No Little Women, Equipping All Women in the Household of God by Aimee Byrd

Aimee Byrd, author and co-host of the Mortification of Spin podcast, is on a mission.  She declares that everyone is a theologian, whether they know it or not, so “everyone in the church needs to be a good theologian” (p. 34).  As the title implies Byrd is particularly desirous that women be equipped theologically so that they are not easy marks for false teachers who often target poorly taught women in the church (2 Timothy 3:6-7). Her exhortation is timely because a plethora of women’s ministries and books exist which are mere fluff (see pp. 116-120, 127-129), appeal to the desire to extrabiblically hear God’s voice (pp. 59, 145, 150) and teach false and even heretical doctrines.  The antidote to these concerns is not to create women’s ministries as a separate entity (pp. 13, 19, 22, 48, 50-52, 91, 96-97, 104-106); nor to focus all women’s Bible studies on women’s…

The Role of Women in Ministry – Part 3

(November 1998 – Volume 4, Issue 10) The Christian community is fighting great battles over the role of women in ministry and the secular community is taking notice. For example, U.S. News and World Report, August 10, 1998, offered a special report entitled “The Bible According to Eve” outlining, with some accuracy, the issues and conflicts: In June, nationwide front-page news was made when the Southern Baptist Convention voted to add a clause to the denomination’s statement of beliefs affirming that a wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband (p. 47). Not all Southern Baptists agreed, and the issue of women in ministry was avoided altogether. The latter could of course have been predicted by the fact that there are already many women pastors in the Southern Baptist denomination. A few weeks later the Vatican warned that Catholics who continue to argue in favor…

The Role of Women in Ministry – Part 1

(September 1998 – Volume 4, Issue 8) Someone has said that there are two views of the creation of women, one held by women, the other by men. Women say that God made man, looked at him, and said, “I can do better than that!” So He made woman. Men hold that after God made beasts and man, He rested, then He created woman, and neither beast, nor man, nor God has rested since. All joking aside, few subjects are more controversial today than the role of women in society, ministry and the home. This is true even, maybe especially, among evangelical Christians. Views that were considered unquestionably true a few decades ago are now disputed. Even the interpretation of pertinent scriptural passages, long considered settled, is now being challenged. It is our intention to develop a careful overview of this important and volatile subject. We will start with a…

Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel

If you are looking for a Louis L’Amour storyline, this isn’t your book. If you are looking for authentic accounts of the mid-1800s wagon trains on their journeys west and that from the perspective of the women travelers, you have come to the right place. As the title implies this is not a novel but true stories as found in the diaries of women who made this incredible expedition. What these women had to endure, how they managed (toting along numerous children and often pregnant), how they buried their young and sometimes their husbands on the trail and then stoically continued their journey, is like nothing portrayed in the movies. In our cushy little world it is hard to imagine anyone purposely putting themselves through such turmoil for any reason – but these pioneers saw things differently. To be sure the western migration was the fantasy of the men, but…

The Role of Women in Ministry Today by H. Wayne House

Wayne House has written an excellent book taking the conservative approach to the involvement of women in Christian ministry. Of the books that I have read on the subject this is easily the best. House is a clear analytical thinker who writes well, and thoroughly covers his subject. The book examines the role of women in history, both secular and ecclesiastical; lays out the battle lines that have formed in today’s church; and effectively deals with the key New Testament passages on the subject (I Cor 11:1-16; 14:33-36; I Tim 2:8-15 and Gal 3:28). In addition he offers hundred of footnotes for the student who wants to dig a little deeper. My only criticism is that he danced around the “head covering” issue of I Cor 11.

Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, How the Church Needs to Rediscover Her Purpose by Aimee Byrd

Aime Byrd is known as the housewife theologian. She is popular conference speaker, a prolific author with several books to her credit and, until the publication of this book, co-host of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals podcast Mortification of Spin.  Her earlier work, No Little Women, made some valuable contributions concerning women and their ministries, but even there I registered some concerns in my review (http://tottministries.org/?s=little+women). Byrd takes several steps forward, or backward, depending on your perspective, in her understanding of women’s “role” (a word she detested and claims is unbiblical) in the church and within ministry. As a member of an Orthodox Presbyterian church, she still maintains that ordination and preaching within the local church is reserved for males (p. 121), but views virtually all other ministries, both within the church and through parachurch organizations, are accessible to qualified Christian women. As a matter of fact, Byrd’s primary focus…

My Favorite Books Part V

(Volume 23, Issue 6, November/December 2017) Since I began writing book reviews a number of years ago, it seemed to some that the majority of these reviews dealt with books that were either errant or at best mixed in their biblical accuracy.  So in August 2004 I began listing, by category, the better books that I have reviewed to encourage the reading of quality Christian literature.  Approximately two years ago the fourth volume of “My Favorite Books” was published to which I would like to add another 30 books or so. In addition, for clarity sake I thought it might be helpful to pull all the lists together and mention the titles of books previously identified.  Hopefully our readers will recall that just because a book is cited as a favorite does not mean that it is without some problems. Complete reviews of each volume can be found on our…

My Dream of Heaven, by Rebecca Ruter Springer (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Harrison House, 1898, 2002), 179 pp., Hard , $9.62

During the latter half of the nineteenth-century, due in part to the tremendous loss of life during the Civil War as well as the encroachment of German rationalism and interest in spiritism, many were struggling with questions and doubts concerning the afterlife. In response a number of books were written, some based on Scripture, others on supposed dreams and visions, to provide answers about heaven. Springer’s book, originally entitled Intra Muros, was among the latter, but has distinguished itself by being published and read over a hundred years later, while most of the others disappeared rather quickly. Springer takes pains to make clear that her near-death experience was not inspired by God and carries no divine authority (pp. 155-157). Still, much like today’s near-death accounts, she believes her supposed trip to heaven will offer valuable insight into eternity and give hope to the reader. However her revelation is riddled with…

Girl, Wash Your Face A Critique

(Volume 26, Issue 1, February/March 2020) The best lies, the most potent lies, are rooted in deception. Obvious lies seldom get out of the starting gate, while well-disguised lies are racing around the track.  John 1:5 informs us that Jesus is the Light that shines in our dark world, while Satan, according to 2 Corinthians 11:14, manifests himself as an angel of light. Few would be attracted to Satan and his schemes if he appeared as an angel of darkness, but masqueraded as an angel of light, as one very similar to the true Light, he is able to entice multitudes to his worldview.  Those entrenched in satanic schemes, or doctrines of demons as Paul calls them in 1 Timothy 4:1, mirror the same techniques as their master, and infiltrate the globe as “false apostles,” spreading their erroneous teachings throughout the world.  Their most effective method is to dress up…

