Have you ever read 1 John and noticed there are a lot of cases where it's not clear whether a personal pronoun (he, him or his) refers to God or Jesus? What are the theological implications of this ambiguity?
Twenty-first century sensibilities dismiss the idea of an overruling God in preference to self-direction. Healthy, wealthy, intelligent, capable humans take responsibility and control of their own future through education, insurance, prudent financial investment, savvy work choices and the occasional international holiday. Christianity seems to have outgrown providence. But life isn’t always quite so neat, is it?
The Atlantic has published a startlingly honest article by Crispin Sartwell, as you can see even from it’s title, Irrational Atheism: Not Believing in God Isn’t Always Based on Reasoned Arguments And That’s OK. In it Sartwell admits: “The idea that the atheist comes to her view of the world through rationality and argumentation, while the believer relies on arbitrary emotional commitments, is false.”
Adapting one’s theology to experience is common, dare I say normal. That sounds like bad idea at first, but I wonder…is it even avoidable? We do it all the time–if such and such works out that we prayed for, it’s a God thing; if it doesn’t work out, it’s still a God thing, just a different kind of God thing.
"Wherever there is sickness there is an opportunity for God to display his glory," says Max Lucado, author of Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer. Max outlines what happens with physical healing, whether it is immediate, gradual, or ultimate.
The training in systematic theology and hermeneutics we have is valuable, in terms of ministering the Scriptures to people who seek answers. Yet, there are times, if we are not careful, when our “sound doctrine” may sound like a clanging cymbal, and push hurting believers away. This can happen both in the counseling room, and in our friendships.
In a recent study among Millennials, conducted in partnership with American Bible Society and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Barna Group sought to discover how changing ideas about Christianity might be affecting perceptions of the Bible. This study—the largest Barna Group has ever done on a single generation's view of the Bible—looked at Millennials' beliefs, perceptions and practices surrounding Scripture. Three significant—and surprising—insights emerged.
We recently received this video testimony from one of the Summit’s church planters in Southeast Asia. It’s amazing to see how God is using our members and the Word–in this case, quite literally miraculously–to draw people from death to life:
There is no question that Millennials are different in articulating their faith experience than previous generations, but I believe what is fundamentally different has less to do with whether or not we care about faith, but what about faith we care about. What has changed is not our concern over questions of orthodoxy, but the kinds of questions of orthodoxy we ask.