MYSTERY OF THE WIND

We welcomed recent days of steady rain in these west Houston suburbs. Now I welcome this break in the rain for a neighborhood hike. Scattered rain-clouds, flung in a wide sweep across the sky, hide the evening sun on this Texas Gulf Coast. Developers planted our Katy prairie land with trees two and three decades ago, and they now form a trekker's pleasant canopy overhead. Around and below me, the … [Read more...]

THE SOURCE OF SAVING FAITH

A Christian college Bible professor writes: "Why do people believe the gospel? Reasoning from historical witness that one believes to be real history, attesting to events that happened in time -- that has been and remains the Christian way. If that is not the only source of belief, it remains an important one." * * * "Important," we can agree, but scarcely the ultimate answer, mustn't we say in … [Read more...]

BIBLE INSPIRED (2)

A gracEmail subscriber in Arkansas writes, "I've always been taught that the Bible was divinely given word by word (I think this is called verbal inspiration). But some passages just sound like a believer pouring out his heart to others. Could you offer some thoughts on inspiration and the Bible?" * * * Just as Jesus was both human and divine, so Scripture is written by men although it is called … [Read more...]

BIBLE INSPIRED (1)

A gracEmail subscriber in Arkansas writes, "I've always been taught that the Bible was divinely given word by word (I think this is called verbal inspiration). But some passages just sound like a believer pouring out his heart to others. Could you offer some thoughts on inspiration and the Bible?" * * * Unlike the Qur'an, the Bible does not claim to be dictated word for word by God, except for … [Read more...]

BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

A gracEmail reader asks whether we are baptized "in" the Holy Spirit or "by" the Holy Spirit, since the Greek preposition en used in 1 Corinthians 12:13 can mean either, and what difference it makes anyway. * * * Paul's comments in 1 Corinthians 12:13 stand in contrast to his remarks about Israel's "baptism" earlier in the same epistle (1 Cor. 10:1-3). There he pointed out that all the Exodus … [Read more...]

ANOINTED PREACHING

A sister in Virginia writes, "You recently asked readers to pray that God would 'anoint' your messages during a weekend preaching mission. This is not a word commonly used by people in my church. Please elaborate on what you mean." * * * This figure of speech goes back to the Old Testament practice of pouring oil over the head of someone being formally set apart for service to God, whether the … [Read more...]

HOLY SPIRIT & SANCTIFICATION

A gracEmail subscriber invites my thoughts concerning the role of the Holy Spirit regarding our sanctification as children of God. * * * "Sanctification" is the process of being "sanctified" (from the Latin root word) or being made "holy" (from the Anglo-Saxon word), both of which refer to being set apart exclusively for God. These words have a rich priestly background in the Old Testament where … [Read more...]

HOLY SPIRIT OUTSIDE THE BIBLE

A gracEmail reader writes: "I ordered tapes from a religious event, in which someone said that the Holy Spirit works only through the Bible and does not actually live in the Christian. Would you discuss that sometime?" * * * This eccentric notion was once common in Churches of Christ but has largely disappeared today, as the result of an ongoing biblical renewal and gospel revival currently … [Read more...]

I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

A brother in South America writes, "I noticed that you said: I 'believe in' the Lord Jesus Christ, and I 'believe in' the Father. Would it be correct also to say, 'I believe in the Holy Spirit?'" * * * Indeed, the answer to your question must be "Yes," for the Holy Spirit is none other than the Spirit of God and the Spirit of the risen Jesus Christ. Throughout Scripture, the Spirit is the … [Read more...]