But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

So, the ‘United’ Methodist Church in the USA is going to split—that is, if everyone can carry the apparently amicable divorce agreement all the way through the process at the General Conference in May this year.  My goodness, this has been a long time coming!  Ecclesiastical wheels have no oil. I re...

Read more

Thursday, 19 December 2019 05:41

Let's Reform Christian Missions

Written by
Let’s reform Christian missions.   One day, our family was together in the car and my father happened to mention a problem with one of the missionaries serving in our mission.  My older brother commented, ‘It seems that the only requirement to be a missionary is to be able to crawl across the borde...

Read more

Saturday, 14 December 2019 03:06

Ministry, Not Leadership: The Call to Renunciation

Written by
One of the differences between understanding Christian ministry as ministry versus leadership is that ministry in Scripture is thought of in terms of renunciation.  Since the 1980s, the language of ‘leadership’ has largely replaced the language of ‘ministry’, at least in Protestant, Evangelical circ...

Read more

In Romans 3.21-4.25, Paul presents two passages from the Old Testament as proof for his argument that God reckons righteousness to those who have faith in Jesus Christ.  I am well aware that this simple statement needs to be argued point by point, since alternative, scholarly views have...

Read more

Saturday, 23 November 2019 00:45

The Need for Church Leaders

Written by
The following conversation was heard somewhere in central Florida on a rainy afternoon under an awning at a soda fountain. Mickey: So, as I understand it, you think the Church needs leaders? Donald: Yes. Mickey: And you think that what we need to do is train more leaders for the Church? Donald:...

Read more

Monday, 28 October 2019 14:41

Is Diversity a Christian Virtue?

Written by
It is no surprise that many Western Christians have hopped onto the ‘diversity train’; it is yet another example of Christians being shaped by culture rather than shaping culture.  The morality of tolerance of Postmodernity has morphed into the morality of diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion...

Read more

Friday, 11 October 2019 01:00

What is the Goal of Missions?

Written by
Two goals in missions are often affirmed as non-negotiable.  They sound contradictory and can even work against each other.  But they are, nevertheless, both wrong in their own right.  The first goal is: nationalise (or indigenise) the mission.  The second goal is: pursue multicultural ide...

Read more

Thursday, 03 October 2019 00:31

A Process of Punishment vs. A Process of Forgiveness

Written by
One of the great developments in our post-Christian, Western culture is the absence of forgiveness.  Instead of a process of forgiveness we are left with a process of punishment.  The two religions in the world that have put forgiveness at their centre are Judaism<!--[if !...

Read more

In Jesus’ High Priestly prayer to His Father in John 17, he prays for several things, including unity.  While anecdotal, it certainly seems that most Christians think of this chapter in John’s Gospel as primarily about unity.  This is, however, one of several themes in the prayer.  Moreover, the pa...

Read more

In Ephesians, Paul has an interesting turn of phrase when he speaks of ‘learning’ (manthanō) Christ and being ‘taught’ (didaskō) ‘in’ Him: Ephesians 4.20-24 But that is not the way you be  learned Christ!— 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,...

Read more

The calling of Christian counsellors and pastors is a spiritual calling and a missionary calling, rooted in the very Great Commission of Jesus to 'teach [disciples of Christ] to obey everything that He has commanded [in the Word of God] (Matthew 28.18-20).  This calling for nurturing ministries...

Read more

Answering this question is full of challenges, but I would like to suggest that there is such a thing as ‘right’ music for congregational worship.  The question is, ‘Will I, or anyone, convince anyone else about this?’  After all, if ‘beauty’ is in the eye of the beholder, and if worship is one’s gi...

Read more

Was there a crisis over a supposed ‘delay’ of Christ’s reappearing—His Second Coming—in the early Church?  Did the early Church set itself up one way only to have to reorient itself later in the 1st century when believers’ initial enthusiasm about an imminent return of Christ was thwarted?  The purp...

Read more

Several conundrums in the Hebrew Scriptures are resolved in the New Testament.  They are such that they require solutions that are not offered in the Hebrew Scriptures but that are offered in the New Testament.  Ten of these will be noted here. First, the Hebrew Scriptures present God as one and...

Read more

Friday, 10 May 2019 13:19

The Rise of Identity Ecclesiology

Written by
Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, Read this passage in the Modernist,...

Read more

The popular understanding of the Pharisees is that they were legalists.  This is not, however, Jesus’ criticism of their ethics, even though the charge of Pharisaic legalism comes from a (mis)reading of the Gospels.  The Pharisees are cast in popular imagination as the quintessential example of leg...

Read more

Tuesday, 19 February 2019 03:24

An Ethic of the Heart and Faith in Jesus

Written by
Introduction In Matthew 15, two adjacent pericopae (episodes) suggest an important theological relationship: the connection between ethics and theology or, more particularly, between an ethic of the heart and faith in Jesus Christ.  The first pericope involves an incident when Jesus’ disciples ar...

Read more

Thursday, 31 January 2019 12:14

On the Soul: A Dialogue on Abortion

Written by
Does the unborn child have a soul?  Let us imagine a conversation between Aristotle (the 4th c. BC Greek philosopher) and some contemporary politician calling for abortion at any time up to the moment of birth.  We’ll call her ‘H’.  H. and A. are watching the recent news on television about abortion...

Read more

Tuesday, 18 December 2018 00:44

The Forgiving Grace and Transforming Grace of God

Written by
We tend to read Romans as a theological explanation of our salvation, a clarification about how we are justified or made righteous.  This is a part—a large part—of what Romans teaches.  If you check in your English Standard Version translation of Romans, for instance, you will find that Romans menti...

Read more

The purpose of this brief essay is to offer a different basis for freedom than that given in post-Enlightenment, free societies of the West.  The argument presented is that freedom understood as a universal human right ends up with various conflicting views and fails in a variety of ways.  C...

Read more

In Martin Luther’s day, a list of proposed theses would be posted somewhere in public (like the church door) so that they could be read ahead of a debate.  Day in and day out, I am involved with discussions or debates about theological education—its curriculum, its costs, its goals, its modes of del...

Read more

The subject of this essay is the need for, and the relationship between, the institutional Church and the missional movement.  In light of recent turmoil in Protestant, mainline denominations and the emergence of independent, non-denominational, local churches and small fellowships of churches, the...

Read more

The Senate Judicial Committee's hearings on the appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court were painful enough to watch.  Yet they captured social pressure points throughout society.  The elephant in the room was the Roe v. Wade decision that unborn children lack personhood and may b...

Read more

The Modernist, Western era has pursued, with considerable advantages at times, an approach to ethics through ‘rights.’  The USA added an addendum to the Constitution of ten amendments, called the ‘Bill of Rights.’  The United Nations’ charter was written in the language of certain ‘rights’.  This ‘r...

Read more

The Judiciary Committee’s hearings around the appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh raise questions about what the Bible says about false testimony, sexual violence, and the responsibility of victims to speak out immediately.  The following quotations (from the English Standard Version) are offered f...

Read more

Page 1 of 2