Archives For Theology

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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I believe we often baptize people before they’ve been properly taught. But then again, it’s often hard to determine what a person should know before they are baptized. Since baptism is only the beginning point, it is only necessary those who are baptized have a basic understanding of Christian theology, doctrine, and practice. But what exactly constitutes a “basic understanding”? What do people need to know before being baptized? I’m certain I can’t give an exhaustive answer to that question, but perhaps this post will help you as you think through this question.

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Praying is really nothing more than talking to God. Sometimes a prayer, in a moment of desperation, might be as simple as, “Oh God, help me!” Unfortunately, some Christians are so afraid of praying incorrectly, they don’t pray at all; a child need not feel that way with his father. But on the other hand, many of us have fallen into a routine. We say basically the same things when we pray and we haven’t stopped to examine our prayers in light of Scripture. So here are three simple ways to make your prayer life more biblical.

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It finally happened. I was teaching a children’s Bible class of 3rd-5th graders, when one of the boys said something like, “I can’t be descended from Adam and Eve, because Adam and Eve were white.” I thanked him for bringing that up and used his comment as an opportunity to address the fact that although Bible story books almost always depict Adam and Eve as Caucasian, the books are simply wrong. I’ve been saying for years, we need to stop illustrating everyone in the Bible as white.

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There are many people who consider themselves to be “spiritual, but not religious.” They “experience” God in the gentle breeze, the rolling hills, the majestic mountains, and the love of friends and family. They consider themselves to be Christians, in some sense, but want nothing to do with “organized religion.” They don’t want the church and they don’t want the Bible. They want Jesus and they want spiritual experiences, but that is it. If that describes you or someone you know, allow me to share a few thoughts with you.

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