On This Day in Church History: Martin Luther Posted His 95 Theses

95 ThesesIn the little town of Wittenberg, Germany, on this day, October 31, 1517, an Augustinian priest nailed a challenge on the church door, where it was common to make announcements of the sort.  Within the same week, copies of whatever this young monk nailed on the church dooor, began to be discussed throughout the surrounding regions; and within a decade, Europe itself was shaken by what was nailed on that church door, from the little town of Wittenberg, Germany. Later generations would mark Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses on the church door as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

Posted in 95 Theses, Martin Luther, Reformation Day | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Audacity of Tim Cook: Human Sexuality, Being Gay, and the Question of God

i-am-also-an-apple-shareholder-and-i-have-also-written-a-letter-to-tim-cookWhile in a waiting room watching CNBC’s Fast Money, it was announced that Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, had something akin to breaking news to share.

While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me” (source, emphasis added).

Up to that point, I had never heard anyone framed the matter the way Tim Cook has: “… and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”  The Apple CEO said that he was inspired by the following question from Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr: “Life’s most persistent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

“I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important.  That’s what has led me to today.”

God and Human Sexuality.  As a conservative evangelical, I believe God has defined what proper and acceptable human sexuality looks like in the sacred Scriptures of the Judeo-Christian tradition: a man and a woman in holy matrimony (Genesis 2:18-25).

Conservative evangelicals, who consider the sacred Scriptures as the Word of God, believe that this is the norm and anything different is a departure from this norm.

Being Gay and the Gifts of God.  Tim Cook is a brilliant man for sure.  I do admire his drive for diversity in the workplace, and leading the way is this regard.

Now, while Tim Cook gets to ultimately call the shots as CEO of the global brand that is Apple, he surely doesn’t get to call the shots when it comes to human sexuality.  Neither do I.  That’s God’s sphere.  God’s domain.

And yes, human sexuality is among the greatest gifts from God.  But should we include being gay as among the greatest gifts from God?

I have nothing but love for those in the gay community.  But they are wrong about homosexuality being among the greatest gifts from God.

The Question.  At some point, shouldn’t we talk about the entrance of sin into God’s good creation and how it has corrupted everything that God has called good, including human sexuality?  I believe we must.  We should.  How could we not?

At any rate, I believe the ability to ask questions and have honest dialogue about ourselves and the world around is among the greatest gifts God has given us as a human race.

Posted in Homosexuality, Martin Luther King Jr | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Mike Bird’s Case for Spiritual Gifts Today

According to New Testament scholar Mike Bird spirituals gifts are for today.  Bird makes his case from 1 Corinthians 1:7.

If the spiritual gifts help the church in its life and mission prior to the parousia, and if Christ has not yet returned, then it is sensible to think that some of the gifts will carry on until Christ’s second advent.  An apocalyptic hope of Christ’s return and a belief that God has not abandoned the church seem to necessitate the view that the Spirit remains active in gifting the church to succeed in its mission until the second coming.” –Evangelical Theology

While other spiritual gifts will carry on until Christ’s second coming, Bird do not think the offices of prophet and apostle are among them.  For Bird, the offices of prophet and apostle were “eschatological ministries to provide ‘foundation’ for the church (Eph 2:20),” and since the foundation has been laid, “the apostolic office and prophetic voice is largely subsumed into Christian preaching, witness, and teaching.”

Making a case from 1 Corinthians 1:7 for the continuation of spiritual gifts is really nothing new.  For example, in his classic commentary on 1 Corinthians, Gordon Fee, a Pentecostal New Testament scholar, has advanced similar arguments.

Posted in Gordon Fee, Michael F. Bird, Spiritual Gifts | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

On Reading “Fathered by God” by John Eldredge

untitledAs related here, I was blessed to spend four days in a fellowship of men, at a Wild At Heart Boot Camp.  I needed that time away.  The Lord knew that.  It was a time of amazing discovery.

Over the years I’ve read quite a number of John Eldredge’s books.  Among the few I have not read was Fathered By God.  The title appealed to me.

Among the free books that I walked away with at the end of the event was, yes! Fathered By God.  I’m reading it now.  It’s about that masculine journey every male must take.  So according to Eldredge,

God ordained the stages of masculine development.  They are woven into the fabric of our being, just as the laws of nature are woven into the fabric of the earth.”

As I continue to read Fathered By God, occasionally, I will interact with it in the form of quotes and ultimately, a review at the end.

Posted in John Eldredge | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Michael F. Bird on Imputation vs Incorporation

“Rather than imputation, a better description of the biblical materials is incorporation into the righteousness of Christ.  The verdict that God the Father executes on the Son is shared by those who are united to the risen Jesus.  They share in the verdict: Jesus’ obedience to his messianic task of redemptive suffering.  So Jesus’ obedience does become ours–but not through artificially dividing Jesus’ obedience into active and passive varieties, not through a medieval concept of ‘merit’ that is imputed instead of imparted, not because Jesus is the exemplary Pelagian who earns salvation when we cannot, not by fulfilling a covenant of works that required meritorius fulfillment, not by way of righteousness molecules floating through the air to us; rather, we become ‘righteous’ in Christ when by faith we participate in the vicarious death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We are incorporated into the righteousness of Jesus Christ.” –Michael F. Bird, Evangelical Theology, emphasis added

Posted in Michael F. Bird | Tagged , | Leave a comment