On this day 500 years ago, a youthful 33-year-old professor crossed a theological rubicon. Little did he know his rather quiet life as an Augustinian friar would become a lightening rod from that day forward.
October 31, 1517 marks the pivotal moment when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saint’s Church in Wittenburg (though he may have “mailed” it, per my friend Dr. Michael Svigel)…
I can still hear their muffled cries. The sound won’t leave my ears.
I can still see their mud-stained tears. The sight won’t leave my mind.
I can almost smell the faint aroma of the seashore…
While we may have myriad questions about the politics and economics involved in this refugee crisis, as Christians the most important question is not if they come but when they come, how does God want us to respond? Wherever they are in the world, how should we respond to the sojourner, the refugee?
As I’ve interacted with many of you who are following Jesus Christ, there has been an unmistakably tone of despondency. On this Fourth of July weekend, many of you may understandably feel torn between a wholesome love for our country and a sense of sadness about the direction our society seems to be taking. . . .
We’ve opened the proverbial “can of worms.” Yet we believe it’s a really important “can” that must be opened and understood in light of the Gospel. Are you ready to dig in?
Our culture is filled with a multiplicity of messages about morality and ethics. Throughout social media, TV, movies, and music, it’s easy to hear all sorts of propaganda about recreational drug use, alcohol, sexual experimentation, and of course, how we MUST watch the next season of [you name it]. But what does God have to say to His people about these moral and ethical issues?
Amid the convoluted messages about sexuality and marriage across the news networks and social media feeds, it’s easy to wonder if there is any solution or resolution for the conversation. Has God provided a clear, navigable pattern to follow?
Do you wonder how Jesus Christ would respond to questions like:
“Can I sleep with my girlfriend, just so long as she doesn’t get pregnant?”
“Is marriage really only between one man and one woman for life?”
“Isn’t lust and porn okay as long as nobody gets hurt?”
“If someone has same-sex attraction, does that mean they’ve been made that way by God? Does God think it’s okay?”
Does behavior “A” always result in “B” – every time? Is Christianity just a cause and effect cycle? Does God keep the carrot of heaven’s hope or hell’s punishment out in front of our noses so that we behave properly? Does God say, “If you behave correctly, you’ll be safe and get what you want! So you better be a nice person, give money to the church, and not have sex before marriage!” Or is there something more?
To be honest, a lot of preaching in today’s culture resembles a man dangling a carrot in front of a donkey’s nose – “Just keep going – the carrot is your cause!”