Christian Life

The Challenges of “The Benedict Option”

Sep 9th, 2017 | By
iipi09092017

I recently read Rod Dreher’s somewhat challenging and provocative book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. From my vantage point, Dreher’s analysis of North American culture and specifically the evangelical church is spot on. He writes: “The most pressing problem Christianity faces is not in politics. It’s in parishes. It’s with the pastors. Most of all, it’s among an increasingly faithless people.” The truth is Christianity is declining in the United States. He makes the following observations, supported by statistical data and other pieces of evidence:



The Church as an Advocate of Justice

Aug 19th, 2017 | By
iipi20170819

That God is a God of justice is a given. One of my favorite Minor Prophets is Amos, who rails against the injustice of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His rebukes are scathing, some of which could certainly apply to the North American church today. But the Bible makes clear that God’s perfect justice is always balanced by His grace, mercy and compassion. That, of course, is why He sent Jesus: To die a substitutionary death and thereby satisfy the righteous, just demands of a perfect, holy and righteous God. The Bible also makes clear that we, who have received the free gift of salvation by grace through faith, are to exhibit justice, grace, mercy and compassion to the world. Put another way, the church of Jesus Christ is to manifest justice, grace, mercy and compassion to this broken world.



Does Sin Affect the Human Ability to Think Clearly?

Jun 24th, 2017 | By
iipi20170622

In 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, the Apostle Paul makes an astonishing argument about the Holy Spirit’s role in enabling the Christian to think, reason and embrace truth. He contrasts the “wisdom” of the world with the “wisdom” of God. God’s wisdom is revealed, and human wisdom without God leads to foolishness and the defiant rejection of God’s wisdom. But when we have the Holy Spirit, this changes. Paul utilizes a logical argument:



Postmodern Perceptions of Biblical Christianity

Feb 18th, 2017 | By
iipi021817

The Postmodern, Post-Christian nature of Western Civilization reflects a change in how Postmodern people perceive biblical Christianity. For much of the late 20th century, genuine, biblical Christianity was regarded as irrelevant. In the early 21st century, it is regarded as bad for society. A recent study by the Barna Group, which is also reflected in David Kinnaman’s book, Good Faith, examines the perceptions of faith and Christianity in our Postmodern culture. The conclusion is that millions of adults now view biblical Christianity as extremist. Four short statements summarize Kinnaman’s research:



Sound Doctrine in a Secular Age

Oct 15th, 2016 | By
iipi101516

Ligonier Ministries recently released a study entitled its “2016 State of American Theology Study” conducted by LifeWay Research. Among other things, the study focused on six key doctrinal areas and where Americans differ on each theologically. The results evidence confusion, inconsistency and a superficial understanding of basic doctrinal truths. From the “Executive Summary” part of the report, here is a brief summary of several salient results of the study:



Thinking Biblically about the Human Conscience

Apr 16th, 2016 | By
hikers3

Romans 1:18-3:21 declares quite clearly that God has revealed Himself in three major ways: Through His creation, through human conscience and through His moral Law given to Israel. Further, Hebrews 1 (and indeed the entire New Testament) also makes clear that Jesus is God’s crowning revelation. Each of these four revelations of God insists upon a responsible and accountable response. In short, humanity cannot ignore these revelations of God.



The Meaning of Christ’s Incarnation

Dec 20th, 2014 | By
baby-jesus

For Christians, Christmas is about Incarnation—the Creator stooping to enter His creation. The Incarnation challenges the proposition that this is a purely physical and purposeless universe, inhabited by evolutionary accidents whose sense of self is probably illusive. The Incarnation also shatters myths about God: He is not distant and unreachable; He is not uncaring and unconcerned; He is not unmerciful and arbitrary. We thought we knew God, but the Incarnation proves us wrong. The Incarnation is about God revealing Himself in Jesus as the loving, compassionate, merciful, gracious Savior; the Creator is now forever identified with the creature.



Youth Ministry–Preparing Teens for Adulthood: A Re-evaluation

Nov 1st, 2014 | By
youth-group

The Youth Ministry model American churches have followed since World War II has not been a terribly effective one. It has not enhanced parent-teen relationships and has actually fostered a superficial, shallow Christianity among many young adults. Consciously or unconsciously, when children reach age 12 or so, parents “hand them off” to the youth leader, in effect saying, “I’m done; now you take over.” Often this model stresses fun, huge events (e.g., ski trips, retreats, wild antics, and occasional mission trips), but has little focus on the Bible, mentoring or a disciplined walk with God.



Christianity: What Does It Mean?

Sep 27th, 2014 | By
cross

When the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy of the early 20th century was brewing, one of Christianity’s greatest minds, J. Gresham Machen, wrote a book entitled Christianity and Liberalism which was published in 1921. In my judgment, it remains one of the most important books of the 20th century. It is relevant today for it reminds all of us who name the name of Christ, that the Christian faith is not only a faith commitment to Jesus Christ, but is also a set of doctrinal beliefs.



Evil and God’s Goodness

Jun 7th, 2014 | By
suffering_haiti

Bart Ehrman, religious scholar, bitter critic of biblical Christianity and former evangelical, has written, “The God I once believed in was a God who was active in the world.