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.... an orthodox (true and correct when contrasted with Liberal theology) Protestant forum whose members espouse the Apostolic doctrines in the Biblical theologies set forth by Augustine, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and John Knox etc. We do not "argue" with nor do we solicit the membership of people who espouse secular or cultic ideologies. We believe that our conversations are to be faith building and posts that advance heretical or apostate thinking will be immediately deleted and the poster permanently banned from the forum. This is a Christian Protestant community for people to explore the traditional theologies of Classical Protestantism.

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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

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  1. Past hour
  2. Premium members may now create Quizzes. Guests, Members, Premium Members, and Staff may participate! From the "Browse" menu option quizzes may be created by premium members and staff: https://www.christforums.org/quizzes/
  3. Erik

    Questions concerning Eve

    “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:21-23 Pretty clear this was the first Woman as Adam named her based on how God created her. This would bring this back to Gen 2 simply adding details to Gen 1
  4. Today
  5. With a population close to 10 million, the Chicago metropolitan area is America’s largest Midwestern city and third largest overall. Known for its architecture, deep dish pizza, avid sports fans, and sprawling suburbs, the Windy City also boasts a sizable Christian population. While only about half of the residents in Seattle (52 percent) and San Francisco (48 percent) identify as Christians, 71 percent of Chicagoans call themselves Christians (a large portion of these are Catholic; Chicago has one of the largest Catholic populations in the United States). The Chicago area is also a global center of evangelical influence. It is home to many top evangelical colleges and seminaries (Wheaton, Moody Bible Institute, Trinity, North Park, to name a few) and publications (Crossway, Tyndale, InterVarsity Press, Moody, Christianity Today). But even with its evangelical pedigree, Chicago needs more gospel-centered, Word-rooted churches where Christians see clearly how Scripture should guide and anchor their lives. That’s why The Gospel Coalition Chicago is hosting the Leading with the Word conference on October 26 to 27, 2018—a gathering to encourage and equip believers to take the highest view of the Bible and its application in the church, in preaching, teaching, and in their own spiritual lives. I asked the conference organizer, pastor and TGC Council member Colin Smith of The Orchard, as well as David Choi of Chicago’s Church of the Beloved, to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of gospel-centered ministry in Chicagoland today. Is ministry in the Chicago context different from ministry in similarly sized cities in other parts of the world? Smith: Having come here from the UK I have been asked many times about what’s different from the context of ministry in London. But I have been much more struck by the similarities than by the differences. The first great need of all human beings in every time and place is to know God. When we come to know him we become aware of our need of a Savior. Another great need is for the strength to pursue the life to which God has called us, and that power becomes ours through the Holy Spirit as we look in living faith to Christ our Savior and our Lord. These are universal needs. They never change. And in all the conversation about cultural context, I think it is important to remember the relevance of the gospel in every time and place. Briefly describe your churches. Choi: Our church, Church of the Beloved, was a parachute plant launched in 2012 in the near west neighborhood of Chicago. Since then, God has multiplied our plant to six locations in the city of Chicago, and two outside of Chicago. One of the most encouraging aspects early on in our ministry was how God began to lead nations to our church, in particular people who had never heard the gospel. Our first international student who came to Jesus had no previous knowledge of Jesus. She put her faith in Christ and was baptized several days before she moved back to her country. Another girl from an unreached country came to our Christmas Eve service. That night, she had a dream where she was running away from Jesus. When she woke up, she felt compelled to learn more about this Jesus she was running from. Several months later, after studying the Bible with one of our church members and hearing the gospel proclaimed, she trusted in Jesus and continues to be an important part of our church family. Smith: The Orchard began in 1953. For the first 55 years it was known as The Arlington Heights Evangelical Free Church. It was planted through the leadership of Will Norton, who was the professor of missions at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the 1950s. The first pastor of the church was Gordon Addington, a student from the seminary. The name of the church changed to The Orchard in 2008 when we launched a second campus in Barrington. In the years that followed, the remaining members of two churches facing closure asked if we would receive them and continue the work of their church as a campus of The Orchard. Then in 2016 we launched a fifth campus in Northfield and are looking forward, God willing, to the opening of our sixth campus in the city of Chicago in 2019. Many in our community have been helped by our community care program, in which volunteers offer material and spiritual help to people in need. The Celebrate Recovery program has been another means of help to many, and the children’s ministry is highly valued by many families in the communities we serve. But I think the greatest ministry to the community is through innumerable acts of care and kindness that flow from God’s people wherever he has set them down. What are the biggest discipleship challenges you face with Christians in your particular context? Smith: Despite the rapid secularization of our culture, many in the communities we serve have some form of faith. They would consider themselves Christians, even without a personal faith in Christ or the experience of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Others have rejected a cultural Christianity without ever having tasted the joy of a living relationship with God, and