I had barely begun reading First Corinthians recently when a particular phrase caught my attention. Paul identifies his addressees as "the church of God which is at Corinth" (1 Cor. 1:2). The Greek text behind this phrase uses a participle and the phrase literally means "the church of God as it exists in Corinth." God's ekklesia or assembly is not composed of local churches or congregations but of individual men and women worldwide, and these Corinthians were part of it. What makes any group of people "the church of God" as it exists where they are? What are some things that do not? This … [Read more...]
Archives for October 2014
NEW YORK TIMES FEATURES OUR WORK, TEACHING
If we needed any more confirmation of God's grace and hand on the subject, it surely came a few days ago in the form of an out-of-the-blue phone message and email. "My name is Mark Oppenheimer," the message said. "I am a religion writer for the New York Times. I am doing an article on the conditionalist view of hell. May I phone you for an interview?" I considered his question for about one-hundredth of a second and immediately responded in the affirmative. He also asked if he could send a photographer to my house to get some pictures. Turns out that Mr. Oppenheimer has been interested in … [Read more...]
How many miles in second coming?
It could scarcely be stated more simply. Our Lord Jesus Christ is "coming again" (2 Peter 1:16). He will "descend from heaven" (1 Thes. 4:16), and he "will come in the same way" his disciples "saw him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). If asked whether we interpret these phrases literally, most of us would likely say that we do. However, on further consideration we might decide we wish to tweak our original answer. Better to say, I suggest, that we take the language seriously, receiving as unquestionable truth what we perceive it to affirm--namely that we expect to see Jesus again--and that he will … [Read more...]
DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE
A caller phones Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and asks to speak to Dr. Ben Witherington III. "I'm afraid he can't talk right now," the receptionist says. He's writing a new book." Nonplussed, the caller replies, "Never mind. I'll just hold." With more than forty books to his credit, including socio-rhetorical commentaries on every book of the New Testament, one is tempted to suspect that the prolific author (who calls himself "BW3" on his website at: www.BenWitherington.com ) really does crank out books that fast -- which suspicion, of course, would be a mistake. Witherington … [Read more...]
IF NOT ‘SECOND COMING’ THEN WHAT?
From Jesus' remarks to his apostles at the Last Supper and throughout the New Testament thereafter, believers are repeatedly assured that a day will come when Jesus will return from heaven. Moreover, they are both warned and urged to be ready for this glorious event, which could occur at any moment. This "one hope of our calling" is reiterated throughout the New Testament and it is enshrined in the liturgical core and Confessions of the church. However, the exact phrase "second coming" appears nowhere in the Bible with reference to Jesus' return. When commenting or teaching on that subject, … [Read more...]