The Trinity: Ontological & Economic

As Christians, we confess that there is one God who eternally exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The three persons of the Trinity are equal in power and glory, are co-eternal, and are of the same essence (Ousia in Greek).

The Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God, but the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, nor is the Spirit the Father or the Son. 

The three persons of the Trinity also have unique functions, and relate to each other in unique ways. As a result, we can speak about the Trinity in two ways: the “Ontological Trinity” and the “Economic Trinity.”

Ontological Trinity

“Ontological” has to doing with “being.” So, to speak of the Ontological Trinity is to explain who God is, and who the three persons of the Godhead are. 

The major ecumenical councils of the church, such as Nicaea and Chalcedon, focused on the ontological nature of the persons of the Trinity, and affirmed that Jesus, the Son, is very God of very God, and that the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force, but is, indeed, God. 

So, to speak about the Trinity ontologically, is to affirm both the divine nature and the unique personhood of the three persons of the Trinity.

Economic Trinity

“Economic” has to do with action, roles, and function: what God (and each person of the Godhead) does.

So, when we take an economic view of the Trinity, we are talking about the things which the Father does, or which the Spirit does, which are unique to that person of the Godhead.

For example, it is the role and function of the Holy Spirit to perform the sealing and sanctifying functions of God in the life of a believer.

Jesus, the divine Son, uniquely took on human flesh, came to Earth, lived a sinless life, and died on a cross for our redemption. 

The Father sent the Son, the Son submitted to the Father and obeyed the Father, the Father and the Son sent the Spirit. The Spirit glorifies and points to the Son. The Son glorifies the Father. The Father exalts the Son. The Son ever lives to make intercession for us. The Spirit indwells believers, reminding them of what the Son said, and bringing about conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Application

One important application of these principles, is the understanding that economic actions, such as submission, leadership, and difference of roles, does not diminish or take away from a person’s ontological identity, value, dignity, or identity.

This is communicated explicitly in Philippians 2, where we are told that Jesus, although he was equal with the Father, as God (ontologically), did not regard equality with [the Father] (economically) something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, and humbled himself in obedience, even to the point of death on a cross. 

The point here is that Jesus’ economic activity did not detract from his ontological nature. 

A point of application is made in the New Testament, in the complementary roles of men and women in the church. Though men are called to teach and exercise authority in the “household of God” (1 Timothy 3:15), this does not diminish or take away from the ontological equality of men and women as human beings, and as children of God, but is rather a matter of economic function. If this is true of the Trinity (and clearly it is), then it should not surprise us that it is true in the “household of God,” acted out by those who reflect His image to the world.

For more on this, check out this discussion of 1 Timothy 2:8-15, which I had with my wife, Rosemary, for our church’s weekly Sermon Extra video:

Who are the “Other Sheep” in John 10:16?

There is a page on this site where readers can submit questions or suggest topics. Recently I received the following question:

What does John 10:16 mean, where Jesus says: “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

In the Gospel of John, chapter 10, Jesus explains that, opposed to the bad shepherds (spiritual leaders) of Israel, he is the “Good Shepherd.”

The occasion for this message was that in chapter 9, the Pharisees were upset with a man whom Jesus had healed of blindness, because he refused to stop saying that Jesus had healed him. In response, the Pharisees excommunicated this man from the synagogue, and thereby the Jewish community (see John 9:35).

Fulfillment of Messianic Prophecies

However, by denouncing the bad shepherds and declaring himself to be the Good Shepherd, Jesus wasn’t just saying that he was a more caring spiritual leader than the Pharisees of that day – Jesus was actually identifying himself as the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies, that God was going to raise up ONE shepherd, a good shepherd, to lead his people.

In Ezekiel 34:23 and 37:24, Ezekiel (writing hundreds of years after the death of King David, predicted a future day when “David” would rule over the people of Israel as their single shepherd.

Rather than having many shepherds (spiritual leaders), who were often bad, God was going to raise up a single shepherd, from the line of David. This was certainly a reference to the promise God made to David in 2 Samuel 8, called the Davidic Covenant, in which God promised that the Messiah would come from David’s family line.

Consider this passage from Jeremiah 23, which is clearly speaking of Jesus as the future, coming “Good Shepherd.”

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: The LORD is our righteousness.’