that’s a challenge. Either way, it’s hard for people to hear what Christ offers when they think they have experienced it already. It’s hard for people to hear what Christ offers when they think they have experienced it already. Another challenge is that many have an understanding of discipleship that revolves around individual mentoring and is often disconnected from the local church. Our model of ministry revolves around roots, life, and fruit. We believe Christians grow and mature where they put down deep roots in the Word of God, share in the life Christ gives us through fellowship with others, and bear fruit wherever God has set us down to serve him in the world. That’s different from what many people are familiar with, and so it can take some getting used to. Choi: Transience. Every year about one-third of our congregation moves, usually to another major city. Not only is it challenging to sustain growth, but it is also difficult replenishing new leaders. We recently started a leadership pipeline to try and address this concern, and I have found that one of the most important things we need to focus on as a city center church is developing new planters and leaders who have a vision to stay in the city longer than the average stay of two to three years. Another challenge is the emotional drain of saying goodbye to so many church members and leaders you have come to love and care for. Many urban planters can empathize with the pain and subsequent feelings of loneliness that comes with having key leaders feel “called” to move away from their city. I have found it important to meet with other planters and pastors outside of my church who remind me that these emotions are a common problem among city center churches. It has also forced us to think through preaching calendars and discipleship, knowing that the average member may only be in our congregation for a few years. One of the unique struggles is how to balance casting vision to stay in the city for the long haul with the reality of embracing urban mobility, and learning to equip and send people out to be a blessing to the cities and churches they will be heading to. Are there contexts or demographics where the soil seems fertile for gospel advancement in the Chicago area? Where do you see the most life and fruitfulness? Choi: God has grown our church through reaching urban millennials, including internationals who are studying here or working here. On a given Sunday, we have about 30 or so nations represented, and more than half our congregation grew up speaking a language other than English. When people cite surveys that millennials are leaving the church, I ask them: Which millennials? Our church’s average age in Chicago is about 25 years old, and yet it has grown in what is often deemed the most difficult demographic to reach. We find that many internationals have no religious baggage to deconstruct, so they tend to be more open to hearing about Christ. One sister from a closed country was given a Bible from one of our leaders. Two weeks later, I asked her if she had read it. She hung her head in shame as she confessed to having only read Genesis and John. Seventy-one chapters in two weeks! It is extremely challenging for us as believers when we see non-believers being more eager to learn about Jesus and study his Word than many churched people. When people cite surveys that millennials are leaving the church, I ask them: Which millennials? Our church’s average age in Chicago is about 25 years old. Smith: I have been struck by the growth of multicultural ministry in our church. Historically our congregation was largely made up of Swedes and Norwegians. Multicultural ministry started with a lady who had a vision for translating sermons into Polish. Then a Japanese intern who served in our church had the vision for expanding this work. Now, we have ministry along people from multiple language groups, including Spanish, Indian, Polish, Korean, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian, Arabic, Swahili, and Ukranian. What areas of sin and injustice are most troublesome in the Chicago area, and what can churches be doing to address them? Smith: Racial division is a burden to the heart of any thinking Christian in this area, as is the tragic loss of human life through abortion, and through murder in the city. The greatest opportunities we have for influence in areas of sin and injustice come, in my opinion, not so much through activity organized by the church, but through the influence of individual members of the body of Christ sent out into the world. Our people shine like lights as they act with righteousness, justice, and compassion wherever the Lord has placed them. Motivating and inspiring believers who gather for worship to see the purpose of God in their calling is, to my mind, one of the great privileges of ministry. Choi: Chicago is widely considered one of the most segregated cities in the United States. Systemic racism, corruption, and injustice have plagued our city in both visible and also subtle ways. Shootings and homicides happen daily and often in neighborhoods that would normally be considered safe. I have had conversations with Chicago pastors who minister in diverse contexts both racially and economically. There seems to be a growing awareness among churches and leaders who recognize the need for coordinated citywide prayer initiatives as well as a united voice to speak prophetically against corporate sins, both inside and outside the church. How can TGC readers be praying for your particular church and the broader movement of the gospel in the Chicago area? Smith: Pray for the launch of The Orchard Chicago campus that will meet at The Lakewood beginning January 6, 2019. Pray that ministry leaders may walk humbly and faithfully with Christ and that God’s Spirit will use his Word to bring lasting change in many lives. Choi: For Church of the Beloved, please pray for us to continue to be humble before the Lord. Please pray for a sweet spirit of unity and cooperation among churches throughout Chicago in seeing gospel impact permeate every sphere of society. Pray that existing pastors and new planters would stay rooted in the gospel and that we would spend much time with God. Pray that there would be an increase of personal and corporate prayer among all the churches in our city. Also in this series: What Hollywood Really Wants: Bible-Preaching Churches Unashamed of the Gospel Enduring Faithfulness in the San Francisco Bay Area How the Gospel Takes Root in ‘Crazy Rich’ Singapore View the full article
