Luther Was Critical of Monasticism: A Catholic Theologian Weighs In — An Excerpt from Was the Reformation a Mistake?

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Jesus proclaims that voluntary poverty and chaste celibacy will be the vocation of some of his followers, but not all of them. Jesus also makes clear the centrality of obedience. It makes sense, then, that the church should possess ways of living a distinctive religious life of radical poverty, chaste celibacy, and obedience—so long as the motivation for religious life is love and faith-filled desire to imitate Christ.

Martin Luther rightfully voiced his disapproval of the financial corruption, focus on works, and sexual incontinence in monasteries during his lifetime. In today’s excerpt from Was the Reformation a Mistake? Matthew Levering–though he would agree on the corruption–addresses some of the reasoning behind the formation of monasteries as a legitimate biblical communities.

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Numerous monasteries continue to…

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Sharing Your Faith with Atheists Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

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Greg Koukl

According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, the number of Americans who identify as atheists has nearly doubled. As atheism has expanded, we’ve seen a rise of high-profile atheists. Outspoken personalities like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens have proffered popular arguments against religion in general—and Christianity specifically.  

The proliferation of atheist social-media groups has helped bolster the arguments of the average atheist, and empowered them to be more vocal about their beliefs.

While we shouldn’t be intimidated by vocal atheists, many in the church have found it difficult to defend their faith against them. They don’t feel prepared to debate an atheist, and when they try, it devolves into an argument.  

The idea of talking to an atheist doesn’t have to fill you with fear. In fact, you can…

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Who Wrote Ecclesiastes and What Does It Mean?

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The book of Ecclesiastes presents a challenge to casual Bible readers and academics alike. The book’s theme and tone seem so contrary to the rest of Scripture. In fact, it’s one of the few books of the Old Testament that the early church debated not including in the Bible.

One of the biggest questions surrounding Ecclesiastes is in regards to its authorship. Who wrote Ecclesiastes—and what was he trying to communicate to us? That’s a question that professor John Walton tackles in his online course, Old Testament Survey. Let’s look at what Dr. Walton has to say about the origins, background, structure, and purpose of this interesting book.

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Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation, or Something Else? Roman Catholic vs. Protestant Views of the Lord’s Supper

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Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation, or Something Else? Roman Catholic vs. Protestant Views of the Lord’s Supper

What is the nature of the Lord’s Supper? How should it be celebrated?

Let’s take a look at the Roman Catholic view of transubstantiation. Then, let’s look at three ways Protestants have understood the Lord’s Supper.

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at yourprivacy@harpercollins.com. The Roman Catholic View: Transubstantiation

The Roman Catholic view is called transubstantiation.

That is when the priest elevates first the wafer and then the chalice of wine mixed with water and rehearses the institutional narrative, the story of the…

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Holiness Deserves Thoughtful Consideration – An Excerpt from Sanctification (New Studies in Dogmatics)

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Thinking the holy for Christians, and specifically for reformational Christians, appears a difficult task. It remains needed, however, for the prophetic and apostolic witness to Jesus Christ insists on the importance of holiness from start to finish.

Many view holiness as accidental or expendable or even as a legalistic and conformist posture opposed to the freedom of the gospel. But Sanctification is one of the gifts of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In today’s excerpt from Sanctification, author Michael Allen explains why holiness deserves such consideration and how it requires a steady focus on the holiness of God.

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As Moses would tell you, you have to approach the holy in the proper way. The burning bush demands a specific posture and mode of…

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Bible Interpretation: 4 Challenges and How to Overcome Them

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Bible interpretation

You probably already know that the Bible was originally written to someone else who:

lived a long time ago, in another part of the world, where they spoke a different language, and had different cultural values.

A word that captures one of the greatest challenges and frustrations in Bible interpretation is distance. There are four aspects to this distance: time, geography, language, and cultural values. Being aware of these is a critical step toward interpreting the Bible correctly.

