Engaging the Culture
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George Sarris

MDiv Gordon-Conwell, speaker on Biblical & family issues, actor/narrator in New York, tells World's Greatest Stories

Posted 4/10/12 at 2:53 PM | George Sarris

Hell: It Has Its Problems!

By George W. Sarris

Have you ever had an experience similar to mine?

I talked with a man who told me that he stopped believing in God and going to church when he heard that most of his friends, and a lot of people in other parts of the world who had never heard of Jesus were going to go to Hell.  He decided at that time that he just couldn’t believe in a God who was that uncaring!  He now professes to be a Buddhist.

Although we would prefer not to acknowledge it, the concept of Hell as a place of never ending, conscious suffering for the majority of the human race poses several significant problems that have caused many people to reject Christianity – not the least of which is how this teaching relates to who God is and what He has revealed about Himself in Scripture. 

Is God Partial?

Does God show favoritism?  Has He deliberately chosen to extend His love and grace to some of His creatures while intentionally withholding it from the rest?  Has He purposely selected some for salvation while passing over others? FULL POST

Posted 3/29/12 at 4:08 PM | George Sarris

Resurrection . . . Did He or Didn't He?

By George W. Sarris

As we approach the Palm Sunday and Easter holidays, I was reminded of a Christmas card I received from a friend some years ago.  It had a very simple, but profound message.  The cover asked, “What's the difference between Christmas, Buddhamas, Confuciusmas, and Mohammadmas?” 

When you opened the card, the answer was striking:  “Easter!”

The followers of Christ, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed and the founders of every other religion are all able to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of their leader.  They are all able to celebrate the anniversary of the death of their leader.  But, only the followers of Christ can celebrate the anniversary of the resurrection of their leader!  The tombs of Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed and other religious founders are full.  The tomb of Jesus of Nazareth is empty!

Interestingly, Jesus is the only credible Person in history who has ever even claimed to have risen from the dead.  That claim has been challenged repeatedly during the last 2,000 years, but it has withstood the criticism and has been embraced by some of the greatest minds of all time, some of whom had set out specifically to disprove it.  FULL POST

Posted 3/22/12 at 12:52 PM | George Sarris

Abortion . . . It's Really a Male Issue!

By George W. Sarris

With the controversy continuing to build over the HHS Contraception Mandate which includes the requirement that all health insurance plans must include coverage for abortion inducing drugs, along with the recent decision that abortion coverage itself in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would only require an additional premium of a dollar per month, it’s important to understand what the root issue is in the abortion controversy.  

Abortion has very little to do with a woman’s “right to choose.”  It has very much to do with a man’s “right” to sleep around! 

I went to college in the late 1960’s, during the height of the free love movement.  Free love is great . . . for men!  They can sow their wild oats as often as they please and then simply get up and leave.  No strings.  No apparent consequences.  

But, what about women who freely love?  Unlike men, they cannot simply get up after a night’s fling and go on their merry way.  Free love produces babies.  And, it is the woman who literally “bears” the responsibility of the night’s activities in the form of a child.  FULL POST

Posted 3/14/12 at 12:43 PM | George Sarris

False Teachers, False Prophets, Heretics and Wolves

By George W. Sarris

I had the sad experience recently of having a dear friend who I have known well for over a dozen years come up to me at a conference where I was speaking to inform me that, in essence, he didn’t want to be my friend anymore.  His reason?  He has concluded that I am a “false teacher” who is leading people astray by my blog posts and a yet-to-be published book addressing the issue of ultimate destinies.

He informed me that he had written to the person in charge of the conference to express his concerns and urge that I not be allowed to address those assembled.  He also told me that he would continue to follow that practice whenever he heard that I was going to speak somewhere. 

Tears actually began to form in my eyes as my friend left, specifically requesting that I not communicate with him anymore.  It’s one thing to have people you don’t know - and who don’t really know you – call you a heretic or a false teacher and tell you to take a walk.  It’s quite another to have someone you know well do the same thing.  FULL POST

Posted 2/29/12 at 11:52 AM | George Sarris

Adult Filmmakers

By George W. Sarris

Well, the festivals are over. 

