All Posts (Page 32)

All Posts (Page 32)

Should I Say More About Meeting in Homes?

I have only six and a half years of experience with a house church model. My inexperience may disqualify me from saying much. Though I don’t want to get older any more quickly, I am anxious to have years of experience so as to speak more convincingly about this concept. I also do not in any way wish to imply that we are experiencing the absolute “right method,” or that, in fact, other meeting patterns could not be even more…

Thoughts on Improving Baptisms

Since water baptism is so important to the churches, I want to put forward a few ideas that may help churches make more of this important symbolic act. What I’m suggesting is in the way of pastoral advice, not doctrine. You can take or leave these ideas, but in my own experience and through information received from many pastors over the years, these suggestions could make this experience much more memorable and effective. Most of these suggestions will apply to…

Vacation Bible School and the Doctrine of Hell

Vacation Bible School (VBS) was nearly upon us, and the children’s ministry workers had gathered for a final preparatory meeting. Anticipation filled the room as we eagerly awaited the opportunity to minister to the precious little souls that the Lord would send our way. Thankfully, we would be using curriculum that faithfully proclaimed the Gospel.  The meeting was progressing well until a “pillar” in the church suggested that we “avoid speaking about hell and judgment and those types of things…

What You Can  Do When Your Church is Failing

You’re stuck. The church you once loved is now sliding downhill. Some are disgruntled, leadership is faltering, attendance is low, fellowship is almost non-existent, and interest in improvement is weak. Even the building reflects the neglect of dispassionate saints. What should you do? I realize the problem is systemic, but there are some things that may yet be done to revitalize the church. I’m not going to give you the main things (restoring regenerate membership, establishing church discipline, promoting forgiveness,…

Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus – A Critical Review

Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005. $24.95, 242 pp. ISBN 0-06-073817-0 Contrary to what the title might suggest, Bart Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus is not primarily about sayings of Jesus that have been “misquoted.” Ehrman’s preferred title was “Lost in Transmission,” reflecting his personal opinion that much of the original wording of the New Testament has been “lost” through the inaccuracies of the early scribes who hand-copied the…

Gregory Boyd’s Escaping the Matrix — A Critical Review

Boyd, Gregory A. and Larson, Al, Escaping the Matrix, Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2005. Spiritual Formation; 211 pages. I must admit that I was a bit intimidated when someone suggested that I read and review this book. Escaping the Matrix is directed to Christians, but it is also related to clinical counseling, and I am not professionally trained in that field. I am a former police officer, a pastor, and an editorial assistant for another Christian ministry. Greg Boyd, on…

Here’s the Skinny on Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday is another name for Mardis Gras, the raucous annual parade and party held in the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana. The tradition is many centuries old and was originally known as Carnival. It is held in various places around the world under different names. Mardis Gras (or Fat Tuesday) is the American version. Carnival comes from a combination of Latin words meaning "farewell to the flesh." There is a great deal of irony in that name because Fat…

How Should We Get a Crowd for the Gospel?

The title expresses one of the two main questions concerning evangelism that are before us at this time in our history. The other question is, “What is the gospel?” That question has been discussed in relation to the Lordship controversy some years earlier, the current New Perspective issue, and the ongoing Calvinism/Arminianism debate. A lot hangs in the balance on these various viewpoints, and evangelistic practice is governed by which side you are on even if you are not aware…

Reading Our Children: Is There Somebody Alive in There?

I have tried to say with as much clarity as possible, and often, that the assurance a person has that he or she is actually a Christian does not have to do with praying a prescribed prayer, being affirmed by a Christian leader, walking an aisle, signing a card or raising a hand, but whether that person has life from God. An unregenerate person does not have this life, even if he is religious. A child who is unregenerate, for…

The Negotiables

I am a lover of the local church in any form I find it, provided we mean the same thing by “church.” I’ve had forty years of ministry in all kinds of churches, internationally and here in the States. I have seen some great ones and some very sad, sickly ones—and that has little to do with size. If it is a true church, however, I’m for it and wish to see it flourish. I’ve not lost my enthusiasm for…

Understanding the Death of Christ (Part 1) – "Basic Truth" series, #8

Faith and Grace in Relation to the Death of Christ As important as faith is in salvation, when a person believes and is justified, it is not faith that saves him—not even partially. Faith cannot appease God’s wrath. Only the blood of the perfect sacrifice can accomplish that. Nor does faith prompt God to save. A person is granted the ability and inclination to believe, through regeneration, precisely because God has chosen him for salvation (cf. Phil. 1:29; 2 Thess…

Understanding the Death of Christ (Part 2) – "Basic Truth" series, #8 (cont.)

A Finished Work As we learned in the last issue of Basic Truth, Jesus did not come to merely make men savable. He came to “save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). As Jesus said of Himself, “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10, cf. Ezek. 34:11-15). It is necessary here to distinguish between secured salvation and applied salvation. On the cross, Jesus secured the salvation that is applied…