A Debate: Did Christ Die For All? With Jordan Cooper and Dr. Theodore Zachariades. Sin Boldly Episode 93

cross_the_passionWell, I have been looking forward to this episode for a while. I was honored to be joined by Dr. Theodore Zachariades of Reforming America Ministries and Jordan Cooper of the Just and Sinner Podcast and Blog to discuss the Limited Atonement. Did Jesus die for the sins of the whole world, or only for his elect people? What is the extent of the work of the cross? Jordan comes from a Reformed background but is now a Lutheran pastor and theologian. Theodore came to the Reformed Baptist tradition after growing up Eastern Orthodox. This debate features conversation around many of the relevant Biblical passages and demonstrates the different ways that these two traditions come to see the way God has worked in the world to save sinners. Thanks again to both of my guests for their time and expertise!

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

5 Signs of a Progressive Church. Sin Boldly Episode 92.

progressive churchThis solo episode looks at some signs that your church is becoming more progressive, i.e. less orthodox. We also look at some celebrities and their relationship to faith, including Val Kilmer and Brad Pitt.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Should We Retain Our Old Customers (Church Members) or Try to Find New Ones (Church Members)?

 

CRM1.2Once upon a time, my cell phone carrier would provide me, a loyal 14-plus year customer, a new phone every two years. This was a nice perk and an encouragement to re-up my 2-year contract with them. Sure, I pay a lot for a cell phone every month, but at least I didn’t have to pay the full retail price for these lovely phones I’m now addicted to! Well, now that deal has gone the way of the Dodo bird.

“Even me?” I asked the undeserving customer service representative during an intense period of haggling. “I’ve been with you guys for 14 years and I have to buy a new phone?” Sure enough, this seems to be a new policy for all of the carriers. Alas.

I was reminded during this “negotiation” process (during which I gained nothing and lost everything) that one of the persistent issues that every business faces is balancing the need to satisfy existing customers while attracting new customers. It is a delicate dance. If new customers get all of the perks, the loyal customers will wonder why they are being so loyal. The grass becomes greener. If loyal, older customers get all the perks, no one will want to leave their current company.

Might this same dynamic exist in the Church? Of course, the Church is not a gathering of customers, but brothers and sisters in the Lord, the blood-bought Body of Christ. Those who profess Christ as their Lord – and actually pay attention to the consequences of that profession – know that they should not approach church participation or membership as if they were consumers of religious offerings. Given the amount of “church shopping” and turnover that exists, I’m afraid that’s exactly how many Christians do think about church membership.

Congregations are gatherings of human beings, so there is a social reality to the life of each and every congregation. And while the congregation is a holy people who gather together to participate in holy things, the people themselves are still sinners and pastors would be foolish not to consider the social dynamics of a gathered people.

So, to borrow the example from business, are congregations to be loyal to their existing customers or attract new ones? Just as in business, it can be easy to fall off the horse in either side of the ditch. We can get rid of certain traditions to appeal to “new” Christians but end up not teaching the whole faith. Maybe some uncomfortable doctrines get ignored to avoid scaring off the new Christians not ready for inevitable conflicts with the world. Maybe the worship is jazzed up a bit and the old-timers miss those “old” (i.e. “timeless”) hymns. Maybe the scripture becomes a mere backdrop for a nifty sermon series. But in that effort to appeal, if real Christianity is not defined and defended, it really doesn’t do any good to offer a false veneer of religiosity.

On the other hand, we can confuse our congregational or denominational traditions with core doctrines. They are not always the same. Then, we preserve a “way of life” that we are not actually supposed to defend. Everyone who doesn’t share in that way of life becomes our opponent and isn’t welcomed into the group. Christian community is reduced to a very narrow way of being a congregation, and good luck getting any new church members with that attitude. This is commonly seen when congregations are not welcoming to those from a different ethnic background or when a small number of people “run” the church and are not exactly welcoming of new opinions.

So given that there are easy extremes to fall into, I’d like to propose a deal. As a pastor, I will do everything I can do maintain the critical traditions, teachings, and liturgy (or liturgical components) that should never change. Churches ought not do anything new when it comes to our understanding of scripture and, for the most part, worship. It is not our role to be original or even creative. And if some are turned off by our commitment to traditions, well, they probably wouldn’t tolerate the Jesus of the Bible much longer, anyway.

