Word meanings sometimes shift. I have begun to wonder whether one commonplace word has begun to shift recently—aiding certain contemporary Christians who want to minimize their sin and justify ongoing sin patterns. There’s nothing new, of course, about Christians searching for ways to avoid feeling bad about sinning. But modern Christians have become remarkably adept … Continue reading “Broken” as an Excuse for Repetitive Sinning
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
When I reach for a book from my reference shelf, which books do I reach for most often? Apart from biblical commentaries, here is a list of the 20 books I am most likely to pull off my shelf (in no particular order): A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, … Continue reading When I Reach for a Book from my Reference Shelf…
More than a generation ago, Don Richardson popularized the idea that Christians who share Christ across cultures might encounter—and even ought to look for—“redemptive analogies” in those cultures. The idea was that God has pre-placed customs or stories into cultures that prepare people to respond to the gospel. I think this idea has some merit. … Continue reading Blood Brothers: A Redemptive Analogy
When I learned Greek, there were zero Greek New Testaments produced for reading, that is, texts that included running definitions for less-frequent vocabulary on the bottom of each page. Now there are three, and you will have to choose which one to use. Here are some pros and cons for each. I’ll list them in … Continue reading Which is the Best Reader’s Greek New Testament?
Sometimes people skeptical of Christianity claim that the Apostle Paul, not Jesus, was the primary innovator of many things we think of as “Christian.” Some take it even further and claim that Paul so radically changed the teaching of Jesus that he, rather than Jesus, should be viewed as the true founder of Christianity. I’m … Continue reading Did Paul Invent Christianity?
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
Recently, just after morning prayer at “The Birdhouse” community where Trudi and I live, I got into a short conversation with a couple of our residential college students about 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing.” We realized as we talked that we often tend to think of this command as pointing toward some sort of … Continue reading Iterative Prayer
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