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Posts by Jeff Jones

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UNION Calgary, a Learning Community

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Union Calgary is a Learning Community for students in the Graduate Diploma in Theology program offered by Union School of Theology. The GDip is a fully accredited postgraduate theological education designed for potential pastors and missionaries who already have some education in a different field. Over two years of study, students will receive a grounding in theology that...

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Charles Simeon on Expositional Listening (in modern English!)

Blog - books

Christians spend hundreds and even thousands of hours of their lives listening to preaching. A believer who faithfully attends his local church and hears a forty-five minute message forty-five times a year will, over the course of forty years as a Christian, spend 1,350 hours hearing sermons. That’s more than fifty-six days of his life! ...

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The Priority of Expositional Listening in the Life of the Christian, Part 2

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Well, one of the greatest benefits of expositional listening is that it provides precisely the same benefit to the hearer as serial expositional preaching provides to preachers and whole congregations, when compared to personal study. It causes the hearer to be confronted by texts and applications that he might otherwise avoid. It forces the listener to deal with ideas and...

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The Priority of Expositional Listening in the Life of the Christian, Part 1

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There’s several things that the Christian learns and is reminded of as he gathers with others to hear the Word. Today we’ll look at how the act of expositional listening helps an individual believer relate to others; next week we’ll examine how listening fosters an individual believer’s private and personal growth in grace. As we go forward, it’s important to und...

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The Priority of Expositional Listening in the Life of the Church

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The life of the church flows from the Word, through the preaching of the Word, into the people who have been gathered and changed by that Word. ...

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A Berean Definition of Expositional Listening

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Expositional listening humbly, receptively, eagerly, and actively listens to, and seeks to be changed by, God speaking through preaching that opens, explains, proclaims, and applies the meaning of a passage of Scripture....

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A Handbook for Practicing Expositional Listening / A review of "Listen Up!" by Christopher

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The conviction that drives this work is stated up front: “it is good when when people who can read, do read and study the Bible; but it is vital that all people, without exception, hear the Bible preached”. Ash’s aim, then, is to help Christians “‘consider carefully how you listen’ (Luke 8 v 8).”...

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The Posture of an Expositional Listener

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Last week, I argued for the Reformational view of preaching...

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The Preaching of the Word of God Is The Word of God

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To summarize, then, preaching is the Word of God only insofar as it rightly communicates the meaning and applications of the Scriptures, the Word of God written...

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Introducing Expositional Listening

Blog - Hearing

It’s our conviction that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The main reason we’re committed to expository preaching is that we believe it is the Word of God, not the cleverness of a preacher or the personal study interests of a pastor, that feeds and builds up the flock and equips saints for ministry....

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The Harmony of Plurality in Unity

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Today I wanted to zoom in on one implication of the truth that the Persons of the Father, Son, and Spirit are "distinct but harmonious."...

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The Triune Foundation for Christian Grace

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It's never a bad thing to review those things that are foundational for our faith. The Trinity, especially, is no exception, particularly because so many believers misunderstand both the doctrine itself and its importance....

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The Transformational Power of Triune Love

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God is love! Every child in Sunday School knows this. But why is God love? In fact, this is a staggering statement-and one that only the Christian, who believes in the Triune nature of God, can make....

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When Washrooms Are Weaponized

Washrooms have been weaponized in the culture war over sexuality and gender....

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The Grand Design

Calvary Grace Church pastor & elder Gavin Peacock has co-written a book with the President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Owen Strachan, titled "The Grand Design." ...

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What is a Berean? Part 4

We have already seen that the Bereans welcomed Paul and Silas, and that they heard them out with an eagerness to hear and be conformed to the Word of God. The Bereans did not treat Paul with suspicion and did not listen to his teaching as detached, guarded critics, but as those hungry for the Bread of Life....

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What is a Berean? Part 3

After commending the Bereans for their noble character, Luke then proceeds to present two closely related evidences of this nobility: their receiving the Word with all eagerness, and their searching the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. This week, we’re going to look closely at the former....

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What is a Berean? Part 2

The very first thing Luke says about the Bereans is a compliment of their character: "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica..." First of all, it's vital to understand that the points he makes that follow...

