Posts by Jim Elliff (Page 27)

Posts by Jim Elliff (Page 27)

The Change of Mind

The young man was dying—without Christ. “I have a habit,” he said, as he looked up from the bed that had been moved into the living room for his last few weeks on earth. “I know that it is sin and that God does not permit it. I want to continue my habit, however, and I honestly don’t intend to stop it. On the other hand, I desperately want to go to heaven. May I become a Christian?” How would…

‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly?

"’Tis the Season to be jolly?" Well, maybe. The business of Christmas, that is, the hard and cold commercial trade of the Thanksgiving to Christmas sales window, is a measure of how well America is doing. It’s the thermometer in our corporate mouths. Needs are created through the media in order to entice the buyer into purchasing more this year than last. No one is to be disappointed at Christmas, after all. The manipulation is as blatant toward children as…

Caught in Our Shame: Comments on the Recent Barna Report

The recent Barna report on evangelical beliefs in mainline churches is almost too excruciating to read. In the report, statistics concerning the 12 largest denominations are tallied. Barna polled 6,038 adults with random telephone interviews nationwide. Tim Ellsworth of the Baptist Press summarized the findings. I have included the pertinent data: The study’s findings identify an alarmingly high number of church members whose beliefs fall far short of orthodox Christianity. For example, 41 percent of all adults surveyed believed in…

You Don’t Look So Good

When humorist Erma Bombeck saw her new passport photo, she gasped, “Anyone who looks like that is too sick to travel!” Getting a good look at yourself can be deflating to say the least. It might surprise you to know that when you look in the mirror in your bathroom you don’t really see yourself. You see the exact opposite of yourself. Your left ear is on the right side and your right ear is on the left side. Spiritually,…

Entertainment Evangelism, a Response to a News Reporter

Hello, this is B____ L_____, religion reporter for the W_____ E____. I am writing an analysis story on a trend we see hear of "entertainment evangelism." D____ C____ of Current Thoughts and Trends magazine said you would be a good person to talk with. In a couple of weeks, a group called "Impact World Tours" affiliated with Youth with a Mission will have a crusade here. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the group but they will put on…

If God is Good, Why Do So Many Bad Things Happen?

My visit to the small apartment of an oriental couple in the Chicago suburbs was disturbing. Here was a man who had innocently gone to work one day, but was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight. He was paralyzed from the neck down. What do you say to a man like that? “If God is all-powerful and is also good, why is there pain in the world?” The question is among the most difficult to answer, especially when we…

Is God Angry Anymore?

When I was in public high school, we had to read part of a famous sermon called Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, by Jonathan Edwards. He graphically pictured sinners as spiders dangling by a thread over the fire of Hell. He also asserted that God is angrier at this moment with some who are living than with others who are already in Hell. Do you believe that? Is God angry? I don’t believe my teacher thought so.…

Knowing You’re In

There was a troubled look on the student’s face as I finished my talk. “I believe that Christ is who He says He is,” he stated, “but I just don’t know if I am really a Christian. What if I’m deceiving myself?” The question is a reasonable. After all, God put up a huge billboard in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that says, “DO NOT BE DECEIVED!” So, how do you know you’re a Christian? First be sure that you understand the…

Sooner Than You Think

A few years ago a Chicago news station reported a local skydiving incident. The video showed the skydivers jumping out and maneuvering into position from the vantage point of the open door of the plane. While still filming, the cameraman made his jump. Within seconds the camera was jerking wildly up and down and side to side as it plummeted to the ground. Reaching for his ripcord, the terrified diver discovered that in his excitement he had forgotten to put…

The Imperative of Preaching: A Theology of Sacred Rhetoric

John Carrick commences with a declaration from Dr. J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism: “Christianity begins with a triumphant indicative” (7). The truth of this statement is a leading premise of this “theology of sacred rhetoric.” Carrick is Assistant Professor of Applied and Doctrinal Theology at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and is also one of its preaching instructors. He graduated from Oxford University and has had pastorates in the U.K. and in Greenville, North Carolina. This is his first book.…

The Island of Nis

James, the youth: Must Christians always be narrow? The wiser Mr. Brockton: Christians are both pluralists and exclusivists simultaneously. James: Do you mean that Christians accept other religions and faiths? Mr. Brockton: We permit them to be wrong. My story will explain. The island of Nis was considered a religion-free zone, and most of the younger inhabitants had not even as much as heard of formal religion. To be sure, some primitive ancestors had ventured that way in earlier days,…

The Lofty Grosart

James, the youth: Must all those who call themselves Christians understand the Bible? The elderly and wise Mr. Brockton: No, only those who will go to heaven. To call oneself a Christian is not the same as being one. James: But I call myself a Christian—no, rather, I am a Christian, and I don’t understand very much of the Bible at all. Brockton: How do you know that you are a Christian? James: The Bible states that those who radically…