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How Should Christians Engage the Current Conversation on Climate Change?

When it comes to the conversation around climate change Christians often find themselves caught between conflicting biblical principles. On the one hand, the Bible says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14 ESV) But at the same time it also says: “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.” (Proverbs 26:17 ESV) Provide guidance – but wisely, cautiously and from a certain distance. Toward that…

I Am The True Vine (Old Testament Backstory)

A great deal of New Testament imagery assumes a knowledge of Old Testament narrative. In a sense, the New Testament is like a painting painted in colours lifted directly from Old Testament canvases and therefore you have to read the Old Testament – again and again and again – in order to really understand and correctly interpret the New. Nowhere is this better illustrated than with respect to Jesus’ famous declaration, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” (John 15:1 ESV) Jes…

What Is Real Repentance?

It would be difficult to think of a word that is more central to our identity as Christians than the word “repentance”. According to Matthew it was the theme of the first sermon every preached by Jesus. Jesus was travelling around Galilee and saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17 ESV) It has pride of place in the first sermon ever preached in the Christian church. On the Day of Pentecost Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and preached a sermon that cut his…

Hell On the Cross

When we are meditating upon the agonies of Christ upon the cross it may be helpful to revisit the narratives of judgment upon Israel that are found in the Old Testament. One of the things we say (quite rightly) is that Jesus suffered the punishment our sins deserved – but what exactly was that? Ezekiel 22 may be helpful here. God lists all the sins and iniquities of the covenant people: Shedding of blood Disrespect for parents Mistreatment of immigrants Disregard for worship Slander and…

Middle-Aged, Grateful And In Process (And Not Precisely YRR)

I’m not sure if the term Young Restless and Reformed ever really applied to me. I am 45 years old, so that really doesn’t qualify as young. I’ve never self-identified as restless and I’m not entirely comfortable referring to myself as “reformed”. Let me explain. I grew up in an independent baptistic church where everyone believed that the Bible was God’s Word, Jesus was God’s Son and the cross was God’s answer to the sin and brokenness of this world. It was a good church and it gave me a…

The Better Way

This is the better way. Better than incredible spiritual giftedness. Better than profound theological insight. Better than flamboyant personal sacrifice. This is the better way: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.…

What Is The Mark Of The Beast?

Many of the visions in the Book of Revelation are like paintings created with colours and symbols that have been lifted off of Old Testament canvases. Thus understanding the original context in which the symbol appeared is often the key to correctly interpreting its New Testament usage. An obvious point in case would be the rather perplexing symbol of the mark of the beast. The passage we most often associate with this symbol is Revelation 13:11-18: “Then I saw another beast rising out of the…

’Tis Mystery All! (What I Know And Don’t Know about The Atonement)

All Christian discourse, is in some sense a dealing in mystery. To speak of “mystery” in the theological sense is simply to acknowledge that the reality of things far exceeds our insight and understanding as human beings. This is true with respect to the Trinity; this is true with respect to the incarnation; this is true with respect to God’s Providence and this is true with respect to the atonement. The reality of these things is infinitely greater than our ability to understand, appreciate…

Is Anger a Fruit of The Spirit?

Is anger a fruit of the Spirit? In rare cases, it may well be. The Bible describes what happened to Saul when he heard about the plans of Nahash the Ammonite: “So they told him the news of the men of Jabesh. 6 And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. 7 He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of the messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and…

Is It Bad to Be Beautiful?

It is interesting to notice how often the Bible makes mention of physical beauty. If God judges the heart then why are there so many passages that specifically allude to a person’s physical appearance? 1 Samuel 9:2 is a perfect example: And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. (1 Samuel 9:2 ESV) Why does the Bible make such a big deal about…

Will Calamity Bring About Revival?

We sometimes assume that a great disaster will surely bring about revival – but that is not always the case. People don’t always connect the dots from great apostasy to great calamity. In Jeremiah’s day he had a fascinating argument with the exiles in Egypt who had fled from the calamity in Jerusalem. They said that the disaster had come because they had STOPPED offering sacrifices to pagan deities. “But since we left off making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings…

What Is Reformed Pacifism?

The doctrine of pacifism is generally, though not exclusively, associated with the Anabaptists. The Anabaptists came out of the Radical Reformation and stressed adult or believer’s baptism (the prefix ana means “again”), communalism and a belief in the purity of the primitive church. Their association with pacifism came about largely as a result of their one experience with political power when in 1533 they gained temporary control of the city of Munster. They persecuted and expelled all…