Tag Archives: Bible

Review: Mark: a Commentary by RC Sproul

Mark: Saint Andrews Expositional Commentary
Mark: Saint Andrews Expositional Commentary by R.C. Sproul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four stories about Jesus and this is the oldest.  It is also the quickest since every event in Jesus’ life seems to have happened immediately after the last.  Yet what sets this account apart is that it speaks dramatically of Christ’s authority and the draw that he had as people heard and felt the weight of that connection to the Father.

In his signature style, R.C. Sproul present this full exposition of the gospel account with Christ’s authority as its central theme.  His accessible discourse provides a look at the gospel nearly verse by verse as he not only talks about the passage itself, but connects it with the rest of the book and its significance to the life of Christ and our foundational belief as Christians.

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I Am Not a Christ-Follower; I’m a Christian

“There is just so much baggage with that term,” said a friend of mine when asked why she does not call herself a Christian.  “I don’t want what I call myself to be a stumbling block for people to know who Jesus is.  There have been so many people who call themselves ‘Christian,’ and yet do not live like they are.”  This is a clear refrain that I hear over and over from people in our churches who have shed what they consider an archaic term for the more “politically correct” term of “Christ-follower.”  The trouble is that it is not just a term that will quickly, if it has not already, become archaic itself, but it is a term that undermines the whole concept of what being a Christian is all about.

And let’s be honest, if the idea is to not offend people then we need to go back to the words of Christ himself.  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11 ESV).  In other places he explicitly says that people are offended by the truth of God, so any way we try to sugar-coat the truth by our terminology will go stale.

If you call yourself a “Christ-follower,” I hope the following points will help you to reconsider and take a stand by embracing who you are in Christ.

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Review: The Bondage of the Will

books

The Bondage of the WillThe Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wish I had known about this book when I was in high school. For much of my formative years I have struggled with seeing free will in the Bible, being taught about the “age of accountability” and told that it was very explicit in the pages of Scripture. It came down to a single decision: stand alone on the argument against free will or submit to the teaching of the church. Submit was what I thought was my only option.

Happy I was to find out more than a year ago that I was not alone: there are many people who agree that there is no free will in the face of God’s omnipotence. Not only that, but it is not a new idea at all. Martin Luther does a masterful job in this classic of laying out the teaching of the Bible and its very staunch view of God’s action in drawing us to himself as the only way to be reconciled to him.

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Study of Hebrews: “The Builder of All Things”

Jesus, transfigured, with Moses and Elijah

< Hebrews 2:5-19 | Hebrews 3:1-6 | Hebrews 3:7-4:13 >

Whenever I have conversations with skeptics about the basics of the Christian faith, I inevitably point out that Christianity is not a system of morals but the story of God’s rescue of his people.  The response is typically varied disseminations of puzzlement because, for whatever reason, it is difficult to imagine Christianity not being about thou shalts and thou shalt nots.

“But, Aaron,” I hear from my fellow Christians, “what about the Ten Commandments? What about Jesus’ command to love God above all else and love one another as ourselves?”  Indeed there is much in the Bible about right ways of living and doing good deeds.  Jesus himself challenges us to “take up [our] cross and follow [him].”  Was this the reason that Jesus came?  If his intention was to give us a good example to live by then why did he have to die?

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Study of Hebrews: “Not Ashamed To Call Them Brothers”



< Hebrews 2:1-4 | Hebrews 2:5-19 | Hebrews 3:1-6 >

Several years ago during a class on sexual abuse, a prof shared a song by Nichole Nordeman with the class called “Small Enough.”  I was taken by the heart and the pathos of the song, especially in the context of talking with people who had been victimized by those who were supposed to care for them most.

Oh, Great God, be small enough to hear me now.
There were times when i was crying
from the dark of Daniel’s den,
and I have asked You once or twice
if You would part the sea again.
But tonight i do not need a fiery pillar in the sky,
just wanna know You’re gonna hold me if i start to cry.
Oh, Great God, be small enough to hear me now.

So far the author of Hebrews has presented Christ as “very big.”  He is the one who sits on the throne, the Son of God, and the one of whom God witnessed with signs and wonders.  The next verses, however, begin to paint a seemingly contradictory picture, yet it is in the very nature of God to be both: God the Father is different yet synonymous with God the Son.

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