October 2, 2015
When I hear or use the term “traditional marriage,” I have a definite meaning in mind. In the shortest form, I mean “one man and one women for life.” Dictionary.com shortens it even further as “marriage between one man and one woman” and then adds this parenthesis: “(primarily used by opponents of same-sex marriage)”. Presumably this shortened form reflects the ease of divorce in Western society, but there are even more worrying things in this definition than the loss of lifetime commitment (as serious as that is). The term may originally have been sourced in anthropology, as that is the first definition offered at the same site: “Anthropology. the primary established form of marriage recognized in a given country or religious or social group at a given time.” Both of these definitions imply some weakness to the term “traditional marriage” that make me wonder whether it is that useful in the rhetorical battle with proponents of so-called “same-sex marriage.” Perhaps by using the term at all we are already conceding too much ground. In this article I’ll try to explain what I mean.
October 1, 2015
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Sharing Effective Faith
“That the communication (sharing) of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” Philemon 6 [Read More…]
October 1, 2015
Endurance is the theme of Hebrews 12. (See vv. 1, 2, 3, 7, 12, and 20.) In order to encourage the Hebrew believers to “endure,” the author declares, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood striving against sin” (Heb. 12:4). Because the battle for faithfulness is a battle fought in every era by every believer, the Christian is challenged to remain steadfast (1 Cor. 15:58). All believers are to “run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb.12:1). In an era of opulence and temptation, today’s followers of the Lord need to be inspired to “be strong in the Lord” (Eph. 6:10) and to “stand” (Eph. 6:13)! Just as the author of Hebrews encouraged the believers who were becoming weary in well-doing to consider the exploits, sacrifices, and triumphs of previous generations of faith (Heb. 11), we need regularly to be challenged by the bloody heroism of those who have gone before us.
September 30, 2015
The human conscience is a pesky part of all of us. Our conscience seems to interfere with our lives at the most inconvenient times and create (or make us aware of) knotty ethical problems which often do not have easy or simple answers. The Bible tells us that our conscience can be convicted, good, blameless, clean, pure, bear witness, purged, weak, defiled, wounded, seared, and evil. Similar to our conscience is our heart, a broader word describing our entire being, which includes our conscience. Our heart is capable of almost unlimited characteristics. Proverbs, for example, refers to our heart over 90 times, with many different characteristic and possibilities.
One problem with people in general, and some Christians as well, is that our conscience works poorly or inconsistently, not bothered by very much which we do or which happens. The heart can become hard, and the conscience can become seared so that significant events don’t seem so significant.
Although many Christians (and even many who are not Christians) are very concerned about the implications of the Supreme Court’s recent decision about homosexual marriage, those implications have not affected most of us yet. But for those whose jobs involve public office, such as county court clerks who issue marriage licenses, those implications are not theory but present reality.
September 29, 2015
This article first appeared in the Baptist Bulletin Magazine, a publication of the General Association of Regular Baptists. We republish it here as a matter of interest to our readers and by permission of the author and original publisher.
Baptist fundamentalism was in decay and decline. Conservatives were fracturing away from one another, unable to arrive at any organizational unity. Educational institutions were splintering and struggling to stay open. Disputes over ministry methods and doctrinal issues obstructed fellowship. The pressure to conform to the approach of seemingly successful leaders in broader evangelicalism was strong.
Such was the landscape of fundamentalism in the early 1960s. Yet these “Fightin’ Fundamentalists,” somehow agreeing to be agreeable, gathered at Temple Baptist Church of Detroit in 1963. From that first meeting to the last one held in 1978, these gatherings proved so successful that they eventually had to leave the confines of church buildings and be housed in a large arena like Cobo Center, home to the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.