It Is Time to Kiss the Church Hello

(Volume 25, Issue 5, September/October 2019) By now the details about Josh Harris’s divorce and apostasy is old news and every cheesy pun associated with his best-selling book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, has been trotted out ad nauseam. I thought I would attempt a positive pun instead,–“It is time to kiss the church hello,”–because I think ultimately the focus is on the wrong issue.  Follow my musings for a moment. Harris experienced the world of evangelical celebrity at a very young age.  As a youth he assisted his parents in their leadership in the homeschooling movement, traveling to home school conferences and selling his father’s materials.  Still, in his teens, Josh was speaking at these conferences and produced a magazine for homeschoolers called New Attitude.  At the ripe old age of 21, he published his signature book, which not only sold over a million copies but also launched a movement…

The Unseen Realm, A Critique

(Volume 25, Issue 4, July/August 2019) Michael Heiser’s view of Scripture and the supernatural realm has generated much attention within evangelical circles recently.  His concepts have generated a wave of speculation that some are now riding.  What does he teach and how concerned should the discerning Christian be?  This critique will provide some answers. It all began when Heiser was examining Psalm 82:1, which reads in the NASB “God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. “Michael Heiser, currently Executive Director of the School of Ministry at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida, came to believe that he had discovered the key to understanding God and Scripture which had long been buried by the western world and the evangelical community. That key was:  “The God of the Old Testament was part of an assembly – a pantheon – of other gods” (p. 11).…

Social Justice

(Volume 24, Issue 6, December 2018/January 2019) Of the hot-button issues circulating right now, in both society and the church, nothing has drawn more interest and debate than social justice. In society at large much unrest and controversy is evident particularly in regards to three areas.  First, there are the interrelation concerns, expressed most clearly in the #MeToo movement, which is an effort directed at the alleviation of sexual harassment and assault, primarily targeting women. Next are the debates involving human sexuality, especially LGBTQ items.  Finally, matters of race and ethnicity have surged afresh in recent years.  As these concerns filter down to the church, to a certain extent the response of God’s people is clear. The Scriptures powerfully condemn all forms of immorality, sexual misconduct, and abuse.  Sadly, the church has not been totally spared the accusations of sexual misconduct, with a number of high profile leaders recently being…

Why Definitions Matter

(Volume 23, Issue 3, May/June 2017) It was Mark Twain who famously said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” Used by Twain, the distinction between being a mediocre author and great one, such as himself, was the choice of words.  If this is important to a novelist, how much more important it is to the Christian attempting to communicate timeless truths given to us by our Creator God. Words and their meanings matter.  Unfortunately, in our Christian lingo, we tend to use sloppily thrown out words and terms which can mislead others and, in time, some of these terms take on lives of their own.   While often harmless in their intent, I would contend that when we do so we unknowingly miscommunicate important truths that our Lord has revealed to us, and/or mislead ourselves and others as…

A Cloud of Witnesses, Calvinistic Baptists in the 18th Century by Michael Haykin

In a day in which Christian celebritism is rampant, and almost all biographies are written about the big names of the past, it is encouraging to read about a few “normal” Christians who served the Lord as faithfully as those we emulate today.  Michael Haykin has chosen in this little volume to highlight the lives of ten such individuals who ministered in England between the period of the “Great Ejection” of 1662 and the Great Awakening of the 1730s.  All of these short biographies are of people (eight men and two women) who were Calvinistic Baptists.   Each served faithfully for many years, had an impact on their time, but have been largely forgotten by church history.  An outstanding characteristic of the pastors showcased was that rather than seek personal fame they saw themselves as belonging to their church family, and it was to the local assembly (as well as the…

Biblical Literacy

(Volume 23, Issue 2, March/April 2017) I concluded my article titled “Biblical Illiteracy” with these words: “Biblical illiteracy is well recognized today.  There are many reasons why not only the general population but also the evangelical church has little understanding and knowledge of Scripture, and I have tried to identify some of these in the body of this article. With all of the attacks on the trustworthiness of Scripture, coupled with general lack of biblical knowledge and apathy toward what it proclaims, it would be easy to despair for the future of the Scriptures.  But God’s Word always accomplishes that which it is sent forth by the Lord to accomplish (Isa 55:1) which is to teach, reprove, correct and train His people in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).  We have the promise of Jesus that His Word will never pass away (Matt 24:35).  Rather than despair we should make every effort…

“Another Jesus” Calling, How False Christs are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer by Warren B. Smith

Jesus Calling, written by Sarah Young and published in 2004, is one of the best-selling books in history, and has had a powerful influence within the church.  Young, who holds degrees from Wellesley College and Covenant Theological Seminary, has served as a missionary in Japan and Australia, and travelled in Christian circles all of her life, yet felt a need for something more than she had known in her Christian walk.  What she sought was new revelations from Jesus.  Her first extrabiblical encounter with Jesus, she claims, was while living at L’Abri following her college days.  There one night she experienced a unique presence that she interpreted as being the Lord.  She describes His presence as a warm mist which enveloped her (p. 19).  Some years later Young read God Calling, touted by some as a devotional book written by two women who claimed that they were channeling words given…

Her Heart Can See, The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby by Edith L. Blumhofer

This excellent biography of one of the most prolific and well-known hymn writers in church history is well researched, readable, educational and in many ways encouraging. Crosby was blind from early childhood but never let her lack of sight slow her down. She had an incredible ability to write singable poetry, some of which was political, patriotic, and sentimental. But she is known today for her many hymns (somewhere between 6,000-10,000) which reflected, and perhaps to some degree shaped, the evangelicalism of the 19th century. She lived 95 years (from 1820-1915), staying productive to the end, and died a national and Christian treasure. As with any good biography more is covered than merely the main subject. Blumhofer also carefully outlines the development and key changes in sacred music during the 1800s. Important individuals of the times, men and women most of us know little about now, were instrumental in shaping…

The Pastor Theologian, Resurrecting an Ancient Vision by Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson

