In SBC circles, the issue of female pastors has been the subject of a lot of discussion during the past several days. I, personally, am a complementarian and believe that the office of elder-pastor-bishop in the local church is reserved, according to biblical teaching, for qualified males. At the same time, I recognize that there are authentic, bona fide followers of Jesus (i.e., my brothers and sisters in Christ) who interpret and/or apply the Bible differently than I do on these matters. Thus, I also believe I am enjoined by Scripture to have spiritual fellowship with those who may not hold … [Read more...] about Some Thoughts on Female Pastors and Cooperation in the SBC
The Rich and the Poor in James
James 2:5-7. “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? Yet you have dishonored the poor. Don’t the rich oppress you and drag you into court? Don’t they blaspheme the good name that was invoked over you?” The general context of these verses is the teaching of James on avoiding favoritism in the church. Now it is possible to show favoritism to the rich and it is possible to show favoritism to the poor. Exodus 23:3 says, “Do not show favoritism to a poor person in his … [Read more...] about The Rich and the Poor in James
Fixated on Fixing the Nation?
Recently, Bart Barber posted the following words on Facebook: Want to fix the nation? Fix the churches. Want to fix the churches? Fix the SBC (or your own family of churches). Want to fix the SBC? Fix your local church. Want to fix your local church? Start with yourself. #SpiritualAwakening101 Before proceeding with my response to Bart’s Facebook post, I want to make a few things clear: Though from time to time in the past I have publicly disagreed with Bart on a few issues of theology (mostly related to questions of Baptist Identity and the continuation of spiritual gifts … [Read more...] about Fixated on Fixing the Nation?
Do You Have an Abner Spirit or a Joab Spirit?
It was a time of civil war in Israel. King Saul and his oldest son, Jonathan, had died in battle. The people of David’s native tribe of Judah had proclaimed him the new king. The prophet Samuel had anointed David years earlier and had let it be known that God had rejected Saul. But those who were loyal to Saul had rallied around Saul’s son Ishbosheth and proclaimed him as king. The rivalries were deeply seated. Those on David’s side, including his military captain, Joab, were convinced they were on the right side. They had been unjustly persecuted by Saul and his army for years. And now, … [Read more...] about Do You Have an Abner Spirit or a Joab Spirit?
Worse than an infidel?
In recent days, in response to those calling on Christians to have compassion on needy people from other countries, I have heard or read several people reference 1 Timothy 5:8: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” In this same context, some have said things like, “As long as we have poor people here in the USA, or as long as we are not taking proper care of our veterans, we should not give one red cent to help those from other countries.” While some have limited the scope of their comments … [Read more...] about Worse than an infidel?
“But we already said we’re sorry for that”
The conversation goes on. And from the perspective of some among us, it goes on and on and on and on and on. “Why can’t we just let bygones be bygones? Why do we have to keep on dredging up the past and revisiting the same sins over and over again? Didn’t we already say we were sorry for that, anyway? What do we have to do or say to finally lay this thing to rest?” I believe this line of thinking, and different perspectives with regard to it, lies at the root of much of the current frustration regarding the ongoing discussion over racial reconciliation. Hopefully, what I have to say here … [Read more...] about “But we already said we’re sorry for that”
Driving home in my car just now I turned my radio on to the local Christian talk station just in time for the Jay Sekulow Live program. The topic of discussion for today was tax reform. Even though it is not the topic I want to write about, nor what I really want to discuss here, I will come out and say it right up front anyway, since I imagine some commenters will want to direct the conversation that way anyway: I am not, in general, a big fan of the Jay Sekulow show. The main reason why I am not has to do primarily with the topic of my article: I do not believe it is generally a good idea … [Read more...] about The Rub
Business as Ministry vs. Ministry as Business
Rule of thumb: "Business as ministry," as a general principle, is honorable and good. "Ministry as business," as a general principle, however, is neither honorable nor good. Necessary points of explanation and nuance: * God created man to be industrious and to work. Work has intrinsic value in and of itself. * God expects us to earn a living and to provide for our families from our work. * As followers of Jesus, we are all called to be on kingdom business 24/7, and we should use opportunities our everyday work provides for us as opportunities to advance the agenda of the kingdom of … [Read more...] about Business as Ministry vs. Ministry as Business
American Civil Religion & New Testament Christianity
As I have reflected on the matter, I have come to the conclusion that the underlying cause of many of the conflicts between different groups of Christians today in North America is a difference in the way we conceive of the proper relationship between civil religion and the practice of our Christian faith. In order for all of us to follow my point in this discussion, we need to make sure first of all that we have a common understanding of what we mean when we say civil religion. Since this is not a formal scholarly article, I am going to take the liberty to cite Wikipedia in order to … [Read more...] about American Civil Religion & New Testament Christianity
Nationwide and Citywide Revival
Though the concept of revival (or spiritual awakening) is certainly not absent from Scripture, it is my contention that some of the ways in which this topic is frequently broached in contemporary North American Evangelicalism are either Scripturally unbalanced or unfounded. One example of this is our tendency to talk of revival more on a nationwide than citywide level. An unfortunate consequence of this perspective is the inherent linking of spiritual revival in the minds of some with a rise in patriotism and other forms of nationalistic pride. In the Old Testament, it is undeniable that … [Read more...] about Nationwide and Citywide Revival