Included in this week’s issue:
The Freedom of Pure Hope
“We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope – He who hopes in God, trusts in God.” Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island
Christ’s Church is Not Shrinking
Unfortunately, it has become a truism among Evangelicals that people are leaving the church in droves, particularly young adults. This notion is as widespread as it is false. We have talked about this a great deal at Focus on the Family (here and here) and a recent article in the Washington Post by a professor of religion and culture adds muscle to this fact. It’s the infamous John Shelby Spong who got it fabulously wrong in his book Why Christianity Must Change or Die.
It’s the churches that have changed that are dying, denying the most fundamental of the faith. Their members are running for the doors like the building is on fire. The churches that have remained true to the teachings of scripture, that seek to preach and practice it with obedience, are the ones that are growing. God’s Church is not shrinking, rest assured.
The Wonder of the Cross of Christ
We just finished our celebration of the birth of our Savior and I don’t want to seem to be rushing us to the season when we recognize His death but I do want to share a rich insight from John Stott on the nature of the Cross and what happened there. This is from the original preface to his wonderful book, The Cross of Christ.
In daring to write (or read) a book about the cross, there is, of course, a great danger of presumption. This is partly because what actually happened when “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ” is a mystery whose depths we shall spend eternity plumbing… For whether we like it or not, we are involved. Our sins put him there. So far from offering flattery, the cross undermines our self-righteousness. We can stand before it only with bowed head and broken spirit. And there we remain until the Lord Jesus speaks to our hearts his word of pardon and acceptance and we, gripped by his love and full of thankfulness, go out into the world to live our lives in his service.
We possess such a beautiful and hopeful faith because we serve a beautiful and hope-giving Lord.