Law of Christ

Evangelicals have recently rediscovered the law of Christ (1 Cor 9:21; Gal 6:2). This rediscovery of Christ’s law arose out of concern over how to live out the Old Testament law. Christians don’t really sacrifice animals today or keep the Sabbath holy (which is Saturday). In fact, evangelicals worship on the first day of the week to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection (Sunday). Although Reformed folk have held to a threefold division of the law (civil, ceremonial, and moral) and argue that Christians should only follow the moral elements of the Old Testament law, this theory is fairly artificial. So what is moral? Why don’t Christians need to keep the Sabbath today? Is that any less moral than taking the Lord’s name in vain?  Continue reading

Melito and Suffering the Passover

Do you think Carson would call out Melito for an exegetical fallacy? Melito explains the passover (πασχα) by relating it to the words παθειν (to be suffering) and πασχειν (to suffer). He argues that we can understand the passover if we experience (συμπαθων) suffering (πασχειν) together with the type to whom the passover points, Jesus.  Continue reading

A Day Late and A Dollar Short: Or How to See Christ as your Perfect Resource

I recently travelled from Louisville, Kentucky back home to Calgary, Alberta. The trip required a stop over in Chicago, which ended up being an overnight. Having your travel plans ruined is a frustrating experience, especially when you have family and ministry commitments to get back to. I finally got back, a day late and a hundred dollars short! But the adventure gave me a thought about the spiritual journey all believers are on.  Continue reading

Uncomplicating Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    – Heb 11:1-2

What is faith? This simple one-syllable word (two syllables in Greek and Hebrew) spawns a nest of definitions and qualifications, which infest your mind with confusion. If faith simply means you believe something exists, then why isn’t the majority of the Western world saved, since most people believe in God? Okay. So there’s got to be more to it. In fact, I implied that faith meant believing in God, but is that really accurate? Well, according to Jesus we should believe in him and in God (John 14:1).

Let’s just make things simple and say that belief involves our faith in Jesus and the Father. But what sort of belief? We can’t merely believe in God and Jesus’ existence (see above). Additionally, we can’t only believe the brute fact that Jesus saves through the father. I believed that for years before I became a believer. It looks like faith has a tricky mind knot, which needs untying.
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We Complicate the Gospel

For the better part of a decade, I have served in evangelistic ministries. My range of activity has spanned from knocking on doors, going to college campuses, speaking at events, and street-preaching. With that background, you’d guess that I would have no trouble with evangelism or thinking through the Gospel. Actually, that’s about as true as saying the sun is dark. A back-pack full of stones has weighed me down throughout these years as I struggled to connect what I was doing with what the Bible teaches.

One weight that I burdened me was the meaning of faith. I wondered about what essential concepts Christians need to believe in to be saved. At first, I considered that we believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus? While that’s central (1 Cor 15), how does faith and repentance fit in, and why does the Bible talk so much about the kingdom of God. Actually, Jesus preaches the Gospel about the kingdom according to the Gospels (Matt 4:17, 23). But I never for a minute preached about a kingdom—I told people to believe and repent in the Gospel. Yet that was the problem, for I couldn’t quite grasp just what the Gospel was. Continue reading

What Winston Churchill and a Mormon Fantasy Author Taught Me

Over the Christmas break, I indulged in reading an uber-nerdy fantasy book by an author named Brandon Sanderson. He teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University, and ably creates worlds and stories with plain yet concrete language. I wanted to read him to learn how he communicates stories so well in plain language; plus, his stories strike me as having a classic feel: bad guys are bad, and good guys are good. And unlike the a Song of Ice and Fire series where nobody is really good or bad, just shades of grey, Sanderson writes his characters believing that a higher good does exist, and that evil should be laid low. I like that.

My other indulgence over the past few months has been Winston Churchill. From reading about him, to reading him, and listening to him, I have become a church-a-holic. Still, something about the way he lived fascinates me. Like Sanderson, Churchill believed in good and evil. Unlike Sanderson, Churchill lived life like he was in a fantasy novel, fighting a great evil for an even greater good. By using his imagination, by believing that he fought for Western civilization and the British Empire against the perverse and evil Natzi regime, he lived life imagining a great battle between two forces, and that the victor could shape the world’s destiny.

It struck me that the reason why people love to read fiction-fantasy books, and why Winston Churchill stood valiantly against Hitler’s Germany is because of imagination. I do not mean some esoteric long-ranger thinking, but I mean the ability to imagine true things and live fueled by true imaginations. Fiction books help spark our imagination, while Churchill illustrates how living according to our true imaginations shapes the way we live. Paul too lived his life energized by genuine imagination. Continue reading

Jared Wilson on Mark Driscoll

The internet has recently huffed and puffed about Driscoll’s alleged plagiarism. Recently, Jared Wilson at the Gospel Coalition penned an interesting blog post about the whole affair. Here’s a taste of the article:

Pastor Mark, if you’re reading this — you are losing us. Forget about the “haters.” We ain’t them. We are the ones who love you, who want to see you succeed and prevail. And we won’t stop, no matter what tribe you’re in or which conference stage you take. But we want you to take responsibility for your actions and your attitude. It does not commend grace. We want you to walk in repentance. We want you to seek the way of Christ in more humility, to drop the image and the posturing, and remind us of what drew us to you in the first place: the fame of Christ’s name, not the protection of your own. What would the truth of the gospel have you do? What would adorn the gospel? What would make Jesus look big? I believe it would be a reversal of the trajectory of pride you have been on. I’m asking you to turn around and show us why we were so drawn to you in the beginning. I’m asking you to show us Jesus. He has become lost in your shadow.

See the full article here.

Communion as Covenant Renewal

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood

                                                                                                                                                      — Jesus

All around the world, churches come together to take part of the Lord’s Table. But just what does it mean when we take part in this celebration? And while we know it is to remember the Lord’s death and resurrection, why do we do it?

I believe that by thinking canonically, or by thinking through how the Old Covenant relates to the New Covenant, the Scripture provides clarity as to why we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

The first thing to consider in answering this question is the practice of the early church, which provides a helpful picture for us. In 1 Corinthians, Paul etches an image of how first century believers followed the Lord’s instruction concerning communion:

“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,  and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (11:23-26)

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