Bible Old Testament

Notes from the Resistance: How the Old Testament Continues to Assert its Value

I have written before about the “unhitching” of the Old Testament from the New, and the furor caused by some suggestions Andy Stanley made in his preaching. My previous post considered some statements he had made in public speaking. Having now read his book, Irresistible, I want to consider some of what’s in it and whether it offers a better explanation of his public preaching. There was a strong reaction against Stanley, and the invocation…

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Culture The Decalogue The Law of Moses

What Does it Mean to Keep the Sabbath?

Among the Ten Commandments, none has been treated with more flexibility than the Fourth.   One encounters a whole range of views on the Sabbath command, and what people believe their obligation is toward it.  Since it is one of the Ten Commandments, it makes a good test case whether those who insist Christians must keep the Ten are actually doing so. The first question is, what is the Sabbath Day? Many point to the…

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Life in Christ The Decalogue The Law of Moses

Fulfilling the Law or Keeping It—What’s the Difference?

No single verse of Scripture gives a complete picture of the Christian’s relationship to the law. One has to read the whole of the New Testament to come up with a coherent picture of how the law of Moses may (or may not) relate to the believer in Christ. But without question, the apostle Paul has more to say about the law than any other writer, and one of the things he’s careful to say…

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Culture The Church

Ecclesiology and the Start-Up Culture

Christian growth cannot be commoditized to scale up.   The doctrine of the church—ecclesiology—has been among the most malleable and flexible for believers today. How a church is organized, what it’s polity may be, many Christians see as of secondary importance. Instead, expediency is what is more important. Is what we’re doing working? And the measure of what works often mirrors the culture of business start-ups. Although this isn’t new, we’re seeing the full flowering…

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Culture

Teaching the Bible in Public School is a Bad Idea

We don’t need more nominalism   There has a lot of chatter in the press recently about efforts to teach the Bible in public schools. This is mainly because the President has opined on the idea, and encouraged states who have introduced bills to promote it. Predictably, there is opposition to this idea. The groups argue that the bills are backdoor attempts to promote religion. As the Washington Post reports, “The legislation has drawn objections…

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The Decalogue The Law of Moses

A Fool’s Errand: Law-keeping and Christlikeness

Michael F. Bird of Ridley College in Australia recently quipped that Galatians should be printed in all capital letters since he’s fairly sure that Paul screamed the words of the letter to the poor sot who acted as his scribe. Bird’s remark is humorous because, as with most zingers, it contains a fair bit of truth. In no other letter is Paul’s tone quite as strident and severe, as he anathemizes those who preach a…

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The Decalogue The Law of Moses

Rethinking the Third Use of the Law

Is Commandment Without Consequence Still Law?  How Christians should regard the Mosaic law is still a point of contention among believers of various traditions. One of the rare points of agreement between Reformed believers and those on the Arminian side is the Third Use of the Law. Indeed, both Wesley and Calvin affirmed very similar positions on this. They both believed the law to be a guide and standard for believers in their Christian lives.  But…

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Theology

Does the Presence of Evil Disprove God?

I had a recent interaction on social media, in answer to the claim that “because this evil happened, God does not exist.” A friend’s very young daughter was stricken with terminal cancer and the conclusion this person drew was, if there is a God, he would not allow such evil to occur. Therefore, God does not exist.” These are not new assertions, nor is the question “Does God exist?” I suggest, however, that it is…

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Life in Christ The Decalogue

Sanctification: What is it?

Error seems to travel in pairs, and when we come to the topic of sanctification, this is also the case. One error says that we must do more in order to be more. The Roman Catholic teaching on justification suffers from this misunderstanding. That is, as I perform more good, I become more justified. Justification is poured into me, little by little throughout my life, provided I keep doing. There are Protestant variations on this…

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Gospel Life in Christ

What is the “Word of Christ”?

Christians have as their rule and authority the written word of God—the Bible. We value what God has recorded in the Scriptures not only as sufficient for our lives, but also all we need in order to understand who God is, and what he has done. Scripture is, in other words, a revelation of God and from God. The truth of God’s Word is attested to in several places within the Bible itself. Psalm 19…

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