There was a time, as Hiestand and Wilson document, when local pastors led the church theologically. They preached doctrinally solid sermons, wrote theological works and interacted with the scholarship of their day. But all that began to change with the rise of the university prior to the Reformation (p. 33). Ultimately the role of theological study and development shifted to the academy and to professors who devoted themselves to scholarly endeavors. Pastors gave ground to the seminary and professional theologians and contented themselves with the more practical details of church life. In many cases pastors stopped attending to theology altogether, except for the basics. As a result, in recent days, it has become rare to cite a pastor who devotes much of his attention to the study and teaching of theology. Almost nonexistent is the pastor who is engaged in current theological debate with academic scholars or who actually writes…

Biblical Fundamentalism*

(Volume 22, Issue 2, Mar/Apr 2016) I am a Fundamentalist. There I said it. And yet, although I inherited a few guns I don’t know where the bullets are. I don’t hate anyone, not even my neighbor whose cat keeps my songbird population thinned out. Knowing my own weaknesses and sinfulness I refrain from being particularly judgmental of others. Some might call me a “Bible-thumper” but I have not actually thumped anyone with a Bible since junior high when I was trying to impress the girls (I learned many years later that punching girls did not impress them nearly as much as I originally thought). I have some strong preferences and opinions about everything from politics to entertainment (just ask me), but I recognize that not everyone shares all my views and I am at peace with that. I believe in separation from sinful practices and compromising associations, but I…

Twelve Steps in the Wrong Direction

(Volume 22, Issue 1, Jan/Feb 2016)A Biblical View of Codependency and Alcoholics Anonymousby Gary E. Gilley and M. Kurt GoedelmanA number of years ago I wrote a TOTT article dealing with twelve-step programs as well as codependency.  Recently that article was revised by myself and Kurt Goedelman, the director of Personal Freedom Outreach, and published in the PFO’s Quarterly Journal (January-March 2016). – Gary E. GilleyThose who consume a steady diet of syndicated television talk shows or digest the writings of Christian psychologists such as Frank Minirth, [1] Paul Meier, and Henry Cloud will be surprised to learn that there is neither scientific nor biblical evidence to support the theories of codependency.Codependency is a hot topic within current psychology. Before the late 20th century the word — and even the concept — was virtually unknown. Now, nearly everyone in one fashion or another seems to be codependent.A DEFINITION OF CODEPENDENCYIn…

Homosexuality, The Most Pressing Issue of Our Times

(Volume 21, Issue 6, Nov/Dec 2015) In 1979, Francis Schaeffer wrote, The thinkables of the eighties and nineties will certainly include things which most people today find unthinkable and immoral, even unimaginable and too extreme to suggest. Yet—since they do not have some overriding principle that takes them beyond relativistic thinking—when these become thinkable and acceptable in the eighties and nineties, most people will not even remember that they were unthinkable in the seventies. They will slide into each new thinkable without a jolt.[1] Schaeffer was referencing issues such as abortion, in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Abortion, which previously had been recognized as evil, was at the time rapidly finding acceptance in American culture. In light of shifting values concerning abortions, Schaeffer predicted similar devolution in other moral areas. Would he be surprised by today’s approval and promotion of all things homosexual? What was…

Book Reviews

Latest Book ReviewThe Words of King LemuelSeptember 14, 2020The Words of King Lemuel, The Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31 by James Daughtry (Bridgeview, IL; Abidan, 2021), 117 pp.   The Words of King Lemuel is a short practical commentary on Proverbs 31.  The author claims that the keys to understanding this chapter are the careful examination of the Hebrew words and the study of the lifestyle of the people (p. 8).  Using these keys, James Daughtry unlocks the meaning of King Lemuel’s instruction, and specifically the description of the virtuous woman, which encompasses most of the book.  Realizing that many have distorted and/or misunderstood this woman, Daughtry systematically works through the description given her in twenty-two short chapters, plus an introduction and an initial chapter.   The design of the book is to offer helpful insight and appropriate application drawn from the life of this excellent Old Testament woman, which…

Praying Circles

(Volume 21, Issue 5 Sep/Oct 2015) Prayer is surely one of the most blessed of all privileges afforded the child of God. Just to think that sinners, even forgiven sinners, are invited to approach the throne of grace where we will receive mercy and grace in our time of need (Heb 4:14-16) is nothing short of astounding. In prayer we worship and praise our Lord (Psalm 34:1-3); in prayer we call on God to fulfill His great purposes (Matt 6:10), ask for our daily provisions (Matt 6:11), request forgiveness (Matt 6:12), and plea for protection from temptation (Matt 6:13). In prayer we ask for deliverance from the wickedness of others (Psalm 31:1-2), make our requests known (Phil 4:6), cast all our anxiety on the Lord (1 Pet 5:7), and much more. Christians love prayer, even when they foolishly do not take time for it. No believer is against prayer and…

My Favorite Books – Part 4

(Volume 21, Issue 3 May/June 2015) Introduction: This is the fourth time I have attempted to list books that I find are of considerable value. This is an important endeavor for a number of reasons. First, thousands of Christian books are published every year, yet the majority of these are superficial at best and often counterproductive to spiritual maturity, and many others are heretical. With the limited time that each of us has we need to be exposed to materials which enhance growth, draw us to Christ and are biblically sound. This list aims to offer just such books in a variety of areas. Secondly, as I critique and review books on a regular basis I find that many volumes combine some excellent teaching and insights with unbiblical concepts. My reviews attempt to reveal “the good, the bad and the ugly” within these works. And while no book except the…

The Voice of Luke, Not Even Sandals by Brian McLaren

The Voice of Luke is part of “The Voice Project” sponsored by the Ecclesia Bible Society. The project is derived from the concept that people today think, and therefore, need to read differently. “Instead of propositional-thought patterns, people today are more likely to interact with events and individuals through complex observations involving emotions, cognitive processes, tactile experiences, and spiritual awareness” (p. ix). It is for this reason the goal of “The Voice Project” to tell the story of the Bible in a narrative format, in order that the “passion, grit, humor and beauty” which is often lost in most translations, is recaptured. “One way to describe this approach is to say that it is a ‘soul translation’ not just a ‘mind translation’” (p. x). The editors admit, however, that their translations of Scripture are really a cross between translation and paraphrase, a “retelling” which seeks to bring “the biblical narratives…

