In the life of any church, there will be times when there needs to be settlement about issues that are dividing people. Typically, the division has already existed in the hearts of those dividing from one another long before it surfaces to be dealt with. In this discussion, I am assuming that both sides of the divide are composed of hearts that are good, albeit differing because of personalities or perhaps perceptions or simply have different ways of approaching the word of God. I do not intend to deal with the issue of division where the hearts are bad: selfish and stubborn. That is for another discussion.
I remember the night. It was chilly, especially for Florida, and Dad had a fire burning in the hearth. Even as a seven year old, I realized that this spelled certain doom for the jolly man who later that night would squeeze down the chimney. I mustered the courage to ask Dad, 'Is there really a Santa?' I was devastated. Doubts soon began to flood my mind as to the existence of 'the Stork,' the Easter Bunny, even of God himself. In later years I learned that Santa Claus (alias Father Christmas, Saint Martin, der Weihnachtsmann, Père Noël) was merely a corruption of Saint Nicholas, a Roman Catholic bishop of the 4th century. His attributes (red suit, reindeer, residence at the North Pole) derive from a blend of pagan legends with traditions about the saints. Good heavens!
There is much interest in the Christian world on the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation Movement. Even in mostly-atheist Germany, awareness of the history of this world-changing set of events is high. October 31, 1517, is the day when Martin Luther posted his famous 95 thesIs on the cathedral door in Wittenberg—the starting gun for the Reformation.
What exactly is the Protestant Reformation? What is its legacy, both positive and negative? Are we, as Bible-believing and Bible-obeying Christians, Protestants? Perhaps most importantly, what practical lessons can we learn from the momentous events which in many ways led to the modern world?
When we open our bibles, we often take for granted what is in front of us. For centuries, scribes and scholars have meticulously unearthed ancient texts. They have preserved, catalogued, studied and compared them to accurately provide us with God’s Word. This article is a very brief introduction to the languages, textual traditions, early translations, and recent discoveries that laid the foundation for the blessing now known as the Old Testament.
C.S. Lewis used the term “a great cataract of nonsense” to describe how people use a modern idea to construe Bible theology. One such example, perhaps the best example, is a conversion method called the Sinner’s Prayer. It is more popularly known as the Four Spiritual Laws.
The excerpt below was taken from a lesson entitled, "Maturing Our Churches -- Lord, Teach Us," on Thursday, July 7, 2016, at Reach2016 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. You can listen to the audio recording of this lesson here. (Please note that a small subscription fee to DTV is required to access the lesson.)
I come to you from a perspective chiefly as an evangelist, as a church leader. We all teach, whether we’re leading a Bible talk or putting on an MTA (Ministry Training Academy) or similar event. We all do teach in some way or another. We want to see the church grow up into the full stature of Christ. This is massive; we have an amazing opportunity to take the church from an adolescent phase, in some cases, to a bullet-proof, rock-solid maturity, where we can stand, and make a stand, to really change the world.
For many years I have been contemplating the special-ness of our movement in the area of the heart – what I believe to be a very special relational aspect of true Christianity. I have called it the “heart” ever since I studied the Bible to become a Christian in Milwaukee. What I experienced at that time was different than what I had experienced in any religious group before. It was, in fact, the difference between being a person who knew about God and had some association with him, and being a person who truly knows God through a true personal relationship with him.