Five Steps for Relating to Theological Liberals

Dave Abernethy

1. The desire for the Christian faith to be free from the word of God in mood, methods, morals, or message.

For many of us happily immersed in the world of conservative evangelicalism, liberalism is a highly suspect word. Strictly speaking, though, liberalism (the desire for freedom or liberation) is amoral. That is, the morality of freedom is entirely contingent upon the subject from whom we desire to…

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Is There a Point to the Last Minutes of Suffering Before Death?

John Piper

I’m still thinking about Ronnie Smith’s death in Libya, followed by Christians and the mainstream media alike.

Two days before he died, my mind turned, at it so often does, to the reasons for suffering. This time the thoughts were triggered by the difference between suffering that refines in this life and suffering that leads to death.

Suffering That Refines

Often, when counseling people who are walking through suffering, I…

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As Cool As the Other Side of a Calvinist

Marshall Segal

If you know Calvinists, you probably know some bad ones. The stereotypes aren’t fair, but they don’t come out of nowhere. Calvinists are “cold,” “heady,” and “condescending.” They think they have it all figured out and everyone else is blind, slow, or stubborn. They’re so lost in their books, they’re not interested in the needs around them. And they’ve somehow misplaced Christ, but are quite content to follow John Calvin.…

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The Allure of Middle-Earth

Tony Reinke

More than seventy-five years after J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, the glory and majesty of Middle-earth continues to draw millions of readers, and more recently, moviegoers. This week, theaters prepare for Friday’s opening of the acclaimed new movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Partly, Tolkien’s enduring popularity can be explained by the way he artfully touches the greatest themes of our collective experience of this world. Tolkien…

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For All Who Ever Lost a Child

Jon Bloom

Suffering. Evil. Death. All of us experience them. They consume the lives of our precious loved ones — sometimes in unspeakably horrible ways. They bend us to the ground and produce tearful groanings too deep for words.

Jesus was not immune from these realities. Nor were those who found themselves caught in the cosmic crossfire surrounding the Incarnation. In Bethlehem, babies were killed because Jesus was born.

Reading what is…

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Living with the Loss of a Loved One

David Mathis

For Lyle Dorsett, it was the sudden loss of his ten-year-old daughter Erica. She came down sick one night, and she died the next morning.

Years later, Dorsett and his wife Mary still are healing. Losing a child is a long, painful journey. There have been times, Dorsett says, when he’s thought, God, if I were in charge, I wouldn’t have done it this way. But his ways are…

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The Hopes and Fears of All the Years

Tony Reinke

Bethlehem was, is, and likely always will be, just a small town — a small town steeped in ancient history.

In the first century, the historical marker at the center of town — if they posted such historical markers — would have commemorated it as the birthplace of the mighty giant killer, King David. The cherished son of Bethlehem put the town on the map 1,000 years earlier, and perhaps,…

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Lay Aside the Weight of Christmas Expectations

Jon Bloom

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

At Christmastime, it’s good for us to remember just how dangerous fantasies are.

I’m not talking about Narnia-type fantasies. I’m talking about how out of our self-centered desires we construct ideas and expectations of the way we want things to be and project them on to people and events. If those people…

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The Gospel Shadow of Adoption: Amos’s Story

Stefan Green

I was once an orphan with no hope, no purpose, no aim, but God in his kindness . . .

These words are true for all of us who are now in Jesus by faith. Oh how easy it is to forget it, and shy away from coming to a deep understanding of what it means to be an orphan, and what it means to be adopted, to be rescued,…

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