CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On Drinking the Cup

Aug 6, 2013

OK, another obscure title – but not too obscure for the biblically literate. I here wish to deal with an ongoing controversy about Christ, the cross, and the wrath of God. As I have written just recently elsewhere, there are

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The Divine Last Laugh

Jul 28, 2013

When believers think about God’s attitude toward sinners, they will automatically and correctly think along these lines: God loves sinners and wants them to forsake their sin and come back into a love relationship with him. Yes God indeed does

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Difficult Bible Passages: Psalm 105:15

Jul 23, 2013

This is another Bible passage which is not so much difficult as one which has been badly handled, poorly interpreted, and often wrongly applied. The verse in question is this: “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no

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What a Lousy World

Jul 15, 2013

Some of you will recall the 1967 hit tune by crooner Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World,” later re-popularised in the 1987 Robin Williams film, “Good Morning, Vietnam”. Unfortunately for many millions of people, the Satchmo tune is not really

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On Not Praying

Jun 23, 2013

Yes, this is an article about not praying. More specifically, it examines the question, ‘Is there ever a time and place to refuse to pray for someone or something?’ That may seem like a strange question to be asking, but

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Difficult Bible Passages: Philippians 4:8

Apr 15, 2013

Like some of the other passages I have discussed in this series of articles, this is not really a “difficult” passage as such. But it is a passage which is very often misused, especially by the “positive confession” folks. They

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Difficult Bible Passages: Luke 4:18-19

Mar 7, 2013

This passage as such is not so problematic – it only becomes so when one realises what Jesus is quoting from. He seems to cite half an Old Testament passage, omitting a crucial bit. And this crucial bit may appear

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Difficult Bible Passages: Exodus 21:22-25

Nov 11, 2012

This passage is difficult in the sense that it is a contentious passage, partly because of the way different English translations render it, and how we understand certain Hebrew terms that are used. The real difficulty is the way this

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Difficult Bible Passages: Mark 16:17-18

Jun 2, 2012

This passage is as much a misused passage as a difficult one. And its misuse can often be deadly. There have been a number of fringe Christians who have died because of its misuse and abuse. Often found in America’s

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Is Physical Healing in the Atonement?

Apr 29, 2012

Divine healing proponents look to Isaiah 53:4,5 as proof that healing is to be included in the atonement. Indeed, almost all of the faith teachers appeal to this passage. The NIV rendering of the passage in question is as follows:

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The Imprecatory Psalms, Part One

Feb 2, 2012

If you read the Psalter through in one sitting (which can be done) or at least read all 150 psalms in a concentrated period of time (which I have just recently done), a number of things will stand out. One

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The Imprecatory Psalms, Part Two

Feb 2, 2012

In Part One of this article I offered some general considerations as to how the Christian might approach the rather troubling imprecatory psalms. To properly tease these ideas out it is worth looking at a few imprecatory psalms in some

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Difficult Bible Passages: Judges 6:36-40

May 20, 2011

The difficulty of this text really lies in its application. Are Christians today to make use of this method when they seek to discover God’s will? The passage is the familiar story of Gideon using a fleece to find out

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Difficult Bible Passages: John 7:53-8:11

May 3, 2011

This is a famous passage, but one which can often be rather poorly interpreted. At least it is often used to support various agendas which the passage itself may never have had in mind. Pacifists for example are happy to

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The Cleansing of the Temple

Apr 23, 2011

One of the more familiar actions of Jesus was the so-called cleansing of the temple. This episode is recorded in all four gospels (Matt 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48; John 2:13-22), and has been commented on by believers and non-believers

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Difficult Bible Passages: Matthew 5:39

Apr 20, 2011

In a recent discussion about an offensive work of art which some Christians took action about, one person said that turning the other cheek would be a better way to go. Admittedly Christians can debate what is the most appropriate

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Difficult Bible Passages: Exodus 7:3-4

Apr 20, 2011

The issue of Pharaoh and the hardening of the heart as found in the Book of Exodus can seem problematic to many – believer and non-believer alike. When we read a text like this, it seems troubling: “But I will

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