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Faith in the Face of Every Parent's Worst Nightmare

Clint Humfrey, our lead pastor, wrote a great article in light of a recent Calgary tragedy at TheRebel.media on why Christians can keep faith in a fallen, dangerous world....

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What is a Berean? Part 1

Like many others, online and in real churches, I was striving to be "Berean," but looking back now I think I was missing at least two-thirds, if not even the whole, of what Luke aimed to commend the Bereans for in this text! In other words, I had read the text, isolated "examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so," and basically ignored the rest. That's ...

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The Revolution in Sexual Affairs

Our culture is witnessing a new "revolution in sexual affairs," but these new understandings of gender and rights are terrible for women in particular. I explain why in this new article at CBMW and point to a better alternative....

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Colossians: A Study Guide for Women

We're excited to make available a new Bible study resource for women!...

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The Christian Understanding of the Last Things

This is the twelfth and final installment of a series of articles exploring Calvary Grace's Congregational Confession of Faith....

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The Christian Understanding of the Ordinances

This is the eleventh of an ongoing series of articles exploring Calvary Grace's Congregational Confession of Faith....

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The Christian Understanding of One's Conduct

Christian Conduct: This is the tenth of an ongoing series of articles exploring Calvary Grace's Congregational Confession of Faith....

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The Christian Understanding of the Church

The Church - this is the ninth of an ongoing series of articles exploring Calvary Grace's Congregational Confession of Faith....

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Resources to Enhance your Biblical Study - Part 3: Online Resources

Continuing our series on free resources to enhance biblical and theological study, I’m turning this week to look at a number of websites that are very helpful. This is really a sampling and certainly not an exhaustive list, but as long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you will have more solid stuff available to read than you will even find time for…...

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Resources to Enhance your Biblical Study - Part 2: Electronic Bible Study and Library Software

Last time, I reviewed a couple of free e-book resources. This week’s focus is on Bible study library software (I know I said I’d look at web-based resources, but I thought this would be useful covered first!)...

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Here We Stand

Today, the United States Supreme Court redefined marriage to include same-sex couples. This ruling forces every individual state government to comply with the new definition. ...

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Applying the Doctrine of the Remnant in a Pagan World

Over the past couple hundred years, living as an evangelical Christian in the West has been relatively easy, compared to the experience of many of our brothers and sisters throughout history, or even in other parts of the world. However, indications in our culture suggest that this time of respite for the Church in the West may be coming to an end. Therefore, my motivation...

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The Doctrine of the Remnant in the New Testament

Christians in the post-Christendom West may be rather bewildered at how quickly the culture around them is abandoning the trappings of their Judeo-Christian heritage. However, the Lord they follow had no such illusions about his own Torah-soaked society. The hard reality is that Jesus, like the Old Testament Law and Prophets he came to fulfill, was crystal clear about the ...

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The Doctrine of the Remnant in the Prophets

In the last two weeks, we’ve looked at some signs in our culture that evangelical, biblical Christianity is being increasingly marginalized as a minority, and started a look at the Bible to understand why God’s people seems consistently portrayed as a beleaguered hold-out. This week, we turn to the Old Testament prophets to see what they have to say about this concept....

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The Doctrine of the Remnant in Genesis

Last week, I took a brief look at some disturbing events and trends in our culture. Christians are facing a rising tide of opposition to their beliefs, and an escalating amount of retaliation for seeking to live in light of God’s teaching concerning human sexuality, gender, and marriage. I argued that we need to recognize what the Scriptures say about the nature of God...

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We’re Not the Moral Majority

Anyone paying attention to American news reports over the last month or so will have heard of the “wedding cake controversy.” As background, earlier this year the state legislature of Indiana passed a law, modeled on a federal law signed by President Clinton, which laid out a process for courts to determine if government action and regulation imposes an undue burden on...

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Faith and Doubt

The Christian faith is, from the perspective of the world, an unbelievable tale. Think about it. We believe that a book which contains talking donkeys and sticks that turn into snakes is absolutely true in all that it affirms. We believe in a God who is both one and three, somehow. We believe that every human being, even the cutest, cuddliest newborn baby, is born totally ...

