Why We Need the Whole Bible

One time I talked to a believer frustrated with his Christian radio station. Now, if I said nothing else, you might assume he wanted the station to play more music, or that he disagreed with some doctrinal point covered in a sermon. But if you thought either of those things, you’d be wrong.

He simply didn’t like that some of the radio pastors preached from the Old Testament, because (from his perspective) only sermons from the New Testament are truly edifying.

A few weeks later someone in my small group spoke up with concerns over our pastor’s current sermon series. Only this time it wasn’t just the Old Testament that was the problem, it was the Pauline epistles as well. According to him, pastors should primarily preach from the Gospel accounts of Christ because that is what would help us evangelize better.

I wondered how and when the church had gotten so off tract that its members fail to see the value of each divinely inspired book, both in the Old and New Testaments.

Read more

Creative Opportunities to Engage in Spiritual Conversations

Methods of effective evangelism have changed over the years. For example, in the 70’s, the non-profit ministry EvanTell found that weeklong crusades in churches were very successful, but today it’s often hard to get an unbeliever to visit a church. People also seem less likely to read a tract. Others have grown tired of shirts and bumper stickers with “cheesy” Christian slogans (I know I have…). And, still others are turned off to the gospel because of a perceived hyper-focus on politics in Christian circles.

Does this mean that people aren’t approachable? Certainly not, but it does mean our strategy may need to change. Perhaps we need to think differently.

With this in mind, how can we open the door for helpful spiritual conversations?

 

Read more

Book Release: Vindicating the Vixens

I am so excited to announce that this month Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible comes out! Dr. Sandra Glahn serves as the General Editor and a diverse group of 16 scholars contributed. Chapter 4, on Bathsheba, is written by yours truly.

Earlier this year, five of us authors participated on a panel moderated by Dr. Glahn during chapel at Dallas Theological Seminary. You can watch the video below:

The Key Verse of the Reformation

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

The biblical phrase “the just shall live by faith” first occurs in the Old Testament (Habakkuk 2:4), where it describes the marked contrast between those who perpetrate injustice (in this passage the Babylonians) and the righteous who live by their faithfulness. It later becomes a key phrase in the New Testament.

The apostle Paul quoted it twice (Rom. 1:16–17 and Gal. 3:11) in a spiritual sense to show the crucial point of salvation through faith. The author of Hebrews quoted this verse when talking about the perseverance of believers under hardship (10:37–38). Notably, these verses help introduce what has commonly come to be called “the Faith Chapter” (ch. 11). Read more

Contextualization: An Evangelism Lesson from Saint Patrick

I’m a wee bit Irish so I get excited about cabbage and Shamrock shakes in the month of March. But, if you think today is only about the green fun, then read on!

Saint Patrick stood out in his time for his “contextualization” of the gospel. By that I mean he preached the gospel in a way that made sense to the people of Ireland.

The gospel itself doesn’t change; but we can and should be changing how we present the gospel. Read more

4 Purposes of Illustrations in Faith Conversations

Most of us can regurgitate Christianese taught in church, but what is not always easy is engaging in deeper, spiritual conversations.

Sometimes we tend to listen just long enough to find a point in the conversation where we can interject with our own ideas. But conversation with our children, family, & friends requires attentive listening, as well as thought-filled answers. Read more

Why the Gospel Matters in 2017

As 2016 came to an end, several of us found ourselves grieving over the harsh realities of our fallen world — mass shootings, Zika, civil unrest, terror attacks, Aleppo, corruption in politics, the refugee crisis in Europe, and lives over far too quickly.

To sum it all up one woman made a “dumpster fire ornament” and tweeted “Dear 2016: I made you this ornament. It’s a dumpster fire.” People identified with her sentiments, and it went viral. Read more