Toward a Catholic Christianity: Its Essence and Importance

When we hear the word, “catholic,” we usually think of the Roman Catholic Church. Because some of us believe the Church of Rome has terribly strayed from the gospel of Christ, we tend to view the term “catholic” in a negative light. In reality, though, the term “catholic” can be a good word. It simply means, “universal.” When it’s applied to the church, the term highlights the relationship that all true local churches bear to one another. Although the Bible distinguishes individual local churches, it also speaks of these churches collectively as “the church of Jesus Christ.” Continue reading

Stairway from Heaven: Babel, Bethel, and Jesus Christ

At Babel sinful humans build a tower to reach God. At Bethel God places a stairway earthward to reach men. At Babel humans attempt to make a name for themselves. At Bethel God chooses to make the name of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob great. At Babel God scatters humans to prevent them from thwarting his plan of redemption. At Bethel God promises to scatter Jacob’s offspring to ensure the fulfillment of his salvific agenda. In a word, Bethel teaches us that true religion does not come from human effort but from a gracious act of divine condescension.1 Continue reading

What Child Is This? The Virgin Birth

In light of the approach of Christmas—a time when Christians celebrate the incarnation of Christ—I’d like to highlight the reality and importance of the virgin birth, or more properly, the virgin conception of Jesus Christ. Until recently, the virgin birth has been acknowledged as an important doctrine of the Christian faith. The early church fathers, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene and Chalcedon Creeds, the Lutheran Augsburg Confession, the Reformed Belgic Confession, the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, and the Westminster Confession of Faith all bear witness to the church’s faith in the virgin birth. Continue reading