It’s complicated or is it?

“It’s complicated” pervades social media, television shows and perhaps our personal interactions. When this phrase infiltrates communication, often someone desires to avoid clarity. Some seem to use this expression to justify, dismiss or evade topics.

We can be left with the impression that if they were to spend the necessary time to wade through all of the complexity, we would end up agreeing with their decision or situation. And so, they spare us all of the sophisticated details by saying, “it’s complicated.”

Is it complicated? Or might it often be something else? Continue reading “It’s complicated or is it?”

After the new birth, then what?

In a previous study session we had explored God’s consistency. Throughout scripture God had graciously used covenant to recognize people as belonging to him. Furthermore, Jesus’ death fits into this larger story. Christ died to make the new covenant possible. With the new covenant God promises to both forgive and recognize people as his own.

With this background, the New Testament’s teachings on baptism became clear to her. Scripture associates baptism with forgiveness and receiving a spiritual new birth. But why? The reason is because with baptism someone enters into the new covenant thus receiving God’s covenantal promises. In other words, with baptism God grants us a new birth, an undeserved spiritual new beginning.

However now she had a new question. “What happens if I sin after baptism?” Our study returned to the scriptures. Continue reading “After the new birth, then what?”

Prayer, praise and pie

Notwithstanding the raging Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving. According to the Thanksgiving story, the roots for this holiday stretch back to 1621 when the Pilgrims of Plymouth shared a feast with the Wampanoag people.

While many today view Thanksgiving primarily as a time for family, feasting and the shopping floodgates swinging open, Christians will often seize upon this day as an opportunity to focus upward. Prayers of thanksgiving and praise for God’s loving kindness will ascend before enjoying turkey and pie.

Considering this year’s difficulties and what might yet lie ahead, perhaps Psalm 34 can serve as a template for this year’s Thanksgiving. It calls us to remember as well as look forward. Continue reading “Prayer, praise and pie”

Saved through childbearing! What is this? (2)

A library story can contribute toward illuminating the phrase, “But she will be saved through childbearing.” Clarity, however, might challenge our perceptions on salvation as well as our views on gender roles within worship. Or it might be 1 Timothy 2:15 will confirm what we already accept as true.

Our reaction will likely reveal more about us than it does Paul’s message. His message never changed. Continue reading “Saved through childbearing! What is this? (2)”

Saved through childbearing! What is this? (1)

Among Paul’s instructions to Timothy we discover what appears to be a curious assertion. Perhaps we’ve heard an explanation satisfying our curiosity quelling any further inquiry. Yet those explanations might melt away upon closer inspection.

So what did Paul write? “But she will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint” 1 Timothy 2:15. Continue reading “Saved through childbearing! What is this? (1)”