The Anger of Man

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak,slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. -James 1:19-20

There is such a thing as righteous indignation but that is reserved for, well, the righteous. Which is not us. I’m offering this as a timely reminder in an age when lots of people, Christians included, are carrying signs and share every waking thought on social media. We to need to be very vocal about the Gospel and keep everything else behind closed doors. Some conversations need to stay within the walls of a family’s living room or take place in the context of a Sunday School class. Some conversations need to not take place at all. What the world needs to see and hear is a group of people conforming to the image of Christ who are meek and humble in their behavior but bold with sharing the Gospel.

Jesus Practiced What He Preached

jesus_teachingJesus practiced what he preached, perhaps the greatest understatement ever made, and of course what he preached was the Gospel. “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” Mark 1:14-15 

Jesus preached the Gospel.

Let’s deconstruct that passage. Jesus said “the time is fulfilled.” His first century Jewish audience would have been familiar with the many messianic prophecies. Jesus didn’t spend a great deal of time trying to convince people he was the Messiah; by contrast he told his disciples to keep to themselves even as they began to figure it out. Without announcing that Messiah (or Christ in the Greek) was present he began his first sermon by declaring in effect “now is the appointed time, today is the day of salvation.” Continue reading

Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee

Screenshot 2014-09-01 at 10.39.20 AMThru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee is a half-hour daily radio program that takes the listener on a 5 year journey through the entire scripture. I discovered McGee more than a decade after he had passed, but through the miracle of radio broadcast his ministry lives on still. The full audio collection has been available for years on CD – or I should say many, many CD’s. The study notes and outline for the entire series makes a very large single volume.

Check this out – the entire audio series plus notes and outlines in pdf can now be purchased on a single 8GB flash drive. Click here for ordering information – the cost is a mere $35.

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Study to Show Thyself Approved

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Start Studying, from the article So You Want to Be a Pastor by Dave Bruskas of Mars Hill Church. I particularly enjoyed this take on importance of scripture, just thought I’d share. His next piece of advice is to start evangelizing. There are many pastors but evangelistic pastors are few and far between.

 

 

Opinion: Is This a Good Lie?

365 times This statement made the Facebook rounds a year or two ago and seems to be recirculating again. Have you seen this or shared it already on social media? Here’s the thing: it isn’t true. 

The born-again believer certainly has nothing to fear. If the Bible said “Do not be afraid” even once then it would be a statement of ultimate truth that we can all believe in. The ESV contains the phrase 33 times, the NIV 70 times, the most occurrences I have found in any translation. (The KJV by contrast does not contain that exact phrase even once.) Is it true that we should not be afraid? Yes. Is sharing this image a way to encourage and inspire believers? Perhaps yes. My wife thinks I’m trolling if I see this on Facebook and comment to the poster it’s not accurate.

Question: should we continue sharing this image in order to encourage one another even though it makes a false statement about the scripture? 

I believe telling lies about the truth is still lying. I don’t believe we can “rightly divide the Word of Truth” by making false statements about what it says. I’m not calling every person who has ever posed this a liar. Like so many other things people smile a little when they this image and click “share” without checking to see is the claim has any truth to or it not. I for one happen to think sharing a false statement about biblical truth is a greater offense than reposting urban legends about Coca-cola being used to clean toilets or the current president taking more vacation days than any other.

 

 

Who Were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

bible, scrollAs books were chosen to represent a New Testament of the Bible, conveying the biography of Jesus and the formation of the Christian Church, a few were chosen and many others passed over. The writings that were chosen by the early church leaders become Bible canon, but there are many gnostic Gospels and falsely ascribed (pseudepigraphal) epistles that still exist today. There is even some disagreement between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians about what is considered scripture.

Michael Patton, author of the Parchment & Pen Blog published by Creedo House, finds it interesting that while some Gospels with recognizable names, i.e. Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Mary, were passed over we have four Gospels included in the Bible that are essentially anonymous. Each book is named for the person believed to be the author – namely Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – but none of the writers identify themselves as such. Patton further believes this anonymity adds to rather than detracts from the works credibility.

Please read 4 Gospels or 4 Forgeries and see for yourself. I found the post engaging and his reasoning sound but you’re entitled to agree or disagree.

The Law as a Gift of God

Israel at SinaiThe Hebrew people were brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand in the Book of Exodus. God was calling them to himself; they would be his people and he would be their God. It was a covenant relationship not offered to any other people on the face of the earth. He made a dwelling place for himself among them and gave them his law. As people of faith living in the age of grace, we may think of the Law as a burden that is too great to bear. At the time it was gift, given only to God’s chosen people. Continue reading