• Culture,  Theology

    Are All Cultures Equal? A Biblical Paradigm

    There is a growing belief today that all cultures are equal and that differences between groups are cultural, but not moral. In other words, no culture can claim moral superiority over another because it is just cultural expression. Although this is a common idea, it has met resistance from some who have demonstrated that, on a pragmatic level, productivity and the standard of living are better in some cultures than in others. Although that is undoubtedly true, that in and of itself does not necessarily mean a certain culture is better than another. As Christians, I think it is important to be in the habit of using Scripture to inform any kind of comparison—including culture. Speaking from a biblical standpoint, there are cultures that are better than others. The cultures which are better are the cultures that are more closely aligned with God’s standard for living, and these cultures thereby…

  • Church

    How Should Adult Children Relate to their Parents?

    Ever since I worked in youth ministry, I regularly have been faced with the issue of how do adult children relate to their parents. I guess it is obvious that everyone has to deal with this question at some point, since everyone is either a parent, or a child at some point in their life. Ephesians 6:1-4 is a good starting point for the discussion. Although children are told to obey their parents in these verses, the word for children in verses one and four generally refers to family relationship and not specifically to age. In other words, a 40 year old man is still a child of his father, because that is their relationship. However, the context of both verses indicates that the specific emphasis is on young children and their relationship to their parents. Young children are commanded to be completely obedient to their parents. An important thing…

  • Christian Living,  Hermeneutics,  Old Testament

    Train up a Child in the Way He Should Go? A Promise?

    Proverbs 22:6 has been interpreted in some circles as a promise to parents that if they do their jobs right, their child will never abandon the faith. However, this in turn has resulted in many parents feeling as if God has broken His promise to them when their child turns from the faith. Train up a child in the way he should go:And when he is old, he will not depart from it (Prov 22:6, KJV) Although this verse has been used by many parents and church leaders as a promise, it is important to slow down and read this verse carefully. A Proverb is a Principle, Not a Promise First, a proverb is not a promise! Proverbs are axiomatic (self-evident) sayings about how life normally works. But, there are plenty of exceptions to proverbs, because life is complicated by many factors. For example, although Proverbs 21:17 says the one…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • New Testament

    She will be Saved through Childbearing – 1 Tim 2:15

    One of the most perplexing verses in the New Testament is 1 Timothy 2:15, “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (ESV). Although this is a difficult text to understand, the application of this text is important for our understanding of the roles of men and women. There are a variety of questions that arise from this text about the nature of salvation and even how childbearing fits into the equation. We address the most important of these questions as follows. Who is the “she”? The immediate context of 1 Tim 2:11-12 demonstrates Paul is speaking about the role of women in general. Women are to “learn quietly,” and to refrain from teaching or exercising authority over men. As support for this command, Paul refers to the history of Adam and Eve. As part of the argument, Paul notes Eve’s…

  • Christian Living

    A Tale of Two Mothers and Two Mindsets

    Different mothers have different mindsets. Last week my wife (who herself mothers two children quite well) directed me to an article on parenting in the Washington Post. In the article, a mother was confronted by her 4th grade daughter for writing about her and posting her pictures all over the internet for her articles. As I read through the article, I was struck by the thought process of the mother. She acknowledges that she had to intentionally fight against the peer pressure of mothers to sacrifice for their kids. She knows that most mothers or fathers in her position stop writing about their kids to protect their privacy and allow them to be their own individual. But she says in the article, “I respect that approach and understand why it works for many writers, but it’s not a promise I can make. … Promising not to write about her anymore…

  • Christian Living,  Ethics

    What does the Bible Say about Divorce and Remarriage?

    Divorce is commonplace in our society. We are all impacted by divorce, either directly or indirectly. We either have family members who are divorced, or know people who are divorced. It is the way of our culture. But, what does the Bible say about marriage and divorce? The Bible unquestionably portrays marriage as a permanent covenant. God created the two sexes (Gen 1:27), and ordained the institution of marriage (Gen 2:18–25). In Gen 2:24, marriage is described by the terms “leaving” (עזב) and “holding fast” (דבק). These terms have specific application in covenantal contexts. The word for “holding fast” (דבק) implies a complete devotion and unshakable, permanent bond. Further, the marriage relationship results in a “one flesh” relationship between the husband and wife. Referring to this passage, Jesus notes, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:6).…