Christian Living

What Does Worldly Look Like? Part 3

The goal of these articles (Part 1, Part 2) is to challenge misconceptions about the world and worldliness by taking a fresh look at our authority, the Scriptures themselves. I’ve argued that the biblical concept of worldliness encompasses much more than the matters of fashion, entertainment, and material possessions that we fundamentalists tend to focus on when we use the term.

The Study So Far

Part 1 in the series focused on select passages that suggest worldliness encompasses all of the sinful attitudes and actions of our unregenerate past. Romans 12:2 contrasts two conditions, conformity to “this world” [1] and transformation through mind renewal. Believers are in the conformed condition to the extent that we are not yet in the transformed condition. “Worldly” here is the opposite of “transformed.” In 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, Paul links the untransformed condition to immaturity and fleshliness and cites envy, strife, and divisions as evidence of that immaturity. Finally, James 3:14-15 associates contentious, self-seeking attitudes and sensuality with wisdom that is worldly (“earthly”). [2] Together, these passages alert us against a host of ungodly attitudes we seldom think of as worldly.

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Book Review: Alone With God

Alone With GodI dislike “legalese” in any context, but for this review a disclaimer is in order. I have served with Jason Jason for over five years on the staff of South Sheridan Baptist, now Red Rocks Baptist. When I first volunteered to review his book, Alone With God, I realized there could be some discomfort if I had to make negative comments. But I also knew that was a remote possibility since Jason and I had co-authored a discipleship manual, God And My Life. I recognized then his quality of thought, breadth of reading, and an ability to express himself well. I found this book no different, but now to the review.

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In Defense of Big Words: A Sesquipedalian Manifesto

The ground squirrel never knew what hit him. He had gone exploring in our Neon’s engine compartment and met his end in the serpentine belt when my wife started the car on her way to pick me up from work. She heard the belt go. My father-in-law very graciously picked me up from work, brought me by Advanced Auto for a new belt, and helped install it. This was a good thing because, when they passed out mechanical skills in heaven, I must have been in the library; my father-in-law, on the other hand, has done a lot of his own auto repair. Despite his mechanical prowess, we had a rough time getting that belt on, mostly because of my scanty tool supply (again, library book sales are favored by the appropriations committee). If you have never tried pushing back a tensioner lever with a stray, unidentified metal bar, don’t. I had visions of everything slipping and my impaling myself on some gizmo and joining the ground squirrel in bulge-eyed rigor mortis.

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On the Merits of Mere Traditions

Note: This article was originally posted December 21, 2005.

Traditions get picked on occasionally by Bible-believing people. I have done some of that picking myself and don’t regret it. Traditions are, after all, things handed down and honored by time, repetition, and the sharing of them by groups of people, and they are not necessarily rooted in any authoritative expression of the will of God.

But attitudes toward tradition tend to be polarized in an unedifying way. We have our unabashed tradition defenders and our unabashed tradition bashers. Those in the former group have rarely met a tradition they didn’t love, and those in the latter group feel quite the opposite. But perhaps both groups are missing something. Maybe the best course is to side with the tradition defenders in presuming traditions innocent until proven guilty but also to side with the bashers in aggressively putting traditions on trial. (I’m speaking metaphorically here, not joining the ACLU!)

There are good reasons to believe that a mere tradition, that is known to be just that, can be a very powerful thing for good and that those who run madly in the opposite direction of anything that looks or sounds old are doing themselves a great disservice.

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Preserving the Bond of Peace

Note: Dr. Sam Horn is host of The Word for Life radio program. 

by Dr. Sam Horn

Standing Fast for Unity–Philippians 4:2-3

Unity and harmony were important themes to the Apostle Paul. He addressed these themes throughout the New Testament in passages such as Romans 12:4-5, 14-15; 1 Corinthians 10, 12; and Ephesians 4:4. Perhaps one of the clearest cases where Paul’s concern for unity and harmony is expressed is found in Philippians 4:2-3 where he addressed two women who were at odds with each other. Although Paul does not reveal the cause or nature of their division, it is obvious their conflict was well-known to the assembly and had escalated to the point that public confrontation was needed.

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Is There Not a Cause?

This is the question that the King James translators in their interpretation of the Hebrew text placed in the mouth of David in 1 Samuel 17:29. David is basically a kid, “a youth” (1 Sam. 17:33).

But when David saw Goliath, the Philistine giant who had sent full-grown Israelite men scurrying, the lad simply asked, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (v. 26).
When big brother, Eliab, heard David’s sayings, he was furious, riddling David with two gunshot questions. And in verse 29, David came back with two questions of his own. What have I done now, Eliab, to justify your anger? Was it not but a word (dabar)?

And yet it is a word, fitly spoken, that can slay spiritual giants and liberate whole armies of God’s men.

On that particular day, young David could have decided to just stand there and fight his older brother, the one accusing David of heart pride yet actually the one clearly in the wrong.

But David knew his older brother was not his enemy. Not at all. The real enemy stood out there in the battlefield, bellowing blasphemy and causing God’s army to cower.

The KJV translators were right in their overall interpretation. Young David did have a cause. A mighty, holy cause. It wasn’t to be spent in wasting time, wrestling his older brother. No. He, turned from Eliab and just started sharing the same “word” to others about the real enemy to be fought and the God to be glorified.

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Meeting Day

by Mari Venezia

I only desired to have a daughter all my life. As a girl, I pretended to be a mother to a baby girl. Frank and I were married in 1974 with the intentions of having a quiver full of children. Since both of us were raised in Italian Catholic homes, we felt it would be an absolute to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen. 1:22). Little did we know that we would be one of many couples who hear those sad words that we had a one-in-a-million chance to conceive and might never have a family. Little did those experts know that the God who was about to save us both from our sin and religion was able to give us a miracle son.

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