Grape Juice Christianity

Grape Juice Christianity

Over the weekend, I spoke at two churches on Christian worldview issues. Friday and Saturday Andrew Sandlin and I spoke at Church of the King on the topic “Kingdom Culture: Far as the Curse is Found.” On Sunday morning I spoke at Christian Fellowship Church on what I have titled “Exposing Grape Juice Christianity.” The title of Sunday’s message came to me after celebrating the Lord’s Supper with a [...]

The Private-Zoo Factor

The Private-Zoo Factor

There are numerous Christians who believe that a personal and private faith is all the gospel requires. Os Guinness described this as “The Private-Zoo Factor,”[1] a religion that is caged so that it loses its wildness. When true Christianity is applied to any part of the world, it blossoms far more fully and colorfully than we ever could have imagined. Everything seemed possible within the boundar [...]

Russia as Gog and Magog is Back Again

Russia as Gog and Magog is Back Again

I received a message from a supporter who pointed me to a Glenn Beck interview with Amir Tsarfati’s and his new book Operation Joktan. Tsarfati was raised in a Jewish home but later converted to Christianity. He believes Ezekiel 38–39 are about modern-day Russia. His eschatology is dispensational. He claimed in the interview that there will be an end-time antichrist and a rebuilt temple. Anyone fa [...]

Where to Begin with the Book of Revelation

Where to Begin with the Book of Revelation

So often New Testament books are interpreted without reference to the Old Testament even though they are written against the backdrop of the Old Testament (e.g., Matt. 24:29–31). Try interpreting the book of Hebrews without reference to the Old Testament. It’s impossible. The same is true for Revelation. Revelation cannot be understood against the backdrop of the 21st century even though it applie [...]

The Real Meaning of the First Amendment

The Real Meaning of the First Amendment

Family, church, and civil governments reflect the self-government of the people, whether good or bad. At the civil level, a nation gets what it votes for. Civil government, no matter how righteously conceived, cannot make people better. Leadership, like water, rises to its own level, the righteousness or unrighteousness of the people. George Washington, in his Farewell Address, gave this advice to [...]

Christians Give Up the Faith Because of This

Christians Give Up the Faith Because of This

I saw a short video by someone named Paul Williams. I don’t much about him. Actually, I don’t anything about him. James White texted me and said he is a former Anglican who became a Muslim. But since he is a homosexual, that did not sit well with the Muslim community, who at first praised his defection from Christianity. Williams is articulate, and with his British accent, he sounds authoritative. [...]

More Translation Frustration

More Translation Frustration

In a previous article, I discussed some translation missteps that are frustratingly unnecessary. Let’s move on to more critical examples when it comes to verse tenses. The following is from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: KIRK: What’s going to happen when you release the whales? GILLIAN: They’re gonna have to take their chances. KIRK: What does that mean, exactly? ‘Take their chances.’ GILLIAN: It [...]

Frustration with Bible Translations (Part One)

Frustration with Bible Translations (Part One)

The goal of the Bible translator is to stay with the original text as much is linguistically possible by making judicious translation decisions that maintain the integrity of the words used by the authors. When a literal translation is not made, the reader should be notified and told why. This is done in some translations like the KJV and the NASB that italicize words that are not in the Greek tex [...]

Revelation and Christian History

Revelation and Christian History

One of the most common methods of understanding the book of Revelation today is the futurist approach which says that the visions of the book of Revelation signify historical events that will occur at the end of the world. Some early Christian writers like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Lactantius seem to have held similar views. Some who hold this view today believe that the visions in the majority [...]

The Rich Young Ruler and Social Justice

The Rich Young Ruler and Social Justice

Theologians virtually ignore the economic commentary in the Bible. In the few cases where it gets any attention, economic commentary in the Gospels and other New Testament writings tend to lapse into simplistic class warfare nostrums. Liberation theologians import Marxism wholesale (but they try to sell it retail) into theology. Academic historians of first Century Palestine/Judea have been pushin [...]

