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Make Disciples FROM All Nations Or OF All Nations?

Are we to make disciples of people FROM all nations or are we to make disciples OF all nations? I suppose you could make an argument that, at least in English, both options are grammatically possible. The text reads as follows: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with…

Render Unto Caesar

Until Jesus returns to reign and rule over all things to the glory of the Father, Christians will find themselves living under two different forms and expressions of authority. Jesus addressed this head on saying: “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21 ESV) Notice that he didn’t say: “Render unto me the things previously rendered unto Caesar.” He did not say that because it was not yet time for him to begin ruling on the…

The Path Between Legalism And Antinomianism

As long as the church has existed it appears that there have been some people making too much of the law and some people making too little. The Apostle Paul spent a great deal of his time pushing back against those who were making too much of the law. To the Galatians he said things like: “we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law,…

Theological Discourse: Necessary, but Dangerous

Theological discourse is necessary but dangerous. Necessary because, as John Stuart Mill reminded us many years ago, truth is strengthened through dialectic. A good discussion, wherein points are made, challenged, refined and restated is a God-glorifying part of how we grow as followers of Jesus Christ. Dangerous though, because it creates a context and a temptation in which we may experience and express contempt for our theological or ideological opponents. There is a world of difference…

A Few Principles on Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience isn’t always right and it isn’t always wrong. One of the most helpful passages in the Bible with respect to this issue is found in today’s RMM reading from Acts 5[1]. In Acts 5:20 the Apostles are given a direct charge from God via an Angel of the Lord: “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” (Acts 5:20 ESV) This contradicted a direct command from their civil authorities, as recorded in Acts 5:27-28: “And the high priest questioned…

Bill C-4: History, Concerns, and Response

On January 7th, 2022 Bill C-4 will become the law of the land in Canada. Christian pastors, parents, counsellors and mentors may all be affected. Canadian Christians need to understand this law and they should be prepared for coordinated action. This brief summary has been created to serve that end and should not be understood or construed as legal counsel. Background And History A similar Bill known as Bill C-6 was first introduced in October 2020 and was last discussed in the 2nd session of…

The Church On The Other Side: Anticipations And Concerns

In March of 2020 I told a younger pastoral colleague that I expected the lockdown due to COVID19 to last somewhere between 2-3 weeks. Obviously, I was wrong. We are now nearly 2 years in and seeing the highest new infection rates at any point in the pandemic due to the incredibly contagious Omicron variant. That being said, thanks to the effectiveness of the various vaccines and other counter measures, hospitalization rates do not appear to be rising at anywhere near the same steep pace. Many…

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Reflections on the passage of Bill C-4

On Tuesday, December 7th the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-4, effectively banning the practice known as conversion therapy. The bill had been introduced to the House of Commons on November 29th and was approved on December 1st without further debate or study. It received Royal Assent today and will become the law of the land in 30 days. The vast majority of Christians are opposed to the sort of coercive practices that many associate with conversion therapy; however, the language of Bill C-4 as…

More Than a Resolution: Why I Desperately Need to Read Through the Bible In 2022

Every year around this time I write a blog encouraging people to read through the whole Bible in the coming year. I’ve been doing it since 2012 and I believe in the value of this discipline wholeheartedly. But this year feels different. It almost feels as though words like “encourage” and “commend” are entirely inadequate to a need of this urgency and immediacy. I think we are well past the time for “resolutions” and “good intentions”; I think we are at the place where a practice like this…

What Is a Human Being?

Human beings are creatures of enormous dignity and worth. They are embodied souls – of the earth and uniquely inspired by God (Gen. 2:7). They are more like God than anything else he has made.[1] In Genesis 1:26 the Creator says: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26 ESV) There is…

Empathize But Don’t Over Emphasize When It Comes To Race

I write this not as an anthropologist, a sociologist, a philosopher or a politician. I write this as a white father to a black teenage girl. My middle daughter came to our home when she was just 3 months old. Her biological mother made a difficult but brave decision, the end result of which was a new addition to our family in the form of the most beautiful, expressive and delightful baby girl you could ever imagine. Her stay with us was originally supposed to be short term, but as Providence…

Was Job A Communist? (A Brief Clarification)

Apparently on Sunday I gave a few people the impression that Job may have been a closet communist. When I first heard of that confusion I laughed and assumed that the person had simply misheard me. When a second person raised the same question, it occurred to me that I may have accidentally misspoken. Rest assured, our dear brother Job was not a communist. I think what I actually said was something along these lines – the sentence isn’t in the manuscript so I can’t reproduce it exactly: “Job…