I minister in the metropolitan area of Washington D.C. many, even most, of the people in the church have their livelihoods directly tied to the government, and truth be told I used to be a full-fledged political junky. Add to that that I am very conservative in my theology and that when it comes to “social issues” I heartily affirm that the only correct (non-sinful) positions are the biblical positions, and by biblical positions I mean as understood for the first 1800 years of church history. I wholeheartedly affirm that abortion is murder, that all sexual activity outside of the bonds of marriage is sin, that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman, and that marriage is to be permanent (it is a covenant before God and excepting adultery, Matt 19:9 and abandonment by an unbelieving spouse, 1 Cor 7:15, there are no permissible grounds for divorce).… Continue reading
If you have been around church circles for any amount of time you have probably heard it said that the Corinthian church had so many profound sin issues because it was rooted in a city that that had a centuries long tradition of debauchery, immorality and the vilest kinds of sin. You may have even heard it said that to coronthianize meant to engage in sexual depravity. The logic is that because the church at Corinth was made up of converts who were steeped in that entrenched culture of debauchery prior to conversion, the church at Corinth was unique in its propensity to sin and tolerate sin.… Continue reading
“No conflict is so severe as his who labors to subdue himself; but in this we must be continually engaged, if we would be strengthened in the inner man, and make real progress toward [Christlikeness].” So said Thomas à Kempis in his famous book on the Christian life, The Imitation of Christ. And Kempis is right. Self-control is one of the hardest of fight, one of the most difficult battles all Christian face, because we fight against an enemy that is powerful and has a hold deeply upon us.
However, sin is a defeatable enemy and, for the Christian, self-control is a necessary battle in the fight against our own sin (Prov 25:28; Gal 5:22-23).… Continue reading
In late November of last year, I wrapped up what turned out to be a two-year and two-month study of the book of Romans; a letter that many students of the Bible have regarded as the Apostle Paul’s magnum opus and one that a particular pastor even calls “the greatest letter ever written.” (His words, not mine. Given that I’m just not sure how to square those words with the plenary inspiration of the Bible, I’d rather call Romans “one of the greatest letters ever written.” But I digress.)
After spending over two solid years in a single biblical book, it can become easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. It was for that reason that I decided to cap off our study of Romans with a simple outline that I hoped the folks at our church could store away in their minds for further meditation upon the truths we explored in our study. Some have shared that this outline was helpful to them, so I thought it may be worth passing on to you.… Continue reading
Before the holiday season (Thanksgiving and Christmas), I began a series of blogs concerning self-control. Once the holidays hit, I was doing what was necessary to keep my head afloat with ministry (discipleship and shepherding) and family (my father-in-law found out he had cancer in his jaw and we spent much of December with him in the hospital, post-surgery). All of this has now died down to a normal roar and I can now finish this self-control series. Thank you for your patience.
Let me summarize what we have seen: in the first post we looked at self-control’s definition. Without a proper definition, we cannot know if what we are doing or pursuing is God’s design.… Continue reading