Hope > Optimism

HOPE

Optimism: ”a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.” Was the Apostle Paul an optimist? For a guy who taught a lot about the depravity of the human heart, Paul sure seemed to take a pretty rosey view of life sometimes, didn’t he? A ‘Church-is-Half-Full’ Kind of View? Here’s a case in point: The church in Corinth. They were divided and dividing still, they valued fancy speech over sound doctrine, they had cases of publicly known immorality that were not being addressed, they were suing each other, Continue reading

680 News and Theology of Law

680news_icon

One news headline caught my attention today. This is what it said: Junction neighbourhood bully gets more jail time for harassment The headline caught my attention not because it’s the biggest news story of the day, but because I have friends and family who live and work in this area, so it was a matter of concern for me. The story is relatively mundane (hey, it’s life in the Junction!), but one line in particular startled me. When speaking of the ‘neighbourhood bully’ who has been forced by the courts to move, one man offered this profound theological insight: “The Continue reading

A Disciple of Power & Suffering

Paul-the-apostle-by-Gustave-Dore

I was really challenged in my study this week by this quote from Klein, Blomberg, and Hubbard, comparing the ending of Luke with the ending of Acts. I want to pause and think about what understanding this more would change in my life. Or compare the endings of Luke and Acts. The Gospel ends with a long and detailed focus on Jesus’ passion and death. In fact, Lk 9:51 introduces the theme of Jesus journeying toward Jerusalem and the cross earlier than does any other Gospel. Acts, too, slows down its narrative substantially to focus on Paul’s final, fateful journey Continue reading

Seeking and Speaking Grace

Ephesians 4-29

Recovering a Pauline Practice One of the things we try to build into the rhythm of church life at Grace Fellowship Church is something called ‘Identifying Evidences of Grace.’ By that we mean the practice of deliberately seeking proof of God’s grace at work in those around us and then speaking it to each other. A practice like this is helpful for so many reasons. But like all things, a practice like this can quickly become rote. It’s easy to forget why we do it, or think we do it just because it’s a good habit, or tradition or something. Continue reading

The Epistles of Paul in Chronological Order

Apostle Paul writing in prison

When I was planning my reading list for the summer I decided that I wanted to focus my Bible-reading-energy on the epistles of Paul for a couple months. I had the thought that it would be fun to read through his epistles chronologically to see how his thoughts and themes and concerns develop over time in different contexts. So I did a little work to compile a timeline of the apostle Paul’s writings (see below). Since I had done the work anyway, I thought it might be worthwhile to share it here. Book Date Authored 1 Thessalonians 50-51 2 Thessalonians Continue reading

Measuring Sin

Is it good to take stock of our sin? Should we meditate on it and measure it against God and against the sins of others? Is it right to pay that much attention to sin? I think the answer is both yes and no, depending on how you do it. Measuring Against God The kingdom is given to those who are poor in spirit, humble, broken, mourning, and contrite over their sin (Matt 5.3-5). This only comes from rightly evaluating yourself before the throne of a holy God. Before we find any good in the gospel, we must find the Continue reading

The Sufficiency & Centrality of the Gospel

Looking Back Looking back over the last few years of my life, there has been really only one significant doctrinal change so far as I can see. And even that doctrinal change hasn’t been a change of mind so much as a change of priority. The biggest change in my theological worldview has been an increasing awareness of the expansiveness of the gospel and its ultimate sufficiency. But rather than reflecting here on being gospel-centred (there are lots of other places you can read about that), I thought I would simply identify a few of the key events God has Continue reading