The Annual Christmas Pageant

I remember the time when our youngest daughter Bethany first appeared in the annual children’s Christmas pageant in church.  Even though I was the pastor, I was not involved in selecting who would play the various parts.  I knew that our daughter, Bethany, was in the Christmas pageant, but I had no idea what her [...]

What Is the Church?

The church is the joyful company of all those who have been redeemed and brought into right relationship with God. Jesus declared that he was going to build a new community known as the church. Jesus did not use the more common expression of a “congregation” or a “synagogue” to describe his new community, but [...]

Toronto Mayor’s “Drunken Stupor” Self

Last week Toronto Mayor Rob Ford finally admitted to smoking crack cocaine.  A video tape had surfaced which made the previous denials difficult to sustain.  When the Major finally spoke publicly about the incident his explanation was, in some ways, more surprising than the original admission.  Mayor Ford said that the incident happened about a [...]

Bishop Talbert Defies the Discipline

Those who follow United Methodist news will be well aware that on Saturday, October 26th, retired Bishop Melvin Talbert defied the Discipline of the United Methodist Church, the Scriptures, and the pleading of the resident Bishop of Alabama, Debbie Wallace-Padgett, and performed a same sex marriage between Bobby Prince and Joe Openshaw near Birmingham, Alabama. [...]

One Way to Remember the World in Prayer

The date was 2009, shortly after I became President of Asbury Theological Seminary. I had my head bowed and my eyes closed trying to listen to the prayer being prayed by a student from the pulpit in Estes Chapel at Asbury. Like most Christians, I earnestly want to become a participant, a kind of co-pray-er [...]

Homosexuality, the Death Penalty and the Old Testament. . .

I read with some interest the recent interchange between Adam Hamilton, pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, and Rob Renfroe, the President of Good News on homosexuality which appeared in the May/June issue of Good News magazine. Most of the exchange followed fairly predictable lines which one would expect. However, it was the final [...]

Why Did Jesus Christ Suffer and Die Upon the Cross?

The cross has become the central symbol of the Christian faith. It is truly amazing that such a symbol of torture devised by the Roman Empire to inflict cruel punishment on common criminals would become the most recognizable symbol of love and grace in the world. However, for God’s plan of redemption to be complete, [...]

What Was the Purpose of Jesus’ Life and Ministry?

The Gospels devote considerable time to telling us the story of the life of Jesus Christ. We find Jesus teaching the multitudes, training disciples, casting out demons, and proclaiming the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. But if we step back and look at the whole life of Jesus, we should see it as Jesus [...]

Why Did God Become a Man in Jesus Christ?

Although the Triune God is from all eternity, the Scriptures teach that at a certain point in time the second person of the Trinity became a man known as Jesus Christ, or Jesus the Messiah. This is known as the incarnation, which simply means “in the flesh.” We have already noted how the entire human [...]

Pope Francis’ “New Balance”

All around the world the media has reported on Pope Francis’ recent comment in a popular Jesuit publication that it was a time for a “new balance” in regards to the church’s stance on same sex marriage, contraception and abortion. This is what the Pope said which has caused such a global stir: “We cannot [...]