Showing posts with label Doctrine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Doctrine. Show all posts

Friday, January 13, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Choosing a Church

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

Woodcrest Church has a helpful “Denomination Selector”. No, really, I’m not kidding.

The survey* asks the user to agree or disagree with a series of 24 statements along the lines of the following:

  1. There is one God
  2. Godhead exists as three distinct Persons
  3. The Bible is free from error


  1. There a literal Heaven and Hell
  2. The preferred day of worship (or Sabbath) is Sunday
  3. People receive charismatic gifts today (tongues, prophesy)
  4. A woman can serve as a pastor or a church minister


and so on.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Sound and Unsound

It is difficult to miss the adjective “sound” in the first couple chapters of Titus. In fact, it occurs more times in Titus than anywhere else in the New Testament. In instructing his younger associate, the apostle Paul refers repeatedly to both “sound doctrine” and being “sound in the faith”, the latter being the result of the former. Soundness was the apostle’s desire for the Christians in Crete, and indeed for all believers everywhere.

In Greek, the word “sound” is hygiainō, which means “healthy”. It has the sense of fitness and functionality. In Luke it is contrasted with both sickness and injury.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

On Incoherence

Ideological incoherence is the hallmark of the political Left.

The Right has its own problems with consistency, of course, and they are not trivial, but it is getting increasingly difficult to keep pace with people who maintain the right to life for murderers and roast beef sandwiches while upholding the right to kill human babies in the womb. What can one say about folks who maintain diversity is strength ... except when it is ideological diversity, of course. What can we say about people who argue for the supremacy of science ... except when genetics plainly tells us a man is a man and a woman is a woman. Then science is right out to lunch.

Well, we can say Christians are probably way too much like them for our own good.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Self-Controlled or Self-Condemned

A few years ago, I had several Facebook exchanges followed by a long phone call with an old friend I hadn’t seen since my mid-twenties. Now in his late forties, he had suddenly become passionate about the Christian faith. It was all he could talk about. Initially, I found his new enthusiasm infectious. I was delighted to hear he was reading the Bible for himself.

After an hour or two back and forth, however, it became apparent that his newfound interest in the word of God had a very specific, narrow focus bordering on obsession: mining Bible numerology for clues to understanding the past and the future. The moment I tried to get practical with my old friend, our conversation hit a brick wall.

Why was that, I wondered?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Bad Ideas and Good People

A bad idea never once walked into your church on its own. Ideas don’t have legs.

No, bad ideas have carriers, much like the flu; infected people who transport them from location to location to allow them to spread. The carriers have smiles and good qualities and apparent wisdom in other areas of life. They have histories of service to God’s people, kids who are friends with yours, and wives who are sometimes even nicer than they are. They invite you out for meals, they volunteer to run the youth group, or they are found in the basement of the church building of a Saturday with plunger or mop in hand, cleaning assiduously.

Okay, I’ll concede that last one only happens with certain types of ideas ...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

On the Mount (34)

How firm is your foundation? For many Christians, that question is largely theoretical.

See, it’s when the rain falls, and the floods come, and the wind blows and beats on the house that its owner discovers the true value of the foundation on which he has built. Stack Western believers up alongside the apostles, the martyrs and the heroes of the faith over the last two millennia, and it’s a fair bet most of us have never seen more than a few dark clouds in the sky and the occasional bit of spatter.

Which accounts for a fair bit.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Practical Doctrine

Ever hear Christians complain that we really need more practical platform ministry — as if they never hear any? Mostly I’ve heard it from people listening to the same speakers I listen to; men (imperfectly but regularly) making the effort to explain how the teachings of Christ and the apostles ought to be worked out in our lives today.

I’ve also regularly heard serious Christians lament “Nobody will put up with sound doctrine anymore” — that, in effect, today’s pew-sitters want nothing but pseudo-spiritual, life-oriented, anecdote-driven blather from the platform instead of accurate and profound teaching.

It’s not outside the realm of possibility that both sides are making a not-entirely-scriptural distinction between doctrine and practice.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Choosing a Church

 The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Practical Doctrine, and Other Clarifications

The sermon didn’t really go on until 2:00.
It just felt that way.
Growing up in and out of various local churches, I often heard the complaint (usually from women) that certain Bible teachers were hard to sit through because all they did was teach doctrine when what the church really needed was something more practical: the Bible applied to everyday life.

I must confess that at the time I was a little unsympathetic. I figured it was kind of a “girl way” of conceding they weren’t spiritually up to the job of making the effort to decipher what the speaker was saying. You know, like “We don’t do math.” That kind of thing. I thought, “Why don’t you just ask your husbands at home then?”

I wasn’t always as nice as I am today. Hard to believe, I know.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

So Dumb We Need a Pastor

How smart are you, and how much does being intelligent matter to your Christian life?

The other day, a discussion of IQ and what it means for human capabilities in various areas of life took a turn for the bizarre in the comment section of one of my favourite blogs. One of the wordier and more inscrutable readers said something that boiled down to this (I’m translating from intellectual-ese here):

“To be usefully involved in the Church requires a certain minimal level of reading comprehension. Important parts of the Bible are not instantly obvious to everyone. How smart do you have to be to understand it?”

I think Protestants find this an uncomfortable question because it undermines sola scriptura. They shouldn’t: pastors exist for a reason.”

It was, as you might well imagine, the last line that caught my attention.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: Choosing a Church

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

In Need of Analysis: Doctrine vs. Practice

The most current version of this post is available here.