Firmly rooted and knit together

This is the time of year when the careful gardener is painfully aware of root systems in the garden; especially when they are insufficient.

Rainfall has been almost nonexistent for the past several weeks, and many of the newer trees and shrubs are showing signs of stress. The brilliant colors that herald autumn are muted even in the more established trees, because of insufficient water. Continue reading “Firmly rooted and knit together”

One church: the intersection of scripture and today’s world

Money, politics and religion can stir up controversy. Within Christendom, opinions about church run deep. Yet, most agree what the New Testament teaches, such as its insistence there is one church. Disagreement arises over how this teaching should be applied to our world.

Can we understand how the Bible’s teaching regarding one church relates to our world? Can the confusion be untangled? I believe yes.  Continue reading “One church: the intersection of scripture and today’s world”

Satan doesn’t care why we leave the Lord

Satan is doing everything he can to destroy our faith. He’s the consummate liar (John 8:44) and will use whomever or whatever is at his disposal to accomplish that goal (1 Peter 5:8).

Nothing will be spared.

The devil has no conscience, no scruples and he’s incapable of queasiness or doubt. He speaks in our voice and will ingratiate himself in any way possible to turn our head. Our constant attention is needed. Continue reading “Satan doesn’t care why we leave the Lord”

The crux of our saving faith

The following quote describes a richness lying within the word “faith” that challenges popular thinking. What are we to make of this claim about faith within the Greek New Testament?

The noun pistis offers a range of semantic possibilities for English translators. It can be rendered as ‘faith,’ ‘faithfulness,’ ‘fidelity’ or ‘trust.’ It probably does not, however, mean ‘belief’ in the sense of cognitive assent to a doctrine; rather, it refers to placing trust or confidence in a person. The cognate verb pisteuw (pisteuo) can be translated as ‘believe’ or ‘trust.’ English, regrettably, lacks a verb form from the same root as the noun ‘faith.'” – Richard Hays’ commentary on Galatians

Continue reading “The crux of our saving faith”

Challenges

“And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:13-15 NKJV).

Given the frequent headlines of terroristic violence in numerous locations in recent weeks, the question posed at the beginning of the quotation at the head of this article may seem naïve at best. Hundreds, even thousands, of presumably innocent people have been victimized for no other reason than to make a political or religious statement for the benefit of fanatics. Continue reading “Challenges”

Romans 4 and Galatians 3: defining faith or defending faith?

An employer suddenly emphasizes proper procedure or a spouse describes what needs to be accomplished. Does it make a difference whether someone understands these statements as belittling criticism or helpful instruction? Of course it does!

While correctly interpreting social interactions can be extremely significant in navigating relationships, our perspectives regarding how a biblical author intended his words to function can dramatically shape what we teach for better or for worse.  For example, what was Paul’s purpose in Romans 4 and Galatians 3 regarding Abram’s faith? Did Paul define what constitutes faith or did this apostle defend the principle of faith? Or both? Continue reading “Romans 4 and Galatians 3: defining faith or defending faith?”