As a child in Pentecostal church I often heard sermons warning against the dangers of worldliness. The words of John were seared into my Christian psyche:
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15-17).
Continue reading “Is the Church Embracing Secularism?”
I’ve enjoyed our transition and settled in to my new work at Pentecostal Theological Seminary. As I ponder the New Year the words of Paul come to mind:
Continue reading “I am Obligated, Unashamed, and Eager”
Each Christmas we celebrate with lights, songs, and feasts. And, each Christmas our songs of praise are interrupted by the cries of those who suffer from violence, sickness, and death. This brings us to the story of the slaughter of the innocent boys in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-18). It’s part the Christmas story that we don’t often tell, or sing about. The words of the prophet are haunting and familiar.
Continue reading “Where is God when the Innocents are Slaughtered?”
I enjoyed the first Star Wars movie (1977). It was fun and the conflict was palpable. So was the hope. Luke Skywalker was a young hopeful idealist, even somewhat corny. He was strong in the Force. Obe-Wan Knobi, the Jedi master, was somewhat brooding, but had an air of confidence which engendered hope. Likewise with Yoda. Obe-Wan and Yoda had faith.
Continue reading “Luke Skywalker’s Despair”
Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence—To make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! (Isaiah 64:1-2 NASB).
Advent is a word that speaks to the arrival, or appearing, of a notable person/event. Advent denotes hope, expectation, joy, and even fear. Christians celebrate a season of Advent as a time in between. The first Sunday of Advent is both historical and eschatological, that is, it remembers God’s appearances in history, and it anticipates the culmination of God’s kingdom in the future.
Continue reading “When God Comes Down – 1st Sunday of Advent”
What is sin? That seems to be a rather straightforward question, but the very question will provoke a variety of responses. In recent decades many Christians have redefined sin in various socio-political categories – racism, patriarchy, whiteness, sexism. This reduces sin to a socio-political problem. When sin is reduced to socio-political issues it can be redefined by majority consent and definitions of sinfulness change with the political winds. If sin is indeed primarily a socio-political problem, then it is a human problem with a human remedy. If this is the case there is no place for God, except for the civil deity we construct for our political purposes.
Continue reading “Sin is a Theological Problem, Not a Political Issue”
The Church, the old ship of Zion, in the USA is sailing on stormy seas and caught up in a storm of moral confusion. Christians on the left and right are casting stones at each other. Christians on the left and right are blinded by the great logs of political pragmatism. Both sides see themselves as speaking prophetically – speaking truth to the corrupt powers. But, it seems to me, these bold false prophets are speaking with fiery tongues – the very world of iniquity (James 3:5).
Continue reading “A Storm of Moral Confusion”