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Exploring the Heart of Restoration

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Mike Cope

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The functional creed for many Christians as Gordon Fee points out, could be stated something like this, “I believe in God the Father; I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son; but I wonder about the Holy Ghost.”

My religious upbringing was full of concern about heretics who taught that the Holy Spirit works “separate and apart from the Word of God”…

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Many years ago, I got to be part of a small group of ministers who spent a few days with one of my ministry heroes, John Stott. During one session, Stott asked people what their current ministry challenges were. Someone began talking about the challenges they were facing in their religious tribe and in his church in particular as they…

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I’m thrilled with the “guests” (translation: Christians who aren’t from our particular tribe) who will be presenting at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures. Here are a few of them—and why I wanted them to join us.

GENE APPEL is the senior pastor of the Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim. When we met in 1998, Gene was the minister for the Central Christian Church…

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For this final post in the series, let me point out the obvious: Bible knowledge doesn’t always translate into Christlike thinking and living. I’ve known some brilliant Bible scholars whose lives were anything but godly.

We can read scripture for a lot of different reasons. Some read trying to prove their preconceived dogmas. Others read just to gain knowledge (as if “knowledge of God”…

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One of my prize possessions in my library is Adolf Deissmann’s Light From the Ancient East, first published in 1908. When I bought it during my grad school days, it felt like I was being privileged to enter into a wide world of sacred discovery.

But, of course, “sacred” is not what it was about as much as “secular.”

New Testament scholars used to…

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Here are ten things that amaze me about the Bible.

1. Even though there is much “variety” in scripture (ever gotten whiplash reading Ecclesiastes after the this-world-makes-sense wisdom of Proverbs?) and even though the books in scripture came over hundreds of years, it contains an overarching theme, a narrative unity. It speaks with profound insight about creation, the fall, Israel, Jesus, the…

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Today, I want to quote a couple women whose writings have inspired me.

First, Barbara Brown Taylor:

For all the human handiwork it displays, the Bible remains a peculiarly holy book. I cannot think of any other text that has such authority over me, interpreting me faster than I can interpret it. It speaks to me not with the stuffy voice of some…

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A fourth shocking discovery was this: the Bible didn’t come rolling off the presses as a single volume.

When we walk into Barnes and Noble, there are scores of Bibles. You just have to figure out which one to buy. It’s easy to assume that it’s always been that way.

So it’s a bit of a jolt when you first realize the obvious:…

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A third shocking discovery of my early life was this: the Bible wasn’t written to me.

It did not come as an 1141-page book (if you have the right copy) addressed to me.

It was written, instead, to the Israelites, to the Corinthians, to the Christians in Matthew’s community, to Titus, to Timothy, to Christ-followers in the seven churches of Asia Minor. And…

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Another shocking discovery of my early life was this: people wrote the Bible.

Real, live people. People who did not have perfect lives or perfect insight into the mind of God. People who wrote in their language, using their own vocabulary and style. Luke’s writing is polished; John’s is more like someone who was trying to connect with the middle schoolers (simpler…

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