In this post, adapted from William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation online course, we’ll take a look at each of these.

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9 Tips for Learning Biblical Greek from Bill Mounce

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Bill Mounce tips on learning biblical Greek

William D. Mounce loathes the popular cliché “It’s all Greek to me.” As the author of the bestselling Greek textbook, Basics of Biblical Greek, and a former director of the Greek program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, he’s heard it said by too many overwhelmed first year language students.

According to Dr. Mounce learning Greek is simply a matter of putting in the time and plodding through the basic steps. After years of teaching the language, Bill claims that if you truly want to learn Greek, and you’re willing to put in the time, you will learn it.

In his online biblical Greek course, Bill Mounce shares some of his best tips for new Greek students who actually want to learn the language.

9 tips for learning biblical Greek from Bill Mounce

If you really want to learn Greek,…

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Biblical Counseling vs. Christian Counseling: What’s the Difference?

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This post is adapted from Heath Lambert’s Theology of Biblical Counseling online course.

There are some Christians who disagree that the Bible should be used to help us solve our counseling-related problems.

Christians who rely—to one degree or another—on the counseling insights of secular people have been called integrationists, Christian counselors, and Christian psychologists—among other things.

I want to show how the decision to be a Christian counselor is a theological decision. In order to do that, I will describe areas where biblical counselors agree with our brothers and sisters in Christian counseling, as well as some areas where we disagree.

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How to study the books of James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude

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How to study the books of James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude

You probably already know that the books of James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude are some of the most read—and mis-read—books of the New Testament. They include passages on dealing with temptation, the holiness of God, and the famous doxology at the end of Jude.

But they also include passages on slaves and masters, wives and husbands, and faith and works—passages that don’t line up with many modern norms, or even other parts of the canon.

What can we learn from these books?

A great deal, it turns out.

The challenge, however, is knowing where to start—or even…

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7 Tips for Understanding Revelation

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The Book of Revelation is notoriously difficult to understand. Over the centuries, the church has presented countless interpretations and theories about the meaning and significance of this enigmatic work.

Even modern scholars approach Revelation in several different ways.

Whether you find that intimidating or enticing, we need some guardrails to keep us from getting lost in Revelation’s prophecies, metaphors, and apocalyptic imagery. Here are some tips for studying Revelation from Scott Duvall, who, along with J. Daniel Hays, teaches the Biblical Interpretation online course.

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Was the Reformation a Mistake? An Excerpt by Catholic Theologian Matthew Levering

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I hold that the Reformers made mistakes, but that they chose to be reformers was not a mistake.

In 1517, the Church was in need of a spiritual and theological reform. In today’s excerpt from Was the Reformation a Mistake? Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical, Matthew Levering provides the backdrop to the Reformation and reasons why the Reformers were not wrong to challenge the Church in Rome.

9780310530718WEEDS AND WHEAT: THE REFORMATION IN CONTEXT

Before proceeding, let me make some additional observations about whether the Reformation was a “mistake,” as my book’s title asks in light of the five-hundredth anniversary. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’s preaching of the kingdom of heaven includes his sobering parable of the wheat and the weeds.…

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What Does It Mean to Be Gay … and a Christian? An Excerpt from All But Invisible

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“Christians who aren’t straight but who also observe a traditional sexual ethic are some of the least acknowledged and understood people today,” writes Nate Collins. “They don’t fit into the mainstream gay culture, but neither do they feel entirely at home in your typical evangelical church.”

All But Invisible: Exploring Identity Questions at the Intersection of Faith, Gender, and Sexuality “is a book about people, like myself, who don’t see themselves as heterosexual or straight,” writes Collins, who explains: “much of what follows is, unavoidably, the result of my reflection on my experience as a gender minority who is also a conservative Christian with traditional views on sex and marriage.

Hear more from Nate Collins in today’s excerpt from All But Invisible.

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9780310526025I was twenty-three years old and one…

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