Friday, November 22, 2013

Reading The Revelation in Context

"Revelation is often read as if, when we turn the page from Jude, we’re no longer reading about early Christian communities in a Greco-Roman world, but about the end of the first millennium AD, or the Black Death, or the turmoils of the Reformation era, or the Cold War, or the War on Terror and Jewish-Muslin tensions in today’s Middle East. So it’s again important to state the obvious: Revelation is a book of the New Testament."

-Peter Leithart

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Dangerous Gospel of Jesus Christ

*Pastor's warning! Please note: explicit language warning for the first minute of this video clip!*

While we were busy running around in Sandestin for our annual Family Conference, on the other side of the world [down under], the Festival of Dangerous Ideas was concluding in Sydney.  The highlight of my time in Sandestin was getting to host our Q&A with Douglas and Nancy Wilson.  This morning, Doug posted the link to the Q&A session from FODI, which features his friend and Christian apologist, Peter Hitchens [brother of the late, radical atheist, Christopher Hitchens].
2 things stood out to me.  The first was the clarity and provocative intrigue of Peter Hitchens' articulation of the gospel of Christ Jesus.  The second is the utter disdain of children among the rest of the panelists.  It is often said by Christian Pro-lifers that we are a culture that hates children.  At times that has struck my ears as harsh hyperbole.  But in this clip, the hatred and abandon couldn't be more obvious.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Some Thoughts on Historical Redemptive Preaching on All Saints Sunday

It is sad that the phrase "Reformed fad" even exists, but alas, we're all simply human.  Over the years, there have been several kurfluffles in our circles over HR preaching and my thoughts returned to the subject this week as I prepared a sermon for All Saints Sunday.  Here is an excerpt from a response letter I had to write on the subject a few years ago:

Jesus told the Pharisees that the O.T. Scriptures speak of Him [Jn 5.39] then further revealed Himself to the Apostles from the words of Moses and the Prophets as He walked with two of them on the road to Emmaus [Lk 24.27].  Christ can and should be found ALL THROUGH the O.T. … the animal slain in Eden to provide a bloody skin to cover the shame of a disobedient Adam and Eve; the institution of meat-eating so that, through the death of an animal, Noah and his family could live by eating of them; the Paschal lamb; the Rock and Manna in the Wilderness; Esther’s risking her life to redeem her people; Mt Moriah; the Scarlet thread hung out by Rahab in Jericho; the least of the tribe [Gideon] or least of the family [David] being the chosen one and deliverer; God’s use of the most humble and unexpected weapon to defeat His enemy in the most unexpected way with every one of the Judges especially Samson who spread wide his arms and brought divine judgment upon himself in death to deliver God's people; God’s sending a promised child via unusual conception circumstances; Jonah being three days in the belly of the sea creature; just to name a few…

Concretely, one of the best ways to maintain a redemptive focus in a church is to end every week’s service with communion.

Friday, November 1, 2013

On Church Discipline

When God speaks of church growth in Scripture He is speaking more of fruit than shade.  The Bible pictures an orchard rather than a forest.  This is why pruning is necessary.  

[photo: Baugher's Orchard & Farm, Westminster, MD; Heidi Kenny of]