• Church,  New Testament

    Who Can Perform Baptisms in the Church?

    Who can perform the baptisms for church? Does it have to be an official pastor? Can a woman perform the baptism? These are important questions which have significant impact in the daily life of the church. The impetus of this article was reading a provocative article entitled, “The (In)significance of the Baptizer in the Early Church: The Importance of Baptism and Unimportance of the One who Baptized.” As the title suggests, the author argued that the evidence of the early church downplays those who baptize in the church. I think there is wisdom in not making the baptizer more than he ought to be. However, at the same time, it is inherently a theological issue that we ought to think through. Does it matter who baptizes in the church? I offer my reasoning in three simple points. First, Matthew 28:18-20 does not limit those who baptize to a special class.…

  • Church,  New Testament,  Theology

    How Many Resurrections are there in Scripture?

    Easter weekend is upon us, and so we celebrate the most important part of Christianity—the fact that Jesus is alive! This is the essence of our hope as believers. Because of Christ’s resurrection we have hope of our own resurrection. But understanding the timing of future resurrections can be tricky. How many are there? I saw an online discussion recently about how many resurrections there are in Scripture, and a question was asked about when OT believers are resurrected. I think it is a worthwhile discussion to have, and I think we can accurately observe four resurrections in Scripture. (This is of course assuming that the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11 and the saints in Matthew 27 are temporary and they die again). But, if you are interested, I have tried to compile a complete list of all the resurrections in the Bible. The Foundation for ALL Resurrections: Christ…

  • Church

    Why is Easter Always on a Different Day?

    Growing up I was always perplexed by the fact that Easter was always on different days of the year. In contrast to Christmas, which always takes place on December 25 no matter the year, Easter always seemed to change—sometimes significantly! Some years it is in March, sometimes in April. How is one to make sense of it all? Believe it or not, the changes to the date of the Easter celebration are not random. There is actually an ancient reasoning behind the date changes. For example, if you compare all of the possible dates for Easter, you will observe that Easter can occur on any Sunday March 22 through April 25. Why between those dates? Easter and the Council of Nicaea The rational behind the dating of the Easter celebration can be traced back to 325 AD, when the Council of Nicaea decreed that Easter was to be celebrated on…

  • Church,  New Testament,  Theology

    Do a Pastor’s Children Need to be Believers? A Look at Titus 1:6

    According to the NASB, Titus 1:6 states that leaders in the church must have children who believe. In other words, a church leader who has children, must have children who believe (i.e., Christians). Leadership certainly is a high calling. The significance of leadership is magnified within the Church because of the importance of the Church as a unified witness of God’s plan of redemption to the watching world. For this reason, Paul clearly lays out two lists of leadership qualifications which give the standard of character for the would-be leader in the Church (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). These lists are essentially the same, although a few differences exist. As noted above, the biggest difference is Titus 1:6, which seems to mandate that an elder have children who believe (i.e., Christian children). On the other hand, other translations choose the phrase “faithful children” instead of children who believe. A brief…

  • Church

    The Münster Rebellion: Unveiling the Forgotten Chapter in Church History

    Understanding history is not merely an exercise in nostalgia or intellectual curiosity. History holds profound significance for Christians today. Studying the past provides invaluable insights into the events that have shaped the course of society and the church. When we study the events and individuals that have influenced the church throughout the centuries, we can gain a deeper understanding of present-day dilemmas. Furthermore, the positive examples in church history can inspire us through the unwavering devotion and resilience of those who have gone before us. One captivating (although lesser known) chapter in church history is the sad tale of the Münster Rebellion. This compelling story unfolds as a complex narrative, blending religious zeal, political turmoil, and the pursuit of the utopian ideals of a kingdom on earth. When we unravel the lessons embedded within this tragedy, we find a few key takeaways that are worthy of contemplation. Although there is…

