Hope Is Here!

by Pastor Dan Miller

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Dan Miller’s book Spiritual Reflections. It appears here verbatim.
Police LineWhile I attended seminary, my wife and I rented a tiny apartment in the inner city. In three short years, we witnessed more crime and violence than one might see in a month of cop shows. Within a block of our home, we saw street fights, guns, prostitution, drug activity, car thefts, stalking and more.

One night, our elderly next door neighbors were dragged out onto their front lawn, beaten and robbed. A man was shot to death on the street a half block from our home. In the parking lot below our living room window, I saw one man hold a gun to another man’s head in broad daylight. Drunks sometimes slept on the front steps of our apartment building. Men repeatedly harassed my wife on the street.

There are some things about living in that neighborhood I will never miss. There are other things, however, that I miss very much. What I may miss most is the consistent opportunity to speak with people—often complete strangers—who were willing to talk freely about the miseries of life and the emptiness of their souls. I loved that environment.
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Announcing . . . SharperIron 3.0!

(And yes, we need money)

SI 3.0The great British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli is credited with saying, “The good is the enemy of the best.” Sage advice. Scripture also calls us to pursue excellence, not settling for one “talent” but striving to double whatever the Lord has entrusted to us (Matt. 25: 20-21). As adopted sons and daughters of the One whose “way is perfect” (Ps. 18:30 NKJV), believers must strive for excellence in everything to reflect the character of their Father.

As usual, Jesus said it best. “Be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

But pursuing excellence and perfection is complex. We can’t simply—as many say—“give one hundred percent, one hundred percent of the time.” The math doesn’t work. As soon as we give one hundred percent of our time and energy to one thing, we have zero percent left for anything else. And God has given us all multiple responsibilities.

No, excellence has to do with the overall quality of a life or an enterprise, and all pursuit of perfection must be incremental and dispersed. That often means settling for far less than perfection in one area in order to make needed improvements in another and advance the whole.
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What Became of Personal Separation?

Note: This article is reprinted from The Faith Pulpit (January 1996), a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (Ankeny, IA). It appears here verbatim.

852085_life_is_a_highway_1.jpgI John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Not long ago as two pastors were in conversation one asked the other if he could think of any practice not specifically forbidden in the Bible, that we avoid simply because it is worldly. Neither could think of one. We have come a long way.
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A Critique of "Easy Believism"

Note: This article is reprinted from The Faith Pulpit (March/April 2008), a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (Ankeny, IA). It appears here verbatim.

1163562_old_paper.jpgWhat constitutes saving faith? Is it intellectual assent or something more? These questions go right to the core of the gospel message. In this issue of the Faith Pulpit, Dr. Myron Houghton of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary speaks to this important matter with careful Biblical thinking.

“Easy believism,” as I am using this term, refers to a position held by those who define saving faith purely as intellectual agreement with the statement, “Jesus is the Son of God, and He promises eternal life to all who believe in Him.” This point of view is associated with the Grace Evangelical Society and particularly the writings of Robert Wilkin, Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, and J. D. Faust. In order to evaluate this point of view, we need to consider the following issues.
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Forgiveness Assured

by Pastor Dan Miller

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Dan Miller’s book Spiritual Reflections. It appears here verbatim.

miller_forgiveness2.jpgOn a recent ministry trip to the East coast, my wife and I enjoyed a lively conversation with a young mother. Seated next to us on a crowded flight, she educated us about life as a New England potato and beef farmer. We found the conversation fascinating, laced as it was with local color and spiced with some of the more gruesome details of cattle management.

In course of time, she inquired concerning my occupation. I told her I was a pastor. That seemed to derail our conversation, but in the ensuing silence she was actually switching tracks from farming to spiritual realities. She was a meat-and-potatoes kind of woman in more ways than one—decorative parsley did not find a place on her conversational plate. And so without notice she jumped full length into a most difficult topic.

“So, who is my husband in God’s eyes?” she blurted out with no forewarning. It seems that some spiritual shepherds to whom she had appealed gave counsel that her second husband was her real husband. Others had suggested that God saw her as married to her first husband. “In God’s eyes, am I married to my second husband, or am I committing adultery with him?” she asked sincerely. Read more about Forgiveness Assured

Who Is Our "Intelligent Designer"? Part 5

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

1149344_blue_blue_sky.jpgThe enormous complexity of living things was indeed “a black box” for Charles Darwin and his contemporaries. This has been carefully explained by Michael Behe in his book Darwin’s Black Box (New York: The Free Press, 1996).

But Professor Behe, a Roman Catholic theistic evolutionist (cf. ibid., p. 239), like most Intelligent Design theorists, is amazingly naïve concerning the ultimate success of their campaign against materialistic evolutionism: “I remain optimistic that the scientific community will eventually accept intelligent design, even if the acceptance is discreet and muted. The reason for optimism is the advance of science itself, which almost every day discovers new intricacies in nature, fresh reasons for recognizing the design inherent in life and the universe” (in Signs of Intelligence, p. 101). Read more about Who Is Our "Intelligent Designer"? Part 5