Foundations of Mercy & Mission #3: The Politics of Sex

Ps. 19:1-14, Rev. 21:1-8, John 4:5-26 Introduction One periodic objection leveled at Christians when it comes to the topics of sex and marriage is that we are unnecessarily politicizing private preferences. The implication is that the Christian impulse to care about the way our culture speaks about and enacts our sexuality is like turning food…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #2: Time & Resources

Dt. 5:12-15, Gal. 2:16-20, Mt. 6:19-34 Introduction The mission of Jesus is to baptize the nations and teach them everything He commanded. This is how you distinguish between God providing in what seems like scarcity and folly. If God commands it, then He promises to provide for it. Justification is God’s gracious gift of setting…

The Letter from the Synod of Nicaea II Concerning Icons

Just to be clear on what a person is agreeing to when converting from Protestantism to Eastern Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism: A portion from the letter from the synod of Nicaea II to the emperor and empress: The things which we have decreed, being thus well supported, it is confessedly and beyond all question acceptable and…

Loving Brothers in Error

One of the realities that Christians face with some regularity and difficulty is the challenge of loving brothers in error. All three of those words are important: loving. brothers. error. Given the harsh world around us full of violence and terror and murder, the Church is called to be a massively different kind of place….

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #1: Abundance & Scarcity

Gen. 3:14-24, 1 Jn. 4:7-21, Lk. 9:12-17 Introduction The Bible opens in mission (Gen. 1:27-28), and the mission is predicated on abundance not scarcity (Gen. 1:29, 2:8-15). The mission of the Church rests on an even greater abundance in the inheritance and authority of Jesus (Mt. 28:18-20, Rom. 8:32). Sin is the assumption of scarcity…

I Saw Satan Fall

Luke XXXVII: Lk. 10:1-24 Introduction One of the most important lessons of the Bible is that things are not always what they seem. Here, we have the relatively unassuming record of Jesus sending out the seventy to proclaim peace, heal the sick, and announce the arrival of the kingdom of God, but in this event,…

The Experience of Trauma & the Healing of Jesus

In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, child psychiatrist Bruce Perry recounts lessons he’s learned over the years from working with children who have experienced severe trauma in their lives. In the first chapter, he describes an early experience with a young girl who had been sexually abused over a long period of…

Avantgardian Charades

Jonathan Merritt barely represses a swagger as he recounts his prescient foretelling of the doomed conservative Christian resistance to sexual perversion. First, Christians resisted the idea of homosexuality altogether, and now they pathetically and predictably object to the transgender movement and are doomed to fail again. He cites the three major blunders of conservative Christians…

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….