Pentecost Sunday: Fire From Heaven

Luke XXXVI: Lk. 9:49-62 Introduction Today is Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter, the day we celebrate the pouring out of the Spirit and the birth of the Christian Church. The Text: The theme that ties these three scenes in Luke 9 together is the call to follow Jesus and the way other people and…

Why We Baptize Our Children

At the end of Peter’s Pentecost sermon when the people were cut to the heart by the gospel and asked what they should do, Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit….

Far Better

Ascension Day 2016 Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” (Jn. 16:7) The ascension of Jesus is one of the harder things to understand as Christians. From our perspective, it seems like Jesus leaving made everything a…

When Silence is Love

Greyfriars Hall Spring 2016 Preaching Retreat Sermon Text: Acts 8:26-40 Introduction The problem of exegesis and the meaning of language goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden where the serpent asked the woman: Did God really say? And ever since, men have asked why God doesn’t speak more clearly. If there is…

A Tale of Two Storms

Luke XXXI: Lk. 8:22-39 Introduction Luke has presented the advent of Jesus as the arrival of God’s Word. People respond to that word in various ways, but fundamentally they either believe and obey and are set free or they don’t and they aren’t (e.g. Mary, Zechariah, the shepherds, Pharisees, the centurion, the sinful woman). Despite…

Resurrection Leadership

Easter Sunday 2016: Acts 10:34-43, 1 Cor. 15:1-11, Jn. 20:1-18 Introduction Christian leadership is not Christian unless it is driven by the centrality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But everything hinges on what that event means. If the resurrection of Jesus is an inspiring spiritual story, then Christian leadership primarily leads people…

The Light of Life

Easter Vigil 2016 “Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.” (John 20:1) Going all the way back to the apostles, tradition tells us that Christians have gathered on the night…

Bultmann, Cyril, and a bit more on Sola Scriptura

Robert Arakaki has responded here to my Reformation21 article An Apostolic Case for Sola Scriptura. I’m grateful for his interaction and some of the other questions I’ve received. Here are a few thoughts in reply. Arakaki rightly points out that if the apostolic commission included a written testimony, there should be evidence in the New…

Elephants in Bikinis

So let’s have a thought or two about the current political circus displaying its acrobatics around about us, shall we? But first, let’s review the basic ground rules for how we think about politics as Bible believing Christians. On the one hand, Jesus rose from the dead and is now the rightful ruler of the…

Sola Scriptura & Truth with a Beard

One caricature of Sola Scriptura often sketches the Protestant doctrine as problematic on the grounds that since many people read the Bible and come away with different interpretations, it is necessarily (even if unintentionally) an individualistic doctrine. When it comes down to it, Protestants submit to themselves and their personal interpretations and not to Christ…