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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saved By Faith...With a Sprinkling of Works?


One of the cornerstones of the Reformation was the belief that we are saved by faith apart from works. This was emphasized strongly and was based on the clear teaching of the Scriptures notably by Paul in his book to the Galatians and the Romans, especially chapters 4 and 5 of the latter. The Reformers emphasized their belief in this doctrine by what they referred to as Sola Gratia, Grace Alone, and Sola Fide, Faith Alone. This echoed Paul's famous passage in his letter to the Ephesians where in chapter 2:8-9, he declared that "for by grace are you saved, through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest anyone should boast."


Sunday, June 9, 2019

"Worshiping God Better"


In His 1968 book "The God Who is There", Francis Shaeffer tells the story of his encounter with a pastor and their discussion about various matters he termed “intellectual rather than devotional.” At the end of the discussion, Shaeffer, believing that the pastor would say something related to what they had discussed such as “thank you for helping me be a better evangelist,” was completely surprised by what the pastor said in closing their exchange. "Thank you for opening these doors for me, now I can worship God better." Although Shaeffer was taken aback by the comment, he nevertheless says that, not only was he glad that he had been used by God to bring about that result in the life of the pastor, but he understood why that had been his reaction. 


Saturday, May 18, 2019

"Remember Your Baptism"


The preacher at our congregation is going through 1 Corinthians 15. In verse 29, Paul mentions something rather curious which has given many an exegete lots of headaches. "Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised, why are they baptized for them?" As the preacher mentioned, you will probably find as many opinions on just what exactly Paul meant as there are commentators. This passage is one of those biblical passages which is not quite clear and that demonstrates the importance of examining such verses in their full context: culturally, socially, historically and biblically.