WE SOW BUT GOD GROWS

THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF DECEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. In a previous gracEmail I told of speaking, in a B'Nai B'rith program, on the Christian understanding of the Old Testament. As we moved into Q&A from Lecture, I urged these Jewish men to consider the claim of Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah foretold by the Hebrew prophets. A gracEmail subscriber who read … [Read more...]

RETHINKING ‘THE SINNER’S PRAYER’

THE TWENTY-NINTH DAY OF NOVEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. It's a staple of conservative Protestant evangelism, so familiar that most evangelicals take it for granted. A bit odd perhaps, since neither Jesus nor his apostles nor any New Testament writer ever specifically mentions it. "It" is the so-called Sinner's Prayer, a verbal template that new converts are … [Read more...]

DOES FAITH REQUIRE NO DOUBTS?

THE NINETEENTH DAY OF AUGUST IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. A gracEmail subscriber writes: "As hard as I have tried to believe in God and Christ, for over 40 years I have never conquered my doubts. At rare times I can almost say, 'I know,' most of the time the best I can do is pray 'help my unbelief'. I try hard to please God. The harder I try, the more inadequate I feel. … [Read more...]

JESUS THE LIBERATOR

THE SIXTEENTH DAY OF AUGUST IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. It's a simple truth but exceedingly profound--Jesus came to rescue sinners, not to condemn them (John 3:17). We already know that we are sinners; we do not need anyone to tell us that. Deep inside we know our private addictions and secret compulsions, whether to pride, self-centeredness, lust, alcohol or other … [Read more...]

AN END-TIME GOSPEL

THE TWENTY-FOURTH DAY OF MAY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN If we read the Book of Acts carefully and with open eyes and ears, we will find that evangelism as done by the disciples and their associates differs in several respects from much evangelism today. It speaks in a context of End-times and of the transition from the Present age to the Age to come. Peter’s first … [Read more...]

ONE MIGHTY SAVING DEED

THE SEVENTEENTH DAY OF MAY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN When God was ready to liberate his Old Testament people from bondage in Egypt, he COULD have organized an "underground railroad" of safe places, secret rendezvous points, and anonymous carriers, and then spread the word among the Hebrews that he would be rescuing slaves every Friday night if they wished to sign up … [Read more...]

SPIRIT SPOTLIGHTS JESUS, NOT US (2)

THE THIRD DAY OF MAY, IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN Evangelism that is Spirit-powered and Spirit-led testifies to what Jesus did and what he suffered--the perfect doing and dying that set us right with God--instead of what we do in response to that work. We see more evidence today in Acts chapters 8-20. The gospel message goes beyond the Jews through Philip, whom Luke says … [Read more...]

SPIRIT SPOTLIGHTS JESUS, NOT US (1)

THE TWENTY-SIXTH DAY OF APRIL, IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN In his Gospel, Luke relates Jesus' teachings and doings while in person on earth. In Acts, his second volume, Luke describes Jesus' work accomplished from heaven and performed through his Spirit on earth (Acts 1:5). The word "Spirit" appears 70 times in Acts, almost twice as many as in the New Testament book with … [Read more...]

EVANGELISM WITHOUT EVANGEL IS AN ISM

THE NINETEENTH DAY OF APRIL IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN My late friend J. D. Clanton faithfully attended the opening Sunday morning service of his congregation's annual "Gospel Meeting," but he also held them to their advertising. Each year the visiting "gospel preacher" decried the evils of sin, the horrors of hell, and the list of things an "alien sinner" must do to be … [Read more...]

IS THIS EVANGELISM?

THE TWELFTH DAY OF APRIL IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN Today we are accustomed to hearing the gospel presented as if it were addressed to one person at a time, assuring him or her of God’s provision for sin through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and urging that person to make a decision for Christ, to profess faith in him, to be baptized and begin to live as a disciple of … [Read more...]