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Category: Church Life

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    This series began by noting how we live in the Age of Feeling and Authenticity. We have come to see how Jesus can save us from it, how he can restore just sentiments like outrage, compassion, and joy. This leaves us with two hanging questions: First, how do we actually come to feel just sentiments the way Jesus did? Second, why Jesus’ feelings? Can’t we learn just sentiments from the emotional lives of Gandhi, or Mother Theresa, or Rosa Parks? Or from that friendly janitor, that magnanimous co-worker, or that self-giving mother? Or perhaps even from Homer’s Ulysses, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Aragorn, or J.K. Rowling’s Harry? Aren’t there a billion admirable feelers, real and fictional, who show us what life can look like beyond the confines of the modern fact box and the postmodern feeling box?

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    ... Because of the importance of Christian fellowship, it is important to distinguish biblical guidelines to guide and govern our interactions with other professing believers. This is especially true in a world such as ours, where there exists tremendous diversity in the beliefs and behaviors among those who call themselves Christians ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Recientemente las palabras diversidad, tolerancia y racismo se han convertido en temas centrales de nuestra sociedad. Muchos sucesos a nivel nacional, local y personal me han hecho reflexionar acerca de la importancia que como seguidores de Cristo tenemos para aportar luz a una sociedad que enfrenta realidades a las que en ocasiones no sabe cómo responder. También he notado que algunos cristianos están confundidos acerca de lo que es realmente importante y esencial en nuestra fe y qué es lo secundario en lo que podemos aceptar diferencias con gracia y amor. Es necesario que en estos tiempos podamos claramente hablar la verdad en amor a todos los que nos rodean para poder ser buenos embajadores de Cristo ...

  • Charlie Trimm — 

    Although I talk about many controversial topics in my classes, I receive no greater pushback from students than when I talk about the need for church discipline in churches today. We spend a class period introducing the topic, discussing various reasons why Americans do not like it, how to go about practicing all stages of church discipline, and reflecting on some difficult cases. The main point I want them to take away from the discussion and the assignment is to see how church discipline can be helpful for spiritual formation and encourage them to develop relationships in which their friends feel free to rebuke them over sin. For the assignment (see details below) I have them read a chapter on confession from our textbook on spiritual formation (Joanne Jung’s Knowing Grace), reflect on the practice of church discipline, and meet with a trusted friend or mentor to practice confession.

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    As we learn emotions from Jesus, not only does our blood start to boil (see Part 2) and our stomachs turn (see Part 3), he also shows our hearts how to beat with real joy. There is a stereotype floating around which says that Jesus and the faith he represents are about cold-hearted duty, doing the right thing at the expense of our happiness. There are enough grim-faced moralistic systems out that brandish the name of “Christianity” to keep the stereotype alive. But they have more in common with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant than with the kingdom of Jesus. The day after he stormed the Temple, Jesus returns to the same Temple courts to announce that his kingdom is like a big party, and everyone is invited; not a boarding school, not a boot camp, not a prison chain gang, but a party.

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    If we peer underneath Jesus’ table-flipping rage at the Temple (explored in Part 2), we find a still deeper emotion to reflect. Matthew’s account tells us that immediately after protesting the poor-oppressing, God-mocking Temple system, “the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them" (Matthew 21:14). What a beautiful moment. In it we see that Jesus was outraged not in spite of His care for people but precisely because of it. The very people marginalized and trampled under the religious power structure are brought into the spotlight and elevated by Jesus. (He has a way of doing that.) He didn’t take anything from them or treat them like chumps in a captive market. He gave them vision and sound bodies. He treated them like the intrinsically valuable human beings they each were—and all for free.

  • David Talley — 

    In Mark 9:1-13 we read about an unparalleled event in the Bible. It is absolutely amazing to let our imaginations wander to consider what the disciples actually witnessed. What a moment it must have been. But what does it actually mean to us? What can we learn from this event?

