Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Seven) (August-December 2019)
Early Christians, particularly the Jews among them, failed to realize just how indispensable Jesus Christ is to salvation. Their misunderstanding stemmed from their connections to the Old Covenant and its rituals. John Ritenbaugh summarizes why the epistle of Hebrews is so vital to Christians then and now: It explains the unique place and power of Christianity's High Priest.
Excellence in Character (Part Two) (August-December 2019)
The Bible speaks a great deal about virtue, those excellencies of character that imitate the holy and righteous character of Jesus Christ. Martin Collins explains that Scripture defines virtue as a strength or power that disciplined people use to produce beautiful traits of goodness.
Cleansing God's People (August-December 2019)
God chose the people of Israel to be a holy people, an example of righteousness before the world. However, the Bible testifies that they turned from God early and often. David Grabbe explores the prophecies of Haggai 2 that foretell the good news of Israel's future cleansing and blessing through the work of Jesus Christ.
Unity and Division: The Blessing and the Curse (Part Five) (August-December 2019)
Most of the twelve curses recited by the tribes of Israel on Mount Ebal contain a common theme: They focus on secret sins, hypocrisies. In closing his series, Charles Whitaker emphasizes that our Savior desires our total commitment to the truth and to Him, and unless they repent, hypocrites will find themselves among those to whom Christ will say, "I never knew you."
Rebels With a Cause (August-December 2019)
It is not unusual for various groups to protest in support of their various causes, but since the end of 2019, we have witnessed frequent, passionate, and violent demonstrations all over the world. Joseph Baity sees these marches—some of which have turned violent—as signs of increasing instability and conflict.
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Six) (March-July 2019)
American culture is in obvious decline, and it is undoubtedly linked to the fact that mainstream Christianity is bereft of moral leadership. While it may turn around, the outlook is bleak. John Ritenbaugh exhorts the reader to remember God's purpose for humanity, which His Word reveals and which He is working tirelessly to accomplish.
Unity and Division: The Blessing and the Curse (Part Four) (March-July 2019)
During the wilderness trek of the children of Israel, God commanded the people to utter blessings from Mount Gerazim and curses from Mount Ebal after they entered the Promised Land. Charles Whitaker comments on the twelve curses, most of which deal with, not obvious sins, but more hidden ones that give rise to hypocrisy among those who claim to follow God.
This Body of Death (March-July 2019)
Under the guise of justice, the Romans were masters of cruelty and torture. We need to look only at their extensive practice of crucifixion to realize how true this is. Ted Bowling describes a lesser-known method of torture in which convicted murderers were shackled to their victims, a picture of a sinful individual's relationship with his iniquities.
The Pope Edits Jesus (March-July 2019)
One line of Jesus Christ's model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 reads, "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." Though these words come from the lips of our Savior Himself, the current Pope, Francis, says that Jesus is wrong: God does not lead us into temptation, but we fall into temptation. Richard Ritenbaugh examines the Pope's reasoning and finds it wanting.
Excellence in Character (Part One) (March-July 2019)
In this world, living virtuously is not easy. Those who try to do right often suffer ridicule and face some form of discrimination when they fail to join their more sinful acquaintances in their wickedness. Martin Collins begins a three-part series on excellent character, showing that this world needs to see examples of everyday virtue, if only as a witness against it.
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Five) (January-February 2019)
If church members are to grow in grace and knowledge and be zealous in producing fruit to God's glory, they need to have their priorities in the right place. John Ritenbaugh focuses on Christ's words in His Sermon on the Mount about laying up treasures in heaven, explaining that we will avidly pursue what we value. If we desire to attain to the Kingdom of God, we must desire what God desires.
Unity and Division: The Blessing and the Curse (Part Three) (January-February 2019)
The Bible contains many examples of division and even several that God Himself brought about as a result of His judgments. Charles Whitaker focuses on an Old Testament example of this, when God instructed the Israelites to divide themselves by tribes on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal to pronounce blessings and curses. This ancient division provides several lessons that can be applied to the church of God.
The Falling Away (January-February 2019)
The apostle Paul penned only a few prophecies in his many letters, and one that receives a great deal of interest is his foretelling of a falling away not long before Christ's return. David Grabbe unpacks the details of this prophecy, showing that the coming apostasy is worldwide in scope and will put tremendous pressure on members of the church to slip from belief in the truth.
Western Disquietude (January-February 2019)
The United States and the United Kingdom have for more than two centuries led the world politically, militarily, and economically. Lately, however, especially in the political realm, they are struggling to enact anything useful. Joseph Baity cites the American election of President Donald Trump and the British Brexit vote as causes of political infighting and partisan backbiting, bringing on governmental paralysis.
What Is Propitiation? (Part Two) (January-February 2019)
The subject of propitiation can be deeply complex. However, understanding three related Greek terms will help to frame propitiation properly, as the expression of God's mercy and grace. Martin Collins explains that Christ's propitiatory sacrifice satisfied both the law and God's holiness, allowing Him to extend mercy to believing, repentant sinners.
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Four) (September-December 2018)
Christians often spend so much time engaged in their present-day trials and tribulations that they fail to understand and learn from the experiences of Christians of the past. In the New Testament, God has supplied His church with multiple examples of the difficult times faced by the early church. John Ritenbaugh provides insight into how those experiences necessitated and shaped the epistle to the Hebrews.
Unity and Division: The Blessing and a Curse (Part Two) (September-December 2018)
A curious phenomenon ties together several well-known, biblical stories: God makes a judgment and divides His people into two groups, sometimes splitting them right down the middle! Noticing these divinely ordained separations, Charles Whitaker probes the various stories to show that God uses the act of division to reconfigure His people along lines we often do not expect.
The Elder Brother (September-December 2018)
Many sermons and articles - even books - have covered the Parable of the Prodigal Son, but most of them dwell on the relationship between the prodigal and his father, giving the elder brother short shrift. Ted Bowling gives the elder brother his due, explaining why Jesus adds his reaction to his younger brother's return.
If Famine Falls Upon Us (September-December 2018)
The prophet Amos foretells of a time when a famine of hearing the words of the Lord would fall upon Israel. People would search everywhere for it but fail to find the truth. Loren Saxton puts this prophecy into verse, seeing it being fulfilled in our day.
Denying God From the Pulpit (September-December 2018)
It would seem only appropriate that a person who fills the office of Christian minister would believe in the Christian God. That assumption, however, is proving to be less correct as society passes more deeply into the post-Christian era. Richard Ritenbaugh explores the admission of a United Church of Canada minister who openly proclaimed her atheism - and retained her pulpit.