The Christian and the Bible, Part 1: Introduction and Foundation

There is no more cruel stroke of the wrath of God than when He sends a famine of hearing His words. – Martin Luther

A well-known pastor recently told his audience we shouldn’t be saying “The Bible says…” anymore.

Oh, when it blew up on the internet he did a sort of hemming and hawing backtrack, which really wasn’t backtracking what he said as much as it was an attempted justification. The fact of the matter is this particular pastor doesn’t seek to “preach the word” as Paul exhorted Timothy (1 Tim 4:2) as much as he preaches ideas, using Scripture to support what he wants to say.

But lest I pick on Andy Stanley, this post isn’t really about him, but the condition of the church as it relates to how we view and use the Bible — in corporate worship, in private devotions, in personal application.

We nod our heads and say “Amen” to the statement, “For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name” (Ps 138:2), but in reality we more closely resemble the condition of those to whom the prophet spoke the words of the LORD, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. . . . you have forgotten the law of your God” (Hos 4:6).

This indictment on the church has only become a heavier burden upon my heart, and thus a focal point of my pastoral ministry, but I see both in my own church and the church at large people who are starving for the word of God, and they don’t even realize it. No matter how much I say it or how much it’s said, those who don’t get it don’t get that they don’t get it. Continue reading “The Christian and the Bible, Part 1: Introduction and Foundation”

On John Lewis and Trump legitimacy

Quite a bit is being made of the announcement from Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) that he will not attend the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump on Friday, because he doesn’t consider Trump’s election legitimate. The hubbub over all this has only been increased because of Trump actually acknowledging what Lewis said with a response.

Personally, Trump would’ve been better off not paying attention to the ramblings of a man who once compared Sen. John McCain to George Wallace, but then again, the President-Elect is not known for letting any slight against him go without a response. Continue reading “On John Lewis and Trump legitimacy”

Petra’s albums: #3 – Beyond Belief

Introductory Note: In appreciation of Petra’s fortieth year in music and ministry, I am ranking their albums from least best to greatest. You can read my opening post here. [Now, it should be noted that Petra’s fortieth year was in 2012, when I started this series. Better late than never in winding down to the end.]

Beyond Belief (1990, Dayspring)

Lineup: John Schlitt (lead vocals), Bob Hartman (guitars), Ronny Cates (bass), John Lawry (keyboards), Louie Weaver (drums)

This album is considered by many to be the best in Petra history, or at least the best of the John Schlitt era. It certainly marked the peak in popularity for Petra during the Schlitt years. It was Petra’s best-selling album, and for good reason. Beyond Belief hits on pretty much all cylinders, providing from start to finish a slickly produced, pleasing to the ears, and lyrically challenging ten songs which made it hard not to rank higher. Continue reading “Petra’s albums: #3 – Beyond Belief”

To preserve many people alive: The beginnings of the Joseph story and how it points us to Christ

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” — Joseph, Gen 50:20

The careful student of God’s word should always be careful not to assign typology or symbolism to things in Scripture which don’t specifically infer typology or symbolism is at play. In other words, we shouldn’t take just any story from Scripture and say it’s a picture of Jesus in this or that way.

The story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 has often lent itself such typology or symbolism by some interpreters of Scripture, even when no Scripture in either Old or New Testaments says Joseph is a type of Christ. This has often led to reading into the text of Genesis (eisegesis) more than is actually there, and at the same time missing the point of what is actually there — getting out of the text what the author intended (exegesis).

That said, those words from the last chapter of Genesis, spoken by Joseph, hover over all this first book of the Bible says about his life. Apart from the account of his birth in chapter 30, the story of Joseph really begins in earnest in chapter 37, and while we must be careful about types and symbols, there are definitely some things we learn right away about Joseph which tell us not only about him and his family, but through New Testament lenses we can see how they point us to what God has done for all whom He saves in His Son. Continue reading “To preserve many people alive: The beginnings of the Joseph story and how it points us to Christ”

Some things I’m doing to be a disciple and make disciples in 2017

It’s a good thing to make resolutions for the new year, as long as you don’t treat them as make-or-break propositions. That’s something I’ve gleaned from my now 40 years on this planet. Overall, new year’s resolutions should be used by Christians to promote growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). To that end, here are a few things I’m doing…

Reading through the Bible

This is something I always try to do. For the past couple of years I’ve used a plan we’ve utilized at Bethlehem Baptist Church, which covers the whole Bible (the Old Testament in the order found in the Hebrew Bible).

This year, however, I’m going to do something a bit different, going through the new ESV Reader’s six-volume set which was released in fall 2016. I got it at a discount rate at the time. Continue reading “Some things I’m doing to be a disciple and make disciples in 2017”

Welcome back!

Welcome back to THE MATTRIX, rebooted and redesigned for a new year. Whereas I posted one whole article in 2016, this year I’m setting an unofficial goal of a post per week, and a lesser goal of one every couple of weeks. The content will probably lean heavily toward the biblical, likely whatever I’m reading or preaching about at the time. However, you know you can count on the occasional timely post on current events, whether it be politics, sports, or otherwise.

Anyway, we’re still alive. Hope you’ll drop by from time to time.