Uncategorized

Encourage Those Whom You Think Don’t Need It

The character of the first churches in the New Testament varies widely. Most were founded in trial and affliction, and often there were issues that needed to be addressed. In Phillippi, a couple of women had some disagreement Paul needed to straighten out. The Galatians were in grave danger of accepting another gospel, and the Corinthians had a load of problems. Paul’s counsel and at times, rebuke, of them spans two letters. It is almost…

Continue reading

Reformation The Church

Nominal Christianity and the Reformation Legacy

Reconciliation comes not when we accept ourselves as we are, but when we accept the sacrifice of Christ in our place. On this 500th Reformation Day, and leading up to it, there has been a plethora of commentary on the divisions that remain in the Church. These have typically focused on the Rome-Protestant divide, but there is another divide, just as tragic, perhaps even more so. That is those churches and believers who trace their…

Continue reading

Bible Reformation

Priesthood: The Other Recovered Reformation Truth

When people think of the Reformation and its heritage, the most common thing is the recovery of justification by faith alone.  But one of the other things that Martin Luther proclaimed was the priesthood of all believers.  Luther didn’t practice this to the degree that the Reformation step-children (the Anabaptists) did, but still, this was a truth he did revive. With all of the talk about Protestants and Rome being not that far apart, we should recall that…

Continue reading

Catholicism Reformation

The Fragile Doctrine of Justification

As all but cave-dwellers know, this coming Tuesday, October 31st, is the 500th anniversary Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to door of the castle church in in Wittenberg. Many have commented that the Reformation is over, and that the similarities between Rome and Protestantism are such that the two sides should pursue a shared future. But this is wishful thinking at best, and willful ignorance at worst. The two sides are by no means in…

Continue reading

Uncategorized

The crux of the Reformation is a question of authority

Authority is found in God’s Word, not in the Church Heiko Oberman summarized one aspect of Luther’s view of Scripture as follows: “The Church is the creation of the Word, but the Word can never be the creation of the Church.” This 500th anniversary month of the Reformation is a good time to revisit the truth this presents. One nexus of the Reformation difference is one of authority. For the evangelical, authority is in the…

Continue reading

Christology Gospels

I Always Do What Pleases Him

The Humility of Jesus in John’s Gospel John’s gospel is a unique document, and students of the life of Christ rightly set this gospel apart from the others. There are the synoptic gospels, and John. John contains 879 verses, and only 124 of these are traceable to the other gospels. This means a full 86% of John’s material is unique to his gospel. A striking aspect of the book is how often Jesus refers to…

Continue reading

Culture

Deus Ex Machina

Yesterday’s iPhone X announcement was not so much a product announcement as a media event. While technology writers covered the event, it’s notable that the NY Times TV critic James Poniewozik also wrote about it. Indeed, he writes about the launch as Apple selling us “a better vision of ourselves.” As society has become increasingly technologized, it is ever so tempting to apply technology to all problems, but more than that, to imagine that some…

Continue reading

Bible

If They Do Not Hear Moses

At the end of Luke 16, Jesus tells a parable about a poor man named Lazarus, and an unnamed rich man. Both men die and go to different destinations. The poor man goes to “Abraham’s bosom”, commonly thought to be heaven. The rich man ends up in Hades – hell. He is in agony in the flames and cries out to Abraham for relief. There is much speculation about this parable. “Can those in hell…

Continue reading

Prophecy

Do we still long for the Lord’s return?

Ben Franklin famously said that the only things certain are death and taxes. Too often we forget that it is only taxes that are certain for the Christian. For the believer in Jesus Christ, death is not a certainty, nor the immediate hope. Rather, it is the return of Jesus to take us from this world. The Lord’s return has been the expectation of believer’s from the very beginning, but it is a hope that…

Continue reading

Culture

Science, Hubris, and the Importance of Admitting Ignorance

I heard a piece this weekend on the TED Radio Hour that got me thinking a bit about assumptions, the scientific method, and how science is for some, a kind of faith. Sean Carroll, a cosmologist at Cal Tech, gave a talk entitled “Cosmology and the Arrow of Time.” Some salient points Carroll made were, the universe is changing as time passes. It is expanding. The universe was “smooth” at the beginning. This was a…

Continue reading