New Calvinism – Part II

(Volume 21, Issue 2 March/April 2015) In the first paper on the subject of New Calvinism we explored some definitions and examined the essential ingredient of the movement which is the co-mingling of Calvinistic theology with at least openness to charismatic practices. I believe this to be the unique and defining characteristic of New Calvinism. It is the one feature that all involved have in common. However, there are other traits that are shared by many of those immersed in the system. To these we will now turn. It should be remembered that those promoting neo-Calvinism are not monolithic in every aspect, and some of the features mentioned below would be true of any number of evangelicals who are neither Calvinistic nor charismatic. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon to find these identifying marks embraced by adherents of the movement. Serious about theology and Christian living This is the most commendable…

Messiah’s Coming Temple, Ezekiel’s Prophetic Vision of the Future Temple By John W. Schmitt and J. Carl Laney (Kregel Publications: 2013) 224 pp., Paperback $12.99

Messiah’s Coming Temple (MCT) is about the future temple which is prophesied in the Bible, particularly in Ezekiel 40-48. Many interpreters of the Bible try to allegorize or “spiritualize” the prophet’s vision of the temple, but Schmitt and Laney take pains to demonstrate the natural reading of the text: a future, physical temple will one day be built in the land of Israel. Interpreters in the dispensational tradition will heartily agree with this thesis, and overall the authors do a good job of “unpacking” the scriptural vision of a future temple. The book is particularly strong in dealing with architectural features of the new temple (one of the authors – John Schmitt – apparently built the first major model of Ezekiel’s temple). I thus learned much about the dimensions, as well as the “look and feel” of the temple described by Ezekiel. MCT contains some very interesting photos and outstanding…

The Image of God

(October 2014 – Volume 20, Issue 5) Author: Shaun Lewis The Portland Vase was an exquisite discovery near Rome in the late sixteenth century. An artisan had crafted the vase during the reign of Tiberius Caesar (AD 14-37). After many generations, it eventually passed from memory. Rome fell, and the Dark Ages came with the Renaissance and Reformation periods following. Through it all the vase remained unscathed until February 7, 1845 when an inebriated visitor to the British Museum shattered it. One could still see what the shards once formed, but they were only shards. The Portland Vase was restored, however, but the process required another 144 years to complete. The story of mankind is similar to the Portland Vase. God created man in His own image, and gave him a glory not surpassed by the angels. Yet, with one act, that image shattered and man became a ruin of…

Roots of the Spiritual Formation Movement

Dear Friend of TOTTs, This is the 20th anniversary of our Think on These Things Ministries. I began writing papers on current issues challenging the church at the request of a mission organization for the purpose of keeping its missionaries apprised of current trends and theological concerns taking place in America. By God’s design TOTT quickly expanded and is now received by hundreds of believers and churches around the globe. On our website you can find a couple hundred articles and 500 or more book reviews that have emerged from this ministry. I believe the Lord has blessed these feeble efforts far more than I would have ever imagined. Over the years TOTT has never charged for sending our study papers, nor asked for donations and has been funded by royalties from my books and an occasional gift from some of you. However we began to run a deficit a…

Deep and Wide, by Andy Stanley (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 350 pp., Hardcover $24.99

Endorsed by everyone from Rick Warren and Bill Hybels to Dave Ramsey, Steven Furtick and Jeff Foxworthy, Deep and Wide reveals Andy Stanley’s “secret sauce” (p. 17) which he believes makes his church not only great but a model others should adopt. Stanley’s goal has been to create a church that unchurched men, women and children love to attend (p. 11) and by all accounts he has succeeded. The first of five sections tells the story of the birth of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, first as an extension of his father’s (Charles) church, then as a split, in which several thousand people eventually left the mother church to join Andy’s. Andy knows this is not the best way to start a church, but is honest and transparent enough to admit that this is what happened. Conflicts with his famous father were inevitable and Andy chronicles those as…

Biblical Discipleship – Prayer

(November/December 2013 – Volume 19, Issue 5) The Spiritual Formation Movement has rocked the church. Ancient disciplines, most often practiced within the monastic movement in the early centuries of Christianity, have been dusted off, repacked, and resubmitted to believers as the means for obtaining spiritual growth. There is increasing discussion about fasting, journaling, pilgrimage, simplicity, solitude, silence, contemplative prayer, and spiritual direction in Christian literature. What can be learned from this renewed interest in spiritual formation and what are the dangers? The last eight editions of “Think on These Things” have been written to interact with the history, teachings and dangers of the Spiritual Formation Movement. I want to now turn from the disciplines practiced in modern spiritual formation to the biblical alternative to spiritual formation, as described in the earlier articles. We will examine the means, or disciplines if you choose, which the Word of God clearly identifies as…

An Evaluation of Muslim Dreams & Visions of Isa (Jesus) Part 2 by Dennis McBride

  August/September 2013, Volume 19, Issue 4  This is part two of the article by Pastor Dennis McBride on Muslim dreams and visions of Isa (Jesus).  In the June/July publication of TOTT, Pastor McBride discussed the four representative descriptions of the Muslim dreams phenomenon and examined the first 10 primary considerations of this subject.  In this publication he will finish discussing the primary considerations and conclude his thoughts. Gary E. Gilley Beginning of Part 2 of the article by Pastor Dennis McBride 11. Are New Testament visions a pattern for Muslim dreams? Descriptive or Prescriptive? One task of an interpreter of Scripture is to determine if a passage is descriptive or prescriptive. In other words, does the passage describe what occurred in the past, or does it prescribe what will or should occur in the future, or both? For example, determining if the Acts chapter two account of the Day of…

Sacred Reading (Lectio Divina)

(June/July 2012 – Volume 18, Issue 3) As we have seen in the last two Think on These Things articles, “Spiritual formation is viewed by a growing number of evangelicals as an ancient ministry of the church, concerned with the ‘forming’ or ‘shaping’ of a believer’s character and actions into the likeness of Christ.” [1]   Spiritual formation is distinguished from biblical discipleship primarily by its source of authority and its methodology.  On the one hand, discipleship as defined by the Bible turns to the Word of God as the final and ultimate authority over all matters of life and godliness.  This means that if one truly desires to be a follower of Jesus Christ, he will turn to the inspired Scriptures to determine both truth and how to “observe all that I [Christ] commanded you” (Matt 28:20).  Spiritual formation pays lip-service to Scripture but the true source behind the…

