A Cluster of Christological Affirmations in 1 Thessalonians 1:10

Written sometime around A.D. 50 or 51, 1 Thessalonians may be the earliest of Paul’s letters (with the possible exception of Galatians), and it’s always interesting to see what someone’s theology (or, in this case, christology) consists of early on. Paul writes, “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among […]

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Singing in “The Hobbit” and With the Saints

I just finished reading The Hobbit for the first time, and I was surprised at all the singing. Surprised–and delighted! In the first and final chapters and in many of those between them, there was a preponderance of songs. One especially meaningful song appears in Chapter 10 (“A Warm Welcome”). Bilbo had recently rescued the dwarves from […]

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It’s Good to be Alive!

Did you wake up this morning? If you’re reading this, then the answer is obvious. But for many people around the world, yesterday was their last day. Because of death, their eyes no longer see the sun. The author of Ecclesiastes says, “Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the […]

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My Exposition of the Gospel of Matthew

Beginning June 30, 2013, I entered the world of Matthew’s Gospel at Kosmosdale Baptist Church on Sunday mornings. I completed the exposition of the book on April 10, 2016, in a total of 123 sermons. The number of weeks between those dates doesn’t match the 123 sermons because I took brief breaks between chunks of […]

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So You’re a Baptist; But Are You Also a Methodist?

The Church of England in the 18th century had lost much of the spiritual vitality it had possessed in the 16th & 17th centuries. The Puritans had been expelled from the Church in 1662 due to the Act of Uniformity issued by Charles II, and many of the spiritually devote High Churchmen had been forced out in 1688 for refusing to swear allegiance to William and Mary. The resultant state of the church was anything worthy of spiritual commendation. Rationalism, deism, heresy, and skepticism characterized many of the clergyman who remained in the National Church. Certainly those who doubted the […]

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A Letter of Comfort to a Widower: An Example of Pastoral Care from John Berridge (1716-1793)

One of the most difficult tasks given to pastors is the care of those who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. Pastors are expected simultaneously to provide comfort to the grieving and reminders of Christian truth, all with a spirit of compassion. In the course of my dissertation reading on eighteenth and nineteenth century evangelicalism,  I have read a number of letters written by evangelical ministers to people who had lost loved ones. Some of these letters come across to my modern ears as harsh and unsympathetic (perhaps they were not taken this way at that time), […]

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Don’t Wait Until New Year’s; Start Reading Your Bible Now! (With A Good Resource for Bible Reading Plans)

It is fairly customary for Christians to make a New Year’s resolution to read through their Bible in a year. I have been there personally. You make a decision, starting January 1st, to read a few chapters a day for the whole year. Everything starts off well. Genesis isn’t all that bad. There are a few genealogies, but it’s mostly written in story form. The same goes for Exodus. But then we reach Leviticus, that venerable killer of Bible reading plans and New Year’s resolutions. We get bogged down in the difficult reading. We miss a day–then two; and the […]

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Thomas Scott (1747-1821) on Redeeming Time in Ministry

One of the hallmarks of the evangelical movement has been its emphasis on active Christian service. Like the Puritans before them, the early evangelicals thought it important to make the most of each day, and doing so required a careful use of time. This care was especially needful for ministers of the gospel, whose very occupation meant tending to both personal and public responsibilities. Some, like the early Methodists, would schedule out basically their entire day into short blocks of time. However, other evangelicals were less rigid. Concerned about how to balance the various demands of ministry on his time, the […]

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Free E-Book: God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines (Albert Mohler, ed)

Today, Matthew Vines has released a controversial book called God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. This book purports to be a biblical defense of homosexuality. Vines, who claims to be an evangelical Christian, believes that the Bible does not actually condemn homosexuality and that it is possible to be both Christian and gay. In response, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has released a short book, edited by Albert Mohler, that  challenges and refutes Vines’ claims. This E-book is available for free download here. Also, an excellent review of Vines book has been written by […]

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What the Bible is All About: God as Pursuer

God created the whole world and humans in it in perfect relationship with Him. Adam and Eve walked and talked with Him, seeing Him face to face every day in the Garden. However, when they disobeyed God by eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they broke that relationship between God and Humanity, sentencing themselves and all of creation to lives of pain, human injustice, and loneliness. In his mercy, God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden to keep them from eating the fruit from the tree of life, ensuring that they would not […]

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