crown_2Did the early church believe in the deity of Christ?

Ask your average Muslim, Unitarian, Jehovah’s Witness, or just about any non-Christian skeptic who has read (or watched) The Da Vinci Code, and they’ll try to convince you the answer is noFrom such sources we are told that the deity of Christ was a doctrine invented centuries after Jesus’ death – a result of pagan influences on the church in the fourth century when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its official religion.

Emperor Constantine, in particular, is blamed for being the guy who promoted Jesus to the level of deity, a feat of cosmic proportions that he managed to pull off at the Council of Nicaea in 325. As Dan Brown put it (through the lips of one of his literary characters): “Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea. . . . By officially endorsing Jesus as the Son of God, Constantine turned Jesus into a deity who existed beyond the scope of the human world, an entity whose power was unchallengeable” (The Da Vinci Code, 253).

So how can believers answer such allegations? Continue Reading…

September 4, 2013

Farewell, NIV

by Jesse Johnson

The NIV Bible is no more. Alas.

The version that many grew up reading has finally ridden off into the sunset, never to return. Zondervan has phased it out, buried it, and replaced it with something else.

Many people denied that a significant change had taken place, and tried to act like the Bible being sold now as the NIV is indeed the NIV they grew up with. That myth was sustainable for a while, but eventually it just didn’t work. This year many Christian schools finally dropped the NIV, and replaced it with something else. Even AWANA was forced to make the change.

NIV

So what is the fuss about? If you are a parent of a Christian school attender, and you just found out you need to buy a new Bible for the year, or if you got a letter in the mail telling you that all that you can go shopping for new AWANA books, well this is for you. It is a FAQ guide to the NIV, with an explanation for why churches and ministries are dropping it:

Why did so many churches and schools change their translation this year?     Continue Reading…

First, let me encourage you to read Clint’s post yesterday. I know many of our US readers might have missed it in light of the holiday.

Second, while Don Carson’s book Showing the Spirit is a few years old, of late it has taken on a life of its own in the blogosphere. Charismatics (the kind that say “don’t call me charismatic, but don’t say tongues have ceased either!”) point to this book as a defense of their position. Frank Turk reviews the book itself over at Pyromaniacs, but I think the best critique of it is to simply read the section where Carson explains his view of modern tongues. I posted this a year ago, but with the renewed interest in the book, I thought it might be helpful to post it again:

My continuationist friends (and I do have a few) proudly trumpet D. A. Carson as being one of them. In fact, I have met more than one person who has told me that they are continuationist in large part because of Carson’s book, Showing the Spirit, which is his exegetical work on 1 Corinthians 12-14.

And, truth be told, this is one of Carson’s best books, and certainly is one of the best books on spiritual gifts ever written. It is thorough, compelling, and takes the reader deeper into the meaning and significance of every verse in those chapters…with one obvious and comical exception.   Continue Reading…

zuck When 19 year-old Mark Zuckerberg approached his friend Joe Green to become a business partner of a nascent social networking company called TheFaceBook, Green declined. He feared raising his father’s ire about hitching his career to the maverick teenage wunderkind who had recently been chastised by the Harvard disciplinary committee for sundry illicit programming shenanigans. The deal included a significant share in the company in exchange for Green’s part-time commitment to help with programming and design.

Green now wryly calls that decision his “billion dollar mistake.”

With the 20/20 vision of hindsight, we know that anyone with the prescience to secure even a single share early on in a promising company like Facebook would not be second guessing any sacrifice they endured to obtain that preternaturally profitable commodity. And yet any earthly dividend we could gain pales in comparison to the eternal weight of glory that awaits those who have sacrificed for God’s kingdom enterprise. Many, however, demur on the decision and forego the coveted opportunity to be a part of God’s expanding kingdom work.

into the pit

When the “Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Heathen” was formed on October 2, 1792, the inauspicious sum of 13£ 2s 6d was raised in the form of promissory notes (checks) and deposited into a snuff-box. The collection was meant to be the seed that would germinate into a fund to support a volunteer missionary to move abroad. The donations were the financial rope that the Society gripped, as William Carey descended into the dark pit of India.  Continue Reading…

Nobody says it quite like Charles Spurgeon:

SpurgeonLet us abhor the sin which brought such agony upon our beloved Lord. What an accursed thing is sin, which crucified the Lord Jesus! Do you laugh at it? Will you go and spend an evening to see a mimic performance of it? Do you roll sin under your tongue as a sweet morsel, and then come to God’s house, on the Lord’s-day morning, and think to worship him? Worship him! Worship him, with sin indulged in your breast! Worship him, with sin loved and pampered in your life!

O sirs, if I had a dear brother who had been murdered, what would you think of me if I valued the knife which had been crimsoned with his blood? —if I made a friend of the murderer, and daily consorted with the assassin, who drove the dagger into my brother’s heart? Surely I, too, must be an accomplice in the crime! Sin murdered Christ; will you be a friend to it? Sin pierced the heart of the Incarnate God; can you love it? Oh, that there was an abyss as deep as Christ’s misery, that I might at once hurl this dagger of sin into its depths, whence it might never be brought to light again!    Continue Reading…

August 29, 2013

A Sober Warning

by Joey Newton

Jesus teaching crowdJesus was an amazing teacher: “Never has a man spoken the way this Man speaks” (John 7:46). His words always came with power and conviction and the mesmerizing ability to say so much, so clearly, and with such an economy of words (I have a lot to learn from this)! With a small child in arms, He has just taught a room of 12 proud disciples (1 an unbeliever) the sine qua non of Kingdom life: Humility (Matt. 18:1-4). Not simply humility as a virtue, but kingdom humility that marks spiritual life. Humility that has a conscious sense of the glory of God and seeks all grace, all life, all mercy, all joy, and all things from Him in Christ. The humility that trusts, the humility that obeys, and the humility that serves. You would think that’d be enough for one day. It wasn’t. Jesus has more to say. The lesson needs to go deeper, so He adds a gracious, yet sober, warning. Namely, that fellowship in the kingdom should reflect God’s own love for His children and His jealousy for our holiness. Yes, God has a jealous love for His “little ones” (Matt. 18:6) and so should we. Continue Reading…