Do or Don’t help the Poor?: A Nuanced Position

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Nuance seems to be a dirty word among some people. In the last few years I’ve heard people mocked for applying theological nuance to situations or doctrines. Any elder will tell you many situations and resolutions in the church require wisdom. Part of making wise decisions requires evaluating different factors and precise nuances to a situation. But I get it too, sometimes the Bible seems to be clear on an issue so the call to nuance sounds like philosophical jargon to “make the Bible say what it doesn’t say.” As a friend said to me once, “The biblical categories are clear, human situations are not.”… Continue reading

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On Politics and The Binding of Consciences

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The binding of a fellow Christian’s conscience is strange business. For the purposes of this discussion I’ll define the binding of conscience this way: to tell a fellow believer that their conviction or practice in an area of adiaphora (something that is neither prohibited or mandated by Scripture) is wrong and that they must change their conviction and practice in order to be right.

It seems like a no brianer, right?  Well it is a no brainer, for one simple reason. Scripture says not to.

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother…The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God.

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The Comforting Doctrine Of Election

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It is Christmas day. And for many that means spending time with extended family.  And there is great joy in that. It is great to see and enjoy time with family members. But for believers there can be a tinge of sadness. For many of us getting together with family means getting together with unsaved family members; for some of us it means getting together with only or mostly unsaved family member. And often after the last present is unwrapped and the left overs are cleared away and you are in the car on the way home often a wave of sadness comes; those people you love so much are headed to hell.… Continue reading

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God in a Feed Trough: The Surprising Sign of the Manger

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And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

The more time that I spend over the years reading and thinking about the account of Jesus’ birth, the more I think…this is such a strange story!  By “story” I don’t mean “fiction.”  I simply mean that it is a truly peculiar string of events. Take the sign that accompanied the birth of the Christ-child. No, not the star that rested over the place of his birth. Not the angels appearing to announce his birth to shepherds. I’m talking about the surprising sign of a dingy manger.… Continue reading

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Reprise: Don’t Be a Lone Wolf

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unityIt was one of the most uncomfortable meals of my life.  I had called a semi-local likeminded pastor in order to make him aware of a situation that may impact his small, rural church. After a brief phone conversation, we agreed to meet for lunch the next week. And after some initial pleasantries, he thanked me for calling him, and then he began to weep, and he kept weeping for well over an hour. The reason he wept was this, he felt utterly alone in ministry and his small little church, only a little over an hour away from us, felt utterly isolated from the universal church.… Continue reading

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