Does The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed Require Baptismal Regeneration?

Is new life necessarily conferred at the moment of administration?

As a holy sacrament, baptism is a wonderful thing. It God’s gift to the church but it has never worked ex opere (by the working). It works as a sign and seal and it becomes a seal when the Spirit grants new life and true faith. It works as a symbolic representation, as a sacred ritual but however many people in the 4th century and after who came to believe that baptism necessarily confers what it signifies, the Creed no more requires us to think that than does Scripture itself.

Why Did Jesus Heal?

Physical healing was neither the central point of His message nor the main purpose of His coming.

Those physical healings were vivid displays of both Jesus’ power and His compassion. They were proof of His deity and living demonstrations of His divine authority. They established His unlimited ability to liberate anyone and everyone from the bondage, the penalty, and the consequences of sin. As such, the healing ministry of Jesus was illustrative... Continue Reading

Practical Suggestions for Cultivating Communion with God

We were designed to delight in our Creator, to find his presence and power as our great comfort and strength.

We don’t need to go on a three-day retreat or read extensive theological treatises in order to enjoy communion with God. What we do need is to learn to savor the love, grace, and fellowship of our triune God (2 Cor. 13:14). As we meditate on the mercy of God in Christ, we are slowly... Continue Reading

Keep Going Out and Keep Sowing; Tears and All

God is doing something magnificent with each seed you sow, even when you don’t see it.

Don’t just keep going. Do so because you know the bigger picture, because if no seed is sown at all, you can cry all you want and absolutely nothing will happen. It’s not the tears that produce fruit, or even the faithfulness of the sower, but the faithfulness of the One who alone can take... Continue Reading

How Jesus Fits In

World religions have no place for Jesus or at least no central place because there’s no need for Jesus in their way of thinking.

Those who share Madora’s confusion need to understand where Jesus fits in to God’s design. The good news of the gospel shines forth against the desperate need of the human condition, a condition that characterizes all people, of all religious stripes, of all sorts of sincere personal beliefs. And they need to care where Jesus... Continue Reading

The Sufficiency of Scripture in Decision Making

Can we have certainty that any given decision is a good one or the right one?

“Together with providing informative and insightful knowledge, God’s word equips by reproof and rebuke.  As the Spirit works through God’s word, both read and preached, that word calls you to account by revealing where you’re in error.  It then corrects through instruction by directing to the right way and just path.”   For the less... Continue Reading

If God Is In Control, Why Do I Have A Headache?

If we put all the Bible’s teaching together, we find that God controls each and every event

If you are a Christian, it is NOT God’s punishment for your sin. This is very important. The great mistake of Job’s so-called “comforters” was to assume that Job’s sufferings must be a punishment for his sin. But if you are trusting in Jesus (as Job was, in anticipation), the punishment for all your sin... Continue Reading

Tolerance of People, Criticism of Ideas & Actions

How can we be uncompromising about truth, and yet be tolerant?

How do we show “tolerance and love to those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ?” Keyes asked. He mentioned first, legal tolerance. Legal tolerance by Christians for those they disagreed with developed slowly. The difference between church and state authority was a development of Jesus teaching of our different duties to God and Caesar.  ... Continue Reading

Risks of an Atrophied Sanctification

If we fail to give proper attention to the biblical process of sanctification, we can unnecessarily weaken our souls.

But if sanctification is put in the trunk, the gospel can be darkened a bit. It can morph into that which saves from sin’s penalty but not its presence, which is not the biblical gospel. Instead, the gospel becomes something to display and imitate before it is something by which I am made acceptable to God. Often that something else is social cause. The death of Christ is to rescue us from our social needs instead of the wrath of God. The gospel which saves becomes the gospel which socializes.

The Ethics of Jesus are Anti-Abuse

The heart of abuse—power and control—is antithetical to the heart of Jesus, which is self-giving service.

Jesus contrasted his way with the way of the Pharisees, who “crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden” (Matthew 23:4). Jesus’ ethical creed, by contrast, is a statement that flows out of empathy and non-controlling service. All that law, that the Pharisees enforced with power and might, Jesus summed up like this: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).