Saved by faithfulness

I believe that we are saved by faith. I think the Bible makes that abundantly clear. What isn’t always clear to us modern readers is what the Bible means by the “faith.” What it doesn’t mean is intellectual assent. Static, lifeless belief. James makes that clear when he writes, “You believe that there is one […]

Can We Talk About Fasting?

Can we talk about fasting? When I was in college, two Bible professors at our school regularly told their students that they fasted one day per week. Another professor criticized them for this, saying that they were violating what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: But when you fast, put oil on your […]

The Lion, the Lamb, and the Throne Room

The apostle John is writing to a nervous church. A mad man sits on the throne in Rome, demanding to be acknowledged as Dominus et Deus — Lord and God. At least one church member, Antipas, has already been killed for standing up for his faith (Revelation 2:13). John himself has been arrested and exiled […]

Inviting the arts back to church

I’m not a cultured person, at least when it comes to the arts. I’m not interested in ballet, nor opera. Most classical music leaves me cold; symphony tickets feel like an upcoming jail sentence. A visit to an art museum is typically wasted on me. I say that more in confession than in boast. I’d […]

Your sins are forgiven

One story in the gospels that always catches my attention is that of the paralyzed man in Mark chapter 2. Jesus is preaching to a group of people crowded into a small home in Capernaum. Four men approach the house, carrying a paralyzed man on a stretcher. When they see that they can’t even get […]

Kairos conversations

In this series of articles about outreach, we’ve noted that the church has to break free of its inward focus in order to effectively reach out to the community. We’ve noted that Christians have to intentionally get involved in the lives of non-Christians. And we’ve looked some at the conversion process and the different evangelistic […]

Evangelism Isn’t Just Harvesting

There was a time in the United States when it was safe to assume that people believed in God. Most people did. Most saw the Bible as an authoritative book. Most felt that going to church on Sunday was a good thing to do (whether they themselves did so or not). Many of the best-known […]

To Reach Out We Must Look Out

In his book Transforming Worldviews, Paul Hiebert wrote: The church and believers are called to worship God, to have fellowship with one another, and to bear witness to the gospel in a lost world. Of these three—worship, fellowship, and mission—the church and believers will do the first two better in heaven. It is only the […]

Eating With Sinners

One of the things that really upset Jesus’ opponents was the fact that he openly spent time with non-religious people. As they put it, he ate with sinners! Jesus noted, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” […]

What are the gospels for?

What are the gospels for? Have you wondered that? In some churches, they’re mainly for Sunday school. The gospels are full of great stories for the kids to do crafts with. The little ones can cut out tiny loaves and fishes, lower paralyzed pipe-cleaner figures through cardboard roofs, sing songs about the twelve apostles. The […]

“I just want you to get me a Bible”

How many Bibles do you have? A quick survey through the bookcase in my office turned up more than 20. I can find almost any version I want on the Internet. And if I every need a new one, I can pick one up at dozens of stores here in town. That’s not true for […]

Truth, justice, and the biblical way

When I think about having cordial disagreements in the church, I often focus on how I describe others. I rarely think about how I describe myself. Yet what I say about me and those that agree with me can speak volumes about how I view others. For example, I was in an Internet discussion group […]

Peeking At Jesus

After nearly fifty years, I assume that the statute of limitations has run out. I can now admit it: I was a prayer peeker. That’s right. I would open my eyes during prayers. Not just any prayers, but the prayers said during church services in the main auditorium. That despite having been taught in Sunday […]