Contemplative Prayer

(April/May 2012 – Volume 18, Issue 2) Of all the spiritual disciplines the Spiritual Formation Movement promotes, none is more important than prayer and the intake of God’s Word. On the surface we would expect little resistance to these two disciplines since they have been recognized as essential to spiritual growth by virtually all Christians from all traditions. Sadly, upon closer examination we discover that what is meant by most evangelical Christians when they reference prayer and Bible intake is not always what the leaders within spiritual formation mean. We begin with Donald Whitney, Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at Southern Seminary, who agrees with Carl Lundquist, The New Testament church built two other disciplines upon prayer and Bible study, the Lord’s Supper and small cell groups. John Wesley emphasized five works of piety by adding fasting. The medieval mystics wrote about nine disciplines clustered around three experiences: purgation of…

Real Marriage, the Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together

Real Marriage uses the backdrop of the Driscolls’ own marriage, with its numerous struggles, to provide marital advice on a number of topics such as friendship, respect, submission, sin, repentance and forgiveness.  These subjects are covered in the first section of the book and for the most-part the authors offer no unique insights.  The Driscolls do believe in the headship of the husband and submission of the wife but also believe in mutual submission as a result of their misunderstanding of Ephesians 5:21 (p. 64).  They also wrongly teach that providing for the family is man’s curse (p. 52), that 1 Peter 3:7 is about men being better physical fighters than women, and they open the book with an out of context quote of Revelation 21:5 (p. 3).  While much of their advice is biblically solid, a good portion is opinion based on either statistics or pop-psychology—for example love languages…

Spiritual Formation

(February/March 2012 – Volume 18, Issue 1) Almost everyone on the cutting edge of Christianity is talking about spiritual formation.  From books to magazine articles to sermons to seminary courses, spiritual formation is a hot topic.  What is spiritual formation?  What does it teach?  Is it something to embrace, ignore or fight?  With this edition of Think on These Things I want to begin an examination of these questions and more.  Lord willing, all of the TOTTs articles in 2012 will be devoted to detailing and evaluating some aspect of what some have called the “Spiritual Formation Movement.”  In this lead article I intend to offer a definition of spiritual formation, trace its origins, mention a few of its practices, illustrate its recent popularity, and briefly identify its strengths and dangers. In Search of a Definition When the average person speaks of spiritual formation they assume that it is a…

No More Christian Nice Guy, by Paul Coughlin (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2005) 224 pp, paper $13.99

Paul Coughlin has recognized a real problem that exists in the Christian community and indeed throughout Western society.  In the last couple of generations men have lost what it means to be men.  In general, some men err on the side of aggressiveness while others become passive, even doormats in order to avoid conflict and trouble (pp. 83, 139, 217-218).  It is the latter group that Coughlin targets, calling for masculine men who are neither passive nor aggressive but assertive (p. 93).  The catalyst for the author’s concern is his own life as a passive, Christian Nice Guy (CNG) stemming from his abusive home life and his training in the church.    Coughlin believes it is time for a new approach—one that he believes has not been in much use for 2,000 years (p. 27).  The back cover tells us “John Eldredge gave men permission to be ‘Wild at Heart.’  Paul…

No More Christian Nice Girl by Paul Coughlin and Jennifer D. Degler, PhD. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2010, 224 pp. paper $14.99

While No More Christian Nice Girl is co-authored by Paul Coughlin who wrote No More Christian Nice Guy (see my review) this book has a very different flavor.  Gone are the majority of the over-generalizations (not all) and the often belligerent tone.  However, Nice Girl is far more psychological in nature, as one might expect from the co-author Jennifer Degler who is a licensed psychologist.  This book could be categorized as a self-help manual drawing almost entirely from psychological and observational sources.  It is by no means, however, a book based on the Bible.  Scripture is rarely used, and when it is it usually is taken out of context or distorted.  There are references along the way of the assertive side of Jesus, and a helpful appendix doing the same, but the principles found within this volume do not primarily emerge from Scripture. And therein lies the major flaw of…

Family Integraded Church by J. Mark Fox

I believe this book is mistitled.  Rather than a detailed study of how to structure and run a family-integrated local church, Fox has given us a chronicle of the history and philosophy of the church he has pastored for 18 years.  To be sure, one of the key components of Antioch Community Church is the centrality of the family and the importance of parents, particularly fathers, to disciple their own children.  But the book is much broader than that and includes his view on everything from elders to church finances to body life to church planting.  The majority of Fox’s ecclesiastical philosophy is grounded in Scripture and well worth considering.  Many pastors and churches would benefit by adopting much of Fox’s understanding of the New Testament church.  Fox uses a folksy writing style which might appeal to some but may seem a little casual to others.   He talks about the…

Important Books

(June/July 2010 – Volume 16, Issue 3) The evangelical press is pouring out hundreds of new books every year, most are forgettable but a few leave a valuable imprint upon the Christian community.  Given the limited amount of time that even a serious student has to read it is important that attention is given to books that make a difference.  I would like to devote this edition of Think on These Things to a few recent volumes that have caught the attention of many today.  These are books that I am being asked about via e-mail or as I travel to conferences.  Some are most helpful, others are of a serious concern, and others are mixed bag. Crazy Love by Francis Chan The basic thesis of Crazy Love is sound.  Since God loves us with a crazy, inexplicable love, our love for Him should be just as crazy and our…

Edinburgh 2010

(April/May 2010 – Volume 16, Issue 2) Those knowledgeable of current church history and missiology in particular are probably familiar with Edinburgh 1910.  It was considered to be the greatest missionary conference to that date and subsequently has proven to be the most influential.  In honor of its centennial, four major conferences are planned for 2010, having been in development since 2005[1] (along with many smaller venues), all connected with and under the umbrella of Edinburgh 2010.  The first will be in Tokyo, May 11-15.  Edinburgh is next up on June 2-6, followed by Cape Town, October 16-25 and finally Boston, November 4-7.  Each conference is somewhat independent, with different rosters of speakers, papers and agendas; however they are working in cooperation and will be sharing their research and attempting to set directives and initiatives for future world outreach. Edinburgh 1910 It is significant for our analysis of these conferences…

My Favorite Books – Part 3

(December 2009/January 2010 – Volume 15, Issue 7) A little over five years ago I wrote two papers identifying my favorite books in various categories.  At this time I want to supplement that list for a couple of reasons.  First, as readers of my articles and book reviews know, Think on These Things is largely a discernment ministry and, as such, many of our reviews are of a warning nature.  Some have even asked if I am in agreement with any book.  My standard answer is that I certainly am, as long as, and to the extent that, the book is faithful to Scripture.  Realizing that all human efforts fall short at some point, it is important that we endeavor to be Bereans and examine books, not for the purpose of criticism, but for their compliance to the revealed Word of God.  With that in mind, listed below are numerous…

