It’s unlikely that this attack, just the latest in an unending stream of tragedy to envelop the Iraqi capital, will generate the same panic in the West as the earlier two incidents. For years now, we have become almost numb to the violence in Baghdad: Deadly car bombings there conjure up no hashtags, no Facebook profile pictures with the Iraqi flag, and no Western newspaper front pages of the victims’ names and life stories, and they attract only muted global sympathy.
For the record, I am neither a Christian, nor do I deny that climate change could pose a potential serious long-term threat to humanity. What worries me most is the idea that one must embrace official orthodoxy about how to combat this phenomenon, or question its priority over so many other pressing concerns, such as alleviating poverty, both here and abroad, protecting the oceans or a host of other issues. Similarly, I have always disagreed with holy rollers like Sen. Ted Cruz, who would seek to limit, for example, abortion or the rights of gay people to marry, or would allow school prayer.
Taken together Romans 4 and Galatians 3 support the ideas that those who have placed their faith in Christ, that is those who have trusted in the Son of God, stand justified before God and are sons of Abram. As such, Paul did not outline the details regarding how to rely upon Christ. Paul simply defended the principle of faith.
However, what happens if we impose another function upon Paul’s use of Abram’s example? What if Abram’s example of just believing was used to define what constitutes a faith response toward Christ crucified? This leads to an entirely different teaching regarding faith. Faith becomes limited to belief.
There is an unsung hero when it comes to evangelism. Well, an almost unsung hero. It greatly assists the sharing of the gospel, but is not often found in talks, texts or training courses on the topic. What is this unsung hero? It is Christian community.
What people often take this to mean in practice, though, is that they should just write checks (the more the better) to their churches and charities. There’s nothing wrong with donating to churches and charitable organizations, but to define generosity so narrowly—as giving money alone—is a mistake. Every person has something of value to give, and we always have the opportunity to be generous to others, regardless of financial resources.
Don’t settle for the false heaven of a “successful ministry.” Because real success is faithfulness. Big church or small church, growing church or declining church, well-known church or obscure church—all churches are epic successes full of the eternal, invincible quality of the kingdom of God when they treasure Jesus’ gospel and follow him. Jesus did not give the keys of the kingdom with the ability to bind and loose on both sides of the veil only to those who’d reached a certain attendance benchmark. So do well, pursue excellence, and stay faithful. God will give you what you ought to have according to his wisdom and riches.
I used to provide regular supply preaching for a warm and intimate fellowship of Christians in the Free Church tradition. I cheekily smiled to myself whenever I read their bulletin because it always had on it the words, “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible.” The irony, of course, is that those words are not found in the Bible. This delightful group of saints had in fact turned their pious motto into a type of extrabiblical creed. Their genuine concern not to court controversy over creeds led to the formation of their own anticreedal creed as it were.
So all the bad things that could happen can be blamed on the church. If that doesn’t work within some narrow minds, they branch out and blame God. Isn’t it odd that these disgruntled people don’t ever ascribe the myriad good things to divine providence?
So when a homeless man abandoned his backpack on the back seat early Saturday afternoon, MacCausland, 72, headed over to the hotel where the man had said he was staying. At the front desk, he unzipped the bag in search of the owner’s name. Instead, spilling out of the top were three thick stacks of cash — the tip of a $187,786.75 iceberg.