God speaks to us to give away His salvation gifts. He sends us preachers for this reason: to hand out His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation through simple, earthly words, water, bread, and wine. These gifts aren't hidden in some secret society. No one has a monopoly on God’s gifts.
Most scholars consider Melanchthon to be a Reformation enigma. He, the developer of the Reformation doctrine of forensic justification, is contrarily condemned as a synergist. Known well as the Protestant preceptor of Germany, he was Martin Luther’s lifelong friend, colleague, teacher of Greek, and fellow reformer.
I was born November 1949 in Cartagena, Colombia (pronounced “Carta-hen-a”). Cartagena was founded 416 years before, in 1533, by Dominican and Franciscan monks. A few years later, Jesuit and Augustinian monks catechized the indigenous dwellers. My ancestors were among those whose first catechism had the shape of a rod.
How does one know that they are saved? Where can the Christian turn for any ground of certainty before God on the day of judgment? As a pastor, these questions are often found in the fear-filled voices of guilt-ridden Christians in my study. Lead a Bible study on Romans 9-11 sometime and watch fear fill the eyes as folks realize God is actually, actually sovereign over salvation.
It’s been said that Martin Luther was an occasional theologian. Luther did theology as occasions arose. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t doing theology otherwise. It simply means that theology for Luther wasn’t some abstract thing removed from daily life and the people around him. I suppose the same could be said of Jesus.
Is there room in God’s family for children with disabilities or severe deformities? What about adults? Is there space for a disabled baby in the waters of baptism? Is there a chair at the table of faith for someone who is mentally disabled? For Christians, the question strikes at the foundation of what it means to be called the "communion of saints," or, "the Church." Are God's gifts handed out indiscriminately, or not?
Believing in God is a nice idea; it solves serious philosophical problems. But it doesn’t necessarily solve the personal problem of getting right with the universe. We are told that “the devils also believe” in God, but they remain devils (James 2:19).
While justification and salvation are clear doctrines that answer the question of what is gained by the death and resurrection of Christ, the doctrine of atonement tries to answer the question, “Why did Christ die and how did such a death actually address and deal with the problem of sin?”
A deadly disease is sweeping our nation, one which you may not even be aware. Some have felt the tragic effects in their own families, many more are affected by it and do not even know the symptoms. The sickly demeanor and lifestyle have become so commonplace in our society, those who suffer appear completely healthy to everyone around them.
It’s a humid, August afternoon. The courtroom is packed. There aren’t many murder trials in this town. Everyone and their mother wants a seat. The stench of sweat fills the wood-paneled room. The judge enters. The crowd rises on command.
There is concrete, real evil in this world. But running and hiding from evil men does no good. When a man becomes a predator, he'll eventually turn his attention on someone else, track them down, hunt them, and prey upon them. More often than not, a predator believes he's doing good for himself, his family, his community, or the world
If there’s one thing social media has influenced, it’s the rise of thematic, self-help resolutions. Pick an area of life you want to improve, and there’s a group (or app) for that. Supporting your physical fitness, mental health, or spiritual awareness is only a click or tap away.
Dad died three days before Christmas. The dying came slowly and hard as the completion of a season of surgery and tests, treatments and procedures, referrals and home health, hospitalizations and palliative care, and finally, hospice care.
Cana of Galilee. The first miracle. The first sign that Jesus is different. It isn't people's grief, but people's joy that Jesus visits. He works his first miracle to increase people's gladness. The One who loves all people loves their gladness too.
In a bid to convince consumers that their cellular service is superior to others, a phone company has rolled out commercials with the tagline “When Ok is Not Ok.” They suggest that you would never want a simply “ok” mechanic, surgeon, or cellular service. So you should choose them. Point taken.
Who is Jesus? As elementary as it seems, that question can prove embarrassingly difficult. Answers pile up quickly: Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior, the Redeemer. But what do these words mean? Does a person who knows them really know Jesus?
As this new year begins, we’re taking a moment to reflect on the past twelve months. In 2018, our team of contributors was blessed with many opportunities to share the freedom of the Gospel with people who need to hear the words, “You are forgiven!”
We don't lose confidence in God because of a fight, or a tragedy, or a single moment of self-destruction. We lose confidence one, tiny, seemingly insignificant surrender to temptation at a time. Temptation chips away at us. It's a slow incremental process that happens without us recognizing it.