Monday, July 04, 2022

Anonymous Asks (204)

“Is the person Paul describes in Romans 7:14-25 saved?”

The passage referred to in Romans 7 is the one in which the apostle Paul begins by saying, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” and ends by posing (and answering) the question “Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

I cannot see how this person can be anything but a believer.

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Promoting Fellowship

“Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.”

Over four hundred years later the risen Christ asked two of his followers, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other?” It is a question we sometimes need to ask ourselves.

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Mining the Minors: Hosea (34)

The wrath of God is an established fact of scripture, the Holy Spirit making reference to it in excess of 300 times. But we should not think of God’s wrath as merely emotional, as if it comes and goes depending on his mood. Rather, the wrath of God “abides” or “remains” on sinners who refuse to take God’s provided way of escape. God’s anger never abates, never lifts and never loses its intensity unless it is met with the appropriate response.

After all, he is not a man that he should change his mind.

Friday, July 01, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Objectively Bad

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Here we are, Immanuel Can. It’s 2016, and our old pal Rachel Held Evans is once again raising spiritual issues of importance.

I had not realized that she and husband Dan are expecting a baby, but it does explain why her blog output is down to about one post a month. And if my recollection of raising children remains unimpeded by creeping senility, her writing output is likely to remain at an all-time low for the indefinite future, assuming it does not tail off altogether.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Minding Our Own Business

Our church just got a flow chart. It’s our very first.

Congratulate us. We have a new hierarchy, with the elders and lead pastor pegged in at the apex, then a sort of “Christmas tree” pattern downwards, with levels for “administrative pastors” and “pastors of family life and missions” and then various lay designates like Sunday School supervisors and teen ministry functionaries below them. (The congregation itself didn’t make it onto the diagram, but I think we’re assumed to be down there somewhere.)

And … oh yes … Someone Else is missing. I just can’t think of who he is.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Sleeping on the Job

Socially, there are conservatives and liberals.

Geopolitically, there are globalists and nationalists.

Philosophically, there are uniformitarians and catastrophists.

The vast majority of us find our way into one or more of these camps by default.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Semi-Random Musings (26)

Unless you come from a megachurch background where the primary influence on your Sunday praise fodder is the Hillsong catalog, you are probably familiar with the name Isaac Watts (1674-1748), lyricist of several absolutely wonderful old hymns. The three I know best are “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” and “Jesus Shall Reign”.

Many of Watts’ hymns paraphrase psalms.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Anonymous Asks (203)

“Why does the Bible use so many different words to describe sin?”

John Walvoord writes that there are thirty-three different Greek words translated as some version of “sin” in the New Testament. I won’t try to rehash his study, but it should be fairly obvious from the sheer number of ways the writers of scripture describe it that sin is a big subject.

Properly understanding sin demands we look at it from multiple angles.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Goodness or Godhood

The following post is an edited version of a flyer created in 2016 for the author’s neighbors. He went to be with his Lord and Savior January 20, 2020, which is “far better”.

“Good” is a word often carelessly used in conversation.

Three examples: “People who work for the government earn a good wage”, or “The weather should be good tomorrow”, or you ask a friend, “How are you?” and he replies, “I’m good.”

That last one is too much for anyone to say of themselves. We have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God”. At best we are not absolutely good, though we may have done some relatively good things that we hope our neighbors appreciate.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Mining the Minors: Hosea (33)

One of the more ironic features of God’s judgment is that he sometimes gives men and women precisely what they are asking for, and it turns out to be not at all what they had in mind.

Israel craved meat and complained against God, so God gave them meat until it came out their nostrils and became loathsome to them.

Israel craved idols, so God gave them idols that were deaf, dumb and useless at protecting them.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Immasculate Conception

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Last week we discussed the problems faced by children who grow up without fathers. If it were just an issue within society, that’s one thing, but evangelicals are increasingly being called upon to aid, abet and even validate single motherhood in the church.

Tom: I’ve just referenced three cases (and there are many more like them) where so-called Christians are looking to justify these sorts of choices and normalize them in Christian circles.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Fatal Friends: Dawkins and Calvin

Hey, look — John Calvin and Richard Dawkins are riding on the same bus!

To be fair, I think neither is likely to be very happy the other has come along for the ride. They’re probably sitting at opposite ends, looking away from each other, and maybe pretending to read an outdated copy of The Times. But they’re riding to the same station.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Foreign Gods in the Least Likely Moments

“He said, ‘Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.’ ”

Quick question for avid readers of the Old Testament: without clicking or mousing-over the link above, who said these words?

If you guessed Moses, you’re wrong.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Minimizing the Damage

Most elders, pastors and church leaders would agree that formulating an appropriate corporate response to the purported pandemic has been among the most difficult and divisive issues they have ever had dropped in their laps. No matter which way they went, some Christians were going to disagree with official church policy. A non-trivial number of congregants have parted ways with their brothers and sisters over it, and some are still mulling their options.

The question for church leadership is how to minimize the damage.