing about heaven is leaving out almost the whole of one side of the account. Scripture and tradition habitually put the joys of heaven onto the scale against the sufferings of earth and no solution which does not do so can be called a Christian one.” ~ C.S. Lewis

    Our current situation is the aberration, not the norm. Many of our most painful ordeals will look much differently in a million years, as we recall them on the New Earth. This is like how women remember the pain of giving birth, yet today can recall those times without the suffering recurring (They can tell the story without reaching for a pain reliever). All creation fell with us. It will one day rise with us (Isaiah 65, 2 Pet 3:13). Jesus will someday return and put all things right. He will dry every tear from the eyes of the believer. Our hope is not in this world, it is in the next. That is the hope I can offer. It is a hope unlike that offered by any other faith because Jesus actually deals with the problem of evil.

    God bless,
    Jake

  27. josh caffero Says:

    Teacher
    I’ve read your blog on Christianity vs religion and it will never leave my thoughts. How well you defend Jesus left me envious and in tears to the very last blog comment. I have a few questions for you. I know your busy so I don’t expect you to answer this in a timely fashion.(please no means hurry)

    1.) I recently have lost a friend through suicide/drug overdose. His name was Cody. He and I have had deep hearted one on one conversations about life. He knew I believed in God. But that’s it. I did nothing to try and save him. I feel obligated now to do the opposite. My born again mother gave me a John Calvinist answer when I explained that I felt guilt.(she isn’t reformed) Mentioning that some people are not meant to go to heaven. That God only knows. In a way I feel she’s right but in a way I think she’s wrong. Maybe if I talked to Cody more I could have saved him.. But with my inexpeirnced lack of knowlege I feel that I would be a poor misrepresentation of Christ/Christianty to try and save anyone at this point in my walk.
    More so then ever I feel obligated to at least try to help those dearest to me. I have a JH mother in law that feels that Christ isn’t God, and doesn’t believe in the holy trinity, and that there isn’t a he’ll that I explain because God wouldn’t be just or loving to send anyone to a place which I explained. She just thinks she will be on the outskirts of heaven.
    My question to you is should I wait to spread the word of God ? How would I know when I’m ready? My father in law has a harderdened heart as well and witnessed first hand how religion is man made and full of hypocrisy. (due to a cheating JH wife) I feel that time isn’t on my side and more so then ever I need to act now! Between my atheist science loving friends and my random lost family in laws I feel that I need to do things even though they might judge me by my past criticizing me any chance they can for what I am not.
    I don’t have a pastor, in fact all I have is my bible and my Lord. I haven’t picked a church cause I’m not married and I’m afraid that I would be shunned if they ever got wind of it.
    Having tragic things happen to me lately has forced me to fly the straight and narrow and cause me to quite smoking pot (which I loved to do) and follow my Lord to fullest. I guess this is the only question that is important to me right now.
    Jake this is all from my heart sorry if seems a little unorthodox or degenerit of me I just need help.
    If you can’t respond just pray for me .. Thanks. Love you man !

  28. Antonio Pintus Says:

    Hi Jake, Antonio from Italy , I would like to have a talk through skype with you, would be possible ? thanks
    In Christ
    Antonio
    Skype : antop69

  29. philippians1v21 Says:

    Antonio,
    Yes, I will speak with you. Please email me and we can set up a time (jbmcwhirter@gmail.com).

  30. philippians1v21 Says:

    Josh Caffero,
    I am so grateful that my writing has been helpful to you. Praise God. I am very sorry to hear about your friend, Cody. There’s a lot to address in your comment so let me get started.

    When things like Cody’s death happen, it is a good reminder that all of us who follow Jesus Christ are called to be His ambassadors (His representatives on foreign soil) regardless of how long we have been in the faith and regardless of who much or little we may know (2 Cor 5:20). So my answer to you is NO, you should not wait to spread the gospel until you are “ready”. You are never going to be ready. God has commanded you to share now.

    Here is the thing you need to understand. You can’t save anybody. No one can. Only Jesus can save a person. Only the Holy Spirit can perform the miracle of transforming a dead heart into a live heart that can see and understand the truth. That is always the work of God. God can and does use us as His hands to demonstrate His love and His voice to speak His truth. But He saves, not us. Paul says it this way…


    “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” ~ 1 Cor 3:7

    You can rest assured that you not sharing Christ with Cody did not send him to hell. God is sovereign over His Children. The bible tells us that God has written down the names of all of those who will be saved in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). He also says,

    “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” ~ Rom 8:29-30

    God chooses and calls His children. We get to participate in His calling. We are His primary means of sharing His good news with them. When they hear they respond because they are His sheep.