  • Christian Living,  Church

    Supporting Others in Times of Tragedy: Practical Guidelines for Helping Others

    Knowing how to respond to someone experiencing tragedy can be challenging, but as members of a local church community, it is our responsibility to share in one another’s crises. Scripture provides valuable guidance in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, which encourages us to admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. These principles serve as a foundation for practical applications when speaking to someone in a crisis. But how does this look in practice? This article aims to provide three practical ways that we can comfort and support fellow brothers and sisters during difficult times. We Can Engage in Conversation Despite not fully understanding what someone is going through, we can still reach out to them and convey our love and care. It is natural to feel hesitant when addressing individuals who have experienced the loss of a loved one, fearing that we may evoke painful…

  • Christian Living,  Church,  Theology

    Why Go to Church?

    Attending church has been a long-held tradition for many people. Yet, in recent years, there has been a decline in church attendance in many parts of the world. With the rise of secularism and the availability of alternative forms of entertainment and community, many people are questioning the relevance and necessity of going to church. All that makes sense among the general population of so-called Christians, but even real Christians have ask the valid question: why do we go to church? The idea of actually going to church has become more contested, in part, due to the whole COVID situation. Churches shut down in-person gatherings and livestreamed their services. People began questioning whether there was a benefit to going to church or not. Wouldn’t watching a livestream technically qualify as going to church? I wrote an article in 2020 that explained church fellowship is essential in a technological age. Here…

  • Church,  New Testament,  Theology

    The Historic Connection between Easter and Baptism

    Easter is one of the most significant celebrations for the Christian, marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This celebration of Christ’s resurrection is arguably the centerpiece of the Christian life. After all, if Christ has not been raised, our faith is futile and we are still in our sins (1 Cor 15:17). It is no wonder that Easter is one of the most joyous occasions of the Christian life! A lesser-known part of the Easter celebration is its historic connection to baptism. Traditionally, Easter was recognized as a prime time for the baptism of new coverts. The association between a believer’s baptism and Christ’s resurrection was viewed as central. But, it was not an issue that was without differing opinions. The Easter Baptism Debate in the Early Church Leo I was bishop of Rome from 440 to 461 AD. Also known as Leo the Great, Leo exercised…

  • Church,  New Testament,  Theology

    Immersion in the Early Church Baptismal Practice

    Those who argue for infant baptism often appeal to church history as evidence that infant baptism was a regular church practice. Although infant baptism was indeed practiced by the time we get to the end of the 3rd century, prior to that time there are significant questions regarding the regularity of the practice. Furthermore, although modern paedobaptists will often appeal to church history for defense of paedobaptism, they often ignore the early church testimony on the regularity of immersion. In other words, the early church sources are clear that immersion was the regular mode of baptism for those in the church, and deviations from that practice were viewed as exceptional. Immersion in the Didache One of the earliest sources we have on baptism is from the Didache (7:1–4). Although a lot could be said about the Didache, here I want to emphasize that this early church source emphasizes immersion. Consider…

  • Church,  Culture,  Hermeneutics,  Theology

    The Postmillennial Vendetta Against Dispensationalism

    Many postmillennialists spurn dispensationalism because they view dispensationalism as standing in the way of cultural reformation. As a case in point, here is a recent comment that up-and-coming postmillennialist, Joel Webbon, posted about the need for Christian involvement in artificial intelligence. Although the tweet was about Christians leading in innovation, Webbon somehow managed to work in his dislike for dispensationalism. If you are confused about Webbon’s logic, you are not alone. Many of the comments also indicated confusion as to why the defeat of dispensationalism was key to the success of Christian innovation. But Webbon is not alone in his reasoning. Others have blamed dispensationalism for the degeneration of culture. Andrew Sandlin has also promoted a similar anti-dispensationalism in a variety of comments. For example: This negativity toward dispensationalism among the postmillennial crowd is well-documented but little understood. Why do many postmillennialists have a vendetta against dispensationalism? Christian Reconstructionism as…