Church Discipline & Defending the Faith, Part 2

From Voice, Jan/Feb 2015. Adapted from Stephen Davey’s book In Pursuit of Prodigals. Kress Biblical Resources (The Woodlands, TX, 2010). Used by permission.

In the matter of church discipline, the Bible is clear that believers must judge themselves (See Part 1). When else is it right to judge?

2. It is right to judge someone who is openly living in sin.

The Apostle Paul instructed the church in Corinth:

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you. You have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this. (1 Corinthians 5:1-3)

Paul clearly announced, “I have already judged him.” It is important to note that Paul called attention to this man’s sin (sexual immorality) in the presence of the congregation. Read more about Church Discipline & Defending the Faith, Part 2

Church Discipline & Defending the Faith, Part 1

From Voice, Jan/Feb 2015. Adapted from Stephen Davey’s book In Pursuit of Prodigals. Kress Biblical Resources (The Woodlands, TX, 2010).Used by permission.

Paul instructed Timothy to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) which means we must engage in an active defense of the faith. That battle for truth begins in the local church where truth and holiness must be defended. And of necessity that involves church discipline. But what exactly is church discipline?

Church discipline can be broadly defined as the “confrontive” and corrective measures taken by an individual, church leaders, or the congregation regarding a matter of sin in the life of a believer (Fritz Rienecker and Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key to the Greek Testament. Regency, 1976, p. 237).

Discipline and discipling are actually interconnected actions with similar goals in mind. Read more about Church Discipline & Defending the Faith, Part 1

The Book of Daniel

(About this series)

CHAPTER VI - THE BOOK OF DANIEL

BY PROFESSOR JOSEPH D. WILSON, D. D., THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF THE REFORMED EPISCOPAL CHURCH, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, AUTHOR OF “DID DANIEL WRITE DANIEL?”

Modern objections to the Book of Daniel were started by German scholars who were prejudiced against the supernatural. Daniel foretells events which have occurred in history. Therefore, argue these scholars, the alleged predictions must have been written after the events.

But the supernatural is not impossible, nor is it improbable, if sufficient reason for it exists. It is not impossible, for instance, that an event so marvellous as the coming of the Divine into humanity in the person of Jesus Christ should be predicted. So far from being impossible, it seems to common sense exceedingly probable; and furthermore, it seems not unreasonable that a prophet predicting a great and far distant event, like that indicated above, should give some evidence to his contemporaries or immediate successors that he was a true prophet. Jeremiah foretold the seventy years captivity. Could his hearers be warranted in believing that? Certainly. For he also foretold that all those lands would be subjected to the king of Babylon. A few years showed this latter prophecy to be true, and reasonable men believed the prediction about the seventy years. Read more about The Book of Daniel

Trying to Get the Rapture Right, Part 3

This post continues the introductory survey of key rapture-related passages begun in Part 2. Read the series so far.

The Main Verses: Matthew 24:36-44 Continued

There is no doubt in my mind that this passage is a second coming passage. There is also no doubt in my mind that the language of “one taken…another left” in Matthew 24:40-41 is apposite to the present discussion. In the surrounding context Jesus refers to a gathering up together (episounazousin) of the elect (24:31). So Jesus does speak of a removal of saints. But is this “taking out” to be understood as the being “taken” a few verses later? I think there is a real possibility that it should.

Perhaps most dispensationalists say that those “taken” are taken to judgment. In verse 39 those who didn’t make it into the Ark (because they couldn’t be bothered to go) were taken away by the flood waters. But from my reading of the Second Coming passages in Isaiah 63:1-6, Malachi 3:2 and 4:1-2, and Revelation 19:11-21, it does not appear to be such a good idea to be “left” hanging about. This agrees with the flood story, where it was infinitely preferable to be removed to safety in the Ark than to be left to face the elements. Further, in Revelation 14:14-16 the earth is reaped of the saints, “the harvest [which is a good image] of the earth,” before the wicked are gathered to “the winepress of the wrath of God” in terms too reminiscent of Isaiah 63 to ignore. Thus, Revelation 14 should not be overlooked in the discussion of this passage. Read more about Trying to Get the Rapture Right, Part 3

Book Review - God Dwells Among Us

Image of God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth
by G. K. Beale, Mitchell Kim
IVP Books 2014
Paperback 215

Christians who love the Bible, should love biblical theology. More than any other discipline, biblical theology has the power to take the student on an exciting journey into the overall meaning of the biblical text. Early on in my study of biblical theology, I was told about the transformative power of one particular book and one particular biblical theme. That book was The Temple and the Church’s Mission by G.K. Beale (IVP). Eventually I read through that book and now agree with all the praise that was heaped upon it.

