Jesus is Coming! Quick, Look Busy.
I’m not sure that the busy schedule that professional ministry has established over the past few decades is serving our people half as much as it is serving itself.
But the last thing they’d want to tell their unchurched friend is that if they came to church and became a Christian their lives would suddenly look a whole lot busier. Yet instinctively, and given their own experiences, they know that that is usually going to be true. So they look at their tired work colleagues, who have kids in two schools, a boss on their back, a sick father, a little league team to coach, and a long commute home, and they wonder, just wonder, if what they’re offering them is good news for busy people, or just more stuff to do in an already stretched life in a frantic age which has lost the art of a good rest.
How Word Studies Go Bad: A (Slightly Funny) Example
While word studies can bring a rich depth to your Bible study, they need to be done well, with discernment
The third possibility is the worst, for συλλαμβάνω could also mean, "to become pregnant, conceive!" Here the horrible, no-good, very bad translation would be, "I also ask you, true companion, let these women become pregnant!" The grammar really doesn't work well with this, but I have known students who could get around that little problem.
This is Love
True love is more than a catch phrase stamped on a piece of candy. It is a life poured out for another, as Christ poured out his life for us.
If we love God, we will love one another: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God" (4:7). The love we have for others is a natural overflow of our love for God. It's a litmus test of our faith. "If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us" (4:12). "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers" (3:14). In fact, it is this love for others that shows the world we are Christ's followers. As Jesus said in John 13.35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
A Curious Clue About the Origins of the New Testament Canon
Often overlooked in this passage is that Paul understands a covenant to be something that you read.
Given Paul’s statement in 2 Cor 3:14 that we just noted, it would be natural to think that Paul has in mind a new set of written documents that testify to the terms of the covenantal arrangement in Christ. As Carmignac argues, “In order to use the expression ‘Old Testament’ he [Paul] must also be aware of the existence of a ‘New Testament.’” Carmignac even goes further and suggests that this ‘New Testament’ may have had contained a number of books in order for it to be parallel with the Old.
How Can Our Church Reach Out to the Gay Community?
One reason I’m hesitant to answer the question is that it’s one of those questions that can only be answered with more questions.
Don’t get me wrong. I think “reaching out to the gay community” can be a wonderful thing. But we must be clear in our own hearts about the why and how of what we’re doing. We shouldn’t expect people to be eagerly awaiting the church to “reach” them. And we shouldn’t expect the reaching to go anywhere without the Spirit of Christ working with us, the gospel of Christ coming from us, and the love of Christ–shown in hospitality and friendship–flowing through us.
Deadly Doctrines: Facing Evil Like Snakes and Doves
We are to be godly but not gullible—snake smart, but not snake sneaky.
First, we are too weak and evil is too strong for us to immerse ourselves in evil and remain untouched. Our acquaintance with evil can soon become an attraction to evil. Second, defending truth by studying error is a fool’s errand. God’s truth is profitable, but evil is a useless counterfeit, a perversion of the truth. God’s truth is fixed and unchanging, but evil is always morphing, always adapting to the trends of the age. Becoming an expert in truth by studying error is dangerous and wasteful, a backward, perilous approach.
Lessons from the Broken Road
My oldest daughter was dead. Her struggle with drug addiction, that had robbed her of so much, had taken her life.
In the back of my mind I realize that grief is a process that takes time. I will not get past this in two weeks. However, I want it to be over and done, neat and tidy. That’s not how it works. Even though we all know about it, death takes us by surprise when it comes to our door. There is no “right way” to navigate this road. My experience is unique to me. But I am not alone. There is great comfort and strength in having others supporting me on this journey. I don’t know exactly where this road will lead me. But I am confident that God doesn’t waste anything. He is with me and He is for me. He is using this hard and painful experience to shape me.
LGBTQ Advocates Offer Glitter Ash For Lent
Reporting that glitter “is an inextricable element of queer history” Parity says it is a display of “gritty, scandalous hope.”
“Ashes are a statement that death and suffering are real,” the site explains. “Glitter is a sign of our hope, which does not despair. Glitter signals our promise to repent, to show up, to witness, to work. Glitter never gives up — and neither do we.” The group urges participants to get the ashes early, wear them all day, and make a short video to distribute on social media about glitter ash using the hashtag #GlitterAshWednesday.
Surprising Advice From Two Older Saints
I came across two pieces of advice this week from J.I. Packer and John Stott
“Packer also argues for the long view. We tend to be in a rush, but God isn’t in as much of a rush as we are. Learning to walk in God’s ways can take a lifetime. Packer also focuses on weakness. We tend to like strengths; God tends to use our weaknesses. When we embrace... Continue Reading
The Rise Of Political Correctness
Every form of progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special, “scientific,” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it.
