Brothers, We Are Not Chefs - On the Necessity of Skill in the Biblical Languages

I recently presented a paper (Integrating Exegesis and Exposition: Preaching and Teaching for Spiritual Independence) in which I asserted that if the literal grammatical historical hermeneutic is warranted, then we must apply it not only in the exegetical process (the process of interpreting and understanding the Bible), but also in the process of applying and teaching the Bible.

One important implication of this assertion is that if the biblical languages are necessary for exegesis, then they are also necessary for application and teaching.

The paper and the following discussion raised some excellent questions and observations worthy of response. In this context I take opportunity to address some of these so that we can consider the role of biblical languages in application and teaching, and so that we can also consider some the inherent challenges of such a role. Read more about Brothers, We Are Not Chefs - On the Necessity of Skill in the Biblical Languages

Prayer Perfumed with Praise

A sermon (No. 1469) delivered on Lord’s-Day morning, April 20th, 1879, by C. H. Spurgeon
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

“In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”—Philippians 4:6.

ACCORDING TO THE TEXT, we are both by prayer and supplication to make known our requests unto God. If any distinction be intended here, I suppose that by prayer is meant the general act of devotion and the mention of our usual needs; and by supplication I think would be intended our distinct entreaties and special petitions. We are to offer the general prayer common to all the saints, and we are to add thereto the special and definite petitions which are peculiar to ourselves. We are to worship in prayer, for God is to be adored by all his saints, and then we are to beseech his favours for ourselves, according to the words of the text, letting our requests be made known unto God. Do not forget this second form of worship. There is a good deal of generalizing in prayer, and God forbid that we should say a word against it, so far as it is sincere worship, but we want to have more of specific, definite pleading with God, asking him for such-and-such things, with a clear knowledge of what we ask. Read more about Prayer Perfumed with Praise

Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving . . . but Not to God

(From The Center for Vision & Values, Grove City College. Used by permission.)

By Dr. Paul Kengor

In 1789, America’s first president proclaimed a “day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” George Washington implored the heavens to “pardon our national and other transgressions” and urged the citizenry to practice “true religion and virtue.”

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln urged his countrymen to set aside the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Subsequent presidents continued this civic-religious tradition. “More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God,” said John F. Kennedy in his first Thanksgiving proclamation. “They paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.” Quoting the Bible, President Kennedy affirmed: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” Read more about Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving . . . but Not to God

What I've Learned As a Pastor (Part 3)

From Voice magazine, Nov/Dec 2015. Used by permission. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

We Pastors Need to Learn to Forgive.

Local church ministry often involves seeing people at their worst and unfortunately all of us pastors experience times when rocks and arrows are directed at us. We need to forgive others when we’ve been wronged because it’s commanded in the New Testament and because it honors the Lord when we “take the high road.” And we need to acknowledge there are times in ministry when we pastors do or say the wrong thing and we need to admit “I was wrong. Please forgive me.” All of us need to forgive those who have hurt us in church squabbles and get along with them so the gospel won’t be negatively affected. Unsaved people are watching and need to see how the Gospel has changed us by helping us to truly love and forgive others. Forgiveness is simply the active part of love. Read more about What I've Learned As a Pastor (Part 3)

The Gospel Applied: "Intruder Alert!" (Part 1)

(Read the series so far.)

Rodents and pests are both creative and enduring creatures—but they are intruders. To be fair, in many cases, we may be the actual invaders, for we build houses in the middle of their habitat and then desperately try to keep them from living in our space. How do we do it? We fill every gap and close every opening so that we can keep them from getting in. What do they do in response? They find another way in! It can be a battle if they have found your stuff to their liking.

We may think of them as pests, but what they do is actually quite ingenious. A mouse can squeeze his body into a hole the size of a dime. He can pull his bones from joints to get himself from tight places. There is something admirable about that kind of tenacity. At the same time, such an ingenious behavior and tenacious approach doesn’t always work. Read more about The Gospel Applied: "Intruder Alert!" (Part 1)

Are Dispensationalists Fighting a Losing Battle?

© 2015 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc. Used by permission.

Where are we headed today in terms of dispensational theology?

This fascinating question could be answered on many levels—spiritually, biblically, prophetically, theologically, academically, ecclesiastically, culturally and in other ways.

I will seek to address this topic thoughtfully in this new series of blog articles that will run intermittently over the next several weeks. In the best case, my take on the subject will serve to provoke much further thought and discussion—rather than being considered a comprehensive answer.

Let’s start by looking at the question from a wide perspective, in terms of our current cultural situation. Read more about Are Dispensationalists Fighting a Losing Battle?

On Being Generous

This article is an add-in to the series of posts on Tipping, Tithing, and Grace Giving (Part 8). As I have continued to study what the Scriptures say about grace giving, I have seen an emphasis on generosity through both the Old and New Testaments. Grace giving is by definition generous.

I ordered an ice cream cone one time and watched as the server prepared it. She pushed the first scoop all the way to the bottom of the cone. She packed the second so it was even with the top. On this solid foundation, she constructed a towering ice cream edifice that looked like it would fall over any second, but held firm as she placed it in my hand. As I lapped at the overspill, I thought, “Wow, I got more than my money’s worth on this one.” The menu offered one scoop or two. She gave me way more. That’s the way to serve an ice cream cone! No hollow, soggy cone that caves in on empty space as you near the end. Delicious, creamy goodness from the first lick down to the last cold, crunchy bite. Read more about On Being Generous

Starbucks, Persecution, & "War Against Christmas"

(From Theologically Driven. Used by permission.)

We’ve been hearing a lot of warnings these last few years about the coming persecution of Christians. And a look around the globe reveals that public sentiment really is turning perceptibly against Christians—chiefly abroad, but with fresh harbingers here on American soil. Unfortunately, these warnings have fostered a troubling response among some well-meaning believers.

Rather than making “requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity,” because “this is good, and pleases God our Savior” (1 Tim 2:2–3), a rather sizable group of believers have begun, rather unquietly andunpeacefully, to incite persecution by saying and doing ungodly and undignified things. Which is to say they are doing something bad that displeases God. Read more about Starbucks, Persecution, & "War Against Christmas"