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Recently a pastor posted an article about how he would treat his kids if they turned out to be gay. His four promises to them were: he won’t keep his kids’ sexuality a secret, he’ll pray for them (but not for God to change them), he’ll love them, and he accepts that if they turn out to be gay, they are gay already. He never once mentioned either how God feels about homosexuality or that he would try to help his kids to restrain their behavior. One friend of mine commented that the man demonstrated unconditional love like Jesus had for everyone he met. When I read through this short piece, by a fellow pastor, I kept waiting for the twist at the end, but it never came. Of course, in this short sample of his thought, it is hard for me to discern what he thinks about the subject at large. It seems like he knows that the bible condemns homosexual sex yet he, himself, believes it is not wrong. If this is the case, then he is simply a non-biblical Christian or a liberal Christian—someone who takes some of what the bible says while ignoring other parts with which he or she disagrees. Another possibility is that he really does believe the bible is right but thinks the best course of action is to love the sinner unconditionally, regardless of the sin. I want to assume that this is the case for my purposes here, and put some thought into the question of what unconditional love is and whether or not it should have any limits.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace?” The phrase has two main purposes: either we use it to express humility or excuse our behavior.cheap jerseys But, did you know that scripture nowhere calls Christ’s followers sinners? Let’s take a look at what the bible says about sinners in order to get a grounded scriptural understanding of what a sinner is. Then we’ll examine some other titles Christians use to refer to themselves as well as others within the family of God.

Although the latest statistics indicate that 2.2 of earth’s 6.9 billion inhabitants self-identify as Christian, it is hard to say how many actually follow Jesus. I remember a while back asking a friend’s mother if she was a Christian. She replied, “Of course, I am; I’m American, aren’t I?” I guess in her mind being a Christian was no more or less than being an American, but is this what the Bible teaches?

Jesus said, “And why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord, and you do not do what I say?’” (Luke 6:46). From this concise statement, we find a very helpful definition: if Jesus is my Lord, I will do what he said. Each one of us must decide whether or not we will actually follow Christ. In the end, self-identifying as a Christian is not enough. Our faith must run deeper.

Why did Jesus die?  Although a skeptic might argue Jesus was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when he angered the wrong people, those of us who believe in Jesus’ resurrection cannot let ourselves off the hook so easily.  If God’s resurrection proves that Jesus was His anointed one—the Messiah—then, of course, God could have intervened to prevent Jesus’ torturous and bloody demise, but He didn’t.  Peter put it this way in the first public statement about Jesus’ death, “This man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men” (Acts 2:23).  Thus, Jesus’ crucifixion was God’s plan all along.  Why?  God must have had some purpose—an immensely important one—to allow His Son to suffer so greatly at the hands of his enemies.  One’s answer to this question is their theory of “atonement.”


The Bible opens with audacity and gusto, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The statement is as terse as it is powerful—God made the universe. This one grandiose proposition undergirds the faith of all Jews, Christians, and Muslims. As God speaks, water separates, land appears, vegetation sprouts, animals multiply, and humans take shape. Five times over, the magnificently crafted creation poem resounds with the refrain, “it was good.” Then, on the sixth day, God surveys all of His work and concludes “it was very good.” The reader of Genesis finds himself compelled to affirm the inherent and primal goodness of the universe. From the shining stars to the flowing seas, all is the product of a brilliant and beneficent Creator who lovingly and powerfully spoke it into existence.

In the first part of this investigation into the holy spirit and translation bias, I limited my focus to relative pronouns used to refer to the holy spirit.  In what follows I will broaden my inquiry to include several other key texts and important concepts related to the God’s spirit.  First I will discuss in detail the primary texts used to prove the personhood of the spirit on grammatical grounds, before I make the case that the biblical concept of God’s spirit resists categorization.
Key Texts Used to Establish Personhood[1]

Before jumping in to exegete each of the primary texts commonly used to affirm the personality of the spirit, I will begin by citing Millard Erickson’s words to show how the argument typically works:

Originally presented at Atlanta Bible College’s 2013 Theological Conference

According to the Hebrew prophets,cheap jerseys one day the God of heaven will set up a kingdom on this world, restoring it back to its original glory. Instead of shucking off the body like a husk so the soul can ascend, the biblical teaching about humanity’s destiny is rather fleshy. God designed humans to live on earth in the beginning, and he will resurrect his people on the last day, healing them of all their ailments and imparting to them immortality. The picture is a beautiful one, with people living in peace, confidently planting and harvesting without fear of intruders. Rather than rampant economic injustice, one will wear out the work of his own hands. This grand age is to begin with a banquet at which the resurrected saints will enjoy fine wine and rich meat, celebrating the victory of God. Although this terrestrial hope coursed through the veins of Jews for centuries, it had reached a fever pitch by the time of Jesus of Nazareth. In fact, he based his entire ministry on the proclamation and enactment of the coming of God’s kingdom.

Introduction

Tucked away at the end of the Gospel of Matthew is the great commission. It reads, “Therefore, go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit” (Mat 28.19). Oftentimes modalists and unitarians question the validity of this verse because of its trinitarian flavor. Typically, the questioner makes the point that we do not have manuscripts of Matthew 28.19 before a.d 325 when the church ratified the Trinitarian creed at Nicea and that they were all corrupted at that time. Furthermore, they refer to Eusebius, the famous church historian, because he quotes an alternative version of Matthew 28.19 (i.e. “Go and make disciples of all the nations in my name”) in his writings. Although it certainly wouldn’t ruin my day if Matthew 28.19 turned out to be spurious, I am wary of textual arguments motivated by theology. As a result, I want to lay out for you the reasons why every handwritten and printed Greek text contains the full version of Matthew 28.19.

As you probably know Santa Claus was based on the historical man, St. Nicholas of Myra, who lived from a.d. 270 to 343. He was the bishop of a church in Myra, not far from Nicea when the first council was held there in a.d. 325. Although we cannot be sure Bishop Nicholas attended the council, it certainly is likely. Several later accounts or legends report that Nicholas not only attended the council but at one moment flew into a rage and slapped Arius across his face. Here is a version that I found on the Lutheran Witness:

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“From the perspective of our own time, it may seem strange to think of Arian “heretics” as conservatives, but emphasizing Jesus’ humanity and God’s transcendent otherness had never seemed heretical in the East.”7

–Richard Rubenstein

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