Reformation Out of Nowhere

In 2 Chronicles 29, Hezekiah leads the people of Judah in a great reformation. The center of the reformation is the restoration of worship in the temple: cleansing the temple, purifying the priests and levites, bringing the sacrifices, singing the songs of David and playing his musical instruments in praise to the Lord. It’s all…

The Great Israelite Freakout

In Joshua 22, a rather tense scene unfolds when the children of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Mannasah return to their lands on the other side of the Jordan following the completion of the conquest of Canaan. The two and half tribes return to their land and build an altar on the border…

The Bond of Perfectness

1 Cor. 13 & Col. 3:14-20 In the reading from Colossians Paul says, “Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14). Paul has just finished telling the Colossians to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and forgiveness. In some ways it might seem kind of redundant to…

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…

The Economics of Marriage

Marriage is an economic reality. Every wedding is an economic transaction and creation. The word “economy” itself comes from the Greek word that meant “household management.” An economy literally is the establishment and norms of a household. So every wedding is the establishment of a new household, and therefore a new economy. But we are…

Civil War, Culture War, and the Cross

Apart from the peace of the cross of Jesus, our attempts at dealing with the severe effects of the fall will only create more tension, resentment, and violence. “… through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross…” (Col. 1:20). Think about…