Five Ways to Beat Bitterness: #1 - Worship

Bitterness often begins as a normal—maybe even healthy—response to the losses, disappointments, failures, and unfairnesses of life. In that sense, the term “bitterness” is pretty much synonymous with mental, spiritual, emotional (and often also physical) pain.

But the Bible reveals that when indulged and nurtured, bitterness becomes an infection of the inner man that taints—and has the potential to corrupt—all our activities and relationships. I’ve written about the forms and harms of bitterness previously (see Bitterness Happens, and Six Ways Bitterness Can Poison Our Lives).

The good news is that both Scripture and experience (as application of biblical principles) point us toward some practical strategies for overcoming bitterness in our lives before, or even after, it becomes a chronic problem. Read more about Five Ways to Beat Bitterness: #1 - Worship

Exodus & The Mosaic Covenant, Part 3

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

The Relationship between the Abrahamic & Mosaic Covenants

The covenant with Abraham was, as we have seen, the source from which the people of Israel were created. But a people without a land can never truly be a nation, and Yahweh had promised that very thing (Gen. 12:2; 17:20; 21:18; 46:3; 48:4. cf. Deut. 7:6-8). A nation’s identity is tied to its surroundings; the familiar topography which is recalled in its literature, poetry and songs (e.g. Psa. 137:1-6). So God promised a specific territory to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for an everlasting possession (e.g. Exod. 32:13). In fact, the last mention of Abraham in Genesis is in tandem with Isaac and Jacob and the land (Gen. 50:24). There was an oath-based guarantee of Israel-in-the-land in existence hundreds of years before Moses brought the people to Sinai. Read more about Exodus & The Mosaic Covenant, Part 3

Theology Thursday - Is Evangelical Theology Changing? (Part 3)

(Read Part 1 and Part 2).

A Re-opening of the Subject of Biblical Inspiration

Now just a pebble in the pond of conservative theology, this could expand to the bombshell of mid-century evangelicalism.

Evangelicals, like fundamentalists, believe that the Bible is the infallible, inspired Word of God. But evangelicals are making bold to ask, “What does ‘infallible, inspired’ mean?”

Few evangelical theologians believe today the view that it was “dictated” by God much as a business man does when he says, “Take a letter, Miss Brown.” Neither do they deny that errors have crept in as the Bible has passed down to us through translations. Read more about Theology Thursday - Is Evangelical Theology Changing? (Part 3)

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)