The Spirit of Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Reviewed by Bob DeWaay Published by Twin City FellowshipCritical Issues CommentaryP.O. Box 26127 St. Louis Park, MN 55426 Practices called “spiritual disciplines” that are deemed necessary for “spiritual formation” have entered evangelicalism. Recent encounters with this teaching narrated to me by friends caused me to investigate these practices. The first experience involved my friend and co-worker Ryan Habbena who went back to seminary to finish his masters degree. Here is his experience in his own words: I recently took a seminary course on the book of Luke. It was a summer intensive and was one of only two classes being offered at the time. About midway through the week, while the class was steeped in trying to discern the intent and significance of the book of Luke, we began to hear the echoes of mystic chanting coming through the walls. As it turned out, the other class being offered was…

Pastoring With Both Eyes Opened – Part 2

(January 2009 – Volume 15, Issue 1)  In our last Think on These Things paper the issue of the two major enemies facing pastors was being discussed. There the enemy of internal conflicts within the body of Christ was the subject. In this paper we will turn our attention to the external enemy of false teaching. False Teaching Perhaps the most ignored promise found in the New Testament is 2 Peter 2:1-3: But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. Peter…

Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutics – Part 1

(October 2006 – Volume 12, Issue 9)  Since the beginning of the New Testament era students of Scripture have wrestled with the influences of culture on biblical interpretation. William Webb in his book, Slaves, Women and Homosexuals, defines this “cultural component” as “those aspects of the biblical text that ‘we leave behind’ as opposed to ‘take with us’ due to cultural differences between the text’s world and the interpreter’s world as we apply the text to subsequent generations.”[1] Said more simply, which mandates, commands and instructions found in Scripture are to be directly applied today and which are to be seen as cultural and thus of no real consequence to the modern believer, except perhaps in principle? Specifically, issues such as the following have to be addressed by the exegete: Are we still mandated to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28), even though the world is…

The Biblical View of Self-Image

(September 1996 – Volume 2, Issue 11) The fact is that the self-image movement is neither Biblical nor scientific. It is a fad that will eventually pass away after doing incredible damage in our society and unfortunately in all too many churches. By God’s grace and the truth of His Word, believers need not be taken in by Satan’s lies. We can choose to live by the infallible, never changing Word of God! Few would disagree with the following statement: How people think of themselves will to a large degree determine how they will think of others, how they will think of God, how they will obtain and maintain all their relationships, and how they will make decisions. There is no area of life that will not be directly or indirectly affected by the way we view ourselves. However, there are two vastly different views on the subject of self-image:…

Turning to God – Part 2

(December 2000 – Volume 6, Issue 12) As I began a long walk, I realized that a small rock was in my shoe. I could either continue to walk without removing the rock, live with the irritation and possibly rub a blister on my foot, or I could remove the rock. Repentance has become that kind of irritation for much of modern Christianity. Some, such as Zane Hodges, believe that repentance has no connection with salvation whatsoever, “Though genuine repentance may precede salvation… it need not do so. And because it is not essential to the saving transaction as such, it has in no sense a condition for the transaction” (Absolutely Free, p. 146). Others, such as Charles Ryrie, see repentance as necessary but redefine it to mean, “Changing one’s mind about his former conception of God and disbelief in God and Christ” (So Great Salvation p. 98). In other…

Wild at Heart – Part 2

(May 2004 – Volume 10, Issue 5)  Last month we began an evaluation of the extremely popular book Wild at Heart authored by John Eldredge. At that time we identified a number of concerns with Eldredge’s message. We will now conclude this evaluation with some even deeper concerns. UNBIBLICAL VIEWS OF SATAN How deeply Eldredge has indulged himself in the unbiblical spiritual warfare methodology so popular today is hard to tell, but there is no question that he misunderstands the devil. First, he believes the devil fears the courageous Christian man (pp. 87, 166). On the contrary, God warns us of our arrogance in attempting to deal with the devil (Jude 8-10; 2 Peter 2:10-12), and calls for us to stand firm (Ephesians 6:10-13) and resist, not attack (1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:6). Next, rather than recognizing that our sinful flesh is the primary, if not exclusive, source of our evil…

Postmodernism – Part 3

(December 2002 – Volume 8, Issue 9)  “Postmodernity and Society” Having raced far too briefly through an overview of postmodernism, we will now turn our attention to an equally brief account of this worldview’s impact on society. Let’s begin with Western culture. Since absolute truth has been rejected, how does a postmodern society function? There exists a number of identifiable pillars propping up the postmodern vision – each of these pillars depend upon the others to prevent collapse of the system. As we will see, postmodernity is an inconsistent philosophy at best. Truth Is Communal We documented in an earlier paper that while postmodernity rejects absolute, universal truth, it does not reject all standards of truth. Drawing from the well of existentialism, which championed individualized truth, this newer worldview (which by the way claims to reject worldviews) believes in communal truth. That is, each culture creates its own truth, and the…

Islam – Part 1

(January 2002 – Volume 8, Issue 1)  Before September 11th, most of us had little understanding of, and/or interest in the Islamic religion, but all of that has changed. What kind of people, we now want to know, purposely destroy so many innocent lives in the name of their God? Evil and wicked people we understand, but the Muslim fanatics claim to be righteous. They seem to actually believe that they are waging a great war between good and evil, and that they are the ones wearing the white hats. What, if anything, does Islam teach that could lead these men to murder people, even at the expense of their own lives, while believing they are pleasing God? Are the terrorists representative of the Islamic faith or a fanatical fringe? These are important questions, especially in light of so much misleading information about Islam pouring from our media. The Islamic religion…

The Market-Driven Church – Part 2

(July 2000 – Volume 6, Issue 7)  David Wells bemoans concerning the new paradigm church, “Much of it…is replete with tricks, gadgets, gimmicks, and marketing ploys as it shamelessly adapts itself to our emptied-out, blinded, postmodern world. … There is too little about it that bespeaks the holiness of God. And without the vision for any reality of this holiness, the gospel becomes trivialized, life loses its depth, God becomes transformed into a product to be sold, faith into a recreational activity to be done, and the Church into a club for the like-minded” (Losing Our Virtue, by David Wells, p. 180). Damaging accusations; are they true? The standard rhetoric coming from new paradigm churches is that they teach the same message, the same gospel, as the more traditional evangelical churches, they differ only in methodology and philosophy of ministry. Lee Strobel (former Teaching Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church) writes,…

