Single-Issue Voters & Single-Issue Christians

In the spirit of the upcoming presidential election here is an idea that I’ve been thinking through and its potential ramifications:

Single-issue voters? Abortion. Economy. Health Care. Immigration. Single-issue voters are those known to either give their support or remove their support because of a strongly held belief on a specific issue. Personally, I can think of one issue where I’d consider myself a single-issue voter, but in the end if I have to choose between “the lesser of two evils” I will do so. But should this line of reasoning be the mode of operation within the church? Continue reading

Addicted to Works

Walter Marshall, a Puritan from the late 1600’s, accurately diagnoses what many times becomes our routine of Christian living and how it steals the joy God intends for us as believers in Christ:

By nature, you are completely addicted to a legal method of salvation. Even after you become a Christian by believing the Gospel, your heart is still addicted to salvation by works. In your heart you still want to make the duties of the law come before the comforts of the Gospel. You find it hard to believe that you should get any blessing before you work for it. This is the mindset you tend to fall into: You sincerely do want to obey the laws of God. Therefore, to make sure you obey the law of God you make all of God’s blessings depend upon how well you keep his law. Some preachers even tell you that you had better not enjoy the blessings of the Gospel! They tell you to diligently obey the law first and that only by doing this will you be safe and happy before God. Just keep in mind, however, that if you go this route, you will never enjoy your salvation for as long as you live in this world.

A Christian Response to a Doctrinal Difference

This morning I read in my Bible the following passage. I was struck by how two godly Christians acted and reacted to one brother’s doctrinal difference.

And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. Acts 18.24-26

I understand there are different levels of understanding of Christian orthodoxy and therefore different levels of either acceptance or outright rejection of those Christian teachings. But what is modeled above is often times not my mode of operation. I tend to act or at least think suspiciously of fellow believers who act or believe different than me (which I’ve noticed is just about everyone – I tend to agree with me). Continue reading

Good Friday (for who though?)

I recently came across this quote and it made me think about how I celebrate this Passion Week. Yes, I’ll celebrate Good Friday, but for whom was it really good?

Corrie Ten Boom put it like this:

“In the forest fire, there is always one place where the fire cannot reach. It is the place where the fire has already burned itself out. Calvary is the place where the fire of God’s judgment against sin burned itself out completely. It is there that we are safe.”

Good Friday is good for any who place their faith in the One, Jesus, who took the fiery wrath of God in our place.

How Do You Please God?

How do you please God? It is often times easy to see the difference between irreligion and the Gospel, but what is most dangerous (for me, at least) is the difference between religion and the Gospel.

HT: Matthew Hoskinson

Baptist Distinctives: 2 Offices & Saved, Baptized Church Membership

Well, the final two Baptist distinctives of our series are: two offices and a saved, baptized church membership.

Two Offices: pastor & deacon

The Bible mandates two offices within the local church — pastor and deacon.

There are three different words used in the New Testament for the office of pastor: elder (1 Tim. 5:19), bishop (1 Tim. 3:1), and overseer (Acts 20:28). Each of these terms when studied in their context are referring to the same office, not separate, unique offices. Deacons are first described in Acts 6 and their qualifications are listed in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

Saved, Baptized Church Membership

To me, Continue reading

Baptist Distinctives: Two Ordinances…Church & State

Are all churches equal? What makes one church distinct from another? The answer is the doctrinal beliefs that are taught and espoused are what distinguish us from other churches.

Traditionally there are eight distinctives that Baptists (and baptistic churches) have historically held. The next three in the series are…

Two Ordinances: Believer’s Baptism & Lord’s Supper

An ordinance is custom or practice that is symbolic or representative of something actual. Some denominations would call these sacraments. We choose to call them ordinances. The term sacrament is a means by which grace is confirmed either visibly or invisibly. No grace is given to those who participate in these ordinances, but rather we obey them out of simple obedience to the Scriptures and love for Jesus. Continue reading