1. From Rebellion, to Repentance, to Rejoicing
2. Why Did God Design Marriage? 3 Views by Piper, Keller, and Ash
3. What Can You
Get Give in Marriage?
4. Dating: How Far Is Too Far?
5. Love Letter to a Lesbian
6. Church Sex Abuse Cover Up? You Decide
7. Sex Abuse Victims Healed by the Good News of God’s Grace
8. 3 Weaknesses With “The Bible: The Epic Miniseries”
9. How to Disagree Respectfully
10. 14 Signs of Theological Legalism
11. Preachers: 3 Methods to Apply Your Sermon
12. The New Creation Mission (NCT)
13. Kingdom Through Covenant Book Review (NCT)
14. How to Interpret End Times Prophecies: Jesus Is the New Israel (NCT)
From Rebellion, to Repentance, to Rejoicing
(Send This to a Prodigal You Love)
“I wasn’t a Christian…I went on an odyssey of really attempting to find significance, meaning, and joy…trying to fill that hole in my heart…experimented with drugs and alcohol and different relationships…’Can you just pray that God will reveal Himself to you’…God revealed myself to me. I began to see myself as a completely self-centered girl…Everywhere I went, I felt the presence of God…I stepped into a life as a child of God” Come Back, Barbara: One Prodigal’s Story by Barbara Miller Juliani
Why Did God Design Marriage? 3 Views by Piper, Keller, and Ash
“In my reading, there were three books on marriage that I thought came closest to answering this question: John Piper’s This Momentary Marriage, Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage, and Christopher Ash’s Married for God.They look in different directions to find the purpose of marriage—one upward, one inward, and one outward. Let’s consider them in turn…So what is marriage for? I started by arguing that one, overall goal would be more helpful than the three traditional goals for marriage. Yet we are still left with three goals, looking in three directions:
Marriage looks upward—its purpose is to display God’s glory by presenting a picture of the covenant between Christ and the church.
Marriage looks inward—its purpose is spiritual friendship leading to holiness, as husband and wife partner each other on the journey to glory.
Marriage looks outward—its purpose is to serve God in partnership as we rule and care for his world and make Jesus known.
It would be neat and satisfying to conclude this article by pointing at a goal and saying ‘that one’, but I can’t. I suspect the Bible’s teaching on marriage is so richly textured that it can sustain all three. And I think they’re in the right order: marriage should first be God-directed, then characterized by faithful love and joyful intimacy (Deut 24:5), and then, if it’s not to become insular and selfish, pour itself out in loving service.” What’s the Point of Marriage? by Jean Williams
What Can You
Get Give in Marriage?
“The main question most people ask in marriage relationships today is, “What can I get out of it?” Especially, “What sex can I get out of it?” And when the investment of time, money, emotion, and sexual energy does not pay off as expected? Separation.
And the search for a better return from someone else. Someone else who’ll fit into my life better. Someone else who won’t take so much of my time and money. Someone else who will fill me rather than drain me.
But if everyone’s trying to get more than they give, no one’s going to be happy and marriages are doomed to premature and painful endings. In contrast, the Bible says that the most important question in marriage is not, “What can I get?” but “What can I give?…
In Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul presents Jesus as the ultimate model of this self-giving love. Because He loved us, He sacrificially gave Himself for us. Because He loved us, He sacrificially submitted to His Father’s will. And what a union such self-giving created! And what a pattern for our marriages!” The Most Important Question in Marriage by David Murray
Dating: How Far Is Too Far?
“When it comes to the physical component of a dating relationship, how far is too far? Can we hold hands? Can we kiss? Can we do a little bit more than kiss? Should we even explore the physical relationship a little bit to ensure we are compatible?…
They premise their answer on the fact that the marriage relationship, and hence the sexual relationship, is meant to be a portrait of the relationship of Christ and his church…
The authors look to 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 to show how Paul states without ambiguity that “the marriage relationship is the only legitimate context for sexual relations” for if a person has strong sexual desire, he or she is to marry rather than succumb to sin…
Clearly some forms of kissing are nonsexual; we kiss our children and our mothers. But there are some forms of kissing that we reserve exclusively for our wives. And the reason we do so is precisely that those forms of kissing are sexual…
If a man would not feel comfortable engaging in a particular action with his sister because doing so would be sexually inappropriate, then that action is of a sexual nature and is to be reserved for the marriage relationship. Thus passionate kissing, the kind clearly inappropriate between a brother and sister should be resolved for marriage.
