Hermeneutic of Love

Withstanding the apostles and Jesus himself, Saint Aurelius Augustine is arguably the greatest Christian theologian of the first millennium. His contributions to the understanding and development of Bible interpretation are incalculable. He was a man ahead of his time. Indeed many of the current debates on hermeneutics and postmodern literary criticism appeal to Augustine for insight on issues of meaning, role of the reader, and semiotics. Augustine’s hermeneutical reputation is often limited to his allegorical exegesis, yet his hermeneutics were much more sophisticated than merely allegorical interpretation. Continue reading “Hermeneutic of Love”

All I Have is Christ

At Crossroads Church, we are bringing in the new year with five sermons from the passion narrative in Mark’s Gospel. We have been in an expository study through the Gospel of Mark for over a year and we are now nearing the end. As part of our gathered worship each Lord’s Day in January, we decided to make “All I have is Christ” our theme song for the month. We sang this song on each of the first two Sundays in January and we will sing it for the remaining three. Continue reading “All I Have is Christ”

Is Church Membership Necessary for the Christian Life?

I find myself in more and more conversations with people who profess to be Christians and yet do not belong to Christian churches. They will usually reason something like this: “I am a member of the kingdom, but I will never belong to a church.” Or this one: “I worship God everyday. I don’t need to be a part of a church. I have fellowship with my Christian friends.” Of course I am not surprised by such statements. They are becoming more common in an anti-institutional, anti-authority loving culture. Yet some anti-church membership sentiments stem from the pain of being hurt by carnal church leaders or from belonging to false authoritarian churches or simply from never having belonged to a healthy church to begin with. Others have come to believe that the whole enterprise of “church” is corrupt so they avoid it altogether. This problem is compounded by the fact that many churches in modern-day America do not practice church membership. These churches have no clear accountability structure. People can come and go as they please, no questions asked. The membership-less church is a kind of event that happens each week at a certain location. People show up but with no sense of corporate identity regarding who they are and who they are not. I do not say that as a critique at this point; it simply is what it is. Continue reading “Is Church Membership Necessary for the Christian Life?”

Was the Burning in Your Bosom from God?

Thanks to my friend Jason Wallace for producing an excellent video on an important issue pertaining to LDS epistemology. The title of this 14-minute video is, “Was the Burning in Your Bosom from God?” Mormons claim that the truthfulness of their doctrine is confirmed in an individual by an experiential burning in the bosom. This “feeling” is given by the Holy Spirit and, therefore, cannot be questioned. Personally, I believe that most Mormons are sincere when they claim to have this experiential feeling of certitude concerning the trustworthiness of their religion. However, I also believe that they are sincerely wrong. The fact of the matter is that virtually all religions appeal to a spiritual experience or a feeling of certainty to validate their system of beliefs. The problem is that all of these religions teach doctrines that are mutually exclusive and therefore cannot all be right. Anyone with even the slightest amount of intellectual credibility will admit that. Continue reading “Was the Burning in Your Bosom from God?”

The Lord’s Supper

1 Corinthians 11:23-26: 23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Where Does the Title “The Lord’s Supper” Come From?

Christians generally use one of three titles to refer to this ordinance: 1) The Lord’s Supper, 2) The Eucharist, and 3) Communion. The first title derives its name from Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:20: “When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.” This title connects the ordinance to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He owns, presides, and rules over it. Continue reading “The Lord’s Supper”

Adam, Where Are You?

The Atlantic published an article by Emma Green last week titled, “It’s the Moms who Get Kids to Church: A new study suggests women are the primary models for religious faith in many households.” As the title suggests, the article indicates the moms are out doing dads in having a more prominent and significant influence on the spiritual lives of their children. Relying on studies conducted by Pew Research and Barna, Green begins her article with these words: Continue reading “Adam, Where Are You?”