Baptists and Holy Week

It’s Holy Monday.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday.

While I admire many aspects of the Baptist tradition, when it comes to the church calendar, I personally think Baptists, in general, are woeful. It’s time for Baptists to quit hiding behind “No creed, but the Bible,” when in fact they have creeds of their own.

Baptists are all over Christmas and Easter.  What of the rest?!

At any rate, I continue to delight in my lenten readings and (along with millions of Christ followers, from various Christian traditions around the world) look forward, with great joy, to Easter Sunday.

But one day at a time…

Posted in Baptists, Easter, Holy Week, Palm Sunday | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

We used Wine

wineSome debates continue which should have been laid to rest centuries ago.  For example, at the Communion Table, should we use actual wine or not? (no disrespect intended to traditions which continue to debate this issue).

I also understand the wisdom for an alternative to recovering alcoholics who come to the Lord’s Table.

When I realized that I had no grape juice for Communion, I went to my Roman Catholic colleague for wine (he had used it the week before when I had used grape juice).

Before I administered the cup, I notified those in attendance that it was real wine.  But what difference does it make, whether wine or grape juice, as long as when we eat the bread and drink the cup, we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until he returns?

From my perspective, as a Southern Baptist, it absolutely makes no difference, as long as we receive the elements by faith, as though eating the body and drinking the blood of our Lord Jesus.

Posted in Alcohol, Baptist, Holy Communion, Lord's Table | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

N.T. Wright on the Design of the Four Gospels

four-gospelsThe gospels are, and were written to be, fresh tellings of the story of Jesus designed to be the charter of the community of Jesus’s first followers and those who, through their witness, then and subsequently, have joined in and have learned to hear, see, and know Jesus in word and sacrament.” –How God Became King

If you have not read Wright’s How God Became King, let me challenge you to consider doing so.  It’s Wright’s invitation to Christians from all backgrounds, “to read these explosive first-century books again with fresh eyes and to face once more the questions and challenges they actually offer, rather than the questions and challenges, important though they are in themselves, that we have regularly imagined they do.”

Perhaps, like me, you too need to rethink how you actually read the Gospels.

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Is Inerrancy Inseparable from Christology?

Inerrancy_620According to noted Reformed pastor and theologian R.C. Sproul the answer is yes: inerrancy is inseparable from Christology:

At the end of the day, inerrancy is inseparable from Christology. If Jesus didn’t teach this view of Scripture, the argument would be over. The issue is not the sacrosanctity of a book, a ‘paper pope,’ or bibliolatry. The issue at stake is the integrity of the person and work of Jesus. He can save us only if He is sinless, and He is sinless only if all of His teaching—including what He teaches about Scripture—is true. –source, emphasis added

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found a few things wrong with what Mr. R.C. Sproul is saying here.  First, Jesus taught inerrancy.  Where can we really find this in Scripture?  Second, to reject inerrancy (as defined by Sproul) is to put “at stake the integrity of the person and work of Jesus.”  So in an effort to convince us that this is indeed the case, Mr. Sproul argues, “[Jesus] can save us only if He is sinless, and He is sinless only if all of His teaching–including what He teaches about Scripture–is true.”

Again, where does Jesus teach inerrancy in Scripture?

What else can I say, except that this is another desperate move on Mr. R.C. Sproul’s part–confusing the person and work of Jesus with biblical inerrancy.

Posted in Inerrancy, R.C. Sproul | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Is Hell Tough Love?

It all depends on who you ask.

And to make matters more interesting, there are some who don’t believe in hell, and still others who are annihilationists–believing hell to have an expiration date.

But to describe hell as a form of tough love is another story.  Let’s say you hold to that version of hell, which says, eternal, conscious torment in the lake of fire–how can such a place be tough love?

At this point, we need to define love.

Whatever we believe about love, for it to truly be love, I think it ought to be redemptive and restorative in its aim.

If not, then call it something else.  Don’t call it love.

Also, when defining love, we often say love is freedom; that is, it respects the choices of others.  If we then hold to this nuance of love, should we be compelled to lend credence to C.S. Lewis’ famous quote?

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”—The Great Divorce

Is C.S. Lewis correct?

When our kids do something wrong, out of love, we discipline them, hoping that they will not repeat the wrong, but actually do what is right.  We refer to this as tough love.

Come to think about it, God sending sinners to hell cannot be termed tough love.  Let’s not call it tough love.

Let’s call it something else.

Posted in C.S. Lewis, Hell | Tagged , , | 7 Comments