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    To see and experience something of Jesus’ emotions, let us join eighty to a hundred thousand religious pilgrims on their trek to the sacred city to worship at the Jewish Temple. It is Passover week. In order to participate in the traditional Temple offerings, people need doves or pigeons. Since worshippers need these birds, they were sold at the Temple at a premium price. You could get a more economical bird outside the Temple courts or lug one from home through the hot desert. However, every bird used in Temple rituals had to pass the rigid purity standards of the Temple’s in-house animal inspectors. Only inflated Temple-sold birds had the guaranteed certification of the scrupulous inspectors. In this way, the house of prayer had become a classic case of what economists call a “captive market.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Siempre me ha sorprendido el contraste entre las celebraciones del día de las madres y las del día del padre. Generalmente el día de las madres es una gran festividad y un motivo de alegría generalizado en el cual la mayoría reconoce la labor tan ardua y abnegada de las madres. Celebrar a la mamá es una obligación social que se asume con entusiasmo porque todos tienen motivos de sobra para hacerlo. Reconocer a los padres, sin embargo, no tiene el mismo peso social y la efusividad disminuye considerablemente. Ambos padres son importantes, pero pareciera que el énfasis y el reconocimiento son diferentes.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I wrote a book titled When The Church Was A Family. Considering its rather narrow focus, it has sold pretty well. I am particularly delighted that the book has become required reading in one of our Talbot Spiritual Formation courses. One person who has read When The Church Was A Family is Mark DeNeui. Mark is a New Testament scholar who has been training Christian leaders in Europe for over twenty years. He and his wife Lisa have been on furlough from the mission field and will shortly return to France. I was Mark’s youth pastor back in the late 1970s, I officiated at their wedding a decade or so later, and my wife and I have remained close to the DeNeuis all these years ...

  • John McKinley — 

    As with anything we touch, even good behaviors and initiatives can be twisted to harmful effects in our lives. The Bible holds out many precepts and instructions for right behaviors that are “acceptable” and “pleasing” to God. These guidelines are helpful for Christians to discern how to make choices in harmony with God, instead of in violation of God. The twist is when we mistakenly attempt to leverage the good actions we might do to prop up our sense of our acceptability before God. Many children learn from parents’ responses that behaviors can evoke positive and negative responses; how much of this learning is projected onto our relationship with God, our father in heaven? ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Me encanta la primavera, pero en esta temporada tengo que hacer lo que tanto lamento y pienso es una maldición que viene unida a la hermosura primaveral. Junto con las flores, árboles e incluso el césped, la hierba mala hace su aparición en mi jardín cada año a pesar de que nunca es bienvenida en mi casa. Me gusta mucho ver crecer las flores, los árboles y escuchar el sonido de los pájaros que visitan nuestro vecindario. Si bien pienso que cortar el césped es un mal necesario que tengo que hacer, realmente sería un poco más atractivo hacerlo si no tuviera que cortar también la hierba mala que piensa que está en competencia con el césped para ver quién crece más ...

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Doug Geivett is professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. He's recently published two books that focus on the New Apostolic Reformation. One is a shorter book titled God's Super-Apostles, and a longer one called A New Apostolic Reformation? A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement. Both can be purchased directly from the publisher or at amazon.com. Today's interview explores the nature and influence of this movement.

  • Mick Boersma — 

    ... When you think of unbelievers you know, I imagine you see some of them as more ‘open’ to the gospel than others. Whether we realize it or not, we often profile people as to their potential for faith. Appearances, careers, affiliations, social habits – these and other factors lead us to make assumptions about people. Zaccheus stands as one of those unlikely converts whose conversion represents the amazing love and mercy of our Lord ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    ... Teenagers need to be coached, not controlled, to help the growth towards adulthood responsibility develop. Coaches may still insist on how the “play” is executed so this is not a call for the abandonment of rules; but good coaches do more of teaching others how to do the work and do not take over the game itself. How sad it is for me as a college professor to watch a student who is unsure of how to make decisions for themselves, to take care of themselves in healthy, emotionally balanced and spiritually growing ways. Parents of teenagers need to think of the tasks that will enable a teen to live responsibly and healthy after leaving the comforts of a parent’s home ...

  • John McKinley — 

    Being a man, I have trouble with most emotions (when I am aware of them in myself or others). Often, my response to emotions is to think about the experience, but that tends to pin feelings down rather than give deeper expression to them. I’ve learned by trial and error to trust feelings by giving them my attention and expressing them momentarily as I sense them. I was able to practice this recently when faced with the loss of Bob Saucy ...