  6. The problem of evil has long been a challenge to Christians. How could an all-loving, all-powerful God allow pain and suffering in his good creation? The question never remains theoretical, of course. In one way or another, the problem will confront each us of directly. The question is, will we be ready when we get the inevitable phone call that brings us to our knees? What can we do today to ready ourselves for the heartache and pain of tomorrow? It may be counterintuitive, but part of my answer is: Go to an art gallery. The arts have always been a key means of spiritual formation and renewal in the church. Art beckons us to look higher, to look deeper—to recognize the transcendent in items as ordinary as canvas and clay. This transcendent experience poses its own dilemma that is a sort of counterpoint to the dilemma of evil. Just as evil causes us to ask, “How could this exist if there’s a God?” the goodness and order we see in art causes us to ask, “How could this exist if there isn’t a God?” Indeed, we’ll only be able to make sense of the world’s ugliness in moments of crisis if we first try to make sense of the world’s beauty in moments of transcendent joy. Dealing with the problem of pleasure will prepare us for the problem of pain. We’ll only be able to make sense of the world’s ugliness in moments of crisis if we first try to make sense of the world’s beauty in moments of transcendent joy. Seeing Beyond The great conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein put it beautifully: Beethoven turned out pieces of breathtaking rightness. Rightness—that’s the word! . . . Our boy has the real goods, the stuff from heaven, the power to make you feel at the finish: something is right in the world. There is something that checks throughout, that follows its own law consistently: something we can trust, that will never let us down. In the Christian account of the world, creation is sacramental: it points beyond itself. But if we haven’t trained our eyes to look for order and meaning in the symphony, we won’t be likely to see with eyes of faith in the midst of tragedy. So, be it a piece of music, a painting, a sculpture—all art should lead our eyes beyond the immediate and to the infinite, beyond the creation itself to the Creator himself. This is a point C. S. Lewis makes in The Weight of Glory: The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. In the secular, de-mythologized West, our eyes are taught to look at and in, but never through, and certainly not up. Whatever you call this cultural phenomenon—objectivism, scientism, utilitarianism—its effects are palpable: we’re habituated to see creation as mere nature, an end in itself, an object for dissection but certainly not delight. In such a culture, appreciating art takes more discipline and effort than ever before. At first, the clay appears to be just that: a lump of dirt. Yet if you make it your practice to stop by the same sculpture each time you visit the museum, over the months and years you will find the clay transforms into something different. It takes on new meaning and significance. But of course it is not the object itself that changes—it’s how we see it. The seeing is changed not by the seen but by the see-er. To see more than a lump of dirt in a sculpture takes a patience that is rarer and rarer in our fast-paced age. The thing is, seeing well takes intentionality, especially in our distracted age. To see more than a lump of dirt in a sculpture takes a patience that is rarer and rarer in our fast-paced age. But if we as Christ’s followers want to honor God’s beautiful creation (including the creations of his image-bearers), we need to cultivate this patient mode of seeing. Problems of Pain and Pleasure The conditions that make art appreciation difficult are the same conditions that make reckoning with the problem of evil difficult. The same eyes that see only a lump of clay in a sculpture will only see discoloration and scars when looking in the mirror after a major surgery. Conversely, eyes trained to see meaning and beauty while sitting on the museum bench will be able to recognize the handiwork of God while lying in the hospital bed, even as they yet see through a glass, dimly. This is not to say we will always discover meaning just by looking at something hard enough. Meaning in art, as in suffering, is sometimes elusive or even inaccessible. The death of a loved one or relentless hardship can often feel senseless, absurd, devoid of meaning. Some overly artsy music or films can feel the same way. But the extremes do not detract from the broader principle. The more we cultivate intentional, observant viewing of art, the more we’ll be able to make meaning of all of reality. The arts are crucial in recovering the skills necessary to regain a right disposition toward reality. They can help us see order and cohesion in the true, the good, and the beautiful. Not only can a deep familiarity with the beautiful give us the standard by which we recognize and name the ugly, but once we’ve become accustomed to looking for meaning in moments of joy, perhaps we can also see with eyes of faith in moments of despair. We might say it this way: The problem of pain becomes more manageable if we’ve already reckoned with the problem of pleasure. Related: Why We Need Great Art (Terry Glaspey) What’s the Point of Art? (Jackie Hill Perry) The Disruptive Witness of Art (Alan Noble) In Christian Theology, Beauty Demands to Be Noticed ( Matt Capps) View the full article
  7. Hey Just Mike, thanks for the question. I realize it's from a few months back but I'm going to answer it anyway. I am currently reading through a chronological plan that I should be done with in a month or two and It's been really helpful. I would highly recommend trying it at least once in your life. I wouldn't recommend reading your Bible like this all the time, because you lose some of the literary flow of the individual books, but it's been great reading Biblical accounts of events grouped together. It's helped me pick up on details that I've overlooked before. I've tried the OT/NT/Psalms schedules and the Professor Grant Horton Bible reading system (basically reading one chapter from ten books per day). I've tried reading the Old Testament in the jewish order which I did like, but I think I prefer to just read it through from Genesis to Revelation the best. There's something I like about reading straight through the Old Testament as the anticipation builds until you finally reach the New Testament, Hallelujah! But that's just me.
  8. Guppy