The Worldview 'Rosetta Stone'

The Worldview 'Rosetta Stone'

A biblical worldview is an essential part of thinking properly about God and His creation. Thanks in part to the Enlightenment and its long-lasting effects of modern thinking, we often think like humanists rather than like faithful stewards of God’s truth. In order for Christians to be effective in the culture, they need to understand what it means to think God’s thoughts after Him. Or [...]

This Generation and Brood of Vipers

This Generation and Brood of Vipers

“This generation” in Matthew 24:34 and the parallel passages in Mark 13 and Luke 21 refers to the generation of Jesus' day. Following this biblical evidence, most Bible com­mentators have interpreted “this generation” in this way, understanding that all the signs in the Olivet Discourse referred to events leading up to and including the destruction of Jerusalem that took pl [...]

What It Takes to Interpret the Bible

What It Takes to Interpret the Bible

When I sit down with young people to discuss films, I often get a blank stare. They have not heard about the films that I and others consider to be classics. I need to be careful when I mention something from a film to illustrate a point since many people have never heard of the film. As a result, they can’t appreciate the point I’m trying to make from a particular scene. [...]

Autonomous Man or Sovereign God?

Autonomous Man or Sovereign God?

Throughout the history of the Christian church, believers have asked what their attitude should be toward the commandments of God revealed in the Old Testament. A large variety of positions have been taken regarding God’s law—stretching all the way from saying that there have been no changes in how the law should be observed (so that, for instance, animal sacrifices would be continued) to saying t [...]

How to Be a Man

How to Be a Man

Ever since the first grumblings of the modern feminist movement began in the early 1960s, the traditional roles of men and women have been under constant attack. With the gradual decline of the working class in America, our fathers have been slowly trading sweat-soaked blue-collars for permanent-press white or gray collars. Along with their uniform change they have also traded 40-50 hour workweeks [...]

Does Fulfilled Prophecy Have Relevance for Today?

Does Fulfilled Prophecy Have Relevance for Today?

What relevance does the Bible have for us today if so much Bible prophecy has been fulfilled? Preterists get this question asked of them all the time. Historicists claim their approach is the most historically relevant. They also claim that the Historicist approach was almost universally promoted by the Reformers. Calvin was the exception. Much of Calvin’s Daniel commentary is preterist. On the Re [...]

What About 2 Timothy 2:15?

What About 2 Timothy 2:15?

Dispensationalists vehemently maintain that the Church (ekklēsia) was unknown to the Old Testament writers. The so-called church age is said to be a “mystery,” a parenthesis, a gap in prophetic time, until the pre-tribulational “rapture” when the church will be removed from the earth and God will deal with Israel again. If they are correct, then the New Testament writers were awfully confused, in [...]

“Why Hasn’t the Lord Come Yet?”

“Why Hasn’t the Lord Come Yet?”

That’s the question being asked on the Christian Post website. Here’s the first paragraph: Many believers are anxious for Jesus’ return and, in the natural, some feel God is postponing His return despite knowing that the scriptures, such as 2 Peter 3, teach that God is not slow, but is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, said Jeff Kinley and Todd Hampson of the “Prophecy Pros Podcast.” Kinley [...]

We're Not Subjects of Rome

We're Not Subjects of Rome

In the New Testament, Israel was controlled by the Romans. Only Roman citizens had political standing (Acts 16:37; 22:25– 29; 25:9–12). Jesus had a political trial because the Jews did not have the authority to put Him to death (John 18:30–31). His accusers brought false civil charges against Him (Luke 23:1–2) to force Pilate’s hand (John 19:12). We’re not subjects of Rome. “Render to Caesar the t [...]

Eschatology Precedes Everything

Eschatology Precedes Everything

This is Part Two of a book review written in 2009 of the book, Dual Citizens: Worship and Life Between the Already and Not Yet. Part One can be found here. In the “Preface” to Dual Citizens, Jason Stellman approvingly quotes Dutch theologian Geerhardus Vos, who “famously said that ‘eschatology precedes soteriology.” “But,” Stellman continues, “I wou [...]