The day of Pentecost signals one of the most important events in Christianity. While all together, the Spirit descends upon the apostles with signs and wonders. Tongues of fire appear, the sound of the Spirit comes, and the nations hear the apostles speak in their own language, a kind of miracle of hearing.
In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke spends an entire chapter narrating Pentecost and ties it closely to Acts 1. So what exactly is happening? What does Pentecost mean? [Read more…] about What Does Pentecost Mean?
Many Canadians have reached out to their church to sign a religious exemption form for vaccines. These requests have suddenly come to many churches and possibly organizations, and I know that pastors and churches are working through their responses.
As a contribution to that discussion, I want to name a number of occasions where I would not sign a religious exemption form. While this article won’t answer every question, I hope it helps you think through the question in your setting. [Read more…] about When You Should not Sign Religious Exemption Forms
Before 2020, people generally considered vaccines to be a mundane tool of medicine. School children in Ontario are required to have a whole set of vaccines. Travellers had to be immunized to visit certain countries. I myself had to take a host of vaccines to immigrate to the USA. I did not feel at the time that the USA infringed upon my personal liberty.
Fast track to 2021. Vaccines now are widely controversial. In the USA, I have observed that part of the controversy involves political differences. But there are also medical and epidemiological reasons too. For example, some believe that natural immunity is better than vaccine immunity. In Canada, the controversy has less heat and seems to centre on the idea of vaccine passports. People feel that if they decide not to vaccinate, then they should have equal freedom to visit restaurants as those who are vaccinated.
I will say a few things about this below, but my point here is to explore the question of whether or not vaccines are good. I do not intend to discuss every point of controversy that surrounds the use or non-use of vaccines. I primarily want to ask and answer the question of whether or not vaccines in general are natural goods.
In short, here is my argument. No one should be forced to take a vaccine, but everyone should recognize the natural good that medicine is. “The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding” (Isa 28:26). By the light of nature, he teaches the medical researcher too. [Read more…] about Are Vaccines Good?
A number of years ago theologians debated the nature of the trinity. Some held that the Son relates to the Father by submitting to him eternally, and the Father relates to the Son by eternally having authority over the Son.
Fair enough. Some Bible passages talk about the Son doing the will of the Father. But then why wouldn’t they? Jesus, the man Jesus Christ, always obeys the will of the Father according to his humanity since he came to live and die for our sake!
On the other hand, Christians also affirm the divinity of Christ, the Word of God. And so believers have understood Christ’s obedience to the Father according to his humanity, while confessing his equality according to his divinity. In the language of Paul in Philippians 2, Jesus took on the form of servant and became obedient to the point of death. Yet before becoming a servant, he enjoyed equality with God as a divine Person.
If equal, then the Father and Son share the same nature and thus the same power, activity, will and so on. After all, we confess that God is one.
However, in trying to work out how the one God is three persons, some evangelicals proposed that the Son eternally submits to the Father who eternally has authority over the Son. By these relations, the Father and Son might be eternally distinguished. And, some also claim, this relation of authority and submission explains why wives submit to husbands since marriage reflects the Trinity. [Read more…] about The Trinity Debate: Eternal Submission and the Spectre of Arianism
After Jesus taught the disciples for 40 days about the kingdom of God, the disciples had a question to ask Jesus. They said, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6)? In answer, Jesus Jesus rejected their right to know the Father’s timing “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority” (Acts 1:7).
Yet Jesus does not stop his answer there. He continues: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). In so doing, Jesus evidently explains how he is restoring the kingdom to Israel.
After 40 days of learning about the kingdom of God from Jesus (Acts 1:3), the disciples understood the issue well. What they did not know was how to discern when the restoration would occur. They needed to wait for the Father to act. In other words, they must “wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4) which means the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at which time “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5; cf. Acts 2:33).
As I will argue, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit signals the fulfillment of the father’s promise and the beginnings of the restoration of the kingdom. The Spirit, at one level, evinces the presence of the kingdom since he is the “Spirit of Jesus” (Acts 16:7) and where Jesus is so is the kingdom (e.g., Luke 17:21).
The narratives in Luke and Acts provide more reasons why this is so. [Read more…] about “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”