Why They Followed the Law (Part 1)

Getting the Law Wrong?

The entire book of Galatians is consumed with the problem of what to do with the Old Covenant law. What does “following the law” have to do with personal salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ?

A large party of Jewish Christians, most of them likely from Jerusalem and former Pharisees, believed you had to follow the Old Covenant law and repent and believe in Christ (Acts 15:1-5). Luke, in a very understated fashion, observes “Paul and Barnabas had no small discussion and debate with them.” The Apostle has little time for this kind of terrible error. He calls this teaching “a different Gospel,” (Gal 1:6). He speaks of the Galatians “deserting Him who called you,” (Gal 1:5). He said this is a perversion of the Gospel of Christ (Gal 1:7).

Did these Pharisees actually understand the message of the Old Covenant scriptures? Why did God’s people follow the law, anyway? Read more about Why They Followed the Law (Part 1)

Biblical Literacy, Part 3

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The Individual

The church alone cannot develop disciples. Individual believers must take responsibility for their own spiritual growth. We can and should provide as many “nets” as possible to aid in our people’s maturity, but the believer must step up and take advantage of these nets, as well as develop and work a plan for personal Bible reading and study. I have found over the years that most people who really know Christ want to spend time in the Word, but many lack a structure to adequately help them be successful.

Nagging and making people feel guilty are not good motivators, so we seek to be more constructive in helping them desire to be students of the Scriptures.

Toward that end we … Read more about Biblical Literacy, Part 3

Theology Thursday - 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (Part 2)

What follows is the first part of the “Exposition” section from the 1978 Chicago Statement. The original text is available here. For some helpful backkground, see this interview with R.C. Sproul.

Exposition

Our understanding of the doctrine of inerrancy must be set in the context of the broader teachings of the Scripture concerning itself. This exposition gives an account of the outline of doctrine from which our summary statement and articles are drawn.

Creation, Revelation and Inspiration

The Triune God, who formed all things by his creative utterances and governs all things by His Word of decree, made mankind in His own image for a life of communion with Himself, on the model of the eternal fellowship of loving communication within the Godhead. As God’s image-bearer, man was to hear God’s Word addressed to him and to respond in the joy of adoring obedience. Over and above God’s self-disclosure in the created order and the sequence of events within it, human beings from Adam on have received verbal messages from Him, either directly, as stated in Scripture, or indirectly in the form of part or all of Scripture itself.

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Communicating Biblical Worldview to Millennials & iGens (Part 2)

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Applying Peter’s & Paul’s Communication Model to Millennials & iGens

“We report, you decide.” It’s a slogan from a popular news outlet that positions itself as different from other agenda-driven media by its “fair and balanced” posture. How successful this network has been is a matter of debate, of course, but the formula is actually a good one for another mode of communication — especially for the emerging and distinct audience of the 21st century. In order to understand how that formula is especially fitting of this generation, we need a bit of context on how this present generation came to think that way it thinks. So let’s look back.

Following World War II and the culminating failure of the modern project, postmodernism rejected the idea of a grand narrative as a guide for humanity and culture. More specifically, postmodernism dismissed the modern metanarrative that discovery and technology would lead humanity to a utopian future. Technology had not succeeded in ushering in a golden age, instead it brought on the wings of the Enola Gay the most effective device for mass destruction the world had ever seen. Read more about Communicating Biblical Worldview to Millennials & iGens (Part 2)

Communicating Biblical Worldview to Millennials & iGens (Part 1)

Presented to the 2017 Calvary University Pastors’ Conference on Apologetics, Calvary University, Kansas City, April 20, 2017.

Biblical Models for Communicating Truth to the Unversed

Peter provides the only direct apologetic mandate in Scripture,1 reminding his readers in 1 Peter 3:15 to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” The word translated defense is the Greek apologia, and it references a justification of a position or an argument upon which basis a position is to be preferred. Peter was talking to regular believers, challenging them to (1) have the proper perspective of and response to Christ, (2) to be always prepared to give an apologia, (3) in response to those who ask, (4) specifically providing an account for the hope within them, (5) with gentleness and reverence. Read more about Communicating Biblical Worldview to Millennials & iGens (Part 1)

Look & Live! John 3:16 as a Universal Gospel Invitation

Some may not think I’m a Calvinist when it comes to John 3:16. Actually, I’m a John Calvinist when I interpret this verse (double entendre intended). I don’t think the verse (and its larger context) is simply designed to teach people biblical doctrines or facts, such as “God loves sinners” or “believers go to heaven.” It has a larger aim. Namely, God through the apostle John wants to solicit a faith-response on the part of the reader.

When a Little Greek Is Not Enough

Some Calvinists with a little Greek under their belt are quick to tell us that the reading of the AV, “whosoever believeth in him,” is mistaken. The Greek features a participle in the nominative case (ο πιστευων) modified by the adjective “all” (πας). Hence, they argue, John is simply stating a fact: “all believers [i.e., the elect] go to heaven.” Read more about Look & Live! John 3:16 as a Universal Gospel Invitation

From the Archives: Tipping, Tithing & Grace Giving: Giving in the New Testament

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Today’s Christian gains big-picture understanding of what the Bible teaches about financial giving by learning the Old Testament background and foundational truths related to the subject. This was presented in the previous article. But the New Testament contains the full teaching that guides what we do in the church and in our individual Christian lives. Join me as we survey Jesus’ teaching, the practices of the newly-formed first century church, and the instructions given by the apostles.

Jesus’ Teaching on Giving

Some say Jesus spoke on the topic of money more than anything else. I haven’t personally verified this assertion, but I do know that He had a lot to say about giving. The following is representative of His teaching on this subject. Read more about From the Archives: Tipping, Tithing & Grace Giving: Giving in the New Testament

Theology Thursday - 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) was founded in 1977 to clarify and defend the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. The Council sponsored three major “summits,” each producing an important statement.

Summit I met in Chicago on October 26–28, 1978. Over 300 Christian leaders, theologians and pastors attended and adopted the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, consisting of nineteen articles with brief exposition. Papers delivered at the conference were published as Norman L. Geisler, ed., Inerrancy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980).

Dr. Jay Grimstead, one of the organizers of the ICBI, describes the statement as “a landmark church document” created “by the then largest, broadest, group of evangelical protestant scholars that ever came together to create a common, theological document in the 20th century. It is probably the first systematically comprehensive, broadly based, scholarly, creed–like statement on the inspiration and authority of Scripture in the history of the church.” Read more about Theology Thursday - 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy