September 10, 2013

Polycarp: Dying Well

by Wyatt Graham

No one can escape death and dying, and at one point all of us will have to consider what it means to die well. The importance of dying well can be summed up in the venerable words of Captain Kirk, “Has it ever occurred to you that how we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life?” As Christians, we of all people should embrace the importance of finishing well. Consider Hebrews 3:14: “For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.” For a believer, finishing well is part of what it means to be a partaker of Christ.

This is why many believers have considered not only what it means to die but how to die. Although it may sound like a morose subject to consider, Christians through the ages have pondered how a believer ought to die. Continue Reading…

September 8, 2013

Faith like Paper Clips

by Clint Archer

one red paperclipMany dream of one day owning their own home. If asked what you need to buy a house, you’d probably reply with some variation of this vein: “I need more money; if you increase my income I could afford a house.” But Canadian blogger, Kyle MacDonald, would disagree with you. He’d say that you don’t need an increase in income, you just need to use what you already have. After all he purchased his home with nothing in his pocket but than a little red paper clip.

On July 14, 2005 MacDonald swapped his red paperclip for a fish-shaped pen. Later that day he exchanged the pen for a hand-sculpted doorknob. One man’s trash is apparently indeed another man’s treasure; in return for his doorknob he secured a Coleman camping stove (with fuel). By September he found someone who would swap a generator for the stove. Here’s where it gets interesting. He traded his generator for a package deal called “an instant party” which consisted of an empty keg, an IOU for any kind of beer to be put into the keg, and a neon Budweiser sign. Continue Reading…

A video of Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has gone viral, as a Christian pastor asks the Prime Minister, who supports homosexual “marriage” and also identifies as a “devout Christian,” why he doesn’t believe what the Bible says about the sinfulness of homosexuality.  You can hear his response here:

There’s a lot to address in his response. Al Mohler has already responded to the Prime Minister’s speech in his September 3rd episode of “The Briefing,” which you can (and should) listen to here. His treatment of this issue starts at around the 14:30 mark. Andrew Courtis provides a a transcript of portions of Mohler’s response here.

But I notice that Mr. Rudd makes a lot of the same arguments that we’ve actually already sought to address here at the Cripplegate (too bad he’s not a reader; we could have cleared all this up ahead of time!). And so I’d like to adapt the answers we’ve given to Rudd’s presentation above, not because I want to pick on him but because his reasoning represents that of an enormous amount of people who try to reconcile homosexuality with Christianity. It’s a bit longer than a normal post, but I hope it will be beneficial to you, and will serve those who erroneously believe that faith in Jesus and His Word can be reconciled with attempts to legitimize homosexuality.

Continue Reading…

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…