The Emerging Church – Part 3

(June 2006 – Volume 12, Issue 6)  How those professing to be believers understand the message of the gospel will determine how they view their mission in this life. Since the emergent church sees the gospel not merely as the redemption of lost souls but also as the restoration of the planet and salvation from man’s inhumanity to man, they comprehend their task as Christians differently from that of most evangelicals. They call it “missional”. Emergent Mission: Missional Missional is a term that seems to be drawn from the writings of missiologist Lesslie Newbigin who pops up all over emergent literature. It is difficult to pin down a good definition of missional, but it seems to mean that as Christians we exist to serve. We serve by loving and living in such a way that we bless those around us. But more than that, we are to be engaged in changing…

Fire on the Altar by Noel Gibbard

Fire on the Altar is a brief historical account of the 1904-05 Welsh Revival. The Welsh Revival is of particular interest because it is considered by many to be the last great evangelical revival in the Western world. Many today desire and pray for this very kind of revival. So what was it like? Was it a true revival from the Spirit of God or a sham? Unfortunately Gibbard’s account did not answer these questions. It reads more like a newspaper documentation detailing the where, what and when but seldom dips below the surface. What were the leaders of the Revival, especially Evan Roberts, really like? We discover that he was a recent convert (p. 30), was quite eccentric (pp. 44, 46, 76-80, 85-87, 153) and suffered a nervous breakdown toward the end of the Revival (p. 190), but little more. What was the theology behind the Revival? Once again…

Promise Keepers (an update) – Part 5

(June/July 1997 – Volume 3, Issue 5) The Teachings of Psychobabble Promise Keepers appears to have two primary goals: 1. To develop godly men — “Promise Keepers is a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to uniting men through vital relationships to become godly men who influence their world” (Men of Action, Fall 1993, p4). 2. To unify Christians and churches — “We believe that we have a God-given mission to unite men who are separated by race, geography, culture, denomination and economics” (Ibid). In an earlier study (Promise Keepers an update, Part II) we examined in detail the ecumenical nature of Promise Keepers and found its stance in this area to be unbiblical. It is the subject of developing godly men that we wish to address at this time. We applaud Promise Keepers’ stated desire in this area and we do not wish to question their motives. Our concern is with the “how-to.”…

Promise Keepers (an update) – Part 1

(February 1997 – Volume 3, Issue 1)  Midwest Today magazine opens its coverage of Promise Keepers with these important questions: “How faithful to the Word of God is the Promise Keepers men’s movement? How close of an association do its founders and board members have with the Charismatic fringe? What theology is really being espoused by its guest speakers, and its numerous books, videos and other materials that carry the Promise Keeper imprimatur?” It then adds, “These and other legitimate questions have largely been overlooked as this evangelical men’s group attracts uncritical and enthusiastic press coverage, and its ranks of members swell with every big conference it holds.” It is the intention of this paper, and those that follow, to carefully examine the above questions. That Promise Keepers is successful is beyond question; however, whether it is a movement of God, that honors the Lord and should be supported by His…

Promise Keepers – Part 2

(February 1995 – Volume 1, Issue 4)  Paul warns Timothy that a time would come when people would seek teachers who would tell them what they wanted to hear. PK is just such an organization. Our last newsletter dealt with the fast growing movement known as Promise Keepers. We praise PK for its goal of producing godly men. But we are greatly concerned with its view of sanctification. Scripture clearly teaches that godly people (we find no distinction in the Biblical instructions for men or women — we both grow through the same means) mature as they feed on the Word of God (I Pet 2:2).We become adequate and equipped for every good work as we allow the Word to change us (II Tim 3:15-4:3). In the context of this last passage Paul warns Timothy of the time coming when people will seek teachers that give them what they want to…

The House Assembly by Albert James Dager

Dager describes his book as “a guide for those desiring to start a house assembly after the pattern of the first-century ecclesia.” In truth he does a pretty good job of accomplishing his stated goal. For those who, out of necessity or desire, wish to establish and/or participate in a house church, Dager’s book has much to offer. There are some excellent chapters on church leadership, spiritual gifts, and functioning of the body. He supports biblical positions on women’s role in the church, baptism, and the gospel and has an interesting appendix on music. While there is much to commend in The House Assembly, there is also much that is disturbing as well. First, Dager paints with an extremely broad brush. In his mind, virtually all traditional churches are apostate, all pastors are control-freaks, out for the money and personal gain, and everyone in the traditional church has misunderstood the…

Jim and Casper Go to Church by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper

Jim Henderson, former pastor and co-founder of Off the Map, a ministry which helps Christians communicate with non-Christians, teams up with Matt Casper, a confirmed atheist, to visit and critique evangelical churches across America. Henderson wanted to communicate to church leaders what the unchurched perceive when they attend church, “What do first-timers see? How are they treated? What are the central messages they glean? How do they process the experiences? On what basis do they decide whether or not to return” (p. xi). To this end, Jim hires Casper to travel the country with him giving his observations of church services from an unbeliever’s viewpoint. The concept is intriguing, if not doomed from the start. It is flawed because the Lord has already informed us that the gospel is foolish to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). The church gathered is, according to Scripture, the people of God who have come…

The Voice of Luke, Not Even Sandals by Brian McLaren

The Voice of Luke is part of “The Voice Project” sponsored by the Ecclesia Bible Society. The project is derived from the concept that people today think, and therefore, need to read differently. “Instead of propositional-thought patterns, people today are more likely to interact with events and individuals through complex observations involving emotions, cognitive processes, tactile experiences, and spiritual awareness” (p. ix). It is for this reason the goal of “The Voice Project” to tell the story of the Bible in a narrative format, in order that the “passion, grit, humor and beauty” which is often lost in most translations, is recaptured. “One way to describe this approach is to say that it is a ‘soul translation’ not just a ‘mind translation’” (p. x). The editors admit, however, that their translations of Scripture are really a cross between translation and paraphrase, a “retelling” which seeks to bring “the biblical narratives…

The Wealthy Barber/The Beardstown Ladies’ Stitch-in-Time Guide to Growing your Nest Egg by David Chilton/The Beardstown Ladies

