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If I Was a Jew, I Would Read the New Testament for This One Reason

If I Was a Jew, I Would Read the New Testament for This One Reason

I’m not a Jew. But I do love the Jewish Scriptures. And I believe they contain a compelling reason to read what Christians call the New Testament, and it’s a reason that’s often overlooked.

What could be wrong with Sunday School?

What could be wrong with Sunday School?

On Sunday, the team responsible for our weekly children’s ministries gathered for a BBQ and celebration of God’s goodness over the past year. As part of our time together, we discussed some quotes from Samuel Williamson’s book, “Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids? How Moralism Suffocates Grace.” For those of you with children at Grace, don’t worry: our Sunday School isn’t destroying them! But Williamson argues that when we get Sunday School wrong – and it’s easy to do – it has the potential to destroy our children’s faith. Let me explain why.

Get the Foundation Straight

Get the Foundation Straight

I still remember doing a survey of the church building we erected in Japan. The foundation had just been laid and the supervisor walked the perimeter with me and got down on the ground to show me how perfect the angles were. He said, “Get the foundation perfect and you’ll have a stable building. But make a small mistake here, and you’ll always have problems.” Thankfully, they did get the foundation perfect. And we were very happy with the finished product. Over the years, I’ve seen again and again that getting the foundation of Christianity straight is crucial to a healthy relationship with God. The problem is that you can’t get everything straight. There is too much to know in the Bible to know it all equally. So you need to be able to discern what the foundation is and get that straight and then over time do your best to add to it. Do you have the foundation straight? Have you helped your children get the foundation straight? When people ask you about your faith, do you get the foundation straight?

What Would Luther Say to the Roman Church Today?

What Would Luther Say to the Roman Church Today?

Today's post is by guest contributor, Christian Clement-Schlimm. Because it's the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and because of Christian's background in history, I've asked him to share what Luther might think of the Roman Catholic Church, as it exists today.

Although I grew up with Roman Catholic friends and family, it wasn’t until I began university that I started to have serious theological conversations with Roman Catholics of conviction. These would include Roman Catholic seminarians, converts from Evangelicalism to Roman Catholicism, and people who frankly knew their stuff. We would discuss the nature of the sacraments and the positions of the early church, but it would always come back to the issues of the Reformation. One hard conversation I had took place with a Roman Catholic friend who was considering which Roman Catholic monastic order to join. At the same time he was struggling with critical points raised by Protestantism. The conversation ended when he basically asked, “Why can’t Roman Catholics and Protestants just get along? We’re all serving Christ after all.” I think many people struggle at this point. They know that there are differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism but they’re not sure how significant those differences are. What my friend didn’t seem to realize was that our differences were at the heart of our faith. We need to get along, but that doesn’t mean pretending that we’re the same or that our differences don’t matter. Let me explain.

Surely Jesus can't be the only way ...

Surely Jesus can't be the only way ...

I was twenty years old when I first raised the objection against Christianity, “If Jesus is the only way, what about all the people who have never heard?” I was pretty proud of my logic. And I think I half-believed that I was the first one to come up with the argument. ‘Had I single-handedly proven the inconsistency of a religion that spanned thousands of years and had duped hundreds of millions of followers?’ It felt like it at the time, but I eventually came to think otherwise. I now believe I had a number of things wrong. Let me explain.

Frozen Gospel

Frozen Gospel

For me, Frozen is an almost perfect parable of the Gospel. The story begins with two sisters, Elsa and Anna, playing happily in a beautiful castle. It’s like paradise, until Elsa hurts her sister with her ice power. Until then they had played innocently but this one incident changes everything. Elsa is afraid of what’s inside her, she’s ashamed of what she’s done, and she’s afraid of hurting people again. We can relate to Elsa, not because we have ice power but because we each have a cold side to our heart and can hurt people with our words and our actions. Frozen, like the Bible, talks about how to deal with a frozen heart.

Precious in His sight

Precious in His sight

At last week’s Fellowship conference there was a report about a youth ministry in a poor, urban area. A teenage girl had been attending the church’s youth group meetings but her attitude was terrible and unfortunately it had spread to other young people in the group. One week the leader took the youth to an evangelistic event geared towards young people. The speaker asked for a volunteer but no one offered to take part, and so he pointed to someone in the crowd and asked for them to come forward. The person he chose was the teenage girl that had been causing so much trouble in the youth group.