Pope Francis as evangelical?

In our continuing effort to try to figure out the new Pope of Rome–is he a liberal? a traditionalist?  a traditionalist acting liberal?–another possibility has presented itself:  Is he evangelical?  (Not “an evangelical,” but evangelical in the sense of stressing the Gospel–grace, Christ, the Word of God–more than the typical Roman Catholic pontiff?) [Read more…]

‘”We have only done what was our duty”

The Gospel reading for last Sunday was the parable that makes perfectly clear why we are not saved by our works and why we cannot merit salvation:

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”  (Luke 17:7-10)

Even if we obeyed God perfectly and never did anything wrong, we wouldn’t deserve a reward.  That would simply be doing the bare minimum of what we are supposed to do.  We would only be doing our duty.  After the jump, see what our pastor, Rev. James Douthwaite did with this text, bringing out both Law and Gospel. [Read more…]

Pastors as Unjust Stewards

Our Scripture reading last Sunday included the Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-15), which is probably one of the toughest parables to make sense of.  A household manager gets sacked because of his corruption, so before he cleans out his desk he discounts the debts of everyone in debt to his master as a way to get in good with them for when he’s out of a job.  And even though the Unjust Steward is cheating him out of what is his due (telling people who owe 100 measures of oil they only need to pay 50), the Master commends him. [Read more…]

Bringing back the Psalms

I’m no fan of N. T. Wright’s “new perspective on Paul” stuff, but his new book about the centrality of the Psalms for Christian worship, prayer, and worldview formation sounds really, really good.  It’s called The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential.  I am forming my opinion from the interview in Christianity Today, which you can sample after the jump. [Read more…]

You cannot be be my disciple

We had a powerful sermon last Sunday on one of those “difficult” passages of Scripture, one that reminds us that Christianity is not merely about “family values”:

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. . . .33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.  (Luke 14:26-27, 33)

See what Pastor Douthwaite does with this after the jump. [Read more…]

Reading the whole Bible in 3 days

 I told you about Rich Shipe’s youth group and their Bible reading marathon.  After the jump is a video that compresses the three days of non-stop reading into four and a half minutes. [Read more…]