Recent blog posts
Part four in the series on The Theology of God.
God begins to reveal this attribute very early:
Part three in the series on The Theology of God.
Part two in the series on The Theology of God.
If Genesis 1:1 begins to reveal God’s power, then the second attribute that is revealed is that he is relational.
The first part of the series on The Theology of God introduces the concept of this way of approaching God’s character and attributes, and begins the series by looking at God’s self-revelation of his power.
In addition to Genesis 1 & 2, the main texts are:
The Doctrine of God is usually approached using a systematic theology model, i.e. what we know about God from the Bible is classified into a logical system.
The subject of Holy Spirit Baptism has been very divisive. Typically people are polarized into two camps:
Many things about Christmas have pagan origins. Does this mean that by participating we are opening ourselves to the occult? What about Christmas trees, yule logs, lights, mistletoe and even the date of December 25?
When we look deeper, huge parts of our culture have pagan origins, from the names of the days of the week, the months, common personal names and place names.
One pagan website points out that
Many people celebrate Halloween, which has much more obvious pagan origins, and some music and new-age practices have explicit connections.
I am going to suggest we can divide these cultural elements into three categories:[read more...]
The answer to this might seem very easy to some people. The Arminian might respond, “Repeat the words of this simple prayer after me”, or “Just ask Jesus into your heart”.
Others might say, “If someone is not a Christian, then they are dead in trespasses and sins and so can’t do anything”.
I believe what Jesus said in John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” But on the other hand Jesus very frequently told people to come to him, implying that this choice was available to them.
We have to maintain the tension between:
The starting point must be that the Holy Spirit is working in a person, even before they are born again (otherwise they would have no spiritual interest). It is possible to resist the Spirit (Acts 7:51) up to a point, but ultimately God can break through any resistance (e.g. Paul’s salvation).
The second assumption is that the words of the gospel are like seeds which the Spirit can bring to life. So we don’t tell people that they are required to trust in Jesus yet cannot. We tell them to trust him with the confidence that the Spirit is the one who gives power to these words.
The third assumption is that assurance is the work of the Spirit, not our job. So we don’t say, “Now you have prayed this prayer, you are a Christian.” We say, “keep seeking God until you know you have a new spiritual life within you.”
So now back to the question itself—what must a person do? The simple answer is “repent and believe”, but this needs some explanation, and raises an important question, “How much do you need to know to become a Christian—is there a minimum?”
I think there are three things you need to know:
Here are my thoughts, taken from an outline of a sermon on: "What does a person do to become a Christian?"
1. Who God is:[read more...]
The command to repent is right at the core of the Gospel message preached in the New Testament, but repentance sits very ill with today’s self-righteous society. Three possible approaches are:
Unwilling to limit the gospel to the obviously immoral (a), to focus on moralism (b) or to change the Gospel (c), I want to find a way of convicting people of their most important sin—failure to love and acknowledge God as their creator and Lord.
The second target I want to hit is the politically correct pluralism that says: “I am not against your god—he is fine for you. I am not his enemy, I am just neutral in this whole god debate.”
The reality is that we are either for God or against him. But how do you convince people of that?
My suggestion is an approach in which we start with what God is doing—He is involved in a cosmic struggle to root out every form of evil and injustice in the universe. Given this situation, not to be on God’s side is actually to help his enemies.
This is especially true when you consider that the forces of evil are united by one thing: Denial of God’s rights as their Lord.
So if you do not acknowledge God, then you are siding with his enemies[read more...]