Jeremiah 23:1-6

A Flock of Seagulls Gentiles (Too)

The surprise twist that Jesus introduces to his Jewish audience, is that this flock that he will shepherd will not only be made up of Jews – who were traditionally referred to as the flock of God (see Psalm 100:3). Instead, Jesus was telling them, he was going to also bring “others” into the flock. The others he was referring to are: Gentiles (non-Jews).

These Gentiles, who would also come to believe in Jesus as their Savior, points to the fact that Jesus’ message and mission were not just for the Jewish people, but for all people, regardless of their ethnic or national background.

This idea of the universality of Jesus’ message is a central theme of the Gospel of John. Throughout the Gospel, Jesus is depicted as the Light of the World and the Savior of all people. This passage emphasizes that Jesus’ mission is not limited to a the Jewish people, but extends to all people who will listen to and follow Him.

This message is not unique to John’s Gospel. In Luke 4, when we read about Jesus’ first sermon in his hometown of Nazareth, this message of God’s love and grace extending to the Gentiles is something which causes an uproar, leading to people trying to throw him off a cliff.

Furthermore, this message was also an important part of the Old Testament, going all the way back to God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12, that through his offspring (the Messiah), people of all nations would be blessed. It’s a theme that is found in the prophets, who spoke of God’s love for and care about the salvation of the nations.

In John 10:16, Jesus is likely alluding to Isaiah 56:8, which says: “The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.”

Though many Jewish people in Jesus’ day were surprised to hear that God was interested in and cared about the Gentiles too, their surprise was due to their failure to read their own scriptures carefully enough.

The Fulfillment of Jesus’ Words

The fulfillment of this promise of creating “one flock” with “one shepherd” is realized in the New Testament in the Church. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus instructs his disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” In Ephesians 2:11-22, Paul the Apostle talks about how Jews and non-Jews have now become ONE “flock” in Christ, who has torn down the wall of division between them.

Ask a Question or Suggest a Topic

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How Do Jews Today Atone for Sins Without a Temple?

This past Sunday at White Fields Church, we studied Hebrews 4:14-16, which describes Jesus as our compassionate high priest, who offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice to atone for our sins. You can listen to or watch that message here.

One of the questions that thoughtful listeners and readers of the Bible often ask is: “What do Jews today do to atone for sins since they haven’t had a temple in Jerusalem for almost 2000 years?”

As Christians, we have no need for further sacrifices to atone for sins, since Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice to atone for the sins of all people at all times (see 1 John 2:2). But what about the Jews? How do they make sense of their own law, and their inability to perform the sacrifices mandated in that law?

Clearly, the Law of Moses requires animal sacrifices to be made in order to remove guilt and atone for sins of individuals and the nation collectively, but since the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, what have Jews done with these texts?

What did the Jews do during the Babylonian captivity when the first temple was destroyed? Are there Jews today who want to reinstate animal sacrifices?

Furthermore, how is it that Jewish people still celebrate Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) if they are not able to make the sacrifice for atonement which was the whole point of the Day of Atonement?

In this week’s Sermon Extra video, we share and discuss the answers to those questions.

Writing Update: Study Guide and New Book on the Way

Since my book, The God I Won’t Believe In: Facing Nine Common Barriers to Embracing Christianity came out in March of 2022, I have been encouraged and glad to hear from many people who say the book has been a helpful resource and an encouragement to them.

Several groups have told me that that they have used the book for group studies, for small groups at their church and for youth groups. One person told me about a lunchtime study group she started at her workplace using the book.

Study Guide Coming Soon

To help those who want to use the book for group studies, I am currently writing a Group Study Guide resource to be a companion to the book, and I’m doing it by teaching the youth group at our church, White Fields Community Church. I’ve had some great help in creating the content from some of the excellent leaders at White Fields.

When the guide comes out, each session will include a group activity, a synopsis, and several study questions which correspond to the content of each chapter. Additionally, we are planning to create a series of videos which can be watched along with the study guide, for groups to use.

That study guide should be coming out in early 2023.

New book in the works

Additionally, I am working on another book called, So That You May Believe, which will be based on the evidence given in the Gospel of John about who Jesus is, and why you should believe in him.

Since my first book was The God I Won’t Believe In, hopefully this next book will be a good follow-up or companion, showing people the evidence for who Jesus is and why he came, So That You May Believe.

I hope to be able to release that book by the end of 2023.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

The Fairytale Twist & Why Karma is Not Your Friend

The Hindu and Buddhist concept of Karma is the belief that good deeds create positive karma, and bad ones create negative karma. Positive karma, it is believed, will lead to good fortune, whereas negative karma will lead to misfortune and suffering.