    “But you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” ~ John 10:26-28

    It is our job to spread the good news of Jesus far and wide, casting our seed everywhere, indiscriminately, like the farmer in Jesus’ parable in Matt 13:1-8, 18-23. We do not know who will respond, just like Jesus explains to Nicodemus in John 3:8; the Holy Spirit is like the wind blowing wherever He wills and no one can know where He is going or from where He has come. We cannot know whose heart He is moving. That’s God’s responsibility. Ours is simply to speak the good news.

    This takes the burden of success off of us. We don’t have to feel the weight of people’s spiritual destiny. We don’t have to worry about messing it up. God has that covered. It frees us up to share more. We share, not because we think that if we don’t that God will not save that person, but rather that God may choose to use someone else instead of us, and we will have to explain why we didn’t do it. We could miss out on our opportunity to participate in the miracle of salvation. We could miss out on the reward that God promises for every good work done in this life for the Kingdom. We share because we are commanded to (Matt 28:19-20). We share because it is part of the life we are called to. We share because we cannot help but share. As Paul says, “woe to me if I don’t preach the gospel” (1 Cor 9:16). A great short book on this topic is “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” by J.I. Packer. I highly recommend it.

    By all means share the gospel now. By all means do everything you can to grow better at it too. Just because you don’t think you are in the best place to share doesn’t mean you have nothing to share. If nothing else, you have your testimony. Every believer has that. You can start there. But don’t stay there. Learn. Grow. Take steps to be able to respond to questions. As Peter says, “Be prepared at all times to give an answer for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15).

    You mentioned that you don’t go to church because you are afraid that they will judge you for not being married. I assume by this that you mean you are in an inappropriate sexual relationship? If that is what you mean, you need to understand that by continuing to have sex outside of a biblical marriage is a direct sin against God. One cannot claim to be a child of God and yet continue to pursue such sin with no conviction, guilt or remorse (1 John 3:9). If this sin does not drag at your conscience and weigh down your soul, you need to consider if you truly are a child of God or not. You need to cast off this sin, repent of it and flee from it. The church is not judging you. I am not judging you. This is just the truth, which is light that illuminates the dark spots in our lives. Your reaction to avoid that light is similar to how John describes it in John 3:19-21 . . .


    “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

    Do not avoid the light and choose to love darkness. Darkness will not save you. It will kill you. Turn from darkness and seek the light. Don’t avoid church because you find the light there. You need the light. You need to be under solid bible teaching and you need brothers and sisters who will help shine the light into your life and point out where you still need to grow. That is what I am lovingly trying to do here.

    God bless,
    Jake

  31. Stefanie Says:

    This is sooo true! Glad to have found your site. I have a disadvantage I am starting to see by living deep in the Bible belt & even an area over-flowing with “churches.” I am finding it more and more difficult to enjoy & grow as a Christian in these toxic churches. They either flat out teach Jesus PLUS only enough good works get you to heaven or just tell you every Sunday that you are saved but God is sooo disappointed if you don’t do A B C…etc. Like the amount you give or how much you volunteer or attend services. The Holy Spirit convicts me over things like being nice in traffic, not the dollar amount I was able to give! And then lest the ones who do manage to meet acceptable standards (those that volunteered enough or gave enough) they are quick to remind “that is only the starting point, not the goal.” I feel I will lose it if I hear this line one more time! Compulsion, guilt, hoops…this is not the loving Christ that has finally been revealed to me in my own devotions at home. I love people there but none of their teachings in error & don’t want to take my kids out. Every Sunday I come in filled, only to leave like a deflated balloon…Please pray for me.

  32. joy Says:

    Hi Jake, thank you sharing such wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement. It is an eye-opening truth. However, i have been a bit confused since I have heard alot about Joel Solomon Goldsmith from friends.

    They shared its infinite way teachings with persuasive biblical references. He seems to accept the teaching of Jesus Christ. Now it begs the question whether he is Christian? I wonder is his teaching something we should rely upon? Please kindly help me to understand 🙂

  33. philippians1v21 Says:

    Joy,
    Thanks for the encouragement. I am not too familiar with Joel Solomon Goldsmith. But, with just a cursory review of his material I can tell you that he is not someone I would recommend listening to. You should steer clear of this man. He teaches a vague spirituality that is not grounded in any concrete teachings. It is basically choose your own religion. You invent your own spiritual journey. He rejects any concrete truth being taught in scripture and embraces a “spiritual interpretation”, meaning the truths are spiritual and are different for each reader. This is not at all Christianity, which adheres to the specific and concrete teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Christianity claims that the bible is the specific revelation of God and its words are inspired. We look to it for concrete truth, not searching for vague, secondary lessons behind the text.

