In the early 1950’s in Communist Russia, three charismatic pastors came up with a risky idea they thought might be worth doing despite the risk. Nik Ripken, in his outstanding book about persecution, The Insanity of God, explains that: “…they planned and organized a youth congress in Moscow and invited all of the young, unmarried … Continue reading Persecution and Scripture Memorization
Last year, I was at home with my family on Good Friday because of Covid-19. My home church streamed a somber and beautiful online service. One of our church leaders led a soul-searching time of reflection on the passion narrative, interspersing six pre-recorded readings from the biblical text with solemn songs led by our worship … Continue reading I Abandoned My Lord: A Good Friday Reflection
Muslims are coming to Christ all around the world. But what should a church composed of Muslim-background believers in Jesus look like? How contextualized can/should such a church be? I recently read an outstanding book dealing with the central biblical-theological and missiological questions surrounding this central question: Insider Church: Ekklesia and the Insider Paradigm. The book's author, … Continue reading Muslim Insider Movements and the Church: An Interview
Some years ago, I counseled with a student who was paralyzed by a fear that she had committed the unforgiveable sin because of some terrible words she had uttered. Her concern came out of Matthew 12:31, “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall … Continue reading What is the Unforgiveable Sin? What is Blasphemy against the Spirit?
Following are seven books I read in 2020 that I found beneficial in my Christian life. This year I read quite a few biographies, so three of my entries are biographies. Unfortunately, none of the academic books I read this year made the list (compare my list for 2019), even though most of the books … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2020
If you fundamentally identify yourself as being in Christ—as opposed to all the other options for self-identification—you will regularly respond differently than those who closely identify with the world’s lesser alternatives. Let me offer some examples of responses that might proceed from people who view themselves fundamentally as “in” a lesser alternative rather than viewing … Continue reading How Do You Identify?
I am excited to let you know that my newest book, How to Live an ‘In Christ’ Life: 100 Devotional Readings on Union with Christ has just been released in both print and electronic formats. Each chapter is exactly two pages long, and is packed full of analogies and illustrations to connect the Bible to … Continue reading How to Live an ‘In Christ’ Life: A New Book Announcement and How to Use the Book
This post will address two sets of questions: 1) What translation should I use when I memorize the Bible? and 2) What if I have already memorized a passage? Should I try to update what I have already memorized to a new or updated translation? My family of birth began attending church when I was … Continue reading Bible Memorization and the Problem of Changing Bible Translations
In 1873, Horatio Spafford penned the lyrics of one of the most-loved hymns of all time, It is Well with My Soul. But should we sing a song by one such as Spafford, in light of the fact that he is known to have promoted beliefs contrary to Scripture? This question becomes an ideal case … Continue reading Was Horatio Spafford a False Teacher When He Wrote “It is Well with My Soul”?
This post is not about the historical background to this wonderful hymn, though knowing the background is touching and makes the hymn more meaningful. This post revolves around a simple interpretive question. When Horatio Spafford penned the words “It is well with my soul” in 1876, what did he mean by those specific six words? … Continue reading What Does “It is Well with My Soul” Mean?