If you are a parent, this may sound familiar. After providing some counseling, you launched into a dramatic story to illustrate the consequences of making a bad decision. In Romans, Paul seems to be our parent.
Salvation and purpose is an odd title. Yet, failure to distinguish between these ideas entangles them to the detriment of one or the other.
On the play ground, we can easily distinguish between becoming part of a team and what we are to do as team members. However, open the Bible and we might find ourselves blending what is distinctively different. Continue reading “Salvation and purpose”
“And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they murmured against the landowner” (Matthew 20:9-11 NKJV).
“Equal pay for equal work” has become a mantra of the feminist movement in America, but it is by no means new, nor is it limited to any particular nation or region. From my observation, there is no more common pastime worldwide than looking to see what the other person is being paid, unless it is complaining if my salary is not equal or greater. Continue reading “Equality”
How would the church at Corinth have answered the question, “How do you know that you are OK with God?” A little reverse engineering of 1 Corinthians 10 in view of the gospel’s message not only suggests a probable answer, but also provides reason for us to pause and reflect. Continue reading “Just because is not enough”
Matt, a fine young man I watched grow up, made a comment that got me to thinking. Matt’s heart aches over the current situation in Ferguson; it is broken at the comments expressed by some who cheer the grand jury’s decision not to indict. Matt sees clearly what so many are forgetting, that a young man was killed. There is nothing to cheer in this, one way or the other.
What jumped out at me in Matt’s comments was: “…read the comments of way too many white people desperately holding on to the lie that the system is fair.”
“The system”… how it developed is a discussion for another time. What touched me is Matt’s underlying heartfelt plea that the system might be “fair.” Continue reading “The System”
“And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery” (Mark 10:12 KJV).
I suppose if you were a member of the Jesus Seminar, or at least cut from a similar cloth, this is one of the sayings of Jesus you would certainly eliminate from the gospels. Think about it.
First, from a legal point of view, it’s entirely counter-cultural. In Matthew’s account – generally speaking, the more heavily favored one among those who discuss this subject – the focus is entirely on a husband putting away his wife. That is natural. In most cultures, and ancient Judaism was no exception, men enjoy legal preeminence. However, in Mark’s record, Jesus indicates that the law works both ways (Mark 10:11-12). Surely, the real Jesus wouldn’t have said this. Continue reading “Saving souls is much easier than you think”
It came up again in a conversation between, for want of a better term, a conservative member of our fellowship and a more liberal one. The liberal brother was explaining that he no longer believed in the “argument from silence.” Then he made that statement that really caught my attention: “I believe the church of Christ has been hypocritical down through the years when it insists that we sing a cappella, reasoning that the New Testament is silent on the subject of instruments.
The topic of instrumental music can wait for another article. Let’s say something about hypocrisy.
Let’s be clear about something: His terminology was incorrect. He didn’t mean we were “hypocrites” because we sang a cappella, he meant we were “legalistic.” Continue reading “The Hypocrite”
John Newton (1725-1807) was a preacher, a hymn writer, and at one time a ship’s captain. One of his hymns, entitled “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” is a song of great beauty and biblical truth. One of my favorite lines in it is this:
“Weak is the effort of my heart, and cold my warmest thought,
But when I see thee as thou art, I’ll praise thee as I ought.”
Of course Newton was speaking of the judgment day, but I have always thought that worship grows more deep in proportion to the degree that we see God as he is (Isaiah 6:1-4); conversely shallow worship occurs when we see factors other than God, factors such as the selection of songs, the talent of the preacher and so on. Continue reading “John Newton’s other hymn”
Which is more impressive, a good beginning or a good ending? Continue reading A powerful story of grace
We have a loving God. Continue reading A good God and an eternal place of punishment