Archives For Theology

We often say things like, “We’re all sinners.” Or, “I’m a sinner, the same as anyone else.” There is certainly some truth to those statements. We are certainly all guilty of sin and we all still struggle with sin. However, the Bible doesn’t really use the word “sinner” to refer to faithful Christians. Let’s talk about why Christians aren’t called sinners and why it may be detrimental to your life to think of yourself as a sinner.

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When the children of Israel were going into the Promised Land, God gave them a law. The law was part of His covenant relationship with them. But after Jesus came, many Jewish Christians wanted to know what role the law should continue to play in their lives. Were Christians obligated to keep the law? If not, what was to keep them from living sinfully? The apostle Paul boldly claimed that Christians “are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Could that really be true? If so, what would that look like? What would that mean?

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We attend Bible classes, Bible studies, devotionals, and worship services. We read our Bibles and listen to sermons. We memorize passages of Scripture. But do we ever stop and ask ourselves, “What’s the point of all of this?” What are we really trying to accomplish? Is the goal to impress God and others with our biblical knowledge? Is the goal to know all the stories? Is the goal to know all the rules, so we don’t accidentally break one? Here is what the Bible says is the whole point of Christian teaching.

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It is biblical to speak of “obeying the gospel,” although I’m sad to say that the way I’ve most often used that phrase is not very biblical. I’ve often said, when someone was baptized, “He obeyed the gospel,” as if obeying the gospel was something that was accomplished by being baptized. That is not a very biblical way to speak of someone “obeying the gospel.” It is so much more than being baptized, because a person is never finished obeying the gospel.

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In Philippians 2:12 Paul wrote, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” That phrase is quoted a lot, but I wonder how many of us have ever stopped to consider what it actually means. I know I have personally failed to appreciate the context of this passage and have misused this passage a number of times. Perhaps you have as well. Here are a few thoughts on what it means to “work out your salvation.”

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If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by guilt, you’ve probably heard someone say, “God has forgiven you, but now you need to learn to forgive yourself.” In fact, you may have even tried to comfort someone else by telling them, “You’ve got to learn to forgive yourself.” This may come as a shock, but while this advice sounds good, it is not biblical to encourage people to forgive themselves.

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The concept of “justification by faith” is one of the most important doctrines in Scripture. Unfortunately, some misunderstand it, some scoffingly dismiss it, and some ignore it completely. But let me tell you something (and I don’t think I’m overstating the case here), you cannot be a Christian unless you understand and embrace the doctrine of justification by faith. So let’s talk about what it means to be justified by faith.

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Like most people, I want a better community, a better state, a better country, and a better world. I want less crime, less violence, less hatred, less war, and less poverty; I especially want abortions to be a thing of the past. I used to think electing the right President, having the right men and women in Congress, and seeing the right judges on the Supreme Court were the best ways for these dreams to come true. I’ve changed my mind.

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I previously wrote an article on why it’s not biblical to baptize an infant. Because of that article, I was invited to join Presbyterian minister, Randy Booth on the Moody Radio program, Up For Debate to discuss the issue of infant baptism. After accepting this invitation, I took some time to educate myself about Booth’s position. I was actually surprised to learn I was mistaken in my assumptions about why many denominations baptize infants.

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When arguing various sides of issues, we need to make sure our arguments are valid. Most of us are guilty of making fallacious arguments. For instance, an ad hominem argument is one that attacks the person rather than the argument, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re just a liberal heretic.” Another type of logical fallacy is an argument from silence, which “occurs when someone interprets someone’s or something’s silence as anything other than silence, typically claiming that the silence was in fact communicating agreement or disagreement” (source). Let’s talk about why this is a logical fallacy and how eliminating this from our thinking will help our biblical understanding.

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