Belief in karma is popular amongst modern western people, but curiously – in my observation – it is only referenced when either bad things happen to other people, or when good things happen to an individual themselves.

For example, people tend to attribute misfortune to karma when something negative happens to someone else whom they deem deserving of suffering because of their bad behavior, or when something positive happens to them. In both cases, people tend to reference karma as the reason why the person in question “got what they deserved.”

Co-opting Karma in Part, but Not in Full

It has been noted how people in the West have a tendency to co-opt certain aspects of Eastern Religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. An example of this is the way yoga has been co-opted and transformed into something very different in the West than what it originally was as a Hindu practice.

Similarly, when Western people talk about karma, they often only think of it in terms of either 1) them getting the good things they believe they have earned through their “meritorious behavior,” or 2) other people getting the suffering that the person in question believes they deserve.

What they are forgetting is that karma is essentially a system which exists to explain why bad things and/or good things happen to people in life, and it basically chalks it all up to earning or deserving.

The Shadow Side of Karma

The “shadow side” of karma is that it says that if something bad happens to you, it is because you have done something (either in this life or a previous one) to deserve it.

Just think about what a terrible concept this is when it comes to serious issues, such as abuse. If you are the sufferer of abuse, karma essentially says: “That happened to you because you did something to deserve it!” In the end, karma says that you have no one to blame for suffering in your life than yourself.

The Fairytale Twist of the Gospel

In contrast to the message of karma, that says that you deserve whatever happens to you in this life, the message of the gospel is just the opposite: That every blessing you receive in life is an unmerited gift from a benevolent God who loves you, and that the reason tragedy happens is because we live in a broken world in which evil exists.

Not only does evil exist “out there” in the world, but this evil has bound itself around our very hearts. Yet, the good news of the gospel is that God is gracious to sinners like us, extending grace and mercy to the undeserving!

As my friend Pete Nelson likes to say, “The message of the gospel is like the movie where the ugly guy gets the girl!”

Malcom Gladwell on The Fairytale Twist

Author Malcom Gladwell had an interesting episode of his Revisionist History podcast, in which he talked about different types of stories, and the effects they have on people. What he points out, is that there are certain types of stories which seem to resonate with people universally, even from a very young age.

You can listen to the entire episode here, but I’ll summarize the main points below:

Little Mermaid Part 2: The Fairytale Twist Revisionist History

The quest to revise The Little Mermaid continues. This week, we call in the experts. Part two of three. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Malcom points out that most ancient fairy tales had an aspect in them which he calls “the fairytale twist,” in which good fortune befalls a person despite the fact that they are undeserving, or often straight up foolish. In these stories, good things happen to bad people who don’t deserve a good fate.

For example, he references a story in which a foolish girl wastes her family’s final money on trivial things, but then in a “fairytale twist,” her foolish decision ends up paying off and saving her family. The salvation of the family, in other words, wasn’t because of the girl’s intuition and good choices, but rather happened fortuitously, in spite of her foolish actions.

What made these stories attractive is that audiences wanted to believe that life could suddenly go from bad to good, regardless of a person’s worthiness.

The message of these stories was not just that there could be a sudden twist that could change everything, but that the twist would be unrelated to the disposition of the character in question. In other words, you don’t need to meet some qualification to be eligible for this sudden twist – rather, it could happen to anyone (even you!).

The Shift to Poetic Justice Stories

Malcom then identifies how a change took place in Western story telling in the 1700’s, when writer Charles Perot insisted that fairytales should teach the idea that good things only happen to good people, and bad things always happen to bad people. These are called “poetic justice” stories.

A good example of a poetic justice story is Disney’s version of Cinderella. In that story, Cinderella’s virtue is rewarded whereas the wickedness of the step-sisters and step-mother are punished. Everyone gets exactly what they deserved.

Measuring Visceral Responses to Different Kinds of Stories

Malcom points out that modern marketers have created a tool which can measure children’s reactions to different fairytale endings. Through their research, what they’ve found is that children prefer fairytale twist stories over poetic justice stories.

It’s not terribly hard to make sense of why this is: Every child, even at a young age, is aware of the fact that they have not always done the right thing, and that if what you get in life is determined by your actions, that is a losing proposition.

To put it in biblical terms, the point is that deep down inside, human beings are innately aware that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, i.e. the standard of what is right.

As the common trope goes, “Nobody’s perfect!” We all understand this deep down, even from a young age, and are aware that if we were to receive exactly what we deserve, we would all be in a heap of trouble.

