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Showing posts from August, 2017

Let's Leave Nashville to the Americans: Some Qualms About the Nashville Statement

I have a friend who left the evangelical church because of sex. Actually, I’m sure I have a number of friends who have left the evangelical church because of sex, but this particular one left in the opposite direction. He left, not by abandoning the faith, nor by finding a more liberal church, but rather, in search of something more biblical – and in many ways more conservative – when it came to the church and sex. He left, not because he wanted permission to abandon the Bible’s teaching on sex, but because he was convinced that the evangelicalism he’d experienced had a double-standard when it came to sex: one sexual sin might be seen as beyond the pale, but another as lamentable yet inevitable. (To be fair, sex wasn’t the only reason for his leaving, but it was one of the contributing factors.)

My friend told me the story of a men’s group he attended at his evangelical church, where the subject under discussion was porn. He was a bit shocked. ‘I almost felt like I should be making up …

Passion and Peace

Passion’s a good thing, right? After all, it almost seems to be a prerequisite for church leaders these days, if the bios of conference speakers, authors, and other evangelical influencers are anything to go by. To be passionate about Christ and His Church, about global missions, about bringing good news to the poor and justice to the oppressed, sound like not only noble, but very good things indeed. 
One of the benefits of learning from church history is that sometimes those who lived in a world very different from ours can help us to see our own blind spots. Thomas à Kempis wrote about being passionate way back in the early 1400s. But he didn’t see it as a good and noble thing. For Thomas à Kempis, being passionate was the opposite of something good and noble: being a person of peace. 
Here’s what à Kempis wrote:
A passionate man even turns good into evil, and easily believes evil. A good, peaceful man turns everything to good. He who is truly at peace, is suspicious of no one, but …

What is Salvation?

What is Salvation? It’s not a reward we’re working towards. It’s not a category or state, like some sort of column in a divine ledger. So what is it? The first time the word comes up in the New Testament helps us to understand.

The first time we encounter this word ‘salvation’ in the New Testament is in the Benedictus – Zacharias’ song after the birth of John the Baptist in Luke 1:68-79. The same Greek word is used 3 times in the song, in verses 69, 71, and 77: the first three occurrences of the word ‘salvation’ in the New Testament Scriptures. And those 3 verses in the Benedictus help us to understand what salvation is (and how it couldn’t possibly be something we’re working towards as a reward). For, Zacharias shows us that salvation can only be understood in light of Jesus and what He has done.

How does Zacharias’ Song show us that? Well, let’s start with the first time he uses the word in Luke 1:69: the Lord God of Israel ‘has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His…