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.
What Is Propitiation? (Part One) (September-December 2018)
God and humankind are very different. God is spiritual, immortal, righteous, holy, and pure. Human beings, on the other hand, have the opposite attributes: physical, mortal, sinful, profane, and corrupt. Martin Collins begins a short series on the subject of propitiation to explain how God and man can be reconciled and experience a profitable relationship.
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Three) (May-August 2018)
The book of Hebrews was written to fulfill several needs of the first-century church. One of the most critical needs was to explain God's opening of eternal life to the Gentiles, as He did through Peter's visit to the house of Cornelius in Acts 10. John Ritenbaugh explains that Jewish converts, especially, faced pressure and even persecution from their own people - even from their own families - for their belief in Christ.
Unity and Division: The Blessing and the Curse (Part One) (May-August 2018)
Those who read the Bible regularly come to realize that it speaks a great deal about the opposing subjects of unity and division. Unity seems to be "godly," while division is "ungodly." However, Charles Whitaker cautions that, while they are irreconciliable conditions, unity and division are not as black and white as we typically think of them.
Eternal Torment? (May-August 2018)
Many nominal Christians believe in an ever-burning hell where the wicked are tormented forever. Though they might point to Revelation's Lake of Fire or to Jesus' mention of Gehenna fire as support for such an idea, the Bible does not teach the pervasive doctrine of hell as a place of eternal torment. Richard Ritenbaugh contends that, instead, God will eradicate all sin and wickedness, not punish for it forever.
Hollywood Horror: Promoting the Spirit of Fear (May-August 2018)
The horror movie genre is no longer the home of B-movies and cheap scares but a burgeoning and critically acclaimed sector of Hollywood's film industry. The past two years have seen it attract A-list talent and even awards attention. Joseph Baity connects horror's upswing at the box office with the general culture's state of fear.
The Fruit of Justification (May-August 2018)
The heavily theological subject of justification confuses a great many people. In fact, much of nominal Christianity, even theologians, do not understand the Bible's teaching on it. Martin Collins, focusing on what justification produces, provides clarity on a few points of this challenging doctrine.
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Two) (January-April 2018)
Among Catholics and Protestants exists the erroneous belief that the New Covenant abolishes the law rather than the truth that the epistle to the Hebrews provides: that Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled His spiritual responsibilities and can now aid us in fulfilling ours, which includes keeping God's commandments. John Ritenbaugh continues to explain the background to the book of Hebrews, showing why the early church needed its singular message.
The God of the Old Testament (January-April 2018)
In the professing-Christian world, an insidious, false belief exists: that the God of the Old Testament was a cruel, angry God, while Jesus, the God of the New Testament, is kind and loving. Pat Higgins, using the Bible's own testimony, shows that nothing could be farther from the truth! In fact, Scripture plainly shows that the same God has always communicated and interacted with humanity throughout its history.
The 'Open Door' of Philadelphia (January-April 2018)
The modern church of God, particularly a few of its splinter organizations, have made a big deal out of Revelation's letters to the seven churches. Often highlighted is the "open door" promised in the letter to Philadelphia. David Grabbe provides proof from Isaiah 22 that our understanding of this image should be revised to reflect the insight given in this neglected Old Testament prophecy.
The Politicization of Motherhood (Part Two) (January-April 2018)
The feminist movement has taken a heavy toll on the importance of motherhood to our society. For instance, feminists encourage mother to return to work as soon after childbirth as possible, leaving the baby in the care of a daycare center. Mike Ford focuses on the politically charged rhetoric of leading feminists that demonizes traditional marriage and motherhood, painting stay-at-home moms as domestic slaves.