What is hopeful, however, is the idea that somehow, people who are undeserving can receive good fortune, and not get the punishment or misfortune they might deserve.

The Hope of the Gospel is Engrained on Our Hearts

The message of the gospel is that, by God’s grace, good things can happen to bad people (like us!).

That hope is engrained in the heart of every human being. It’s the reason why we love fairytale endings, even from a young age. It’s the reason why “poetic justice” stories only make us feel good when the person receiving the poetic justice is someone else!

Deep down we all long for justice for wrongdoers and mercy and grace for ourselves.

The message of the gospel is that Jesus Christ received the justice of God, so that mercy and grace could be extended to the undeserving!

But that’s not all: along with the promise of mercy and grace, we also have the assurance that when we receive the gift of God’s grace, He will then begin a transforming work in our lives, called “sanctification” in which God begins to shape us into more virtuous, beautiful people, by the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us.

Karma or the Gospel?

Karma says that, whatever happens to a person, they essentially earned it and deserved it. In contrast, the gospel says that there is a sovereign, benevolent God who entered into the brokenness of this fallen world in order to redeem it and make all things new. He, the only truly good and deserving person who ever lived, took the judgment that we deserved upon Himself, so that through Him we might receive grace and mercy. It’s the ultimate “ugly guy gets the girl” story!

Karma is not your friend. The hope of the gospel is what your heart ultimately longs for, because it’s the true story of the world, and our only hope in life and death.

Do Miracles Create Faith?

In his 1986 book, Power Evangelism, John Wimber suggested that when people see miracles, they are more inclined to believe in Jesus and embrace the gospel.

But is that true? Is that actually what we see in the Bible?

There are verses like John 2:11, where it says that Jesus’ disciples, having seen the first of his signs by which he manifested his glory, believed in him. Furthermore, at the end of the Gospel of John, John says that he has told us about these particular signs that Jesus performed, so that we may believe in him.

However, another common theme in the Gospel of John is that many people in Jesus’ time saw him perform miracles, and although they were fascinated with and captivated by seeing miracles, it did not translate into genuine faith and devotion to Jesus.

Regarding the disciples and the verse in John 2:11 that they believed in Him after they saw the sign he performed, it should be remembered that at this point they were already his disciples – which means they already believed in him. What this miracle did was cause them to believe in a deeper way. It solidified their belief, in other words.

Something that always strikes me, is the fact that Jesus fed over 5000 people (on two occasions!), thousands of others saw him perform miracles, yet on the Day of Pentecost, there were only 120 committed followers in the upper room.

The question that must be asked is: WHY did Jesus perform miracles? Was it an evangelistic strategy (as Wimber supposes), or was it because those miracles were signs, pointing to something beyond themselves (as John tells us in his gospel)?

It would seem that if miracles were Jesus’ evangelistic strategy, they weren’t very effective in producing lasting, genuine faith. A good example is found in John 4, where there is a contrast made between the Samaritans, who believed in Jesus because of his word (John 4:41) – even though they never saw a miracle, and the Galileans, whom Jesus chastised because they were only willing to believe if they saw signs and wonders (John 4:48).

The message is that faith, rather than coming from seeing miracles, comes from hearing the Word of God and believing. This same message is repeated at the end of John’s Gospel in John 20:29, where Jesus tells Thomas: “Have you believed because you have seen? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

In a recent Sermon Extra, Michael and I discussed signs and wonders, whether miracles produce genuine faith:

Sin Makes You Weird

Several years ago, I remember talking with my pastor, Tom Stipe, and discussing something I had observed: Sin makes you weird, but walking with Jesus makes a person increasingly healthy and “normal.”

Who Defines What is “Weird”?

Some people might bristle at the terms “weird” and “normal,” wondering whose definition of “normal” we should use, but in this case I use it in the sense of the healthy standards for behavior and attitudes that are laid out in the Bible, and which have shaped global society in a pervasive way.

For more on that, see Tom Holland’s incredible book, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World. Holland is not a “Christian author” per se; he is a historian who has spent most of his life studying history as relates to other topics, but he has admitted that his research for this book profoundly impacted his life and faith personally. I read it last year and would recommend it.

So, when I say “normal” in this sense, I am referring to virtues which are not only biblical, but which are affirmed by the majority of cultures worldwide. Things such as goodness, kindness, charity, graciousness, and the like – in contrast to abuse, usury, envy, pride, and so on.