Consider the main enemy: religion. America’s mainline Protestant denominations have long since delivered their (diminishing) flocks to the ruling class’s progressive priorities. Pope Francis advertises his refusal to judge attacks on Western civilization, including the murder of priests. His commitment of the Catholic Church to the building of “a new humanity,” as he put it... Continue Reading
What’s Wrong with Wright: Examining the New Perspective on Paul
The New Perspective on Paul is not a new perspective at all, but a recycling and repackaging of several serious errors that have already proved their spiritual bankruptcy.
But it is my strong conviction that the position Wright lays out in What St. Paul Really Said is not an evangelical position at all. It’s a faulty and dangerous reinterpretation of Paul and it misunderstands Scripture in a way that fatally undermines the doctrine of justification by faith and the principle of sola fide. My... Continue Reading
Deadly Doctrines: The Pattern and Protection
How do we guard ourselves against false teachers and their deadly doctrines?
Paul warns Timothy that people “will turn away from listening to the truth.” The first step in destroying a church is a corporate rejection of the plain teaching of the Bible. First, one individual turns away, and then another, until most of the congregation begins to question what they once held to be true. ... Continue Reading
Christian Women And Erotica: The Silent Struggle You Cannot See
What are we wanting so much we’re willing to push God’s word away in order to get it?
“Our hearts are the biggest factor though. As the Reformer John Calvin reminded us, they are an idol-making factory. The place where we time and again decide that we want a certain experience, a certain kind of relationship, a certain kind of security, a certain kind of pleasure—and want those things more than we want... Continue Reading
The ‘Cause and Root’ of Adoption
If adoption is so important, why does the term huiothesia draw so little ink?
“Quantitative analysis of vocabulary serves as no adequate determiner, because the word huiothesia widely embraces multiple theological foci and vast pastoral treasure. Before giving attention to the sweeping manner in which Paul employs huiothesia, critical hermeneutical principles concerning the theological weight of biblical terms warrant mention.” Cursory enquiry of huiothesia (“adoption”) in the New... Continue Reading
An Intro to the Institutes
Calvin saw the Institutes as a handmaiden to his commentaries
“The Institutes as we now have it is the product of a lifetime’s thought and reflection by one of the greatest theologians the church has known. In part, as it grew from six to eighty chapters, it reflects Calvin’s own growth in his understanding of the Christian life.” The Institutes as we now have... Continue Reading
Evangelicals in Exile
To be a Christian, I and my friends were learning, was to become an exile
“During the Trump presidency, I don’t believe this attitude has changed—certainly not at Wheaton College, the evangelical institution where I now teach. Yet cries of ‘evangelical’ complicity in our current political predicament grow ever louder. Lately I took a walk through the Billy Graham Center Museum here on campus, to see whether I had got... Continue Reading
Ten Ways Pastors Can Be Bad Bosses
Bad pastor bosses lack leadership skills and they lack relational skills.
Most pastors have no formal training in either. Yet they are expected to lead and relate the first day they begin serving a church. Indeed, many pastors are expected to be bosses of full-time or part-time personnel even though they may have never led anyone. So what is the difference between a good pastor boss and a bad pastor boss? We will address the good pastor bosses later. For now, I will share with you our conversations with those who served under bad pastor bosses.
Why Churches Should NOT Fear the “Nones”
Religious researcher Rodney Stark debunks several myths about “nones,” Millennials, and religion in his book The Triumph of Faith
In a culture that preaches anything but the Christian Gospel, Millennials thirst for churches that provide ageless truths revealing the meaning of life. Thus the Church need not fear the seeming growth of “nones” in America. This represents an opportunity rather than a danger, since it simply requires that the Church pursues its central mission to “make disciples of all nations” by preaching the Gospel.
Why Orthodoxy Matters
Orthodoxy is an act of love. Loving truth leads to communicating truth with the goal of living in unity in the truth.
Many think it’s an old guy term, and I would agree. That is part of its appeal. Orthodoxy is concerned with what the true church has historically affirmed and denied about the first principles of God and salvation revealed in his word. God didn’t just give us his word; he made us a church. The divine authority of his word leads to churchly confession. We aren’t just concerned about what God’s word says; we pursue the understanding of what it says.
A Just Silence
Brothers and sisters, let's make sure that in our zeal for the execution of justice, we don't fasten burdens around the necks of others that we and they were never meant to carry.
There comes a point where the destruction, death, and evil of the world around us can begin to take a very tangible toll on our hearts and lives. In light of our limits, and in light of God's very own place as the ruler and righteous judge of the universe, we have to be willing to place the injustices and evils of this world into the hands of Him. Let's make sure that our attempts to be guardians of justice is not an attempt to claim for ourselves what ultimately belongs to God alone.
