Bible & Theology

Ideology, Theology, and Women Without Tattoos.

BY KELSI KLEMBARA

You may have seen the uproar from a recent blog post suggesting that virgins who forego college, learn to cook big meals and abstain from tattoos make more desirable wives. The graphic for the article features a pretty, blonde woman (with ink-free skin, of course) and a curly typeface plastered over the bottom of the image reading, “Men prefer debt free virgins without tattoos.”

Ideology, Theology, and Women Without Tattoos.

How to Make Grace Unamazing

BY CHAD BIRD

Amazing grace is a sweet sound not just because it saved a wretch like me, but because it saved a whole wretched world like me. God did not enter into a contract with us. He simply said, “You’re justified. You’re forgiven. I love you. All is complete.”

How to Make Grace Unamazing

Keeping the Law in its Place

BY MARTIN LUTHER

I do not mean to give the impression that the Law should be despised. Neither does Paul intend to leave that impression. The Law ought to be honored. But when it is a matter of justification before God, Paul had to speak disparagingly of the Law, because the Law has nothing to do with justification.

Keeping the Law in its Place

The Good News About the Bad News

BY RJ GRUNEWALD

The Law gets a bad rap. There is certainly a negative component to the Law. The work of the Law is very different than the work of the Gospel. If the Gospel’s work is to revive, the Law’s work is to kill. If the Gospel’s work is to cover over sin, the Law’s work is to expose sin.

The Good News About the Bad News

Grace Abounding

BY GERHARD FORDE

The law does not end sin, does not make new beings, it only makes matters worse. Where the old continuity is maintained, sin does not end. No matter how much religious pressure is applied, sin only grows. But, Paul has the audacity to say where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more.

Grace Abounding

Lord, Help My Lack Of Love

BY DONAVON RILEY

The author, Flannery O'Connor, said, "All I can say about my love of God is, Lord help me in my lack of it." O'Connor's characters often betray their true nature from behind a mask of good-hearted religiousity. This usually happens when the delusion they've projected onto the world is upset by personal crisis

Lord, Help My Lack Of Love

A Question The Christian Must Not Utter

BY MARTIN LUTHER

When man, conscious of his failure to keep God’s command, is constantly urged by the Law to make payment of his debt and confronted with nothing but the terrible wrath of God and eternal condemnation, he cannot but sink into despair over his sins.

A Question The Christian Must Not Utter

Scripture Speaks with an Accent

BY KYLE G JONES

Though written in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) by around 40 different people, over the course of 2,000 years, all of Scripture speaks with the same accent. The accent of Scripture emphasized that Christ is for you. Yes, you. He’s not for the perfect people of our imaginations.

Scripture Speaks with an Accent

Agree With Your Free Salvation

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

I’ve found that most people struggle to agree with God that we are fully forgiven, redeemed and justified by pure grace alone, for the sake of Jesus Christ alone. I know it’s difficult for me. That is why we need this gospel preached to us over and over. But wait. What about good works and loving my neighbor?

Agree With Your Free Salvation

The God of Rejects

BY JESSICA THOMPSON

We should take great care in observing how the psalmist relates to God. Our eyes and hearts should be open to seeing what the psalmist appeals to and how he addresses God. How does the sinner have communion with a holy and upright God?

The God of Rejects

New Trees In An Old World

BY DONAVON RILEY 

All the verbs of our salvation are passive. God calls and gathers people to him through his Gospel. We don’t find him like an explorer finds the headwaters of a river. We are saved by Jesus’ death and resurrection. We don’t save ourselves.

New Trees In An Old World

The Baptism that Swallowed the Rocks

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

The Church is a community. But the Church is not like other communities. That probably sounds arrogant. Is the Church’s community really different from all other communities? Yes. And for reasons that hardly seem evident at first glance.

The Baptism that Swallowed the Rocks

The Paradox of Pastoral Preaching

BY BRAD GRAY

At times, evangelical Christianity can be a paradox. For as much as Protestants have spurned Roman Catholicism, they’re much more Catholic than they’d ever like to admit. By which, I mean, we operate with a stricter conditionality that we’d probably ever feel comfortable confessing.

The Paradox of Pastoral Preaching

Seeing All Sin On The Cross

BY DONAVON RILEY

The power and pressure of sin on us, from conception to the grave, is immense. That's why we struggle to differentiate sin from sin. "Maybe," we imagine, "if I can just stop lying to my spouse about going out for drinks after work, and dedicate myself to being a better parent, and..." We wrongly believe that we're sinners because we sin, but that's not the case.

Seeing All Sin On The Cross

Faith Is Not What Some People Think

BY MARTIN LUTHER

Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.

Faith Is Not What Some People Think

The Scandal of the Cross

BY RJ GRUNEWALD

A Roman execution device isn't exactly a picturesque scene of divine love on display. It'd be the equivalent to having three criminals side-by-side in electric chairs. Or a firing squad having their criminals in a line with crowds watching and laughing. We'd never turn that scene into jewelry or bumper stickers; it's disturbing.

The Scandal of the Cross

The Breath of Forgiveness

BY KATHY STRAUCH

Jesus' disciples locked the doors to their own prison. Fear, grief, and shame haunted the dark cold room in which they sat. Their beloved Lord, teacher, and friend had been crucified. Jesus had breathed His last. The One whose creative breath breathed into the lifeless clay bringing Adam to life had stopped breathing. 

The Breath of Forgiveness

When God’s Stomach Aches

BY JAKE ALLSTAEDT

It's in moments like that with my son that I honestly wonder if God still loves me. My sin must be frustrating to Him. And God knows that I've done worse than jumping into puddles. I’ve push Him away. I’ve taken His good gifts and thrown them in the garbage.

When God’s Stomach Aches

The Day of Grace

BY MARTIN LUTHER

This is equivalent to saying “salvation is near to us.” By the word “day” Paul means the Gospel; the Gospel is like day in that it enlightens the heart or soul. Now, day having broken, salvation is near to us. In other words, Christ and his grace, promised to Abraham, are now revealed.

The Day of Grace

Anxiety And The Christian

BY MARTIN LUTHER

There is a brief passage in Psalm 55:22 which reads: “Cast your burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain you: he will never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Follow this advice. Let not your burden rest upon yourselves; for you cannot bear it, and must finally perish beneath its weight. But, confident and full of joy, cast it from you and throw it on God.

Anxiety And The Christian

Running From God's Undeserved Grace to God

BY DONAVON RILEY

Jonah doesn't care about Israel's great enemy. He certainly doesn't want to be the first prophet in history to leave his own country and preach to a people who regularly attack, rob, rape, and enslave Jonah's family, friends, and neighbors. So far as Jonah is concerned, he'd rather drown in a watery abyss than show his face in Ninevah.

Running From God's Undeserved Grace to God

Behind the Satanic Curtain:

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

There are a few occasions in the Bible where the curtain lifts, and we get to peer into the inner workings of the Divine Court. There we see strange creatures and beasts, angels and thrones, throngs and thrills. The Bible writers struggle to describe these scenes which put the imagination into overdrive and surpass its ability to reconstruct clear or coherent images.

Behind the Satanic Curtain: