How to Grow as a Person

A Google search of the phrase “how to grow as a person” (or even just “grow as a person”) reveals 520 million related links. For points of reference, let’s look at the results of some other popular Google searches:

“how to make money”  426 million
“world peace” – 120 million
“the pope” – 176 million
“Donald Trump” – 334 million
“Star Wars” – 431 million

“How to grow as a person” is a topic much discussed (even more than Star Wars, and that is saying something!), with many diverse and often conflicting prescriptions. Cutting through the noise is a simple Biblical formula that allows us to access strength much greater than our own. Let’s take a look at that formula, beginning with John’s contrast of darkness and light. Read more about How to Grow as a Person

A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 4)

(From Maranatha Baptist Seminary Journal; used by permission. Read the series so far.)

Specific Context of Hebrews 6:4–8

Now that the general context has been established, it is helpful to discuss the specific context of Hebrews 6:4–8. In order to define the specific context of this paragraph, it is necessary to discuss the section in which it is located (5:1–6:20). The following outline is suggested:

I. Christ was Appointed by God as High Priest in the Heavenly Temple (5:1-10)

A. Every high priest is chosen from among the people to represent the people before God (5:1-3)

B. Jesus did not appoint Himself high priest, but God gave Him this position after Jesus experienced human suffering that qualified Him for the position (5:4-10) Read more about A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 4)

The Bible vs Catechism of the Catholic Church on Nature Grace

(Read Part 1.)

My intent in this article is to show from the Catechism of the Catholic Church a radically different understanding of nature and grace than what is taught by the Bible and held by Protestants. The Catholic view of grace and nature, along its view of Christ-Church interconnectedness, leads to a different gospel than found in the Bible. Lord willing, next week we will consider the Christ-church issue.

Our three main sources are the Bible, Allison’s Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).

We are entering into the Byzantine substructures of Roman Catholic theology. And while I am attempting to make sure each article in the series can stand alone, the reader will be greatly assisted by reading the first article in this series. Read more about The Bible vs Catechism of the Catholic Church on Nature Grace

Every Christian Is a Teacher

The Early Expansion of the Church

What common feature do you find in these excerpts from Acts?

“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7)

“But the word of God grew and multiplied.” (Acts 12:24)

“And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19:10)

“So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” (Acts 19:20)

These verses highlight a noteworthy phenomenon that Luke recorded about the first century church. Like the ripples from a pebble tossed into a pond, the influence of the Word of God moved out into the world. Luke traces this noteworthy expansion from Jerusalem to as far west as Rome. Read more about Every Christian Is a Teacher

Why Save the Lord's Day?

(About this series)

CHAPTER I - WHY SAVE THE LORD’S DAY?

BY REV. DANIEL HOFFMAN MARTIN, D. D., GLENS FALLS, NEW YORK

The only command in the Decalogue which begins with the word “Remember” is the fourth: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” as if the Divine writer realized there would be more danger of forgetting this than any of the others, and of yielding to the subtle temptations of caprice and convenience as an excuse for violating it. “Remember” stands like a solitary sentinel in front of this solemn command, yet it has been chafed under, from the ancient Jew who was stoned for gathering sticks on the Sabbath, down to the Sunday saloon-keeper who, in commercializing his fellow-man’s weakness, breaks three laws, that of the Sabbath, the State, and brotherly love. Read more about Why Save the Lord's Day?

A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 3)

(From Maranatha Baptist Seminary Journal; used by permission. Read the series so far.)

The Context of Hebrews 6:4-8

The proper interpretation of Hebrews 6:4-8 must be consistent with its context. Therefore, three aspects of its context are discussed. First, the context of the entire book of Hebrews is summarized. Second, the immediate context of the paragraph (6:4-8) is examined. Third, several Old Testament themes that form the background to the paragraph in Hebrews 6:4-8 are discussed.

General Context of Hebrews 6:4-8

The book of Hebrews was most likely written to a group of Jewish believers who were part of the same house church.1 The location of this house church has been the subject of great debate.2 Fortunately, it is not necessary to specify the exact location of the church in order to interpret Hebrews 6:4-8. It is necessary, however, to clarify three introductory issues. First, what is the purpose and theme of the book of Hebrews? Second, what is the author’s method for accomplishing that purpose? Third, what content does the author of Hebrews use to fulfill his purpose? Read more about A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 3)

Review - Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel

Image of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel
by Kate Bowler
Oxford University Press 2013
Hardcover 352

I’d had this book on my wishlist for a while; it seemed like the prosperity gospel was as popular as it was egregiously wrong—and it was increasing in both respects. It seemed so impossible to take it all seriously; I was hoping someone could help me understand its origins and teachings.

Then the author of this book, Kate Bowler, who is my age, wrote a beautifully profound article on her own terminal cancer in the New York Times, and before I finished reading the piece I bought her book.

I listened to an audio version, read well by Bowler herself. I apparently missed out on the appendices (though I skimmed what I could on Amazon), so my review may be slightly skewed.

I’ll start with the (apparent) criticism and end with the praise: Bowler doesn’t manage to create much of a narrative. Her chapter titles—Faith, Wealth, Health, and Victory—do develop themes within prosperity teaching, but throughout much of the book, the word “concatenation” kept coming to my mind. I felt like I was being introduced to preacher after preacher, ministry after ministry, with very little coherence to hang all the details on. Read more about Review - Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel

Homosexuality, Changing Times, & The Bible (Part 3)

(Read the series so far.)

Modern Issues

Fans of the original Star Trek television series will recognize one of the opening lines to each show as Captain Kirk said that he and the crew of the Starship Enterprise wanted “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” You don’t have to be a Trekkie to recognize that when it comes to the 21st century and the LGBT agenda we have gone where no one has gone before. We have entered new territories. Questions, discussions, accusations and the like have emerged that have never appeared in the past. In the remainder of this article, I want to address some of these issues.

Is LGBT Attraction Similar to Racial Differences?

One accusation often used to stop criticism of the LGBT agenda is that those who are opposed are reacting just as racists do. If we find someone unacceptable because of their ethnicity and we treat them as inferior, we are committing the sins of racism and partiality (cf. James 2:1-7 which actually deals with mistreatment of the poor).

Does it then follow that if we are not in agreement with LGBT and accepting of their behavior, we are committing the same sins? Not at all. LGBT behavior is a moral issue, not a racial difference. As Christians, we are called to love all people including LGBTs, but that does not mean we are required to agree with their sinful lifestyles and philosophies. Read more about Homosexuality, Changing Times, & The Bible (Part 3)