While America’s evangelical Christians are rightly concerned about the secular worldview’s rejection of biblical Christianity, we ought to give some urgent attention to a problem much closer to home–biblical illiteracy in the church. This scandalous problem is our own, and it’s up to us to fix it.
Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates. How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.
This really is our problem, and it is up to this generation of Christians to reverse course. Recovery starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. [See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.] Parents cannot franchise their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful and biblical it may be. God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God’s Word.
The reliability of Scripture came under attack during and after the Enlightenment; especially (and oddly) by Christian leaders themselves.
To counter the attack on God’s Word, theologians and pastors for the last two hundred years have been arguing for the trustworthiness of the Bible. And that’s right. The Bible is trustworthy and that we should argue for its authority.
We read Scripture in order to personally meet Jesus. The Bible promises that in it we actually come to hear God. And that—how to hear God in Scripture—should be the focus of our teaching. We spend so much time arguing for Scripture that we we’ve forgotten to teach how to use it.
There are two types of judging.
- Judging an individual’s heart-motives which is directly tied to condemning them.This is the kind of judging that Jesus, Paul, and James sharply denounce. It’s the judgment of the heart.
- The other type of judging is the act of evaluating the morality of an action or the rightness of a word, statement, or teaching. Not according to one’s own personal preferences, the dictates of their conscience, or the standards of their denomination, movement, or Christian tribe (e.g., Colossians 2:16; Romans 14), but according to the standards of Jesus Christ as spelled out in His Word.
So it’s right to evaluate the merits of an action based on what the New Testament clearly teaches. But it’s wrong to judge a person’s motives.
The Bible Project has released another brilliant video. This one is about the gospel (or good news) of the kingdom of God. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmFPS0f-kzs
Being desperate for God is what someone feels who doesn’t really know what God has done. They don’t really know who God is for them. They don’t get that they are no longer living in a visitational culture. They are a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
When you understand that you are a habitation of God, it changes your whole perspective on how you walk with God. You start actually seeking the Lord.
I am not remotely desperate for God. I’m too busy just being delighted in Him.
Did you know the Bible mentions the name of the God of Israel 6,828 times? (Yet, if you ask most people the name of God, they can’t tell you. Many can name the gods of other countries, cultures and pagan religions, but not the name of the one and only true God – YHVH (יהוה in Hebrew).
Why is this? Why isn’t His name spelled out in our Bibles? And, what have we missed all these centuries by not using His actual name?
Imagine if every time you saw the word “LORD” (in all caps) it read Yehovah or Yahweh (as some pronounce it). You’d be seeing and saying his name nearly 7,000 times as you read through the Bible. This was the intent of the authors of the Bible, and, might I add, of Yehovah himself (“All scripture is inspired by Yehovah…” 2 Tim. 3:16).
Why does Yehovah want us using his name? In searching the scriptures for references to using his name, I came to understand the many benefits of doing so.
Two great lies have been promoted in our culture during the past 20 years. They are told to children in school, students in college, and workers throughout the business world.
The first great lie is, “If you work hard enough, you can be anything you want to be.” It is often sold as the American Dream, expressed in sayings such as, “In America, anyone can grow up to be president.”
The second great lie is like the first one, yet it’s possibly even more damaging: “You can be the best in the world.”
These lies are accepted by many Christians as well as non-Christians. They catastrophically damage our view of work and vocation because they have distorted the biblical view of success. These two lies define success in 21st century Western culture. Success, defined as being the master of your own destiny, has become an idol.
In the hyper-partisan world of American climate politics, these guys are a minority within a minority—evangelical environmentalists who are deeply conservative.
The shorthand for faith-based environmentalism is “creation care”—the notion that people have been entrusted by God to care for the Earth. But the common perception is that creation care was a concern of liberal congregations, ones far more concerned with social justice talk than fire and brimstone. Murdock and Johnson, however, are among a growing group of conservative Christians who draw bright moral lines, know their Bibles, and make connections between the environment and other social issues such as their opposition to abortion. Rather than joining the liberal ranks, they want to revive a heritage of belief they trace to the founders of the modern religious right.
