The Shack, written by William P. Young and adapted to film in 2017 by Lionsgate media, tells the story of a man named Mackenzie who loses his daughter to a brutal murderer. In his grief, he is later summoned to the shack in which his daughter died by the Holy Trinity manifesting themselves as a black woman, a mid-eastern man, and an Asian woman. The film attempts to provide a Christian understanding of how human suffering and evil can exist when an all-powerful beneficent God exists. However, it ultimately fails to provide either a Biblical or comprehensive solution to the problem it addresses.
I promise you that the title isn’t meant to be clickbait. Anxiety is a very real thing that we feel as human beings, and the Scriptures are replete with comforts and corrections for us in our worries. Rather what I mean by “nobody struggles with anxiety” is that an individual’s battle against anxiety is never a war against anxiety particularly. They may feel anxiety and that anxiety may produce a great deal of pain in their hearts, but anxiety is always a product of some greater issue. Continue reading Nobody Struggles With Anxiety
Today I want to address that which is both a highly neglected Christian responsibility and a highly underappreciated Christian privilege. The exhortation from Scripture goes as follows:
“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” Hebrews 13:3
Todays topic is something we can all relate to: suffering. We have all suffered in one way or another–a physical illness, a death in the family, or even persecution for being a Christian. In the gospel of John, we find examples of each of these. I want to examine an account of each, and glean insight from the narrative as to why we go through hardships, and how God can still shine through our darkness. Continue reading God’s Glory Through Suffering: A Case Study in the Gospel of John
One popular question many Christians ask is, “Does God answer the prayers of unbelievers?” Sincere men and women of all religions attempt to communicate with their god in one way or another. We may readily affirm that God does not let these people into heaven because they follow idols, but does He at least lend them a hand? The Bible has the answer to these and similar questions, but it may not be the answer we’d like. Continue reading Does God Hear the Prayers of Unbelievers?
It could be argued that Paul was the first bivocational minister. We know from a few accounts that he worked on the side as a tent maker (Acts 18:3; 20:34). Other times he received gifts from one church to support him while planting another (2 Cor 11:8-9). Note however that he never had to! In 1 Corinthians 9 he lays down the theological basis for paying pastors and states that as an apostle he had every right to be paid. However, he chose to lay that right aside for the sake of the churches. Continue reading Paul: A Model for Bivocational Pastors
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
Paul knew Who his Master was. He opens his letter to the Galatians by saying he was sent out “through Jesus Christ and God the Father” (Gal. 1:1). Paul elsewhere labels his calling a “steward of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1), and “an ambassador for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). Here in Galatians the term is bond-servant, or better, a slave. This signifies how he belonged to Christ and was under the authority of Christ. Thus, when he preached, he was going to preach how and what his Master told him to preach. Continue reading Does Our Preaching Please God, or Men?
We have seen in the last post that the moral revolution does not have adequate footing on which to stand when it levels its moral charges. We have striven to reframe the debate so that it is no longer stacked against us. Yet embedded in the moral revolution is another contradiction which can be asked as a question: Who, or what, makes a person’s sexuality the way it is? Is it a result of human biology or is it a thing of one’s own determination? Continue reading Reframing the Debate, part 2
With surprising simplicity, the Christian position in favor of the natural family, binary gender roles, and traditional marriage can be reduced to scorn with the labels “hateful, intolerant, homophobic.” The Christian response to these charges has largely been to go on the defensive, endlessly apologizing for any supposed grievances or slip ups in tone or speech. Christians have become paralyzed by self-consciousness and (if we are honest) a silent shame for holding to doctrines which seem so offensive to a watching world. Continue reading Reframing the Debate
Since very early on in my Christian walk I’ve been serving in various ways at various churches, studying the Bible and theology like crazy, and trying to find a seminary that fits both my budget and lifestyle. This is because I hope one day to go into a pastoral ministry role full time. Why do I want to do that? Certainly not because it’s fun or pays well. No, I want to be a pastor because I feel that God is calling me to full time ministry. Continue reading The Call to the Ministry: Some Help From Michael Bennett