Fear

The Paralysis of the Fear of Man

From Baptist Bulletin, © 2018 Regular Baptist Press, all rights reserved. First published at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary blog.

By Jacob Elwart

“I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” (Peter in Mark 14:71).

It’s easy for us to stand at a distance and throw stones at Peter for denying Christ, and to claim that we would do better than he. But have you ever squandered a clear opportunity to testify about Jesus? Truthfully, I can relate to Peter, because I too have confessed that Jesus is the Messiah, but at times, I am paralyzed by the fear of man.

The Bible has a lot to say about our fear of man, giving numerous examples of people (both believers and unbelievers) who at times were driven by this fear: Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Lot, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Samson, Saul, David, the Pharisees, Peter, Ananias and Sapphira, etc. Why is the fear of man such a strong motivation for us? Why are we driven by what other people think about us? Why are our choices motivated by the danger that might come from other people?

Jesus offers three answers in Luke 12:1–12. Before we consider the text, a definition of the fear of man might be helpful. Fear of man can be described as a heightened awareness of self that comes because of a possible threat. When we fear man, we are most worried about what someone may do to us.

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Why I Tell Every Woman I Know to Read "The Gift of Fear"

It seems trite to say, “This book changed my life.” But The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker changed the way I think about how to protect myself and my kids from abuse and violence—which changed the way I view the world, and how I act in it. I have no hesitation recommending this as a Must Read for every woman, and every man who is concerned about the women in his life.

I used to think it was my Christian duty to allow myself to remain in uncomfortable and compromising situations because I needed to be friendly, gracious, and live up to my responsibility to witness to everyone I came in contact with. I thought I had to tolerate behaviors I felt were disrespectful and, at times, downright rude, because I was supposed to ‘turn the other cheek,’ be forgiving, love others as God loved me… Doubts or uneasiness were dismissed as the kind of fear condemned in 2 Timothy 1:7, or just female hysteria.

I felt trapped until I read The Gift of Fear, in which de Becker explores the patterns of violence and gives women (and men) the tools they need to listen to their instincts and predict possible danger:

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How to Debate Vaccines* and Still Come Out a Christian

“Baby’s First Shot” Richard Sargent, The Saturday Evening Post, March 3, 1962

(*or organic food, essential oils, education, health care, immigration, soteriology, eschatology…)

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that there have been several outbreaks of measles across the United States recently. Not surprisingly, this has led to vigorous (if not often, one-dimensional) debate about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccinations. And all I have to say to CNN, FOX, NPR, and every other news outlet that is now covering this story: Y’all are late to the party. We mamas have been debating this for years.

I remember the first time I realized that the questions surrounding vaccines were more than theoretical. I was visiting a friend when she opened her freezer to get some ice. There, sitting next to a chub of frozen hamburger, was a tray of lab vials. When I asked about them, she casually replied, “Oh, those are my kids’ vaccines. I ordered them from XYZ instead of the standard ones. My doctor said he would administer them if I bought them and stored them myself.”

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Were the Novatians Early Baptists? Part 2

Read part 1.

The doctrine of baptism

Baptists believe the New Testament teaches that baptism is only for a believer, by immersion, upon a profession of faith, as a step of obedience and public testimony. Baptists do not believe baptism is a means of grace or regeneration. Novatian disagreed with all of these propositions.

On the Apostolic Tradition (possibly written by Hippolytus) records the practices of the church in Rome in the early third century.1 Since the Decian persecution, and the subsequent Novatian schism, took place during the early to late 250s AD, the Apostolic Tradition is a very important resource for understanding how the church at Rome likely operated in Novatian’s day. It is a fact that the church practiced infant baptism:

You are to baptize the little ones first. All those who are able to speak for themselves should speak. With regard to those who cannot speak for themselves their parents, or somebody who belongs to their family, should speak. Then baptize the grown men and finally the women, after they have let down their hair and laid down the gold and silver ornaments which they have on them. Nobody should take any alien object down into the water.2

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