Even after a hundred years of modern Pentecostalism there are a growing number of people who are sympathetic to the modern availability of the gifts of the Spirit butreject the idea of them being only available to those who have had an experience ‘subsequent’ to their salvation generally referred to as the baptism in the Spirit.
What are the bare essential beliefs of Christianity? What are the other beliefs that are important but not essential for salvation? Some people are very passionate about their particular view of End Times (“Eschatology”) while on the other hand, some people are very indifferent about it. Some Evangelical Denominations have very narrow views about what constitutes acceptable views about Eschatology. In some of these denominations they actually make agreement with their End Times position an essential requirement for ordination. Many people find the topic so difficult that they’s rather not even attempt it. One prominent Seattle preacher recently said that discussing aspects of Eschatology was as important as discussing “wookies” (from the Star Wars movie series)! In one respect he is right, in that, there are several Biblical doctrines which are far more important than Eschatology. But…
How should Christians regard the Fourth Commandment of the Ten Commandments — about the Sabbath?
As I reflected on my recent 20th pastoral anniversary of Legana Christian Church in 2015, I’ve had cause to reflect on three of my most significant pastoral paradigm shifts. I think I was about 17 years of age when I approached my then pastor, Joseph Bowes, to talk about the growing sense of God’s call on my life to pastor. I had assumed that all young men about that age felt a similar call. Pastor Bowes informed me that this was not the case. It was around this time in the 1980s that I first met Pastor Trevor Chandler who had become an annual visitor to our Geelong church (as he came down from Queensland to Victoria for INTERMIN). But this time (the 1980s) was a bizarre time for Bible Prophecy pundits. It was Trevor Chandler who first sowed the seeds into my soul to investigate rather than blindly accept Dispensational Futurism (which was the predominant view in most Evangelical and Pentecostal churches at the time). And I did.
The problem of taking the Bible literally that these post-moderns are presenting is ironically caused because they do not take the Bible literally! To take the Bible “literally” does not mean to take it in a wooden literal sense, rather it means to read it as literature. That is, we are seeking to understand its intended meaning not its range of possible meanings. Thus, in everyday conversation we know that being sick to death means severe frustration. Laughing your head off means that you laughed almost uncontrollably. A massacre on the football field means that the game is totally one sided and one team no longer has a chance of winning the game. We know this because we understand the intended meaning. This is also how we are to read the Bible: understand the intended meaning.
How would you define “perfect”? l’m not sure that too many people have pondered how many things in life are perfect. Perhaps most Christians would regard only two things as “perfect”: (i) God, and (ii) The original Creation.
I try to teach my church that Biblical literacy involves being able to discern what is indeed a Biblical statement, and what is meant by a Biblical statement. When it comes to pondering what “perfect” means, we may have a problem if we look to support our two examples with Scripture. Firstly, Matthew 5:48 asserts that God is perfect. Not only is God essentially perfect, but so are His ways (Deut. 32:4), and His will (Rom. 12:2).