Freedom vs. slavery

In church last Sunday, Pastor Douthwaite’s sermon dealt with the question St. Paul raises, Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? (Romans 6:12-23).  In doing so, he explored the paradox that much of what the world calls freedom, the Bible calls slavery. [Read more...]

Making Christianity strange again

Russell Moore thinks the persecution of Christians around the world might bring American Christianity back to life.   Tagline to his post:  “Christianity in this country is big, powerful, and familiar. We need it to become strange again.” [Read more...]

Why was Judas in charge of the money?

Judas, according to John 12:6, was a thief, and Jesus knew everything he was up to (John 6:70).  So why did Jesus put him in charge of the money?  Jon Bloom offers an interesting meditation on this topic. [Read more...]

How God uses the imagination

More from my interview with Mathew Block, who asks how God uses our human imaginations to reach us. [Read more...]

Moralism of the right & moralism of the left

United Methodists are considering whether or not to have an amicable split, so as to accommodate both sides of the moral debates that the denomination is struggling with.  As I know from personal and family experience, Methodists have always had a strong emphasis on morality.  It certainly has an evangelistic strain, with its roots in the Wesleyan revivals, but its moral focus can tend to moralism, an emphasis on moral rectitude that overshadows the forgiveness of Christ.

The prospect of a Methodist split shows what is happening across many denominations.  There is a moralism of the right, fixating on traditional sexual morality, personal vices, and family values.  And there is a moralism of the left, fixating on “social justice,” care for the poor, and political liberalism.  (Note that it is possible to uphold what is “moral” without succumbing to “moralism.”)

But what–or, rather, Who–is often missing in moralistic churches of both the right and the left is Christ.  The right often relegates Him to the moment of conversion, whereupon Christians can then get to the real business of regulating their behavior.  The left reduces Him to a political liberal like themselves.  Both treat Him mainly as an example, rather than as Savior, Redeemer, and Sacrifice. [Read more...]

He ascended into Heaven

Happy Ascension Day!  Today we celebrate that Jesus, in the words of the Apostle’s Creed,  “ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”  It’s interesting how some Christians use this teaching to deny that the Body of Christ can be really present in Holy Communion–after all, His body is in heaven at the right hand of the Father–while Lutherans use this teaching to explain how the Body of Christ can be present in Holy Communion (He now shares the attributes of Godhead, such as omnipresence).

Here, though, is an ancient Christian holiday that has not become secularized.  What do you say is the true meaning of Ascension Day? [Read more...]


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