Dispensationalism 101: Part 1 - The Difference Between Dispensational & Covenantal Theology

From Dispensational Publishing House; used with permission.

What is the difference between dispensational and covenantal theology? Furthermore, is the difference really that important? After all, there are believers on both sides of the discussion. Before entering into the conversation, there are a couple of understandings that need to be embraced.

Tension & Mystery

First and foremost, there is the need to recognize the tension—and mystery—which has characterized this and other theological discussions for centuries. There will probably never be a satisfactory answer or clarifying article that will settle the debate once and for all for both parties. There will be no end to the discussion until Jesus Christ returns (either in the rapture of His church or earthly millennial reign, in my estimation). Read more about Dispensationalism 101: Part 1 - The Difference Between Dispensational & Covenantal Theology

Preparing to Launch: The Importance of Communication

For the last couple of years I’ve done a workshop for our homeschool support group on preparing your child to launch. The parents who attend have kids in high school, and the most common topic has not been how to get kids into college. It’s been about issues of parental authority with young adults at home.

If you constantly recite the “My house, my rules!” lecture to your 18 year old, that horse has probably left the corral and is roaming the plains of Montana.

This is a sensitive topic, and parents in my Preparing to Launch Workshop expect me to give them long, complex answers to their questions, with a “How To” checklist. However, in one form or another, my answer is almost always “Communication.”

Here’s why. Read more about Preparing to Launch: The Importance of Communication

Do the Work of an Evangelist

From Faith Pulpitused with permission.

Every Christian understands the importance of evangelism, but sadly it is on the decline in many churches. And the scarcity of evangelism has led to the decline and closure of many churches. In this issue of the Faith Pulpit Dr. Daniel Brown, faculty member of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, challenges pastors to follow the Biblical command to “do the work of an evangelist.” If pastors will carry out their responsibility, more people will have the opportunity to hear the gospel and our churches will thrive again.

Many churches do not have an active evangelism program. This lack of evangelism has led to two negative consequences: 1) fewer people have the opportunity to hear the gospel message and receive the Lord, and 2) the lack of new believers leads to the decline of our churches.

Churches in America die at an alarming rate. Some 4,000 churches close every year, and the United States has one-third fewer churches than in 1950. Further, 80% of American churches are either stagnant or in decline.1 Anyone driving through New England can testify to the myriad of old, stately churches that are now small stores of one sort or another. Read more about Do the Work of an Evangelist

How the Church Relates to God’s Kingdom Program

Image of He Will Reign Forever: A Biblical Theology of the Kingdom of God
by Michael J Vlach
Lampion Press
Kindle Edition

Below is a short excerpt concerning how the church relates to the kingdom of God from my book, He Will Reign Forever: A Biblical Theology of the Kingdom of God. Published by Lampion Press (LampionPress.com). This comes from a chapter called “How the Kingdom Relates to the Bible’s Main Characters,” pages 540-42.

The church is an important stage in the kingdom program. The kingdom itself is a broader category than the church and relates to God’s plan to exercise His sovereignty over every aspect of creation—material and immaterial; humans and angels; animals, trees, inanimate objects, etc. The kingdom encompasses other major themes of Scripture including covenants, law, salvation, people of God, etc. The church is a category within the people of God concept. The church is the New Covenant community of believing Jews and Gentiles as it exists in this age between the two comings of Jesus. The church has a worldwide mandate to spread the message of King Jesus in this age while Israel is experiencing a partial and temporary hardening because of unbelief.

The church is not the kingdom, but it relates to the kingdom program in several important ways. First, the church consists of those who have consciously trusted in Jesus the Messiah. The church experiences messianic salvation since its members are joined to the Messiah. By means of the Holy Spirit Jesus baptizes believers into His body, the church. Christ’s church, therefore, comes under the authority of Jesus. Read more about How the Church Relates to God’s Kingdom Program

Theology Thursday - Albert of Brandenburg Needs Some Cash

Albert is unhappy . . .

This article gives some brief background to the circumstances leading up to Albert’s selling of indulgences near Wittenburg in 1517. This is a catalyst which led to Luther writing his 95 theses.

Albert and His Money Troubles1

“Archbishop Albert of Mainz was a prince aged twenty-seven, brother of the Elector of Brandenburg. He was also Archbishop of Magdeburg (in which diocese lay Wittenburg) and administrator of the see of Halberstadt.

To combine these high offices he needed dispensations from Rome. The fees for dispensation on this gargantuan scale being vast, Albert borrowed money from the great banking house of Germany, the Fugger of Augsburg.

As security for the debt, he undertook to arrange the proclamation through Germany of the Indulgence which the Pope had recently declared for the purpose of building St. Peter’s at Rome. The money from the sale of this Indulgence (or phrased less crudely, from the gifts of the faithful seeking the remission of pains in purgatory) went in part to the Pope’s building and in part to the bankers in payment of Albert’s debt. Read more about Theology Thursday - Albert of Brandenburg Needs Some Cash

Spring Fever Is Real

The sun is shining, the weather has warmed. Poor Mrs. McSmith cannot keep her pupils in line. They are shooting spitballs, jumping off their desks, and talking out of turn; when they are quiet, they appear to be in a daydream daze. Do the kids need more Ritalin? Probably not. It might merely be a case of “Spring Fever.”

As we say goodbye to Winter and hello to warmer weather, we find a price tag for this transition: Spring Fever. But what is this mystery disease?

An Associated Press article (which appeared in the Kokomo Tribune way back on March 20th of 1987) enlightens us: Read more about Spring Fever Is Real

"Replacement Theology" - Is It Wrong to Use the Term? (Part 1)

Recently I have been reminded of the Reformed community’s aversion to the label of supercessionism, or worse, replacement theology. In the last decade or so particularly I have read repeated disavowals of this term from covenant theologians. Not wanting to misrepresent or smear brethren with whom I disagree, I have to say that I struggle a bit with these protests.

“We are not replacement theologians” we are told, “but rather we believe in transformation or expansion.” By some of the objectors we are told that the church does not replace Israel because it actually is Israel — well, “true Israel” — the two designations are really one. This move is legitimate, they say, because the “true Israel” or “new Israel” is in direct continuity with Israel in the Old Testament.

In this series of posts I want to investigate the question of whether it is right; if I am right, to brand this outlook as replacement theology and supercessionism. Read more about "Replacement Theology" - Is It Wrong to Use the Term? (Part 1)

Jesus and Power Over the Demons (Mark 3:7-19)

Read the rest of the series.

The Pharisees are seeking to kill Jesus, but the demons confess Him as the Son of God. This is a great irony of the Gospels. The leaders who ought to recognize him hate Him. The fallen angels who should hate Him bow before Him. Meanwhile, the people who should gladly receive Him ignore His message.

Power Over the Demons

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him (Mk 3:7-8).

Read more about Jesus and Power Over the Demons (Mark 3:7-19)