    Hopefully that helps.

    Jake


  34. Glad I found you site. I run a site Verseclub.org and I’m posting on the Verseclub facebook today about Religion versus Christianity. I’m sharing the “Why Christianity is NOT a religion” page today” because my daughter complimented me to some of her friends by saying I was “religious”. Thank you for the great effort!

    William Verseclub@hotmail.com

  35. Lau Says:

    Hi Jake,
    just a quick question, which bible version do you read ?
    Thank you in advance

  36. philippians1v21 Says:

    Lau,
    Thanks for the question. I am not militant or emphatic about any particular English translation of the bible. Most of the main ones are pretty decent (e.g. ESV, NASB, NLT, and NIV). For most all of my personal study and teaching, I prefer to use the English Standard Version (ESV). I think it is probably the best and most accurate literal translation available today in English. I like it because it is a very good attempt at a literal translation of what is in the original Green and Hebrew. I believe that even the words chosen by the authors of the bible was inspired, so a good literal translation is the closet we can get in English. Growing up I used the NASB, which is another good literal translation. I have a Word bible that is NASB that provides a lot of the Greek and Hebrew words with robust definitions for them. I find this very helpful in deep bible study. I don’t typically use the KJV for bible study, because the language is archaic and it is one of the least accurate English translations. This is because many of the earliest manuscripts were unavailable when the KJV was compiled. Since that time our biblical textual scholarship has gotten much better. The ESV is much more accurate to what the biblical authors actually wrote. I do sometimes like to use the KJV for its poetic way of expressing truth. It’s flowery language sometimes is the best way to express the feeling behind a passage.

    When I am not studying the bible (like when I am reading it in a public setting, talking to a new believer or communicating with someone who is not a Christian) I will frequently use other translations that are easier to understand and are more conversational. Sometimes a dynamic translation (my favorite is the New Living Translation) can be a very effective tool in getting a biblical truth across. This is why you may sometimes see me quote from the NLT on this web page. As dynamic translations go, it is one of the best and it is super easy to read and understand.

    I have also been known to use The Message (which is really a paraphrase, not a bible translation) on occasion. I use The Message when I want to convey a biblical concept in a way that is very relateable and conversational. I also use it sometimes in my own study for help in getting to the heart and root idea being conveyed in a passage of scripture. I don’t use it as a version of the bible, but rather like a commentary on the bible. As such, it can be very powerful, eye-opening and helpful.

    So, the short answer is that I use many translations for various situations. I think most all of them have their uses and strengths. It is important to remember that the bible was not originally written in English. So, all “versions” are merely translations. It was the original in Hebrew and Greek that was inspired and inerrant. To claim that there is only one correct English inspired version is an error. Some are certainly more accurate than others, but the difference in accuracy is rarely an issue, unless you are using it for deep study. Sometimes a translation that is more approachable and easier to understand can help you or others access the biblical truth better. It just depends on the circumstances.

    Hopefully that helps some.

    Jake

  37. CMcClan Says:

    YOUR ABOUT JAKE PHOTO? What is the Wicked ???? Bagpiper T-shirt about? Please explain.

    Thank you.

    Colleen McClan.,.

  38. philippians1v21 Says:

    Colleen,
    It’s a T-shirt for a “Tribal Celtic” band I like named the “Wicked Tinkers”. Here’s there web site if you are curious: http://www.wickedtinkers.com/

  39. mandy Says:

    So I have really enjoyed reading your responses to everyone in your comments. You really seem to be guided by the spirit. My question is what are your thoughts on picking a church? I have been in a denomination church that just seems not very moving and I never felt right about signing the membership paper. I just can’t label myself a denomination and feel Jesus never meant for people to set themselves apart that way. I feel invisible in this church and during a major flood all they did to help was pray. I have been going to a bible study at a house for 2 years and made these ultra sold out to Christ friends that seem really sincere and I have noticed improvements in their life. They went and joined a church and are ultra
    emotional falling on the floor speaking tongues now. They are kind of dysfunctional and the ultra emotion scares me but I feel like they are actually loving and they actually helped people during the flood.
    I have trust issues and two kids so I don’t want an unhealthy environment for my children or myself. So what is your advice for picking a church? I know it really helps being with other believers. The friends I made at the bible study got me through tough times but not sure what to do now they have taken this path.