I have only two options to deal with the tension of asking someone feeling gay longings to do something as difficult as pursue celibacy:
1. Give him and everyone else a pass for cross-less Christianity, what Bonhoeffer called “grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
2. Call everyone to bear the cross in the area of his or her sexuality.
I must force a clear choice. As Joshua told his fellow citizens: “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy and jealous God” until you “destroy the idols among you and turn your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel” (Josh. 24:19,23). Here’s how our church is trying to do that, often with struggles and still with much to learn.
Our Christian culture today is saturated with this idea, or at least with the quip, “relationship not religion.”
Unfortunately, the quip is wrong. In fact, it is so misleading it needs correction before we can start undoing much of the damage it has done. And boy has it done some damage. A large percentage of the failure of modern evangelicalism (and other parts of the church) can be blamed on the fallout of this mentality.
Here’s the bottom line, and then I’ll explain: “Religion vs. Relationship” is a false choice, and is always necessarily a false choice. By erecting this false dichotomy, people display that they understand neither what religion is nor what a relationship is. As a result, they denigrate both.
The book of Job raises many important questions about the role of suffering in God’s world. Why do people suffer? How can we suffer well? Is God just? This video gives a concise explanation of how the book of Job raises such questions and what answers it gives.
It’s hard to say which Bible Project video is the best, but this certainly has to be a top contender.
There is a common belief among Americans that following Jesus will help you get what you want in life. In this story, the “good news” is good because it brings individual satisfaction and pleasure. The good news of the biblical Gospel is that people can be reconciled to God. That may or may not have anything to do with your material prosperity or comfort. (more…)
The Bible Project has released another great video. This one shows the beautiful themes and structure of the book of Ruth. The literary quality and subtle theological themes of this book are often under appreciated. This video does a good job of highlighting what is often missed. (more…)
Another great video from The Bible Project explains the concept of “atonement.” Find out how the animal sacrifices described in the Torah point to the ultimate atoning sacrifice of the Messiah himself. This is a core piece of Christian theology which must be understood. This video is a great tool for understanding it.
Dr. Rob Rienow examines some of the promises of God and how they should produce an unstoppable joy in the life of believers. This stems from some of Paul’s comments in Philippians.
Before examining the biblical text of the sermon, he takes a few minutes at the start to comment on recent events in our country and how they boil down to an attack on God and his Word. (more…)
The book of Numbers is often overlooked by modern readers of the Bible. Perhaps it’s name is a turn off to some, which is unfortunate. This book contains many important stories of Israel’s journey and God’s dealings with his people. It’s actually not that hard to understand, once you watch this video. (more…)
People are no more lost now than they have ever been, and Jesus is no less Lord now than He will ever be. We dare not cower in our churches as though God has lost anything. The only decision handed down that matters is that the gates of hell cannot prevail against His church!
The first marriage was between a perfect man and a perfect woman. The last marriage will be between a glorified man, the Lord Jesus, and his sanctified bride, the church. Between those two weddings, humanity has marred and defaced the institution of marriage in many ways, including this new way. But the Lord Jesus will have the last say. Until then, I am doing all I can to make my marriage reflect the love of Christ for his church and to share the gospel of grace with everyone. No handwringing, no fear, no hatred, no bitterness. Just love of the Lord Jesus, of the truth, of my wife, of the Lord’s church, and of my neighbor–ALL of my neighbors. Though something in our culture has definitely changed, everything in the Word of God remained the same. I rest in that.
This video from our friends at The Bible Project explains the entire book of 1Corinthians in less than 8 minutes. See the structure and themes of the book in beautiful vivid imagery.