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Hope From The Third Day

One of the most enjoyable things about pastoral ministry is conducting membership interviews. Over the past year, we at Calvary Grace Church have been re-emphasizing the importance of formal church membership, and have conducted dozens of these interviews. I don’t know if there’s anything as profoundly encouraging or exciting as hearing the testimonies of those God has...

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Called Outside the Camp

On Good Friday, we remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. Sentenced to death for crimes he did not commit by a feckless provincial governor fearing for his own job, Jesus was executed by the Romans on behalf of the Jews. Outside the city walls of Jerusalem, God’s innocent Lamb, slain for the sins of his people, absorbed the righteous wrath of the Father agai...

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The Christian Understanding of Justification

This is the eighth of an ongoing series of articles exploring Calvary Grace’s Congregational Confession of Faith....

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The Christian Understanding of Regeneration

This seventh paragraph of our Congregational Confession of Faith lays out the Christian understanding of the human problem of sin and its consequences. Yet there is so much more in this paragraph than simply an explanation of humanity’s bent toward rebellion and evil. It lays out some key truths about the very nature of man as God has created him, and the means by which ...

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The Christian Understanding of the Holy Spirit

This sixth paragraph of our Congregational Confession of Faith teaches us about the the Holy Spirit, who is, in many ways, the most mysterious Person of the Trinity. He is arguably, and especially in our day, the most misunderstood. Yet a proper understanding of the Spirit's work is crucial for the Christian life....

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The Christian Understanding of Christ's Saving Work

At the heart of the Christian message is the fact that we are now delivered from sin and death to the hope of resurrection and eternal life because of Jesus Christ. But what did Jesus do that made the difference? ...

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No, The Reformation Isn't Over

Today is October 31, which most people know as Halloween. A smaller number who have backgrounds in liturgical churches would think of today as All Hallows' Eve, the day before All Saints’ Day. Still fewer remember that, 497 years ago today, a cranky and combative monk walked up to the door of the Wittenburg cathedral and nailed a list of debating points, hoping to provok...

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A Chance To Pray

This coming weekend, our annual January conference will take place. Ryan Fullerton, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and a former roommate of Pastor Clint’s, will be preaching on the subject of “Abiding Love: Learning to Love in a Cold World.” I’ve said before that God has blessed this man as a preacher; here’s a message I had the privil...

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The West Wind of Extravagant Mercy

It’s been a wee bit chilly of late, hasn’t it? A few days back, with the thermometer here in Cochrane reading a balmy minus-31 degrees, out of curiosity I did a quick Google search on current temperatures in Antarctica. Scrolling through a long list of research stations and weather posts, I failed to find a lower temperature than minus-29. Sorry, brothers and sister...

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The Glory of Marriage in the Midst of Disaster

Disasters rarely occur at a time of convenience, and the recent flooding that struck Southern Alberta was no different. Lives were lost; billions of dollars worth of property was destroyed; uncounted millions in economic damage was done. Compared to the losses of the bereaved and the newly homeless, it seems trivial to discuss the inconveniences that the flooding caused fo...

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The Movie "Hellbound?" A Deceptive and Dishonest Hatchet Attack On Christians By A Profess

Just this past week, I had the chance to watch the movie "Hellbound?" This film is being released tonight in theatres in Calgary and Edmonton. The movie is billed as a "feature-length documentary that explores the modern debate over the doctrine of hell." ...

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The Agonizing Duty of Faith: Christ?s Call to Believe In The Gospel

It’s been a few weeks since we looked at Mark last, and we left off with Jesus’s command to “repent” in chapter 1 verse 15. To repent is one side of the coin, and Jesus’ next command is the flip side, a call to faith. “Believe in the Gospel.” ...

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About Turn: An Anatomy of Gospel Repentance

A couple weeks ago, we were breaking down Mark’s description of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Mark 1:14 and 15. Jesus began his preaching with an inidicative, a statement of fact, declaring what is. He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom is at hand.” After the indicative, though, he follows it up with an imperative, a command, declaring what his hea...

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What Hath Aurora To Do With London? The False Promise of Human Ability

Today marked the beginning of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. After years of preparation, with a more than $14 billion budget, and guarded by more than 37,000 security personnel, more than 10,500 athletes from all over the world will be competing for medals. At more than 30 Olympic venues, an expected 11 million spectators will observe the events and marvel at the athlet...

