This post is written for young men and women who are considering a life of scholarship in the Church. This isn’t how to get accepted into a good PhD program; it is about the path that will give you the most likelihood of success. Continue reading
Aside from schoolwork, I’m studying prayer in the NT and early church, particularly the set prayer times. I found a webpage with quite a few references to prayer in the early church that is worth checking out. Of course it helps to have access to a seminary library as I do.
While trying to get a lunch time nap today I had an interesting thought that might shed some light on the relationship between the baptism of the Spirit and conversion. Briefly, there is a tension between how conversion and the reception of the Spirit is presented in Acts and how it is presented in 1 Corinthians. In Acts some individuals received the Spirit minutes, days, or even weeks after believing in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul writes “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” This seems to indicate that every believer is baptized in the Spirit at conversion. Pentecostals and Charismatics line up with the Acts view. They then have to interpret the 1 Corinthians passage in ways that, to my mind, aren’t reasonable. Third Wave Charismatics and all other evangelicals that I know of line up with the 1 Corinthians view. But they then have to create stories to address the various accounts in Acts, which I also don’t find reasonable. Continue reading
1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
Last night my wife and I watched a few videos from some respected Reformed church leaders. One of the videos we just stopped because we couldn’t listen to it anymore, and during another, when there was a question over whether or not the Great Awakening was a good thing, my wife said “did he just say that?” I respect these guys, I wasn’t listening to disagree with them, but it reminded me that the Reformed world is very different than the Charismatic world that I’m from. In this post, it will be difficult for me to actually say anything without qualifying everything. Please read this in a spirit of charity, realizing that if I criticize an aspect of part of Christendom I love that part and don’t think I’m better than those in it. However I do believe that there are certain things that Christians should believe and so encourage them. Continue reading
Darren Patrick is the founder of The Journey family of churches in St. Louis, where my family is presently attending. Darren is the best speaker I have ever heard in person and is obviously gifted in many different areas besides speaking. He is an excellent person to learn about the Emerging Church from as he both knows many of the main players and also has discernment concerning what is and is not healthy about the different aspects of the movement.
Covenant Theological Seminary, where I go to school, invited Darren to do a lecture series on the Emerging Church several years ago and have put the series on line for free, which can be found here (their website appears to struggle in Google Chrome so if the link doesn’t work try Firefox or Internet Explorer).
If we value the Bible then choosing a good translation is obviously important. My opinions about this topic were very different before I came to seminary, i.e. before I knew anything at it, then they are now. I’ve had trouble writing this post, because there is so much to say. Instead of writing a ten page post, I’m going to recommend some resources and tell you my conclusion. Continue reading
As I continue in seminary I’m increasingly aware of the need to apply the things I’m learning in the Church. Seminary teaches one how to read and understand the Bible, and the seminary library is full of thousands of books on how to do this. But there isn’t much point in all these resources if no one is even reading the Bible. Charles Spurgeon said “I can find ten men who will die for the Bible for every one who will read it!” That was true in his day and it seems to be true in this day. I’m not saying this to criticize those who aren’t reading the Bible often, people are busy and they will only do things if they think there is an actual point. It’s not like people in seminary read the Bible either (too busy reading other things). This post is my attempt to explain why reading the Bible is a worthwhile use of our time.
- The Bible is God’s word to us. Although I believe that God still speaks in various ways today, the Bible is the only sure, authoritative for all, guidance we have from him.
- The Bible answers the serpent’s “did God really say?” question. As our culture becomes less and less Christian, we need something to anchor us. The Church in America is, I fear, going to split more and more over this question in the coming years.
- Reading the Bible reshapes us into who God wants us to be. Everything in life shapes our desires and beliefs. This is a really important point to understand. If we aren’t being shaped by the Bible we are being shaped by ads and tv shows and music and school and the mall. Most people spend less than 2% of their week in church; that isn’t enough time to shape us into God’s likeness.
- The Bible tells us what God is like. In our post-modern, ‘make up your own truth’ world it is more important than ever to learn concretely about God from the Bible. Loving God is good, but if you don’t much about him who exactly are you loving?
- The Bible tells us about the story that we are in – creation, fall, redemption, consummation. Knowing our place in the story helps give meaning to our lives.
- Most of what we know about God, and most of the story, is found in the OT so we have to read that part too.