Paul’s letters can sometimes seem complicated and difficult to understand. But a video like this helpfully summarizes the main ideas of the book and simplifies the complex arguments into points that are easy to understand. Share this far and wide. (more…)
Many people today avoid the book of Leviticus like a priest avoids a dead body. Thankfully, our friends at The Bible Project have shed some light on this mysterious Book of the Bible. Check out this amazing video to see the great truths of which this book speaks. (more…)
A previous video discussed the big ideas of Romans 1-4. This video explains the remainder of the book of Romans. Many people find the book of Romans difficult to understand, but these videos make the big ideas of the book much easier to grasp. Enjoy… (more…)
Eric Mason explains how suffering plays a vital role in the sanctification process. We tend to want to avoid suffering at all costs, but we often fail to recognize that one of the costs of avoiding suffering is the opportunity to be made more holy and to draw closer to the heart of the Father. (more…)
See how David Platt explains the central significance of the resurrection not only for Christianity but all other competing claims as well. The Bible itself says that Christians are to be pitied above all people if Jesus did not rise from the dead. Whether he did or did not rise from the dead is not a matter of opinion or preference. What we conclude about this matter determines everything else we believe. (more…)
Hebrews 9:22 provides the main reason Christians believe that if Jesus had not shed His blood for us, we could never have been forgiven for our sins.
I forgive people all the time without requiring that they shed blood for me. And I’m really glad that people forgive me all the time without asking that I open a vein or kill my cat for them.
God doesn’t want blood. God wants life! It is WE who think that God wants blood (when He doesn’t). The idea of God demanding blood is borrowed from pagan religions. Jesus went to the cross, not to reinforce and support this idea, but to expose and redeem it. That’s a huge idea which would take us down a whole new rabbit trail.
God is holy! But what does that mean? The video above gives a visually stunning explanation of holiness and what the implications are for people.
It is very important to know what we are talking about when we declare God’s holiness and also when we say we are trying to be holy as he is holy. This video brings great clarity to these statements. (more…)
John Lennox tackles the question of miracles and the existence of the supernatural at Harvard’s Veritas Forum. He’s an engaging and entertaining speaker, not to mention a top notch scholar. (more…)
In this video, Eric Metaxas tells the story of how scientific certainty of life on other planets has dwindled over the years. Recent discoveries have shown that the fine tuning needed for the universe to exist at all, much less the life in it, is so incredibly precise that no belief in chance existence is tenable. Thus, science is not proving the death of God but the necessity of God. (more…)
People often worry about the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. But what the heck is that? Jonathan Welton offers his explanation of this enigmatic phrase from Matthew 12.
So, in the New Testament sense of the word, “heresy” was the creation of a division, a sect, a faction, or a party. For this reason, the author of Acts uses the word to describe the different sects within Judaism (Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5; 14; 26:5; 28:22).
“Heresy” involved the dividing of a local assembly, not the rightness or wrongness of what the dividing party believed.
It’s true, of course, that a heresy could be created by someone pushing a false teaching on a local assembly, causing it to divide. Peter alludes to this when he warns that false teachers will secretly come into the church and introduce damnable heresies (2 Peter 2:1).
In honor of Throwback Thursday, we are remembering that a Christian is someone who believes people can change…
Once we are labelled, once that sin is attached to you, it is seemingly impossible to break free from it. Even when the label no longer fits. Even when you have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and have spiritually matured in Christ and repented of these things, and moved on in the power of the Holy Spirit toward Christ-likeness…they can still haunt you. Reputations are nasty, icky, sticky things.
Some people don’t want to believe that people can change. But people do change, because God changes people.
The book of Exodus contains some amazing stories…and also some laws…and also lots of detailed instructions about a tent. How do all these things fit together? The Bible Project can tell you in 5 less than minutes. Check out the video above.
If you like this video, use the share buttons below to share it around…
R. C. Sproul, who drafted the original Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy, once said, “When people ask me how old the earth is, I tell them I don’t know—because I don’t.”
Contrary to what is often implied or claimed by young-earth creationists, the Bible nowhere directly teaches the age of the earth.
When it comes to understanding Romans 9, there are three keys which I have found helpful in explaining what Paul is teaching in this text.
