Come Join us at the Taste of Northern – goo.gl/TW5pEC When an expert in the law asked Jesus for the greatest commandment, Jesus responded with the Shema, the ancient Jewish creed that commands Israel to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength. But the next part of Jesus’ answer would change the course of history. Jesus amended the Shema, giving his followers a new creed for life: to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, but also to love… Read more

The Old Testament is a collection of ancient texts written in contexts that were quite different from ours.  Genesis is an ancient document. As Christians we believe that it was inspired to tell God’s story and to reveal his work in his creation. But even when read in a good translation and through eyes of faith, there are cases where we should step back and consider the ancient context. This is especially true of the primeval history in Genesis 1-11…. Read more

The age of authenticity (yesterday’s post) is the age of youthfulness. So Andrew Root, in his new splendid book Faith Formation in a Secular Age. How so? To tell the story of the dawn of the age of authenticity is to show how the flows of our cultural history have moved the majority of us to see the point of life as following not an external authority but the inner search for our own individual meaning and purpose. The age… Read more

By Todd Dildine, who is a pastor at a small neighborhood church in Uptown, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago. He is most passionate about helping the church navigate the challenges of post-Christendom. Todd loves playing volleyball and he’s going to get married this summer! First, read Part 1 prior to Part 2. (Obviously.) In Parts 2 – 4, I will be applying the Restoration Principle: For restoration to occur, the church must identify and address the forces… Read more

Andrew Root, building on Charles Taylor, calls our era the Age of Authenticity. (Faith Formation in a Secular Age.) In that label is a potent description of what “faith formation” looks like in a “secular age” when authenticity is the major virtue and youthfulness its hero. Root is one of America’s leading lights on youth pastoral ministry but… Don’t mistake this book as one shaped only for youth pastors and ministry; this is a potent book for pastoral ministry in… Read more

Smith & Helwys has a new series of commentaries on the Bible appearing called “Preaching the Word.” The space these commentaries occupies is in the intelligent sermon, the readable commentary, and the exposition of a whole book thematically. (But not one of those alliterated ones that comes off as artificial: Charter for a Common Way, Change in the Cities, and Challenge of the Gospel.) In other words, there is nothing like this series. I’m dipping in and out of William… Read more

“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” John 5:45-47 I recently came across a comment inspired by one of my posts on Adam that reflected on this passage from John. The basic idea, according to the commenter, is… Read more

What would happen to evangelism if we thought about it by considering evangelism in the Reformation? That is the question that shapes a brilliant but short chapter in David C. Steinmetz, Taking the Long View. To begin with, we’d think about evangelism in the Bible, the heart of the Reformation. The issue for Luther was indulgences, which meant the doctrine of penitence, which meant repentance. Right there is where Steinmetz camps out. Here is his summary and I have added numbers: These… Read more

The thesis of Bruce Hindmarsh, in (The Spirit of Early Evangelicalism) is that evangelicalism’s earliest founders were shaped by the experience of the indwelling of the Spirit, and hence evangelical devotion became both central and was shaped by the presence of God in a person’s life. Modernity permitted it to become a movement, a “global” movement. Modernity’s evangelicalism meant the transportation of evangelical devotion hither and yon. Evangelicalism, then, co-exists with modernity and without modernity it could not have become what… Read more

First Clement urges the Corinthians (Clement, remember, is in Rome) to pursue God’s blessing (chps. 33-35). I begin with thematic words from 35:4-5: Let us therefore make every effort to be found in the number of those who patiently wait for him, so that we may share in his promised gifts.  5 But how shall this be, dear friends?—if our mind is fixed on God through faith; if we seek out those things that are well-pleasing and acceptable to him;… Read more

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