A Meditation on Giving Thanks

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Thanksgiving occurs every day and has since creation itself. Setting aside one special day as our American Thanksgiving merely formalizes a national observance. Unfortunately, many people merely use the time as a means of feasting and celebrating without giving true thanksgiving and praise to the Creator Himself. In order to expand true thanksgiving within any group (as small as one’s family or as great as one’s community), at least one person of true faith must call others to the highest giving of thanks there can ever be: offering heartfelt praise and worship to the Lord of heaven and earth.

Universal Call to Giving Thanks Based on a Universal Cause

One of the most well known of psalms closes by focusing on the universal cause for giving thanks to the Creator and King of all creation.Continue reading

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Peace-Loving Believers in an Age of Violence, Part 3 (Final)

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Three fairly significant biblical examples appear to support a believer’s participation in the military:[1]

  • Jesus’s approval of a king who waged war against wicked people (Matthew 21:33–41).
  • In Luke 3:14 John did not command them to resign from military service, but to be content in that position with its wages. Their behavior was to be just and honest — even while remaining soldiers.
  • In John 18:36 Jesus stated that it would have been proper for His disciples to defend His kingdom with swords if it had been an earthly kingdom.

In addition, New Testament writers employ a variety of military metaphors to describe the character of the believer:[2] the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–20), being a “good soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3–4), and waging spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:1–6).… Continue reading

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Peace-Loving Believers in an Age of Violence, Part 2

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Just war advocates normally base their stance upon passages revealing the divine origin and approval of government and its functions. Romans 13:1–7 forms the anchoring text for developing their view of governmental authority in the lives of Christians. The apostle Paul represents the government as a divinely constituted authority (vv. 1, 2). Hodge argues that

It was to Paul a matter of little importance whether the Roman emperor was appointed by the senate, the army, or the people; whether the assumption of the imperial authority by Caesar was just or unjust, or whether his successors had a legitimate claim to the throne or not.

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Peace-Loving Believers in an Age of Violence, Part 1

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Scripture disallows seeking peace at any price. Some apologists argue that even believers must draw the line somewhere to stand up to the forces of evil. Wherever one stands, Christians need to be pro-active. As Friesen, Langan, and Stassen observe in their introduction to Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War, “terrorism requires more than an ethic that says terrorism is unjust, it requires an ethic that points to practices that prevent it.”[1] Some events create a time for war rather than a time for peace — when it would be un-Christian to not act unspeakably toward someone, perhaps a terrorist or terrorist organization.… Continue reading

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Practical Pauline Missions: Athens

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Brethren, we are not apostles, but their example instructs us. We cannot be exactly like the apostle Paul, but we can learn basic principles and practices from the biblical record of Paul’s missionary service. We can even develop a biblical evangelistic or missions methodology based upon Paul’s example. A careful study of Paul’s missionary efforts reveals that his methodology exhibits flexibility. Although he often begins with the synagogues (Acts 17:1–4, 10), he makes exceptions—as he does at Philippi, going to a group of women meeting for prayer outside the city (Acts 16:11–13). Each strategic church plant comes about through different means.… Continue reading

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