Since it is the purposes of God that determine who gets elected and to what form of service they are elected, then it is God who decides when He needs to call individuals and when He needs to call nations or groups of people to perform certain tasks.
Resting in the finished work of our Lord is the basis of all spiritual life and work. Only those who rest in God’s promises and cease from their own efforts can receive God’s righteousness, peace, and joy.
The Sabbath day command was an ordinance that foreshadowed the coming rest in God’s kingdom that Jesus Christ would bring (Heb. 4). Christ, in essence, is our Sabbath rest.
God’s desire is that we enter into this spiritual rest now, rather than try to keep the letter of the seventh day command. His aim is that we keep the substance of the Sabbath rather than its shadow. The Sabbath is about a Person, not a day.
The true Sabbath is the kingdom of God that is among us right now, and it will one day be manifested for all to see.
Our friends at the Bible Project have done it again. This superb video explains what the covenants of the Bible are and why the New Covenant is such a big deal in God’s plans to restore the world.
Clearly, one of the New Testament writers’ favorite images for relating the truth of the Gospel in the NT to the revelation of the Old Testament was that of “types” and “shadows.” The images are rich, intuitive, and quite helpful in explaining the issue of continuity between the Old Testament and the New.
Classically, Christian theologians have seen God’s history with Israel, the signs, the symbols, Temple, Tabernacle, priesthood, kingship, and the whole of it, as the divinely-intended matrix of meaning prepared with care for Jesus’ entrance into the world. Jesus fulfills the promises and signs God has made to Israel, just as he said and predicted. It is God, so to speak, setting his own expectations for what he’s going to do to save Israel.
Woflgang Simson considers the command to make disciples who obey all that Jesus commanded. He finds over 70 things that Jesus commanded. What if these things form the constitution of the Kingdom.
Revelation 1:10 – “On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet…”
Ron Cantor explains what this interesting reference to “the Lord’s Day” is all about. It’s helpful to understand because it is often misconstrued in contemporary Christian circles. (more…)
Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox has said “the more we get to know about our universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator . . . gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here.”
The greatest miracle of all time, without any close seconds, is the universe. It is the miracle of all miracles, one that ineluctably points with the combined brightness of every star to something—or Someone—beyond itself.
With exotic teachings about angels on the rise, we desperately need some biblical guidelines. If you believe everything you hear these days, angels can be huge, tiny, spherical, male, female, feathered or non-feathered. What’s next? Yipping dog angels? Mermaid angels with fins? Court jester angels with bells on their hats?
Since my earliest days in the charismatic movement I was always taught that the Bible is our guidebook for doctrine and practice, and that the early church’s experience in the Book of Acts should be a pattern for us. If we don’t hold tightly to Scripture, we might unknowingly give birth to a cult that could bring great damage and division to churches worldwide. It’s time to get back to the Bible!
God provided the grace, faith received the gift. Jesus connected personal faith in Him to our eternal salvation. But Jesus also demanded good works to go along with faith.
Then there is St. Paul. The apostle is known as the foremost advocate of justification by faith. St. Paul is not opposing faith to ethical works but to the “works of the Law.”
When we come to Christ as sinners, we have no works to offer to Him, but only faith and repentance. But once we come to Him and receive the gift of salvation, we enter into a sacred covenant to honor Him with good works.
Many Christians either cling to the cross or champion the kingdom, usually one to the exclusion of the other. The polarization of these two biblical themes leads to divergent approaches: cross-centered theology that focuses on the salvation of sinners or kingdom-minded activism that seeks to change the world.
How did the church get to this unfortunate place of pitting important biblical doctrines against one another?
While you’re out and about contending for the faith this week, you may come across the Indian fable about the blind men and the elephant. This fable is often used to support religious pluralism and relativism by showing how each religion has a part of the truth but cannot know the whole truth.
