Category Archives: Theology
We have been working behind the scenes in an effort to allow all interested people, wherever they are around the globe, to view this debate live. To this end, we are pleased to announce that this debate will be available to view online and free of charge at debatelive.org. We hope that many will take advantage of this opportunity to view the debate in real time. You may watch the debate at home, or organize a gathering to show the live stream to your small group, your youth group, your entire church, or other groups.
Well-known author, preacher, teacher, and theologian John Piper has not been one to shy away from difficult topics. Piper regularly engages cultural issues with a biblical wisdom and perspective that serves to benefit many. Piper recently wrote an article at Desiring God called “Don’t Let Your Mind Go To Pot,” in which he sets out to show, biblically, why Christians ought to refrain from recreational drug use. He writes:
Have you ever gone through difficult circumstances and uttered that immortal phrase that runs through every mind at the time, “why me?” Sure, we’ve all done that. It’s a passphrase into the club of commiseration that every person wants to join as we loathe our circumstances together. And with the ability to network and share every detail of our lives on sites such as Facebook and Twitter we can quickly gain sympathy for “how awful” and “unfair” our trial is from lots of very well- meaning people.
And, as cyber friends remind us that “this too shall pass” we are increasingly pushed to focus on the day when our trial will be over and we’ll all look back and have a good laugh about it; rather than considering the purpose for the trial in the first place.
The Theological Context:
From a theological, or doctrinal standpoint these words mean absolutely everything. Our entire Bible is written under the authority and inspiration of God.
2 Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”
God, through the Holy Spirit inspired the authorship of the Bible. So if God wrote the Bible then we must first understand that before the Bible existed, God existed. God predates all things, history, time, theology, and the Bible. Our theology is based on God. Our doctrine is founded upon God. Without first understanding that God is the author of all things, our study of Scripture, theology, and doctrine is worthless.
Suppose we wanted to preach through the entire Bible. We decided that we wanted to preach through every chapter, every verse, in every book of the entire Bible. That would be a great idea and one that would benefit us in many ways.
Some might suggest we start with a book like John. Here we would learn about Jesus, not as a lion, ox, or an eagle, as in the synoptic Gospels; but as a perfect man. John’s Gospel teaches us how we can know that we have eternal life and gives us a picture of the man Jesus unlike any other book of the Bible. But we can’t start here. If we started here we would be wondering why Jesus, God in flesh, is on the earth. Why did this God-man come to earth and walk around in a body of flesh and bone. Why did He heal people, suffer, and die on a cross. If we start in John we end up with more questions than answers. We can’t start in John.
The goal foremost in my mind for 2014 is to disappear as completely as possible and retreat into relative anonymity.
Let me explain.
One of the most deceptive and dangerous temptations this world has to offer is fame. People will go to the greatest, or at times the silliest, length to acquire any amount of fame possible. It’s almost as if people are willing to endure a life of fame for silly, absurd, or even rude behavior than to live content in anonymity. Reality television has proven humanities desire for fame knows no bounds.
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels.
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18
The interview posted below is an excellent reminder of the need for Christians to be characterized by giving. It seems Christians have almost bought into the idea that government should take care of people, rather than the church. This is used to justify tithing and giving less. I commend this interview and the principles taught as a great place to start a discussion on stewardship.
The Scary Truth About Christian Giving
Interview by Rob Moll
The Bible gives a two-sided portrayal of wealth: It is good, but it can seduce us into sin. The solution, according to New Testament scholar Craig L. Blomberg, is to freely share it. In Christians in an Age of Wealth: A Biblical Theology of Stewardship (Zondervan), Blomberg, who teaches at Denver Seminary, argues that sacrificial giving is an essential part of good stewardship. He spoke with CT editor at large Rob Moll about our spending patterns and whether Christians are required to tithe.
If, as you argue, Christians are no longer bound by the Old Testament principle of tithing, what’s so bad about low rates of giving?
Over the past 40 years, self-identified evangelicals have given between 2 and 3 percent of their incomes to churches and Christian organizations. Stewardship is a crucial part of the Christian life, and according to these figures, it is sadly lacking.
Much has been said and written in the last decade concerning the troubling trend of Millennials leaving the church. Those that were born between 1980 and 2000 have been the subject of much speculation as they walk out of the church doors and appear to abandon their faith. The alarm has been sounded so loudly that it has reshaped the landscape of the American church as young pastors and seasoned veterans of ministry seek to retain the Millennials they have and reach the ones down the street.
A recent article titled “5 Possible Reasons Young Americans are Leaving Church and Christianity Behind” explores this topic with analysis gained from the vast resources of groups like Focus on the Family and the Barna Resource Group. It’s an interesting read.
While several of these reasons are suspect, to me, at least two of the stated reasons were easy to guess; and I would have been surprised if they were not on the list. The two are: Politics in the Pulpit and Sex.