• Church,  New Testament

    Titus 1:6 – Children Who Believe? Or Faithful?

    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 certaintly 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…

  • Christian Living,  Church

    Does God Command Believers to Fast?

    I remember listening to a sermon one time and the preacher was telling us that he would fast to reprioritize his life. He said that one time he experienced a fast for 30 days, leading to a tremendous religious experience. In relating this story, he seemed to imply that we ought to fast in order to experience that as well. This kind of belief is not uncommon. In fact, with simple searches you can find guides on Christian fasting. Of course the assumption is that this is something we should intentionally be pursuing. However, I am convinced that the church is not commanded to fast. Rather, fasting is a natural consequence of sinners living in a fallen world. New Testament Commands to Fast? The first observation that supports this argument is that there is no command in the New Testament to fast. Although the word for fasting is used twenty…

  • Church

    Why Do the Dates for Easter Change?

    Growing up I was always frustrated that Easter was always on different days of the year. In contrast to Christmas or Thanksgiving, Easter always seemed to change. Sometimes it was in March, sometimes in was in April. How is one to make sense of it all? There is actually a method of behind the madness. And the method goes back a long time into history. 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 It can be traced back to 325 AD, when the Council of Nicaea decreed that Easter was to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox (which falls on March 21). The reason the Council of Nicaea took up the issue, was because…

  • Apologetics,  Church,  Ethics,  Old Testament

    What is Marriage?

    We are in the midst of a time where terms are being redefined to suit one’s own purpose. However, if we want to think rightly and accurately about an issue, we need to think in terms of the definitions laid out in God’s Word. Nowhere is this more evident than in the question, “What is marriage?” In contrast to how marriage would have been defined even 10 years ago, the first search result of the question, “What is marriage” (Psychology Today) defines marriage as follows: Marriage is the process by which two people make their relationship public, official, and permanent. It is the joining of two people in a bond that putatively lasts until death, but in practice is often cut short by separation or divorce. Notice how marriage is defined here. Marriage is simply two people making their relationship (which already exists) public. This cultural definition of marriage is in stark…

  • Church,  New Testament

    Are Apostles for the Church Today?

    Although it is becoming more and more popular to argue that there are Apostles in the church today, this is far from a majority position. Rather, it is generally recognized that the Greek word used for apostles in the New Testament can be used in both a generic sense (simply meaning “sent one”), or in a specific sense. Romans 16:7 is an example of a generic sense where Paul uses the term “apostle” to refer to individuals who are sent out from a church for some purpose. But there is also a more specific category of apostleship which relates specifically to apostles who represent Jesus Christ as His authoritative ambassadors. In other words, these Apostles were viewed with the authority of Jesus because He commissioned them himself. Note, for example, that Paul, an Apostle of Christ, had the authority to give instruction which was on the same level of Christ…

  • Church,  Hermeneutics,  Theology

    7 Beliefs that Don’t Define Dispensationalism

    Readers of this blog may be curious as to what makes someone a dispensationalist. Simply put, dispensationalism is a set of doctrinal beliefs that deal with hermeneutics (how to read Scripture), ecclesiology (how the church operates), and eschatology (what the end times look like). Hence, a dispensationalist holds a distinctive set of beliefs about understanding Scripture, the role and function of the church, and about the end times. I have written elsewhere about how one can define dispensationalism, but in this post I want to highlight seven fundamentally errant beliefs that are sometimes associated with dispensationalism. These are charges that are often leveled against dispensationalism in a variety of circles. I have listed them in their accusatory forms. Dispensationalism teaches multiple ways of salvation. Unfortunately, this myth is often repeated, but has no basis in reality. Some people accuse dispensationalists of believing OT saints were saved by keeping the Law…

  • Church,  New Testament

    What Does it Mean to be Filled with the Spirit?

    Ephesians 5:18 commands believers to “be filled with the Spirit.” But what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? Being filled with the Spirit has been understood in a variety of ways. Some have interpreted as some sort of spiritual manifestation of speaking in tongues. Others have said being filled with the Spirit is the same as being filled with Christ. Although there are many notions as to what being “filled with the Spirit” means, I think if we pay attention to the grammar and broader context of Ephesians, we can understand this passage. First, there is the problem of what it actually means to be filled “with the Spirit.” Many of the English versions (NASB, ESV, KJV, etc.) translate it “with the Spirit” which is ambiguous, because it could mean two different things: “Filled with the Spirit” could communicate content (one is filled with the content of…

  • Church

    Justin Martyr on the Early Church Practice

    Justin Martyr is a name unfamiliar to many. However, Justin Martyr would have been very familiar in early Christianity. He was a first class Christian apologist, and in his writings he defended the peacefulness of Christians by describing the practices of the church around 150 A.D. (within 60 years of the Apostle John’s death). To those who question whether the contemporary practice of church is far different than what it would have looked like for early Christians, I find the testimony of Justin Martyr particularly insightful (First Apology, 67, ca. 150 A.D.). Justin Martyr on the Order of Service On the day called Sunday there is a gathering together in the same place of all who live in a given city or rural district. The memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits. Then when the reader ceases, the president in…

  • Church

    Church Fellowship in an Age of Technology

    Technology saturates our world. It has infiltrated our churches and replaced biblical fellowship. This isn’t really surprising since technology has captured the minds of the younger generations. Studies have shown that the average high school student is on the Internet nine hours a day! The iPhone and the next generation of smart phones have completely revolutionized how we view the world. You pick your music, you pick what you want to read, you pick who you “friend” or “follow” on Facebook and Twitter. In essence, the technological culture around us today makes us mini-creators. We mold our environment, and whatever we don’t like we don’t allow.  This technological revolution affects our church life (and specifically our fellowship) more than we realize. Even before COVID-19 it was far easier to sit down and live stream a service rather than to actually get up and go to church and sit next to…

  • Church,  Culture,  Ethics

    Resources for George Floyd, Social Justice, and Racism

    Given the current events, I wanted to post some links to help people stay informed on how to think through such events biblically. The circumstances we see around us are fruits of seeds planted years ago with the rise of Social Justice and other worldly philosophies. Thankfully there are brothers and sisters in Christ who have done some excellent thinking on these issues and we are in their debt. Here are some of my favorite resources on these issues.  Resources on George Floyd and Current Events “George Floyd and the Gospel” – The Just Thinking Podcast gives an excellent response to the current events, the death of George Floyd, protests, and the riots. If you only listen to one thing, I would recommend this. Race, Justice and the Gospel: BBC Q&A with Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker – George Lawson interviews Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker on current events and…