    A question for Amillennialist

    That makes perfect sense. I never made that connection before, but it fits perfectly How else can God see us? If he looks at us physically we are all dead in our sin. He has to see us spiritually Born again, new creations, he sees us as being dead to sin and alive in Christ. We are dead to the flesh and alive in the spirit. Its not the sinful man 'physical' that draws close to god, but the spiritual man. If we are dead to sin and born again, then God sees us as resurrected. The sinful man has died and we are born again in Christ It also give me a better perspective of Baptism and its importance
  9. William

    Questions concerning Eve

    Believe I already went there by using Matthew 19.
  10. davidtaylorjr

    Questions concerning Eve

    Based on what evidence?
  11. ewq1938

    Questions concerning Eve

    If you go back and re-read you will see that I have not done that. Is being the first woman in the garden the same thing as the first woman anywhere in the world? The world was populated but the garden was not until God starting to populate it. It was not like the rest of the world.
  12. Anto9us

    LITERATURE began...

    Had a whole semester of Robert Browning at Baylor -- on one exam we were to pick our favorite poem and discuss it; then pick our least favorite poem and discuss it as well. I spent the entire time writing about my favorite poem -- Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came -- and hastily picked the least favorite poem and said " ----------------------- was the worst of the bunch"
  13. I would have to rethink Revelation just a little bit if Jerusalem is the first beast of Revelation. Not saying it is but it could be.
  14. Becky

    LITERATURE began...

    Mid 60s high school English Lit class. The assignment was Shakespeare's Julius Caesar . We were asked for our opinions of the play . My response " good story" i flunked.
  15. with Stan Lee and has gone downhill ever since. Probably Fantastic Four # 1 by Marvel Comics denotes the beginning of LITERATURE (even though Stan Lee based FF sort of on an older DC Comics group called Challengers of the Unknown - 4 guys in similar costumes to FF) There was an earlier DC group called THE DOOM PATROL; from which Lee ripped off ideas for THE X-MEN -- the older leader in a wheelchair and everything... Stan Lee's TRULY ORIGINAL character, of course, was Spiderman. DC Comics I would consider "pre-Literature" I read Superman, Batman, Flash and Green Lantern before I was enlightened into the Marvel world.
  16. Anto9us

    There They Stood

    Spurgeon and Spong would be like daylight and dark
  17. Yesterday
  18. Erik

    Questions concerning Eve

    So now your conceding Eve was the first woman - you are going backwards with your argument. Which actually confirms that Genesis 2 is just expanding on the creation in Genesis 1 of man and woman.
  19. davidtaylorjr

    Questions concerning Eve

    My apologies. I edited the post. I was frustrated because I just spent the last 24 hours going up against someone who thinks the sun was created on day 1.
  20. ewq1938

    Questions concerning Eve

    Nice insults. Very Christian and mature of you.
  21. davidtaylorjr

    Questions concerning Eve

    Because the Hebrew reader wouldn't assume that Gen 1 and Gen 2 contradict like some English readers and it clarifies the situation.
  22. ewq1938

    Questions concerning Eve

    Then why do you insist to argue that "had formed" is the better translation? Only the perfect would mean that but the imperfect does not nor can not.
  23. davidtaylorjr

    Questions concerning Eve

    I never said that it wasn't in the imperfect. I KNOW it is in the imperfect. But that doesn't change the fact of your half-baked exegetical work by ignoring chapter 1 which gives the actual sequence of creation. That is not the purpose of chapter 2.
  24. The Harlot/Whore Mystery Babylon The Great Is A "CITY" The City Is Not Iraq, Babylon, Nor A Religion Or Belief System Once again, "City" The "Great City" is Jerusalem! Revelation 17:18KJV And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. Revelation 11:8KJV 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
  25. ewq1938

    Questions concerning Eve

    I assume proving to you the verb is in the imperfect would not mean anything to you, correct?
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