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.” 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
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
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
Even before the creation of the world (1 Peter 1:17–21), God appointed Christ and His perfect sacrifice as the basis for showing mercy to the Gentiles. Through Christ they could experience hope in spite of being strangers to Israel and not being recipients of God’s covenants with Israel (Ephesians 2:11–13). The apostle Paul understood this point very clearly and the Spirit of God led him to repeatedly write of its profound significance. One such occasion appears in Paul’s epistle to the Romans:
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8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As my wife and I were boarding our flight from Gatwick Airport in London my cell phone buzzed. It was not a good time to answer it and I knew if it were important, the call would be repeated when we landed in California. Sure enough, as soon as our plane touched down in Los Angeles I turned on my phone and the call came immediately. The news rocked me—my brother Jim had died at home in his sleep—suddenly and unexpectedly. Memories flooded my mind as I expressed to his wife my sorrow for his family. Thinking about what I would say at his memorial service, God laid the apostle Paul’s final words on my heart from 2 Timothy 4:6–8.… Continue reading