More Alike Than Different

apostles_creedIf your neighborhood is anything like mine, there is a church on every corner. The population of the county I live in is a little less than 56,000 and I would not be surprised if there were 150 churches. Without getting into church splits and all the baggage that entails, let’s ask this question instead: Are there really that many theological and doctrinal issues that divide us? While there are some real distinctives, such as between Protestants and Catholics, the truth is most Christians are more alike than we are different. To define the differences between Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians we really have to get kind of nit-picky. The basic tenants of the Christian faith – in other words the things that really matter – are shared by all Christians everywhere.

Please read this post from the original Internet Monk. The discussions and debates can be a distraction to those of us inside the church and a stumbling block to those on the outside, but at the end of the day we are more alike than we are different.

What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Corinthians 1:12-13

Not Exactly Right

bear

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” That’s actually a quote of Friedrich Nietzsche. I guess the bear thing is funny, but… the statement is unnecessary. The original quote creates two categories, things that kill you and things that don’t. Since bears will kill you there is no exception. There are plenty of things that will kill you but the encouragement for survivors is what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Continue reading

Broken and Poured Out

anointed And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and wheneveryou want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Mark 14:3-9

So to summarize: A costly vessel was broken, a precious substance poured out, something valuable was given away but not wasted.  Continue reading

A Defense of The Apostle Paul

PaulSaul of Tarsus developed quite a reputation in the world of the early Christian church, zealously hunting down those who taught and preached in the name of Christ. He was on his way to Damascus, with arrest letters from the Jerusalem Sanhedrin in hand, when he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul he became one of the most prolific church planters and writers of the first century; 14 of the 26 New Testament books are his letters (epistles) to various individuals and churches.

But here’s the rub: Do we today make too much of Paul? Does our attention become Paul-centered rather than Christ centered? Just because he wrote many epistles that become a major component of the New Testament, is everything Paul wrote the Word of God? Which is why I propose a defense of Paul to consider and respond to these criticisms. Continue reading

Discussion: The Altar

altar prayerDoes you church have an altar (or more than one altar) in the sanctuary? Does each service end with an altar call style invitation? What are we being invited to do at the altar if/when we get there? I would like to put aside personal feelings, experiences and what any particular local church does or doesn’t do and look into the Bible as we analyze the purpose of the altar. Ultimately I would like us to answer this question: what is the place of the altar in the New Testament church? Continue reading

Book Review: Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me by Renee Fisher

Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is the power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” -Corrie ten Boom

Renee Fisher began journaling in 1997 as part of her healing process. Prayers and scriptures filled her journal; God answered in a big was and the writing never stopped. Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me: Finding Freedom in the Journey from Pain to Purpose is her third book. Continue reading

Are All Christians to Share the Gospel?

Screenshot 2014-06-24 at 10.54.12 AMIn the circles of Christianity that I run in, we believe that some are called to preach, some are gifted to teach, but all are called to be evangelists. Any born again Christian should be able to communicate to another person what Christ has done, even if the exchange is one on one. You do not have to be a preacher, Sunday School teacher or any sort of public speaker to share the Gospel. Apologetics is about presenting a defense of our faith and any Christian if asked ought to at least be able to explain why he or she is a believer. There are some, however, that still preach from the pulpit that only the ordained minister can evangelize from the pulpit. Consider this summary of one reformed pastor when responding to this issue on the Puritan Board website: Continue reading

Book Review: God is Near

No, I do not presume to write a review of my own book. Below is the review and recommendation of Steve May, a pastor friend in eastern Kentucky. I also look forward to Denise Spencer’s review next week on Internet Monk. 

God is NearClark Bunch is a Baptist preacher with a passion for writing and teaching. This is his first book but he writes daily for his blog The Masters Table (themasterstable.wordpress.com).

Clark is a graduate of Shorter University holding a Bachelors of Science degree in both history and political science. He has been the lead pastor to one church and was on the teaching faculty of the Oneida Baptist Institute (a private Baptist Boarding School with over a 100 year history in southeastern Kentucky). Presently Clark is the Director of Men’s Ministry and works with the youth ministries of the Trinity Baptist Church in Calhoun, GA. Continue reading

An Exhortation to Father’s

familyFirst, a word about society. Our culture at large has pretty low expectations for behavior. Honesty, morality, decency and work ethic are no longer expected from most people. Slipping in a few minutes late, taking home a few office supplies, riding the clock a few minutes here or there is what employers and co-workers expect as normal these days. People will do what they can get away with, at school, at work, at red lights without cameras, filing their income taxes, etc. I’m not talking about embezzling corporate funds, I’m talking about the “little things” that supposedly everybody does, from running errands in the company car to flirting with the waitress.

Hopefully Christians – I said hopefully – attempt to rise above falling expectations. Continue reading

Is Jesus Radical?

radicalLet’s begin by defining our terms. Most people have a concept of radical that may be hard to put into words. You could be a radical thinker in a good way that doesn’t involve overthrowing the government (but that’s one possibility). Miriam-Webster’s online dictionary gives 3 definitions, these are the two that apply to our discussion:

1) very new and different from what is traditional or ordinary
2) having extreme political or social views that are not shared by most people

Radical describes something new, different, or views that are not shared by most people. I contend that Jesus was radical from man’s point of view, but not from God’s.  Continue reading