Here are 3 responses to that claim…
Another incredible video from The Bible Project. This one is about the first half of the book of Exodus. Watch, learn, understand…
If we are, in our generation, to recover a robust and holistic expression of our devotion to Jesus as our Lord and Master – we must become aware of these entanglements that have reduced the Gospel to salvation as a hyper-individualized flight to a disembodied heavenly state. How you view the future and the end of the story means everything in how you live now. We have been praying: “Our Father who is in Heaven, please send your Son back quickly so we can be home with You” when Jesus told us to pray: “Our Father who is in Heaven, holy is your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven…”
Joel Salatin refutes the common misconception that the best thing that could happen for the planet is for humans to disappear. On the contrary, God wants us to work within his mandate to care for and nurture the earth.
In some denominations and movements, the Holy Spirit is overemphasized, leading to a Christless Pentecost — putting the Spirit exclusively on the throne and losing Jesus in the temple. In other denominations and movements, the Spirit is but a footnote, an afterthought, even a stranger. What follows are 50 things the Holy Spirit does according to the New Testament…
The primary motivation for us adopting kids was theology. Not biology. Because our lives are directly related to what we believe, our theology should lead way to our biography.
I learned from the Scriptures that God is an adoptive father. There are no natural born children into the Kingdom of God. All of us, who are in the family, are here by virtue of adoption.
Note: The video above is good, but if you want the shorter version, then click the button below to read a great article by the same guy.
The notion that “Lucifer” is a proper name for Satan was popularized in English literature by Milton’s Paradise Lost, where Satan is referred to as the “great Lucifer.”
Isaiah 14:14-21 concerns the fate of an historical king and there is nothing to suggest that the passage teaches anything about Satan. The term “lucifer” is a Latin term that has migrated into our English Bibles and theological vocabulary.
Jews are called (not demanded) to continue to live and identify themselves as Jews, but we in no way feel it is right to compel Gentile believers to honor the liturgical aspects ( i.e. Circumcision, Saturday Sabbath, food laws, feasts) to be saved. I find it fascinating that one of the first proponents of one of the most damaging, murderous theologies ever to be stated, Replacement Theology, was also a proponent of Messianic Judaism!
The intersection of science and religion clearly has the power to capture the public’s attention, but collisions can happen at that intersection. Is there a way for scientific and religious communities to work together more productively?
We have found that many scientists (both secular and religious) as well as evangelical leaders feel there is something amiss about communication between scientists and religious people, but their lives often never cross paths.
Luther actually suggested, “God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbor does.” So when Paul says in Ephesians that “it is by grace you have been saved” it is deeply connected to the work you do in your everyday life. When Paul continues, he goes on to say “for your are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus do good works.” God actually created you to do good.
You simply love your neighbor because they need it, not because they are a means to an end. The good work of God actually frees you to fulfill your calling as you love your neighbor in ordinary ways in your own workplaces, families, and neighborhoods.
Most American evangelicals hold views condemned as heretical by some of the most important councils of the early church. Many evangelicals do not have orthodox views about either God or humans, especially on questions of salvation and the Holy Spirit.
The church in every age has faced theological confusion and heresy. We cannot assume the next generation—or even this present one—will catch an orthodox theology merely by being in the church.
Joshua Butler explains how popular beliefs about hell cause us to miss the point of the Bible’s teaching on the subject. Many view hell as a skeleton in God’s closet. This need not be so if hell is rightly understood.
Note: You might also like our other video post about heaven & earth.
While I don’t believe the Bible has a journalistic type of accuracy that most fundamentalists ascribe to it, nor do I believe that the Bible is some sort of magic book that will yield an answer to every conceivable question posed to it, I am convinced of the following:
(1) All Scripture is inspired by God.
(2) All Scripture is authoritative.
(3) All Scripture is completely true and wholly reliable.
If the Bible isn’t reliable, then putting my faith in the Person that all Scripture points to — the Lord Jesus Christ — is a bit shaky. But note, reliability doesn’t mean perfection. Every historical document that’s reliable in its account isn’t perfect. Meaning, there may be a few typos, grammos, imperfect wordings, and even scribal mistakes. But those don’t overturn nor negate the overall message of the document.
