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May 2013 24 May 24, 2013
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We are now ready for a brief survey of church history (from the Apostolic Fathers to Augustine). The representative examples cited will demonstrate that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit were, and are, still very much in operation. Indeed, before Chrysostom in the east (347-407 a.d.) and Augustine in the west (354-430 a.d.) no church father ever suggested that any or all of the charismata had ceased in the first century. And even Augustine later retracted his earlier ce...Read More

May 2013 22 May 22, 2013
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The question I want to answer in this and several subsequent articles is this: “If the spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 are valid for Christians beyond the death of the apostles, why were they absent from church history until their alleged reappearance in the twentieth century?” My answer follows. 1) They were most decidedly not absent. They were at times less prevalent, but the same could be said about the presence of signs, wonders, and miracles in...Read More

May 2013 22 May 22, 2013
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On April 5, 1986, a terrorist attack was launched on the La Belle discothèque in West Berlin, Germany, an entertainment venue that was popular among United States soldiers. A bomb placed under a table near the disk jockey's booth exploded at 1:45 a.m. killing three people and injuring around 230 people, including 79 American servicemen. It was soon determined, beyond any doubt, that Libya was responsible for the bombing. After several days of diplomatic talks wi...Read More

May 2013 20 May 20, 2013
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I’m inclined to think the best way to respond to the tragedy that struck our community today is simply to say nothing. I have little patience for those who feel the need to theologize about such events, as if anyone possessed sufficient wisdom to discern God’s purpose. On the other hand, people will inevitably ask questions and are looking for encouragement and comfort. So how best do we love and pastor those who have suffered so terribly? I’m not cert...Read More

May 2013 20 May 20, 2013

Many argued that the revival known as the First Great Awakening couldn’t be of God because of the way people responded both physically and emotionally. Jonathan Edwards insisted that as long as we are careful to monitor the state of one's mind and moral conduct, insisting that such be in conformity with Scripture, "our fears and suspicions arising from extraordinary bodily effects seem wholly groundless" (Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in ...Read More

May 2013 19 May 19, 2013
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When we left off in the last article we were considering how Paul regards dying as gain. This is highlighted yet again in Philippians 1:23b with his use of the word “depart” – “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” It’s interesting that he doesn’t say “die,” but “depart.” This word was often used of an army striking camp and moving on into battle; they would fold up their ten...Read More

May 2013 17 May 17, 2013
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I often hear cessationists insist on a distinction between miraculous “gifts” of the Spirit, which they contend have ceased, and “miracles,” which they are happy to acknowledge continue even into the present day. That is to say, they deny that the “gifts” are valid but are open to the possibility that God can perform miracles if he so chooses throughout the course of church history. Let me say two things by way of response to this. Fi...Read More

May 2013 17 May 17, 2013

I can understand Paul saying that for him and for us “to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21a). But how is it that death can be viewed as anything but a horrible end to a wonderful life? How can death be anything other than the shattering of hopes and dreams and the end of one’s life work? How can it possibly be viewed as “gain” (Phil. 1:21b) over life? Be assured of this: Paul is not saying he is dissatisfied with life or that he desires to be don...Read More

May 2013 16 May 16, 2013
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Believe it or not, some in New England in the 18th century questioned the reality of the revival known as the First Great Awakening based on the tendency of people to sing all the time! Jonathan Edwards thinks he knows the basis for this objection. It arises from their doubts about the authenticity of the work of revival as a whole. These critics "doubt of the pretended extraordinary love and joys that attend this work, and so find fault with the manifestations of them....Read More

May 2013 15 May 15, 2013
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In Philippians 1:19-20 Paul wrote, “for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” As the apostle endured the hardship of imprisonment in Rome (or in Caesarea, as some believe), he anticipates that in response ...Read More