This week, an article addressing issues and concerns over the condition of the Russian-American church made a big splash on the social media world. Within a few hours, the article got over a thousand hits and dozens of comments. What started out as one young woman sharing her personal concerns for her culture and church quickly became an explosion of strong feelings, opinions and disagreements. Apparently there are many many young people who feel very strongly about challenges within our denomination. Surprised? Not really…
John MacArthur opened the 2015 Shepherds Conference yesterday with the powerful reminder that one of the most foundational and determinative aspects of the christian worldview is how one relates to the Bible. What a christian believes to be true about the Bible will go on to have a massive impact on their entire faith because everything we believe comes from the text of this one book.
We live in a time where there seems to be so much variety in how people approach the Bible. One can find dozens of different churches and denominations which all claim to follow Jesus and believe the Bible. Yet, when it comes down to defining what they believe the Bible to be and how it actually fits into their christian life, they all may have a new and different response.
One of the most powerful lessons of 2014 for me has to do with growing in my understanding of what it really means to love others.
When one looks at the biblical narrative, its quite amazing to see how God accomplishes change in the lives of those he desires to reach. He is not what we expect him to be. He does not merely snap his fingers, and presto! All that God does in his work with this fallen world, he does within the framework of a relationship; a process of reaching out and personally touching the hearts of those he seeks to change.
Numerous events in the history of the church will be remembered and wondered at. At some points it is simply fascinating to see how God works in the church. At some points it is confusing and heartbreaking. The latter is what fills my heart these past few years as I witness all around me this “War on Calvinism” that seems to have taken hold of the Slavic Baptist churches.
A few weeks ago, as I was reading, I was struck with something in the New Testament that I have not noticed before.
“And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (Luke 17) Continue reading