Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Job's Tormentors. Engraving, William Blake, 1793

You recall how the story goes—God and Satan are having a discussion about a man named Job. He was a man of great character whom God had given much wealth and blessing. God commends Job, and Satan accuses Job, betting that Job would deny God if God would simply allow difficulty in Job’s life (1:7-12). God allows Satan to test Job, and Job loses all of his wealth, most of his family, and his health.

Job is, of course, unaware that he is being tested, and is deeply frustrated by his change of fortune. He feels that he has done nothing to deserve these tragedies, and he speaks out—essentially proclaiming his innocence and the unfairness of the situation. Thankfully, Job has three friends who come to the rescue. They all have the same message: this could only be happening to Job if he had done something wrong. They understood that God would not allow such things to happen to an innocent person. Read more about Why Do Bad Things Happen?

What Does "Son of God" Mean?

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The New Testament is saturated with the title “Son of God.” So are our church documents, such as confessions, creeds and statements of faith. The church I used to Pastor, for example, had a statement of faith which read, “we believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man.”

Christians from more Reformed backgrounds do not use “statements of faith”; they are explicitly confessional. Thus, we have the Second London Confession (1677) which affirms that “it pleased God in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus his only begotten Son.”1

As we journey further back in time, the Apostle’s Creed, for example, reads, “I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.” Notice the creed does not explain the title; it simply states as a matter of fact that Jesus is God’s “only Son.” The Nicene-Constantinople Creed does the same thing. “Also, we believe in one Lord; Jesus, Messiah, the unique Son of God.”2 The phrase here is τὸν uἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ; a phrase many Christians know better as “the only-begotten Son of God.” Read more about What Does "Son of God" Mean?

Purpose & Principles of a Local Church

Sometimes people think I or our elders don’t know the rules for the game of “doing church.” In many ways, however, the difference between HPC (Highland Park Church) and more typical approaches is intentionally engineered based upon convictions and understandings derived from a fresh study of the Word back in 1995-6.

Besides studying relevant Scripture portions, the elders (yours truly included) read Gene Getz’s book, “Sharpening the Focus of the Church” as prerequisite preparation. We had a second meeting every month for the better part of a year to construct this document. When you consider all the individual work we did at home, this was quite an undertaking.

Our approach was to be different from the typical conservative evangelical/ fundamental church by trying to get as many people involved as possible in our services and church life. One key statement is, “We want people to be attracted to HPC primarily because they see God at work in the lives of our people.” Read more about Purpose & Principles of a Local Church

About the Choice to be a Stay-At-Home Homeschool Mom

Running a household frugally and efficiently on one income takes creativity and commitment, but the family benefits when a parent is dedicated to overseeing the emotional, educational, and physical needs of the children.

However, the parent who stays home may have some doubts about what being a stay-at-home parent will cost them personally.

It’s common for a mom to be the one who stays home or does the majority of the teaching. That’s been my situation for many years, so I’m going to address the issues I’ve dealt with because of that choice. Read more about About the Choice to be a Stay-At-Home Homeschool Mom

Hey, I'm Just Being Honest!

We’ve all been there. Someone says something tactless, crass, slanderous—or all of the above, and the justification offered is, “Hey, I’m just being honest. Am I supposed to lie?!” No doubt, some of these “honest” folks are only posturing. But some seem to genuinely confuse the act of speaking one’s mind with the act of speaking honestly.

Yes, honesty, transparency and frankness are related. They share similarities—but so do cream of tartar, flour, and borax. Confusing similar things can have dramatic consequences.

Scripture helps us distinguish between frankness, openness, and honesty and, as a result, better distinguish right from wrong. Read more about Hey, I'm Just Being Honest!

Ordering Finances Wisely, Part 3: Know Your FICO Score

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In a Twilight Zone kind of moment, imagine an all-night grocery store. Few are there: a stocker, a maintenance worker, and a check out cashier. Three shoppers arrive at approximately the same time. Sleepily they shop for the few essential items on their list. Coincidentally, and unbeknownst to each other, they manage to add the same six items—down to the very brand and packaging—to their shopping carts: milk, cereal, hamburger, two loaves of bread, and pancake mix. They move to the checkout.

The cashier is amazed by the oddness of the event: three shoppers, three carts, six items in each cart. And each cart has the very same identical items. He rings up shopper 1 then shopper 2, and then shopper 3: Read more about Ordering Finances Wisely, Part 3: Know Your FICO Score

Jesus the Son of God (Mark 1:1b)

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Jesus is the Messiah. He is also the Son of God.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1).

It’s another title. It describes something about who He is. In nerdy grammatical terms, it’s an appellation. Why is this title in the inspired Scripture? Well, on one level, it’s there because John Mark decided to put it there. On another level, however, it’s there because God wanted it to be there and the Holy Spirit moved Mark to include it. So, it’s probably a good idea to figure out what on earth it means, and to ponder what this title tells us about the Trinity. Read more about Jesus the Son of God (Mark 1:1b)

The Apologetic Value of Paul's Epistles

(About this series)

CHAPTER IX — THE APOLOGETIC VALUE OF PAUL’S EPISTLES

BY REV. E. J. STOBO, JR., B. A., S. T. D., SMITH’S FALLS, ONTARIO, CANADA

“Paul is the greatest literary figure in the New Testament; round him all its burning questions lie.” “There is nothing more certain in ancient literature than the authorship of the more important of the Pauline epistles.” These utterances of Dr. Fairbairn in his “Philosophy of the Christian Religion” bring us face to face with the apologetic value of the writings of the Apostle to the Gentiles. The oldest Pauline epistle is divided by little more than twenty years from the death of Christ, and by a still shorter interval from the Epistle to the Hebrews and Apocalypse; so that Paul’s interpretation of the Christ has a distinct bearing upon the Gospels and later Christian literature. Read more about The Apologetic Value of Paul's Epistles