Five Reminders How Little Has Changed in Five Years

chalkboard with the number 6 tallied on it



The bestselling book The Shack is just okay in quality. Not terrible, but certainly not great literature. It ended up being successful, I think, because the basic story makes an emotional connection – kind of like Nicolas Sparks books. As you might imagine, my biggest concern is that it paints a completely non-biblical description of God (which could confuse people who think it portrays God as the Bible portrays God). Household of Faith in Christ did a sermon series on 1 John that included a handful of messages that took an in depth look at The Shack as a present day example of what the Apostle John warned against. You’re encouraged to find those messages on the church’s YouTube channel.

“The Shack” is a novel, to be sure; and its author is using the genre of novel to advance his theological point of view (which is absolutely what all authors do). Dr. Albert Mohler wrote an article suggesting that not enough Christians understand the Gospel, so they are prone to accepting the heretical theological message intended by the writer (and in the case of the movie, the message intended by the producer/director/screenwriter).



It’s a scientific fact — not a theory — that human LIFE begins at fertilization. (As this article makes abundantly clear).



This article about the Amplified Bible translation is helpful for when you dive into Bible study.



Someone posted: To say that anti-Semitic acts haven’t increased is pure folly! Anyone who can’t see or admit that either has their head in the sand, is living in an alternative reality or is just plain stupid! I am, for the first time, able to commend the president for finally admitting that fact. Now I beg the same question that the reporter asked at your press conference, “What does your administration intend to do about it?”

To this I responded: Saw a Washington Post article recently that I’m reminded of by reading this comment thread. In case you haven’t already read it, I’m linking to it here.

The reply I received: Good article, Troy. Well reasoned and sadly, the way it is and has been for the Jewish people, along with others for simply being “others”. Concerning the stats, 1/6 is not 1/4, but still thankfully, significant.



As we did with the most recent blog post, today we again end where we began. This is the link to the Al Mohler article referenced above. It’s about the need for discernment among evangelicals when it comes to things like The Shack.



The blog above was first published on the original version of this website.  Since then the site has been completely reformatted and upgraded.  With this change, the blogs needed to be re-uploaded to correct corruptions that occurred with the transition in 2023.  While doing this, some additional information was added at the conclusion of many of the older blogs in a “postscript” section that might not have appeared in the first draft that was published on the first website.  Think of this new content as “bonus material”.


The Love of Money

Usually misquoted, most people say, “Money is the root of all evil”. The verse actually says that the LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil. The question is where’s your heart? Do I love money or do I love God and people? Anyway, you know how people are so fast to say, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Well, how come these same people never, ever, ever, ever, mention the very next sentence in the verse? Take a look at the very next sentence. You might find it interesting, too. It says, “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Just something to think about.

The above paragraph was shared with me by a friend. I encouraged him to dig even deeper than he already had, saying:

The verses preceding the one you quoted are pretty good, too. “6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”


New Math

Question:  What’s the source for this math?

According to data published by Giving USA, in 2016 there was a combined total of $390 Billion donated to all charities in America. Less than one-third of this, $123 Billion, went to religious organizations. The average effective federal income tax rate is reported to be about 13.5% per return. So, the revenue loss suffered by the federal government would be less than $17 Billion (not $71 Billion).

In fact, the revenue loss to the federal government is less than $53 Billion even when ALL charities are combined. [And this doesn’t factor in what the federal government COST would be to replace the services provided by these charities – which is likely far greater than $53 Billion, or even far greater than $390 Billion].

I wonder if maybe we should be careful what we ask for.

And one last math question: How would an additional $71 Billion in revenue reduce everyone’s taxes to 3% anyway? I don’t see how income taxes would drop from an average of 13.5% to 3% when the federal budget is $4 Trillion. Am I missing something?

Some people try to make the math work by switching the subject to property taxes. However, I still don’t see how the math works. The estimated “cost” regarding property taxes not paid by churches is $26.2 Billion nationally. There are 3,144 counties in our country, so that’s an average of $833,333 in lost revenue per county. The average population of US counties is 102,767. So, this means that if churches paid property taxes, then the average American citizen would have their property taxes reduced by $8. (Eight dollars and eleven cents, to be more exact). So, how does any of this bring individual taxes down to 3%?

There are others I’ve seen using Joel Osteen (and his Lakewood Church) as a poster child for why churches should be taxed. I’m not in the habit of going out of my way to defend Joel Osteen, given that his theology is suspect. However, Joel receives $0 from Lakewood Church. He stopped taking his $200K salary years ago (in 2005). He is worth an estimated $40 Million, but this is from book sales. He paid taxes on that income. He does live in a house reportedly valued at $10 Million, but he does pay property taxes on that.

I’ve also seen reference to an article from The Babylon Bee, which says that Steven Furtick signed a 6 year, $110 Million contract to preach at Lakewood Church. The Babylon Bee is a source for satire. Everything they write is fake and meant to be funny. Sometime people unfamiliar with The Babylon Bee will miss the joke. (This happened to me, actually, before I found out what The Babylon Bee is all about). There’s so much fraudulent information floating around that, as a result, I’ve gone into overdrive of late looking at sources and studying actual raw data so as to recognize claims that do not square with the truth. It’s tough to do though. There is SO MUCH information in circulation that’s completely made up – especially on social media.

Of course, if we all just use common-core math, then it’ll all be clear.


Lost Friends

In hunting down articles, links, and past comments I couldn’t help but notice the large number of former “friends” and contacts from a just a few years ago who have “unfriended” and even blocked me. They never reached out. They never indicated I had offended them. They were too cowardly. Clearly they were never the friends that I thought and hoped them to be. Fact is, I was a Christian a few years ago, and the culture around us pretended to be Christian, too. Now, I’m still a Christian, but the culture has shifted. It no longer pretends. It hates Christianity. Beneath their masks they hate Christians, too. This I could live with. But they also demonstrate that they hate Christ Himself. Heart breaking.

Any who, as I went digging I did find this old gem of an article about Nicholas Thomas Wright being a heretic. (He’s known as NT Wright to most, and as “Tom Wright” to those who pretend to know him personally). It’s an interesting article.

FYI, the goal is to keep these blogs at about 1500 words, plus or minus a hundred (or so) words. Therefore, for this particular post, we’re now done.


Many blessings to you,

Pastor Troy Skinner