1 Timothy 5:2 appears to back up the authors’ point by explicitly tying together “the familial treatment of the opposite sex with absolute purity,” instructing Timothy to treat “older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.” In other words, Paul tells Timothy to treat women who are not his wife in the same way he would treat his own sister.” How Far Is too Far? by Tim Challies
Love Letter to a Lesbian
“I understand how it feels to be in love with a woman…
In October 2008, at the age of 19, my superficial reality was shaken up by a deeper love — one from the outside, one that I’d heard of before but never experienced. For the first time, I was convicted of my sin in a way that made me consider everything I loved (idolized), and its consequences. I looked at my life, and saw that I had been in love with everything except God…
I want you to understand that I understand. But I also want you to know that I also understand how it feels to be in love with the Creator of the universe. To want nothing more than to be with him forever. To feel his grace, the best news ever announced to mankind. To see his forgiveness…
You were made for him (Romans 11:36). He is ultimately all that you need! He is good and wise (Psalm 145:9). He is the source of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). He is kind and patient (2 Peter 3:9). He is righteous and faithful (Psalm 33:4). He is holy and just (1 John 1:9). He is our true King (Psalm 47:7). He is our Savior (Jude 1:25).
And he is inviting you to be not just his servant, but also his friend. If lasting love is what you’re looking for anywhere else, you are chasing the wind, seeking what you will never find, slowly being destroyed by your pursuit. But in Jesus, there is fullness of joy. In Jesus, there is a relationship worth everything, because he is everything. Run to him.” Love Letter to a Lesbian by Jackie Hill
Church Sex Abuse Cover Up? You Decide
“Conclusion: We are not in a place to adjudicate all the charges leveled against Sovereign Grace Ministries or the specific individuals named in the lawsuit. The purpose of this statement is not to render a verdict on the charges, nor in any way to trivialize the sins alleged…” Why We Have Been Silent About the SGM Lawsuit by Carson, DeYoung, and Taylor
“You are not in a position to adjudicate any of the charges brought against C.J. or SGM because you have not done a formal investigation or interviewed those who have brought the charges. The best I can tell you have only interacted with the victimizer and on that basis presented him to the evangelical world as the consummate victim in this irresponsible post. In so doing, you defending the indefensible and showing yourself to be without discernment in the matter.” Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor Defend C.J. Mahaney by Brent Detwiler
“What I did find was a lot of statements by Christians claiming that all of these individuals were innocent until ‘proven guilty by a jury’…What is ironic, or better yet, down right disturbing is that these same individuals don’t approach any other sinful crime in such a distorted manner. For example, so many Christians will cry about against abortion doctors who have been alleged to have killed babies outside of the womb (horrific), but when a person alleges child sexual abuse by someone in the Church, these same Christians cry out that a person is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law?…Many of these men have not hesitated to write (or tweet) on the Penn State horrors, homosexuals in the Boy Scouts, and universal healthcare, but have been conspicuously quiet on this issue. And when they finally speak, what is omitted speaks more than what is said…If we are unwilling to sacrifice our agendas, our finances, or even our reputation, on behalf of these precious souls, then we have failed to grasp the powerful countercultural reality of the Gospel.” Where Are the Voices? The Continued Culture of Silence and Protection in American Evangelicalism by Basyle ’Boz’ Tchividjian, J.D., Former Sex Crimes Prosecutor, Liberty University School of Law Professor
“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?…Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” (1 Cor. 5:12-6:3)
Sex Abuse Victims Healed by the Good News of God’s Grace
“Having written of the disgrace of sexual assault, they begin to apply grace, and they do this by looking to the effects of sexual assault. “The beliefs that accompany the development, maintenance, and increase of disgrace and distress are directly responsible for generating dysfunctional emotions and their effects for victims.” God’s grace, applied to the deep wound, offers the victim “the gift of refuting distortions and faulty thinking and replacing their condemning, counterfactual beliefs with more accurate ones that reflect the truths about God, yourself, and God’s grace-filled response to your disgrace.” The authors describe and then apply God’s grace to six common consequences of sexual assault: denial, distorted self-image, shame, guilt, anger and despair. In each case they go straight to the cross to show how the gospel provides an answer and antidote and to show how Jesus Christ can both sympathize and heal. Alternating with the chapters are the stories of victims who describe the abuse they faced, the consequences it brought, and the hope and healing they have found in Jesus…Rid of My Disgrace is a frank and powerful book that is completely drenched in Scripture. It interprets the ugliness of sexual assault in light of the Bible and offers the deepest healing and restoration through the gospel of Christ’s completed work.” Rid of My Disgrace by Tim Challies
3 Weaknesses With “The Bible: The Epic Miniseries”
1. It does not consistently present God as great and good.
2. It gratuitously displays graphic violence.
3. It repeatedly changes important details.
How to Disagree Respectfully
“1. I open by explaining triage in order to introduce the idea of theological triage. We must distinguish between first-level, second-level, and third-level issues.
2. I suggest about 75 disputable matters (grouped into 17 rough categories) that can be extremely divisive in some churches.
