He will build you a House

We are on the road for Christmas, and we worshipped on the last Sunday of Advent at the church where my son-in-law is the pastor.  (As of now, our Advent Christmas embargo is over.)   Rev. Ned Moerbe preached on the Old Testament text for the day, 2 Samuel 7, in which David had the idea of building God a house; that is, a permanent Temple to replace the Tabernacle tent that the children of Israel had used as the place of sacrifice since the Exodus.  But God, through Nathan the prophet, tells David not to build Him a house; that He would build David a house, an eternal house, prophesying the perpetual reign of  David’s descendant, the Christ.

In the course of the sermon, we were told that the custom in the ancient Biblical cultures was when a couple was betrothed, they waited to get married until the groom built his bride a house for them to live in, either a separate structure or an addition to a family home.  This would probably have been the case with Joseph–whose profession as a carpenter, in the original languages, was not so much a builder of furniture but a builder of houses–and Mary, his betrothed.  And this speaks to us of Advent. . . [Read more...]

Christianity Today’s 2015 Book Awards

Christianity Today has announced its 2015 Book Awards.   Two titles are recognized in the categories of Apologetics/Evangelism, Biblical Studies, Christianity & Culture, Christian Living, The Church/Pastoral Leadership, Fiction, History & Biography, Missions/Global Affairs, Spirituality, Theology/Ethics, Her.Meneutics.  See the list and a little about each title here.

In my experience, this is usually a very good list, alerting me each year to some titles worth reading.  I was a judge, actually, and I was glad to see that my top two choices in the culture category were chosen.  You can see those after the jump.  But go ahead to the main site for the entire list.

The descriptions of these two book are excerpted from longer reviews.  Later, I’ll post my full reviews so that you can see why these books are so good. [Read more...]

Pope did NOT say animals are going to heaven

We linked to the story that the Pope, in comforting a child, said that his dog would go to Heaven.  But he never said that, there was no child, and the attribution was actually to a misunderstanding of something said by Pope Paul VI!  The story, put out by the New York Times, no less, was fake all the way through and a textbook case in incompetent journalism! [Read more...]

Who are the churchless?

The Barna Group has finished a major study of people who do not go to church.  (They used to be called the “unchurched”; this study calls them “churchless.”)  And it has some surprises.  For example, the churchless tend to be less educated than those who go to church, are mostly white, men, unmarried, and young.  Also, nearly two-thirds of the unchurched consider themselves to be Christians.  See Barna’s “Ten Facts” about the churchless after the jump. [Read more...]

Round churches vs. linear churches

Much contemporary church architecture features sanctuaries “in the round,” so that the worshippers can see each other.  Traditional churches are linear, with a sequence of spaces facing the altar.  (Actually, the super-traditional churches are also cruciform, with the congregation coming together in the Cross.)  After the jump, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, a Roman Catholic priest, critiques “round churches” and traces the linear design back to the Bible and its requirements for the Temple and the Tabernacle. [Read more...]

John the Baptizer

The great figure of Advent is John the Baptist.  We think of him as that harsh, say-it-like-it-is prophet who ate insects.  But what he preached was repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  Which he conveyed by baptism. [Read more...]


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