Here are two excellent books, dispensing pretty much the same financial advice, but from unique angles. The Wealthy Barber is especially suited for men, full of snappy comebacks, smart-aleck remarks and allusions to sports. Rather than simply laying out financial principles Chilton takes a more entertaining approach, which is stated in the Preface. “Rather than inundating you with intimidating charts and graphs and a series of lifeless numbers, The Wealthy Barber will both entertain and inform you. Through fictional conversations between Roy Miller, our financial hero, and his barbershop patrons, you will learn that sound financial planning is not only relatively simple, but it can also be fun.” Stitch-in-Time was the second effort by the famous Beardstown ladies on the subject of money and investing. The first, The Beardstown Ladies’ Common-sense Investment Guide, chronicled the ladies’ investment club success in the financial world, and is filled with helpful information on…

Sex and the Supremacy of Christ by John Piper (Editor)

Thirteen different authors contributed to this volume and, as with all such works, the contributions will be somewhat uneven and overlapping. Nevertheless, most of the efforts are biblical and helpful and a few are outstanding. Sex and the Supremacy of Christ is divided into five parts, each part addressing a different aspect of the subject. Part 1: “God and Sex” written by Piper and Ben Patterson sets the agenda, but is easily the weakest section of the book (more on this later). Part 2: “Sin and Sex” is the highlight of the book. David Powlison has written one of the finest essays found anywhere related to this subject. His chapter, “Making All Things New: Returning Pure Joy to the Sexually Broken,” should be mandatory reading for all those struggling with sexual sin. Mohler’s chapter on homosexuality handles that particular sin well. Part 3: “Men and Sex” first addresses the single…

The History of Think on These Things

(June 2005 – Volume 11, Issue 6)  This past winter Think on These Things Ministries quietly celebrated its 10-year anniversary. As we take time to reflect back over this past decade, we marvel at the many dear and like-minded friends who have partnered with us to ring loud the timeless and uncompromising truths of the precious Word of God. In this month’s edition of Think on These Things we thought it might be enjoyable to share with you the many exciting ways God has used this humble, yet vital outreach ministry of Southern View Chapel for His glory. Front (L to R): Kris Cole, Linda Kestner, Bev Byerline, Esther Rader(Office Staff); Marsha Gilley, Proof ReaderBack (L to R): Doug Kestner, Multimedia; Dave Cunningham,Director of Operations; Don Rader, Editor; Doug Cantrall, Editor;Gary Gilley, General Editor & AuthorNot Pictured: Angie Hodel, Proof Reader   Many of you are aware that Think on These…

The Gospel According to Warren

(July 2005 – Volume 11, Issue 7)  No one has exemplified the market-driven approach better than Rick Warren, pastor of the huge Saddleback Church in southern California and author of The Purpose-Driven Church and The Purpose-Driven Life. While Warren is open and up-front about his philosophy, strategy and methods, nevertheless things are not always as they appear. For example, “purpose-driven” sounds better than “market-driven” but it is basically the same thing. In his book The Purpose-Driven Life, his opening statement is, “It is not about you,” then turns around and writes a whole book about “you.” He belittles pop-psychology then repeatedly promotes it by simply calling it something else. He publicly cuts ties with Robert Schuller, then regurgitates some of the most odious things that Schuller has been teaching for thirty years. He claims commitment to the Scriptures then undermines them at almost every turn. He will tell his followers that…

Sports and the Christian

(July 2006 – Volume 12, Issue 7)  It is amazing to think that perhaps the most popular song in America today is “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Think about it. During the seventh-inning stretch at nearly every ballpark in the country, millions and millions of fans sing this silly but addictively catchy little song. We all know it. We can all sing it (“for it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the ol’ ballgame!”). Why would such a silly song about a ballgame be so popular? Why does my six-year old daughter know most of the words to that song? Why do grown men and women fumble around with the words to “The Star Spangled Banner” but know every word to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? The answer to all of these questions is no less than obvious—it is because we live in a global culture that is…

The Toronto Blessing and the Laughing Revival

(October 1999 – Volume 5, Issue 10)  Something happened on January 10, 1994, at a Vineyard Church near the Pearson International Airport in Toronto, that was unique in the history of Christianity. While some point back to somewhat similar phenomena during the Welsh Revivals, Cane Ridge Revivals (1800-1801), Charles Finney (1800s), and even the Great Awakening (1734-47), all of these pale in comparison to the claims of the “Laughing Revival” that received its energy, if not origin, on that cold day in Canada. Supporters say that on this occasion the Holy Spirit was poured out on that small congregation, resulting in spontaneous, uncontrollable laughter. Thus began a “revival” that continues to this day and has impacted churches throughout the world. Hundreds of thousands of visitors, including thousands of pastors, have attended the services at the Toronto Airport Vineyard (now called the Airport Christian Fellowship) in hopes of catching and transporting the…

Pentecostalism

(December 1999 – Volume 5, Issue 12)  Pentecostalism has become the fastest growing segment of Christianity. “It is growing at a rate of 13 million a year, or 35,000 a day. With nearly a half billion adherents, it is, after Roman Catholicism, the largest Christian tradition” (Christian History, “The Rise of Pentecostalism,” issue no. 58, vol. XVII no. 2, p.3). In addition, the largest church in the world (the Yoi Do Full Gospel Church) is a Pentecostal church in Korea, pastored by David Yongii Cho, with a weekly worship attendance of 240,000. Two Pentecostal Churches in Buenos Aires attract together 150,000 each week (ibid.). Just who are the Pentecostals, how did they originate and what do they believe? The intent of this paper is to answer these questions. Pentecostal History Most consider the father of Pentecostalism to be Charles Parham, a young college student from Kansas with roots in the Methodist…

A Matter of Purity

(January 2004 – Volume 10, Issue 1)  As the author of Hebrews begins to wrap up his intensely doctrinal epistle, he makes it clear that doctrine has as its goal the changing of lives. It matters little how much theology you know; it matters little if you write doctrinal treatises on the Melchizedekian priesthood of Jesus Christ; it matters little if you can understand and explain everything in this epistle; if this knowledge does not change your life, it is of little value. What does it matter if I know all of these things and more: If I can’t be kind to my wife and kids at home; if I am in constant battle with people at work; if I am hard to get along with, mean spirited, divisive, easily offended, a gossip or lack concern (Hebrews 13:1-3)? If I can’t live in moral purity or I live for the same…