Many a street preacher has used the “lake of fire,” an image in Revelation, to depict God as a sadistic torturer who likes to roast unrepentant rebels like kalua pigs over an eternal spit once the stopwatch runs out.
But is torture really the point of this image? I would like to suggest, in contrast, that the lake of fire is an apocalyptic symbol for the smoldering rubble of Babylon. It depicts God’s judgment on empire, not the torture of individuals. The symbol does not promote a caricature of God as a sadistic torturer, but rather reclaims hope for a world torn apart under the destructive power of empire.
The phrase personal Savior is yet another recent innovation that grew out of the ethos of nineteenth-century American revivalism. It originated in the mid-1800s to be exact. But it grew to popular parlance by Charles Fuller (1887–1968). Fuller literally used the phrase thousands of times in his incredibly popular Old Fashioned Revival Hour radio program that aired from 1937 to 1968.
Today, the phrase personal Savior is used so pervasively that it seems biblical. But consider the ludicrousness of using it. In Jesus Christ, you and I have received something far greater than a personal Savior. We have received Jesus Christ’s very own relationship with His Father!
The Bible teaches that when Christ comes back, it will be Good News! “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’” (Revelation 21.4). Surely we cannot erase judgment from the picture, but the hope is that those in Christ will be raised to eternal life and everything that is wrong with this world will be made right.
This world renewed is going to be our home for eternity, and we have the opportunity to reflect that future in our present. Rapture invites us to escape this world: the last thing that Jesus would have ever taught! “On earth as in heaven” is what he said, not “in heaven away from the earth!” Our world’s future is hopeful. Let’s tell that story and not the escapist narratives that many of us grew up with.
Many Christians, especially those who live in America, are obsessed with the second coming of Christ. Various interpretations surrounding the when, where, and how of this incredible event have spawned endless divisions among Jesus’ followers.
God’s intention from the beginning was to bring heaven and earth together. God’s purpose is to bring “eternity” to “here.” It was to expand the garden of Eden to the rest of the world. Consequently, God’s intention is centered upon earth. God loves the earth and regards it highly. Contrary to what many believe, Scripture teaches that the earth will exist forever.
The latest video from the Bible Project gives a visually stunning and concise explanation of how the Bible develops the theme of the Messiah from Genesis to Revelation.
John Piper has recently launched a new series of Bible study “labs”. The trailer video is above. Click the “Read More” button below to see the collection of instructional videos currently available.
Look at the Book is a new online method of teaching the Bible. It’s an ongoing series of 8–12 minute videos in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher. You will hear John Piper’s voice and watch his pen underline, circle, make connections, and scribble notes — all to help you learn to read God’s word for yourself.
Luther wrestled with the idea that God is holy, and that no matter how hard Luther tried, he was a poor, miserable sinner. Martin Luther could not see how a holy, perfect and righteous God would ever forgive and love a sinner like himself. Luther had done everything the church told him to do, he had performed all the rituals, said all the prayers, done the penance, but at the end of it all, he knew that he did not have the ability to produce the kind of life that would please God.
Then came grace.
How much choice does any individual human actually have? We speak of “free will”—but how much of a choice to accept God’s grace does anyone have, given the brainwashing and propaganda to which they are subjected? How much of a choice to accept God’s grace does a young boy in a radicalized Muslim school have?
Being in Christ is a divine invitation to an eternal relationship, open to everyone. But being in Christ is not an automatic, divinely bestowed or imposed gift.
“Left Behind” comes out this week, an apocalyptic thriller starring Nicolas Cage. Based on the best-selling book series, the movie revolves around “the rapture”: a belief that one day all Christians will suddenly vanish, disappearing from the earth to go be with God, while the world they “left behind” plunges into apocalyptic destruction.
Americans may find “Left Behind” to be best-selling entertainment, but is it biblical? I say no. In fact, as a follower of Jesus I find the rapture to be not just a little bit off, but actually upside-down and backwards.
When Jesus comes, here are a few reasons why I want to be left behind.
