Uncertainty vs. Renewed Confidence in the Word of God, Part 2

(Read Part 1)

Where to from Here?

As a result of these past and present influences, the church of Christ is facing an authority crisis. There has been a steady erosion of confidence in Scripture for several decades cumulating in theological and/or practical elimination of the need for the Bible in our lives. After all, in a society infatuated with success—theological understanding, biblical knowledge and even righteous living are no match for fancy buildings, high-powered programs, the finest in entertainment and emotional experiences (no matter what the source).

Very few churches grow numerically today because of solid teaching of the Word. That is because very few Christians today see the importance of the Word. To them the Bible is much like a musical concert, there to produce an experience, not to transform their lives. They see no vital connection between Scripture and life. To know God’s truth is not essential to how they want to live their lives, therefore they have no desire to study the Bible. Read more about Uncertainty vs. Renewed Confidence in the Word of God, Part 2

Uncertainty vs. Renewed Confidence in the Word of God, Part 1

From Think on These Things; used with permission.

Emergent spokesman Brian McLaren calls for the evangelical community to get over its love affair with certainty. He writes, “Drop any affair you may have with certainty, proof, argument—and replace it with dialogue, conversation, intrigue, and search.”1 Are we to take McLaren seriously? If so, then the best way to get over our love affair with certainty, according to McLaren, would be to replace it with uncertainty, or more commonly, mystery. It is definitely in vogue at this point in church history to make the rather “certain” claim that we cannot be certain about anything. Of course, the irony of such certainty about uncertainty is obvious. But much like impossible political promises, when statements are left unanalyzed and unchallenged they tend to be uncritically absorbed by the minds of some people, often resulting in great harm.

It is important then that we give careful thought to the recent love affair with uncertainty. What are its origins? Is it really something new? Does it line up with the claims of Scripture? How should the people of God respond? Read more about Uncertainty vs. Renewed Confidence in the Word of God, Part 1

Heads of Grain & Holy Bread - Jesus and the Sabbath

In the Crosshairs

Jesus and the Pharisees didn’t get along well. The trouble began in Capernaum, when He told a crippled man his sins were forgiven (Mk 2:5). This was a performative act; his sins were forgiven as Jesus spoke the words. Poof! The scribes were not pleased. Blasphemy! “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mk 2:6). This was the first time Jesus attracted attention from the corridors of power in Jerusalem (cf. Lk 5:17). It wasn’t a good sign.

The situation worsened after Matthew joined Jesus’ group. At a banquet at Matthew’s house, Jesus did not separate Himself from those whom the strict Pharisees considered to be “compromisers” (Mk 2:16). How could an alleged preacher of righteousness be so careless with His personal associations!? Something was not right with this man from Nazareth. Read more about Heads of Grain & Holy Bread - Jesus and the Sabbath

Christians & the Immigration Crisis: A Few Thoughts

From DBTS blog. Used with permission.

Donald Trump’s stay on admitting certain immigrants has brought out a raft of evangelical critics, especially those who see everything as an immediate gospel issue. Arguing from the facts that (1) God says nice things about foreigners in the Bible (e.g., Lev 19:33–34) and that (2) we have to be nice to foreigners or we’ll never have an audience with them to share the gospel, these express astonishment that a Christian could ever support an immigration ban of any sort. How, we might ask, can the gospel be forwarded if we anger or injure those to whom we are sent with the gospel?

It’s a redirection of the selfsame arguments that pacifists have been using for centuries to oppose war—and just as misguided. The following are a few thoughts in response: Read more about Christians & the Immigration Crisis: A Few Thoughts

Theology Thursday - Is Evangelical Theology Changing? (Part 2)

This article was published in the March 1956 issue of “Christian Life” magazine. It was seen by fundamentalists as a direct repudiation of the movement. One fundamentalist scholar wrote that the contributors were “crystallizing new evangelical discontent with fundamentalism.”1Still another observed that fundamentalists “viewed the leadership of new evangelicalism as a group of compromisers who were abandoning the fundamentals of the faith in order to be accepted by the larger theological world.”2 

This is Part 2 of the article.

A More Tolerant Attitude Toward Varying Views on Eschatology

Used to be that most fundamentalists were pre-millennial and pre-tribulation. That is, they believed that Christ was coming again to begin a thousand-year reign of peace. Furthermore, that the church would be “raptured” – (taken up to Heaven) – before the “tribulation” (seven years of trouble) the Book of Revelation says will come before Christ’s return.

But for the last ten years debate has been raging on these subjects. Some evangelicals have taken an “amillennial” position (no actual thousand-year period). Some are saying that the Bible doesn’t teach that the church will escape the tribulation. Read more about Theology Thursday - Is Evangelical Theology Changing? (Part 2)

Exodus & The Mosaic Covenant, Part 2

Detail from Moses with the Ten Commandments (Rembrandt, 1659)

(Continued excerpts from the book-in-progress. Read the series so far.)

Relationship

The covenant Lord comes to establish a relationship. This relationship is not yet predicated upon the finished work of Christ at Calvary, so the judicial element demands law. Still, it also entails the fact that the God of the Law is the God also of grace. If He were not, there would be no hope of relationship and the covenantal purposes of God would be reduced to futility.

The laws found in Exodus through to Deuteronomy are given, for the most part, to restrain Israel’s sin and to proclaim an ethics of human value, regardless of social status, and of the unity of communal life.1 The commandments can be summed up in two: Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18.2 Read more about Exodus & The Mosaic Covenant, Part 2

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Today’s ideas about “biblical” love, dating, and courtship come from a variety of sources. Notable influencers in this area have been Bill Gothard, Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye), Josh McDowell and Richard Ross (True Love Waits). I’m sure all of us are affected by our own experiences as a young person navigating the mine field of romantic relationships, and all this combined together may add up to more confusion than clarity.

My biggest concern is the lack of Bible in “biblical” advice about The Search for a Spouse. The Bible guides us in several ways, including command, doctrine, principle, precedent, and illustration. Taking in all the preaching and teaching I’ve heard over the years would lead me to believe that there is a mandate for every Christian to focus on acquiring a spouse with an accompanying list of commandments so each can find The Right One.

We are not very quick to acknowledge the few clear Scriptural reasons we are given to pursue marriage: to avoid fornication, as a picture of Christ and the church, and to raise godly children. Even though Paul advocates for singlehood, we can ignore him whenever he speaks by permission and not of commandment. Right? Read more about Why Can't We Be Friends?

A Dispensational Discource with Dr. Michael Vlach

From Dispensational Publishing House; used by permission.

I have been following the teaching and writing ministry of Dr. Michael Vlach for several years—since the publication of his book, Dispensationalism: Essential Beliefs and Common Myths (Theological Studies Press, 2008). I am continually impressed and challenged by his desire to apply biblical truth with precision and clarity. Dr. Vlach is having a great influence at The Master’s Seminary—both as a professor and as editor of the school’s theological journal. It is my privilege to introduce him to you so that you can learn more about this up-and-coming dispensational theologian.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)

Read more about A Dispensational Discource with Dr. Michael Vlach