Brain Scans

My conviction that “sin makes you weird” is not new to me, but it has been verified through the ever-increasing use of brain scans which show how certain behaviors affect brain activity.

One of the chief among these, and most reported on, is the use of illicit drugs, including marijuana, and pornography.

This article published by Inverse is just one of many on this topic which give empirical proof that pornography usage has negative effects on brain function and produces problematic behavior, as it changes the way a person thinks, views others, and relates to the world. THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON PORN: Casual porn watching changes the brain a lot more than you’d think.

Do Other Sins Make You Weird? What’s the Solution?

I would venture to guess that other behaviors have similar affects on behavior, outlook, and the brain, such as lying, jealousy, and other attitudes and actions.

Here is a discussion I had with Pastor Michael, our Worship Pastor at White Fields Church about this topic, in a follow-up to a sermon from John 15:1-11 called Jesus Is: the True Vine.

In it, importantly, we talk about the solution to the problem, which is: abiding in Christ, which Jesus defines as living in abiding relationship with him, by obeying his commandments (John 15:10).

Here’s the video of that discussion:

Palm Sunday Points Us to the Heart of the Gospel

Originally posted on CalvaryChapel.com

On our wedding day, as my wife was walking down the aisle, she looked at me intently, and the big question in her mind was, “Is he going to do it?” Her friend’s husband had done it at their wedding, and she wondered if I would too. But much to her dismay, I did not cry when she walked down the aisle. She asked me later on why I had not cried. “Why would I?”, I asked. “That was a moment to celebrate, not to cry!”

And yet, the Gospel of Luke tells us, that on Palm Sunday, when everyone else was celebrating and rejoicing, Jesus was crying. Why? The answer draws us into the heart of the gospel.

GOD’S PROMISE OF A TRUE KING

Israel had many kings throughout their history, but, as we see in the books of 1-2 Kings, each one was a disappointment. Some were better than others, but none of them fulfilled their potential, and all left the people hoping for more. 

God had promised that one day, He would send them a true king, who would rule in righteousness. He would be a liberator, who would set the people free from all oppression and establish a kingdom of peace and justice, which would have no end. And yet, no governing administration ever produced what they hoped it would. 

JESUS, THE TRUE KING & PROMISED MESSIAH

Rumors had been swirling for years that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the true king, but Jesus had refused to allow people to revere him as such, until Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday, with the city of Jerusalem full of people who had come to celebrate Passover, Jesus affirmed publicly that he was indeed the Messiah, and he rode into the city on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.

The people waved palm branches (John 12:13), laying them on the ground, along with their cloaks, before Jesus to create a “red carpet” for the rightful king. The significance of this act is found in 2 Kings 9:13, when Jehu became king of Israel, overthrowing the wicked dynasty of the Ahab and Jezebel. At that time, the people laid their cloaks on the ground before him. Additionally, some 200 years before Jesus was born, in the Maccabean Revolt, Israel had successfully cast off their Syrian overlords and gained their independence — at which time, the people celebrated with a parade, in which they waved palm branches. The palm branch, stamped on Jewish coins, was a symbol of deliverance from oppression.

JESUS GOES TO THE TEMPLE, FAILING TO MEET THEIR EXPECTATIONS

And yet, upon entering Jerusalem, instead of going to the Antonia Fortress to put the Romans on notice, Jesus went to the Temple, where he drove out the money changers and healed the sick (Matthew 21:12-14). Clearly, many of the people were disappointed that Jesus did not give them a political solution that day. Perhaps some of the same people who shouted, “Hosanna,” on Palm Sunday were even amongst the crowd shouting, “Crucify Him,” on Good Friday, having been disillusioned that Jesus hadn’t done what they expected him to do.

Perhaps they should have read Zechariah’s prophecy again. “Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he” (Zechariah 9:9). Jesus, the true king, came to meet our greatest need. The unrighteous, the Bible says, will not enter the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Jesus, the only truly righteous person who has ever lived, came to meet our greatest need: so that through his life, death, and resurrection, we might be justified by his grace, and thereby be saved from judgment!

GOD’S PLAN: BETTER THAN WHAT THEY HOPED FOR

The people in Jerusalem had an expectation of what Jesus was going to do for them, but when Jesus didn’t do what they expected He would, some of them turned away — and yet, what Jesus was doing for them was better than what they had hoped for, and was what they truly needed! 

