This week I saw a “Jesus” (a man dressed in costume) walking the streets carrying a sign that declared, “Jesus shed his blood for you.” While I understand the significance of that profound statement, I am forced to wonder “What does that mean for someone who doesn’t know the story?” In other words, in our post-Christian, biblically illiterate, and theologically uninformed society how is that statement interpreted by unknowers and unbelievers? During this Holy Week and season of Easter, how can I best proclaim the Gospel?
The state of Indiana recently passed religious freedom legislation that seeks to protect Christians from being forced to participate in activity that violates their religious conscience. The law has been met with loud protest. The homosexual lobby insists that the law legalizes discrimination against them. Many states, including Georgia, have passed, or are in the process of writing, similar legislation. In fairness, it seems that objections have more to do with perceptions than realities (see here and here).
Quest to Restore God’s House: A Theological History of the Church of God. Wade H. Phillips. Cleveland, TN: CPT Press, 2015.
For years Charles W. Conn’s Like a Mighty Army has been the definitive history of the Church of God. Conn’s book offers an excellent telling from the perspective of an officially sanctioned publication. Mickey Crews’ The Church of God: A Social History offers a more critical telling of the early years of the Church of God movement. But neither can compare to the exhaustive volume produced by Wade H. Phillips – Quest to Restore God’s House: A Theological History of the Church of God.
As we enter the 2016 presidential election cycle I am reminded that the people of Israel sought a king (1 Samuel 8:5). Saul was impressive and anointed by the Spirit of God. But his ascension as king was little more than tolerated idolatry. On the day that Samuel presented Saul as their king God said, “I brought up Israel out of Egypt… but today you have rejected your God…” (1 Samuel 10:19). Humans tend to idolize their leaders, even as we acknowledge that the best leaders have feet of clay. In fact, we seem to prefer flawed leaders. It’s tough to admit that our gods are little more than grandiose representations of ourselves.
One of the events I try to attend is the annual meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. Each year scholars of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement gather to present papers, engage in dialogue, fellowship, and worship. This year SPS met at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. The campus is beautiful and the University students and staff were excellent hosts.