Last night we encountered some misunderstanding surrounding the word “conservative” during an open discussion after a community meal at The Birdhouse (the mentoring community Trudi and I lead for college students). One of the students commented that I was the first “conservative” she had ever met who was not a cessationist. (Cessationism is the view … Continue reading What Do Christians Mean When They Use the Word “Conservative”?
Here is one argument in support of more-literal Bible translations: looser translations have a tendency to soften difficult sayings in the Bible. I am not suggesting anything subversive here; simply that one of the natural pitfalls of trying to translate the Bible more dynamically is a tendency to soften hard sayings. A convenient way to … Continue reading An Argument for More Literal Bible Translations
Actually, there are lots of ways to kill a prayer meeting. You could display bitterness or hostility to someone just before you start praying; that’s sure to do the job. Or thoughtlessly rush into a prayer meeting, without any spiritual preparation, cracking jokes up until the moment you bow your head. That, too, has a … Continue reading How to Kill an Intercessory Prayer Meeting
Where might God want you to serve in ministry? I have just added a Spiritual Ministries Guide to my Resources Page. The Guide can help you think through various ministries God may have for you to build up his church and extend his kingdom work in the world. The Guide is an alternative to spiritual abilities … Continue reading Spiritual Ministries Guide
I remember sitting in my office with a student who was thinking about moving out of evangelical Protestantism and into a different church tradition. He began thinking this way after he started reading widely in the writings of Christian authors from earlier eras. After being exposed to various authors who sometimes expressed divergent viewpoints from … Continue reading Is the Bible Clear?
The key insight of the Enneagram that Christians seem most attracted to—and that, in many people’s opinions sets it apart from other personality and strengths-finding tests—is its diagnosis of people’s sinful tendencies (what some Enneagramites refer to as “passions” and “fixations”). In other words, the Enneagram is supposed to help us identify nine detrimental paths … Continue reading Rather than the Enneagram: Let the Bible Highlight Your Sin Tendencies
For many years I have been curious about a Roman governor known to us from history as Pliny the Younger. My interest initially arose because I resided for four years in one of the principal cities he governed—not to mention that one of my four daughters was born in that city. Moreover, since I have … Continue reading What Pliny the Younger Learned When He Interrogated Christians (ca. A.D. 110)
I recently participated in A Call to Fast and Pray at Biola. This event was the vision of Peter Brown (a current graduate student at Biola). Fifty or so Biola students gathered to eat dinner together at the start of the fast and to listen to a message by Biola professor Jon Lunde. At evening’s … Continue reading A Liturgy for Fasting and Prayer
A few years ago I received an email from a former student (now a young pastor) asking some questions about speaking in tongues during corporate worship. Let me excerpt his email and then include my reply (with his permission). ------------------ Dr. Berding, I am emailing you because I have a question about ‘service of worship’ … Continue reading Speaking in Tongues in Church
Years ago, when Trudi and I lived in the Middle East, I wrote a prayer letter employing the poetic structure of “The Night Before Christmas.” I share it with you on this Christmas Eve. ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through our house Not a creature was stirring, ‘cept Trudi my spouse She stirred … Continue reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in the Middle East