Recently Ben Witherington reacted to Thomas Schreiner's forthcoming New Testament Theology by suggesting it calls into question "God's essential moral character." He cites Schreiner's point that the most basic theme of the New Testament is, "God magnifying himself through Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit."
He concludes with,
I suppose we should not be surprised that in a culture and age of narcissism, we would recreate God in our own self-centered image, but it is surprising when we find orthodox Christians, and even careful scholars doing this.
This is really astonishing for five reasons:
- The explicit biblical textual foundation for Sc…
Happy Thanksgiving from the “lead pastors” of Bethlehem and our wives.
The four pastors met yesterday for about two hours and ended that meeting with overflowing expressions of thanks for our families and the family called Bethlehem and for the glorious work of Christ in saving us.
This photo, as you can see, was taken at Old Country Buffet where we feel absolutely dashing.
These are days of strange alliances in evil. That is what evil has always done. Remember how Pilate and Herod were adversaries until their common abuse of Jesus knit them together? “Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other” (Luke 23:12).
That’s the way it is with the bishop and the atheist. They are united in blasting the power of God and the cross of Christ as putting poor Christians in the pitiful position of permanent gratitude.
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This morning’s Bible reading put me over the edge. It said,
His sons come to honor, and he does not know it;
they are brought low,and he perceives it not.
He feels only the pain of his own body,
and he mourns only for himself.
In other words the day may come when I will feel so much pain that the honors and sorrows of my sons will mean nothing to me. So I think I better act now.
With overflowing admiration for all four of my sons, I want to celebrate the poetry of my eldest, Karsten Luke Piper, who teaches English at Minnesota West Community and Technical College . He will be doing a reading this Sunday evening (November 18, 5 PM) …
I plan to begin a short series of messages on new birth this Sunday. It will take us at least through Christmas, maybe longer. The title of the series will be “You Must Be Born Again” taken verbatim from John 3:7.
We will begin with “What Is Regeneration?” The other messages will deal with: Why is it necessary? How does it happen? What are the evidences that it has happened?
Should Christians tithe? The New Testament’s answer may surprise you. I’ve found the following reflections from Don Carson to be clarifying and challenging.
The only passage in the New Testament that explicitly authorizes the tithe does so in a rather backhanded way: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices.... But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former” (Matt. 23:23, NIV).
So if tithing, specifically, isn’t a New Testament emphasis, how should the Christian think about giving altogether?
Christian Smith, professor of sociology at Notre Dame, wrote in the most recent Books and Culture a review of six books that deal with the new phenomenon of “adultolescence”—that is, the postponement of adulthood into the thirties. I want to relate this phenomenon to the church. But first here is a summary from Smith’s article of what it is and how it came about...
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At the Piper house, on special occasion days, the women do most or all the food preparation and set-up, so the men wash the dishes.
Now there’s a great reason to give thanks!
What turns the 4th Thursday of November into Thanksgiving? Turkey? I know one family who doesn’t like turkey. Their traditional Thanksgiving meal is Vietnamese carryout. But whatever our food traditions, is that all there is? Not if we plan real thanks into the day.
If we want to give thanks, we need only two things. Something we’re thankful for and somebody to thank. Seems so obvious, but I think I need to say it because it’s amazing how many people can say, “I’m thankful for _____ ,” without admitting that God is there to hear their thanks. And they’re certainly not giving him credit for whatever it is they’re enjoying.
Maybe we can get ready for Thanksgiving by giving someone el…
This week Olive Nelson passed away at age 94. Olive and her husband, Arnie, were members of Bethlehem for decades until 1994. From 1978 to 1994 (16 years), Arnie and Olive faithfully operated Bethlehem’s tape ministry as volunteers. They diligently ran a tape library for BBCers and they managed a tape subscription service that began to grow significantly during Pastor John’s first 14 years.
Arnie would come in every week and duplicate tapes. I can still see him. He was tall and slim and dignified and had a head of thick, silver hair. He was soft-spoken, and I loved to listen to him. Olive was bright, assertive, and organized. She managed the tape ministry administration by hand-typing …