Baptizing babies

When people express a desire to baptize their babies, they might do so for many reasons. The motivation might be to fit in with their family’s religious or cultural traditions. Familial acceptance can provide a powerful force. Or perhaps a priest or preacher might have told them it is necessary. There can also be a concern that their baby is spiritually lost until this is accomplished.

If we are going to allow the Bible to shape our understanding regarding whether babies should be baptized, here is what we discover: Continue reading “Baptizing babies”

Six times and still nothing? Faith presses on

Ever feel like Habakkuk when he cried out, “How long, LORD, must I cry for help?” Sometimes it might feel like we are pressing forward with faith and obedience, and yet we do not see God’s intervention.

What can two stories about faith, obedience and God’s power teach us about living for our God? After all, we are neither the first nor the last to strive to live for God in a world filled with injustice and trials.

Continue reading “Six times and still nothing? Faith presses on”

Our God inspires hope

Even a cursory reading of the Bible reveals God wants us to live with hope. Scripture reveals God promising a variety of things for those who belong to Christ.

Yet, perhaps a doubt lingers. Can I really trust in the hope God’s word would inspire? Let me suggest God has never called for a blind faith, an unwarranted obedience nor a groundless hope. God always gives us reason to believe, obey and hope before asking anything of us. Check me out on this claim.

Continue reading “Our God inspires hope”

Moving beyond “why?”

We have all said it when confronted by disappointment. What elicited our question? Was it just an unexpected event or something much more significant? What is certain is we did not like it and we asked, “Why?”

When shallow platitudes are insufficient, “why” can consume massive amounts of our time and energy. Yet resolving it can remain as elusive as ever. Job can help us move beyond asking why to something more productive. Continue reading “Moving beyond “why?””

Squashing doubt and fear

Doubt can creep into our lives through many different avenues. Will this plan succeed? Will I be OK? Doubt spawns fear which erodes faith.

Spiritual doubt can arise when different voices spew forth conflicting messages about God and accessing eternal life. Even in the first century some Christians were wondering about questions similar to: What is my actual relationship with God? Have I chosen a sufficient spiritual path?

John provided a handbook so that God’s people could navigate such doubts. Anchoring his message upon a firm foundation, he offered evidence to squash doubt and fear. Here are some of his confidence builders. His letter provides a slam dunk. Continue reading “Squashing doubt and fear”

Remedies for going the distance

“What’s the point?” “Is this worth the effort?” We have all heard such comments and perhaps even asked such questions in certain situations.

When such thoughts reveal a floundering faith in Christ a physician’s care may be required. Just as athletes might need some athletic tape or analgesic spay to press on, Hebrews offers remedies for going the distance in moments of doubt and discouragement.  Continue reading “Remedies for going the distance”

The journey continues (5): the weakest link?

The previous article in this series is The Data Depot

Whenever people wish to dismiss an idea, they gravitate toward their perception of the weakest link. Discredit that link. Feel justified in rejecting the idea.

While such a decisive response could neither be justified nor wise, what might each perspective in the “faith of Christ” discussion regard as the opposing viewpoint’s weakest link? Ironically, both sides might point to whether or not this phrase should be rendered with “in.”

For those favoring “faith in Christ,” they might perceive the opposing opinion as fighting an uphill battle against the combined testimony of classic Greek grammars and commentaries. However, for those supporting “faith of Christ,” they might view “in” as being unwarranted by the text.

In my journey, two important questions surfaced: 1) How appropriate is it to translate a genitive with “in”? 2) Should “faith of Christ” be identified as an objective or subjective genitive?  Here are some milestones influencing my path. Continue reading “The journey continues (5): the weakest link?”

The journey’s data depot (4): faith in Christ and faith of Christ

The previous article in this series is Gleaning Genitive Gems

If  the following characteristics describe you, have you considered the evidence for yourself?

  1. Don’t dismiss the professionals, just recognize they are human.
  2. The normal functioning and understanding is preferred over a claim for an unusual or exceptional one.
  3. Since scripture is the standard, follow the evidence.
  4. Our goal will determine what we find. Value truth.

Before unveiling more milestones from my journey, today’s article provides a way station, an organized table of the data. To be sure, additional ideas will still need to be addressed. Nevertheless, if you have been following this journey, you may want to review the data for yourself. Continue reading “The journey’s data depot (4): faith in Christ and faith of Christ”

The journey continues (3): gleaning genitive gems

The previous article in this series is Analyzing the Authorities.

Imagine landing on a remote deserted island with a small group of people. To your delight, you encounter unknown exotic plants, fruits and animals. Probably before too long names will be assigned. Will your group create names by appearance, smell, function or something else?

In a similar way, grammarians enter the world of language identifying how words function and relate to each other within sentences. Labels are assigned describing these characteristics.

In my journey, I learned Greek alters the forms of its nouns, pronouns and adjectives by sticking little suffix flags on them to indicate their function and relationship within a particular sentence. Neat eh? One of these suffix forms, the genitive, lies at the heart of the controversy swirling around the “faith of Christ.” Continue reading “The journey continues (3): gleaning genitive gems”