The Trials and Tribulations of Temptations– Part Four

It was Socrates who insisted 'know thyself', which seems to be advice that all too often Christians, including ministers ignore. Have you ever sat down and done a 'weaknesses and strengths' inventory of yourself, with the outside assistance of those who know you the best? If you haven't you should do this. Identifying weaknesses, the weak chinks in your Christian armor is important. When Paul deals with this whole matter he reminds that while inwardly we are being renewed day by day--- our … [Read more...]

The Trials and Tribulations of Temptations– Part Three

This post will concentrate on some happier news. To be tempted is not the same as to sin. Temptation itself is not sin, though it can certainly lead to sin. Jesus was tempted like us in every respect, save he did not sin, and was not a sinner (Heb.4.15). Jesus could empathize with our weaknesses, without giving in to his own weaknesses when he was on this earth. He still understands what human nature and mortal flesh is capable of.Some pastors, in the rush to identify with their … [Read more...]

The Trials and Tribulations of Temptations– Part Two

Human beings have a rather infinite capacity for rationalizing or justifying their bad behavior. And one of the favorite tricks in the arsenal of self-justification is 'objectifying' things. In the old TV show Flip Wilson, whenever he was caught doing something he ought not to do would immediately exclaim 'the Devil made me do it'. Interestingly, the Bible, at least when it comes to believers, does not agree with this theology. In fact it doesn't much agree with objectifying one's sin and … [Read more...]

The Trials and Tribulations of Temptation— Part One

peirasmos and its cognates are interesting words. The noun form can refer to trials or temptations, ordeals or enticements. In other words, it can refer to something that could possibly strengthen your character or alternately in other contexts refer to something that could destroy your character. By definition God tempts no one, and cannot be tempted (see James 1.13). God is absolutely not the source of evil, including allurement into sin. We have some difficulty in translating this word when … [Read more...]

Paul and Covert Ops

Proving that Paul may not be Harvard's type, but he is Harvard's typo is the following discovered by alert reader and colleague Philip Jenkins....Paul the Covert???I have to share this.One of the classic works on Judaism and early Christianity is Alan Segal’s Rebecca’s Children (1986). Through the centuries, debate has raged over exactly what St. Paul was doing when he took the Jesus Movement on its new directions. I am struck, therefore, to find that the Harvard University Press pa … [Read more...]

NT Theology and Ethics is Coming!


Looking for a good textbook to introduce your audience to both the theology and the ethics of the NT? Well IVP is producing an edited down, simplified version of my The Indelible Image in a 2 volume paperback set. It should be out in the late Fall, and I believe it will be Kindle-ized as well :) The way this stands out from other volumes is that it doesn't just treat either NT theology or NT ethics, but treats them both together, just as they appear in the Bible itself, and deals with their … [Read more...]

Nova Scotia– Part Six


In this final post on my visit to Nova Scotia, I will take you on a lovely walk through one of the finest Arboretums (both gardens and greenhouse) I've ever seen as a small college. The Irving Arboretum is in addition one of the newest buildings on campus, and is the very spot where major lectures are given. Here is the schematic of the arboretum....The plants shown above are on the garden trails, and so can grow outdoors in Nova Scotia. What follows are the plants in the green … [Read more...]

Nova Scotia– Part Five


When I came to Wolfville, I must admit, I did not expect it to be not much different in size and design from Wilmore Kentucky--- but it isn't. Like Wilmore, it is a town, when the students are there, of about 6,000 people, and like Wilmore it has exactly two main streets, one of which Acadia University, once Acadia Baptist College, is on. The town is full of beautiful little cottages that could be founded in any little New England town,But what dominates the landscape is the University, … [Read more...]

Nova Scotia– Part Four


As I mentioned earlier, Nova Scotia is very much like northern New England in terms of terrain and flora and fawn. It is also like northern New England in its little fishing villages full of lobster pots and nets. This little village, called Hall's Harbor looks almost identical to Rockport in Massachusetts right down to the red barn.There is also the same rocky and scenic coastline and very very cold water! No swimmers here.Hall's Harbor has a nice lobster restaurant which Ginny … [Read more...]