Briarwood Presbyterian Church Seeks Lawmakers’ Approval to Establish Police Force
Briarwood Presbyterian Church calls this a way to create a safer campus in a fallen world.
“They will conduct their own investigations,” explained Rowe. “They will conduct their own security. They will make their own arrests and instead of calling on the local law enforcement agency to take over the particular situation they're trying to control, they will do that themselves. All they will utilize from their other law enforcement agencies is their lock up facilities.”
Contentment in a Discontented World
Christian contentment is based upon dependence not independence.
We can be content, because life’s circumstances do not dictate to us. We live in Him. Christian contentment is based upon dependence not independence. Paul is no Stoic. He is not acting as though he is above his circumstances which have no effect upon him. Rather, in the midst of the difficult circumstances, he is trusting in God and looking to Christ in whom He has all things. He is not independent; he is Christ-dependent. For me to live is Christ. It is not being self-satisfied or self-fulfilled; it is being Christ-satisfied and Christ-fulfilled. And this makes contentment possible.
Every Component of Worship, Every Week?
Should fellowship, ordinances, Scripture reading, giving, corporate prayer, preaching, and singing be present in every service?
While certainly you should baptize converts as soon as is practical, if there aren’t people coming to faith every week, then there won’t be baptisms at every worship service. Finally, with communion Paul makes it clear that while the church in Acts 2 celebrated it every time they gathered, that there is liberty there as well. In 1 Corinthians 11:25-26, he says “as often as” you practice it, which would be a strange phrase for him to use if it was celebrated at every corporate gathering. Taken together, the New Testament models singing, prayer, and preaching at every corporate worship service, with the priority placed on preaching.
Regret or Repentance? (Poirier)
The Apostle talks about the difference between regret (worldly sorrow) and repentance (godly sorrow) in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.
"Finally, regret and repentance differ with respect to others and oneself. Regret or worldly sorrow leads either to self-righteousness or self-condemnation. When we beat ourselves up, we also beat others up. We resent others when they wrong us, and we are quick to take offense and point out their faults. Repentance, on the other hand, leads to Christ’s righteousness. We rejoice that we are not condemned. WE glory in Christ’s perfect obedience and love, and soon, like Christ, we too mourn over the sins of others and seek to help them be reconciled to God (Ps. 51:12-13)."
On the Right Side of History?
Are you on the right side of history? It depends on which history? Fallible, human, hope-dashing history, or God’s certain glorious history?
A Christian view of utopia does not depend on flawed human creatures or imaginative visions but on the plans of an all-powerful God against whom no human opposition can stand. If God is for us, says the text, nothing can be against us—not times of weakness or even death, because “in all these things we... Continue Reading
The Role of Tradition (and Bias) in Science
Science, for all of its wonderful benefits, is still a deeply human endeavor.
To the contrary, many of the studies cited as bomb-proof evidence for the public dangers of secondhand smoke have been heavily criticized for years. What is really interesting is the role that tradition (presuppositions received from the past and present medical communities) played in influencing the studies’ findings. In each case, the unintentional bias toward a... Continue Reading
The ‘Mother of the Books’: A Case Study of the Consequences of a Seminal Muslim Idiom Translation
The study uses David Owen’s Sirat al-Masih to demonstrate that ‘ideas have consequences’ that extend far beyond the reach of the original document.
Under the umbrella of pragmatism, Owen spoke about using “Islamic style,” but as this study demonstrates, it actually morphed into Islamic thought forms and into a promotion of an Islamic worldview. It appears that he has served the Islamic agenda more than a Christian one…. The case study calls for a higher level of accountability... Continue Reading
Trump’s Supreme Court Pick: Religious Freedom Defender Neil Gorsuch
Scholarly Denver judge who ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby would fill Scalia's seat as the court's only Protestant.
Princeton University professor Robert P. George praised his friend Gorsuch as a finalist on Trump’s short list last week, saying: He is intellectually extremely gifted and is deeply committed to the (actual) Constitution and the rule of law. He will not manufacture “rights” or read things into the Constitution that aren’t there or read things... Continue Reading
New Research Debunks The ‘Ball And Chain’ Myth
Experts say married men are happier and healthier than single men.
Researchers Bradford Wilcox, a professor and the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor at the University of Utah, examined recent sociology studies focused on the cost and benefits of marriage for men. They found a clear takeaway: Marriage is good for men in “every conceivable... Continue Reading
You Cannot Keep Religion Out of the Supreme Court
Every person interprets the world through a particular religious grid, whether it be through the Bible, or Islam, or Social Darwinism.
The real issue about the new Supreme Court nominee is not his credentials nor his record, but rather his religion — not his religious affiliation, but his world and life view which is the outworking of his religious views. As religion determines who a man is, so religion determines what a man thinks. Religion will... Continue Reading