Showing posts with label Colossians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colossians. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Substance Belongs to Christ

It is remarkable that the only mention of Sabbath-keeping in all the epistles comes in Colossians 2, where Paul identifies it as one of the requirements of Jewish law eclipsed in Christ. The apostle writes:

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”

The Sabbath, Paul says, was a shadow. That’s important.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Glory Unassailable

“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

A friend and older brother in Christ who has been a role model going on thirty years never fails to distinguish between the sloppy, euphemistic way evangelicals use the word “glory” (as in “We’re going home to glory” and other such expressions) and the more precise way the writers of the Bible use it. Glory, he says, is not a synonym for heaven. Rather, glory is a state of being.

I used to wonder why he made such a point of this. Now I get it.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

(Re)Making Music

I’ve heard it said that the quickest way to split a congregation is to change the hymnbook or repaint the walls.

Well, I have no feel for interior decorating, so that second one’s not going to be a problem for me. But like most people, I have more definite tastes when it comes to music. Some of the songs that my local church sings, I love; others, I confess, make me cringe.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Wrong Word

Sometimes we’ve just plain got the wrong word in our Bibles.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know translators are highly skilled people. In almost every case when it was first translated it was the right word. It was clearly understood by its audience. It was the best English equivalent in its generation for a particular Greek or Hebrew expression.

But languages evolve. Meanings morph. Sometimes they even reverse themselves. Words that worked in one generation no longer transmit the intended message without causing confusion, eroding our ability to grasp what the writers of the word of God were trying to tell us. More than a few beloved expressions hang on well past their expiry dates.

My candidate of choice? The word “grace”.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Wikipedia vs. Baptism

Where does one begin on the subject of baptism?

If there is a more misunderstood Christian practice in all of the New Testament, I cannot think what it might be. I suspect even speaking in tongues can’t touch it with respect to the degree of confusion produced by the teaching about it currently circulating.

How widespread and how deeply rooted are the misconceptions surrounding baptism? I suppose one might look at different denominational opinions on the subject and assess them one by one, but I’m really more interested in what the man on the street (and perhaps even in the pew) thinks than in esoteric positions held by theologians that have failed to make an impression on the masses.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Not Going to Nashville [Part 5]

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

The Nashville Statement is a significant evangelical document. It’s an attempt by big names such as John Piper, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Russell Moore, James Dobson and others to formulate a written response to Western culture’s post-Christian “massive revision of what it means to be a human being”, especially as that revision relates to sexuality and marriage.

Significant though it may be, in our final installment we’re discussing why, here at ComingUntrue, we’re Not Going to Nashville.

Tom: On to the ante-penultimate Article then.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Wrong Word

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Did God Invent Slavery?

If the ongoing debate over the appropriate Christian response to the institution of slavery is not the single touchiest subject currently batted around by evangelicals in multicultural societies, it has to be at least Top Five.

Some Christians, perhaps wisely, dodge the issue entirely if at all possible: “Are there slaves today anywhere in the West? Have there been any for over a century? No? Well then, it’s irrelevant what I think about it. Next question!”

Most of us wouldn’t put it that baldly, but we would be just as happy discussing something else.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Hope of Glory

Why can’t we all just get along?
I’ve been reading a fair bit of commentary by frustrated alt-right postmillennialist believers lately, folks for whom the reestablishment of Western Christianized patriarchy has become awfully close to an article of faith.

Their agitation is actually quite understandable, really. If your view of prophecy is that you are currently experiencing the thousand-year reign of Christ (or that the spread of the gospel should shortly serve to bring it about), at some point the evidence of your eyes has got to churn up some serious cognitive dissonance.

Right now, Satan doesn’t look all that “bound” to me.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Earthly and Heavenly

Asked what three things they would take to heaven if they could, respondents demonstrate impoverished imaginations:

“My crucifix, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue album and a photo of my best friend who died last year”

“My PS3, cell phone, picture of my family”

“My iTouch, my electric guitar and my copy of Pilgrim’s Progress printed in the 1800s”

The most common choices are computers and game systems. A few pets work their way in as apparent afterthoughts.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

(Re)Making Music

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why Can’t God Just Let Us Alone?

A good friend’s struggle with her child has taught me a little bit about theology.

If that sounds odd, let me explain. This particular friend has only one child, a girl, born late in her life when it is statistically considerably more difficult for a woman to conceive and carry to term. It was exceedingly important for her to have children; she and her husband tried many times over more than a decade to conceive, to very little effect. On the rare occasions of success, she always lost the baby early into and sometimes even well into the pregnancy.

So far this is the story of many women, sadly.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Wikipedia vs. Baptism

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Screaming Kids and the Harvest of Righteousness

I’m fairly emotionally robust, a product probably of both nature and nurture. I’d like to think I’m not completely insensitive, but it takes a fair bit to hurt my feelings, let alone do any kind of serious damage. I can’t imagine what someone would have to do to me to cause permanent harm to my worldview, self-image or confidence. (My family may, of course, wish to offer their own take on any spirit of self-congratulation that sneaks into such a self-assessment.)

But that’s not true of everyone. It wasn’t even always true of me. In Grade 5 when I first encountered bullies (or more accurately, they first encountered me), I was insecure, terrified and conflict-avoidant. Mostly I was perpetually astonished at the intensity of their venom, which as far as I could tell was directed my way for no reason at all. I walked miles out of my way to get home from school without being pummeled silly.

Nowadays, at least in Canada, bullying in school is frowned upon and a token effort, at bare minimum, is made to manage it. When I was a teen, there was not much you could do except fight back (if you were able) or run for the hills. Taking your sad tale to a teacher or principal didn't accomplish anything positive, something I learned rather quickly.

But even being bullied is merely a manageable annoyance if you have a good home and a loving family to retreat to.

The really emotionally destructive stuff happens at home. No stranger or acquaintance can hurt you like a loved one can.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Antidote

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
(Colossians 1:17)
The words “hold together” here are most frequently translated “commend”, or literally “stand with”, and are used of a confirming testimony; that which supports or substantiates something that might otherwise be less solid or demonstrable. The KJV says, “in him all things consist”, which is fine, as long as we don’t conjure the image of the Lord Jesus as some vast being with everything else inside him, because that is not what the apostle is emphasizing here. Rather, he affirms here what is said in Hebrews about the Son; that he “upholds all things by the word of his power”.

He is the “confirming force” of the universe; what makes all things cohere. Not being a scientist, I’ll stop there, though I’m quite sure scientifically trained Christians (not Christian Scientists) might have much to say on how that works out practically.

No, I’m thinking about human relationships and the way we communicate.