Over the past several years a new article of faith has seemed to pass into the pail of orthodoxy in certain corners of the evangelical world, that there is a “war” on Christmas. Some people seem positively determined to interpret every bit of available data as evidence that there is a vast conspiracy whose goal is to stamp out Christmas, and to especially stamp out any Christian association with Christmas. Quite frankly, I’m not buying it, and I’m annoyed, saddened and offended by much of it. I am saddened that some Christians so quickly disregard the command to live peaceably with all people (as much as it is up to them) and take offence at cashiers following their employer’s instruction and saying “happy holidays” to their customers and angrily replying “merry Christmas” (see Rom 12:14-21).… Continue reading
There is a well-known song from my childhood from the TV show “Sesame Street,” in which 4-objects would be shown on the screen—3 being the same and 1 being different, like 3 shoes and a hat. The narrator would then sing …
“One of these things is not like the other. One of these doesn’t belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the other, By the time I finish this song.”
As a 3-6 year old, this was very exciting, and I always guessed perfectly before the end of the song (my mom always said I was a smart child, haha 🙂 ).… Continue reading
This month marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Protestant Reformation; 500 years since a Roman Catholic priest and professor of theology published and presented ninety five propositions (“95 Theses”), expressing his points of contention regarding the sale of indulgences. Martin Luther’s straightforward invitation to debate the practice of selling indulgences set in motion a dramatic recovery of the biblical Gospel, which had long been obscured amid centuries of innovative traditions in the Roman Catholic Church.
Since the days of the Reformation, efforts to summarize the key doctrines that under-girded and supported it have often led theologians to the themes of what eventually came to be known as the “Five Solas.” The Five Solas are five biblical doctrines that the Protestant reformers were committed (despite their many differences) to recovering through their teaching and to applying in the establishment of new churches following their divisions with the Roman Church.… Continue reading
For me September 11, 2001 dawned as any other day for making the commute in to the seminary and my first class of the day. As usual, I awakened early and prepared myself for a day of teaching. However, I broke my routine in a major way—I turned on the TV to check the news. In New York City a fire raged in one of the World Trade towers. Someone said that a plane had crashed into it, but confusion accompanied the story—really? what kind of plane?
Two Fallen Towers
Then, as I watched, viewers could hear the approach of a plane and gazed, horrified, as it struck the second tower!… Continue reading
Weather and history, facilitate two other professions: the “forecaster,” an individual who states with varying degrees of accuracy what the weather will be like tomorrow; and the “futurist,” those who forecast, also with varying degrees of accuracy, future trends in society, business, politics or multiple other arenas. Another occupation, the consultant, also forecasts, but mainly recommends some action to either take advantage of the trends or to mitigate against damage the potential storm may cause. The church consultant, like me, is no different. I try to examine history and the “weather” and then make some educated predictions with a view to helping churches either exploit or expiate their situation.… Continue reading