But our evangelism efforts and our community life need not be limited by the way things have always been done…or not done. While our teaching and worship should feed, encourage and edify the “loyal customers” (i.e. those who have been Christians for many years), our evangelism efforts ought to appeal to new Christians. We should try new things, be unafraid in talking to others about our church and our ministries. We should be inviting others to attend our events. The bottom line is that when it comes to worship and teaching, we should stay true to our “loyal customers.” And when it comes to reaching new members, almost nothing should be off the table.

The Kinship of Jesus: Christian Community Amid the Roman Empire. Sin Boldly Episode 91.

51UAJtkIEYL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Dr. Kathleen Mills joined me today to talk about her book The Kinship of Jesus. What was different about Christian community in the context of the Roman empire? And what should Christian community look like today? Thanks to Kathleen for stopping in!

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Selling Heroin as Religious Charity. Sin Boldly Episode 90.

This solo episode explores whether a heroin dealer deserves religious protection. After all, he is providing comfort to the poor, lame, blind and apparently, even dead! I also look at Trump’s new executive order which offers protection for pastors endors525e549027f3389f23aaf9eebe4be751ing political candidates from the pulpit and the fallacies of the Prosperity Gospel.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Leaving Leftism: An Interview with Dr. Danusha Goska. Sin Boldly Episode 89

For this episode, I was joined by Dr. Danusha Goska, author of Sa5648646ve, Send, Delete and a fascinating article on why she left Leftism. Widely traveled, Dr. Goska has experienced the world’s most prominent religions but remains a lifelong Roman Catholic. Why? What compels her to still believe in God and the revelation of Jesus Christ? Her book is an email correspondence with a well-known atheist, and her article can be found here.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Grace Alone Revisited and Defining Hate Speech. Sin Boldly Episode 88

Sola-GratiaIn this solo episode, I look at two articles. The first looks at “Grace Alone” from a Roman Catholic point-of-view. (That article is here.) What does it really mean to “cooperate” with God in salvation? Is “grace first” good enough or were the reformers right to insist on “grace alone”? I also look at an article that argues that there is no such thing as hate speech, only unfavorable opinions that are labeled as such to shut down free speech. Oh, and just how much should churches spend on their parking lot?

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

The Benedict Option. With Wyatt Graham. Sin Boldly Episode 87

0df9b00027d31d1f34f6b786b5129f09The Benedict Option has been called the most important Christian book in decades. But what does it really propose? Is it anything new? And is it even the best “option” out there? For that matter, do Christians have options other than the biblical “option” found in the Great Commission? How should Christians response to a hostile culture? Wyatt Graham of The Gospel Coalition joins me and we use his latest article as the foundation for our conversation. That article can be found here.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.

Satanism. As Told By An Ex-Satanist. Sin Boldly Episode 86

a6e4bf731cbf751e7b0f6a7067001f44I was joined by Zachary King, a former Satanist of 26 years, of All Saints Ministry. We talked about his past life as a Satanist and what Satanists believe, the Biblical reality of the devil and his minions, and recent Satanic encroachment into the public square. Is Satanism essentially a boutique rebellion, or a more mainstream group than we think? Is this an underground movement that has significant appeal or does the media blow it out of proportion? You listen and decide. I definitely will take it more seriously than I used to after this interview. [I’m not labeling this episode either Clean or Explicit because the content may be inappropriate for some children, though there is no profanity.]

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app also finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.

Orthodoxy and the Reformed: Differences in Understanding the Fall and Salvation. Sin Boldly Episode 85

1211-003ji-saviour-yzantine-wooden-icon-average_enlIn a relatively rare exchange, an Orthodox priest (formerly Baptist) dialogues with a Reformed Baptist pastor (formerly Orthodox) on the questions of the Fall and its effects, how man is made righteous before God, and how one grows in holiness. The East and West do not have frequent debates and exchanges, and this pairing came as a result of a desire to understand the differences between the traditions. Many thanks to Father Wilbur Ellsworth and Pastor Theodore Zachariades for joining me. Learn about Fr. Ellsworth’s move to Orthodoxy here and check out Reforming America Ministries here.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app also finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release.