For some people, when they think of John Calvin, they think of predestination. Specifically, it would be the doctrine of double predestination, popularized by later followers of Calvin, whereby God elects some for salvation, and others for damnation. But in many quarters, Calvin is remembered differently, some negatively and to others, most positively (Listen to John Piper’s poem extolling “The Calvinist”). Continue reading
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A lot of people experience injustice. A lot of people find themselves on the receiving end of life’s bitter struggles. Then along comes some Bible-toting Christian saying that “all you need is Jesus“. Well, how does Jesus help you when you can not pay your medical bills, you lost your job, or when your spouse ran off with someone else and left you in thousands of dollars of credit card debt?
Is the Christian faith just some pie-in-the-sky hope for an eternal future or does it mean something for the here and now? Ouch.
Meet Timothy Keller. Keller is a pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. This fall our church is doing a six-week study on his book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just. Many critics of historic, orthodox Christian faith complain that the Bible stands in the way of really making progress towards eliminating injustice in our world today. Others find that efforts to promote “social justice” in the church are undercutting the message of the Bible.
In his book, Tim Keller is attempting to make a crucial connection between the experience of God’s grace on the one hand with a life empowered to live justly with our neighbor on the other. The following is a 30-minute talk where Keller summarizes the message of his book based on the teachings he finds in the Bible. Does he succeed in making that crucial connection?
Zwingli, with tears in his eyes, extended the hand of fellowship, but Martin Luther steadfastly refused: “Yours is a different spirit from ours“. Luther walked out. The split was final. The unity of the Protestant Reformation movement was in tatters.
Marburg, Germany. 1529. Martin Luther’s attempt to reform the Roman Catholic church and restore confidence in the Bible “alone” was in full swing. Years earlier, he had nailed his famous 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door, protesting abuses within the church. Four hundred miles away, in Zurich, Switzerland, a young renegade priest, Huldrich Zwingli, was beginning to do the same thing Luther had started in Germany. Both Luther and Zwingli felt that the Church of Rome had lost its way. Christianity needed to return to the Holy Scriptures as the pure, unadulterated Word of God. The medieval church had allowed man’s traditions to creep in and compromise the truth of the Gospel. Luther and Zwingli were hoping to stand together against what they saw as the corruption within the Roman church.