getting the history part of grammatical-historical

Just a thought that occurred to me while listening to Living History: Experiencing Great Events of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds …It is extremely helpful to Bible interpreters to have an understanding of the culture and history in which the Bible was written. This particular “Great Courses” offering touches on some points of history that help us in understanding the culture the early Christians were saved from. I think that I am reading the New Testament with better understanding as a result.

Even better than this course are two other offerings: Herodotus: The Father of History, an excellent presentation by Elizabeth Vandiver and the actual work of Herodotus: The Histories.

These works are full of secular misconceptions and there are sometimes misrepresentations of Biblical information contained in them. However, one thing I’ve found fascinating is the Greek mindset on display. I suspect that many Greeks of the ancient world viewed their pagan superstitions cynically, yet they most likely “hedged their bets” and went along or adopted them as a “cultural practice.” Nevertheless, whether true believers or no, they had a culture to overcome in coming to Christ. “The Greeks look for wisdom.”

As we consider the preaching and teaching of the apostles in the context of the thinking of the day, we can gain insight to perhaps preaching and teaching the pagans of modernistic and post-modernistic society as well.

No moral compass

That’s basically what this Abacus survey of Canadians on issues of morality seems to suggest, for the vast majority of Canadians. This presents a challenge for evangelism (so many false values to get past) and an opportunity (Christianity is clearly different). May we be bold and call men from darkness to light!

it’s a people business

Saw an interesting political clip on Breitbart the other day. It’s TV host Chris Matthews complaining about Obama. I first ran into Matthews on TV when the Clinton scandals were active. He was quite antagonistic to Clinton, but he is a liberal Democrat politically and a Catholic, so I have big disagreements with him on a lot of issues. Still, he’s a guy I like in spite of these disagreements.

And of course, I was interested in this clip because the headline talks about Matthews going after Obama. I don’t particularly like Obama’s politics either.

But take a look at the video, because I want to make a point about the ministry from something Matthews says about politics.

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The Exchange

I’d like to commend to you the ministry of my friend, Jeff Musgrave. His heart’s interest is seeing lost souls come to Christ and  The Exchange is the vehicle he wrote as a tool for communicating the gospel.

Jeff and his wife Anna trained our people in The Exchange soul-winning presentation this week. The training involves two parts – a four session Bible study and a short gospel presentation distilled from the longer study.

The highlights of the week for me included a reminder that in conversing with lost people we need to direct the conversation to heart issues rather than engage head issues (deal with need rather than prove one’s point) and hearing two testimonies from two of our people who were able to share the gospel during the week.

One obstacle Christians face in soul-winning is lack of confidence about what they will say when they witness for Christ. The Exchange provides an excellent tool for presenting the truths of the gospel to a lost person. I heartily recommend it.

Bob Jones University Press is now publishing the soul-winning Bible study and leader’s guide, as well as a twelve week discipleship program to follow up on the evangelistic Bible study.

For an idea of what The Exchange is like, here is our friend Jeff Musgrave, presenting the content of The Exchange.


salt and light questions

A few years ago, I heard a clip of a prominent evangelical leader justifying the new evangelical decision to pull back from separatism. The gist of the statement was something like this:

The fundamentalists lost any chance at influence of the world by their over-emphasis on separatism.


Just how well is that influence thing working?

Is North American culture today MORE or LESS influenced by Christianity today than 60 years ago?

Is it the mission of disciples to be salt and light in such a way that they have influence in the culture of the world?

If yes, how would we go about that?

It appears that whatever the new-evangelical strategy was, it didn’t work. I’ll concede that if fundamentalists thought they would influence the world somehow, they failed also. So, let’s just posit for a moment the notion that those who follow Christ are called to be salt and light in the world, and therefore to somehow have a position of influence in the world. One would presume that influence should be towards an increase in Christianity, for starters, but failing that, one would at least hope for some influence on the culture.

So, again, exactly how should we do that?


facts or story?

An interview with Lee Strobel at CT (no endorsement for either!) raises the question of methodology in apologetics. If you have read anything on postmodernism, Strobel won’t be saying anything new to you, but I wonder what you think of what he is saying.

If we personalize the gospel with our testimony, or make it a story in some other way (not compromising the message), is that more effective than a more direct proclamational approach? It seems to me that we have evidence of both styles in the book of Acts.

I don’t think this is an either/or question, rather, perhaps, a “best first approach” question. It seems that in order to win folks to Christ it will often take many contacts (sometimes from many different people), but my question is, can we make a hard and fast rule that ‘testimony-first’ is the best approach?