The Gospel

From the Archives – The True Shekinah

The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is one jaw-dropper of a building. If you have an architectural bone in your body, a modicum of historical interest, or a primal appreciation of fine art, this building is an exquisite treasure. The Library of Congress is officially described as “the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution … the research arm of Congress … [and] the largest library in the world.” Its architectural grandeur, artistic splendor, rare holdings, and ubiquitous historical symbolism comprise an illustrious tribute to our nation.

In what is identified as the “South Mosaic Corridor,” just off the “Great Hall,” is located an ornate, domed ceiling. One fresco depicts a woman robed in splendor (you’ve seen the type: pudgy, pale skinned, bare-footed, breasts flaunted, billowing dress). Underneath this romanticized portrait is inscribed the word “Providence” (abbreviated to fit the space). Next to this fresco, occupying a space of its own, are painted the words: “The true Shekinah is man.”

The ironic juxtaposition of these ornate missives bears witness to two competing orientations that continue to wield influence in our diverse culture. Adding to the irony is the precipitous drop in the percentage of American citizens who would have any idea what either statement means. At the dawn of the 20th century when these words were painted on the ceiling of the Library of Congress, they were well understood concepts. Today, they are as outdated as a rare book—and just as valuable for our consideration.

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How Can You Tell if a Church Is Gospel-Centered? Start with the Pulpit

"Paul preached on various 'real-life' topics, but he did so in such a way that Jesus wasn’t seen as just another (albeit better) life coach, self-help expert, Mr. Fix It, or success guru. In Paul’s preaching, Jesus is the crucified and risen Lord. There is no other option, because there is no other Jesus." - TGC

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A Time to Be Silent: When to Refrain from Sharing the Gospel

Reposted from It Is Written.

One of the marks of a Christian is a desire to share the good news of the life-transforming gospel with others. In the words of the apostles, “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). But what if a friend, fellow worker, schoolmate, or family member asks us to desist? Does there come a time when we should refrain from speaking to a person about Jesus and Christianity? 

Thanks, But No Thanks

A few years ago, I sent John Piper’s booklet The Passion of Christ: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die to several close friends and relatives. To my knowledge, most of them were not Christians. I had already shared the gospel with some. With others I had not–at least not in a more comprehensive way. I wanted to be able to face Jesus on Judgment Day with the knowledge that I had attempted to share the gospel with those who were close to me.

Disappointingly, one couple replied with a letter and some materials that made it clear they rejected Christianity, affirmed materialistic evolution, and wished me to relinquish my attempts at trying to convert them. They were polite. But they were also resolute. They didn’t believe in God, and they preferred that I give up any attempt in persuading them otherwise.

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From the Archives: Christmas from a Shepherd's Perspective

Adoration of the Shepherds. Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

A little more than 2,000 years ago, “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Gal. 4:4, NKJV). It was exactly the right time, as predicted by Daniel (cf. 9:25) and confirmed by Jesus (cf. Luke 19:41-44).

It was also the right place—Bethlehem, six miles south of Jerusalem. Seven hundred years earlier, Micah wrote:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting. (Mic. 5:2)

The time was right, the place was right, and the circumstances were right. It was not to the high and mighty in Israel that the first coming—the incarnation—of Messiah/Christ was celebrated by “a multitude of the heavenly host” (Luke 2:13) in heaven and on earth. It was to a group of lowly “shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8).

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Maslow, material needs, and the gospel

"Apart from the value of Maslow’s particular understanding of human needs, and the various uses it has been put to in ministry as well as popular contexts, the challenge to rightly relate the temporal and the eternal, the material and the spiritual, is as old as the gospel itself.....the idea that there is some sense in which material needs must be met before spiritual needs can be properly addressed is, indeed, much older than Maslow." - Acton

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