Dear Christians, Please Don’t Romanticize…
There is too much romanticizing of either time periods or cultures (or both!) by many Christians–and by too much, I mean to say that any is too much.
What is wrong with this? Why is it wrong to “hearken back” to when things were simpler and outwardly more “noble?” Why is it wrong to fantasize that you were born in/live in medieval or Victorian or Edwardian Eras? (For whatever reason, these seem to be the two of which I see most Christian pining.) What is... Continue Reading
What Mysticism Misses and the Gospel Gets Right
Mysticism sounded so very spiritual and even got some things partially right, but the focus was wrong
The gospel was seen as baby stuff that got us in the door. The bigger and better stuff was up to us to achieve. This left two options. No assurance which leads to fear of not being able to measure up or being deluded into thinking you could actually do what only the Holy Spirit... Continue Reading
Can There Be Forgiveness Without Repentance? Part 2
Along with this claim that repentance is necessary to forgiveness, I am aware of the need for at least four caveats.
Second, what if the offender does not repent? For example, the other person refuses to acknowledge that she has wronged us, and she goes further to blame us for what she did—as if we should be apologizing to her instead of the other way around! As noted above, we cannot pursue a vulnerable, trusting relationship... Continue Reading
When We Hunger
As adults, we often forget what children know intuitively. We forget the One who meets our needs, not just for food but for all things—including salvation.
Not only do we forget our need for God and his grace, but such forgetfulness often leads to pride, “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.” We readily trust in ourselves, thinking that what we have comes through our own hands. We are ungrateful and fail to give God... Continue Reading
What Is Saving Faith?
Faith is central to Christianity
Faith is effectual only if one personally trusts in Christ alone for salvation. It is one thing to give an intellectual assent to a proposition but quite another to place personal trust in it. We can say that we believe in justification by faith alone and yet still think that we are going to get to... Continue Reading
The Amazing Holy Spirit – He Goes Wherever You Do
Do you go to church to have your spiritual batteries recharged? If so, will the charge last for an entire week?
The Protestant doctrine of vocation sure looks a lot less complicated and a whole lot more compelling. By the Holy Spirit Christians offer up sacrifices to God through the duties they perform as part of God’s providential care for his creation. By the Holy Spirit, Christians are priests. By the Spirit, they perform a small... Continue Reading
No Man More Pitiful
There’s no city more pitiful than a city without walls, and no man more pitiful than a man without self-control
“Barely a day goes by when I do not speak to someone or inquire after someone or pray for someone who is struggling with the sin of pornography. Men get in touch all the time to confess the sin and to ask for help. And what I want them to know is that they are... Continue Reading
Luther’s Theology: Music as Servant of the Word
Using the gospel as his grid, Luther retained, replaced, or revamped various elements from the mass
Having ensconced the Bible at the pinnacle of worship, Luther sees an intimate connection between music and the Word: “Thus it was not without reason that the fathers and prophets wanted nothing else to be associated as closely with the Word of God as music. Therefore, we have so many hymns and Psalms where message... Continue Reading
Loving The People You Love To Hate
Here’s how you know if you hate something someone has done or if you actually hate that person
“Do you love to hate somebody? Do you hope for their failure and inwardly delight when it comes? Do you have the slightest inkling that your desire for justice has bled into desire for vengeance? And if so: do you find any of that commensurate with loving your neighbor?” In the midst of my... Continue Reading
The Most Difficult Verse in the Bible
Deuteronomy 28 is not my favourite chapter in the Bible. Not by a long shot.
“God is merciful. God is gracious. God is patient. God is loving. And God is just. He will by no means clear the guilty but will visit consequence upon people and upon communities in keeping with their actions. That is who God is. Therefore, what He says in Deuteronomy 28:63 is entirely in keeping with... Continue Reading