• Christianity,  Culture,  Theology/Bible

    Is “Systemic Racism” a Useful Category for Christians to Use?

    I’ve been watching the misadventures of Matthew Franck’s insightful article criticizing the concept of systemic racism. It originally appeared for two hours yesterday morning at Newsweek online. Apparently the opinion editor fought to have it posted, but the editor-in-chief swooped in to remove it without explanation. Franck explains the behind-the-scenes chicanery at The Public Discourse where the full article is now posted. It’s not encouraging. Is the concept of systemic racism so brittle that it can’t be scrutinized? Or are Newsweek editors too afraid to allow a thoughtful piece questioning the new orthodoxy? Who knows? In any case, it’s a shame that Newsweek would not stand by Franck’s column because…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    If you think God is wrong, you can never be right.

    I was just reading an article by a biblical scholar who argues that God’s command for Israel to destroy the Canaanites cannot be excused or justified. In other words, God was wrong in Deut. 20:16, and the Israelites were wrong to obey Him. It is not my aim to explain the ethics of the conquest of the Holy Land in this short blog post. Rest assured, however, that Christianity does account for it. Even though our convictions on this account are often very difficult for modern readers, they are coherent. Michael Kruger, for example, has a really fine short treatment of this question in “Is God Guilty of Genocide?” Likewise,…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Reflections on a Review

    Well, I think my review of Aimee Byrd’s book may have touched a nerve. At least it seems that way from the wide array of responses I have seen on social media this week. There are a whole lot of folks that really appreciated it, and there are a number of folks for whom—let’s just say—it was less than edifying. Years ago, I used to be more of a Twitter warrior and would have been online answering all the criticism. Not so much anymore. I don’t have the bandwidth for that kind of interaction, and I’ve come to see it as mainly futile because Twitter is often dominated by foolish…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Remembering OneDay 2000 and Piper’s “Seashell” Sermon

    Yesterday was the twentieth anniversary of John Piper’s famous “sea shell” sermon at the 2000 Passion conference called “OneDay.” Three years ago, I shared with Sarah Zylstra my memories of the event. There was a lot that we talked about that did not make it into her final article. And there was still more that I didn’t even share with her. So I thought I would briefly recount some of those memories here. Here are my top ten memorable memories of the memorable occasion known as OneDay 2000.

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    God’s Calling on Men to Be Protectors

    “Complementarianism is being taken to task as feeding abuse. I think that is dead wrong.” – @JohnPiper at #T4G20 pic.twitter.com/3ReI1Xp3kF — T4G (@T4Gorg) April 16, 2020 Last night, John Piper participated in a panel discussion about complementarianism, and today T4G released an excerpt (see above). I really appreciate the point that Piper is making here. He is pointing out that men have a special obligation to protect and to care for women. This obligation, by divine design, is written into their nature. Someone may object: “But doesn’t God’s image in every human being establish abuse as an offense against God? Why does gender even matter here?” Yes, God’s image does…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Why couldn’t God just forgive us? Did Jesus really have to die?

    Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to die in order for God to forgive us? Why couldn’t God just let us off the hook for our sin? Why did his very own Son have to die in our place? These are the questions that I attempt to answer in my Good Friday message. And they are the questions that Romans 3:24-25 answers. Sinners often ask the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” This is not a question that ever crosses Paul’s mind because he knows there are no good people (Rom. 3:23). The question that drives Paul is this: “Why is God good to bad people?”…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    The Innermost Meaning of the Cross

    “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.” -Isaiah 53:10 “God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation in His blood through faith, in order to demonstrate His righteousness.” -Romans 3:25 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’” -Galatians 3:13

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Comfort for the Afflicted: God’s People and the Coronavirus

    Our church still isn’t gathering on Sunday morning, but we are gathering around our scattered screens to sing and to pray and to hear a message from God’s word. Yesterday, I delivered a message about finding comfort in the midst of affliction. The text is 2 Corinthians 1:1-7, and you can download it here or listen below. Below the audio is an excerpt: ————— Many of you have been experiencing fear and dread at the possibility of contracting COVID-19, of being hospitalized, perhaps even of dying. Some of you are fearful about elderly family members or other loved ones with compromised immune systems. But even if you aren’t afraid of…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    What does it mean to “act like a man” in 1 Corinthians 16:13?

    I’ve been preaching through 1 Corinthians at our church for the last couple years, and in my most recent message we came to a little phrase in 1 Corinthians 16:13 that has become a stumbling block for some readers. The underlying Greek verb (andrizesthei) is rendered variously as “act like men” (ESV, NASB; cf. CSB, KJV) or “be courageous” (NIV, NRSV, NLT). Some of those who favor “act like men” understand the text as a call to manhood. Others dismiss that interpretation by noting that the command is addressed to both men and women. For my part, I think either translation is fine. Both of them are actually capturing something…

  • Theology/Bible

    A plan to read the Greek New Testament in a year

    Several years ago, I created a plan to read through the Greek New Testament in a year. For the most part, it tracks pretty closely with Lee Irons’ excellent schedule for reading the Greek New Testament in a year. My plan, however, varies a little bit. Because John’s writing is simpler Greek, my schedule goes through John’s Gospel at a faster pace than Irons’. As a result, there are no readings scheduled at the end of the year from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. These open dates at the end can be used as catch-up days. The schedule is given in two formats below. DOC – Read the Greek…