Beggars at the Temple gates

The reading for last Sunday at our church was about the lame beggar at the Temple gate who was healed by Peter (Acts 3:1-21).  You should see what our pastor did with that passage, showing how we are in the position of the beggar and how we too receive God’s grace at a different kind of Temple gate. [Read more...]

Evangelicals who believe in Purgatory

It has long struck me how many evangelicals–including some of the most anti-Catholic–actually hold to a Roman Catholic soteriology, though without the sacraments, putting a big emphasis on the role of the will, good works, and moral perfection in salvation.  Now some evangelicals are advocating belief in Purgatory.  Scott McKnight reviews a book that makes the case for an evangelical doctrine of Purgatory. [Read more...]

Drinking His cup, being baptized with His baptism

Our sermon for the beginning of Passiontide was Mark 10:32-45, the passage about James and John asking Jesus if they could sit on His right hand and His left when He comes into His kingdom.  I had studied this text extensively for what it teaches about authority and vocation (how authority is not to be used to “lord it over” others, but to serve those whom you have authority over).  But somehow I never noticed that the passage is also about baptism and Holy Communion.  Read the connection after the jump.  And see whom God prepared to be on His right hand and on His left.

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Gradualism and the two senses of Grace

Roman Catholic theologian David Cloutier gives a lucid explanation of “gradualism,” that take on moral theology that allows for greater acceptance of same-sex and cohabiting couples without, supposedly, compromising traditional morality.  (This is the view that gave us the first report from the Vatican’s synod on the family, though not the final report.)  What do you think of this reasoning?  (I’ll offer some thoughts after the excerpt after the jump.) [Read more...]

You are the pearl of great price

 

Two Sundays ago, the sermon was on these parables from Matthew 13:

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

These are usually interpreted as the Kingdom of Heaven being so valuable that we need to do everything to get it, but Pastor Douthwaite pointed out that the Old Testament reading for the day, Deuteronomy 7:6, says that God’s people are His treasure.  And that   .  The one who spent the most valuable thing He had to buy something He wanted was Christ redeeming us (1 Peter 18:20). The ones who are buried and covered are us (Romans 6:4).  Therefore, you are the treasure in the field.  You are the pearl of great price.  Christ has paid everything for you. [Read more...]

Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist dies

Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas, is dead.  This congregation of 80 members–most of which are members of the large Phelps family–made a name for itself with its “God hates fags” protest signs and its protests at military funerals with signs reading “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

Read this to learn about the Westboro congregation and its beliefs.  Phelps was reportedly excommunicated from his own church recently for advocating “kinder” treatment of fellow members, though this has not been confirmed.

Here we see the dysfunctions of legalism, in which a zeal for righteousness results in unrighteousness, in which the Christian gospel that proclaims “God loves you” is countered by the proclamation that “God hates you.”  Isn’t this a pretty clear example of  the Devil having his way in the church to undermine its message and to discredit Christianity? [Read more...]


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