Religious Pluralism and Tolerance in the Roman Empire?

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roman.jpgNOTE:This article is reprinted with permission from As I See It, a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.

Edward Gibbon, (1737-1794), famous for his monumental work, On the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published between 1776-1788, famously stated, concerning the diversity of religions in the vast Roman Empire and how they were viewed by different classes of people—
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Fundamentalists and Theater: Act Five, Curtain Call

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Act 1 l Act 2 l Act 3 l Act 4
In The Nick of TimeOur most important duty is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Our second most important duty is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love of God, love of neighbor: the center of the Christian life is a matter of emotion, or, more properly, of affection.

Therefore, anything that shapes the affections must be of primary concern for the believer. We can love much, or we can love little. We can love well, or we can love poorly. We can love rightly, or we can love wrongly. We can love the things we ought or the things we ought not. We can love from the right motives or from the wrong ones. Our affections can be ordinate, or they can be inordinate.

To object to inordinate love is not to object to love. To point out disordered emotions is not to denigrate emotions. In fact, those who care most about emotion are likely to be most concerned that emotions be of the proper kind, to the proper degree, and directed toward the proper object.

All of the arts shape our habits of mind and heart. They open and close doors of perception and feeling. That is why we need to take them seriously. We must decide which art we shall allow to access our souls. To choose wisely, we must understand what we are choosing.
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The “Forgotten” Qualification

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I love the ministry. That, of course, is not to say that parts of it are not exceedingly difficult. It can be exhausting and challenging. At certain times, we all have probably been about two steps away from throwing in the proverbial towel. But I have angryguy.jpgto pinch myself about every other week. I get to spend hour upon hour every week in the deep study of the Scriptures. I have the opportunity to exhort and encourage and equip the children of God, both corporately and individually. I have the wonderful privilege of seeing firsthand the Lord birthing a new local church. A challenge—yes; a blessing—absolutely. I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Therefore, one of my greatest fears is to be disqualified from the ministry. My heart breaks every time I hear about the moral failure of another pastor. My mind goes to the damage that it has caused the name of Christ in the eyes of a watching world. I ache for the families and churches of those pastors. My heart goes out to the pastors themselves who are now unable to fulfill the role to which they had been called by God. I cannot look down on them, for I realize that, were it not for the grace of God, I would be in their shoes at this very moment or in the near future. Therefore, all of us who are in the God-given position of pastor should take the qualifications for that position found in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:6-9 seriously. We are to be above reproach in many different areas.
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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Part 2

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A Report on the Weekender at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

mark.doug.jpgIn my first installment about the Weekender at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC), sponsored by 9Marks Ministries, I reported on the views and practices of leadership, membership, discipline, and items of interest to fundamentalists at CHBC. In this final installment, I will consider what we were taught about preaching and implementing change.
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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Part 1

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A Report on the Weekender at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.



“We want your churches to display the character of God.”

—Matt Schmucker, Director of 9Marks Ministries

“Looseness of belief is the inevitable parent of looseness of practice.”

B.B. Warfield

Having the last name of Smith occasionally invites the question, “Have you ever seen the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?” Until recently, my answer was no, but my wife and I recently viewed that classic movie about the naïve youth leader-become-congressman. The story is about Smith, who gets appointed to replace a senator who dies while still holding office. The politicians assume that the new congressman will be a yes-man and will not discover and expose some illegal plans they have. Smith becomes disillusioned by the corruption he finds in politics, including the duplicity of one of his political heroes, whom he once greatly respected. Smith discovers the deceit and manipulation and refuses to participate in it. After a good bit of wrestling with a pitiable situation in which he is falsely accused of a ploy to profit from a piece of legislation, Smith stages an impressive filibuster that exhausts him and leads to public confession of the secret plot when one of the perpetrators comes clean.


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This Mr. Smith has never had an experience quite like that, but I did get to go to Washington, D.C. to understand God’s plan for the local church, including learning how men appointed and called by God as pastors are supposed to serve faithfully as shepherds of God’s sheep. Faithful shepherding includes dealing with error in the local church and avoiding the pressures to compromise that are prevalent in the ministry just as they are in politics. Read more about Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Part 1

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Fundamentalists and Theater: Act Four, Says Who?

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Act 1 l Act 2 l Act 3

In The Nick of Time

Dave (not his real name) was a missionary in Eastern Europe. One Sunday, he was preaching to a church full of nationals. Not yet experienced with the language, Dave unknowingly uttered an obscenity from the pulpit. It was not an ordinary, garden-variety obscenity. No, it was about the worst thing that anyone could say in that language. Then, seeing the audience wince, he assumed that they were under conviction and repeated what he had just said. At last, he went on with his sermon, never guessing that the congregation didn’t hear another word.

After the service, the pastor explained the problem to Dave. Of course, Dave was mortified. He was still embarrassed when he told me about the episode years later. He said, “The problem is that nobody tells you about the bad words until after you say them.” The pastor also told me about it—separately—and then added, “I was praying that the Lord would kill him before he could say it again.”

Dave was a spiritual man who was skilled in handling the Scriptures. He understood all the biblical principles, but he was unable to apply them to the particular expression that he had used. In order to apply the Scriptures, he first had to know what the expression meant. Ignorance of the language kept him from knowing how the biblical principles applied. Read more about Fundamentalists and Theater: Act Four, Says Who?

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Top 10 Fundamentalist Stories of 2006

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opinion.gifNote: This is an opinion column. Views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of SI.

On Friday, I gave you my top 10 list of stories impacting evangelical Christianity as a whole. Today, I narrow my focus a bit, and we’re going to look at the branch of Evangelicalism known as Fundamentalism. On this branch has grown some of the finest and most principled expositors of the Word and champions of truth that the world has ever known. At the same time, it has produced the occasional “nut” as well. This year’s list has the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in it in order to accurately reflect the whole of news among fundamentalists.
So with further adieu, the Top 10 Significant News Stories Impacting Fundamentalism in 2006 are the following:
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