From Rousseau to the Tom and Jerry Cartoons, Wheaton English Professor, Alan Jacobs, traces a “cultural history” of Original Sin, the name of his recent 304 page book. The most auspicious and provocative lines in Matt Jenson’s review in Books and Culture are these:
Original sin’s deniers like to claim that the doctrine does bad things, or at least discourages us from doing good things. It deals death. So they tell us. But over and over in Jacobs’ account, we meet well-intentioned characters, only to find their happier, gentler anthropologies turning sour, leading to (or at least abetting) anarchy, eugenics, despair. Perhaps the greatest irony in this history is the discovery th…
Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma, one of the main charismatic magazines, has written a lament and critique of the Lakeland “revival” which is now in a tailspin over the leader's announced separation from his wife. Grady’s summons to pray for the church and our nation is right, and among his commendable questions and observations are these:
- "Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles, signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study. Yet we are faced today with the sad reality that our untempered zeal is a sign of immaturity. Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes us do stupid things. It’s way past time for us to grow up."
- "True revival will be accomp…
What should Christians, especially those who are non-sports fans, make of the Olympics?
Everything in the material universe points to something of significance in the non-material realm. By saying so, I am not trying to diminish the significance of the physical universe per se. God has ordained meaning and significance there, too. Jesus ascended bodily to heaven. Meanwhile, the material creation points to things not seen with physical eyes, but with spiritual eyes.
The Bible is bursting with numerous examples of material objects employed as metaphors. Mustard seeds point to faith. Rocks struck in the wilderness point to Jesus who is our sacrificial lamb. Manna points to nourishment…
One of the main points of the forthcoming book Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ is that sin and God’s wrath against it were part of God’s plan when he created the world. This is different from saying that God sins or that he approves of sinning.
The main reason for making this point is to exalt the revelation of God’s grace in the crucifixion of Jesus to the highest place. This is the point of the universe—the glorification of the grace of God in the apex of its expression in the death of Jesus...
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Adapted from the sermon, "Bethlehem, Break Forth Like the Dawn."
In addition to the all-important need for faith and forgiveness and personal holiness, there are other needs that Isaiah—and Jesus—are passionately concerned about.
Here are 5 kinds of human need mentioned in Isaiah 58.
1) The need for freedom from bondage and oppression. Four times in Isaiah verse 6 and once in verse 9 he hits on this.
- Isaiah 58:6 - "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?"
- Isaiah 58:9 - "...take away the yoke from your midst..."
2) The need for food. …
As an event planner, I am often tempted to worry as I look toward upcoming conferences. Silly questions (that don't sound so silly in my head) come to mind and plague my heart:
- "Will people want to come? Will the conference be a blessing to them? Will the event be edifying and God-glorifying?"
- "Did we do enough promotion? What if no one finds out about it? What if the Google Ads don't work?"
- "What about all the things yet to be done? What if we can't get all the projects done on time?"
- "Will we meet budget? What if things end up costing more than we thought?"
And so I have to battle against the temptation to sin by casting my cares on the Lord through prayer and h…
Yesterday Alexander Solzhenitsyn died at the age of 89. I pause here on my vacation in the woods of Wisconsin to say, Thank you, heavenly Father, for the inspiration of this man’s life.
No one did more than Solzhenitsyn to expose the horrors of the failed communist experiment in Russia. Hitler’s purge would pale, if such things could pale, when compared to ten times the carnage in Stalin’s gulags.
Solzhenitsyn inspired me because of the suffering he endured and the effect it had on him. Here is the quote that I have not forgotten. It moves me deeply to this day. After his imprisonment in the Russian gulag of Joseph Stalin’s “corrective labor camps” Solzhenitsyn wrote:
It was gr…
When Sam Crabtree (DG Board member and Executive Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist) recently asked us what he needed to do to get some DWYL stickers, Lukas Naugle replied that Sam needed to write a song about what a deacon does, since they've been discussing that at Bethlehem lately.
Sam, never one to back down from a challenge, has penned what I’m sure will be another classic hymn of the church:
A Mighty Deacon
(to the tune of “A Mighty Fortress”)
A mighty deacon is our man;
He does what others think he can.
Qualifications he doth meet.
Electing him they thinketh sweet.
And so they cast their vote;
They do not rock the boat.
Their craft and pow’…
Seeing Bathsheba bathing led to David’s adultery with her (2 Samuel 11:2-3).
David was a man after God’s own heart. David was born again. David wrote divinely inspired scripture. David was blessed with wisdom and power. David enjoyed an everlasting covenant relationship with God.
So what chance do you think you have to escape the effect of looking at naked women?
Those who are already gone—who’ve given up and forsaken their relationship with God—may say: Well, if you’ve seen it, you’ve done it. So might as well do it.
Those who are not yet gone may say, I will make a covenant with my eyes not to look upon a woman (Job 31:1).
May the Lord grant you grace to show that you are not…
Having just preached three messages on the relationship between baptism and church membership, here is a small follow up. Paul Jewett’s compelling book on infant baptism gives a clear and persuasive interpretation to a puzzling text.
Here’s the text and the interpretation.
“If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” (1Corinthians 7:13-14).
According to the interpretation we shall suggest, in 1 Corinthians 7:1…