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Showing posts from 2016

Submission: The New 'S' Word

I recently overheard a friend saying she was tired of hearing the term ‘submission’ in church. As she hadn't been speaking to me, I didn't follow up to ask her what she meant. But her comment seized my attention as I had heard a male friend say a similar thing the day before.
It seems every time we hear the word ‘submit’ - especially on social media - it’s with a negative connotation. But it’s not always that way in the New Testament.
Why
It's not hard to sympathise with those who grate against the term 'submission'. 
First of all, the term has been hijacked a bit with movies like '50 Shades' and the BDSM movement - so it may have a denigrating sexual connotation for some. Even if it's understood that the term is being used quite differently, the emotionalcharge can sometimes carry over - even if subconsciously. 
Second, some in spiritual authority have abused their position. I wrote about this in a post entitled, 'Should Christians Obey Pastors?', a…

Biblical Baby Brain Bashing

Occasionally, when discussing faith, an agnostic or atheist may say something like, ‘Yes, but you can’t take the Bible seriously. After all, doesn’t it command us to bash in the brains of babies?’ We can see stuff like this on Twitter and in Facebook memes.
Before beginning to address the actual verse they’re referring to, let me start by saying how glad I am to see atheists caring about the brains of babies! Amidst our current social insanity, they’re currently being carved out and sold off. We welcome you into the pro-life movement! Here’s a sign.
But to the point. Most Christians are familiar with the passage of Scripture – Psalm 137. If seen on an atheist meme it’s usually just the final line that’s quoted without the context:
Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!  –v9
Ouch. How would you explain this verse to a friend who isn’t a Christian who saw this on a meme? Context
Context is always a great place to start. Reading the whole Psalm explains a g…

A Response to Desiring God's article on male-female Friendship

I was delighted Saturday morning to see an article on the Desiring God website entitled ‘Can Christian Men and Women be Friends.’ I had a book published under this title (Here) that was later republished under the name ‘Forbidden Friendships.
Admittedly, I was also nervous. Having dialogued extensively on the issue of cross-gender friendships (CGFs), I know what a controversial subject this is. People can take extreme views on both sides of the issue and the debate can be explosive. Fortunately, the author of the article, Paul Maxwell, displayed not only courage in taking on this taboo subject but a recognition of both the complexities involved as well as the type of balance that is needed. I’ve since been in touch with Maxwell who had not heard of my book, but who was kind enough to request an e-copy for review.
I want to highlight viewpoints in the article that I think deserve recognition as well as where I wished there could’ve been space for more nuance. Maxwell's original arti…

Strategies from the Land of the Damned

'Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.' -1 Kings 19.3

A bit of passion doesn't make the dull, dry, and colourless lands of the damned particularly nervous.

Our enemy is may be a bit nervous when he sees a Christian who is fervent in prayer, obedience, and witness. But he's not overwhelmed. Elijah was all those things - yet he ran from Jezebel shortly after he had won a major victory. 
Jezebel may acknowledge that Elijah wins a battle. But she does not concede the war.
Our being fervent for God will not make hell nervous if we are not also consistent with God. A branch may bear much fruit for one season, but if it’s not holding tightly to the vine, it will cease to bear to bear fruit and wither. When the devil sees a Christian praying and speaking of God with zeal, he often quips, ‘We’ll come back later.’ 

And our enemy knows when the best ‘later’ will be.
It is written about Satan that he left Jesus until ‘an opportune time’. He imagined that there would be a time when Jesu…

4 Things Christians can Affirm about the LGBT Movement

Now before my Christian comrades think an extra-terrestrial has kidnapped me and replaced me with a faux Joshua, let me explain. 
In the last several years we have witnessed the rising of three significant, culture shaping movements here in the West. They are Islam, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans) movement, and more recently the Alt-Right movement. Though I’ve written on the other two as well, most of my focus has touched on the LGBT movement as there is a growing tendency to try and blend its ideology with Christian teaching – something that has not largely been done with the ideology of the other two movements.
Now our defence of Biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality may leave one with the impression that we think there is nothing good in the LGBT movement. But this is not so. Here are some things that we can affirm as good about the movement. If we want to effectively engage with any of the above-mentioned movements, we need to be able to affirm the good as well as poi…

The Morning After...

Above all the ugliness and chaos of human politics stands the beautiful and unmoveable Nation of God.
The Kingship of Christ which she enjoys is unshaken by earthly elections and coups. The sea before the Throne at the centre of this country is calm and ripple free – like crystal. China, America, France, Britain – all these will come and go like the autumnal leaves which decorate our streets and gardens. These institutions will soon be forgotten. Christ and his Kingdom will remain.
Few American Christians were positively excited about this election. They either reluctantly voted for Trump (believing he was the lesser of two evils); held their nose and voted for Hillary (believing she was the lesser); or refused to vote at all, citing character flaws which made both unqualified for the office. America narrowed down her choices to a candidate known for her deception and to a candidate known for his lechery. America may not have gotten the election she wanted, but she got the one she dese…

Does the Bible Teach Marriage Roles?

I would prefer to avoid most - if not all -ideological batles within the church. I enjoy harmony in my relationships and, though conflict has a way of finding me, I do not go looking for it.

But we teach through books of the Bible at our church. That means when we approach a text that deals with a controversial topic, as the preacher I have to engage with it. 
That’s the humbling thing about teaching the BIble in this way – sooner or later you have to deal with the texts that your inner chicken would rather avoid.

Last Sunday, as we were teaching through Ephesians, we came to a passage that dealt with marraige. This means I had to deal with the thorny bits (the sermon should be online soon). And there are thorny bits!  There's no shortge of ink being spilt at the moment on how a Christian should understand marraige.

The Two Teams
So if you're new to this, there’s a big debate in 21st century Western Evangelical circles. Think of the Sharks and the Jets from Westside Story - just wi…