  • Tom Finley — 

    Dr. Bob Saucy was a skilled teacher, beloved colleague, and friend. He greatly influenced my own theology and path in life. Having studied under him at Talbot, I have known him for many years. He was a tremendous man of God and truly a "Distinguished Professor." He will be sorely missed at Talbot by students, alumni, staff, and faculty.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Are you a Friday person or a Sunday person? Each year Easter gives us a special opportunity to stop and recalibrate our outlook on life. What is the difference between a Friday person and a Sunday person? Well, a Friday person is basically a pessimist, viewing every circumstance in a negative light, and always anticipating the worst: That little noise under the hood probably means I need to have my engine rebuilt. I’ll never be able to please my demanding boss. Nobody likes me. I’ll never get out from under these financial pressures. I guess I’m just meant to have a lousy marriage. This persistent pain in my side is probably cancer. A Friday person is someone who looks at a half-glass of water and thinks, “A lot of good that’ll do. I have a whole forest fire to put out!”

  • Clinton E. Arnold — 

    Dr. Robert L. Saucy was a faculty member at Talbot for 54 years. He began teaching here in 1961—the year JFK was inaugurated as President, the Andy Griffith show made its debut, and Henry Mancini received a Grammy for “Moon River.” The Dean of Talbot, Dr. Charles Feinberg, hired Bob to Chair both the Systematic Theology Department and the Department of English Bible. At that time, Talbot was less than 100 students.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Weaver Book Company is sponsoring an Amazon.com giveaway of the Bible Fluency Complete Learning Kit. Up to five times, for each 100 entrants, one will receive a free copy of the Bible Fluency kit, including the teaching videos, flashcards, workbook, and music CD. Spread the word! The giveaway will last one week or until the fifth prize is awarded.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    A memorial service for Dr. Robert L. Saucy will be held on Sunday, March 29, 2015, 2-4 p.m. in the Chase Gymnasium at Biola University. A reception will immediately follow. For those who would like to attend and cannot be physically present, the service will be streamed live at http://watch.biola.edu/bobsaucy ...

  • John McKinley — 

    When I offered a new seminar course on Ecclesiology last semester, one of the books we discussed is Gregg R. Allison’s Sojourners and Strangers: the Doctrine of the Church (Crossway, 2012). This is the latest volume in the Foundations of Evangelical Theology series edited by John Feinberg. The book has several features to commend it for evangelical readers interested in ecclesiology. One characteristic throughout the book is the clear and well-organized writing style that is a model for students to see how ideas are presented, supported with evidence, and critiqued or nuanced. It is difficult to misunderstand Allison’s meaning and how all of his claims fit together.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    It has been five years since my dad, Javier Esqueda, passed away unexpectedly. The huge hole my family have without him will continue for the rest of our lives and it has been very hard to get used to the idea that he is not with us anymore. I still struggle to refer to my dad in the past tense when in casual conversations his name comes up, but I am sadly conscious that the present and the future will continue without him. My mom could have celebrated her 45 wedding anniversary last December, my two brothers could have celebrated their college graduations with their proud dad, my two children could have enjoyed their granddad (who I am sure would have spoiled them a lot), and I could have had the total support of a man who would advise me always, looking for my best interest; but all of these things were not and will never be possible.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Hace ya cinco años que mi papá, Javier Esqueda, falleció inesperadamente. El gran vacío que nos dejó sigue y seguirá presente por el resto de nuestras vidas y es muy difícil resignarse a su ausencia. Cuando en conversaciones casuales sale el tema de mi papá me cuesta trabajo referirme a él en el pasado, pero estoy tristemente consciente que el presente y el futuro seguirán sin su presencia. Mi mamá habría celebrado 45 años de casada el pasado diciembre, mis dos hermanos habrían celebrado sus graduaciones de la universidad con su orgulloso papá, mis dos hijos se habrían gozado con su abuelito que estoy seguro los habría consentido muchísimo y yo tendría el apoyo y el oído total de un hombre que me amara incondicionalmente y me daría sus consejos totalmente desinteresados buscando siempre lo mejor para mí, pero todo esto no pudo ni podrá ser ...

  • William Lane Craig — 

    I am a physician (pulmonology) and, until recently, a lifelong atheist, although one who saw great non-religious value in Judeo-Christian culture and civilization. I became increasingly convinced by the moral arguments that atheism could not lead to a society with moral values and thus by the moral arguments for God. Your site, and debates and your Reasonable Faith book, along with CS Lewis and other reading, now have me convinced in at least the likelihood of Christianity. My question is what are the next best steps for someone who has taken this rarer intellectual path towards Christianity? As someone who never attended Church, who has no preferred denomination or family tradition, it is a bit hard to know where to begin. Any advice would be welcomed. Thank you very much for your incredibly useful site and work and the clarity of thinking behind it ...