Note: This installment of our mini-series on Church Discipline in Church History will be a bit longer than normal in order to address the next time period which influences our current understanding of this practice. For review you may find the first two installments here and here.
Although there are some twelve centuries of history between the third century fathers, Tertullian and Cyprian and the Reformers, I will focus on the latter group. These men heavily influence our modern practice of church discipline. Therefore, it would seem wise to address at least two of the most well-known individual Reformers as well as one group within them.… Continue reading
Why was Jesus baptized? Out of all the issues presented in the Gospels this one can be troublesome on the surface if we interpret Jesus baptism like our own. Jesus is fully God and fully man. Never was He in sin, have sin, or commit sin. In fact, being God makes Him holy, pure, undefiled, and righteous. Yet He is fully man, just like you and me. He ate, slept, got tired, stressed, had a full range of emotions, was tempted, and yet He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).
So why does a blameless man, fully God, need to “confess His sins before the body and associate with His own death, burial, and resurrection; and then be immersed in water?” Answer, He doesn’t.… Continue reading
I was introduced into the great Calvinism debate in 1996, as a freshman in college. I was riding in the car with a couple of guys who started talking all things Reformed. Fittingly, we were on church visitation to see some people who had shown interest in our college ministry. I was in the back seat, I leaned up and said, “I have no idea what y’all are talking about.” That led to a series of lengthy conversations. With apologies to my high school English teachers, this was the first time in my life I really started reading. I was given a copy of RC Sproul’s book, Chosen by God.… Continue reading
As religion – especially formal religion – has seen a downfall in the general public, a replacement of sorts has partially taken its place – and people have been noticing. The new trend is for people to say that they are not religious, but rather “spiritual.” Whatever the difference between those two may be, it is certainly at least a little bit reflective of putting off what is external and formal for what is internal and informal. It is a cry for something real in the midst of a religious scene that seems fake and hypocritical. It is a cry for something that people can identify with.… Continue reading
“Just get them in.”
Pragmatism. Marketing schemes. Church growth tactics. Shock techniques. Raunchy slogans and billboards. Grunge Christianity.
Translation? It misses the point of the church. Unfortunately, these kinds of efforts aren’t the exception to the rule, they’ve become standard practices in many of today’s churches. It’s easy to identify them, because more often than not their objective is to be seen – loud, obnoxiously, and clear by using whatever rubber-neck producing means necessary for their marketing campaigns. With V-neck T-shirts, thick rimmed glasses and skinny jeans, these churches are led by pastors who earnestly believe that this is how you grow your church and make a difference in your community.… Continue reading