The word “good” is nearly meaningless today. The cook will take it as a criticism when you tell him dinner was simply good. He’ll think if you really liked the meal, you’d have said it was terrific, fantastic, or awesome. Compared to adjectives like these, “good” is average at best.
This deflated understanding of good makes it harder for us to appreciate the Bible. For example, when Paul lists “goodness” as a piece of the fruit of the Spirit, we’re unimpressed. We know goodness matters, but it’s no longer vibrant and colorful. “Good” is like a white towel that’s been washed so many times it’s now a dull gray.
It’s time to recover the meaning of good.
This was such a great night to be a part of. Check it out.
Where yesterday was spent driving through the Swiss countryside and mountain ranges, today was spent in castles, museums, and churches. We were looking for objects related to Anabaptists, Desiderius Erasmus and Ulrich Zwingli. The locations delivered! Here’s how the day went…
Teachable people don’t have to be the smartest to succeed—they seek to learn and grow in any and every situation. Being teachable is a foundational quality for everybody: workers, students, husbands, wives, and especially those in leadership roles. If you’re wondering how to grow in teachability, perhaps there’s no better place to turn than the Bible’s wisdom book.
Like any “ism,” liberalism is not easy to pigeonhole. But Gary Dorrien’s magisterial three volumes on The Making of American Liberal Theology present a coherent picture of a movement that has been marked by identifiable hermeneutical and sociological commitments. Even if one wishes to avoid liberal theology, it would still be wise to know something about a movement that has exerted such considerable influence over the past 200 years.
Below are seven characteristics of liberalism that have been culled from the first volume of Dorrien’s trilogy. The headings are mine; the indented text is from the book.
Worship music can often be seen as a trivial thing for a pastor to spend his precious time on, or one of low theological importance. But I argue the opposite. It is my conviction that the songs we sing in church are of utmost theological importance, second only to the ministry of the Word from the pulpit. The church’s corporate singing is a direct mode of worship, so we had better get that right.
A favorite from the archives:
Christians should know this, but we’re prone to forgetting. The rules trap—legalism—is just too easy (because it’s easy, in theory if not in fact). We have rules about kissing dating goodbye. About what music to not listen to. Movies to not watch. Books to not read. Beverages to not consume…
And while the reasons behind the don’ts might be good and right and true, if all we have is don’t, what are we trying to accomplish? At best, the rules, and our attempts to keep them, make us try harder; we white knuckle our way through the things we know we’re supposed to do (including avoiding the things we aren’t supposed to). More often, though, they make us want to give up. Despite our intentions, we don’t become more holy, joyful people—people who increasingly find sin unattractive because Jesus is ever-increasingly attractive to us. Instead, we’re just people who are happy they’re not in trouble.