August 27, 2013

The Thing About the Truth Is . . .

The thing about the truth is . . . not everyone likes it.

However, it's not truth that bothers me but error. And, yes, I know that it's not my place to correct everyone. But, if you heard someone loudly and proudly proclaiming, "2 + 2 = 5" wouldn't you correct them? Wouldn't you want to correct them for their own good? Or, perhaps, for the sake of the truth itself? Isn't truth, after all, a good worth pursuing for its own sake? If that's true of a mathematical equation, how much more for the truths of God's Word? Theology is infinitely more important than arithmetic. Our beliefs about God, about sin and salvation, affect every aspect of our lives. The effects reach our very souls. Eternity is at stake. God's glory is at stake. When I hear others casually misrepresenting Scripture, propagating error and passing off lies as truth, no matter how sincere or well-meaning they might be, I feel the need to correct them. For their own good, for the good of those who might be listening to them, and, most importantly, for the glory of the God whose Word they are misunderstanding or misrepresenting. Of course I know that no one likes being told that he is wrong. And I know that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about speaking the truth (see Ephesians 4:15). I also know that there have been times when I said or wrote the right thing in the entirely wrong way

And yet . . . I still get the feeling that, at times, it's not the presentation of the truth that rankles but the truth itself. As if the mere act of disagreeing with someone is an insult. The point I'm getting at, though, is this: if it's the way I said it that offended you, then I sincerely apologize. But . . . if it's the truth itself that bothers you; well, your quarrel isn't with me. So, don't expect an apology. I'll apologize for my lack of humility or compassion. I'll apologize for being rude or abrasive. But apologize for believing and speaking the truth? That I cannot do. 

August 22, 2013

Recommended Resources: Speaking in Tongues

I'm definitely not a Pentecostal/Charismatic, but I'm not really a cessationist either (not strictly speaking, anyway). For those of us who don't completely identify with either side of the spiritual gifts debate, it can be quite hard to find good resources on the subject. I have, however, come across a few good resources on "speaking in tongues." These resources critique the modern practice of "tongues" without resorting to exegetically-tenuous arguments* for the cessation of all the charismata.

August 15, 2013

Review: Unseen by Jack Graham

Graham, Jack. Unseen: What You Need to Know about Angels, Demons, Heaven, and Hell. (Bethany House, 2013), 288 pp.

Angels. Demons. Heaven. Hell. These are topics which tempt many believers to go to extremes. It seems they are either given little or no attention at all or, instead, they become the focus of an unhealthy over-emphasis. Though written mostly with those in the former camp in mind (see pp. 22-30), Unseen is author Jack Graham's attempt to ameliorate this dilemma by offering a balanced, biblical take on the reality and nature of the unseen spiritual forces at work in our lives and all around us.

August 13, 2013

Is God's Grace Sufficient?

Some think there can be a compromise between Calvinism and Arminianism, that there is some way to reconcile these two positions or, at least, come up with a mediating position that avoids the extremes of both. When the issue is framed properly, however, it becomes clear that this isn't the case. How, then, should the debate between Calvinists and Arminians be framed?

August 08, 2013

Responding to the Hebrew Roots Movement

There is a surprising scarcity of available resources on the Hebrew Roots Movement (also called "Sacred Name" theology). Those in this movement believe that the church has been infiltrated by paganism and needs to get back to it's Jewish roots. The problem is that these supposedly pagan beliefs and practices include such benign traditions as celebrating Christmas and Easter as well as common-sense matters like referring to Christ as Jesus instead of Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus). Most seriously, some in this movement even go so far as to deny cardinal doctrines of the faith, doctrines like salvation by grace alone through faith alone and the triune nature of God.

I've encountered believers who've been influenced by this nonsense, so I see a definite need for a biblical response. Unfortunately, many of the resources I've come across are written by other religious nuts and borderline heretics.

This interview, however, is an exception. Check it out here.

August 06, 2013

Review: The Big Story by Justin Buzzard

Buzzard, Justin. The Big Story: How the Bible Makes Sense Out of Life. (Moody, 2013), 177 pp.

In The Big Story, author Justin Buzzard gives his readers an overview of redemptive history following the outline of God, Creation, Rebellion, Rescue, and Home. But TBS is more than just an introduction to the storyline of Scripture. It is a defense of the Christian story as the best story, the biggest story, the story that explains and includes all others. The story that you and I, whether we realize it or not, are already a part of. TBS is a call to live our lives in light of this grand narrative, all for the glory of its Author. As Buzzard says, "God is not a character in your story. You are a character in his story" (p. 43). "We each have a big role," he says, a "part to play in shaping this Big Story."

August 02, 2013

Why Are Millennials Leaving the Church?

With all the recent chatter about the mass exodus of millennials from the church (see herehere, and here), I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring. The reason I feel the need to comment is simple: no one seems to be giving the obvious, biblical answer.* And that answer is?

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