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The God Who Dares Be King: The Uncomfortable Implication of Jesus?

The Kingdom of God is a central theme of Jesus’ preaching. In Christian circles, we can become a little deadened to the true weight of this idea. We need to ask, and really consider, this question: what is a kingdom? It’s a place or a realm that is ruled by a king. Canada is, legally, a kingdom, because we are ruled by a king or queen. The United States is not ...

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Jesus as Lord of History: Or, a Demand and a Blessing of Discipleship

Mark 1:14-15: This is the first record of the content of Jesus’ preaching: this, here, is the message of Jesus. What I want to look at in this devotional is Jesus’ first phrase and what it says about who and what Jesus is: 'The time is fulfilled,' and what that says about Jesus’ lordship over history....

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This is My Beloved Son: The Curious Case of the Baptism of God's Sinless Saviour

In Mark 1, verses 9-12, we find what really is a rather strange picture, if you think about it. Jesus Christ, who we confess to be sinless and perfect in all his ways, undergoes immersion, water baptism, at the hands of John. That’s a remarkable thing, because John’s baptism was for repentance. It was a sign of rededication and turning away from evil. Why, then, was Je...

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Called To The Wilderness: Finding The Only Thing We Need in a Place That Has Nothing

The wilderness is a dangerous place, because it defies our efforts to master it. Even when you've done everything humanly possible to keep it under control, it can still kill you....

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He Put Them To Open Shame: The King Who Humiliates His Enemies

One of the most interesting parts of the Gospel of Mark is the way Jesus deals with Satan’s forces. In the very first chapter, in verses 21 to 28, we see Jesus encounter a demon. We see an exorcism, as Jesus sends the demon away. What’s remarkable about this incident is not the fact of the exorcism, but the manner in which it is done...

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Calvary Grace is Moving, and What Facilities Mean for a Church

Calvary Grace Church is moving! Our time at the Alexandra Centre is coming to an end. This past week, we signed an agreement that, as of June 1, 2012, will allow us to use the facilities belonging to St. John Lutheran Church in the community of Bridgeland, just north of the Bow River outside the downtown core. This will involve a slight service time change, as our main ser...

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What We Sing: Now Why This Fear

If you've ever wondered what kind of music we sing at Calvary Grace and haven't had a chance to visit, here is your opportunity! We're going to start a series of posts here on the church blog that links to examples of songs we sing at our church. Our hope is that it not only will highlight edifying songs for Christians beyond our church, but that it will also point fami...

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The Redeemer as an Avenger: Jesus is More Than a Savior

It’s politically correct to celebrate Jesus as a holy man and enlightened figure, even among unbelievers. Social activists look to his example as support for struggle against oppression and injustice, and to his healings and mercy as a call to help those who are sick and poor. Even other religions sometimes accommodate him; he is considered a prophet in Islam and an avat...

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The Passion and the Preschooler's Passover Plight: Finding Hope in a Near Tragedy

The Jerusalem Post carried a story today of a little Israeli preschooler who, being bitten by a viper, was saved by medical intervention at a Beersheba hospital....

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The Christian and the State: Keeping the Faith in an Election Season

Last Monday, Alberta Premier Alison Redford announced an election for April 23. The parties are now in full campaign mode, with buses criss-crossing the province and politicians shaking hands and kissing babies. Already the polls are predicting a tight race between the governing Tories and the upstart Wildrose Alliance, and so the names and political accusations are alread...

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Foundations for a Good Library: Some Recommended Books

We are commanded to love the Lord with all our mind (Matthew 22:37), and so the cultivation of our knowledge and understanding is a critical part of our discipleship. Now, it certainly can’t constitute all or even most of our walk with God; after all, we are warned in the Scriptures that “knowledge puffs up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). But while the pursuit of knowledge by ...

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Why Bother With Church Structure?

Establishing and maintaining structure in a local church takes a ton of work, especially when, as with Calvary Grace, a church has started without any denominational or mother-church support. And we as elders are keenly aware that our efforts to establish and maintain structure in our church have not kept up with the growth of our fellowship, and that’s not good. ...

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A Staggering Discovery That Might Not Matter That Much

New Testament scholar Dan Wallace touched off quite the buzz a few days back when he mentioned in passing, while debating Bart Ehrman, that among a set of new manuscript discoveries was found a small fragment of the Gospel of Mark. He went on to point out that “[i]t was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from ...

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Face It, You're Smaller Than God

Human nature being what it is, we are all too prone to push good things past the point where they are useful. So we need to guard against the temptation to think that we can 'figure it all out.' Moreover, we need to resist the idea that 'figuring it all out' would be a good thing....

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Catholicism and False Advertising

This past week, I stumbled across a misleading and saddening headline relating to one of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in the United States. The editorial was titled: “Is Rick Santorum Catholic or Evangelical? Yes.” Now, we live in a culture that has little time for history and which, under the influence of postmodern thinkers, does not have...

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Be Careful How You Raise Your Children

Proverbs 22:6 is a well-known passage relating to child-rearing. It is, unfortunately, an oft-misunderstood one, as well. It’s fairly easy to find Christians who read or even teach this passage as a promise: if you train your child with all the correct methods and influences, God has promised that he or she will turn out a good and believing child. A darker twist on the ...

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Don't Make Rash Promises!

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, and with the dawn of the new year comes the annual making of New Year’s resolutions. Many will resolve to lose a certain number of pounds this year, or read a particular book, or save a particular amount of money, or spend more time doing this or that....

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Christmas Isn't an End in Itself

At Christmas, we celebrate the miracle of the Incarnation: the God of heaven and earth, the Lord of Hosts, Creator of all things, took on flesh. The Son of the Most High left behind the glories of heaven, leaving behind his exalted place with the Father, and descended to the earth to live among us....

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Mainstreaming Mormonism

Over the last few years, the Latter-Day Saints have become more and more prominent and accepted in popular culture....

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When Even Experts Get Stumped

Even seasoned archaeologists and scholars are stumped. They’re having trouble even speculating what they might have been for. ...

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Legalism Misidentifies the Enemy

Clint’s excellent sermon last week unpacked the question of Christian liberty versus the two “ditches” of legalism and license. In light of that theme, I can’t help looking at the column I read as something of a parable for sanctification. ...

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Why Christ Cannot Fail to Save

In this final installment in our series examining the Trinity and Oneness Pentecostalism, we look at how the mediatorial ministry of Christ in heaven is crucial for salvation, according to the book of Hebrews. By his eternal life, permitting him to intercede forever on our behalf, Jesus Christ can “save us to the uttermost.”...

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How the Trinity Makes Salvation Possible

Psalm 110 has tremendous implications for the doctrine of the Trinity, and especially for the doctrine of Christ as our Mediator with God. As it is quoted in Hebrews twice in establishing the superiority of Christ, it is a natural place to begin when looking at Christ’s role as our Mediator....

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Modesty and the Excluded Middle

Last week I wrote about the critical importance of the Trinity, especially in contrast to its distortion by “Oneness” Pentecostals. Behind the theological errors of this movement lie an even deeper logical and methodological error, and I thought it would be useful to explain that deeper error in some depth....

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Not Just Modes or Manifestations

We need to be prepared to explain why the Trinity is so critical. May God grant us all the wisdom and knowledge to do so....

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Death and Steve Jobs

On Wednesday night, the news broke that Steve Jobs, the founder and former CEO of Apple, had passed away from pancreatic cancer. ...

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Boasting in Weakness

No North American missionary has been as famous as David Brainerd. What makes his example so remarkable is that he achieved such fame by a career on the mission field of only about five years, and that he died at the very young age of twenty-nine....

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Netanyahu's Tragic Speech

I work at a hotel part-time, and yesterday when cleaning up our breakfast room I had the opportunity to listen to Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations....

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Calling Down Fire

Is it a bad thing to pray for God’s fire to fall, or to use the image of fire in our worship? ...

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Does Natural Mean Good? A Christian Perspective on All Things Natural and Organic

Over the last twenty years, there has been a resurgence in interest in all things “natural.” There are natural foods and natural supplements. There are natural forms of medicine, like chiropractic and naturopathy....

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Work As It Was Meant To Be

When I was in Grade 7, my homeroom teacher, Mr. Scholtens, said something that fundamentally changed what I thought about God, heaven, and work. ...

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