A Land Like Your Own Land

In 2 Kings 18, Judah was in deep yogurt. The northern kingdom of Israel had already fallen to the Assyrians. While Hezekiah was the best king of Judah since David (vv. 3-6), and even though idolatry and contraband worship at high places had been purged from the land, and despite a past successful rebellion against Assyrian hegemony, Judah was invaded by King Sennacherib of Assyria, who successfully destroyed much of the country before besieging Jerualem (vv. 13, 17), putting his general Rabshakeh in command. Rabshakeh then commenced a propaganda campaign against the soldiers of Israel, mocking their king and their God. His speech made five points (vv. 19–35, with a reprise in 19:8–13): Continue reading “A Land Like Your Own Land”

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A Land Like Your Own Land

Toward a Theology of the Restroom

Some of the easiest and most common humor in our world is based on bodily functions, particularly excretion. To a lesser and milder extent, these same jokes are common in the conversations of Christians, even educated evangelicals. A common justification for these is the seemingly graphic nature of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament in the Law and histories, when discussing these sorts of topics. However, these might not actually be connected to the issue of determining appropriate humor. Looking at a couple passages will show that this is not crudeness, but actually direct glorification of God. Continue reading “Toward a Theology of the Restroom”

Toward a Theology of the Restroom

Is Worldliness Really Such a Big Deal?

One of the core struggles of the Christian life is the tension between living in the world and being profoundly different from it. According to the Bible, we are in the world, but not of the world. We were once proud of and defined by worldly things and accomplishments, but now we count them all as loss in exchange for Christ. We understand that we are citizens of heaven, merely pilgrims passing through this present world. We know we need to lay aside what lies behind and press on to the goal—Jesus Christ. But in practice Christians usually fall short. Continue reading “Is Worldliness Really Such a Big Deal?”

Is Worldliness Really Such a Big Deal?

Am I Ever Safe from Sinning?

As Christians, we all know from Romans 7–not to mention from personal experience–that we are still very sinful, and continue to do so even after God has forgiven us.  And we also hate that, or at least know we should, see again Romans 7.  We notice, as we strive to put to death the deeds of the flesh that we might live, that sin is hard to fight.  No matter how hard we fight, we still fall into sin sometimes.  The devil is indeed prowling about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  When we hear God tell Cain that sin is crouching at his door, we feel God is really speaking to us.  And sadly, sin doesn’t stop crouching at our door just because we’re at church or are on a spiritual high or just read our Bibles or just came from the most amazing small group ever or are actively serving God on the missions field.  No matter how God centered the things around us may be, we can still sin.  We are never safe from sin.  Even–perhaps even especially–when God is directly blessing us or giving us direct experience of His presence, we can fall into sin.  This shocking truth is quite biblical.  Let’s call it the immediacy of sin.  It can be quite easily traced through the entirety of Biblical history. Continue reading “Am I Ever Safe from Sinning?”

Am I Ever Safe from Sinning?

When Even Men Cry: Jesus Wept

Inspired by a series of comments made by various friends about my public tears, or rather the complete lack thereof, I have decided to write a brief series of posts on the issue of men crying.  I feel compelled to biblically defend myself against groundless charges of being emotionless or cold.  So I will.  Today we’ll talk about every time Jesus cried.  Next time we’ll talk about my personal philosophy of crying in its relation biblical teaching.  Finally, I’ll publish a list of times I cried college, because sometimes I like writing stuff people will actually read.


Continue reading “When Even Men Cry: Jesus Wept”

When Even Men Cry: Jesus Wept

I Have a Dream for Amos 5:24

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous speech, “I Have a Dream.”  During the middle of the civil rights movement, this speech emphasized the optimism and hope that many activists held for the future.  There is, however, one exception.  King quoted Amos 5:24 in this context:

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until ‘justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.’

Now most of us probably think King means something like this: “We cannot be satisfied until there is fairness for the negro, and all in the nation behave rightly towards their neighbors, independent of prejudice against color.”  This is what we think based on the context of the speech.  Now I mean no disrespect to Dr. King and the great good done by his actions and this speech, but unfortunately, that’s not what the verse means, because the verse has to be interpreted in the context of its chapter. Continue reading “I Have a Dream for Amos 5:24”

I Have a Dream for Amos 5:24

Perverting the Means of Grace

Here is one of the largest issues in the Christian life: How do you handle your personal sin?  Or in one particular, how do you react when you fall?  Do we attempt to make up for sin by subsequent good actions, for example Bible reading and confessional prayer?  While it is quite clear that these actions do follow from a mourning of sin (1 John 1:9 essentially commands the believer to confess sins to God), in my mind I can confuse these actions as somehow atoning for my sin, somehow erasing and balancing out my past actions, somehow zeroing out debt owed to God.  It is exactly this trap that the people of Judah fell into during the last years before the Babylonian captivity.  Let us consider the historical record. Continue reading “Perverting the Means of Grace”

Perverting the Means of Grace