  40. James Says:

    Love your website but had a question why do you use a Celtic Cross on your website isn’t it pagan?
    Example:

  41. philippians1v21 Says:

    James,

    Thanks for the comment. No, the Celtic cross is not pagan. That video you linked is preposterous. That man is speaking nonsense. That video is practically devoid of any actual facts from history.

    Celtic crosses come from a time period in Scotland and Ireland when virtually the entire of the islands had be reached with the gospel by St. Columba, St. Patrick and others. It comes from a post-pagan, Christian evangelical explosion. It comes from a time period of great revival and spreading of the gospel. The first Celtic crosses didn’t appear until the 7th century, long after paganism was virtually completely replaced by Christianity. For a place to read a summary of the actual history of the Celtic cross, consider this Wikipedia page.

    Scholars and historians aren’t sure where exactly the artistic motif of the circle behind the cross came from, but there were plenty of earlier examples of this is Christian artwork. Consider this quote from the Wikipedia page. . .

    “Michael W. Herren, Shirley Ann Brown, and others believe it originates in earlier ringed crosses in Christian art. Crosses with a ring representing the celestial sphere developed from the writings of the Church Fathers. The “cosmological cross” is an important motif in Coelius Sedulius’s poem Carmen Paschale, known in Ireland by the 7th century”

    The circle in the Celtic cross likely traces all the way back to the “Chi-Rho” symbol, which was the predecessor to the traditional cross. The Chi-Rho emblem can be viewed as the first Christian Cross. It represents the first two letters in the name of Christ- the Chi, or ‘ch,’ and Rho, or ‘r.’ The Chi-ro is also the origin of the tradition of abbreviating “Christ” in “christian” or “Christmas” to “X.” The monogram of Christ was a commonly used symbol of Christianity in the 4th century Roman Empire. See example below:

    Chi-Rho

    The diagonal cross members of the Chi were eventually conventionalized to a single horizontal cross member that made its cross with the vertical stem of the Rho and the wreath was conventionalized into a simple circle. There are examples of this where the loop of the Rho is also conventionalized into a shepherd’s crook. One can easily see how the curved crook of the staff could disappear to leave just a cross in a circle as is common in many Welsh crosses of the early Celtic Christian period which followed the Roman withdrawal from Britain.

    When I was in Scotland I personally visited the churchyard in Kirkmadrine and saw the oldest surviving Christian monuments in all of Scotland. They are a collection of carved stones, dating from between 400-600 AD. Several of the stones depict a “Chi-Ro” derivative style cross, clearly originating from Latin (Roman) influence. You can still see the remnants of the Rho symbol attached to the cross (see examples below). One of the stones as the Latin inscription “Initium Et Finis”, which translates as “the beginning and the end”.

    Kirkmadrine Stones

    To answer your question about why it is on my page, it has a very personal meaning for me. My family hails from the south western portion of Scotland. Our family’s Christian history can be traced all the way back to the amazing man of God, know as St. Columba, who risked his life to share the gospel with the Celtic tribes in that region. Starting from the Isle of Iona he evangelized virtually all of Scotland. The Rho circle first appeared in Scotland in this region. Many of the graves of my ancestors feature this Christian symbol, testifying to their love for Jesus Christ.

    I have visited Iona, seen the location of the first monastery and the graveyard of Kings. It was a very spiritual experience for me to stand in the very place that the Good News was first brought to my people. I use the Celtic cross as a reminder of that experience as well as a reminder of the foundation that has been laid before me of fearlessly taking the gospel forward to those who do not yet embrace it regardless of any opposition.

    Jake

  42. Stacy Says:

    Hello! Wow what a blog!! I ran across your 2008 post on why Christianity isn’t a religion when I Googled the topic randomly. I was frustrated with a friend who had been lambasting me for being Christian after the election and then just recently once more after she read the redemptive ending to my book. She kept tossing around the words “evangelical,” religious, judgemental, bigotted etc. when I had never used my belief in Jesus that way toward anyone. I may be a Jesus freak, but that’s because he’s given me a wonderful gift and I claim it! Your post with its hundreds of comments over the years, explained and defended God as I understand Him since becoming a believer late in 2010 after a long battle with cultural addiction (I thought I had found my famework for life in a man-made system of values…). It all boils down to loving God as our creator and reflecting that same love upon others. Finally we must accept we know very little and need Him and the grace he offered be sending Jesus. While my friend says she is disappointed in my choice to followJesus “as an intelligent woman who should know better…” I find it increasingly arrogant for us to claim we can just “wing it.” Your blog is my all time fav!

  43. vader Jakob Says:

    Thanks Jake,
    Just found your blog after searching for “religion vs relation”. A sound and clear message I read here. Keep up the good work!

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