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).

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The Biblical Conception of Sin

(About this series)

CHAPTER I — THE BIBLICAL CONCEPTION OF SIN

BY REV. THOMAS WHITELAW, M. A., D. D., KILMARNOCK, AYRSHIRE, SCOTLAND

Holy Scripture undertakes no demonstration of the reality of sin. In all its statements concerning sin, sin is presupposed as a fact which can neither be controverted nor denied, neither challenged nor obscured. It is true that some reasoners, through false philosophy and materialistic science, refuse to admit the existence of sin, but their endeavors to explain it away by their respective theories is sufficient proof that sin is no figment of the imagination but a solid reality. Others who are not thinkers may sink so far beneath the power of sin as to lose all sense of its actuality, their moral and spiritual natures becoming so hardened and fossilized as to be “past feeling,” in which case conviction of sin is no more possible, or at least so deteriorated and unimpressible that only a tremendous upheaval within their souls, occasioned perhaps by severe affliction, but brought about by the inward operation of the Spirit of God, will break up the hard crust of moral numbness and religious torpor in which their spirits are encased. A third class of persons, by simply declining to think about sin, may come in course of time to conclude that whether sin be a reality or not, it does not stand in any relation to them and does not concern them—in which case once more they are merely deceiving themselves. The truth is that it Read more about The Biblical Conception of Sin

Theology Thursday - Luther Explains His Salvation

About Luther

“He was never an infidel, nor a wicked man, but a pious Catholic from early youth; but he now became overwhelmed with a sense of the vanity of this world and the absorbing importance of saving his soul, which, according to the prevailing notion of his age, he could best secure in the quiet retreat of a cloister.

He afterward underwent as it were a second conversion, from the monastic and legalistic piety of mediæval Catholicism to the free evangelical piety of Protestantism, when he awoke to an experimental knowledge of justification by free grace through faith alone.”1

Luther Tells About His Conversion2

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From the Archives: 10 Mistakes We Make with the Gospel

1. Referring Rather than Declaring

It’s one thing to say “the gospel is central to all we do.” It’s another thing to declare that Jesus Christ died for sinners and rose again. It’s yet another thing to integrate the gospel into how we look at every part of ministry. Note the difference between these statements:

Statement 1: We have a children’s ministry to further the gospel in the lives of children

Statement 2: We have a children’s ministry because we all come into this world as sinners in need of rescue by a living, sinless Savior. It’s never too soon to start learning this freeing truth (Matt. 19:14, John 8:32). Read more about From the Archives: 10 Mistakes We Make with the Gospel

Kids Need Parents to Show Them They Matter

In spite of the fact that most of us enjoy a vast array of modern conveniences, it feels like we are busier than ever. Our lives are full or work and church and school and chores, all of which are important and necessary. Our kids are busy as well, attending school and Sunday School to receive academic and spiritual instruction, and most play sports or participate in other extra-curricular activities.

Over time, we may find ourselves delegating more and more parental responsibility to schools, churches, health care professionals, counselors, psychiatrists—and since we place quite a bit of faith in specialists and experts, we may forget just how much our children need us in their lives.

It’s tempting to imagine that if we just had more money, more convenience, more resources, and more time, we could do better as parents. To think we must meet our child’s physical need for food, clothing, and shelter, but to also meet their spiritual, emotional, mental, and intellectual needs—why not just admit we feel inadequate, and sometimes downright terrified! Read more about Kids Need Parents to Show Them They Matter