In almost every American Christian sanctuary (especially those within the Protestant communions), you can all but guarantee that the American flag will be found. And it is my contention that it should be taken down. Today. And never be put up again in the places where we worship the Lord.
The point is that our faith in Christ, our being a part of the Christian church, transcends nationality. When we enter our Lord’s sanctuary we do so to receive His grace: His Word, His Sacraments. We come as the body of Christ to receive Him. We don’t come as Americans. We don’t come as democrats. We don’t come as constitutional patriots. We come as sinners who need Jesus.
Irritability. I give into it too often. It’s time to take this sin more seriously and lay it aside (Hebrews 12:1). Every time I’m irritable I burden myself with the detrimental weights of prideful selfishness and relational conflict. And as my irritation overflows on others, it burdens them too because my harsh words stir up anger in them (Proverbs 15:1).
We like to blame our irritability on someone or something else. We try to convince ourselves (and them) that they make us irritated. If they were different,we wouldn’t be irritated. Or we blame it on being tired, ill or stressed. But Paul diagnoses irritability as a heart disease; a failure to love: “Love… is not irritable” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
On October 3rd, 2014 American movie theaters will again be flooded with yet another Christian movie– a remake of the Left Behind cash cow that has taken Western Christianity hostage for more than a generation. Perhaps you’re thinking of going to see the movie– or even worse, maybe you thought of bringing a friend who might actually take the movie seriously. If this is you, please take a moment to consider these 5 things about the Left Behind movie and the theology associated with it.
This video offers the perspective of a Jewish believer in Jesus on the topic of God’s plan for Israel and the Church.
Simply put, according to Scripture, the church is the chosen vessel of God to breathe spiritual life back into Israel. Romans chapter 11 reminds us about the mercy that we have received from God through our own salvation, that now we would release that mercy back to Israel. The Jewish people have been supernaturally blinded by God Himself until the appointed time of their redemption (Isaiah 6:9-10).
Tim Mackie explains how to read 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. There are some themes and main points to be aware of in order to understand the message of these letters. (more…)
Some Jewish roots movements are spreading mistaken theology. These teachings are creating unnecessary dissension among believers in Yeshua. Many church leaders have distanced themselves from Messianic Judaism because they think we too ascribe to these misguided teachings.
However, there are also right Jewish roots teachers and teachings.
In this 10 minute clip, John Piper explains what is so abominable about prosperity preaching. (more…)
We had a lively day on the blog with yesterday’s humorous post about Victoria Osteen’s non-sensical drivel. As a followup to that post, I thought you might like to read a thoughtful response from a serious theologian, Dr. Al Mohler.
God’s pleasure in his human creatures centers in his desire and will that they come to faith in Jesus Christ and be saved. The great dividing line in humanity is not between the rich and the poor, the sick and the well, or even the happy and the unhappy. The great divide is between those who, in Christ, have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s glorious light.
Mere happiness cannot bear the weight of the Gospel.
P.S. Be sure to check out Matt Walsh’s similar thoughts on the matter.
Beware “Jesuology.” That is how British theologian Oliver O’Donovan describes those Christian public theologies that claim to privilege the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. Ask a Jesuologist our question and you can guess the answer: “Blessed are the poor” and “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.”
All true. But Jesus also tells parables about servants who are punished for their terrible return on investment. From which Jesus-sayings should we deduce an economic theory?
Since I was duly convinced that my “assurance” was the most important issue, there was this unexpected, subtle thing that happened inside me in response to heaven and my eternal assurance. It became of ultimate importance to protect the formula that leads to my 100% assurance.
I have decided to give back my assurance of salvation—or at least to give back the formula. I cannot trust myself to conceive of it in any non-self-serving manner. Maybe it is just me, but I am blinded by self-preservation.
To some, the Bible seems like an odd collection of disconnected stories. This is not the case though. It presents a grand narrative in which every scene is a building block in constructing a bigger story. Each individual story points beyond itself to a truer and greater reality. This 3 minute video shows the importance of seeing how these stories work to present that truer and greater reality.
