Over the years I’ve heard very little preaching and teaching on a biblical view of money, possessions, and finances. I don’t know why this is the case. It’s not as if there is a shortage of preaching/teaching material out there on the subject. When you turn to the Gospels Jesus had plenty to say about money and possessions. Same thing goes for the apostle Paul. The Old Testament isn’t silent on the matter either. But for some reason, pastors tend to stay away from teaching about money. When they do talk about it, it is usually right before the church is about to receive an offering. Most, although not all, typically refers to receiving tithes and offering. It’s the tithes part that I think is meant to really get the congregation’s attention. The not so subtle message is: If you are a Christian, and a member of this local church, then it is your sacred duty to give your tithe to support gospel ministry. Continue reading
As I was viewing Facebook recently I noticed that someone commented on an article at Charisma Magazine’s webpage. The title of the article immediately caught my attention, “One Little Word Dispels the Notion that Paul Silenced Women.” Having done some study on complementarian and egalitarian interpretations of key New Testament texts on the role of men and woman in the home and in the local church, I was interested to see what the author of the article, Eddie Hyatt, had to contribute to the discussion. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about this idea for some time now, and was reminded of it while listening to a recent episode of “Ask Pastor John.” I think most Christians, who have been so for a number of years, have a general understanding of why Christians gather together to worship God. In general, followers of Christ gather together for worship to praise God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), to encourage one another, to attend to the needs of the saints through prayer and in some material way when possible, to be instructed from the holy Scriptures, and to be prepared to be God’s servants throughout the week in our respective communities. I probably could just as easily quoted from Acts 2:42–47.
One thing that wasn’t included in that list was the word “fun.” I don’t suppose I’m the only one to have heard a church leader either imply or explicitly state that one of the reasons for Christians to gather together for worship is to have fun. But I don’t think you’ll find that any where in Scripture. The notion that we should strive to have “fun” devalues the ultimate reason we gather together, to acknowledge the greatness and majesty of the God of the universe and to give him his due. We come together to praise almighty God. There ought to be a weight and seriousness to this exercise. When church is about having “fun” it will tend toward casualness and frivolity. It will not give proper reverence to God.
Maybe I’m reading too much into a particular use of “fun.” Maybe by “fun” someone simply means to experience the joy of the Lord. If that is all someone means, then by all means go for it. However, “fun” churches are often the same ones that employ methods and means that detract from experiencing God inducing joy.
The good news is, God is still able to use our feeble (and sometimes sinful) efforts to draw others to Christ. The gospel that God sent his Son to save sinners can still be heard among the many fog machines and off key choirs by all the Lord calls to himself by his Spirit.
“Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” While many of us can probably recite the words to this familiar little tune, I suspect fewer of us can with the same confidence recall where we first heard it. That is usually the case with any song you may have learned as a small child. You cannot begin to remember the circumstances under which you first learned the words to a song, but you can recall it with little effort, even to this day. That is part of the power of music. Continue reading
One of the reasons often given against the modern use of tongue-speech is the fact that it does not consist of earthly language. The argument goes that since tongue-speech in Acts 2 consisted of earthly languages, so should tongue-speech be understood in 1 Corinthians. And if tongue-speech in Corinth consisted of earthly languages, then the same should be the case among modern tongue speakers today. But how can we be sure? What are the possible alternatives? Continue reading
Recently I was interviewed as part of Emmanuel College’s recurring feature “Faculty Spotlight.” It was a pleasure to sit down and have a conversation with Ashley Westbrook, Director of Public Relations and her intern, who also wrote the piece, Christina Campbell. I think the piece turned out pretty well. Well done Christina! Be sure to check it out. If you know someone interested in attending college this fall, it’s probably still not too late to apply to EC.
Recently I read a post from Tim Challies on “Why I Am Not Continuationist.” It got me thinking about the subject of cessation or continuation of certain spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing. In this post I select one of these gifts to examine. This lengthy and somewhat technical post is not intended as a response to the reasoning of Challies. What follows though are three common interpretations of 1 Cor 13:8–13. Each interpretation attempts to answer the question, “When did Paul expect speaking in tongues (glossolalia) to cease?” The three positions are those discussed in Christopher Forbes’ Prophecy and Inspired Speech in Early Christianity and its Hellenistic Environment. Continue reading