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Archive for the ‘theology’ Category

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How do we know what’s right and wrong? How do we know that abortion is wrong? How do we know that all human beings have dignity, value, and worth? How do we know that there are two sexes – male and female – which are assigned to us by God at our conception? How do we know the true spiritual condition of mankind (lost, sinful, and fallen)? How do we know how we can be right with God?

There are a number of answers, and almost all of them are wrong. Human reason and logic can’t give us the answers. Neither can intuition, personal experience, or tradition. As Christians, we rely on revelation. God has revealed Himself to us and He has spoken to us in His Word. The reason we know anything, and can know anything, is because God has revealed it to us.

When we think about any issue or question, whether inside the church or not, our first question needs to be “What does the Scripture say?” In other words, we need to ask what God thinks about it. This ought to be our first instinct, not our last. God’s Word – what He has to say – is authoritative in every area of life. That instinct, however, is in short supply in today’s church. We seem to take our cues from just about any other source than God and His Word.

It ought not be so, as illustrated by the following two passages. The apostle Paul has been arguing in the early chapters of the book of Romans that everyone is sinful and, therefore, deserving of God’s wrath (1:18-3:20). He then proclaims that justification by faith alone is the answer to the question of how sinful man can be right with a holy God (3:21-31). In 4:1, he says, in effect, “What about Abraham? How was he justified?” In order to give his answer, he appeals to Scripture, when he says, “What does the Scripture say?” (4:3). A quotation from Genesis 15:6 follows: “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Paul cites Scripture to make his case and bring the discussion to an end – the matter is settled.

The second passage is Matthew 19:3-9. Some Pharisees challenged Jesus about whether or not a man could divorce his wife. Instead of quoting an influential rabbi or two, Jesus went straight to the Scripture to give the authoritative answer. He said, “Have you not read?” in verse 4. In other words, “What does the Scripture say?” The Lord Jesus asked this question many times during His ministry. He continually appealed to God’s Word as the final authority in all matters.

The church needs to remember and recover this crucial principle. We know what’s right and wrong, what’s true and false, because we read it in God’s Word – because God says so. There’s nothing wrong with believing and saying that. In fact, if we’re going to be faithful Christians, that’s exactly what we’ll do.

 

 

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Theology of BC

There are plenty of misconceptions about what is called “biblical counseling.” “Take a Bible verse and call me in the morning,” “Everything comes down to your sin – repent of it and everything will be fine,” and “Stop taking your medication because it’s ultimately a spiritual problem,” are just a few of those misconceptions. Others aren’t even aware that an alternative to secular psychotherapy and counseling even exists. The sad part is that through misunderstanding and ignorance, a useful tool is not being utilized.

Heath Lambert, the Executive Director of The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, has done the church a tremendous favor by writing A Theology of Biblical Counseling: The Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry. Biblical Counseling, which has existed as a discipline since the 1970’s, has specific theological underpinnings, which Lambert explains. (By the way, so does secular counseling.) He deals with the usual categories of theology (Scripture, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, man, sin, salvation, the church, etc.) and tells us how it relates to counseling someone using the Bible as the final authority. One of the most interesting aspect of the book are the case studies Lambert includes in most chapters, which adds “flesh and bones” to doctrine.

If you have questions about biblical counseling or have written it off in the past, please read this book. When you do, you will have read a clear presentation of biblical counseling and will know its theological foundation. You’ll have an informed opinion. If you’re committed to the practice and discipline of biblical counseling, please read this book. It’s more than a method or a strategy for counseling, it has a secure theological foundation faithful to Scripture, which is important to remember. If you’ve never heard of biblical counseling, please read this book. You’ll learn a lot about Biblical counseling, but even more about God and His Word!

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Happy-Reformation-Day-October-31-1517

Today is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the greatest revival in church history.  The great truths of the Scriptures were rediscovered and applied to every area of life beginning with the church itself.

Like a dusty artifact in a dark, dank basement, the Reformers found life-changing truth: Scripture alone reveals that we are justified by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone, with all of the glory going to God alone.

Those simple, yet profound truths reformed the church (and changed the world), and are still reforming the church today. Even after five hundred years, the work is far from done. We’ve made a good beginning! May God raise up more Reformers for His glory and our good.

Happy Reformation Day!

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nashvillestatement

Having read the Nashville Statement carefully and with prayer, I gladly signed it. The statement represents the biblical teaching on human sexuality which the Christian church as held for two thousand years. In other words, there’s nothing new in it. It’s a reminder of God’s Law and a proclamation of His gospel.

Human identity and sexuality is widely misunderstood in our day. Homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism are only the start – there’s more to come. Because of that, a number of Christian scholars and leaders met in Nashville, Tennessee to write a statement that clearly presented the Christian position.

The need for a statement like this became apparent immediately as reactions began to roll in. The statement was panned, and even vilified, by many on the Left (and even some who consider themselves evangelical Christians), and praised by many on the Right. As the church, we need to think clearly on these issues, and the Nashville Statement is a good step in the right direction.

I use you to read the Nashville Statement here.

I would also suggest that you read a piece by Rosaria Butterfield on why she signed the Statement. You can read it here.

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Dignity and Depravity

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The horrific flooding in Houston as a result of Hurricane Harvey has put a basic biblical doctrine – anthropology – on full display. (Anthropology is the doctrine of man.)

What the Bible teaches about man is built on two pillars of truth: the dignity of man and the depravity of man.

Man (speaking in the generic sense of all human beings) is created by God in His image and likeness. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Gen. 1:26-27) As humans, we’re like God and similar to Him in some ways, but not in all ways. As a result, every single human being has dignity, value, and worth. We have the ability (though not perfectly) to reflect God’s character and attributes. We’ve seen a lot of that in Houston over the last few days. People have rushed in to offer whatever help they can give, sent donations to organizations that provide relief, and many have made heroic attempts to save and help anyone in need. The dignity of man is on display.

Man, although created in the image and likeness of God, is also sinful and fallen. The effects of Adam and Eve’s sin have been passed own to all of us like a virus, but they’re not completely to blame – you and I ratify the decision they made every day. The result is stated clearly in Romans 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All human beings are sinful in every part of our being – mind, will, affections, body. In other words, we’re totally depraved. We’re sinners, therefore we sin. The depravity of man has also been on display in Houston. We’ve seen it in price-gouging, looting, scams that take advantage of people’s generosity, and even in despicable comments made on social media wishing death on those with different political views.

We human beings are what has been called a “beautiful tragedy.” Because of God’s doing, we have incredible dignity, and because of our doing we have thorough depravity. The only hope we have for restoration is that which comes through God’s grace by means of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

While we see man’s dignity and depravity, we also see God’s power and grace. We’re praying for you, Houston!

 

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Colossians 1:15-20. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus Christ, the Lord of creation and redemption, has first place in everything.

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“The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11)

Al Mohler writers a letter to American Christians called “Letter from Berlin: The Letters of History and the Heresy of Racial Superiority.” It’s especially important to think about after what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. You can read it here

Joe Carter has written an FAQ on Charlottesville, which can be read here. It’ll help give you a basic grasp of the situation.

The Wall Street Journal has a well-reasoned, well-written editorial about our culture and its response to Charlottesville, focusing on identity politics, in specific. You can read it here.

Does our job matter? Does God have anything to say about in His Word? Yes, our job does matter (including the way we do it), and yes God does have quite a bit to say about it in His Word. Dan Doriani has written a helpful article called “12 Basic Principles for Faith and Work.” You can read it here.

Mindy Belz, of WORLD, says plants needs pruning, but so do we as God’s people. Read her excellent piece here.

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