Not too long ago I was afforded the opportunity to read Kelly Kapic’s small volume A Little Book for New Theologians. Reading this little book was the catalyst which got me thinking about balance as it applies to the ministry of a local church; because it would seem that Kapic’s main thrust in the book is to encourage, exhort, and even warn those who endeavor to the ‘title’ theologian to strive for balance in their consideration of all things but most especially theological issues. By balance I mean one should maintain every tension found in Scripture while resting securely on every issue where no tension exists.… Continue reading
In Kiev, Ukraine there is a place called Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. This holy site is the birthplace of the Russian Orthodox church. The grounds are frequented by many pilgrims every day. At the surface level, you can see a series of beautiful old buildings with the classic Eastern
Orthodox church architecture, complete with gold domes and lively colors. But the topside is only half the story. The real history lies in the caves below. Due to the conditions underneath the earth, the caves were used to naturally mummify the “saints” who originally founded the church. And they’re still down there. I’ll admit, the bodies are in amazingly good condition for being just shy of 1000 years old.… Continue reading
Talking about sex in this culture might appear to be edgy. Maybe we’re just trying to get more hits and go viral? But, sex is a problem. If you’ve counseled couples, then you know this is a serious issue with many problems. I have no desire to write this to be racy. Instead, due to the amount of problems surrounding this issue, this article is an attempt to help minister to people. When it comes to this discussion, it seems there are two popular approaches (that I’m aware of). They are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum.
First, I’ve seen ministries that refuse to talk about it, “If it’s a problem they’ll figure it out.” I’ve seen pastors pull books out of a bookstore “because no one here would struggle with it.” That’s not helpful because it is a problem among couples.… Continue reading
Last Sunday, the day most churches gather to worship, if averages prove true, about 70 church congregations met for the last time. Studies show that somewhere between 3500-4000 churches closed their doors for good last year.
Jesus promised to build his church so despite the fact some local congregations cease to exist, this in no way negates Christ’s promise in Matthew 16. Nothing will stop the church, but it doesn’t mean a particular local body will last forever.
Sometimes in a desperate attempt to avoid this plight of the defunct local congregation, churches who struggle with declining attendance, declining giving, and declining enthusiasm will resort to all sorts of gimmickry to attempt to keep the machine running.… Continue reading
It is assumed that we care for our friends. But even the unchurched does this. What about our enemy? More specifically, how about the terrorist? Here’s a radical thought—love them. This is Christian radicalism: to love, not curse our enemies. But they hate what we stand for; they are hostile toward our doctrine; they slander and lie about us; they are violent and angry. Yes. But that does that mean we can’t care for them or respond in kindness and gentleness? We have been graced with salvation, cleansed from our sins through Christ. We were enemies of God made friends, even sons and daughters in His family.… Continue reading