May that be a lesson for us this Palm Sunday, so that we would walk with God by faith, trusting in His character, His love, and His plans. Rather than a genie in a bottle, who always gives us what we want, we have a Father in Heaven, who loves us and gives us what we need — and that is infinitely better!

Jesus Wept With Us So That One Day We Might Rejoice With Him Forever

In Luke 19:41, we read that as Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, as the crowds were cheering, Jesus was crying. 

Shouldn’t He have been reveling in receiving the recognition that He rightly deserved? The reason Jesus cried is because, as He looked over Jerusalem, He knew that the current enthusiasm would not last, and He would soon be crucified as a criminal by the people He had come to save.

Yet, with tears streaming down His face, Jesus continued into Jerusalem. Why? Because, Hebrews 12:2 tells us of the joy that was set before him. 

Jesus wept with us for a moment, so that one day, we might rejoice with Him forever.

In the Book of Revelation, we are given this preview of Heaven: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with “palm branches” in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10).

PALM BRANCHES – THE SYMBOL OF DELIVERANCE, AGAIN

In Heaven, we see palm branches, the symbol of deliverance from oppression, because Jesus, the true king, has liberated us from that which is at the root of all oppression! Whereas on Palm Sunday, people shouted “Hosanna!” (“Save Now”), the great multitude in Heaven declares that Jesus has saved them.

Palm Sunday points us to the heart of the gospel: The true King came to meet our greatest need, and He wept with us so that one day we might rejoice with Him forever.

How Does Understanding Biblical Genres Affect How We Interpret & Teach Passages in the Bible?

On this week’s episode of the Theology for the People podcast, I speak with Kristie Anyabwile, who recently wrote a book called, Literarily: How Understanding Bible Genres Transforms Bible Study

We discuss the difference between interpreting the Bible “literally” and interpreting it “literarily,” i.e. according to the genre of a given passage. Kristie describes the 8 major literary genres found in the Bible, and their unique aspects. We give a few examples of how not taking genre into account can lead to misinterpretation and misapplication of particular texts.

Kristie is married to Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile and they serve at Anacostia River Church in Washington D.C. For more about Kristie, visit her website: kristieanyabwile.com.

Kristie also shares with us in this episode the meaning of her last name!

Also mentioned in this episode are two groups Kristie is involved with:

If you find this episode interesting or helpful, please share it with others and leave a rating and review on your podcast app, as that helps other people discover this podcast and its content.

Click here to listen to the episode, or listen in the embedded player below.

How Does Understanding Biblical Genres Affect How We Interpret and Teach Passages in the Bible? Theology for the People

In this episode, I speak with Kristie Anyabwile, who recently wrote a book called, Literarily: How Understanding Bible Genres Transforms Bible Study.  We discuss the difference between interpreting the Bible "literally" and interpreting it "literarily," i.e. according to the genre of a given passage. Kristie describes the 8 major literary genres found in the Bible, and their unique aspects. We give a few examples of how not taking genre into account can lead to misinterpretation and misapplication of particular texts. Kristie is married to Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile and they serve at Anacostia River Church in Washington D.C. For more about Kristie, visit her website: kristieanyabwile.com. Also mentioned this episode are: Charles Simeon Trust The Pelican Project If you find this episode interesting or helpful, please share it with others and leave a rating and review on your podcast app, as that helps other people discover this podcast and its content. Make sure to visit the Theology for the People blog at nickcady.org

My Worst Easter Sermon + Preparation for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday

I recently had the opportunity to talk with some friends and record a podcast for pastors in our movement.

My friend and colleague Mike Neglia (we serve together in the Expositors Collective) and I were interviewed by Aaron Salvato of CalvaryChapel.com and the GoodLion Podcast Network about different aspects of preparing for Good Friday and Easter.

As part of the discussion, Aaron asked Mike and I about our worst Easter sermon ever. As I was telling about my worst Easter sermon, I remembered something that happened on our first Easter (also our first Sunday) planting a church in Eger, Hungary. It wasn’t something I did (or even saw), but it was something which probably made it the worst Easter service ever for those who attended 😂. Here’s the video of that part of our discussion:

Aaron broke up our discussion into sections and created a helpful article, with Mike and I discussing about Good Friday, how to support staff and volunteers amongst the busyness of Easter weekend, and how to keep Easter fresh.

That article can be found here: Advice for Pastors and Preachers on Easter Sermons and More!

In Section 2, Mike and I discuss our differences of opinion on the practice of Lent! Check it out, and see what you think.