3. I present 12 principles from Rom 14:1–15:7 about how to disagree with other Christians.” How to Disagree with Other Christians about Disputable Matters by Andy Naselli
14 Signs of Theological Legalism
“Theological legalism is nothing new…Think of the Pharisees who, according to Christ, strained out gnats and swallowed camels (Matt. 23:24). To the theological legalist, there is no such thing as gnats. Christ spoke of the weightier things of the Law (Matt. 23:23). To the doctrinal legalist, all issues are of equal weight. Paul spoke of things of “first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3); to those who are theological Pharisees, everything comes in first place. There is rarely, if ever, a second.” Fourteen Characteristics of Theological Legalism by Michael Patton
Preachers: 3 Methods to Apply Your Sermon
“Keller gives three different “methods” for preaching application: The 3 Spheres approach, the heart diagnostic approach, and the two thieves approach. I’ll start with the heart-diagnostic approach, which he picks up from Dick Lucas:
I. The Heart-Diagnostic Approach -
1. Show people what they’re doing wrong.
2. Explain to people why they do it.
3. Show how Christ satisfies those desires.
4. Paint a picture of a gospel-filled life.
The Tim Keller Principle: How to Apply Your Message (Method #1) by Nicholas McDonald; HT:TW
The New Creation Mission
If you’ve ever thought about reading the book “The Temple and the Church’s Mission” by Greg Beale, but you don’t have the time to read 458 pages or the money to spend $19, here’s a free, 27 page summary. This is one of the most helpful articles I’ve read.
“I will try to summarize my 450-page book, The Temple and the Church’s Mission…I want to end, however, by focusing on t he main point of this address for the Church: our task as a Church is to be God’s temple, so filled with his presence that we expand and fill the earth with that glorious presence until God finally accomplishes this goal completely at the end of time! This is our common, unified mission.”
One New Covenant Theology difference: Beale believes Gen. 1:28 is still binding including the part, “Be fruitful and increase in number. (He also believes in paedobaptism, infant baptism.) The Old Creation mission was to spread God’s glory throughout the earth by making physical babies by marriage (Gen. 1:28). But the New Creation mission is to spread God’s glory throughout the earth by making spiritual babies by evangelism (Mt. 28:18-20; Lk. 24:46-50; Jn. 20:21-23; cf. Acts 1:8). Christ fulfills the WHOLE Old Testament (Mt. 5:17-18) including Gen. 1:28. Eden, The Temple, And The Church’s Mission In The New Creation* by Gregory K. Beale
Kingdom Through Covenant: Book Review
“‘The flood story is presented in the narrative as a new creation’ (275). Therefore, in the covenant with Noah, God is confirming his covenant initiated at creation with Adam…
(GG: Many scholars refer to Noah’s flood story as ‘echoes of Eden’ or a ‘new creation.’ But the New Testament uses the phrase ‘new creation to describe the work Christ finished in the 1st century, and which will come fully at the end of time. In other words, Noah’s flood is not a new creation. It’s a type of the future new creation. So Noah’s covenant points forward to the future new creation, not backward to the past old creation.)
More simply, KTC critiques CT (and implicitly FV) for hermeneutical methodology that they themselves also use…All this is to say that KTC (PC), CT, and FV all use similar hermeneutical tools, yet each to an increasingly greater degree respectively. It is for this reason that New Covenant Theology is most appealing to me. For, it asks only and ever, ‘What does the bible actually say and what does it say about itself?’…
This leads me to conclude that neither dispensations, nor the various covenants, nor Israel, nor the Gentiles are the key or theme or pattern in the bible. Having read much on Biblical Theology’s modern quest for the one hermeneutical key that unites all of Scripture and seeing the many and varied proposals, I often rephrase Jesus’ words, You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have a Biblical Theology; and these are they which testify about Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
This is why I subscribe to New Covenant Theology. Held by various proponents, all claim Jesus is the key to all understanding, the theme of all the bible, linking all the stories and narratives together.” Kingdom Through Covenant: Review by Thomas Achord
How to Interpret End Times Prophecies: Jesus Is the New Israel
“The central and controlling thesis that I believe is warranted by the biblical text is that the fulfillment of Israel’s prophetic hope as portrayed in the Old Testament documents is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the believing remnant, the Church, which he established at his first coming. The point is that Jesus Christ and his Church are the focal and terminating point of all prophecy…After all, most
Christians are quick to agree that Jesus is the center or focal point of all biblical revelation…
Jesus is Israel in the sense that God’s purposes, promises, and predictions for the nation are fulfilled in his life, death, resurrection, exaltation, session, and second coming. This principle of the consummate fulfillment of the nation’s destiny in the person of Christ is necessarily extended to his spiritual body, the Church. Since the Church is the body of Christ, of which he himself is the Head, what God intended for him, God also intended for her. What is true of him is true of her. Both Jesus and his body, the Church, constitute the true Israel in and for whom all the promises of the Old Testament find their fulfillment.” The Hermeneutics of Eschatology Chapter 1 free from the book Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative by Sam Storms (HT:JT)