I grew up in a Bible-believing church that celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ once each week in a meeting called “The Lord’s Supper.” It was also know in our family as “The Breaking of Bread” or the “First Meeting.” The meeting is unlike communion services in mainline evangelical churches in that it is a service where men who have trusted in Jesus Christ can stand up sporadically and share something about their Savior from their heart. I heard a lot about the importance of that meeting growing up, often from within the meeting itself. Many people over the years have testified about its’ significance in their life. Some have identified it as the main reason they choose to fellowship at a particular local church. Others qualify that service as the most important hour of their week.
Many have written about the biblical foundation for the participatory Lord’s Supper. That is not the purpose of this article, though it is an area of continued need. Neither do I intend to make sweeping generalizations about the churches that employ this kind of a service, as seems to be popular among some today. In what follows, I simply want to offer seven reasons why I value the Lord’s Supper. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, as if I could in a few words encompass the immeasurable worth of remembering the Savior in this way. While these reasons are very close to my heart, they are in no way exclusive to myself alone. I hope in reading them you also will be moved to marvel at the manifold wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ for instituting this remembrance meal. Continue reading →
The fourth of July has become my favorite national holiday. I love the sense of nationalistic pride that comes from hearing patriotic songs on the radio. I love the brilliance and boldness of the red, white, and blue of the American flag displayed everywhere. I love the tumultuous sound of military aircraft on display down by the river in our town in the late afternoon hours as we wait for the coming of the dark. And I love the sights and sounds, the lightning flash and thunderclap, of fireworks bombarding the night sky and penetrating into my soul. I love all these things for what they have come to symbolize for me and so many others: freedom.
But what is freedom? What is liberty? Can anyone really possess these things? Are not those who claim to be free simply delusional, ignorant of reality? Can I really be free if I am required to work to earn money to pay bills and eat and cloth myself and my family and stay alive? Is not liberty elusive, deceptive, unattainable, and so unsatisfying? Can anyone legitimately say that they are truly free? Continue reading →
I wrote a review of Richard B. Hay’s Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel. This was an excellent work that really caused me to reexamine some of my presuppositions when it comes to reading the gospels and the OT. You can find the review here:
Several years ago I was blessed to be able to visit the Holy Land with a former teacher and friend. Seeing the places where biblical events transpired was a truly life-changing experience. I do, however, remember being perplexed by the presentation of the two different popular locations for the burial place of Jesus. One site is contained within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Having grown up in a city with an abundance of Catholic churches and being familiar with the iconography and liturgy that accompanies them I was not impressed by the site. It was dark, dank, and devoid of joy, crowded with weeping pilgrims asking forgiveness, perhaps unsure if Christ would grant their petitions.
There was a great contrast between that first site and the Garden Tomb that we later visited. The Garden Tomb was situated in the midst of beautiful greenery in a quiet and quaint area inviting the meditation and reflection of visitors. There was even a sign on the recently added tomb door that read “He is not here. He has risen.” I will never forget my instructor standing beside me near the Garden Tomb with a smile on his face, saying facetiously, “This place just feels so good, this is where it had to have happened. Jesus had to have risen from the dead here, right?”
He was referring to the fact that in spite of how the two different sites may feel, the Garden Tomb is almost certainly not the place where Jesus was buried. Looks can be deceiving, and the look and feel of these two sites today convince many to trust their emotions rather than the evidence. In the following brief sections I want to outline three reasons why the Garden Tomb is likely not the place where Jesus was buried and rose again. Continue reading →
In John’s gospel Thomas is absent from the larger group of disciples when Jesus makes His first appearance to them. As a result of this absence, Thomas does not see Jesus, and when the other disciples tell him what has transpired, he refuses to believe. In our day Thomas has been given the label “doubting” because of his lack of faith that Jesus had really risen from the dead. I would like to suggest that this label is misleading, over-simplistic, and ultimately unhelpful. Thomas has gotten a bad reputation in the church today for his doubt, but what if doubt wasn’t really the problem at all?Continue reading →
Imagine a bride whose wedding has almost arrived preparing herself for the ceremony and her long-awaited marriage to her beloved groom. She has adorned herself with the purest white dress to accentuate her beauty and highlight her chastity. Her hair is done up, her make up just right. She has anticipated this day for what seems like thousands of years. Continue reading →
Here we are, Tuesday evening, March 1st, 2016. Super Tuesday, as it is designated in the political realm. The results from a dozen states have been pouring in to the webpage on my iPhone (which is being manually reloaded every few minutes) for over the past hour. I can honestly say what I see disgusts me. I have been hoping and praying that America would wake up from their stupor and somehow vote according to the same Christian convictions that I have. Instead, it appears from all angles that the vast majority of conservative voters in our nation have abandoned morality, honesty, integrity, and just plain good common sense to cast votes for a man who, if elected, could very well be the most tyrannical president our nation has ever seen.
I’m angered by what appears to be the blind and emotional following of those who support this man. His supporters value him as someone who is “outside the political system,” and so doesn’t have to play by the rules of politicians. Regardless of his moral values (or lack thereof) many will support him simply because he is a strong voice who will not relent his opinions nor ask forgiveness (even of God, as he has said). They have fallen prey to the “might makes right” mentality of the middle-ages which has refashioned itself and resurfaced in the guise of a Republican candidate.
I’m also angered by the hypocrisy of those who would claim the name of Christ and yet support such a morally depraved candidate. It is very revealing of the true nature of American “Christianity” broadly and perhaps even Evangelicalism as nominal and surface. It’s also incredibly disheartening to think about the negative direction that our country is destined to take with either this Republican man or his Democratic counterpart at the helm.
This past hour I’ve been wallowing in disgust, sorrow, fear for the future of my children, helplessness. And I’ve realized that I’ve been taken over by emotions that boiled over from a heart that’s been hoping in the wrong things. I’ve been putting my hope, even my faith, in the wrong things. As a follower of Jesus Christ, my hope is not found in human leaders or lawmakers or the American public that would elect them. My hope is found in Jesus Christ, who is perfectly revealed in God’s word. Likewise my faith and trust cannot be centered in the election of a man or woman, no matter how great or moral a leader, as if somehow that act would right all the wrongs of this world. Even if a conservative Evangelical Christian were elected to our country’s highest office it would not be the end of immorality and injustice. Only the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior can accomplish that end. Continue reading →