Category Archives: Bible-Theology

Pandemic Sermon: Ezekiel 11:14-25, “I Have Been a Sanctuary”

The human desire to commune with God is very powerful, and when sacrifice according to God’s law was not available, it was very painful. Many allowed themselves to be squeezed into worshiping God on their own terms, rather than according to God’s law. But other Judeans were faithful and accepted the promise of God’s continuing presence through this time of suffering, a presence revealed in ways that they hadn’t seen before, and trusted that he would eventually bring this time to an end. For these Old Covenant saints who were truly seeking YHWH God, this disruption was a time of “creative destruction” that stripped away many beliefs and practices, and allowed them to see just how big and powerful YHWH truly is. Continue reading

Posted in Bible-Theology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Online “Church”: United, or Merely Simultaneous?

If the entirety of my pre-COVID worship experience has been simply passive and receptive (hearing and observing the preaching and the musicians) while I am standing or sitting beside someone else in the assembly with whom I am barely acquainted—then there is little benefit to the incidental simultaneity of our passive reception of the information presented to us by the pastor or the worship leader. If this is all that church has been, then it is not surprising that people would feel little loss by introducing the mediating technology, i.e., receiving preaching and music while at home—with or without a pandemic. Continue reading

Posted in Bible-Theology, Culture-Economics-Society, Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

Pandemic Sermon: Numbers and Chronicles, “God Draws Near”

Throughout this time many of us are simply missing human touch and human contact, and direct interaction not through a screen. We are doing the best we can, but it is not the same. I imagine those families in ancient Israel who had loved ones with skin diseases, who had to stay outside the camp or the city and only call out to one another from afar. But there is hope, there is Good News. God was not satisfied with living in a tent or a stone temple among his people. As John writes in his Gospel, “The Word became flesh, and pitched a tent among us, and we beheld his glory.” Continue reading

Posted in Bible-Theology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How Did We Get Here? The Pre-COVID Road to “Online Church”

Even before the pandemic, “word” and “image” had been technologized with some extension of their reach—but with increasing fluidity, and at the cost of “presence,” which cannot be replicated. Technology makes us feel as though we can replicate presence, but it rather enables us to persist in practices that do not really satisfy or edify. Continue reading

Posted in Bible-Theology, Culture-Economics-Society | Tagged | 3 Comments

Halting In-Person Worship: Christian Liberty? Obedience to Romans 13?

Christians are obliged to respect civil authorities (Rom 13:1–7), and should be willing to lay down our rights for the sake of others (1 Cor 8:9–13). If the government says we may not meet or should not meet, mustn’t we take that into account? Continue reading

Posted in Bible-Theology, Culture-Economics-Society | Tagged | 2 Comments

Franklin on Why the Christian Response to COVID-19 Must Change

It is my pleasure to commend to you Dr Franklin’s recent piece, “Metaphysics, Medicine and Modern Science: Why the Christian Response to COVID-19 Must Change.” Continue reading

Posted in Bible-Theology, Culture-Economics-Society | Tagged | Leave a comment

Science, Worship, and an “Epistemology of Love”

So far we have seen that a modern scientific worldview has difficulty accounting for the immaterial “essence” of human personhood, and therefore cannot meaningfully balance the risks of physical and spiritual harms. In this installment, we compare “scientific” ways of knowing (epistemology) with other means of knowing that are just as important for human life and purpose: knowing through love, and knowing through ritual. Knowing truth about God and ourselves by these means gives us purpose and hope. Continue reading

Posted in Bible-Theology, Culture-Economics-Society, Research, Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

Humanity, Danger, and “Knowing”: Ancient and Modern Worldviews

How do we know what we are, as humans? How do we know what we know? On whom or what do we rely in order to determine what is safe and what is dangerous? Continue reading

Posted in Bible-Theology, Culture-Economics-Society, Research | Tagged | 4 Comments

Is Church an “Essential Service”?

If a 70-year-old man receives a cancer diagnosis with a six-month prognosis, but could extend his life possibly two years by chemotherapy that would make his life extremely painful—is it moral for him to refuse treatment? What about a 50-year-old man, offered a ten-year extension of unpleasant life through such a harsh six-month medical treatment? How should the costs of medical treatment, and the burden on family, factor into his decision? Who is fit to decide such things?
In the midst of a situation in which a serious communicable disease is present in the population, should it be permissible to hold religious gatherings? What about funerals or weddings? Extreme unction (“last rites”) in the case of someone dying from a disease that could be transmitted to the priest?
Is it moral to celebrate the Eucharist in the midst of a pandemic? How risky for the celebrant and the participants must it be, in order to be deemed too great a risk? How should the risk of transmitting the disease to others beyond the consenting participants be factored into the ethical calculation? How might it be acceptable to modify the structure of the celebration in order to reduce health risk? Continue reading

Posted in Bible-Theology, Culture-Economics-Society, Research | Tagged | 1 Comment

Sermon: Acts 2 and Isaiah 28:5-13, Pentecost

This is the audio (40:21, 36.9 MB) of a sermon preached at our Lithuania home church, Klaipėda Free Christian Church, on May 23, 2021: Pentecost. The main text is Acts 2; I also make reference to Isaiah 28:5-13. Continue reading

Posted in Bible-Theology, Giffones in Lithuania | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment