When the people of Berea heard even Paul and Silas preach, they “received the word with all readiness of the mind,” they didn’t just reject it without first hearing it, but they also examined “the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:10-11). For even such prominent speakers, the Bible does not berate the Bereans for comparing what was said with Scripture.
The writer of Hebrews, after quoting from Jeremiah’s announcement of the New Covenant that appears in Jeremiah 31, states, “In that he says, ‘A new covenant,’ he has made the first old. But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away” (Hebrews 8:13). Despite this, most Dispensationalists assert that the New Covenant has not yet come into effect and is not for Gentile believers anyway. Covenant Theologians hold that the New Covenant is merely a new administration of the Old Covenant and, thus, the Old Covenant has never really ended. Others, who don’t fall into either of these two camps, concede that believers are under the New Covenant, but maintain that what they call “the moral laws” of the Old Covenant still have authority over Christians. Who’s right? Does it matter? Can a wrong understanding of the covenants actually be harmful?
16 Nov. 2016: The United States has now come through one of the most rancorous presidential election campaigns in history. Unfortunately, the candidates weren’t the only ones exchanging acrimonious remarks. Their followers—if not in person, then online—also became guilty of spitting venom at each other and spreading disinformation. Sadly, some of these people styled themselves as Christians. If these things happened during the campaigning, what will happen when one of the most controversial Presidents ever elected takes office? Christians may find themselves confused over when and how to respond to situations that may arise. At this time, in this article, I want to address some general principles Jesus and His apostles gave us for responding to times of turmoil and civil unrest.
The world loves celebrities, stars, heroes, and superheroes. Although the production of superhero live-action films, animations, and television series constitutes a multi-billion dollar industry, we’re not satisfied with purely fictional heroes. We also take movie stars, television personalities, musicians, authors, chefs, medical professionals, even scientists, philosophers, and religious gurus of various beliefs, and we turn them into idols. We even have the various Idol and Idol-type shows around the globe in which we look for more idols. Given this penchant for elevating mere humans to larger-than-life status, it shouldn’t be surprising that we then apply our desire for idols to Christian speakers and writers.
There’s been an unfortunate mix-up. It’s happened because a lot of people, non-Christians as well as (very unfortunately) Christians, have not properly applied certain Scriptures that apply to two very different realms. In some of these Scriptures, Jesus Christ gives commands to His followers. Other Scriptures express God’s expectations for civil government. So, we have the followers of Jesus, and we have civil government. You might think it would be easy to keep these two distinct. But that’s not what’s happened. They keep getting confused.
This article is an attachment to Martin Luther’s “How Christians Should Regard Moses.” I trust you have read that sermon or will soon read it. I have several points I want to make about Luther’s sermon.
Progressive Sanctification, View One: Grace Plus Works or Cooperation
In this view, grace and works are usually seen as more or less balanced. Theologian Wayne Grudem is one representative of this view. He believes that sanctification is “a work in which God and man cooperate each playing distinct roles” (“Sanctification (by Wayne Grudem)“). Although admitting that an “initial moral change is the first stage in sanctification” (ibid.), he says “this moral change is actually a part of regeneration [but] we can also see it as the first stage in sanctification” (ibid.). His emphasis is largely on progressive sanctification. He writes, “Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives” (ibid.). To Grudem, sanctification is not just a work of God; it is a work of God and man.
What is the relationship between Jesus being made our sanctification and the works Bible teachers often tell us we must do for our sanctification?
Why does the Bible seem to teach sanctification by works in some places and by grace in others? Do the writers of the New Testament contradict each other, or are we sanctified by both works and grace? Or, perhaps the Bible gives an answer to the sanctification puzzle that we don’t often hear about.
Is knowing the precise number of hours Jesus Christ’s dead body lay in the tomb of any great significance? Worldwide Church of God (WCG) founder Herbert W. Armstrong (1892–1986) would have had you believe it is. The WCG published The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday and The Crucifixion Was Not on Friday.Both of these booklets—the first written by Armstrong and the second by Armstrong’s disciple, Herman L. Hoeh (1928–2004)—cover this subject.