Finding Christian Unity Amidst Theological Diversity

what is a theological orthodoxy

It’s common today to hear of the fractured church, the shattered church, the hopelessly broken church. Estimates of the number of denominations can be disheartening, ranging from several hundred to tens of thousands, depending on how you define “denomination.” These statistics are disconcerting to some in light of Christ’s prayer in John 17:21, which sets the stakes for unity pretty high: Jesus asked God the Father “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” The oneness of the church is a sign and witness to the world that Jesus was who he said he was. The implications of getting this wrong are significant. However, by determining what beliefs are essential to orthodoxy and what are not, we can confidently serve alongside Christians with whom we disagree on the nonessentials—thus living out to a greater extent the unity Jesus prayed for.

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What Does the Word ‘Faith’ Mean in Hebrews 11?

faith in Hebrews 11

This is a guest post by Andrew B. Perrin. assistant professor of religious studies and co-director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at Trinity Western University. 

A few years ago I Googled “faith” and discovered that the top two hits were a George Michael video on YouTube, which made me chuckle, and a Wikipedia entry, which reads, “The precise understanding of the term ‘faith’ differs among the various Christian traditions.”

How can Christians differ on their view of faith? Isn’t faith a belief in Jesus’ death, resurrection and our subsequent salvation? Or does faith entail more than this, as Heb 11:1, the only place a definition of “faith” is provided in the New Testament, seems to indicate? For the author of Hebrews, “faith” is not just about a distant reality but about how our actions connect to that reality.

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The Passage That Predicted the Resurrection 500 Years Before It Happened

isaiah 53 resurrection

On the road to Emmaus, Jesus says: “O foolish and slow in heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25–26 LEB). But what prophecy is Jesus referencing from “the prophets”? Most likely—the suffering servant in Isaiah.

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Adapting Scripture for the Screen: An Interview with Mike Peckham of ‘The Jesus Film’

jesus film anime my last day

This Easter season saw the release of two major films about Jesus: The Young Messiah, based on Anne Rice’s 2005 novelization of Jesus’ earliest years, and Risen, a biblical epic recast as a historical mystery starring Joseph Feinnes. Depicting biblical stories on the screen is always a risky business, as the creators of ABC’s controversial Of Kings and Prophets learned when that show was abruptly cancelled early this week. Whatever its theological pitfalls, and whatever the critical consensus, any new film adaptation of the life of Christ probably won’t become the most-watched film of all time.

That honor goes to another movie about Jesus.

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Last chance to get Finish the Mission for $1.99!

Blog Image 1 Last chanceJohn Piper’s groundbreaking resource Look at the Book is free through the month of March, and guess what? It’s going to stay that way. That’s right—the Logos edition of Piper’s hit Look at the Book will be a free download for the foreseeable future!

One might think, “Well, no hurry then; after March I can still get this excellent resource for free!” That’s true, but there’s still one deal you don’t want to miss: the March plus-one, Finish the Mission, is $1.99 through March 31—but that deal disappears in seven days.

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3 Ways to Jumpstart Your Stalled Bible Reading

jumpstart your bible reading

Tell me if this sounds familiar: It’s December 31, and you think, “This is it. This is the year I will read the Bible all the way through.” You start strong through Genesis and Exodus. You power your way through the ritual laws in Leviticus and the censuses in Numbers. But by the time the regulations start repeating themselves in Deuteronomy, you find yourself lagging behind. At first you miss only a day or two, which you make up for on the weekend. But soon (perhaps right now?) you are weeks behind, discouraged of any hope of catching up, and you quietly let your plan to read the Bible lapse for another year.

If that’s you, let me offer you some encouragement, some tools, and some alternatives.

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How Do You Apply a Passage When It Has No Commands?

commands in the bible

Exodus 20:15 is pretty practical: “Thou shalt not steal.” There are complexities, there are always complexities whenever fallible and finite people like us try to apply God’s norms to our situations. But for the most part, we Bible readers feel we know what to do with this command.

But what about the Bible passages that contain no clear commands? What are we supposed to do with them, or in response to them?

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3 Distinctions That Will Help You Understand the New Perspective on Paul

paul

In this post, we untangle complex theological issues surrounding the New Perspective on Paul. To tackle this and other challenging biblical topics, check out the courses included in Mobile Ed’s Tough Topics sale.

Since the 1970s, a tide of scholarship called the New Perspective on Paul has—depending upon whom you ask—either swept away hundreds of years of misconception . . . or threatens to sweep away the hard-won truths of the Reformation.

So which is it? Or, even more fundamentally, what is it? The New Perspective is notoriously challenging to summarize, but one thing is certain: everyone who takes biblical studies seriously should at least have a basic grasp of what’s new about the New Perspective.

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6 Ways Jesus’ Last Words Reveal the Glory of Reconciliation

jesus last words

Jesus on the cross was more than a very good man having a very bad day. At Calvary, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). This reconciliation resonates through all of Jesus’ sacred statements on the cross. Considering them anew enriches our appreciation for what we celebrate every Easter.

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What Passage Should You Study This Easter?

easter passage

If you’re the kind of Christian who is now wondering, “Here’s another Easter; what part of the Bible do I study/teach this year?”—then let me admit that I’m in the same boat. I’ve got to write a blog post about Easter; where do I go?

Let’s steer this boat together, guiding it from the shoals of our mutual ignorance to the high seas of knowledge and joy, while fishing for the 153 fish of insight and avoiding the storms of bad hermeneutics.

Sometimes I have trouble picking a passage to study or preach on (that’s one reason I prefer expository series). When that happens, I look for a responsible path to serendipity. “Responsible,” meaning I don’t close my eyes, open my Bible, and stick my finger down. But “serendipity,” because I’m open to whatever insights jump out at me through responsible means.

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