14 Dec 2018

The Splendor of Light

If I may approach the subject of sacred music without diving into the worship wars, a recent time of personal devotion reminded me of one of the aspects of worship music I particularly appreciate. That is, songs which tickle my brain, allowing me to continue pondering God’s nature after the music has stopped, the service is over, and I am back into the grind of the everyday week. One such song is the hymn Immortal

Jeff Reid 0
14 Mar 2018

Should I Hide When Mormons Come Knocking?

One of the great privileges of serving in the local church is the opportunity to hear intriguing questions from congregants. A couple of weeks ago, I had such an experience after talking about evangelism. The topic of door-to-door Mormon missionaries  came up, and eventually our conversation turned to how to interact with non-Christian missionaries—and if they should be shown any sort of hospitality at all. One participant in the conversation mentioned that they do not

Jacob Prahlow 0
02 Oct 2017

Spending Time Together in the Temple

Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple… (Acts 2:46a NRSV). This article is a continuation of a series of articles on Acts 2:41-47. The previous articles in this series can be found in the author’s archives. I teach classes on the Bible, world religions, and humanities at several community colleges in my area. Each semester I notice that students seem genuinely surprised when they learn about the Jewish roots of

Jarrett Dickey 0
23 May 2017

Bible Translations, Not Inspired

Debates over Which Bible Occasionally, I will run into someone who holds an especially high view of a certain version or translation of the Bible. Sometimes, this perspective follows denominational lines: Roman Catholics have the Douay-Rheims, Reformed churches laud the Holman Christian Standard Bibles (recently updated as the Christian Standard Bible), Dispensationalists fervently search their Scofield Reference Bibles, and Fundamentalists hold to the King James Version. Even when not holding rigidly to one particular version

Jacob Prahlow 2
14 Feb 2017

A Brief History of Communion (Part I)

Christians of all sorts partake of some form of communion. Known by different names—the Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Holy Communion, Breaking of Bread, Mass—and taken at different frequencies—daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly—this practice involving bread and wine stands as a testament to both Christian unity as well as divisions. What do contemporary Christians believe about the Lord’s Supper? To begin answering this question, we must first look at the history of communion, beginning today with what the

Jacob Prahlow 3
07 Feb 2017

Do Liberals and Conservatives Follow the Same Christ?

Our churches preach three different Christs: two with no center and one with no edges. Out of this difference arises our political divide. Is reconciliation possible?

Micah Tillman 6
12 Aug 2016

It’s Time to Stop Treating “Religion” Like a Bad Word

Earlier this week, Relevant Magazine posted an article titled, “Entertainment, Modern Worship and What God Really Desires.” In it, author Jesse Carey praises contemporary church bands like Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Planetshakers, Desperation, and others. While he does acknowledge some issues with the trajectory of modern “worship,” he affirms its usefulness and encourages readers, “Just because something has elements associated with ‘entertainment,’ doesn’t disqualify it from being worshipful. Game fans have reported weeping in response to

Wesley Walker 2
19 Feb 2016

The Sermon on the Mount and Christian Ethics

Questions of an ethical nature dominate headlines, classrooms, and pulpits across the world. In an era where formulations of morality often spring from what “feels right” rather than any sort of foundational principles, many commentators have rightly noted the necessity of carefully considered ethics.1 For contemporary Christians, ethical thought remains clouded by ongoing disagreements about from where our moral systems arise and how authoritative those sources are in a technologically advanced world of complexity and

Jacob Prahlow 4
27 Nov 2015

V for Vendetta and the Problem of Eisegesis

Another November 5 has come and gone, and with it contemporary culture’s annual celebration of James McTeigue’s 2005 action film V for Vendetta, which popularized the Guy Fawkes mask often associated with digital surveillance protests and the Anonymous hacking collective. And every year, I find it exceedingly fascinating that the film is embraced and celebrated by individuals across radically different political traditions. Leftists praise the rising of the common people against an oppressive, Eurocentric-fascistic hierarchy.

John Ehrett 0
05 Oct 2015

Seminal Christian Thinkers: Augustine on the Lord’s Prayer

All Augustine sermon citations are taken from Sermon 80, Edmund Hill Translation1 Prayer has always been central to Christian communities. In America today, most are familiar with the text of the Lord’s Prayer, which Christ teaches his disciples in Matthew 6 (cf. Luke 11). The fact that such an ancient text continues to find relevance in the lives of each new generation says something significant about its worth. Yet popularity includes inherent drawbacks. Although millions can recite the

Benjamin Winter 2
31 Aug 2015

What Do We Want?

