The inconsistencies of liberal and conservative compassion do not define the nature of good and evil.
That there are liberals who talk compassion for the weak and oppressed, but support the butchery of the weakest persons (the unborn even to the point of birth) does not make abortion less evil.
That there are conservatives who talk compassion for unborn persons, but feel little interest or compassion for their own neighbors, let alone the sorrows of the countless poor, does not make inattentive heartlessness less evil.
That liberals justify their support for butchery in the name of freedom, and conservatives justify their indifference to the miseries of poverty in the name of …
In this article I want to convince as many pastors as possible to sit down and start a blog today. If I can’t convince them, then I want to convince churchgoers to hound their pastor until he does.
OK, all that’s overstatement, perhaps. You can still be a good pastor and not blog.
However, here’s why I think it would be good for you and your congregation if you did.
Pastors should blog…
1. …to write.
If you’re a pastor, you probably already know the value writing has for thinking. Through writing, you delve into new ideas and new insights. If you strive to write well, you will at the same time be striving to think well.
Then when you share new ideas and new insights, rea…
A tiny book has been feeding my soul recently, The Loveliness of Christ: Extracts from the Letters of Samuel Rutherford. Writers like Paul and Bunyan and Rutherford, who wrote much from the midst of suffering seem to have a clearer view of eternity and reality than those of us who suffer the mists of comfort.
In July 1636 Rutherford was summoned to appear before the High Commission Court to answer of his Nonconformity to the Acts of Episcopacy, and also on account of his treatise against Arminians; and as a consequence was forbidden to exercise his ministry anywhere in the kingdom of Scotland, and to confine himself to the city of Aberdeen. It was while conf…
The worst discipline that the church is authorized to render toward its worst offender is excommunication.
And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:17)
This means he is not welcome to be a member of the church, nor to partake of the Lord’s supper. It means that Christians love him, not as a brother, but the way Jesus loved sinners. He lay down his life for them, but welcomed them into his band of disciples only if they took up their cross and followed him (Luke 9:23).
Whether this seems harsh depends on what you compare it with. In the Old Testament (God’s law for the earthly government he pres…
Does God have designs for deceptive signs and wonders? Does he have purposes for heresies?
From the time of Moses to the end of history, this has been and will be an issue. Jesus promised that “false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). These are not little tricks. They are great signs and wonders. Great. But aimed to deceive.
Paul said that “the coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thessalonians…
The great challenge of the preacher is to follow Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:5, “What we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.”
But there are more ways to preach ourselves than one might think. This word from James Denney has exerted a sobering effect on me since I first read it in 1982. He had these words framed and posted in the vestry of his Scottish church.
No man can bear witness to Christ and to himself at the same time. No man can give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save. (Quoted in John Stott, Between Two Worlds, 325)
I asked my son Abraham if we could include as our Easter blog entry his personal post from yesterday. He was willing.
6 Months Gone at Easter Time
Empty hangers, empty closet, empty clothes.
Empty crib, empty bath.
Empty bottles, empty breasts.
Empty lungs, empty blood, empty heart.
The Apostles’ Creed says, “[He] was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead.” There are many meanings given to this phrase. I simply want to ponder the traditional interpretation that Christ went to the place of the dead to preach the gospel to Old Testament saints that he might set them free for the full experience of heaven. This is the view of the Catholic Catechism and many Protestants as well. I don’t think this is what the New Testament teaches.
The view is based mainly on two passages in 1 Peter.
Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put …
Why did God create the universe and why is he governing it the way he is? What is God achieving? Is Jesus Christ a means to this achievement or the end of the achievement?
Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God. He is God in human form. As such he is the end not a means. The manifestation of the glory of God is the meaning of the universe. This is what God is achieving. The heavens and the history of the world are “telling the glory of God.”
But Jesus Christ was sent to accomplish something that needed doing. He came to remedy the fall. He came to rescue sinners from inevitable destruction because of their sin. These rescued ones will see and savor and display the glory of G…
Today is Maundy Thursday. The name comes from the Latin mandatum, the first word in the Latin rendering of John 13:34, “A new commandment (Mandatum novum) I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” This commandment was given by the Lord on the Thursday before his crucifixion. So Maundy Thursday is the “Thursday of the Commandment.”
This is the commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” But what about Galatians 5:14? “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” If the whole law is fulfilled in “Love your neighbor as yourself,” what more can “Love one another as Christ loved …