Friday, September 27, 2019

Book Review for "Assurance of Heaven"

For those of you who have been reading Quest Forums articles for a while, this entry is going to be a bit different. Author George Mains recently asked me to review his new book, Assurance of Heaven: God’s Promise to Anyone Who Believes the Gospel. For the sake of full disclosure, I will mention that George is a friend of mine. However, I have no interest in writing reviews for compensation and I am getting nothing for doing this. My critical voice is unencumbered, and you can rest assured that you are getting my honest opinion.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

According to Mark: Victory

We’ve reached the final chapter in our study of the book of Mark. At the end of the previous chapter, Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea before dark on Friday. All day Saturday, everything remained as still as death. But on the third day, at dawn, the wait was over. Jesus rose from the grave to defeat death for Himself and for all those who believe in Him. His words were fulfilled and God’s will was fully carried out.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Should We Use the King James Version of the Bible?

A friend recently sent me an article on the debate over different translations of the Bible. It’s an interesting read, which I will share here, but it comes with an opinion already built into it. That’s its purpose, I am not being critical, just pointing out that it begins the discussion with the position it assumes to be correct. I was asked to step back just a bit and describe the actual debate and the reasons for it. I’ll still describe my position on the matter and see if I can make a persuasive case, but will save that for the end.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

According to Mark: The Suffering Messiah

Our review of the gospel according to Mark has nearly reached its end. I’ve remarked a number of times through this study that it concludes on the highest of notes, but in this entry we are going to see it first reach the very lowest of lows. That, after all, is what triumph requires. Something must be overcome. And Jesus Christ came to overcome sin and death themselves.

Friday, September 13, 2019

One from Many: The Biblical View of Race

Few people follow politics closely, so those of us who do need to keep in mind that others are not necessarily noticing the things we see. Still, I feel it is becoming more and more difficult to ignore a growing problem in this country. On one fringe, white nationalists are increasing in numbers, boldness, and violence. On the other, racial identity politics (in combination with other forms) are being used as a filter for everything in American life. The former tells people like me that my skin pigmentation is somehow a mark of superiority. The latter says that I must be a racist simply because of the way I look. The tension caused by these polarizing viewpoints is not the only problem we have, but it is greatly contributing to them.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Remembering 9/11

18 years. It is hard to imagine. 9/11 is something so formative to my generation, but as of tomorrow, there will be legal adults who were not alive when it happened. Those of us who witnessed it need to be ready to speak of the horrors of that day and the hatred and falsehoods that brought it about. But we also have to remind future generations of the faith, strength, and brotherhood that were shown in response to this ruthless evil. It is so easy to be discouraged by division, but with God's help, we can work for unity. Pray today for the loved ones left behind. Pray for those who have spent long, hard years fighting those who wish to destroy us. And pray for the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the message of salvation to all generations, in this nation and across the world. Relying on Him is our only hope for true and lasting peace.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

According to Mark: Watching and Working

Mark 13, which we have reached in our study of the second gospel, is an undeniably difficult passage. As always, it’s a good idea to read it before diving into my comments. And if you do read it, you’ll see what I mean. It isn’t just the content that is a challenge. We also have to wonder why the discussion was placed here at all. Jesus has been focusing on the fulfillment of His ministry, making His way to the cross. Why suddenly does He make this prophetic pronouncement (the longest block of His teaching in the book)? Or at least, why does Mark record it?

Friday, September 6, 2019

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

According to Mark: Total Devotion

I mentioned in our last study that there was important context to keep in mind as we moved forward into Mark 12:13–44. As a brief reminder, Mark 11 had displayed the opposition to Jesus coming from the highest authorities in Judaism. He handled it deftly, and in fact humiliated them to the point that they were looking to kill Him for it (Mark 12:12). Our passage for today concerns the ways they attempted to establish grounds for destroying the Lord (just as He had predicted; Mark 12:6–11). However, it also moves beyond that conflict to make a more lasting point. It is devotion to God, rather than a concern for appearances, that leads to blessing.