Renowned Old Testament scholar, Walter Bruggemann, explains how the prophets of the Old Testament rooted their message in the on going dialogue between making covenant with God and breaking covenant with God, which is a pattern that was first established in Exodus 19 and Exodus 34. Thus, the message of the prophets is best understood with the covenant narratives of Mt. Sinai in mind.
Many Christians have bought some lies. These lies are hurting us, crippling us. If we, as the Church, are going to become the image of God in the world, there are lies we must drop. Here are a few of the lies many Christians have bought into that are crippling us.
John Piper explores the question of how we can know the will of God. It turns out the answers are far less elusive than we might think.
In Americanism, America enjoys a special favor from the Lord, not granted to other nations. He has a special love for us, and our history demonstrates the unique role that God has played in the founding of our nation, as opposed, to say, Russia, or Mexico. Why? Because America has made God her God, “honored him” as no other nation has, and so God has made her his nation.
The problem with this view, though, is that it’s actually a heresy, or at least
a seriously false teaching.
Most Christians have a ready-made response to the question, “Why did Jesus die?” The answers are usually something along the lines of, “Jesus died to save me from my sins.”
And, because of the lack of clarity regarding Jesus’ death, some really deceitful doctrines have crept into our churches. The truths of Scriptures have been twisted into cultural clichés and false teachings about why Christ died, and what was accomplished by his death.
The Bible Project has released its second video on the book of Genesis. The first video is available here. This video is amazingly helpful for getting a big picture view of the book of Genesis and understanding its major themes and the story that God is weaving together in the Scriptures. (more…)
Believers who wish to learn more about the Jewish roots of Christianity do well. Learning about the Jewish roots of Christianity can transform a black and white understanding of Scripture into “living color.”
Like the inexperienced gardener who may confuse the flowers with the weeds, so the enthusiastic, but callow, believer may be unable to distinguish between those Jewish Roots teachings which enrich or impoverish our faith. That’s the danger. There are thorns in the garden. We should pay attention to Paul’s inspired advice to Timothy: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).
Sometimes people shy away from theology books because they find those books too boring or too intellectual or too intimidating. The problem with this thinking, though, is that it means that many people will leave some really great truths undiscovered because they were unwilling to approach the books that contain those truths. Theology books are certainly no replacement for Scripture, but sure can help you mature in your faith.
Stereotypes regarding prophetic ministry have existed for centuries. The tendency to determine what is or is not prophetic, or who is or is not a prophet by the mere presence or absence of a charismatic endowment, rather than inner alignment to kingdom truth, is unfortunate. It often carries tragic results.
The simplest definition of being prophetic is: hearing God and doing what He says!
Here are some qualities of bona fide new testament prophetic ministry from a new covenant and Christ-centered perspective…
Many churches seem to have forgotten the two most basic impulses of an organism: reproduce and adapt.
Or to use more Biblical language: We have forgotten how to be an Apostolic movement.
Key to understanding what the Church is and how it functions is the APEST: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds and Teachers who equip the church to carry on the work of Jesus in the world today.
On a regular basis, whenever there are reports of moral collapse in our country or of wars and crises worldwide, someone will say to me, “This is it! Jesus is about to return! Everything is coming down!”
Could it be that we have a wrong mentality about the end of the age? Could it be that we’re missing something very important?
What I want to address here is a potentially dangerous mentality that breeds despair and hopelessness, that leads to capitulation and escapism, and that almost encourages believers to throw in the towel.
Tim Mackie explains the strategy for reading Isaiah 1-39.
The book of Isaiah is pretty long and has some pretty confusing stuff in it. However, if you step back and look at the major sections of the book and the prominent themes, then you can gain a much clearer understanding of it.
Tim Mackie explains the strategy for reading Isaiah 40-66.
The book of Isaiah is pretty long and has some pretty confusing stuff in it. However, if you step back and look at the major sections of the book and the prominent themes, then you can gain a much clearer understanding of it.