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When Jesus announces His public ministry in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, He presents a holistic call which brings about spiritual transformation through salvation. In his teachings and example, Jesus also models social transformation, especially in the case of children and women. Jesus’ earthly ministry had both spiritual and social implications, and to recognize this is to understand the whole Gospel message. Read more
Walter Wangerin, Jr. is a storyteller by profession and character. Wangerin brings to life the stories and characters of the Bible with vivid imagination as the author of such works as The Book of the Dun Cow (which won a 1980 National Book Award), The Book of God, and Paul: A Novel. As a writer-in-residence and professor of English and Theology at Valparaiso University (where he holds the Jochum Chair), Wangerin shares the value of biblical imagination with students studying the foundations of Christianity. In his new book, Jesus—A Novel, he shares Christ’s message of discipleship, love, and equality. Read more
On issues of the family and scripture, Christians are in a bit of a pickle. It is not always clear how our convictions about “family values” mesh with what the Bible teaches, especially the Gospels. Jesus, for example, did not assign the great spiritual and sentimental significance to family life that many Christians do today. How then do we reconcile the expectation that all good Christians should marry with his example of lifelong celibacy? Or our championship of family with Jesus’ warning that following him will set sibling against sibling and parent against child? Endorsing family values poses particularly interesting issues for biblical egalitarians, since many of our fellow Bible-believers hold that these values should include a hierarchical model of marriage. Read more
Divorce, domestic violence, school shootings, living together, gay lifestyle, affairs, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and the list goes on… The family is definitely under attack. As a result, the last decade and a half has seen the rise of the pro-family Christian message. Pastors, churches, books, Bible studies, and even whole movements are, with the purest of intentions, working feverishly to strengthen the family. Seeking to motivate apathetic husbands and indifferent dads, some Christian ministries have anointed men “Prophet, Priest, and King,” “Point Man,” and “High Priest of the Home.” The only problem is, these labels aren’t scriptural. Read more
I can’t remember a time when I did not think women were equal to men. My parents’ upbringing must have indoctrinated me before I was old enough to know that some people disagreed with them. What did my parents tell me? My guess is, it was never mentioned. But I clearly remember being impressed when I was very young with my father’s utter devotion to my mother and my thinking that girls and women were about as close to angels as you could get on earth. (My understanding has since expanded, but I still think some of them are.) Read more
Harriet had conscientiously served the ministry’s leaders, Rev. and Mrs. Smith, for twenty-five years. The Smiths were a godly couple, and their work for the Kingdom had flourished over the years. Theirs was a model of a faithful marriage, and they were seen as blessed by God. Working for the Smiths had not always been easy, but Harriet was deeply committed to the ministry. She had left once, but God made it clear that she was to return. God promised her that he understood, and that he would allow her to birth a project of her own that would be of value to the Kingdom. Read more
What does it take to be included in the Hebrews “Hall of Faith” (Heb. 11:1– 40)? How could anyone hope to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with such notables as Abel the righteous (Gen. 4:1–10; Matt. 23:35); Enoch who walked faithfully with God (Gen. 5:22–24); saintly Noah who was graced with the Lord’s favor (Gen. 6:8); Abraham and Sarah who believed against all odds that God’s promise was certain (Gen. 15:6; 21:1; 22:12); Moses the friend with whom God spoke face- to-face (Num. 12:6–8); Samuel who was respected for his integrity from Dan to Beersheba (1 Sam. 3:20); and King David, a man after God’s heart (1 Sam. 16:7; Acts 13:22). The inspired list goes on to name a total of sixteen men and women, including Deborah’s military general, Barak (Judg. 4–5). All of these are commended for their faith, true heroes of whom “the world was not worthy” (Heb. 11:38). In contrast to many of the others in the Hebrews list, we are not told exactly what Barak did to demonstrate his extraordinary faith. But, thankfully, the account of his work under Deborah, the respected prophet and judge, in Judges 4–5 provides helpful clues to answer this question from the Scripture. Read more
I believe that left-handed people are fully capable and called by God for ministry. I believe left-handed people can serve in ordained ministry or any other capacity, just as right-handed people can. However, some oppose left-handers. They believe that God made left- and right-handers equal in essence only, while denying them access to certain vocations. Ordained ministry is for the right-handers only, as the claim goes. Believe it or not, the Bible does portray left-handers in ministry. Take Judges 3:15: “Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer — Ehud, a left-handed man...” I’m guessing you have never heard of Ehud, I know I hadn’t until I met a few left-handers trying to respond to their calling…. Read more
A few years ago, the leaders of a major denomination struggled with the issue of women in their executive leadership ranks. Women could be ordained as pastors but could not ascend to the next level of clergy leadership, District Elder. Through the years more women began to call for a shattering of the “stained-glass ceiling”1 that prevented them from assuming key decision-making roles. Finally, at the denomination’s annual convention of clergy, a series of policy resolutions were debated. Many of the current leaders advocated that women should be elevated to the next level of leadership but must be given a title other than District Elder. Two women delegates were given permission to address the Board of Directors. These two women boldly represented the sentiments of a vast number of women of this denomination. Read more
Growing up, my father’s esteem was the most important in my life. Throughout my childhood I attempted to meet — and exceed — his expectations for me. I longed for his approval. If he thought I was smart, I was. If he thought I was pretty, I was. If he thought I was worthy of love, I was. My father’s sense of who I was shaped who I wanted to be. And it shaped who I wanted to be with. Whether a girl’s relationship with her father was good or bad, existent or not, he is still the first man in her life. As girls move from child-hood to adolescence to adulthood, their fathers are often the first people they turn to discover their worth. Read more

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