The Contest of Good and Evil Within Us: An Excerpt from Jack Deere’s Memoir
In East of Eden, John Steinbeck wrote that we all have one story, and it is the same story: the contest of good and evil within us. Any honest person knows that they are losing this contest.
As a child, I could lie to others, but hadn’t yet developed the sophistication to lie to myself. I knew my bad deeds would always push down the scale. So I chose to enjoy my darkness rather than feel guilty about it.
Then I discovered that Christ had already borne the weight of my sin, and that once I accepted his gift, he would never leave. Yet Saint Peter’s scales lingered. In church I was told that as a Christian, my good deeds eventually would outweigh the bad. Then I preached versions…
How to Identify and Excavate an Archaeological Site – An Excerpt from the Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology
The Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology is a reference resource for anyone interested in archaeology and its relevance to biblical, theological, and apologetic studies. Illustrated with full-color photos, charts, and maps, this handbook provides readers with a wealth of information that complements and supplements the historical context of the Bible.
In today’s excerpt, author Randall Price explains how archaeological digs are found and excavated.
Identifying an Archaeological Site
The remains of an ancient site are called a tel, “mound” (Hebrew tel, Arabic tell or tall), because it resembles a small hill as a result of successive habitation layers deposited through destruction. This is related to an older Arabic term khirbet (“ruin”). These archaeological mounds were formed through time as cities became ruins due to natural…
Should Your Church Go Multisite? Is it Biblical?
It seems everybody is doing it these days, but is this the right solution for your congregation?
In today’s excerpt from MultiChurch, authors Brad House and Gregg Allison explain that multisite is not only a biblically sound ecclesiological model, but also a model that provides a compelling solution to contemporary reductionism in the church.
Multichurch—and the broader multisite movement for that matter—is nothing new. While it may seem like a recent phenomenon—something fresh, unique, and unprecedented—it’s actually the latest variation on a very old way of doing church. Every generation is prone to what C. S. Lewis referred to as “chronological snobbery,” the assumption that our time and our contributions are uniquely the best or the most advanced. The…
Luther Was Critical of Monasticism: A Catholic Theologian Weighs In — An Excerpt from Was the Reformation a Mistake?
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.
Numerous monasteries continue to…
Holiness Deserves Thoughtful Consideration – An Excerpt from Sanctification (New Studies in Dogmatics)
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.
THINKING THE HOLY
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…
Was the Reformation a Mistake? An Excerpt by Catholic Theologian Matthew Levering
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.
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.…
What Does It Mean to Be Gay … and a Christian? An Excerpt from All But Invisible
“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.
I was twenty-three years old and one…
Hypocrisy is Keeping People from the Church – An Excerpt from The Problem of God
God doesn’t exist. Christianity has a violent history. The Bible can’t be trusted. We hear phrases like this more and more from those who are challenging the Christian faith. In his book The Problem of God: Answering A Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity, pastor Mark Clark addresses the top ten questions doubters are asking.
In today’s excerpt, we learn about one of the biggest hurdles keeping people from embracing the faith: Christians themselves.
The Problem of HYPOCRISY
The greatest Liar has his Believers; and it often happens, that if a Lie be believ’d only for an Hour, it has done its Work, and there is no further occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come…
Unexpected Ally: Thomas Aquinas – An Excerpt from Grace Alone
In today’s excerpt from Grace Alone–Salvation as a Gift of God, Carl Trueman, professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, gives us the background and context of Thomas Aquinas, the unexpected friend of grace alone.
If the reception of Augustine’s theology of grace was subject to some confusion in the West, there were still some theologians whose teaching maintained his clear emphasis on God’s sovereignty and priority. Among these the most preeminent was Thomas Aquinas.
Most Protestants, if they have heard of Thomas Aquinas, probably regard him with some degree of suspicion. He is, after all, the great theologian of Roman Catholicism who provided the most elaborate and compelling arguments for many Roman Catholic distinctives such as transubstantiation. For many…
A Woman for All Seasons – An Excerpt from Katie Luther, First Lady of the Reformation
“How do we make a five-hundred-year-old Katharina relevant to North American culture? Is there anything she has to say to Western women and men today? Why should we take the time to make her acquaintance?” (9)
In today’s excerpt from Kathie Luther, First Lady of the Reformation, Ruth Tucker invites readers to discover this no-nonsense, confident and determined woman, and to consider why her life is relevant for men and women today.
In many ways, Katharina’s voice echoes among modern women, wives, and mothers who have carved out careers of their own. And unlike so many of the Reformation women we read about, her primary vocation was not related to ministry. She was a farmer and a brewer with a boarding house the size of a Holiday…
You Can Love Him or Hate Him, but You Can’t Ignore Him: Augustine on Grace–An Excerpt from Grace Alone
“Grace is the heart of the Christian gospel. It is a doctrine that touches the very depths of human existence.” (19)
In today’s excerpt from Grace Alone–Salvation as a Gift of God, Carl Trueman, professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, reveals the importance of Augustine’s thinking as a foundation for the church’s understanding of this magnificent gift.
The history of theology is essentially a story. How one tells that story, which characters and places and actions receive prominence, will vary from historian to historian. But when we look at the “history of grace,” an undisputed key figure in that history is Augustine, fifth-century bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa. Augustine’s life and writings profoundly shaped all later debates about grace.…
Christian Behavior in a Hostile Environment – An Excerpt from 1 Peter (SGBC)
In today’s excerpt from 1 Peter, the newest installment of the Story of God Bible Commentary series, Dennis Edwards teaches us about behaviors that foster Christian unity, and how we are expected to behave in a hostile environment.
First: LISTEN TO THE STORY
The sideways glances, insults, and dismissive attitudes that Christians sometimes face in our North American context are far from what might be called persecution, but they can still hurt. The way that we respond to those who demean us says much about the nature of our faith. When we respond well, we display the character of our Lord Jesus himself. Responding well means taking a “high road” when bullied and not retaliating in kind. Peter echoes the…