Responses to the Resurrection

There are plenty of issues within the church over which we can disagree. The doctrine of the Resurrection, however, is not one of those issues. The historicity of the resurrection of Jesus is essential to Christianity. Addressing this question, J. Gresham Machen writes, “The great weapon with which the disciples of Jesus set out to conquer the world was not a mere comprehension of eternal principles; it was an historical message, an account of something that had recently happened, it was the message, ‘He is risen’ ” ( Christianity and Liberalism , pp. 28–29). The historical Resurrection, Machen explains, makes all the difference. The disciples were not merely convinced that Jesus had risen in their hearts. He had actually risen from the dead and had appeared to them as proof. For that reason, they were called to be reliable witnesses to this fact (Acts 1:8). Of course, Machen is not alone in putting such an emphasis upon the historicity of the Resurrection. The apostle Paul ... Read more

Short-Term Missions, Long-Term Good

Since elder David Nakhla began his work as the OPC’s first short-term missions and disaster response coordinator in September 2010, he has helped the OPC respond to a devastating tsunami in Japan, unprecedented flooding in upstate New York, and ongoing needs in foreign fields like Haiti and Uruguay. The OPC has been working to expand its reach in short-term missions. In this interview, David offers some thoughts on the value of short-term trips and how OP churches and members can become more involved with the joyful task of making disciples of Christ at home and abroad. New Horizons: We regularly send full-time missionaries to conduct the long-term work of proclaiming Christ and planting churches around the world. What is the biblical basis for short-term trips? Nakhla: Interestingly, it’s easier to find examples of short-term missions (STMs) in the Bible than long-term missions. In all his travels, the apostle Paul didn’t spend more than possibly a couple of years in one place. Also, the ... Read more

Why Can’t Christians Agree?

According to Presbyterians, infant baptism is taught in the Bible. But according to Baptists, the Bible teaches that only professing believers should be baptized—and they must be immersed, besides. Why can’t we agree on what the Bible teaches about baptism? Why doesn’t the Bible tell us simply and unmistakably who should be baptized—and how? We could ask such questions about many matters. Sociologist Christian Smith has the answer. We can’t agree, he tells us, because the biblical writers don’t agree. To take another example, some passages really are Calvinistic, and others really are Arminian, but evangelicals can’t see that because they assume the Bible has a consistent position. Hence, they twist the other side’s passages to suit their own preferred view. Furthermore, they try to extract “biblical teachings” on all sorts of subjects that the Bible doesn’t really address. Evangelicals of all theological stripes misuse the Bible like this, argues Smith in The Bible Made ... Read more

Wrapped in Grace

To: JuneMcrea@ustel.com From: bevwhyler@connect.com Dear June, I had a great time at presbyterial, and so did the other ladies from Redeemer. I always worry that a whole day is going to be “wasted.” But once I’m there, I love the fellowship with my sisters in Christ. Mrs. Hunter’s perspective on her time on the mission field with Rev. Hunter was fascinating. Great Q&A session, too. Thanks to all of you at Covenant for hosting. I didn’t have a chance to talk to you privately that day, so I’ll bend your ear now electronically. Our pastor has asked me to “take under my wing” a young woman who began attending our church earlier this year and is now taking membership classes. Let’s call her “Maggie.” Maggie comes to worship services dressed provocatively. The pastor thinks, and I agree, that this matter is best addressed woman-to-woman. How can I approach Maggie about such a sensitive subject? What if I offend her and she doesn’t come back to church? I don’t want to ask ... Read more