The rich man of Matthew 19:16-26 frightens me because I am like him in so many ways. Not because I’m rich: and make no mistake when it comes to material things I have more than I need. But because I have the same attitudes as the rich man. I want a list, I want a legal document that I can present at the pearly gates that says “admit one.” I think in my mind that

Fr Gregory Owen 0
03 Jun 2015

Evading Life

O weariness of men who turn from GOD To the grandeur of your mind and the glory of your action, To arts and inventions and daring enterprises, To schemes of human greatness thoroughly discredited, Binding the earth and the water to your service, Exploiting the seas and developing the mountains, Dividing the stars into common and preferred, Engaged in devising the perfect refrigerator, Engaged in working out a rational morality, Engaged in printing as many

Jeff Reid 4
20 May 2015

Growing Young (Or, Becoming Like Children)

“ ‘I’ll be darned!’ said Douglas. ‘I never thought of that. That’s brilliant! It’s true. Old people never were children!’ ‘And it’s kind of sad,’ said Tom sitting still. ‘There’s nothing we can do to help them.’ ”1 If you’ve read Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine before, then you probably recognize this poignant surmise on aging. Ten year-old Tom’s insight is based on his interactions with the seventy-two year old Mrs. Bentley, a widow who moved

Jeff Reid 3
02 Apr 2015

What Day Did Jesus Die?

“When students are first introduced to the historical, as opposed to a devotional, study of the Bible, one of the first things they are forced to grapple with is that the biblical text, whether Old Testament or New Testament, is chock full of discrepancies, many of them irreconcilable…. In some cases seemingly trivial points of difference can actually have an enormous significance for the interpretation of a book or the reconstruction of the history of

Jacob Prahlow 3
11 Mar 2015

Pursuing The Rainbow’s End

If I ever need a reminder to be careful about my pretensions to sophistication, I can always fall back on my love of country music. Every so often though, even this guilty pleasure comes to good account. Case in point, Keith Urban’s Days Go By. Urban’s song wrestles with the same aspect of time considered in my last article, namely the way time seems to fly. In turn, he suggests a specific view for approaching

Jeff Reid 0
25 Feb 2015

Time’s End

Time is fascinating. Paradoxically, it both moves quickly and slowly, there is plenty of it and yet never enough. Embracing both of these realities is needed to live well. On the one hand, we need keep our focus on the end toward which time is headed if we’re to live well. At the same time, this focus should drive us back the present moment and the direction that has been given for the moment to

Jeff Reid 2
05 Nov 2014

What’s In A Name?

“When I forget my name, remind me.”1 Listening to Andrew Peterson’s song, “Dancing In The Minefields”, I was struck by this line. In particular, the importance of naming jumped out at me. The fact that names are special isn’t a huge surprise. One need only think about how strongly people feel about their own names to confirm this. Feelings aside though, when we look at Scripture, naming often appears to go beyond merely identifying an

Jeff Reid 2
27 Aug 2014

Safety in Love?

The idea for the title came from a striking line in Lewis’ book, The Four Loves, which reads, “The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”1 The only safe place from the danger of love is Hell. Lewis’ thoughts might bring to mind my previous post, where we looked at the connection between a focus on self and Hell. The key

Jeff Reid 1
13 Aug 2014

“myself am Hell”

Me miserable! Which way shall I fly Infinite wrath, and infinite despair? Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell… (b.4 l.73-75)1 Satan’s lament in Paradise Lost is striking. These lines, and the thoughts behind them, came to mind while perusing A Severe Mercy. A Severe Mercy tells the story of Sheldon Vanauken’s relationship with his wife, Jean. Early on, while explaining some of the ground rules of their relationship, Vanauken records an interesting

Jeff Reid 2
01 Jul 2014

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

I do not watch much television, only occasionally go the theater, and, for the most part, do not watch YouTube videos. Among the various genres of television, films, and video streaming I especially avoid comedy, such as Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and the various sitcoms that occupy television network lineups. Why do I do this? I am somewhat picky, feeling uncomfortable with sensuality and adult humor. What causes me discomfort is how comedy presentations

Stuart Kerr 4