Category Archives: Articles

A Brief Rebuttal to Churches that Continue to Meet During the Pandemic

Peter Ditzel

Image by rise-a-mui from Pixabay

I have to admit that I’m surprised. I didn’t expect churches would continue to meet as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. But the issue has even grown and become very divisive. I wrote my opinion on the subject here: “Love Your Neighbor in the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Briefly, my position is that, because of the high risk for spreading a deadly contagion, showing love to our neighbor means that we must not meet. We are also to obey the civil authorities (Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1), and these authorities are telling us to stay home. Yet, some pastors stubbornly refuse to close their churches. So, I want to briefly give a rebuttal to the churches that continue to meet during the pandemic.

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Love Your Neighbor in the Coronavirus Pandemic

Peter Ditzel

How not to love your neighbor. A picture of empty meat bins.
Empty meat bins in my local Walmart Supercenter. The shortages we’ve been experiencing aren’t due to a lack of supply. They’re happening because people are buying more than they need and hoarding.

I’m confident that all of you know that, as the born-again children of God, we’re to display the love of God to our brethren, to our neighbors, and even to our enemies. Love should be the hallmark of our lives. That’s beyond question. I don’t need to list the myriad Bible passages that tell us this. But what is questionable is this: During this coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic—circumstances that most of us have never before encountered—how can we best show love to others? When things change so radically and so quickly, there may be things that we’ve been doing all along that may now be blunders; they may even be harmful. And there may be ways to show love that we wouldn’t normally think of.

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Who Is the Man in Romans 7? | Part 2

The man in Romans 7 also said, "Who will deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!"
The man of Romans 7 sees the victory through Christ. Yet, he ends by saying, “So then with the mind, I myself serve God’s law, but with the flesh, the sin’s law” (verse 25b). How odd!
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Peter Ditzel

In Part 1, I covered Paul’s purpose in writing Romans, who his audience was, the historical context, and the textual context of Romans 7. In this final part, I will directly answer the question, “Who is the man of Romans 7?” I will also show you why learning the lesson of the man of Romans 7 is immensely important for Christians today.

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Who Is the Man in Romans 7? | Part 1

The man in Romans 7 says, "I was alive apart from the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" (verse 9). Picture credit: Monk Contemplating a Skull, Thomas Couture, Oil on Canvas, c. 1875
Who was once alive apart from the law, died when the commandment came, and was delivered by Jesus Christ?

Peter Ditzel

Who is the man in Romans 7? This is a continuing controversy among Christians and a question I am often asked. Usually, I’m asked whether I think the man is Paul before or after his conversion. I find it impossible to directly or quickly answer because it is the wrong question. But who is this man whom Paul refers to as “I,” and who seems to believe the Gospel while, at the same time, he struggles with the law and sin?

The only way to properly understand the answer to this question is to understand Paul’s purpose in writing Romans, the historical context of Paul’s letter to the Romans, and the textual context of Romans 7. I hope you’ll find this study as interesting as I do. I also hope you’ll see how relevant the lesson we will learn is to our spiritual lives today. For, while the man of Romans 7 is quite historical, his “ghost” still haunts us.

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Christian Humanism: Coming Soon to Your Neighborhood Church

Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1523. Oil and tempera on wood, National Gallery, London, on loan from Longford Castle. By Hans Holbein the Younger in 1523.
Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) was an influential Christian humanist. Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger in 1523.

Peter Ditzel

There’s a good chance that, if Christian humanism isn’t already playing at your neighborhood church, it soon will be. Christian humanism isn’t just one in a long list of heresies that have been bombarding Christianity lately; its doctrines are central to many of the others. Knowing how Christian humanism differs from the true Gospel will help us to root it out and “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

We’re probably familiar with the secular brand of humanism for its rejection of God and faith, and its emphasis on finding truth, defining morality, and wanting to build a better world entirely through human effort. Secular humanism is easy to mark as an enemy of the Gospel. But Christian humanism, because it does not outright reject God and faith, makes itself harder to discern. This brands Christian humanism a more dangerous adversary than its secular cousin. But the two are linked.

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God’s Wrath: Objections Answered

The Last Judgment by John Martin, 1853
Painter John Martin’s depiction of The Last Judgment is fanciful. Nevertheless, the Bible does tell us of a time of judgment followed by eternal life with God for some and wrath for others.

Peter Ditzel

In “God’s Wrath, Part 1” and “God’s Wrath, Part 2”, I showed proof from Scripture that God is loving and wrathful in both the Old and the New Testaments. In this article, I’d like to answer objections to the idea of God’s wrath.

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God’s Wrath | Part 2

God's Wrath illustrated in The Great Day of His Wrath by John Martin
This is an artist’s idea of God’s wrath. But the Bible does speak of God’s wrath as genuine. John Martin (1789-1854).

Peter Ditzel

In Part 1, we saw that God is love, but also examined several examples of God’s wrath in both the Old and New Testaments. This is proof that, contrary to what many people claim, God is both loving and wrathful in both testaments. In this last installment, we’ll see the importance of understanding God’s wrath and its relationship to the Gospel, learn how God can express both love and wrath, and answer some objections.

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God’s Wrath | Part 1

God's Wrath is exemplified by The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah. Painting by John Martin, 1852.
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is an example of God’s wrath upon the wicked. Is God still wrathful today?

Peter Ditzel

The apostle John says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). So, if God is love, what is this thing called God’s wrath? How can a loving God also be a wrathful God? Did God change from being a wrathful God in the Old Testament to being a loving God in the New? Are we misunderstanding something?

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2 Corinthians 13:5 – Examine Ourselves, or Not? | Pt 2

Instead of examining our own works, we should be focusing on Jesus only. Picture of a boy laughing with an open Bible on his lap. Photo by Ben White on Unsplash.
Instead of examining our own works, we should be focusing on Jesus only. It is then that we can have the joy of the full assurance of our salvation.

Peter Ditzel

In part 1, we saw that many interpret 2 Corinthians 13:5 to mean that we should examine our works for evidences of conversion. We also saw that the context shows that Paul’s focus was himself. He expected the Corinthians to see that the fact that they were believers proved that God had worked through him to bring about their conversion. They were to stop listening to people who were maligning him. Now, let’s look at another proof that this verse isn’t teaching us to examine ourselves for evidence of conversion.

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2 Corinthians 13:5 – Examine Ourselves, or Not?

A woman looking comtemplative and downcast. Did Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5 tell us to examine ourselves for evidences of conversion? Photo by Irene Strong on Unsplash
Did Paul tell us to examine ourselves for evidences of conversion?
Photo by Irene Strong on Unsplash

Part 1

Peter Ditzel

Are we Christians supposed to examine ourselves for evidences of conversion? Some very prominent pastors, preachers, and writers would answer yes. They say that we’re to take stock of whether we’re producing works of conversion. These works show that we are really saved. They base this on 2 Corinthians 13:5, in which Paul tells his readers to examine themselves and test themselves. But how does such a teaching square with the biblical assertion that our salvation is entirely by grace through faith? If we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, why should we look to our works as evidences of conversion? Are we to examine ourselves or not?

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