I’m referring to the two film festivals that were held last weekend – the Academy Awards in Hollywood, and the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival in the Alamo City.  The first is well-known, of course.  The second is much less known.

I’ve had the privilege of participating in each of the less well-known festivals since they began in 2004.  Some of the films, like Courageous which won Best of Festival this year, or Seven Days in Utopia which was my favorite and featured Robert Duvall, have large budgets and nationwide distribution.  Most have much smaller amounts of money to work with and have been produced by families and friends who have a vision for working together on worthwhile projects that can make an impact on the culture.  That, in itself, is a pretty amazing thing to see in light of how fragmented families are in America today.  FULL POST

Posted 2/17/12 at 2:25 PM | George Sarris

The Rich Man and Lazarus

By George W. Sarris

In any discussion of ultimate destinies, one passage of Scripture almost always comes up in support of the idea that Hell is a place of conscious suffering that never ends – the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31

In that passage, Jesus tells his listeners:

The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side.  The rich man also died and was buried.  In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.

But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us. FULL POST

Posted 2/7/12 at 8:08 PM | George Sarris

Plugs, Sockets and Same-Sex Marriage

By George W. Sarris

I may be somewhat naïve, but I am always amazed at how people can be so blind as to not see the obvious. 

I’m thinking right now about the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that determined that the voter approved Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage in California is unconstitutional. 

The rationale of the court was clear –

Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted . . .

The court determined that there was not a good reason in this situation for treating a man with a woman – as opposed to a man with a man or a woman with a woman – differently. 

Of course, I’m somewhat naïve, but I thought the legitimate reason for treating those different classes of people differently was actually pretty obvious:  FULL POST

Posted 2/2/12 at 2:37 PM | George Sarris

The Most Important Lesson For The Next Generation

By George W. Sarris

The story is told about a poor man who had a large family. 

A wealthy banker in the community came to visit him one day.  Looking at the children, he remarked, “These, sir, are that which make a man poor.”  In response, the poor man looked up and replied, “Oh, no, sir.  Quite the contrary.  These are they which make a man rich.  For, I would not give up even one of these precious children for all of your wealth!”

God has blessed me with five wonderful children.  I have learned much from them.  And, have sought to pass along to them much of what I have learned in life.  Some time ago, a friend of my son emailed me to ask a question: 

“What is the one lesson you taught your children that has yielded the biggest dividends?”

Wow!  That is a really big question!  I have taught our children – or at least attempted to teach them – so many lessons.  And, all of them have been, in my mind, important.  Was there one lesson that was most important?  I had to think about that for a while. FULL POST

Posted 1/26/12 at 3:56 PM | George Sarris

Justice . . . With Eyes Wide Open!

By George W. Sarris

If I had a nickel for every time someone made the comment – God is not only loving.  He is also just! – I would be a wealthy man. 

People say that so often, and with such confidence and sometimes even condescension, that you would think that this one statement suddenly provides the final answer to all the questions, objections, and ethical dilemmas that result from a discussion about how God deals with mankind.  The problem, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, is that this idea suggests that God is somehow internally conflicted – that the loving and just elements of His character are somehow in conflict with each other.   

However, God is not conflicted internally.  The loving and just elements of His character are not at war with each other.  His love is not in opposition to His justice.  It was His justice working together with His love that led to Christ dying on the cross for our sins.  FULL POST

Posted 1/20/12 at 12:47 PM | George Sarris

Tarzan Theology

By George W. Sarris

Sometimes, God teaches important lessons in the strangest ways.  He chose to speak to Balaam through a donkey.  He revealed Himself to Moses through a burning bush.  He got the attention of the prophet Jonah through the medium of a great fish.  He taught me an important lesson through a cartoon – actually, it was an animated film.  

But, perhaps I should step back a second and put the issue in context.  

I had always wondered why Jesus would choose the phrase “Son of God” as a key reference to His deity.  I knew it had to have a very profound meaning for the Jews of His day because they understood it as a clear claim by Him to be God.  That is why He was put to death. 

In the interchange between Jesus and the Jewish leaders in John 10, 

Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father.  For which of these do you stone me?”  “We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”  Jesus answered them . . . Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?  FULL POST

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