If you have spent any time online or have attended a University, then you have probably run into the phrase Critical Race Theory. But if you are like me, you may not know what Critical Race Theory is. So in order to demystify the phrase and its meaning, I’ve written this short explanation. [Read more…] about What Is Critical Race Theory?
Canadians seem to lack the statistical studies that our neighbours to the South have. And this means we find it harder to understand our nations religious mood and sensibilities. Yet the Angus Reid Institute, Statistics Canada, and a recent study of churches in Southern Ontario provide fascinating insights into our nation’s religious sensibility.
Here are ten interesting statistics about religion in Canada. [Read more…] about Ten Statistics You Should Know about Religion in Canada
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he said, “This [bread] is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19) and, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (22:20). And so the bread and cup (or wine) represent his body and blood, which he gives as a sacrifice to inaugurate “the new covenant.”
In John 6, Jesus feeds five-thousand. Later in that chapter, he underscores the reality that the sign of the feeding points towards. He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:53–54).
Do Jesus’ words here refer to the Lord’s Supper? After all, he offers his body and blood for eternal life here much like he does in Luke 22. Not quite. The difference is that Jesus offers the communication of his flesh in John 6 while he institutes the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22. [Read more…] about Does John 6 Speak about the Lord’s Supper?
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. – Titus 3:4-7 (ESV)
In Titus 3 Paul says that God “saved us . . . by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” The word “washing” (loutron) means washing with water, a bath, or the water of baptism (BDAG, 603). Certainly, Paul can use the word “washing” metaphorically. In fact, he does in Ephesians 5:26, “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” The washing here is the washing with the word. It’s a metaphor for purifying someone with the word of God.
And yet there is a close connection between baptism and forgiveness in Scripture. Peter says, “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
So what is going on here? What does Paul mean by “the washing of regeneration,” and what does Peter mean when he says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins”? Put simply, how do baptism and regeneration relate to one another? [Read more…] about Does Baptism Regenerate?
Christianity from its start was a bookish religion. The apostle Paul began writing letters to churches about two decades after the death of Jesus. And Christian communities sprung up across the Empire (and beyond). Yet the disciples of Jesus, although numbered in the hundreds, eventually would die out. How would later generations hear the story of Jesus?
The answer is that eyewitnesses of Jesus would commit their memories to writing to preserve the history of Jesus for future generations. That eyewitness testimony lies behind the Gospels provides a clue not only to the historical transmission of the Gospel traditions about Jesus but also, as Richard Bauckham argues in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, the theological mode of communication. [Read more…] about Review of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (2nd edition) by Richard Bauckham
Christians tend to oppose the political left because the left often conflicts with certain key convictions of Christianity. For example, politically left-leaning people tend to advocate the possibility of a utopia, created on the basis of the perfect societal system.
But Christians maintain that apart from God’s grace humans tend towards evil. So, creating a utopia apart from God’s grace is impossible (but will happen at the second coming when Christ will rule). For reasons such as this, Christians find it hard to support politically left-leaning groups.
The alternative is often a politically right-leaning group. In the USA, the Republican and Democratic parties represent the two sides of the equation and many Christians gravitate to the Republican view of things. As the reasoning goes, Republicans believe in the centrality of the family, small businesses, fiscal conservatism, and the pro-life position. Consequently, Christian should support the right because it is right.
I understand this point of view. But I want to suggest that supporting the political right may not be any better than supporting the political left. [Read more…] about Why Christians Should Not Uncritically Support the Political Right