Salvation > “Getting Saved”

A popular Christian radio show recently debuted a new book.  It sounded like a beneficial book to help young girls mature in faith and love.  The author was most proud of her last chapter that presented “the plan of salvation” and “the sinner’s prayer.”  Her highest desire was that young girls would “read and repeat” (her words) and be saved. As sincere and humble as the author was surely God’s […]

Baptist Catholicism (What the Altar Call, Sinner’s Prayer & Pope Have in Common)

The typical Baptist suffers from Catholiphobia: the fear of all things Catholic. We Baptists often know more about Catholics than Catholicism, which is probably true of any religious tradition.  We tend to define religious traditions by the few people we know who practice them rather that what that tradition has historically confessed. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take long for a Baptist to realize he strongly opposes Catholic baptism. The Council of Trent‘s […]

The Danger of “Christianness”

Gripped by this selection from Rejoicing in Christ by Michael Reeves: “. . . we naturally gravitate, it seems, toward anything but Jesus–and Christians almost as much as anyone–whether it’s ‘the Christian worldview,’ ‘grace,’ ‘the Bible’ or ‘the gospel,’ as if they were things in themselves that could save us.  Even ‘the cross’ can get abstracted from Jesus, as if the wood had some power of its own.  Other things, […]

Jesus Makes Nothing out of Something (and That Means Everything)

Paul wrote Galatians to confront and combat the attempted Judaization of the church.  Such was arguably the backdrop behind many of the New Testament letters. Intoxicated by the air of religious supremacy, Jews sought to enslave (Paul’s word for it) Gentiles under the burdensome yoke of Torah (cf. 4.7, 25; 5.1). Anyone wanting to be part of Yahweh’s people (i.e. Abraham’s people) had to come under the authority of Torah.  And […]

I Am Mephibosheth (Christ’s Glory in Fostering & Adoption)

“So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons. . . . Now he was lame in both feet.” (2 Sam 9.11b, 13c) “While we were children, [we] were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son . . . so that we might receive adoption as sons. So you are no longer a slave, but a […]

Moonlight Graham & Christ’s Field of Dreams

Archibald Wright “Moonlight” Graham was a baseball player.  He was also a doctor.  He was immortalized in the classic American baseball film Field of Dreams.  And he can illustrate the glorious mystery of Christ’s incarnation. Moonlight Graham spent seven seasons in the minor leagues, even having a cup of coffee with the Memphis Egyptians in 1906.  His claim to fame, however, was not what he did in the minor leagues.  […]

Carol of Joy, Eileen Berry

We recently enjoyed the annual Festival of Carols at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis.  During it we sang this beautiful poem by Eileen Berry entitled “Carol of Joy” (2007, Beckenhorst Press) set to music by Dan Forrest. It’s nearly impossible to add anything substantial to, much less improve upon, the church’s traditional coterie of Christmas hymns but this is a worthy addition: Green leaves all fallen, withered and dry; Brief sunset fading, dim winter […]

Does God Love {Insert Your Name}?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jn 3.16) I once read a cartoon Scripture memorization pamphlet to my youngest daughter.  It was a story written to help her memorize John 3.16.  The pamphlet was nicely done and broke the verse down into helpful, digestible parts. As we worked on the first part of […]

Is Today the Day the Lord Has Made? (What Children’s Choir Didn’t Teach Us)

“This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps 118.24) Many a church kid memorized Psalm 118.24 in children’s choir.  It was a catchy tune that still causes foot-tapping.  God be praised for those children’s workers who helped seal Scripture in our minds and hearts (even if I scowled my way through it).  As we get older we cannot help but wake […]

Abraham the Pimp & God the Husband

Then God said to him in the dream, ‘Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against me; therefore I did not let you touch her’” (Gen 20.6). Though credited with righteousness for his faith, Abraham did not always live up to the hype.  He was frankly a sneaky man with a trophy wife (Gen 12.11).  He […]