Beale’s work on the temple, showing how that theme is developed from Eden all the way to the New Jerusalem, can be truly transformative. Beale is not the only scholar to uncover this biblical theme, but his book perhaps more than any other, has advanced our understanding of all that is meant by God’s pledge to dwell with man in a visible temple.

The one drawback to Beale’s earlier title was that it was quite difficult to work through. Beale is exhaustive in his treatment of primary and secondary literature. He builds cases for each of the NT allusions he finds to OT passages. He interacts with the second temple Judaistic writings in his effort to understand what the people of the Bible’s day would have thought when they heard various images and themes about the temple. All of that reads more like a theological tome than a helpful and practical book for church use. Read more about Book Review - God Dwells Among Us

Following in the Footsteps of Faith: Can We Trust God?

Outside of the day I accepted Christ and the day I said “I do” to my wife, the two most significant and precious days of my life have been the births of my two kids. Watching those helpless babies emerge and holding them in your arms is a truly incredible feeling. I got to watch my wife, who had just endured intense pain in labor, break out in a beautiful and exhausted smile as she got to hold our child. On those days, my joy in the Lord and gratefulness for His love and blessings came easily. I could rejoice in Him as my guide and stay.

But there are other days. Sitting with my wife, both of us weeping while going through two miscarriages. Trying to explain to our five year old why people who profess to be Christians can be mean and nasty. Watching young people walk away from the faith. Having a dear friend see cancer progress steadily. All of these, and many others put us in a place where Satan begins to whisper, “Can you really trust God? Maybe you need to take matters into your own hands—surely you can do better than this!”

Here’s a thought I want to flesh out from Genesis chapter 15, as Abram deals with this very tough question. Your level of trust in the promises of God will largely determine the depth of your walk with Him. Abram gets to learn some very valuable lessons in God’s classroom. Read more about Following in the Footsteps of Faith: Can We Trust God?

Points of Failure - Another Look at the BJU GRACE Report

A bad idea is one thing. Flawed execution of a good idea is something else. Thomas Edison is said to have botched the execution of the light-bulb concept about a thousand times before he got it right. Today, we’ve decided that the incandescent light bulb is not such a great idea anymore. But does anyone think that the general concept of converting electrical energy into light is a bad idea?

With changing times and advances in learning and understanding, we’re in constant danger of thinking that all old ideas are bad ideas—and in even greater danger of seeing any flawed execution of an old idea as a failure of the old idea itself. In our hurry to embrace “progress” we often don’t pause and look more carefully at where failure is truly located, and as a result, our piles of obsolete notions include increasing amounts of the wisdom of the ages.

Lately, at least in the West, we’re especially prone to do this with the social sciences. This week’s (or this decade’s) scientific consensus trumps all. And if you’re out of step with it—well, the fact that you’re wrong is self-evident. Because we just don’t do things that way anymore. We know better … until we change our minds again. Read more about Points of Failure - Another Look at the BJU GRACE Report

An Evaluation of the BJU GRACE Report

“Have you ever told your father that you love him?”

When the gray-haired, glasses-wearing lady sitting across the table from me in the Bob Jones University (BJU) Dining Common spoke these words to me after I had asked her to pray for my dad’s salvation, I felt like jumping across the table and choking her! How dare she expect me to speak such words to the man who had neglected me and treated my mother with such contempt!

At that moment, God convicted me. I still harbored negative feelings toward my father. I thought, “How can I ask people to pray that God would save a man that I don’t care for myself?”

As a seminary student at BJU, I received assurance of my salvation. God’s Spirit showed me that a right standing with God does not come through my own merits and actions, but it is founded solely upon the sacrifice and the righteousness of Christ. As I began to understand the unmerited love and forgiveness that God offers me in Christ, I knew that I needed to love and forgive my father in the same way.

Thankfully, by God’s grace and the help of BJU, I was able to forgive my father and cast off my negative feelings towards him. I know that forgiving my dad back then has enabled me to serve God and enjoy a healthy life today. Read more about An Evaluation of the BJU GRACE Report

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